We walked through portions of Old Kathmandu this morning looking at various buildings, shops, avoiding strolling vendors.
walking though the bead market which was augmented with a discussion of how the Muslim traders set up shop centuries ago along the trade route. Beads now come from many countries alto “genuine Czech beads” seems to be a key phrase. The colors are significant, as well as the style of bead presentation and placement (mostly Hindu religion)
From that area, we took bicycle rickshaws to Tamil (the backpackers area) which is also in the older part of the city. Probably the most important part for me was being able to replace my broken camera battery charger. The fact that I paid only 20% of the stateside cost was just icing on the cake. While I was doing that – most of the rest of the group was buying cheap clothes. Something about Holi coming up. For those who aren’t familiar – think Color Festival. So not my thing.
Then it was back on the bus and off to Patan which is effectively the next city over where we first had a wonderful lunch (@ The Inn – a small boutique hotel) which has some of the original woodwork and upstairs eating area with open balcony and beams
followed by a wander through the central square where you could easily see both earthquake damage and repairs starting. Much of the wooden carvings are so old that it is impossible to say when the cracks occurred.
Several temples fell completely –
But it was the doorways, arches –
and wooden carvings that completely caught my fancy
along with elephants and Garuda, both of whom seemed to have survived
The Bouddhanath Stuppa
One of the UNESCO Heritage Sites, this iconic Stuppa with eyes was a casualty of the earthquake. Initially thought to be ok, there turned out to be a major crack in the eye section and the pinnacle. That portion was taken down after scaffolding was erected. Repairs are underway.
The Stuppa sits in the center of a huge square with shops all around, most of which seem to sell related art, handicraft, religious items or souvenirs. Several temples are intermixed. Much of the population in this area is of Tibetan descent. Many gather each evening to walk around the steppe (always clockwise) prayer beads in hand. The circling crowd got heavier as people finished work. Since I had skipped going into one of the temples, I was more than grateful to finally remember that we did have a designated meeting point.
Our tour leader had invited one of the local climbers to discuss her career as both guide and climber. As Maya discussed with us Sherpa is an ethnic designation for their group which came from eastern Tibet centuries ago. Porter is a job that many of them do. There have been a total of only 8 Sherpa women who have served as guides/climbers. Given family and social pressure, breaking out of the mold is an incredible achievement. After working a couple of years as a trekking guide, she took a short climbing course then started tackling mountains. Lets just leave it with – she has climbed all the peaks in the area that you can – some from both the Tibetan and Nepal side – including Everest more than once.
Dinner wasn’t included this evening, not that any of us needed more to eat!