Nepal

It has been a week since I woke up on Saturday morning to the news of the devastating earthquake to hit Nepal.

Horrors.  I texted my friends in Kathmandu to find out how they were.  Of course, this was already hours after it happened, while I was sleeping the night away.  Thankfully, all of them were safe, and camping outside their homes for fear of more aftershocks – of which they’d had 32 already at that time – occurring during the night.  I kept in touch with them over the next few days, and although life is far from normal since then, they are all keeping well.

Each time a news feature shows up on the television, I quickly scan the faces – maybe I’ll see them in the crowd.  But I don’t, and I suppose that’s good news in a way.  Most of the news now is of the affected villages away from Kathmandu, and we are only now really seeing the extent of the destruction.

I see images of what their cultural and historic buildings and cities now look like.  I remember when I was also walking in the same Durbar Square that is now filled with rubble, and the temples in Bakhtapur busy with people.  Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

I marveled at the centuries old temples …

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

What used to be a watering hole or a pool in the temple …

Bhaktapur

Historical buildings were an important part of life and religion …

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

Modern life is visible, perhaps mostly for the tourists, but they still kept the culture as part of life …

Bhaktapur

It is easy to see how the centuries old buildings and temples had no chance surviving the earthquake, even as I admired at that time how they could be preserved and are still so much a part of the daily life of the peoples there.  These are Newari houses (outside of Kathmandu), and people still lived in these.

Kirtipur

We were in Patan when there was a festival going on.  Crowds of people on the street, sitting everywhere to watch.

Patan and a Festival

A blessing, in a way, that this did not happen during a day of festivities …

Patan and a Festival

I have always wanted to return there, and I still do plan on returning.  There were still so many places there that I didn’t get to, because my trip was cut short.

Swayambhunath ('Monkey Temple')

Sad that I won’t be seeing the old history any more …

For more of my visit to Nepal, click here.  This is the original blog I had set up for the trip before I switched over to WordPress. It brings back good memories for me.

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Flashback: September and October 2008

“Mom, do you have any pictures from Nepal?”, asked Justin.

Well … let’s see … only about 2,000 of them.

“No, no, not on the computer, like some that I can take with me to school to show the class”, he said.

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At the Chitwan National Park

They’re studying India and Nepal in World History, and he suddenly remembered that I had travelled there.  So he told his teacher, who then asked him to bring in some photos for the class. We settled on giving her my Nepal blog address instead, so that they can look through it in class.

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One-horned rhinoceros, Chitwan National Park

My original blog while I was in Nepal is at:  NamasteFromNepal.blogspot.com.  I’ve since imported the posts to this blog to keep it in one place.  Looking through my original blog, I am suddenly swamped with memories of the experiences I had while there.

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Santi Kali, Chitwan National Park

It’s hard to choose which ones were my favourites.  I was drawn to the nature and wild life, specially out in the Chitwan National Park.  It was a complete jungle out there, and seemed so remote.

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Waiting to start the elephant safari, with the nine-month old calf trailing behind.

And of course, the mountains … you can’t miss them not seeing them.

Mountains and mountains ...
Sagarmatha … Mt. Everest in the middle
Mountains and mountains ...
Mt. Everest as seen from the plane window
Nagarkot mountain view
Nagarkot mountain view

Nagarkot

I didn’t stay long enough to experience everything, and even now it feels like the trip was incomplete.  I still have plans of travelling back there one day, for some type of closure. When that is, I don’t know.  Coincidentally, this is also the anniversary of my trip to Nepal.  I seem to be travel most during the last quarter of the year.  Last year at this time, I was in Timor-Leste.

In the meantime, I look through these photos and get immersed in memories … perhaps one day I’ll put them all together with a short narrative on my experiences with that particular photo … another project to add to the list.

Have a good weekend, all.

 

 

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

There’s a Durbar Square in three of the main cities of Nepal. Durbar Square in Kathmandu is the largest, and the busiest. I enjoyed just sitting on the rooftop cafe and watching life pass by down below. Walking in Durbar Square was just as adventurous – cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and people all zooming by … the rows of tables of crafts and souvenirs for sale … children running by …

View from the roof cafe

Waiting for fares

  

My stay winds to a close ….

My stay in Nepal has been cut short, and I am suddenly in a whirlwind of packing, closing up, farewells …. too little time all of a sudden. I have to choose which sights and adventures I can squeeze in, and plan the schedule down to the last minute. It was fast, hectic and tiring, but managed to get through it all, thanks to Trishna. Had to leave some sights for the next time I’m there … if/when I make it back there…
Farewell lunch with the Personnel Section


Last evening sunset in Kathmandu

Kirtipur

Kirtipur is one of the four major cities in Nepal. It’s an old city, and not as busy as the other three cities. The majority of the people living here are the Newari group. The only modern thing you would see in the city were the cars and buses passing through the city. Otherwise, people lived life there as they did a century ago.

Woman separating husks from rice grains.

Old Newari houses

Men relaxing on temple steps

Swayambhunath (‘Monkey Temple’)

Swayambhunath Temple, one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal. Because of the numerous (holy) monkeys living in the temple, it is also known as the ‘Monkey Temple’. The monkeys are called ‘holy’ because of the legend that Majusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom and learning was raising the hill which the Swayambhunath Temple stands on. He was supposed to leave his hair short but he made it grow long and head lice grew. It is said that the head lice had transformed into these monkeys (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swayambhunath).

I climbed up the western stairs (from the back). The eastern stairs is the more commonly used entrance by the pilgrims, and is a steeper climb.


The eastern stairs, taken from the top

Kopan Monastery

Kopan Monastery, a monastic school for local children. Set high up in the hills, it’s a peaceful place with beautiful gardens and views of the city and surrounding areas.