Wow. Sensory overload. What a crazy, chaotic cacophony of sight, smell and sound. Honking horns, wafting incense, shimmering saris, smog and fumes.
After sorting out the boring stuff like purifying drinking water, organising sim cards and exchanging some money we walked to Durbar Square. This area houses the ancient Royal Palace of the former kings of Nepal as well as numerous temples, statues and shrines. This part of town was devastated in the 2015 earthquake. Much of the area was destroyed or damaged and many of the buildings are being held up with steel or bamboo bracing poles. Huge piles of rubble lie everywhere and massive cracks can be seen in many of the buildings but there’s a massive operation underway to restore the area.
Pigeons, cows, hawkers and the devout dominate the square and the Living Goddess was in residence somewhere but unfortunately we did not get to see her.
Talking of hawkers I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the spitting and the accompanying throat sounds that go with it. You see a pretty young lady walking along and next minute a prize winning gooby erupts from her mouth and lands in a disgusting splat on the road 🤢
After a very filling vegetarian lunch (no meat for us for a few weeks) we caught a cab to Pashupatinath. This is Nepal’s most important Hindu temple. You walk through a street full of stores selling strings of bright orange marigolds, coloured necklaces and tikka powder in every colour imaginable. It is a mecca for Hindu pilgrims from throughout Asia.
A lot of the temple is off limits to non- Hindus but It was still incredibly impressive and quite moving. The air hangs heavy with the smoke of the funeral pyres burning on platforms along the side of the river. After the earthquake the fires burned 24 hours a day. Sacred cows roam freely, monkeys show no fear as they run past your feet and dogs of every variety sleepily lie in the shade of the many shrines.
Yogis dressed in all colours and with masses of hair wrapped around and around their heads sit, not unfortunately in quiet contemplation but instead waiting for a westerner to come and pay for the privilege of a photo with them. This Westerner succumbed but it was totally worth it for the deep and meaningful with Baba:)
Got back to out hotel absolutely shattered but had a quick shower whilst their was hot water and headed out into the backpacker district of Thamel. A.quick drink at the Everest Bar and then off to a hiking shop to pick up the last of the gear we need. A magnificent vego dinner at OR2K as recommended by my friend Hanna Trout and now we are done for the day
© Take on Nepal 2023