Saturday, January 23, 2016

Part III: Nepal: An Unexpected Jewel

Nepal was technically just a stop-over between Tibet and Bhutan, but it turned out to be a true gem. We want to go back. And they need the tourism to rebuild...

We arrived in Kathmandu to discover its color and vibrancy almost instantly.

Our first stop was the Boudha Stupa, which had been significantly damaged by the earthquake last spring.

Across the street from the Stupa, we visited a Buddhist temple, where this large prayer wheel was in use at the entrance.

Inside, the temple was resplendent with gold and colorful decor.

It was here I had one of the most significant experiences of the entire trip. Because of these two monks.

Unsolicited by me, one of them waved me over, had me kneel, and then proceeded to bless me and the prayer beads I had purchased in a small shop in Lhasa - and which I have worn every day since. A truly spiritual and moving moment!

Boudha Stupa was actively undergoing repairs, largely due to a sizable cadre of volunteers.

We saw this sign and knew where we would have lunch.

During lunch, we were able to watch folks walking around the Stupa.

And children playing about upon the Stupa, or taking photographs of the crowd just like me.

Lots of arches like this in Kathmandu, and lots of wires like these, too.

A Hindu temple we could not enter but could admire.

Where monkeys apparently like to play.

Little temples like this were everywhere.

We saw several of these folks, who are supposed to be the equivalent of saints, but who sometimes simply sell weed to tourists.

A moment of contemplation caught on camera.

A riverside site where funerals are held.

Cremations in progress. This was difficult to watch, as we could hear the wailing of loved ones as the bodies burned.

Evidence of the earthquake was everywhere.

In this little courtyard, we were privileged to see the Kumari, or living goddess (no photos of here were allowed). It was surreal, truly,when she came to the window and looked out on us.

The most captivating aspect of Kathmandu was its people.

Though its architecture was fabulous, like this ancient palace.

And this statue with a couple of Americans standing in front of it.

The streets of Kathmandu were really alive, and they smelled great - like really good food and incense.

The view from our hotel room was actually much the way I wanted Kathmandu to look.

And no complaints about our breakfast spot.

Or the grand approach to the hotel's front door.

We spent our one morning in Nepal venturing out to visit a couple of villages in the Kathmandu valley.

Where evidence of the earthquake was at least as apparent as it had been in the city.

But life still goes on.

Though perhaps not quite the same...

A busy village street.

Where children played.

And traffic looked a bit different than it does back in the States.

Back in Kathmandu, we toured a bit more, admiring the architecture, the art, and the people.

This gentleman specifically asked that I take a picture of him with his fish.

Kathmandu was replete with images of the ancient and the modern mixed together.

Chilies hanging to dry.

Some American wondering who maintains all those wires!

We wish we had had more than 24 hours in Nepal, but we are glad we did have that one day.

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