Pashupatinath, Bhaktapur, Nargakot Kathmandu – 16 April 2017

Eva Sifis

Whew. After my indulgent night last night, today’s physical exertions reminded me of my humanity.
We met with a guide who just happens to have a masters in Culture and History of Nepal as well as the skill of French and English. He, in fact, rarely speaks English so double blessed!
Our day started with a car ride (our first since being driven from the airport). The busyness and organised chaos of the roads further highlighted the clarity of the atmosphere as it rained for most of the night. Our guide informed us that just yesterday a decree had gone out banning the use of horns on the roads (don’t know if they will survive!)
Luck was on our side (of course) and being a Saturday the temple (in a different district) was populated with thousands of Hindu worshippers. A very important temple that honours Vishnu, Pashupatinath is placed on a river that is one of the sources of the Ganges. Filled with stone lingum and yoni structures (all facing north) the temple is a place where the dead are brought to be cremated on stone plinths before being placed in the river to eventually join the holy Ganges. We skirted the inner sanctums as not Hindu but walked up flights of stone steps and marvelled at the pink bottomed monkeys leaping about the painted Sadhus and scaling sheer rock faces.
We then made our way to Bhaktapur, once a completely different kingdom. With narrow lanes, cars were a rarity and it just so happened that today was a day where the different ends of the town met in a clash of drums and cymbals as different gods were carried on biers. Traversing the streets and laneways, we were told the stories behind each of the countless dieties we encountered and shown the rebuilding that is occurring. As one of the worst hit areas, the replication of the old building styles was second to none.
Exiting that area, we then drove along partially sealed and narrow roads to a height of 2,175 metres above sea level, to witness the sunset at Nagarkot. After landing at a pleasant and spacious room, we mini trekked along roads reminding me of my childhood in the Adelaide Hills lined with one room shacks, shops, tailors and homes and yet more little hotels.
The intention was to see sunset from a flat landing about 2kms away and we did however it was behind a bank of cloud. I shared a long neck of beer with our guide. The altitude supplied a heady rush! We wandered back and will wake at 5am to see sunrise, conditions allowing of course.
The journey continues…