Katmandu not Dogwomandon't!

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Monday, December 1, 2008

Namaste from Nepal!!!

We learned that in Nepal, Namaste means "I celebrate that which is divine in you!". In Nepal, they speak Nepali, but a lot of it is like Hindi. As well, 80% of people here are Hindu, 13% are Buddhist, 3% are Muslim, and then the rest are some other religion, but in Nepal, everyone gets along.

We are very glad to be here - it was a short flight from Delhi, but feels like we have come a very long way. As we were landing, I could see the Himalayas, which are huge and have white snow on the tops. It was beautiful. We could also see smaller mountains, with no snow, but they are also huge. They call them hills in Nepal. On the way in, I saw the Nepal flag, which is actually two triangles.

We drove into Nepal and decided to go for a walk before dinner. Our guide, Sangeeta, is very nice and she took us to see one of the temples. Katmandu looks different from India - for one, there are huge mountains and it is a lot colder. Two, they have a living goddess, who is between 4 and 13 years old. She is chosen by being the girl who can not get scared when she is put in a dark room with men in masks shouting and making scary noises and 108 bulls heads. If her horoscope matches, she gets to live in a special house and is taken care of until she has puberty. Then they choose a new goddess. We might see her tomorrow. I also saw a lot more kids who were poor asking for money and things. And the roads are not as crowded. They gave us two things when we got here - a necklace of marigolds and a scarf called a Khada, which is what sherpas give in the mountains to welcome people.

When we got to the temple, we saw women selling things for people to give as offerings, like flowers, sandlewood, sweets, puffed rice, coconuts, and other things. There was a special place outside where they feed the cows and dogs - both animals are holy in Nepal. Dogs are holy because it was the guardian of Yama, one of the gods. Inside the temple, we saw lots of monkeys, which are bigger and furrier than the ones in India. The temple had a blue Shiva in front of mountains at the front and inside there was a huge statue of Nandi and one of Hanuman. There were also lots of kids and families around cooking and some playing. We walked up to the top of the hill above the temple, where some people were praying. There was a boy lying on the ground who was crying - I think he had some problem and his family brought him to the temple. We watched the sunset from the top, then we walked down and visited a place by the temple that takes care of old people. If you don't have anyone to take care of you, then they will take care of you. The people were very nice inside - there was one dorm for men and one for women.

The streets are very safe here, and we walked back to the hotel after dark and had a traditional Nepali dinner. We sat on the floor on cushions, and they brought us different foods. I liked some of it, but I am going to miss butter naan. They have pouries, which are fluffy breads but not as good as butter naan. Tonight we are going to play the Nepal national game, which is called Tiger and Goats - it looks really fun.
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