Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nepal - Kathmandu valley

There were so many things that I assumed I knew about Nepal and the practices which was so wrong. They dont say without a reason that each place is unique; do they?

People are warm and friendly; accommodating and adjusting. Is that because we are tourists? I might not able to infer; in cities like Kathmandu; yes; everything comes with a price. But elsewhere; you realize that the tentacles of urbanization has not reached far yet. On two instances; I witnessed an entire village participating in the final procession for the dead and they were carrying placards and praying.

People are very religious and revere money as God. When the shop keepers or taxi drivers return the change; they bow low and fold their left hand to touch the right elbow. I remember we used to be that way long time ago. Not only this; there were many instances when I felt 'we used be this way'. People and their practices reminds you of late 80s and mid 90s India.

Another interesting stuff was people walking inside temples with footwear. They are fine as long as its not leather. And yeah, Nepal does not have railways and I did not see any flyovers. The one which awed me was the Nepali calendar. They officially follow Bikram Samwat which is 56.7 years ahead of Gregorian calendar. They are currently in the year 2068. 

Budhanilkantha village on Shivpuri hill. It started raining and we had to halt at a small shop which was serving hot sweetmeats and chai.

Budhanilkantha temple. The statue of Lord Vishnu reclining on coiled snake. It is said to be sculpted from a single block of stone which is not found in Nepal. It lies in a pond and appears floating. It is said to be at least 1300 years old. It is said that King of Nepal was not supposed to see the statue as it was prophesied that death will occur if he does so.

Swayambhunath Stupa.

A close up of the stupa. Buddha's eyes and the symbol of unity.

The stupa is surrounded by temples and monasteries and lot of shops.

An old modeled lock

I learnt this trick to pose with an object to show its size in comparison. This bell has chants engraved all over and was massive.

The dorje/vajra. This thunderbolt was huge as well.

View of Kathmandu valley

Inside the monastery. The aroma as the ghee burned was soothing

I wish I could buy all of these and get home.

Though it was tempting; I did not buy any of them. Cant wear them to work right?

Masks of Buddha and Ganesh.

Shopping complex

A miniature motorcycle. We got this home. It needs a makeover :)

Kathmandu Durbar Square or Basantpur Durbar Squar is the plaza in front of the old royal palace of Kathmandu. Its one of the squares and is a UNESCO World heritage site

The durbar square is the area which houses the kings royal palace where Malla kings resided. This complex boasts of impressive temples, shrines all inquisitively carved and is based on Newari architecture; showcasing the skills of craftsmen over several centuries. 

Kumari Ghar Its interesting to note another instance of Buddhism and Hinduism intertwined. A prepubescent girl from the Shakya clan of the Newari community is chosen as living goddess and revered by Hindus. The selection process is rigorous and gory. The link-back has the details.

Kumari ghar courtyard; where the living goddess lives was originally built in 757 AD and renovated in 1966

One of the various temples.

The Brisith built this palace as a replica of the palace in London at the request of the Malla king. The British could not overthrow Nepal; they made friends with them. Observe the he Union Jack on the compound

People visit the durbar square in the evening to pass time.

Another temple.


Statue of Hanuman beside the Hanuman dhoka - the gate leading to the courtyard of the Royal Palace. This statue is dated 1672; guards the gate. The statue is decked in a red cloth and an umbrella; face smeared with red paste. Hanuman is always clothed as women believe that seeing him without clothes would leave them infertile as Hanuman is a bachelor.

The stone sculpture of Kala Bhairav


  1. Very interesting. You know in South Tamilnadu in many shops when change is returned they bow like... you have mentioned which really surprises me.

    I loved the jewellery pic. Kept gazing at it for a long time..:)

  2. We have lost many of our traditions.Now its past/history.

    I loved the masks of budhha and ganesha pic..

    Vinayaka chathurthi vazhthukkal !

  3. The Kumari Ghar looks intriguing. I read about the selection process and it sounds a bit disturbing.
    Great pics, love the chunk jewellery pic, especially :)

  4. The narration was comprehensive and beautiful Insi.I was wondering if they didn't had Buddhism to boast in a way,what would have made this country special ? Virtually nothing.Even the architecture and craft works,all have the Buddhist link.

    Btw,I loved the bell and the 'tricky posing gal' there..Nice one.

    The dorje--need to touch it..So powerful a past there !

    Thanks dear.

  5. Very interesting to know about Nepal. Going inside a temple with shoes on is completely new information. No railways..I guess they don't need as it is a small place. Do they use regular calendar or not at all?

  6. very interesting information. I never knew people are allowed inside temple with footwear.

    beautiful snaps ..especially the jewellery one..

  7. Some new things and some old forgetten stuff. It was a nice read. Loved the informative pics.

  8. I haven't been to Nepal, and it is fun reading especially about off beaten practices. Quite amazing the blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. The artifacts look great too and like you I am always tempted by those beady things

  9. Nice clicks!

    loved the Kathmandu valley and jewellery pics.....:)

  10. Nepal is surely an interesting place.Wearing footwear to temples had surprised us too .One of the best thing that i felt about them was that they were not pushy be it a cab driver ,a guide ,a sales person or a hotel staff.I witnessed a group of fully drunk teen -girls from Europe being carefully shifted to their hotel rooms jointly by the locals and hotel staff .Had it been India it would have been a different story.
    I can never get tired of looking at these pictures.Nice collection.The motorcycle is wow .

  11. Those who have been to Nepal will be able to connect with this post so well.
    Darbar square is the place.
    One is not even allowed to enter any temple with a leather watch strap.

    Did you see the recent development?Chinese have put up a Chinese gate in the middle of the city.

  12. This is another place I have not been to and long to go .. SO many things to do and life is so short ahhh..

    beautiful pictures , all the best in restoring the motorbike :)


  13. the one I loved best is that of the motorbike! And B, you look as if you got out of bed just then. Mind if I suggest a change of hairstyle -

    The rest of the pics are good and informative!

  14. Amazing, interesting, informative and intriguing travelogue!! And awesome clicks too! :)

  15. Recently, I have subscribed to National Geographic magazines Bindu. I skim through some articles and read some with interest. I can say one thing with conviction; this blog/photos can be published on National Geographic.

  16. chitra,

    I dont know if they do that in india yet chitra. Maybe in south; I havent been there for a long time now. :-) We love jewelery; dont we? :)


    Yup! Yeah the combination of Ganeshji and Buddha were good. Thanks :)

    Destiny's child,

    Exactly, but an autobiography by a ex-kumari reveals its not as disturbing as they claim. :-)


    The Hindu temples are as exquisite as Buddhist temples Melange. The thing is most hindu temples dont allow photography to showcase the beauty :) Its difficult to claim ownership as Hindu art of Buddhist art; their art is distinct and they call it Newari - a combination of Buddhism and Hinduism.

    Haha thanks; glad you like that girl :)

    Yes; the dorje - you bow your head and bang your forehead against the dorje.


    Yup! it was new to us as well. They do use regular calendar. Yeah, we were joking that had they allowed the British inside; they would have railways :-)


    Yup! Thanks a lot; glad you liked them


    :-) Yeah. Thank you


    Yes Rachna, the place has unique flavor to it. We all get attracted to those chunky jewelery isnt it?


    Thank you :)


    Exactly; I was about to write about that in my next post. They are not pushy; they dont haggle; they are sweet. For them; guests are god literally. Thank you; glad you liked the pics.

    Chowla sir,

    Yes; but we did see few people sneaking inside with leather belts and all.
    Yeah thats a matter of concern; chinese chinese everywhere


    Yes!! Thanks


    We loved the motorbike as well Balan, thats why got it along with us
    Haha, thats how I am Balan. I am a low maintenance girl; most often have the unkempt look and moreover with all that traveling; who has time to comb and look neat? I am not going for an interview!!

    Thanks so much


    Thanks so much :)


    Haha hope so :) Thanks Gautam; now how do i approach them?

  17. 2068!! wow so many things I got to learn from your post. Lovely photographs too.

  18. Lovely post and beautiful photographs. Especially, motor bike, masks of Ganesh, Buddah and Durga, Big Bell and you. I know nothing about Nepal and you gave me lot of inputs of Nepal culture.

    The calendar thing is very much interesting.

    Your narrations are too good.

  19. Thanks Naidu sir. I am glad you got to learn about Nepal.

    Take care

  20. Loved the bell, necklaces and the bike! awesome clicks. well I have already discussed them all in detail with you :P

  21. Neha,

    :-D Thank you. The necklaces tempted me a lot but didnt them

  22. Wow, there is so much to see and how interesting!

    I envy you for being there!

  23. Abhinav,

    Yes, lots to see and lots to do in Nepal :)

    You should go sometime.


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!