Saturday, April 16, 2011

Himalayan Heights – Kathmandu in search of Art!

The two who flew in from the island,lets call them H and S, arrived there in the afternoon and went to the hotel. KJ who flew in from the city country was already checked in, but was missing from the hotel room, (to date no one know where he really went to during those hours).He returned a few hours later and the three thought they were damn smart, they opted wear casual attire, the kind of stuff you would expect people to wear in the streets of sl or Singa and decided to take a stroll around the area.Nepal

hmmm The area is called as Thamel, an absolute tourist spot, which has become a transit heaven for the tourists. In there you would find all types of people, the show offs who try to dress up and pretend as if they are a few yards away from nirvana, the absolute gypsy like travelers, the backpackers, the Tibetan monks  and then the con men too. Its a place with boutique style shops all around, a good place to do some souvenir shopping.Not forgetting to mention that its supposedly a place with vibrant night life with bars and restaurants . After a few minutes of walking S started to feel as if the fingers were getting numb and the entire body was freezing. It just clicked on them how "prepared" they were for the climate, immediate task was to hunt for a pair of gloves, cap which can cover the ear and a Jacket. But then would you believe that they get back to the hotel room from the freezer and H suggesting that we need to switch on the fan!

Next on the advice of the nice people at Annapoorna hotel they went to himalyan trek, a tour organizing company. They were presented several options, mainly it was a choice between the mountains and wild life, they opted for the mountains.  Then it was bargaining time for the package, it included a day trip around Katmandu, then travel to Pokhara for 4 days accompanied by a guide. Best part of the bargain was introducing themselves as university students. I never expected that this is a dummy that you could sell, considering the real ages (specially the two eldest ones ;)  lol ), but they did and everyone believed it for the next 8 days! perfect set

curvingsDurbar squareIMG_2415
Durbar Square

So these supposedly "university students" woke up in the morning next day expecting to start the katmandu day trip, to be told that there is a banth (strike) and we will have to start the trip at 12 noon, but I it cleared by about 11 and they set off on a journey to the historical sites of Katmandu.

Katmandu valley as seen from Suyambunath temple

Then again the ardent reader of the lot picked up something else, where its said there are temples with art which can be given a few more ratings than the murals of Sigiriya. Now this made the even the atheists to turn into enthusiastic "pilgrims".


They started the day by going to Durbar square, Suyambunath (the monkey temple), the two Stupa's swayambu and boudhanath. Then came the most memorable part, They walked into Pasupathinath temple. It was almost dusks, the sunset was picturesque, they walk in to see a row of continuous camp fire like structures on the banks of Bagmati river. The smoke coming from the fire was very much evident from a distance itself. When they were about to enter the ardent reader announces that this is a temple where you could find that kind of "art". Then while they walk near to the site, the reality starts to dawn on them, it was not actually camp fires that they saw, its the sight of cremation. You see continuous flow of fallen beings carried in and being cremated at this holy site. While taking a walk around they did find the erotic carvings, if it was seen out of that context it could have been definitely called as pornographic, but within the context where you see the carvings and then from the same place when you turn your head by 10 degrees you see a corpse being cremated and next to the fire you see a little boy who set the fire seated there starring at the horizon without any emotion while his hair was being shaved off, man it gives you a totally different feeling. It reminded the cycle of life, birth, passion, death and the process of continuation. These lyrics were playing into the mind "பொருளுக்கு அலைந்திடும் பொருளற்ற வாழ்கையும் துரத்துதே"

Pasupathinath Temple vicinity and the Bagmati River

Let me make a confession, all this time i was referring the travelers as them, one of the 3 is yours truly, who is usually called as heartless,left the site with watery eyes.

The ardent reader picked another gem from the book, he said that taking pictures of this site is considered a shameful act. Yes very correctly I did realize that just because I had a camera I should not be taking pictures everywhere. I made sure that I deleted all the pictures I took from a distance, specially associated with cremation and learnt the lesson for life.


In the next Chapter of Himalayan Heights it will be about hSenid Certified Trackers!

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