What to see in 3 days

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Travel -

and dec­o­ra­tion, and es­pe­cially feel the magic af­ter dark by lamp­light, to ob­serve the cus­toms of the lo­cal peo­ple and Hindu visi­tors from other parts of Nepal or In­dia. Some of the tem­ples were com­pletely de­stroyed by the quake, oth­ers were dam­aged and are shored up, oth­ers have been com­pletely re­stored and work will con­tinue un­til ev­ery­thing is re­built…Dur­bar Square is still one of the most im­pres­sive sites in the world.

The Nepalese were cel­e­brat­ing Dashain –the date varies ac­cord­ing to cal­en­dar year, end of Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber- and 100’s of peo­ple were queue­ing to walk up the steps and around the plat­forms of the high­est tem­ple – Taleju is an ex­tra­or­di­nary 12 stage plinth which is only open dur­ing this im­por­tant fes­ti­val.

We were al­lowed into the court­yard of Ku­mari-ghar which is the home of the liv­ing God­dess; the Ku­mari is be­lieved to be an in­car­na­tion of the God­dess Taleju, a cho­sen child who lives with her guardian priest­ess and ap­pears at the win­dow to be seen at cer­tain times. While this may seem strange us, it is a sig­nif­i­cant part of Nepalese cul­ture.

Around the edge of Dur­bar Square, there are tiny stalls where you can sit by the pave­ment and drink tea or try tra­di­tional pas­tries, but we gave this a miss as we’d been in­vited over to have some­thing to eat with the Bhan­daris as Dashain is above all a fam­ily af­fair about hospi­tal­ity…it turned out to be an evening to re­mem­ber in won­der­ful com­pany.

Day 2 Patan Dur­bar Square and Swayambhu Mon­key Tem­ple Padam took us to Patan on our 2nd day in Kath­mandu… Padam Bhan­dari be­ing our guide from Nepal Ad­ven­ture Point, and Patam one of the orig­i­nal three king­doms of Kath­mandu Val­ley founded in the year 299!

The taxi dropped us off at the gate­way to an­cient Patan city which was the once home of the Ne­war Dy­nasty. Some 8 km from Thamel in Kath­mandu city cen­tre where we were stay­ing, this is one of Nepal’s must-see at­trac­tions and yet an­other unique World Her­itage Site. We walked around the nar­row streets notic­ing more signs of the earth­quake de­struc­tion…much is be­ing done to re­store the many build­ings of in­cal­cu­la­ble his­tor­i­cal value but it takes time.

Patan is a won­der to dis­cover, more au­then­tic and less crowed than touristy Thamel, it is also fa­mous for the fine lo­cal craft­work. The four mag­nif­i­cent stu­pas on each cor­ner of town were re­port­edly built 2,250 years ago and there are some 1,200 Bud­dhist mon­u­ments listed, al­to­gether most im­pres­sive!

We past some of the amaz­ing an­cient tem­ples, some still in ru­ins, and then stopped to see Patan mu­seum which is housed in a for­mer Royal Palace and ex­hibits unique Hindu and Bud­dhist relics and fas­ci­nat­ing works of art.

An arch­way leads onto the court­yard of a small 12th cen­tury Bud­dhist monastery known as the Golden Tem­ple (Hi­ranya Varna Ma­hav­i­har). I t’s a beau­ti­ful 3-storey pagoda dec­o­rated with paint­ings and carv­ings which show the life of Bud­dha. Un­der the ar­cades round the pa­tio, women in tra­di­tional dress were pre­par­ing flower of­fer­ings. An or­nate shrine is the cen­tre­piece and other in­ter­est­ing fea­tures in­clude a big prayer wheel, the clock tower and the stat­ue­flanked al­tar at the back.

Patan Dur­bar Square is at the very heart of the old town and a fo­cal point sur­rounded by shrines, tem­ples and other in­cred­i­ble mon­u­ments. The Royal Palace is lo­cated here…the com­plex com­prises three main court­yards, or ‘Ch­woks’ as they are called in Nepal, the Bhawani Taleju and Degu Taleju tem­ples, and the stun­ning Royal Bath stone stat­ues.

The 17th cen­tury Kr­ishna Mandir is an­other mag­nif­i­cent tem­ple on Patan Dur­bar Square and eas­ily rec­og­niz­able with its 21 gilded pin­na­cles and colour­ful friezes por­tray­ing scenes from the clas­sic Hindu epics.

It’s true that we could have made our own way around to see the many sites in Kath­mandu, but it was much more in­ter­est­ing to be shown around by Padam… although he pro­fes­sion­ally guides ad­ven­ture treks across the Hi­malayan moun­tains, he is great at ex­plain­ing all the his­tor­i­cal fea­tures of Nepal too.

Day 2 Con­tin­ues next week with a visit to the Swayambhu Mon­key Tem­ple

Hi­ranya Varna Ma­hav­i­har tem­ple in Patan

Patan Dur­bar Square

Tem­ple on Kath­mandu Dur­bar Square

Kr­ishna Mandir Patan

Hi­ranya Varna Ma­hav­i­har tem­ple Patan

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