Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exploring Kathmandu

Our first day in Kathmandu was a full day! When I was planning for the trip I would only have one or two things planned for a day and then would remember that I wasn't traveling with kids and that I could be gone all day if we wanted and didn't have to plan for naps or breaks or anything! So we made the most of the one day we had in Kathmandu and saw a ton!

This is a picture in the courtyard of our hotel. I loved seeing all the prayer flags all over the city.  


Our first stop was a five minute walk from our hotel and was the Boudhanath Stupa which is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. The Stupa is one of the largest in the world. There are prayer wheels surrounding the perimeter that people spin as they walk by.




Once inside there were more prayer wheels. When walking around the stupa or any Buddhist temple you are to walk clockwise. 




The whole area around the Stupa was fascinating with adorable buildings that all were different colors and designs. Boudhanath is a large Tibetan refuge community and it was wonderful to walk around an soak it all in. We wandered around the shops some and visited a Thanka painting school where they take cloth, rub river rock and clay on it to harden the cloth and then hand paint Buddhist symbols and teachings. They were so nice in explaining all the symbols and each piece to us and then my sister and I purchases a pice each. I am looking forward to when I can go and get mine framed and hung up!

Following Boudhanath we took a taxi to Patan and its Durbur Sqaure. It has many temples, a former royal palace and was built in the 1600's. There are both Buddhist and Hindu influences which was interesting. We wandered around, read about the temples and then had lunch at a cafe overlooking the square. 



The wood work and carvings all around Nepal were fascinating! They were so intricate and amazing! I wished I could have brought back a piece of furniture or something! What surprised me was how prevalent the intricate pieces were beyond temples and palaces and on regular buildings. 





Following lunch we walked around the city and found a man selling Tibetan Healing and Meditation Bowls and he explained them to us, demonstrated them and we ended up each picking out one to take home. The bowl was the one thing I wanted to bring home from Nepal and I loved looking through them and learning more about their uses beyond meditation. I have had some problems since leaving the store though recreating some of the techniques so I apparently need some more lessons!

 



We then took a taxi to the Monkey Temple where you are supposed to have amazing view over the valley and the mountains. Unfortunately the week we were there had clouds and rain which was unusual for this time of the year. But the views were still great and it allowed us to see the business of Kathmandu below us. 








When we walked to the top of the temple we didn't see any monkeys and wondered why it was called that. We decided to walk down a different way and found all of them. They were much calmer than the ones in Bali which was nice and they just minded their own business.

We then headed to the central of Kathmandu and its Durbur Square which was crazy! It was so busy, and overwhelmg. We were not there long and instead decided to take a walk to Thamel to get some dinner and a traditional Nepali food restaurant. Our favorite food from Nepal was momos which are like dumplings but not really. They were so good!

 


After dinner we took a taxi and asked several time to make sure he knew were our hotel was. Well he apparently had no idea where our hotel was and it was a pretty frustrating two hours finding our way home when it should have taken around 30 minutes. He asked time after time for directions and it was so frustrating. The only thing I hated about our trip to Nepal was the taxis. They would constantly try to rip us off, tell us they knew where they were going and then get lost and ask for more money. It was such a battle BUT I was so thankful to have my sister with me....she is tough! She takes no nonsense and she puts them in their place. It was good since I hate confrontation! We FINALLY made it back to our hotel and were exhausted from the day and bouncing around in taxis all day. We had a somewhat hot shower and got to bed so we could go to the airport the next day for our flight into the mountain town of Pokhara.

1 comment:

Stori Wann said...

What a fun trip! Nicks BIL goes to Nepal often on mission trips but never takes any pictures of touristy things - this makes me want to go too!