Road to Nepal Arriving Kathmandu Part 2
As I said in yesterday's article , Kathmandu was love at first sight. Yes, it may sound strange, chaotic, dirty for someone who lives in villages Scandinavian or
Swiss movement is more disordered than in the Romanian capital, but do not know, it is something, something that draws you entangle and you charms . And no, not at the foot of the Himalayas. In fact, mountains with permanent snow capped peaks not even see Kathmandu (you must climb the hills nearby, such as in Nagarkot, where you have a nice view if you catch a clear and cloudless morning). Last time I was in Kathmandu in the fall of 2015, just days after Great Himalayan Earthquake, and I was curious to see how it evolved.
Raj was waiting for us at the airport and went directly to his house, where he opened a homestay really nice, called Be Here Now. I had a room with a large balcony, overlooking a green field, and where you see the eyes of Buddha stupa at Swayambunath. Kathmandu has grown tremendously in the last decade after the end of civil war, and, as in the case of Romania million people went to work in the prosperous emirates of the Persian Gulf. They sent money home and have built huge houses, real buildings with several floors. As in Romania, the infrastructure has not kept pace, so the roads leaves much to be desired and channeling shines through absence, but people fared - BUSINESS septic lady and roads made of earth are stormed by car 4 × 4 ... These, besides houses were bought heavily, despite customs duties hallucinating - 80% for cars and 30% for vans and buses, given that, Obviously, Nepal does not produce any wheel car. But even so, suffering and underdeveloped infrastructure of the country is under assault by hundreds of thousands of citizens every day ... probably, as in Vietnam, high border tariffs are a measure to avoid blocking total traffic in urban areas.
Like I said, Raj has built himself a bloculet - downstairs, he lives with his family on the 1st floor, his brother and the other two floors are for tourists. There is a terrace above the building where I took great pleasure breakfast prepared by his wife every morning, watching the day to day of a district of Nepal where few tourists go (I have never seen accommodation by area). And a quiet ...
Obviously, even though I liked the area, I could not stay long. Raj jumped in his car and cut it to the city. Obviously, I've got a local SIM card, I can make phone calls and, especially, to stay connected to the internet (net of no lady in Nepal, but it works reasonably), so whenever I needed to go somewhere, I would call the driver Raj and prompted ... despite the traffic, I was not far from Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. I have written many times about Kathmandu but now I want to focus on changes in the city.
I wanted to get first in Durbar Square, Old Town Square, where generations of kings built dozens of temples. Honestly, there was the place where I fell in love hopelessly Kathmandu. And also is where the heart cried when I walked in September 2015, after the earthquake ... some of the temples that I climbed and where will the locals, I Hodina watching people walk around the world up and jus, no longer exist. Royal Palace, which had been transformed since the days of the kingdom in a national museum (the last Royal Palace was elsewhere), there had been, but crap everywhere ... In 2015, there were only piles of rubble, but now see that they work with more or less increase, the reconstruction ... the site of the Royal Palace was something more dynamic, and that because the US and China had given his hand, providing needed reconstruction funds. And temples that survived the huge earthquake appeared to be in the process of building ... not everywhere. Do not think, however, that charm market disappeared - Shiva made the northern part of the market remain untouched and there I relived atmosphere that Durbar Square "mine" - with roofs stepped type pagoda, with pigeons flying like foolish with jump women resting with fake sadhu chasing tourists for photos.
And for those who do not believe in anything supernatural, Kathmandu, where gods and people meet and communicate, is proof that somewhere, something there. One of the oldest traditions of the city is Kumari, the Living Goddess so-called. Is a girl who is chosen from a certain caste following a process similar to that elected Dalai Lama (the physical characteristics - among others, must have genes that cow, a feature of great beauty at the foot of the Himalayas, but neck as a shell body like a banyan tree, thighs like those of a deer, chest like a lion and a strong voice and clear as a rate), even after tests to recognize things old Kumari, including not fear a final test, carried out at night in one of the temples of Durbar Square.
During the period the girl is Goddess Vie (usually about 8 to 10 years), it does not leave the palace in which lives than during a major Hindu festival and can be seen only occasionally, getting a balcony yes in the courtyard of the palace to bless those who were there. Although we have been so far three times in Kathmandu, not the Kumari had ever seen. I was lucky this year, when, wandered into the courtyard of the palace appeared Kumari. First, we were advised that we are not allowed to take photos and then there was a girl seemingly bored, painted red, which looked in the yard for a few tens of seconds and then ran perhaps at play. The current goddess Kumari is only 1 year and has four years, the age at which a normal child run around, harjoneste not bless passersby.
Something you later, again a supernatural force has remained standing so-called erotic temples - basically the pillars supporting the roofs of temples, pagodas are carved erotic-pornographic scenes, some even giving S & M. There is no universally accepted theory to explain the presence of those sculptures on the temple with religious role, but one says that the goddess of lightning is a shy virgin who gets scared when he sees pornographic scenes and not trasneste temples and ran. It seems that the god of earthquakes virgin evidence that these temples remain standing, at least in Kathmandu (we saw Patan scenes rather sado-masochistic the temples who failed and were housed until reconstruction yard Museum from city center).
Thamel the neighborhood tour which focuses hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars, travel agencies and shops for tourists, was perhaps the biggest surprise - has expanded enormously (I think it's at least five times when I first visited in 2003) and is very clean ... quiet .... Shock and horror, traffic was banned in part of (center, in around Kathmandu Guest House, where he and tourist enclave on the city) and is, oh, the glory of Ganesha, quiet. Well, not 100%, there is still one motorcycle have to dodge a cyclo-rickshaw, but at least no longer ... I hope to keep cars. And yes, as usual, I filled my bag with books (books are very cheap in Nepal) ... Unfortunately, Pilgrims library, where we make a pilgrimage every time they reach Kathmandu there are no (Raj told me that he moved because he burned two years ago), in its place was a cafe. I looked for it, instead, I went in the other libraries in the area and made my luggage dangerously close to the maximum weight allowed.
Another place that can not be missed Hindu Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu is one of the sacred places for Hindus (at least, for those Nepalese). It is said that the house of a believer is cremated here and ashes she is thrown into pestilentialul river Bagmati, which passes through the temple, you are assured of a reincarnation high ... So here on some stone platforms, it incinerates non-stop, including Nepalese who die overseas are brought here for more efforts and financial expenses to be incinerated in the sacred place. Unfortunately, those who are not Hindus are not allowed in the temple courtyard. Instead, may haunt the area ... and this time, with more time, I found some areas built on the hill overlooking the house where I could spy on everything that happens in prohibited area😊. In addition, numerous ceremonies (on fire deh, we are in an area of incineration) takes place outside the temple barefoot women singing hymns and spinning around some shrines on fire (rather grills). I witnessed the ritual shaving head men who had just lost a parent and was to be the one who set fire to the burning bush. It is said that one reason for the Nepalese and Indians want ardently son is just like a son (and any daughter) has the right to light the pyre parents incineration ... and if you only have daughters, I never understood who gives fire, but not as good as a son.
As usual, I walked along chapels dominating the river Bagmati and platforms incineration, where tens and hundreds of Nepalis lose time watching for the umpteenth time ceremonial cremation (which includes bathing the body in the river very polluted and muddy). In the days after the earthquake, all platforms worked at maximum, 24 hours a day ... in fact, a symbol of photographic earthquake was these fires and smoke rises day and night over the sacred temple.
All the perimeter is some sadhu. Sadhu are holy men who give up all material possessions and retire for meditation. Most often live completely naked (and a garment is a possession, right?) ... 13 years ago, I saw the Pashupatinath some sadhu who seemed authentic (no, they were not completely naked, but close), now just sadhu photo - indeed, looks spectacular and you deal with them pictures of many likes on Facebook, but not ... sadhu. I saw two of them returning from lunch and one had a large clock hand ... Halal sadhu 😊.
Nepal is a country mainly Hindu, but there is a strong and influential Buddhist community, especially made of Tibetan refugees, and the locals closely related to Tibetans (such as community Sherpa, famous for most men work as guides or CARAT Storage the Himalayas). In addition, this community is quite rich ... and their main temples are called Boudhanath - the largest stupa in the world or Swayambunath called for marketing purposes and Monkey Temple. I loved Boudhanath, I discovered obvious all in 2003 and fell in love for that smooth atmosphere, bohemia, full of tranquility. I twirl around in all stores of the Great stupas and music could be heard chanting Tibetan Buddhist that if you put in a soothing trance. 2015 I was very affected by the quake demolished the top to see Stupa with those piercing blue eyes of Buddha, but though the rest of the country does not seem to put some bricks in place, the site was Boudhanath. Now, in 2018, Boudhanath is ready, rebuilt as if nothing had happened, bright, but lost a good deal of magic. The reason? It became too crowded. Besides tourists whose number has increased exponentially, more and more Nepalese Kathmandu come here to find an oasis relatively exotic to their town ... Multitudes revolve around ... I wanted to go early in the morning, but it was not to be. If you go to Kathmandu, try to be here early in the morning and probably will capture a little of the old magic Boudhanath community. You can have breakfast here, Many restaurants mules on commercial buildings surrounding the stupa. Unfortunately, the music hypnotic chants with those flowing from dozens of speakers, disappeared. Since YouTube, since the music that can be downloaded on mobile phones, sales of CDs have almost disappeared ... in fact, that music was pumped from the numerous stores that sell CDs and music DVDs of movies but who buy something today? Honestly, I would try to put some speakers with music that brought so many magical atmosphere of Boudhanath. CD sales have almost disappeared ... in fact, that music was pumped from the many shops selling music CDs and DVD movies, but who buy something today? Honestly, I would try to put some speakers with music that brought so many magical atmosphere of Boudhanath. CD sales have almost disappeared ... in fact, that music was pumped from the many shops selling music CDs and DVD movies, but who buy something today? Honestly, I would try to put some speakers with music that brought so many magical atmosphere of Boudhanath.
Boudhanath Stupa from there for centuries. Here, pilgrims and merchants would gather Tibetan plateau descending on them from 4,000 meters to exchange goods with Nepalese. And after Tibet came under Chinese occupation in 1959, many Tibetan refugees in Nepal were, sitting where else than around the hive. So in the Tibetan quarter of Kathmandu eastern Tibet have been rebuilt temples destroyed by the Chinese occupant especially during the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward, many monks refuge here, keeping the old Tibet flame, lit in exile. Worth your book some time after doing kora (walking in clockwise) around the hive to discover. Some of the most beautiful temples Tibetan exile is here, but do not miss to go, indeed,
Here, you will find an oasis of peace (not to be inundated with visitors, Nepalese are not allowed inside) where many Westerners (Europeans, Americans or Australians) come to learn Buddhism, to meditate and to find spiritual. I saw a few groups on the grass lush gardens around temples, discussing Buddhist philosophy of life with Tibetan monks good English speakers. It is apparently the most popular place in the world (after the Darjeeling area, where Dalai Lama lives) for Buddhist meditation. And a retreat from the world crazy, crazy.
Here at Kopan, but also Swayambunath (which is also almost rebuilt, is almost ready), I did a photo shoot with Andreea dressed in a sari ... I thought you gift nicer than a jump to get them , considering that it reached for the first time in Nepal. I asked Raj to buy her a green jump (obviously was choosing Raj's wife) and all obviously had to choose some cool places for a photo-shoot. For those who have not seen (or not wear), a jump is actually a piece extremely long (can have 6 meters) of material that wraps artistic woman's body ... is an art to him dress, it is not so easy. In addition, there must be some kind of shirt (like a bra) underneath ... and I ordered this piece of clothing after we went to a material seller, and then,
I traveled to Nepal with the support of Turkish Airlines and buddy Raj of Good Karma Trekking , which I walked through the Kathmandu and whose homestay we stayed.