Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 1 - Sites of Kathmandu

Thursday 9th October

After breakfast we all assembled in the foyer, met our guide for the day, and climbed into the small bus. The first place we visited was the Hindu temple of Pashupathinath which sits on the banks of the holy Bagmati River.

This is the site of a large number of Hindu temples and the banks of the Bagmati River is the site for many Hindu cremations. Many Royal cremations take place at this site. At first I was a bit dubious about visiting this site, however I found it was very natural and peaceful. There were 6 sites along the river that were for the cremation and in other areas along the river families were preparing the bodies for cremation. I was pleased to say that tourists were polite and respectful.
It was interesting to see the mix of people visiting the various temples, holy men, mourners and of course the odd cow. There were a number of groups of Holy men who I found a little amusing. One couple were standing chatting and when they saw a group of tourists coming the jumped up and sat cross legged in one of the arches ready for photos. Another group were sitting and grooming themselves, taking great care in painting their skin and eyes. One of the younger holy men was the most amusing, looking a mirror and adjusting his face makeup. There were many long looks at his reflection in the mirror as he made minor adjustments to his make up and hair.

The next stop off was the Buddhist site- Bodhnath Stupa. As we had visited this site a couple of days previously, I took the time to wander around by myself and take pictures. I was fascinated by the colours of Nepal. They are so vibrant!

The afternoon tour was going to take us to Durbar Square in Kathmandu, as I had already visited this area I opted to stay at the hotel and start the task of packing my gear for the trek. The challenge of fitting all I needed for 22 days into that red bag and keeping the weight below 15 kgs was a little daunting.

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