Last weekend Carrie and I went to Nepal for a trip to meet up with my Aunt Eve and Uncle Wally, who live in Hyderabad, India. It takes a trip to Nepal for the four of us to meet up.
We left Singapore late Friday night and had a 4 hour layover in Dehli between 2-6am, before flying off to Kathmandu.
We arrived in Kathmandu at 8am and met up with Eve and Wally, and then started touring for the day.
We begun our touring in the Kathmandu valley…
Our first stop was about 20km from the city of Kathmandu at Dakshinkali Temple, where twice a week the Nepalese people bring offerings to the Goddess Parvati. These offerings include food, incense, flowers…and more exciting things such as goats and chickens. These offerings are meant to bring purity and prosperity to the devotee.
Seeing all the devotees lined up to make offerings, along with the offerings themselves was very interesting. Please notice the chickens and goats, and the two women holding plates of food and flowers for offerings.
The drive to and from Kathmandu gave us a sense of life outside Kathmandu, which is a very large metropolitan city with approx. 8 million inhabitants. The rural life is very different than the city and consists mainly of subsistence farming and the people were very poor on average.
After arriving back in Kathmandu we toured the old city area and the Durbar Square area. The old city was on a hill and built around 1,500 to 1,000 years ago. It has since been mostly overtaken by the modern city buildings which made an interesting juxtaposition of new and old with concrete buildings with little character next to sun dried brick buildings with ornate wood carvings and charm but the old buildings looked structurally unstable because no one had taken the time to keep them up.
This is a picture of the old city area, notice the older buildings in front and the newer buildings in the background of the photo.
In Durbar Square, which is the old palace area of Kathmandu, we toured a variety of royal buildings and temples to really explore some wonderful old architecture and get a sense of the royal past combined with the hindu and buddhist influences.
These pictures show you a good panorama of Durbar square in the first photo and some of the intricate wood and metal carving in the second photo. The carvings like these were everywhere in Durbar Square.
After Durbar Square, we headed up a hill to Swayambhu Temple and Stupa (also known as the Monkey Temple) for a wonderful late afternoon view and my first real experience with prayer wheels.
The Swayambhu Stupa was a unique experience and unlike previous temples I had seen in Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore and really made me realize that every culture in Asia has its own take on religious worship and architecture despite the extremely similar aspects of Buddhism in each country. It was great to use the prayer wheels and see the prayer flags. The Stupa itself was also quite stunning as it had been redone just a few years ago, which consisted of new gold leaf and painting which made it stunning.
After a long day of touring it was back to the hotel for dinner and then sleep, what a first day in Nepal. I wasn’t sure it could get any better.