Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lost Footage: Tim Goes to Nepal

Tim just discovered these forgotten photos on his camera from his work trip to Nepal back in November of 2011.  He was laid up with intestinal issues for much of the trip (don't eat the lettuce!), but was able to get out and about in Kathmandu a bit.  Here are some of the highlights...

First, he checked out the Boudhanath stupa, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and a UNESCO Heritage site, built in the 14th century.  The stupa is shaped like a giant mandala, has Buddha's eyes painted on all four sides, and is topped by a pyramid composed of the 13 steps to enlightenment. 


You're supposed to walk clockwise around the stupa, as these people below are doing.  The are around the stupa has become home to a large, bustling Tibetan population since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet.  Tibetans walk around the stupa a certain number of times and spin each prayer wheel (imbedded in the outer walls of the stupa) clockwise a specified number of times based on numerology:


Tibetan pilgrims express devotion through a ritual of repetitive prostration, particularly at or leading up to holy sites:


The prayer flags draped up the sides of the stupa are meant to send mantras, prayers, goodwill and compassion outwards on the wind.  These flags are mainly used in the Himalayas and actually pre-date Buddhism in Tibet:  


Tim also hit up Durbar Square, which houses a whole lot of ancients temples, palaces, courtyards and statues.  The details are a little hazy for Tim, maybe because it was so long ago, maybe because he may have had giardia:


These brightly dressed fellows are actually construction workers working on the old royal palace:


Cool palace door:


Ganesha statue covered in red powder and garlands of flowers:


Tim wandered through Thamel area, which is the jumping off point for many trekkers and is also a bustling market full of knickknacks, hiking gear... pretty much anything a tourist could want (including some cool jewelry that Tim got me):


Tim had an epic journey back from Nepal to Jakarta, spending approximately 20 hours in the Kathmandu airport due to the notoriously foggy/polluted air, which doesn't allow planes to land or take off.  He also says the inversion layer contributed to him not being able to see the mountains surrounding the city the whole time he was there, except for when he saw them out the window of the plane on the way in.  Even then he had to contend with an unwashed and, thus, stinky backpacker/trekker guy leaning over him to take photos out the plane window. 

2 comments:

  1. aaaah so beautiful! Just about everything I've read about Nepal mentions the smog/air pollution. It's a real shame. Also - re: eating lettuce. I fear I, too, am going to learn that lesson the hard way. Not eating fresh greens seems to go against my usual dietary habits.

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    1. Yeah, unfortunately the veggie thing is a potential problem pretty much anywhere. I was laid up for pretty much the whole of February after eating something, who knows what, but, on the other hand I eat veggies all the time here and am usually ok. Shrug.

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