Last week we finally visited Swayambhu, the famous monkey temple. It is another of the World Heritage Sites that Nepal boasts. The Kathmandu Valley can boast having more World Heritage Sites than any other location in the world! When people we work with learned a couple weeks ago that we had not yet been to Swayambhu, we were confronted with incredulous expressions of doubt, especially since it is so close it can be seen from our school. Apparently, it is one of the first destinations all visitors head to, but since we live here, and we don’t consider ourselves tourists, we were not in a rush to see it. That said, it was well worth the visit and we’ll be going back to visit again. The site is charged with an energy that is palpable from the moment one begins the climb up to the stupa. There are centuries of visitors and devotees that have left behind their collective impression. And, of course, there are all the simians to watch. The area is amok in monkeys, and the big difference between them and other monkeys around the city is the monkeys at Swayambhu are relatively docile. We witnessed several who have become adept at stealing food, but in other areas of the city, monkeys are to be avoided as potentially dangerous and unpredictable.
Monthly Archives: October 2013
This past weekend we took the quick trip to Bhaktapur Nepal. It lies just a little way east of Kathmandu. This was the week of Dashain in Nepal which is a holiday of such importance it makes all that we are accustomed to pale in comparison. If children do not return to their families to pay their respects during this week, they run the risk of being disowned from their families. It is also punctuated with a great deal of traditional sacrificing of animals, primarily goats. When we arrived in Bhaktapur, this stage of the festival was winding down, but there was blood everywhere in the streets from the rituals and tractors, cars, trucks. motorcycles and even bikes were adorned with marigold flowers, blood and in some cases the innards of animals as blessings to bring good fortune for the coming year.
A little over a week ago we took a little retreat outside the city of Kathmandu. We stayed at a “resort” that consists of about 10 little houses on top of a beautiful hill. The lodging houses resemble cottages that leprechauns or the cousins of hobbits might dwell in. We hadn’t seen the real mountains since we arrived due to the monsoon clouds. On the Sunday we awoke, clouds began breaking, the full moon was setting in the north and we were treated to some brief view of the Himalaya through the clouds.