Kathmandu

monksboudhanath

Everest:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

If you can spare any amount, please consider donating to one of the many charities that are helping Nepal following the horrific and tragic earthquake.

To make any pictures larger, just click on them.

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A view of Kathmandu from the plane

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The very small airport of Kathmandu

Okay, so I actually did not spend very many days in Kathmandu, so these pictures are limited to only a few sights around town. I wish I had had time to see more!

First up was Boudhanath!

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It is an enormous and impressive Buddhist stupa in the middle of a square. Apparently it’s one of the largest in the world! And it really is remarkable– there is an elevated walkway that allows you to walk around the stupa. Sort of relatedly, I think it was during this little walk that I began my slow lung damage. They were burning some kind of incense, and I inhaled. A lot.

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Above is the view that greets you walking into the square and then a street view near the stupa. Look at all those crazy wires! That was definitely another point of interest– the insane amount of electrical wires.

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A woman holding a prayer wheel at the entrance to the stupa walkway.

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We also went into one of the nearby temples at the Boudhanath plaza. It was extremely colorful and beautiful!

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The pictures are a little low-lighting since they allowed pictures but frowned upon flash photography. I loved the gorgeous paintings that decorated the walls (as seen in the photo to the right)!

We also visited a painting school in the square where children were taught to paint the ubiquitous Buddhist mandala paintings.

mandalapainter

Here is one of the students hard at work (although, ugh, he’s gonna hurt his back with that posture). They were amazing! I cannot fathom that intense level of detail. They apparently train and practice for years to reach mastery level. There were, of course, paintings for sale at the school. The prices varied with the level of skill of the student– beginner, intermediate, advanced-intermediate, and master. Only masters are permitted to sign their paintings (which, as an artist, really struck me). I ended up buying this painting:

mandalapainting

It is an intermediate level student painting. You can tell it is not a master painting because it is unsigned, and there are small errors within it. I didn’t care though– I thought that the colors were absolutely beautiful!

The next stop was Durbar Square.

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Here’s Durbar Square filled with afternoon strollers and children with balloons!

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Durbar Square is filled with beautiful temples and vendors selling balloons.

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There was also a thriving market nearby.

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Here is one of the beautiful doors on a building and a very tired man.

We didn’t stick around Durbar Square for too long. We walked around the area and then went down one of the many side streets towards lunch!

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I saw this little cutie pie on the way down the street.

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Some of the side streets we went down (while ducking from motorcycles). I apparently love taking photos of streets.

Up next was Swayambhunath (say that five times fast…).

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Swayambhunath is a Buddhist complex atop a hill that features another massive stupa (as seen above). It also features one bazillion stairs to reach this stupa. Not that I’m complaining (okay, I’m complaining just a little).

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It was most definitely worth the climb! You can see all the prayer wheels in the photo to the left.

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The guy in the picture to the right definitely had the right idea. It was such a gorgeous afternoon that I really felt like having a nice nap too.

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Here is a monk who walked around the stupa, spinning the prayer wheels.

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In the picture to the left is a giant Buddha statue that is part of the complex on the hill.

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Here is one of the many stray dogs in Kathmandu. I thought the contrast between the mangy stray dog and the golden statute of a dog he’s laying beneath was pretty striking.

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The view of Kathmandu from the top of Swayambhunath.

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More stupas with Buddha eyes at a monk circling the large circle with the prayer wheels.

Did you know that Swayambhunath is also known as Monkey Temple? Hm, why could that be I wonder…

monkey swayambhunathmonkey

Yep! There were monkeys a plenty, particular at the bottom of the complex.

And sadly that was the extent of my sightseeing in Kathmandu. The rest of my time was spent in Thamel, which is basically the tourist area of the city and where most foreigners/tourists stay while in Kathmandu.

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Two streets in Thamel, one with dazzling prayer flags and one with dazzling (and quite frankly an impressive amount of) electrical wires. I was almost hit by a motorcycle about fifteen separate times on these little side streets. Also worth noting– I managed to find extremely cheap and excellent Italian food in Thamel. My little heart sang! All I could think about climbing up and down Everest was spaghetti bolognese.

walmart

Hmmm…something leads me to believe that this is not, in fact, a Walmart.

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And I’ll leave you with two final pictures of Thamel– one at dusk and one right at dawn.

Though I was only there very briefly, Kathmandu was an overwhelming and exhilarating city filled with gorgeous temples, delicious food, and– well– lots of noise! It was also filled with kind and friendly people. Again, if you can, please consider donating to one of the many charities that are helping Nepal. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see something so awful happen to such a wonderful country.

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