Expedition to Nepal 2006
All travel reports are translated electronically although minor improvements are sometimes made.
Nepal 2006 – travel report
My trip: Thamari, Kathmandu-Durbar Temple, Patan-Plac Durbar, Monika and her red sari) – Chitwan-Bhaktapur National Park (Durbar Square) -Kalachakra Mandala-Landscape-Gorkha -Pokhara and expedition to Sarangot-Tansen-Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha) -Bhairai.
Nepal – from Kodari to Kathmandu
After a hard but beautiful crossing through Tibet I reached the Indian subcontinent. All the travelers I met very praised Nepal and said it is one of the nicest countries where is the best food and nicest people. After fast and seamless paste of visas into our passports we were “lighter” about $ 30 per person. Now my plan was to rent a jeep to get to Kathmandu, where we had to rest after a hard trip in Tibet. I hiked a little, but got a good price for us and other travelers. We hired a jeep to take us to Kathmandu and on the way we had beautiful views. Besides the beautiful lower parts of the Himalayas (earlier in Tibet), I saw people living in wooden huts in the mountains, waterfalls and playing with children and herds of goats. We traveled in very good humor and it seemed to us that nothing bad could happen but by the fatal condition of the roads we had an accident. Our jeep broke down the axle on which the wheels are mounted and also the chassis. The first time I saw a car just sat on the ground. We felt helpless but I had to get to the place somehow, especially since I was traveling with a woman and soon it was going to be dark. I knew there was a beautiful tourist resort called “The last resort” for about 6km. It was just what I needed considering that the name fit very well in our situation. We could not sit in the Himalayan desert, so we went to help with the luggage of the people we traveled with. The road was difficult and long and we had enough of this walk and full awareness that soon it would be dark. In the end it came out that we spent the night though as for the Nepalese conditions it was very expensive. On the way back to our hut we saw our friends who left our luggage with the driver which was very risky. When I saw them walking without our luggage, I ran to get them back and saw the driver take them off the roof of the car and next to some suspicious types. On the way back to the resort and after dark, the children shouted “bring suitcases”. It was dangerous, it was dark and there was a long way ahead. Suddenly from the darkness appeared another mess sent by our friends, who drove us to the place. In the end we felt safe! “The last resort” is a beautiful tourist resort located high up in the mountains, offering jumping rope down the gorge and other attractions. It is very popular throughout Nepal.
To get to it we had to go over a 100 meter bridge suspended on ropes which was at an altitude of about 200m above the abyss. There was a beautiful view of the Himalayas, the river and everything around. In this center the answers to our prayers were fulfilled. We had a great dinner, real chicken, salad and even dessert. We were able to eat to satiate because there was a swedish table and we packed up. Also after a week of syrup and great stink and cold we bathed very thoroughly in the shower with hot water which was a wonderful experience. The next morning we ate an equally large and delicious breakfast and we took a shower again, just in case. The outside was already warm and we did not have to shiver with the cold.Despite our bad luck in the first moments in Nepal everything went well. Next morning, we were already fresh and dined with a local bus to Barbharese, 13km away. We were driving along the Nepali music, the blue river, the rushing river, and high in the mountains. We were sitting on the bags of rice in the passage because in Nepal buses are all transported and there is a rule that everything is always in place. That is why people are traveling here on the roofs and are clutching the railing on both sides of the bus. With Barbarhese we took the bus to our destination. Again there was plenty of goods on the bus and the people on the roof who jumped from the walls and from the roof when the bus slowed down. Sometimes they all helped to load big bags of goods, which is a kind of collective work, so I also helped. The bus was again at the edge of the abyss where I could admire the magnificent landscape and every time the bus brake was heard squeaky brakes. This was not a good thing to do, so it took us four and a half hours to beat the 80km.But the views and the fact that I could sometimes jump out and buy fruit, though a little bit compensated for driving difficulties. The Nepali company was also good. All the time I remembered that there were several hundred serious bus accidents in Nepal each year. I even saw several broken buses on the road and one in the abyss, crushed by rocks like a can of beverage. This is a serious problem here. After many hours of interesting but long and risky driving, we finally reached Kathmandu.
It is a small Nepali hole to be found on the way from Kodari (border with Tibet) to Kathmandu. There are charming plains, mountains, rapids and clean air. In addition, you can make small purchases and use the toilet (read, pile on the wall). I would recommend sending a postcard here. No one will know where it is.
Kathmandu – Thamel
To begin with, Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and also the largest city in the country. It is in Kathmandu and its environs that there is the largest cultural heritage of Nepal in the form of numerous temples and Durbar Square, which I will tell later.
Upon reaching the famous Kathmandu story many we took a room in a hotel that compared to others was luxury. We stayed in the area where there were so many tourists that is Thamel. There are plenty of hotels ranging from three to five dollars per night for two people and that’s great because I’m not too busy. All are clean, they have their own bathroom and hot shower. There are also many restaurants that are fabulously cheap. After my Tibetan trip here I can not say that we only eat meals. Here we have a real treat.Sometimes like the Romans – lying down (same I had in Vang Vieng in Laos). Kathmandu is wonderful, people are well catered for, they speak English and are not intrusive. This is a country that is always nice to get away from Europe – like Laos or Thailand. It is also quite warm, we feel well taken care of and eat a lot of fruit. A very important asset is that it is very cheap. Cheap is practically everywhere because I can eat here a very large, delicious dinner at a restaurant for one pound. Kathmandu is also famous for its fine cuisine, as well as its fine art. There are many painters and craftsmen who make decorative canvases and carpets, sculptures and jewelery. Monika ordered a sari to order a traditional Nepali and Indian dress and I obviously buy a lot of souvenirs and collect the shirts. Now our apartment will look like a museum with souvenirs from all over the world. The whole of Thamel is a great tourist ghetto with many souvenir shops and restaurants. It is also the best place in Kathmandu to buy a flight and organize tours through professional offices but I always organize everything myself.
Kathmandu – Swayambhunath (the monkey temple)
The first object we went to explore in our new country was the Swayambhunath, a temple of monkeys commonly called because of the colony of these animals. This temple is the most famous Buddhist temple in Nepal. Not only tourists, but mainly Tibetans – both those living in northern Nepal and refugees from Tibet. The first records of this temple date back to the 13th century but are presumed to have been around 2000 years old. I will never forget when we drove up to Swayambhunath on our small car. On all sides we were surrounded by dirty streets, next to the bazaar and in front of me stood a colorful gate with stairs and Buddha statues in the distance. From the street came a screeching monkey, jumping over the trees and begging for food. At the entrance I bought bananas to enjoy visiting. This sacred place is built on a hill and surrounded by jungles, only in the city. There are many great statues of Buddha and temple which is characteristic only for Nepal. It has the shape of a fungus from which grows a thick tower and on which the “eyes of the Buddha” are painted and from the top of the tower there are the prayer flags. Entering the high stairs, encountering the souvenir stands and feeding the monkeys, we reached the top. There we had to buy a ticket for a “white man” because in Nepal foreigners pay up to 20 times more admission than Nepalese. At the top of the mountain there were temples with characteristic quadrangular roofs from where there was a beautiful view of Kathmandu. The whole setting was moving in time to about the seventeenth century. We were surrounded by beautiful temples, buddhas and other saints and people practiced their candlelight rites. There were also many shops where you could buy some beautiful souvenirs, including Tibetan music and free Tibetan T-shirts. But all this would not be so cute if not for ubiquitous monkeys. They jumped in the trees, screamed and walked around the temples and the great statues. They usually did not approach the people because they had no interest in it, but when I held the banana they grew out of the ground. They danced to the bananas, sat near me and often even eaten me like that. When I was teasing and I did not want to give them, they poked me with their hands because they were so impatient. I made a lot of photos with them, and the most interesting thing was when I sat down with the biggest male on the stairs in a very thoughtful way (the effect was pretty comical). An extra asset of the monkey’s temple was the eagles, which were also very much, and which either stood on the trees or roamed in the air like kites. The temple of the monkeys was fascinating. This is a beautiful property that must necessarily be on the list of everyone who visits Kathmandu.
Kathmandu – zoo
The next day we went to the local zoo. It is my tradition that in every new country I always visit them. It was nice and interesting though I think that the most interesting species of animals were we alone because everyone looked at us. Besides, we had to pay the price of the tourist before the entrance. The thing that distinguishes the zoo from other gardens is the ability to ride the elephant, the presence of gangs and unicorn rhinoceros. Reportedly, the zoo owns about 800 species of animals, including many beautiful birds and reptiles. I think it is also my only chance to see species living in the Himalayas and in Terai. I also saw a Nepalese national bird, a Himalayan pheasant named danphe, who also appears on one of the banknotes.For comfort, I will say that those who will never be able to go to Kathmandu and see this bird can go to the Warsaw zoo. I’m sure – I checked.
Overall we enjoyed our time here.
Kathmandu – further experiences and observations
In Kathmandu I also tried an Indian visa which is a long process. First I had to stand in a long queue to give me one form and then to come in four days to get a second form and a passport, so that they could paste a visa. Four days were needed so that they could check me in the police in Poland and in England. I must admit, however, that the Indian government is very kind to the Poles. As the only country we did not have to pay for a visa and get what we want. Americans and Russians as usual pay double! Me and Monika have taken multiple entry visas for half a year because we are going to visit all the neighboring countries of India. I think my adventure will be filled with new blushes here. When it comes to Kathmandu, we live in the best district but after leaving it you can see that it is a very poor country. Roads and local transport are in terrible condition and quite often on the streets you can see walking cows and goats, which are already part of the traffic. Also about the transport I described earlier, local bus people carry goats, ducks and all sorts of livestock. This is a very unheard of view of what makes the stay here so exotic. In addition, people try to talk to me in a very nice way, and we always bargain for something that is funny. From what I have observed there is no such misery as in Tibet but it is very poor. This is what the people live in and how they are dressed. Children work selling fruits and souvenirs (which is also identical in East Asia – my previous expedition). Girls are often not sent to school because they are still getting married at the age of 16 and for whom they will be indicated by their father. Families are mostly maintained by men and the education here is also very poor since the class is up to 80 people.
Teachers often write on the board regardless of whether the children understand or not. It is through poverty and by selfish and greedy people in power that Nepal is still one of the poorest countries in the world. I described here a political group called the Maoists. It seems to me that these Communists are everywhere. I see them calling for violence posters, often shouting in the streets, wearing communist flags (red with a sickle and a hammer-like in Laos), have painted red faces and loudly yelling their slogans. After ten years of bloody battles with the Maoist government, they finally have their place in the government. It seems that by a government that does nothing, people are even more poisoned by stupid mobs. The Maoists are ruled by one man who dictates them as he wishes. I wonder if people understand why they walk with painted faces and why they scream. Maybe they do it because they told them so and they feel stronger in the group. Tourists are not threatened, but the country is in the wrong direction. The situation is very uncertain here. The Maoists got their place in the government yesterday and if not for that, it would be very likely that civil war would break out. I know that in other parts of the country one woman was stoned by the crowd and due to the tense political situation some parts of Nepal were closed to tourists.
From how Nepal works, I learned that there are no taxes, no public benefits, everyone lives on their own and the government is also on its own. For me, it is still a very attractive country because beyond natural beauty and culture, people treat me very well and it is very cheap. Monthly salary in this country reaches the real bottom because it is the sum of 10usd although the average rate is 20usd and more. In Kathmandu and tourist destinations earn the most and people work all day long, seven days a week. I think I am very lucky that I have a Polish passport and that I am white. This is a great gift from fate and anyone who can not use it, I think it is lazy or stupid. Traveling in developing countries, I see poverty and the conditions in which people live. This is unbelievable for Europeans. Here you have to come and see it. In Nepal I also know very new habits for me. Well, everyone who’s got us hooked always talks to me and never to Monica.All matters are dealt with me and she treats her as if she was not at all, unless she walks alone. They are good because Monika has an easier life. I also observed that I had never seen women and men holding hands but two men walking together very often. This does not mean that they are inclined towards each other, but only that they are friends or family members. It takes some time to embrace it, but this is the custom. As I mentioned earlier, the main religion in Nepal is Hinduism where God is Lord Shiva, Vishnu or Elephant Man (Ganesha) and many people here have painted red circles on their foreheads. One of the religious posters depicted a man with purple skin (Lord Shiva) with a wrapped frog around his neck. He was sitting with a woman holding a baby elephant’s head in his arms.
I like the fact that snakes are here as sacred and friendly animals, which unfortunately do not exist in the Catholic religion. Anyway, for me Hinduism is a kind of beautiful, colorful fairy tale for children where all the characters are extremely original and interesting. When I go to Kathmandu I always barter with fruit sellers, sometimes someone wants to sell me souvenirs, I often see sliced swine and goat head on hooks and all in a big smog of the city. All this surrounds has its original charm and the atmosphere of this place is remarkable. If I have enough dirt and chaos, then I can always go back to the hotel in Thamel district where it is clean, it is delicious food from many parts of the world and part of the city comes alive at night. I also realize the “tourist price” but I’m not going to fight it and if I give these poor people a few more rupees I will not happen. I move most often either on foot or on a small taxi which gives me a good opportunity to see the city.
Kathmandu – Durbar Square
Being in Kathmandu, near the temple of the monkeys and Bishnumati River, I saw, without a doubt, the most important building in Durbar Square. It is a kind of old town where I find the old market, the wealth of temples and the old royal palace Hanuman Doka, named Hanuman or monkey god. Among the many interesting buildings are the shrine of Shiva and Ganesha god (elephant god) as well as the erotic sculptures and columns of King Pratap Mall. All these facilities and many others are very interesting and you can spend a few hours here watching, entering temples and observing the surroundings. Place Durbar was built in the 14th century, although their flourishing until the 20th century, they are the most important cultural heritage of Nepal and also on the list of Unesco. They are located in all three ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley, which is also Patan and Bhaktapur. This one is the largest in Kathmandu. On Durbar Square there are many buildings with splendid sculptures, most often faced by women with twenty hands and with elephants. In one temple to reach the top you have to climb the stairs with the huge statues of the elephants on the sides. Many temples also have the shape of square mushrooms, where one grows on the other and most often has four floors consisting of impressive roofs. This is the easiest way to describe these buildings. Once there lived kings here and today it is a cultural center and a great tourist attraction
The markets are fruit vendors, souvenir shops and of course begging for children. Tourists have to pay for entry and the Nepalese are not what I was used to get used to. No doubt Durbar Square was a kind of city in the city that very much distinguished itself from its beautiful, old architecture from the rest of the neglected and dirty Kathmandu. But for me it is very interesting wherever I go.
Patan – Durbar Square
Kathmandu and Patan are very close together and both are actually part of the same city, with the only difference being that they lie in other neighborhoods. Until 1768, Kathmandu and Patan formed separate independent kingdoms. Here you will also find the beautiful Durbar Square with its wealth of temples, statues and Nepalese-style buildings with four-storey roofs. Most of the monuments dating back to the 17th century were built by King Malla and Durbar Square in Patan is also on the list of Unesco and together with the Mangal bazaar they form a whole. All the beautiful buildings here were of course built in the same style as Durbar Square in Kathmandu, and the first ones to mention are Royal Palace, Taleju Temple and Krishna Temple. There are many impressive sculptures and the Bhimsen temple with the lion at the top, as well as the pillar of the Yoga-Narendra Mall from the 18th century with its figurine. At its summit there is a bird sitting and as the legend says, one day he will fly. In Patan I really liked the Sadhuhowie or “holy people”, who for me were rather fun and always wanted money for photos with each other. They were dressed in yellow or orange dresses, they did not shave or cut their hair for up to 20 years. The faces were painted red and the bodies white, though their ingenuity was quite large. Definitely on Durbar Square in Patan they were the biggest attraction, especially after I saw a similar place in Kathmandu. We both had a great time here because in the company of “holy people” you can not be sad and by the way it is another good way to get to know the culture of this beautiful country. Unfortunately only for the entrance to this object we had to again pay the price of “white man”. I would also like to mention that Patan is a great place to shop because Durbar Square is home to Mangal Bazaar where there are many shops specializing in traditional Nepali art. I think this is one of the best places to buy bronze figures depicting Hindu gods, interesting canvases and sculptures made of wood. Of course, shopping of this kind can be done in any tourist destination but here you can bargain for the best price for Thamel (where we stayed) would be difficult. From Patan we went through the streets to watch the surroundings without a specific purpose, which was also a nice experience. On the way we saw dirty bazaars, loud crowd, cricket pitch and royal palace.
Monika and her red sari
As I mentioned earlier, Monika ordered a red sari, which was specially made to fit and she bought (more) shoes to match the sari. When we went to Durbar Square in Patan and then to the Old Town of Kathmandu Monika dressed up in her new creation. Obviously the Old Town and Patan were beautiful, and every moment spent there was a new experience, although I think that the real hit of the day was Monika herself, dressed in her beautiful red sari. I would like to remind you that sari is a traditional Nepali and Indian dress with many decorations, which can be sewn from many colorful materials – including silk. It consists of three main parts: trousers, t-shirts and long, over two-meter canvas, which is assumed in a special way so that the woman is covered and at the same time to be emphasized her beauty. They are worn only by the Nepalese and the Hindu, so when Monika showed up in public she aroused great admiration in every place we were. Everyone looked at her and said she was beautiful. No wonder – they saw a pretty white blonde woman in a traditional dress for their culture. It was a great joy for the Nepalese and Monika herself was very happy. We also walked in the streets where people were selling vegetables and where nothing extraordinary happened, but the same was so beautiful in itself that we wanted to be there as long as possible. We were in some interesting Hindu temples where we made many interesting photos with Nepali children, in the background having the most interesting sculptures, people and roasted candles. We visited a lot of magical places and it was a great day during which Monika had the ovation wherever she went. In the evening I took a taxi and drove to Thamel for another fine dinner.
I also add that although I definitely did not raise the ovation, I also participated in the red sari Monika. I first sponsored half of its value and then I took pictures all the time. I also helped to put them on Monika and at the end I helped her to undress because the shirt had a slider quite high.
The Royal Chitwan National Park
After a few hectic days in the Kathmandu Valley I wanted to go outside the city and therefore chose one of the best national parks in Nepal and also in all of Asia. Royal Chitwan National Park is a mandatory point of travel in Nepal, especially since it is only a few hours from Kathmandu. Visiting here also gives you the chance to see a unicorn rhinoceros in natural conditions, although Asian animals are so timid that the chances of seeing a rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, gabial or black bear are less than 1%. They were once hunted for these animals but today they are under protection and Chitwan Park in addition to Kathmandu and Pokhara (which I will describe later) is the biggest attraction in Nepal.
From the bus station in Kathmandu we took a very old and somewhat late bus and then driving through the beautiful Himalayas we admired nature. As it always happens in Nepal, the road was heavy and we were shaking a bit. We also saw a couple of sprawled buses on the way but our driver did not slow down. After five hours of risky driving along the narrow road over the abyss, admiring the mountains above us and the river we hoped not to fall, we reached Tadi Bazar from where we were driven to Chitwan Park alone.
We stayed here in a magnificent mansion where the road to the main gate was surrounded by palm trees and around was a lot of vegetation. There was a river near where the children bathed and the women were doing laundry. But there were fields around which the farmers plowed a simple plow with a mulch. The place we stayed in was a beautiful villa, but the people living outside our area lived in simple wooden thatched cottages. It was a great opportunity to see what life in Nepal is like. I often went to the area to spend time with ordinary people. At the residence where we stayed, we had a nice room just for ourselves and they fed us great too. However the service did not live in the hotel although the rooms were empty.They lived in a dingy barrack outside and slept on bunks that looked like quadrupeds for slaves. The same was true in other countries I visited earlier. For example, in Cambodia when I was going to sleep at the hotel, people lay down on the sun loungers in the street (if they had one)!
The next day we were driven to wildlife. I was already on elephant safari in Thailand but for Monica this was the first time and therefore was very excited. Before the safari we were able to hug them, stroking them and riding on them, which was very nice. I also bought some branches of bananas from local children and together we fed all the elephants and then also gave them to them while driving. We climbed the elephants and drove to the jungle to see nature. Our elephant was a couple of hours but we were not able to see any animal. The most interesting moment of this trip was the moment in which our elephant crossed the river and we, of course, sitting on its back we had water a few centimeters below us. At the same time the crocodile sailed around us, but we had to be really vigilant to see him. We spent the rest of the day feeding elephants, accompanied by local people. Sometimes we also went to their thatched cottages where we could see how they lived, run the farm and get goats. In the evening we went to a very funny show to the local theater where a local ethnic group called Tharus in a very interesting way combined dance with martial arts. I think that the highlight of the event was a dance during which very dynamic boys twirled and stabbed sticks strongly in many ways. Then we just sat by the river, watching the beautiful landscape and drinking coconut milk. The next day we boarded the canal, which we sailed to the wilderness with the hope of seeing a unicorn rhinoceros. We walked in silence, willingly following the guide so as not to expose the animals. The walk was interesting because we had to tread often through unspoilt paths and on the way we managed to see some wildlife but not the ones we were hoping for. In the adventure film, it looks very simple, but really the animals are very good camouflage and it is not easy to meet them. We saw some monkeys quietly hiding in the crowns of trees and some traces of great animals. It was a tree scratched by a bear but not a bear in itself. I have to admit that when I went canoe (a kind of boat from one piece of tree) it was an adventure because I saw crocodiles in their natural environment flowing near or soaking up in the sun. Once we quietly swam to one of the gawalia but it did not let us get too close. Interest was also a plant that immediately touched the leaves. On the way back to our house we also witnessed how people were cutting high grass and reed.
Probably for the production of household items.The whole trip was very interesting though jednorożnego rhinoceros seen so far only in the zoo. I think we certainly have a lot to see in the national parks in India. Sad experience that day was my conversation with guides, who say they earn only 10usd per month and have no prospects. One of them had sewn shoes because he could not afford new ones. My last day we got up at six in the morning to watch the birds and we were able to see some interesting species, including prey species. Chitwan Park will always remind me of the contact with nature in this beautiful country.
On the way back to Kathmandu we were delayed because the Maoists have made a manifestation of blocking the main road. Standing at the bus stop were again a great attraction for people all around because we were the only white people in the area. But when he got on the bus, and people stuffed to the brim inventory we raced at breakneck speed. Being high up in the mountains driver wymijał the corner and rode so many times that podskakiwaliśmy under the roof. They jumped certainly also those people who were traveling on the roof which after all is a tradition in Nepal. It was a local bus so we had to deal with a duck and run through the board with some very ‘photogenic’ faces with the lack of teeth and long beards niegolonymi. Driving was very dangerous-especially that we were driving after dark. I think,that their happiness and our driver had placed in one of their gods, and even a few broken bus on the way not suggested him to slow down. After five hours, but luckily we got to Kathmandu.
Bhaktapur – Durbar Square
After a visit to Chitwan Park lived in the same hotel as before and I could quietly plan the rest of the trip to Nepal. I was then time to buy souvenirs, settling Indian visa and going to the hairdresser. After returning to Kathmandu I ordained on this remarkable city one more day. I went to Durbar Square where again I could watch the magnificent buildings of several centuries back and a distinctive mood for this place. I decided that I would visit less than an hour away on the road from Kathmandu but lying in the same valley-famous and beautiful Bhaktapur.
Bhaktapur was founded in the ninth century and was the capital of the entire Kathmandu valley between the fourteenth and sixteenth century although most beautiful objects and sculptures were made in the late seventeenth century. Bhaktapur then lost its importance after the loss of sovereignty and the creation of the state of Nepal, which was the capital of Kathmandu. The whole Bhaktapur was created by the Malla dynasty and as such has survived to this day. For example Place Durbar in Kathmandu and Patan have been upgraded while Durbar Square in Bhaktapur remained intact, as well as lifestyle. Beyond just the difference that now is a great tourist center, a good place to trade and there is a couple of good restaurants and hotels with a view of the Durbar Square.Bhaktapur is also mainly inhabited by the Hindu community while in Patan and Kathmandu are large Buddhist community. Is interesting to add that not only is Bhaktapur on the list of Unesco but was also recognized by the Hollywood filmed here because the photos of the “Little Buddha” Bernarda Bertolucciego.
Getting here from Thamel in Kathmandu took us about an hour considering the traffic jams and the disastrous state of the roads. Before entering, I had a conversation with the young Nepalczykami, who told me about the hopelessness of life in their country and the lack of prospects, and that Nepal is beautiful only for the rich like me.
Then I had to pay the entrance fee which we found very uncomfortable because we all paid 50 rupees and I as a white man, and the supposedly rich, I had to pay up to 750 rupees. Of course this is only a few pounds but still I did not like it. Durbar Square itself was beautiful and really hit the richness of its art and architecture. At checkout unfortunate column was king of the Malla and then the main courtyard were several palaces and temples with characteristic for this country square, czterospadzistymi roofs. Among the many beautiful objects noteworthy primarily Nyatapola temple of the eighteenth century, which is also the highest (30m) and is the best example of an architectural and sculptural Malla dynasty. It has a traditional,previously described roofs and the entrance is located between the other two stone wrestlers, two lions and two elephants. Most of the time I spent here watching the sights and taking pictures but also gave me the pleasure of contact with people. When buying fruit immediately ran to me and then laughing children salesman old knives. Every time it was a nice experience. In Bhaktapur is also a lot of studio painting and, of course, did not have to wait too long for an invitation to one of them. Sellers was seated on a comfortable sofa, were nice and I wanted to push interesting but very expensive paintings. But I never take such decisions lightly, and as it turned out, the next day I bought a lot cheaper in Patan. I had to deal with people who were very well trained in the trade,They were very nice and build on basic human emotions such as. pity. I did not give up, however, fooled and bought what I wanted elsewhere for perhaps five times cheaper. In the countries of this type you have to be very strong mentally and you have to be able to say “no.” I often meet people who ask for something and delectable way to try to persuade me for a subsidy for school or orphanage. I have never met so nice and so very clever people like here, but every time I refuse simply because I’m not naive.who ask for something and delectable way to try to persuade me for a subsidy for school or orphanage. I have never met so nice and so very clever people like here, but every time I refuse simply because I’m not naive.who ask for something and delectable way to try to persuade me for a subsidy for school or orphanage. I have never met so nice and so very clever people like here, but every time I refuse simply because I’m not naive.
After dark, we left this beautiful place, and this time the Thamel journey took us half an hour because the cork was even worse and our small Nepalese taxi broke down for a while. In summary, however, definitely visit in Bhaktapur I include the mandatory tourist destinations in the Kathmandu valley.
One day, being around Durbar Square in Patan, I bought an image that already wanted to have for a long time but I could never bargain for a good price. This image is the “Kalachakra mandala” was designed by the Dalai Lama for world peace and is one of the major doctrines of Tibetan philosophy. It is very complicated, intricate work, details of which can often be seen only under glass powiększającym.Sam image is a wheel that mimics the circle of life and the many symbols in the middle, which make up the whole, which is on the road to human perfection, in the stages of his life and values in people’s lives and the elements that prevail on earth. Mandala also reflects the cosmos, the universe and living beings in it as a whole. Mandala can also be understood in any way. It shows the suffering of others as our own and that,that we will be able to understand when we take part of them on each other. This is precisely what he learned young Prince Siddhartha (the future Buddha) when he escaped from his palace. According to the philosophy of the Tibetan Kalachakra gives us a chance to get to know the highest truth that we can not embrace reason but by meditation, science, yoga, prayer or mantra. Then we can better understand ourselves and the cosmos around us human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.This is precisely what he learned young Prince Siddhartha (the future Buddha) when he escaped from his palace. According to the philosophy of the Tibetan Kalachakra gives us a chance to get to know the highest truth that we can not embrace reason but by meditation, science, yoga, prayer or mantra. Then we can better understand ourselves and the cosmos around us human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.This is precisely what he learned young Prince Siddhartha (the future Buddha) when he escaped from his palace. According to the philosophy of the Tibetan Kalachakra gives us a chance to get to know the highest truth that we can not embrace reason but by meditation, science, yoga, prayer or mantra. Then we can better understand ourselves and the cosmos around us human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.According to the philosophy of the Tibetan Kalachakra gives us a chance to get to know the highest truth that we can not embrace reason but by meditation, science, yoga, prayer or mantra. Then we can better understand ourselves and the cosmos around us human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.According to the philosophy of the Tibetan Kalachakra gives us a chance to get to know the highest truth that we can not embrace reason but by meditation, science, yoga, prayer or mantra. Then we can better understand ourselves and the cosmos around us human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.the cosmos around us and human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.the cosmos around us and human beings that are part of it. So in a few simple words describe the basic meaning of this image but to understand it fully to be deeply interested in the philosophy of Tibet. Only looking at it is not possible to understand its meaning. Many elements of the image is covered with 24-karat gold, which gives a nice effect, especially when I look at it at an angle.
Among the many souvenirs describe even one that has a cultural value. It is commonly known image of the landscape. There are many sizes and, depending on the price landscape is recognized more or less, but each of them always has the same details. Landscape symbolizes the mental and cultural proximity with Tibet and at first glance looks like a drawing made by a small child, but he has a deeper meaning. At the top is always shown or Tibet Potala Palace and the Jokhang temple symbolizing the culture, art and philosophy of Tibet in the holy city of Lhasa. Below are the Himalayas and Mount Everest and the Himalayas band is painted Nepal. Here we see the Monkey Temple and Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur with characteristic roofs of the Malla dynasty. Below is the river and the Chitwan National Park where there is always some painted elephants and lions.On the western side of the city of Pokhara, Kathmandu seen with his band Himalayan Annapurna and at the very bottom of the image is Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Buddha. This image is a nice souvenir, especially for those who were and Traveler Tibet and Nepal.
The next day I went to the town of Gorkha five hours away to the west. Just before the ride Hindu priest blessed our bus and refused their prayers aloud, and had a special paint which dipped his index finger and dirty przystawiał dots on the foreheads of all travelers. He touched the bus, the driver and the steering wheel. And Monica gave me the flower immersed in the holy paint and then bowed. Really, every time I experience something new here. Nepal is a wonderful experience! Unfortunately, it was a big nightmare here dworcowa toilet. I thought the toilets in China, all the others will have better but apart from those in Nepal. The stench was indescribable, but that was not the highlight.For the first time in his career, travel saw a toilet bowl where the level of shit was on par with the toilet seat to form a perfectly flat surface.
As usual, we left Kathmandu delayed because loading the entire inventory of all the goods and it took some time. Then slowly we began to leave Kathmandu. Driving again was very difficult and time consuming but the driver was quieter this time. Finally, after many hours of driving we arrived at the uncomfortable Gorkha but unfortunately was not without incident. Gorkha is situated on the top of the rock, and that our driver had to speed up grata. However, the opposite was driving and other trash that neither we nor the driver refused to yield. As a result, both inhibition at the last minute and people sitting on the roofs will drop and one boy hit his head. So whether our Gorkha safely got to where we took very nice and cheap room with shower on the terrace had a lovely view of the mountainous countryside.The town itself was neglected and not very interesting. On both sides of the only street was lined with shops and at the top of the hill and the bus station where the bazaar was worth a try sweet mandarins. The next day I planned a few hours climbing at very high stairs where there was a palace known as Gorkha Durbar. The climb was interesting but a little tiring. We stopped several times talking to people who we met along the way and watched their rural life in the higher parts of the mountains. The above were the view was beautiful and it was better to see how well people cope in these difficult conditions. They were part of the apartment, a place to do laundry and cooking, goats were running slowly and were biting and the grass in front of the entrance to the top of the box was a mandarin.When relaxed but very tiring climbing arrived at the palace at the top of the mountain. Before entering we had to take off your shoes apot could admire the well-preserved two-Kali temples and Gorakhnath. Unfortunately, the latter could enter only Hindus. But it was not a problem because there the palace and temples were not the most interesting and this is where we entered. Best of all was just walking up and contact with people and then a beautiful view of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Even after my trip through Tibet and Mount Everest after seeing this sight was extraordinary. I stood in the kilkusetniego castle, in front of me were palm trees and deep, wide valley and in the distance the snow-capped Himalayas. I felt very well, I spent some time there just watching and taking pictures of mountains and then went downstairs.As usual, it was fun because we always had company at the bottom and I bought a little mandarins. That evening, tired but after a good dinner Nepalese quickly went to sleep. After spending one day in Gorkha, at 6 am the next day we took a bus to the largest city in Nepal Kathmandu, Pokhara ie. I will note here that soon after moving out of Gorkha our driver was going so fast that from the roof of the car going again dropped against two people. Driving here is very dangerous but we have no choice. We have to somehow move to complete my trip.or Pokhara. I will note here that soon after moving out of Gorkha our driver was going so fast that from the roof of the car going again dropped against two people. Driving here is very dangerous but we have no choice. We have to somehow move to complete my trip.or Pokhara. I will note here that soon after moving out of Gorkha our driver was going so fast that from the roof of the car going again dropped against two people. Driving here is very dangerous but we have no choice. We have to somehow move to complete my trip.
Gorkha was worth the long and tiring ride and the view of the Himalayas was unique. Anyone who travels to Nepal highly recommended.
(It is also important to distinguish between the town of Gorkha from which the Nepalese Gurkha soldiers conscripted into the Indian Army and the British).
Pokhara and a trip to Sarangot
This time, after a two-hour drive we arrived at the second largest city in Nepal ie Pokhara. This is a very significant tourist town in the country because of the beautiful, clean the area on the lake, but mainly because of the expedition to the Himalayas band called Annapurna.
I was worried that I would have to search for hotels in a new location, but as usual in Nepal are locals found us. They packed us and our huge luggage to a small taxi and drove to the hotel in the tourist area on the lake for only 3USD per room. Everything was great. The first day saw the town, which was very well organized for the arrival of tourists. Everywhere we were offering expedition offices, bookstores, restaurants and shops and rental of equipment for expeditions. But we went to the lake where I rented a boat and where we could just relax, looking at the mountains and hang gliders floating high. Not all, however, there were so colorful. On the way to the hotel caught us Tibetan,who wanted us to sell their embroidery and spoke about the sad life in Tibet and Tibetan fairly large immigration in Nepal.
I also started planning our trip to the mountains in such a way that we do not pay much because there are so many expensive travel agencies that offer everything we would want for a very expensive price. As mentioned earlier, Pokhara is a popular place because of the expeditions in the Himalayas for an episode that is called Annapurna. This is a Himalayan range that is very well visible (of course in good weather) from Pokhara. When I asked travel agents for any tour, we would spend at least 100 USD with guided tours, porters and permits. I planned a two day trip for two of us where we did not have to pay anything except our own living expenses and so had a beautiful view of Annapurna. I thought then that we would not exaggerate spending money if I can plan it all myself – especially since we spent two weeks in beautiful Tibet where we were also at Mont Everest at 5250m above sea level. Talking to other travelers, I got the impression that for many a two-week trek through the Himalayas was something of a religion. No matter whether they were physically prepared or not and wanted to do so. I have seen earlier in Tibet how many people regretted their decision with high altitude sickness and dehydration. This time I decided to go for a two day hike in the Himalayas to the summit of Sarangot (1700m) from where we were supposed to have a beautiful view of Annapurna. For this I had to first go to the Bindebasini temple at the crossroads and go straight up from there. I was told that it would take us two hours to get there, but this journey proved to be much longer, tedious and very tiring. On the way, a very well-behaved guide, who led us through the most difficult part of the mountain for only a pound, was attached to us. He kept smiling at us all the time, wore our luggage, smothered me with dirt and pressed the naive tales of God. After some time I had enough of it and I said I did not believe in god, I paid and parted. He also had changes in behavior and smelled of alcohol.
Walking down the narrow alleys and walking down the stairs of stones, we encountered people living in the higher parts of the mountains. They lived in clay-covered huts and sold their beverages and their own products such as shawls, caps and all kinds of ornaments. Many times we stopped to take a rest, snuggle up small goats and have a drink – all the more so that the sun was finishing. We did not realize before that it would be so hard, especially since we had small backpacks. We also met a girl who said she had to walk several miles every day to school to Pokhara, but sometimes she also took a bus. This time, however, she carried a large jug on her back to bring water to the whole family. I gave her a couple of mandarins that I had bought in Gorkha before and went on to make it to dusk. Finally, after five hours of walking we reached the summit, we were very tired, but we were also relieved that our climbing was over. We stayed in a nice hotel on the top and almost immediately went to sleep. This time we were lucky because in the room there was a luxury in the form of hot water showers. This great effort and lack of food caused me to have a fever – which, fortunately, quickly cured. Next morning we entered the Sarangot lookout. The view of Annapurna was beautiful. The huge, white peaks of the snow-covered mountains proudly rose above the valley and the lower part of the Himalayas. The highest peaks of Annapurna range from almost 7000 to over 8000m above sea level. We spent some time enjoying the surroundings, breathing in pristine air and taking pictures. The view was wonderful and worth the climb. I will add that at the lookout point was a military base and shooting bans. It was a very nice and very frugal trip that allowed us to get to know this section of the Himalayas. I always wanted to see them not only from the Tibetan side but also from the Nepalese, which I have now succeeded. The view was so great that after dinner the same day we again went to the Sarangot Sightsee to enjoy once again the beautiful view of Annapurna. Then at the last minute we reached the bus and returned to Pokhara. Also this time on board a “great” bus was sitting in front of me a goat and on the dashboard in front of the driver was attached a live cock. The bus drove us this time not to the tourist but to the parts where the Nepalese lived. Here Pokhara looked different – it was poor, dirty and the cows were walking the streets again. It was also much cheaper. Anyway, this realism I liked very much.We dined here, went to the internet and bought some necessary things such as toothpaste and panties as sometimes it pays to buy new ones rather than constantly washing.
On the same day in the evening I bought a mosquito net and the first time on this trip I took pills against malaria. I used to be in Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. This time I am approaching India, that is the country of high risk of malaria infection and I prefer not to risk. These tablets were supposed to start in Tibet (a week before entering Nepal), but Nepal is a very low risk country so I decided not to stuff myself without meaning.
To Tibet and my impressions of Mount Everest make my Trip to Tibet 2006
The next morning we headed south for a night in the Tansen settlement – one of the popular mountain stations and unfortunately one of the worse holes we could encounter. The road was long and cumbersome and the driver was driving too slowly. At the end of the ride I was on the roof of the bus to have also and experience in Nepal. (This was not the first time for me. I used to go to Laos on a roof on the road to Cambodia). When the bus blew us off at an unattractive parking lot, we could see that we were a real highlight of the day because everyone was staring at us. “White came to town,” I thought. We stayed at the hotel, which I would spend only to burn the others but it was not. We got a room with dirty bunks, the walls were gray-black with dirt and the toilet was a real nightmare. When I went to the restaurant the waiter told me that today they only serve tea, toast and eggs, then gave me a thick menu and very seriously asked what I would eat. I tried the second restaurant where we ate but the food turned out to be terrible. There were waiters who spoke very poor English and although they were very polite they had nasty food. When I entered their kitchen, there was even more shit than in the pub and just in case I preferred not to mention Monice. This was a funny situation, which was based on the way I asked questions. I used to be in Burma and it is very simple. Well, they are all kind, they all laugh, and everyone always nods with great conviction in their voice and gestures. So I asked the question: is the chicken bone?They all replied cheerfully “yes”. Then I asked if the same chicken was boneless and they all replied yes.The last question posed a big problem to them. Well, how do they serve the chicken? They longed for the answer for a long time and talked quietly to agree on a final version. This is so, after a while it is no longer funny. So I swallowed what they gave me and went to our terrible room. Monika collapsed that evening and said she was unlikely to travel to developing countries and want to return to her luxury in Poland. But I decided not to give up and take something good from this place. Tansen is a mountain village located at 4300 m above sea level and the main attractions include beautiful views of the Himalayas, an idyllic atmosphere and unforgettable people. So I took Monica for a walk and after the first unbearable experiences it was very nice because the higher we were the more beautiful the view was. After some time we sat down at the tree and just watched the Himalayan peaks – also the Annapurna, which we had seen from Sarangot.
Even a short walk in Tansen is not easy as it is only possible to go uphill or downhill. In Tansen there are also several temples and palaces but unfortunately all these beautiful monuments were destroyed during the Maoist attack in January 2006. We also went to a local party where I played with kids playing ball and spent some time with locals and their tragic reality. The most important thing was that we felt good and safe here, only that the conditions were hopeless. The sludge of this type proves that Nepal is a very poor country of very poor people and can not be blamed for it being there.
The next morning we said goodbye to Tansen without looking back and went on the road. I will always mention this village as a relaxing place with beautiful views, but I think that all who read my reportage and go to Tansen should not expect luxury.
This time we were heading to our last stop in front of India, the holy city of Lumbini in the Western Terai where the Buddha was born. For this reason, it is a frequent place of Buddhist pilgrimage. I recall that Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha, who through his spiritual path became a Buddha.
The ride was longer and more difficult than I thought, but on the way we could see beautiful mountains and banana trees growing along the road. I could also see the Nepali village again. Mostly they were very primitive buildings made of straw and bamboo and around them were dirty, half-disemboweled children, and goats and buffaloes sat next to them. When we reached the place I expected something more after such a famous place but as often happens, I converted. The bus stopped on the asphalt road but the first outline of the new settlement was seen after the first dust settled. The bike dealers standing next to me pointed me to the street where the guest house was, but I would not have trouble finding it, because there was only one street in Lumbini. Fortunately here the housing conditions were sky-high better than earlier in Tansen. We had a cheap, double room with shower and hot water which is rare in this part of the world.
In Lumbini we spent only one day because enough was enough for this small, neglected place.Noteworthy are the temples of every part of Asia. There were temples from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Korea etc. Monika was excited but for me it was just a very nice repetition of my previous expedition because in all these countries and many others I was already. The place I wanted to see was the birthplace of Buddha. It was in the temple and was marked as the place of his exact birth.Besides, the temples associated with the Buddha itself are Ashok Pillar and the Maya Devi Temple built in honor of the Buddha. Both come from around the 2nd century. To see all the facilities I hired a bicycle rider and slowly took us all over the temples. In addition to the temples associated with the Buddha I liked the Thai and Tibetan, with a large calachakra mandala on the ceiling. I also had the opportunity to hold the cobra in my hands, which made me start to miss my snakes at home. It was sad that the rickshaws and all the inhabitants of Lumbini were miserly poor and lived in wooden houses covered with straw, while the temples were a beautiful monument to money. Always with evenly trimmed lawns, nicely painted and exaggerated, although some of the facilities were not finished yet. All the time I had children behind me begging for anything they could.
Our trip was very nice and we loved it all, the more we took the racer who was driving us everywhere. In the meantime, we also went to a restaurant under the thatch to take the soup out of the hair and then went to the tea house built of clay and all the poor people sitting there I made tea. They were sure to have fun seeing how their white man handles them, in their eyes a millionaire. On the way home again I saw a bus with people on the roof and then I just hung up my mosquito net over the bed and went to bed.
Lumbini was a nice experience and temples from all parts of Asia were beautiful. As usual, however, the greatest value for me was the people I met there and the way they lived.
Bhairawa – the border with India
The next morning we drove to the nearby (22km) border with India and during the road we could say goodbye to Nepal. Quite soon we reached the border, changing a few times and kneading in a small jeep like sardines. Here we also had our first great Indian meal and the people in the pub congratulated me like a woman like Monika. Bhairawa is a very chaotic, ever overcrowded and dirty hole but food is good here.
Then after a memorable photo in front a flag of Nepal and after getting the stamps off, we went about 20m and we were in India.
Summary of Nepal
If I were to sum up Nepal I would describe it as a very poor country where there are very nice people, beautiful nature and great exotics. I can not say anything about Nepal except bad transport and dirt, which in the countries of this region is obvious. Before coming here I would advise you to familiarize yourself with the current political situation as Nepal is still very unstable. Anyway, people are always peaceful and welcoming tourists with a smile. I now recall how I traveled Nepal on the steep hillsides of the Himalayas, trembling on the hard wooden seats in the older bus from Buddha himself. I remember Durbar Place and that when I rode on the elephant and when the monkey stole my bananas from my backpack and when a crocodile swam past me. All these hardships are a fascinating adventure where cultural shock adds a taste of adventure. Nepal was the only one of its kind.
End of the monarchy in Nepal
Shortly after I left Nepal, King Gyanendra was dethroned and all his palaces and property were now owned by the state and administered by the government. For hundreds of years the Nepali kings have been regarded as the incarnation of the god Vishnu, but after the despotic rule of Gyanendra, he has clearly lost his divinity in the eyes of his people and is now an ordinary civilian. Had he abdicated a year earlier to save the throne for his grandson, and now Nepal would have no king at all, neither good nor evil.
In my opinion, this is a huge mistake because the king could have stayed with his government restriction on representation, and now Nepal will no longer be “Kingdom of Nepal” and will be ruled by the government of the neo-imperial government. It may not be better at all.