Friends

Adventures in Nepal XXI: Pashupatinath Temple

I’ve promised Elizabeth that I will wrap up the Nepal Saga before I write about anything else. This should be the penultimate entry.

Our heroes’ next (and last) stop on their guided tour of Kathmandu was Pashupatinath Temple.

Foreigners (in this case “non-Hindu people”) are not allowed inside the main temple.

The guide showed the girls around the exterior areas.

As in most of Nepal, there are animals everywhere, just living their lives.

Elizabeth told me that bodies were being cremated here and their ashes poured into the river.

I did some research into that, and found this:

Pashupatinath is the most important temple dedicated to god Shiva. Every year this temple attracts hundreds of elderly followers of Hinduism.

They arrive here to find shelter for the last several weeks of their lives, to meet death, be cremated on the banks of the river and travel their last journey with the waters of the sacred river Bagmati, which later meets the holy river Ganges. Hinduists from every corner of Nepal and India are arriving here to die.

It is believed that those who die in Pashupatinath Temple are reborn as a human, regardless of any misconduct that could worsen their karma. The exact day of their death is predicted by astrologers of the temple. If you are attracted to the places where the spirit of death can be felt, then consider Pashupatinath as your first destination. It is a temple with special atmosphere of death; death is present in almost every ritual and every corner of it.

One of the cremation ovens:

After Pashupatinath, they returned to the hotel.

View from the hotel window:

Next post: a little shopping, and then the long journey home!

Categories: Death, Friends, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

Christmas Cheer

Handmade gifts from creative friends bring so much joy, and make the season extra-bright.

This last apartment move threw my holiday organizing into disarray, but I promise next year I’ll get my Christmas cards finished in time!

…Probably.

Categories: Animals, Artwork, Celebrations, Christianity, Christmas, Friends, Holidays, Life, Love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XIX: Patan Durbar Square

After the Monkey Temple, the next stop on Emma and Elizabeth’s guided tour of Kathmandu was Patan Durbar Square. There is a palace here where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided long ago, and a museum filled with beautiful antiquities.

Lots of gorgeous architecture here, presented mostly without comment:

The second floor of this temple has a dirt floor:

More to come!

Categories: Artwork, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | 1 Comment

Adventures in Nepal XVIII: Swayambunath, the Monkey Temple

January 29 was Emma and Elizabeth’s last full day in Nepal. They started with breakfast at the hotel and exploring the hotel grounds.

Good advice for us all:

Emma’s mom had arranged for the girls to have a guided tour of Kathmandu. They were both feeling better after a good night’s sleep, but to be on the safe side they opted to wear masks for the remainder of the trip.

The first stop was Swayambunath, the “Monkey Temple.”

The monkeys of Swayambunath are considered holy. According to Buddhist lore, Manjushri —- the bodhisattva of wisdom and learning who raised the hill that the stupa is on —- let his hair grow long. He got head lice, and the lice transformed into the monkeys.

Overlooking smoggy Kathmandu:

More to come!

Categories: Animals, Covid-19, environment, Family, food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | 2 Comments

Adventures in Nepal XVII: Back to Kathmandu

While we were sorting through the photos for this post, I realized that I am hopelessly confused about the family relationships between all of the friends Elizabeth made at Paljorling Camp. I think the older couple that I credited in an earlier post as part of “the family next door” are actually the couple in whose home Elizabeth and Emma stayed, but I’m sure the younger man is their son and Elizabeth says he definitely lived next door with two brothers and someone she thought was his mother. I may never figure out who is related to who and in what way, but I deeply regret any hurt feelings I may have unintentionally caused by misidentifying people in earlier posts. I am so grateful for the kindness and hospitality Elizabeth received during her stay among the Tibetans. She returned home with a lively light in her eyes that had been missing for too long.

On January 28, their last morning in Pokhara, Emma and Elizabeth had breakfast with the family next door.

Then they all said their formal goodbyes.

The khatag is a traditional Tibetan silk scarf that is presented ceremonially on special occasions, in this case the parting of friends.

A family member drove the girls to meet their bus.

Goodbye Pokhara!

Goodbye Himalayas!

It’s a long eight-hour bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu. But the scenery is nice, even in the rain.

The Prithvi Highway follows the winding course of the Trishuli River from Pokhara to Kathmandu. I only know the name of the river because I just now looked it up, and I also found this reassuring paragraph on Wikipedia: “Trishuli River is also one of the dangerous river of Nepal. The curvy Prithvi Highway is a bad fate for many Nepalese people traveling to and back from the capital. Every year, several buses and trucks fall and disappear into this wild river, making the corridor a dangerous pass for people.”

The bus stopped for lunch at the Riverside Springs Resort

The girls stretched their legs and had a nice lunch, and then continued on.

Their bus did not fall into the river, so that was nice. But after they arrived in the city and checked into the Kathmandu Guest House, Emma mentioned in our Messenger group chat that she was not feeling well. Fever, weakness, fatigue.

I made some awkward coronavirus jokes and then said that maybe she should wear a mask to be on the safe side. We speculated on what would happen if she still had a fever at flight time. Elizabeth said nothing during the chat, but told me later that she had felt ill too. They both went to bed early and had a restful sleep.

That same evening, a senior medical adviser at the US Department of Veterans Affairs wrote in a group email to public health experts in the governmennt and universities, “Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad. The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.”

More to come!

Categories: Family, food, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Love, Nepal | Leave a comment

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