Stupa's And Temples.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Monday, January 31, 2011

"It is estimated that the money spent by each tourist supports 10 to 11 Nepalis for a year." (source - Lonely Planet).

Well, we hope we have done our bit! We hit the ground running when we got back from Pokhara by hiring a taxi at the airport to take us for an afternoon of sightseeing and had him wait for us between sights. In medieval times there were two other major cities, Bhaktapur and Patan which now, in present times, are joined completely to Kathmandu. Each of these cities has a Durbar Square (Palace Square) and we had an amazing time discovering the history and admiring the architecture of huge Pagodas, shrines and public baths. Like the Kathmandu Durbar Square life goes on as it always did despite UNESCO World Heritage status.

Then it was back to our original hotel again in our taxi and we were welcomed with the news that as returning guests we had been upgraded and given a suite on the second floor (wow less stairs to climb!) AND the electricity was actually on – for awhile! We had a fabulous candlelit dinner that night (power off again by then!) with wine, then last cheap massages before an early night as we had more sightseeing planned on the way back to the airport.

We used a taxi again to take us around for several hours to see two major sights before arriving at the airport for our flight back to Dubai. Our first stop was to the Bodhnath Stupa, an enormous white dome with painted Buddha's eyes and colourful prayer flags. The people worshiping here and spinning the prayer wheels looked different. They were of Tibetan origin rather than Nepali. What struck us was the urgency in which they circumnavigated the Stupa. They were all rushing around the circle as they said their prayers – perhaps they were all off to work after their prayers? Maybe it is just something they do fast? Anyway it fascinated us.

Our last place we visited in Kathmandu was Pashupatinath a very powerful Hindu religious centre on the banks of the extremely polluted but sacred Bagmati River. This is where Nepalis are cremated and it was going on in our full view. We hired a guide who explained everything to us and showed us around. Pashupatinath is also famous as it was the place where after the Royal Family Massacre of 2001, 10 of the Royal Family were cremated including the King and Queen. Their son Prince Dipendra, gunned everyone down at a family gathering, then turned the gun on himself. However he lived on for a further 2 days in a coma in which time he was crowned King for a very short rein.

Our taxi took us back to the airport and we discovered how disorganized Kathmandu airport is! Firstly we couldn't’t even get into the airport as it has been so outgrown that not all departing passengers can squeeze in! Once allowed in, there is a frustrating repeat of manual body searches and manual bag searches until finally you actually get to board and they still check you one more time! There were no loud speakers announcing flights even, just an airport official calling the flight with normal voice projection. Quite an experience – especially the FULL body pat downs at every turn! (Heather felt the female officer was very dedicated!!) Once again we had excellent seats for the view of the mountains as we left Kathmandu and even through the plane window we took some quite good photos.

One more night in Dubai, then it is back to Australia.    

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