Nepal: Kathmandu PART 1
After 3 flights and several hours spent in airports we finally arrived in Kathmandu. The airport is funny, there isn’t one single TV or computer, the passport control is almost nonexistent and there is a photo-booth for visa photos (which were more expensive than a night at a hotel!!)
Now we’re staying at a very good hotel, we have a nice room for the 4 of us plus a private bathroom, for 5$ a night. There’s no hot water but it’s okay because the it’s very hot all the time and the room has an air-con that obviously doesn’t work.
So, today we went to see some stupas (Hindu Temples) around Kathmandu. We started with Boudha, which is a stupa in the middle of a circle street. Around it there are little shops, restaurants and meditation places. This is a temple where many pilgrims get together. There weren’t as many tourists as I was expecting but the ones there were mostly Indians.
At some point we were taking a few pictures at a rooftop in front of the temple, when a guy comes to me asking if I could take a picture with his wife. I said “of course”, i didn’t see any problem in doing it. The problem was that after the wife the daughter came, the other daughters showed up as well, and then the husband was already in the photo too. More relatives kept coming and in 10 seconds there were more than 10 people in the group to take a photo with me. After several pictures all of my friends joined the photo as well, and the funny thing was, the “photographers” weren’t really taking pictures to the group, the annoying cameras were all pointing at me, really close to my nose.
I couldn’t believe how excited the kids were with the photo, and the women looked at me as if I was from another planet, smiling a lot. All of that was probably just because I was the only blonde girl around. In the end, the “group photo” we had in our camera was a big fat zoom to my friend’s boobs ahaha.
Afterwards we went to Pashupatinath, which is the most important Hindu temple in Nepal and where the cremation ceremonies take place. The place was fascinating, not really because of its beauty, but because of what was going on the whole time we were there. A Nepali guy joined us and offered to tour us around the place, which was great because he explained us a lot about their religion.
We went to see a cremation ceremony that was going on. We were expecting something very shocking, but it wasn’t. It was very impressive, but okay. As the guide explained, there’s a different ceremony for each cast, but is always has a priest. In this specific one, it was an old lady that was being cremated and her 3 children walked around her body 3 times, as an homage to their 3 main gods. After they placed the fire in the lady’s mouth, they wait until the body was fully cremated.
The procedure goes by the side of the river Bagmati, which is considered as sacred. In this river, which connects to the famous one in Varanasi, India, they also wash the body before cremation. According to our guide, it’s a way of purifying the body before the fire is set on it.
Hindus believe in reincarnation, thus they offer the purified ashes to nature hoping that the soul will go to a better body.
In this temple we also saw Sadhus, which are the famous locals that we always see in photos of Nepal. They have long white hairs and dress with a simple fabric just covering the important parts. They always have their faces painted and they are known as are spiritual guides meditate a lot and give good life advice.
This is just a little bit what we have done, I will do the rest tomorrow maybe. The internet is really slow!