A Travellerspoint blog

Last day

On our last day in Khatmandu, we went to the city of Patan in Khatmandu Valley. The city was built in the 3rd century BC and was expanded in the 6th century. In the heart of the city is the Durbar Square filled with ancient palaces, pagoda temples, Hindu and Buddhist statues and bronze carvings. This area was hit hard by the 2015 earthquake. So many of the wonderful temples and pagodas are either rubble or being propped up by wooden beams. Still many things are still standing and are quite amazing.We spent the morning walking through the whole area and going into the places that have survived. Carleton was interested in getting one of the metal healing bowls, also known as singing bowls. They are made of seven different metals and are said to have healing properties. You use it with a soft mallet to create a vibration. It is pretty neat to experience. So he bought one to take home. We left for the airport just after noon for our flight back to Delhi. We were taken to a hotel near the airport since we were all flying home in a few hours. We had dinner together one last time and said our goodbyes to Bhanu and each other. My flight was leaving at 4:10 am so I tried to get a little sleep before going to the airport. When the plane took off we flew fairly close to the Himalayas again but there were clouds so I just saw the peaks. A fitting end to an amazing trip!

Taleju Temple

Taleju Temple


Well in the palace

Well in the palace


Palace well

Palace well


Temple of the living goddess

Temple of the living goddess


Temple of the living goddess

Temple of the living goddess


Hindu temple

Hindu temple


Hindu temple

Hindu temple


In the temple of the living goddess

In the temple of the living goddess


Entrance to the Golden Temple

Entrance to the Golden Temple


Shiva Parvati temple

Shiva Parvati temple


Shiva Parvati Temple

Shiva Parvati Temple


Before and after quake pictures of this temple

Before and after quake pictures of this temple


The singing bowls

The singing bowls

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Day two in Kathmandu

We got up early this morning to get to the airport for our flight over the Himalayas to see Mount Everest. It was a small plane. Along with the four of us were a group of people from China. Each person had a window seat. At first we were a bit far away from the mountains but as we got closer to Everest we were right over the mountains. It was so beautiful! We were lucky it was a clear day except for some clouds covering the top of Everest. It was still quite clear which one was Everest! Wow! We got some great pictures. As we left the plane, the flight attendant handed us a certificate that said we did not climb Mount Everest but we touched it with our hearts! We came back and got breakfast and changed for another day out. We drove to the UNESCO World heritage Durbar Square with more than 50 palaces, pagodas and temples. Here is where we really saw the effects of the earthquake. Some of the temples were reduced to rubble, some lost a couple of stories and many were braced to prevent collapse. The architecture is some of the best in Central Asia. The Kasthamandap is one of the oldest wooden structures in the world, which collapsed during the earthquake, and the 16th century Taleju Temple which honors a girl child living goddess Durga. They chose a small girl child to be the goddess and she lives in this house doing goddess things until about age 13, when she goes back to her family and they pick a new girl. We went into the courtyard of the building and the goddess graced us for about three minutes looking out an open window. No pictures are allowed but she was all dressed and made up. This girl is almost 11 years old. She did not look happy. No smiles from the goddess. We then went to the temple of Machhendranth which is one that was completely destroyed by the earthquake but they will rebuild it. Then we went to the great stupa of Swayambhunath with the Buddha eyes again and many prayer flags. This is also known as the monkey temple because there are monkeys running all over the place. This temple is on top of a hill with hundreds of steps up. We cheated and drove part way up. It's a beautiful area with lots of activity. There is a small Hindu temple which we were not allowed in. Next to the temple, a group of people were sitting on the ground and one lady was shaking. She apparently goes into a trance and gets godly messages to impart to others. Lots of small candles being lit too. We also went to the royal palace complex, also damaged in the quake. One building looked very European. Some kind of court. The palace buildings were a combination of old wooden structures and newer ones but still old. Some of the top floors had collapsed. We had a leisurely lunch in a coffee shop nearby and then back to the hotel to rest. It has been sad to see the destruction from the earthquake but I am also seeing a lot of work done. They are widening the streets in many places. Traffic is as bad if not worse than Seattle. They are building retaining walls at the river and new buildings are coming up all over. Kathmandu is a growing area and they seem to be preparing for it. For dinner, we all went out for pizza at a place called Fire and Ice. The pizza was really good and so was the Everest beer.

The Himalayas

The Himalayas


Mt. Everest with the top shrouded in clouds

Mt. Everest with the top shrouded in clouds


Himalayan peak

Himalayan peak


Monkey temple

Monkey temple


There are the monkeys

There are the monkeys


The woman on the left was in a trance

The woman on the left was in a trance


Lighting candles to honor the dead

Lighting candles to honor the dead


The monkey man!

The monkey man!


This was what the temple looked like before the ea

This was what the temple looked like before the ea


This is what it looks like now.

This is what it looks like now.


Taleju temple where the goddess Durga lives

Taleju temple where the goddess Durga lives


The goddess came to the middle window for a few mi

The goddess came to the middle window for a few mi


This is the girl living goddess

This is the girl living goddess


Pagodas in the royal palace complex

Pagodas in the royal palace complex


Me with the monkeys

Me with the monkeys


Last night in Nepal

Last night in Nepal

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Day in Kathmandu

We met with our local guide, Niraj, and got in a van for our day out. Our first stop was Boudhanath Stupa, which is a stupa for Buddha, although no one knows if there are any relics of his in it. It is the biggest stupa in Nepal with the Buddha's eyes watching. There are prayer wheels all the way around. The prayer flags are from families honoring loved ones that are gone. This stupa was damaged severely during the earthquake but was rebuilt and opened on November 22nd. We next went to Pashupatinath Temple, another heritage site. This temple was built in 1696 and considered the most important Hindu temples in Kathmandu. Non Hindus are not allowed inside. There were cows, sheep and goats wandering around. There were people burning leaves and spices and other things in honor of a deceased relative. Then we walked across a bridge over the river Bagmati that flows into the Ganges. This is considered a sacred river. There are platforms called ghats where bodies of the dead are cremated. There was one ceremony going on when we got there. They were having a ceremony and covering the body with spices and flowers. After the burning, people would go into the river for ritual bathing. There were people sitting on the other side of the bridge putting flowers, spices, etc. on a platter, setting it on fire, and pushing it out into the river to flow downstream. It was fascinating. Our next stop was to Bhakapur, an ancient Newar city founded in the 9th century. We went to Durbar Square with palaces, temples, and courtyards. We had lunch in the square and then I climbed up the temple with steep steps. There was also an old wooden pagoda. Pagodas were in Nepal before other countries. From there we drove out into the countryside and stopped to view the Himalayas but there were clouds covering the mountains. It rained just a little on the way back. We went back to our hotel for a little rest and met up for dinner. The dinner was at another palace turned restaurant called the palace of dreams. It was just gorgeous! The interior courtyard had pools, fountains and elephant statues all beautifully lit with trees and flowers throughout. It was a little chilly so we ate inside having the room to ourselves for the of the meal. It was a fancy dinner with salad, soup, chicken main course, and dessert. All beautifully presented. It was a lovely evening.

Buddha stupa

Buddha stupa


Bouddhanath Stupa

Bouddhanath Stupa


Prayer wheels

Prayer wheels


A sweet, weird guy

A sweet, weird guy


Where they cremate their loved ones

Where they cremate their loved ones


Honoring the dead

Honoring the dead


Temple in Durbar Square

Temple in Durbar Square


Me at the temple

Me at the temple


Wooden pagoda

Wooden pagoda


Entrance to Pashupatinath Temple

Entrance to Pashupatinath Temple

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Traveling to Nepal

Our group of four with Bhanu left for the airport at 7:30. Our flight to Kathmandu was just over 2 hours and was uneventful. When we got to Kathmandu, we had to get our visa and get thru customs. Our local guide met us at the van and discussed the politics of Nepal at present while we headed for our hotel in bad traffic. Our hotel is quite nice and we settled in to our rooms. Since I left my jacket in Mumbai, I needed to get a new one. Melissa went with me as we walked to a mall and I bought a jacket. It was an uninspiring Mall. Back at the hotel we went up to the roof top to see the view and the pool. We had a little free time and then all but Melissa went to the dinner with traditional Nepalese dancing. Their version of rice wine really cleared the sinuses! The food was good and the dancing was good too. Back to an early bedtime.

View from my room

View from my room


Nepalese dancing

Nepalese dancing


Nepalese dancing

Nepalese dancing


Dumplings

Dumplings


He is pouring this Nepalese liquor, like sake, but

He is pouring this Nepalese liquor, like sake, but

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Day in Mumbai

Our wake-up call was at 3:45am, and we left the hotel at 4:30 am. Our flight to Mumbai, also know as Bombay, left at 7 am. It was an hour flight and I was surprised that they gave us a meal! We had a city tour first thing. Mumbai is a big city (20 million pop. ) with lots of tall buildings. It is the biggest city in India. It is clean and no cows or other livestock are allowed downtown. The city is right on the coast of the Arabian Sea. Our first stop was to see an Indian laundry called Dhobi ghat. It's an open air place where washermen pound clothes clean on stone. There are few left because people are buying washing machine. This was an enormous place with clothes hanging up all over. While we were taking pictures, an Indian girl asked to have her picture with me. I'm not sure why but it was very sweet! Next we went to an old three story house in a nice section where Gandi lived from 1917-1934. It's a museum now where we can see where he slept and has dioramas of his life and many photos. It's called Mani Bhavan. We went to a Krishna Temple. Remember those bald guys from the 60's wearing orange robes, selling incense. This is them. This weekend is a holiday weekend so there are more people than usual. There was someone giving a lecture or something in the temple. It was well attended. We were able to slip in the back and see what was going on. We drove by a UNESCO world heritage site, the Victoria Terminus, built by the British in 1888, one of the busiest train stations in India. It is a combination of Indian, and Victorian-Gothic architecture. Our last stop was at the India Gate. It's a massive sandstone arch built in 1931 in memory of the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian army who fell in wars. We had planned to go in and walk around but because of the holiday, the line to get through the security was enormous so we settled for a picture from outside. There were barriers up high so it wasn't easy getting a picture. We got to our hotel at about 1:00 pm. The hotel is right along the waterfront. If you remember, in 2008 there was a terror attack in Mumbai at a couple of places simultaneously, our hotel was one of them. The security at the hotel is high. There are gates blocking just anyone from pulling up in front. You have to have all your items scanned and get wanded before entering the front door. You have to have a room key to go up the elevator. I feel very safe! Melissa and I joined the Michigan couples for lunch in the hotel's Opium Den, which is a bar. Today is our last day as a group because most people are ending their tour tomorrow and are going home. Melissa and I and an older couple from Virginia are the only ones going on to Nepal. So it was fun to spend a little extra time with the couples. After lunch, I went for a walk along the waterfront. There is a very nice walkway that goes all the way along the waterfront. We had heard that Mumbai was very hot and humid but today has been pretty pleasant. There was a stiff breeze along the waterfront but warm. We had dinner in the hotel for our farewell. It was a fabulous buffet dinner including wine. After dinner we all hugged each other, shared emails and said our goodbyes. This was a very nice group so we all felt lucky. Then bed.

The laundry

The laundry


The laundry

The laundry


Gandi's house

Gandi's house


Gandi's bedroom

Gandi's bedroom


Victoria terminus

Victoria terminus


Victoria terminus

Victoria terminus


Krishna center

Krishna center


Krishna center

Krishna center


India Gate

India Gate

Posted by adventuregirl88 16:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

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