(back!) nepal, part i: the good.

In response to the recent outcry for vacation pictures, I give you the first of a four-part series (it sounds arduous, I know, but I promise it’s mostly pictures).  First will be what I liked about Nepal; second, what I didn’t like; and third, things that were otherwise weird or notable; fourth will be Bangkok.  (Alt-text (hover over pictures) for facts and stuff like that.)

So Nepal is sort of wedged between Tibet, China, and India, which means there are a lot of different cultures coming together.  There are Buddhists of different varieties, Muslims, Hindus, and some Christians.

Parts are really beautiful: all kinds of ornate religious buildings, mountain skylines and sunsets, brightly colored clothing and food, and greener than green rice paddies.

One notable sight was Swayambu(nath), a huge Buddhist stupa on top of a really tall hill.

Also known as the "Monkey Temple".

Prayer wheels that encircle the base of the stupa.

At the base of the hill, a monk rests. A dog too.

Nearby, there's a new park (I forget what it's called) with three giant gilt statues. L to R: Manjushri, Buddha, and Guru Rinpoche.

Just a tad of Chinese influence ... also soccer.

A really big, colorful prayer wheel. It's blurry because it's spinning!

Another famous religious site is Pashupathi(nath), an important Hindu temple to Shiva (the destroyer!). We couldn’t go in because only Hindus are allowed entry, but we saw some of the inside from the hills around the temple and got to see the grounds.

The golden calf ... (watch out, Jews and Christians)

A row of lingams.

Hanuman, the Monkey King!

One of the most beautiful places in Kathmandu, I’m convinced, is the Garden of Dreams, built by one of the kings of Nepal, Kaiser Sumsher.

Her face was like the moon. Her eyes like lotuses. Her mouth, like a lotus. Ears, also lotuses.

The central lawn.

The plaque says that the marble broke in the big earthquake in 1934, but the leaves were added as a statement about making the best of what you get and adapting to the capriciousness of life (probably for financial reasons, too).

A big, rotten beam.

Nic was staying in the part of Kathmandu called Boudha.  It’s where all the Tibetan exiles live.  The main stupa is a pretty big deal.

Boudhanath: The stupa at Boudha.

Hoisting the prayer flags.

Landscape with rice paddies and cow.

Rice paddy with monk.

One thing that I wish we’d adopt here in the west: the use of umbrellas as parasols.  I don’t like it when the sun beats down on me.  It’s way too hot, plus it’s bad for your skin!  But it was totally normal here to walk around with a parasol.  (It was also totally normal to find skin products with whitening agents, not coincidentally.)

Everything was really inexpensive, too, which was awesome.  I got some supplies for my Etsy jewelry and a bunch of cool souvenirs and gifts.  We also had a couple of really nice meals that were dirt cheap relative to US prices.

Speaking of food, it was fun to see the different flavors.  Lots of mangos and mango flavored things (I drank a lot of mango juice), cardamom and black currant candies and cookies, pani poori, and in general lots of Indian food and flavors.

Yum!

Stay tuned for more…

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kathie King on August 23, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Great pictures –

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