Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Namaste, Kathmandhu And Swayambhunath (The Monkey Temple)

The Journey to Nepal is quite an eventful one, with a change at Delhi and then onto Kathmandhu and after almost 24hrs in the sky it is a relief to touch solid ground and what a welcome!

We were greeted with enthusiasm and smiles and taken to our hotel.
The heat and warmth was a welcome touch and the many faces of people seemingly with endless smiles!
My last journey to Nepal was also met with the warmth and unbelievable hospitality, where nothing seemed to be too much trouble, this time was no different.
Everything had changed, many high rise complexe`s had emerged and with the population over 1,000,000, it is crowded and dusty and the cars and rickshaws from days gone by.
Kathmandhu is the major gateway to tourism and is one of the oldest cities in Nepal along with two other sister cities.
The hotel was comfortable and a well earned rest for the night.
The city reminded me of London, beeps from vehicles could be heard and it was still very busy at night, but I was to busy inspecting my eyelids!

Day 2 Swayambhunath

The next day we made our way to Swayambhunath, which is also known as the Monkey Temple and it is believed to be an ancient religious complex.
To get there though, you can go up in cars or, like us, take the challenge of climbing the 365 steps to the top, Ben Nevis was a breeze compared to this!
But once at the top, well judge for yourself!


 With magnificient views and plenty of hard breathing after reaching the top, even up here things had changed.
The Stupa was regilded last year and the brightness shone through and monkeys were visiblie, dotted around the place.
They are believed to be holy creatures.
The eyes can be clearly seen around the sides of the Stupa.
Prayers are said by pilgrims everyday and they travel up the 365 steps before dawn.
Hundreds of Buddhist (Vajrayana) and  Hindu Pilgrims ascend up the hill passing the gilded Vajra (tibetan:Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the Stupa

Views of Katmandhu.
The Tibetan name for the site means Sublime Trees as there are numerous varieties of trees surrounding the area.
There are shops, restaurants and a library here now and hostels nearby.
The Stupa is a mound like structure containing Buddhist Relics and is probably the oldest place of Worship.
The dome represents the base of the world.
On all sides are a pair of eyes (representing Wisdom and Compassion) and a third eye can be seen above the pair of eyes.
The 13 pinnacles symbolise that sensient beings have to go through the 13 stages of enlightenment to reach Buddahood.

We enjoyed our journey up here and remembering how it looked 15years ago, and seeing the different changes, it still takes your breath away and as I speak quite good Nepalese, the Locals are amazed and invite us to join them with an apple drink, similar to cider, but its taste is unique and required!
Come and enjoy Nepal.

No comments:

Post a Comment