Kathmandu, Nepal

How on earth have I managed to blog for almost a year, now, and still not put up a single post on Nepal? I think I’d better put that right immediately.
I’m going to start with a selection of pictures from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.
All of these pictures were taken before the dreadful earthquakes of last year, and I do know that some of the buildings in these pictures (especially in Durbar Square) were sadly destroyed.

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The entrance to Swayambunath. Swayambunath is the main Tibetan Buddhist site of Kathmandu. Sitting on top of a hill overlooking Kathmandu, it comprises temples, stupas and various other buildings, including a couple of Hindu shrines. Here, a Hindu holy man lurks in ambush, ready to dab a tikka mark on the forehead of (especially) western tourists and demand rupees for the privilege.

 

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The sacred and the secular at Swayambunath. In Nepal, as in India, it is almost impossible to visit a religious site without Mammon getting a good look in. Here, in the main Buddhist site of Kathmandu, everything from yak bells to masks.

 

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‘One day, my boy, all this will be yours’ – just as long as you have enough money and all the time in the world to bargain hard. More shops – seriously colourful, seriously prepared to sell you anything. And having said that, the hard sell is a world removed from India. It almost feels as though there is no pressure at all. In Nepal, you feel you can relax again, especially if you have just travelled there from India.
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Nuns lighting butter lamps beneath a row of prayer wheels at Swayambunath.

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Hindu puja at Swayambunath. Probably a private ceremony at the request of the beneficiary, either for good luck in general or with a particular goal in mind (e.g. birth of a son, successful business venture.)

 

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Portrait of a Hindu lady.
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Tourist shop in the Swayambunath complex.
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Buildings in Durbar Square. Durbar (or ‘Palace’) Square is the heart of the old town and the area where the Kings used to live in the 18th and 19th centuries. In contrast to Swayambunath, this area is entirely Hindu, reflecting the vast majority of the lowland Nepali population.

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Side street in Thamel, Kathmandu. The lovely old buildings…beautiful wood carvings…collapsing brickwork…wiring all over the place…speed…calm…old and new…………the only things I can’t bring you are the sounds and smells…you must imagine them for yourselves. Coming soon, scratch and sniff websites!!!

 

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Bicycle rickshaws awaiting customers in Durbar Square.

 

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Balloon seller and hopeful customer, Durbar Square.

 

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Kala Bhairab – an image of Shiva in his most fearsome aspect. Wearing a garland of skulls, the six armed Kala Bhairab tramples a corpse, symbolic of ignorance. Carved originally from a single stone, it was set up by Pratap Malla, king in the 17th century. He was a pious Hindu, but interested in the arts and tolerant of other religions. He even restored much of Buddhist Swayambunath. It is said that telling a lie while standing before Kala Bhariab will bring instant death. It was once used as a form of trial by ordeal.

 

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Pashupatinath, on the Eastern side of Kathmandu, is the holiest of the Hindu sites in the city. It is the temple of Shiva, on the Bagmati river and hence it includes the ghats, the most widely used place of cremation for Hindus in Kathmandu, indeed, in Nepal.
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39 thoughts on “Kathmandu, Nepal

    1. It depended on where I was going. Some trips were by bus, one by jeep (to get to the start of an organised trek) and some by plane (single prop things). the treks, of course, were using Shank’s pony…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Scratch and sniff websites? Now there’s an idea. Great photos, as always. BTW, I plan to get your novel this weekend, but as I’m way behind in my reading I can’t promise a speedy review. But I’ll do my best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating post, as ever. Kathmandu would certainly be a place I’d love to visit. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure the six armed Kala Bhairab must be trampling on an effigy of a certain blond presidential candidate since it’s suppose to be symbolic of ignorance.

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  3. Hi Mick, I just wanted you to know that I commented on your post on your actual blog but like last time, it wouldn’t allow to post anything 😦 Do you have a limit on the number of comments your blog can accept? I’m currently replying in the ‘My Reader’ option. Your post, in short, is really fascinating and the photography beautiful πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am having a catch up day today with other Bloggers blogs. I am loving your Blogs nd learning so much history from the. When I was 17 I wanted too go overland in a VW Camper Van and an afghan coat to Kathmandu. Sadly it didn’t happen and seeing your pictures made me reflective. Time really does shift fast
    So it was lovely to read all about it and see the delightful photographs. Thank you.. its was lovely to read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jackie. I love comments like that. I missed the chance to do the great overland as well – talked about it at school with a mate, but we never did anything about it. And then the various troubles in Iran and Afghanistan knocked it all on the head anyway. But, there is still lots of travelling that can be done!

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      1. yes… one of my teachers comes from Persia ( he refuses to call it anything else) and tells us great tales. Interestingly, they had far more freedom under the Shah than the did now… so he wasn’t ” all bad”. Anyway – lovely to read on a wet afternoon with a cuppa… πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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