A Travellerspoint blog

Kathmandu Part Two

Culture, Cremation and Commercialisation

View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

We ended up back at Kathmandu View Hotel and in the room we had vacated the previous morning. After a shower we went in search of food and on recommendation headed to Fire & Ice, a pizzeria run by an Italian expat, and we knew we were back in the capital.

This morning we woke up early and packed up, we were off to catch a bus to Pokhara, however as we were going down the stairs a hotel employee informed us that there was a strike today and there would be no buses. We went out and all the roads seemed significantly quieter. So faced with another day here we decided that we had to do something which would leave a good lasting memory and involved some true Nepalese Culture.

Our location of choice was Pashupatinath, Nepal's most sacred pilgrimage site, which is comprised of a cremation ghat and a number of temples.

Due to the strike, the number of rickshaw and taxi drivers had dwindled and so prices were inflated. Finally we got one to take us for a fairly reasonable price, although in the end it turned out he'd only taken us about half the way. We got a little lost but Adam did managed to buy some sunglasses, which we'd been unsuccessfully searching for some time.

When we did finally made it to Pashupatinath, we were not disappointed. We had to shake of a guide who started explaining things but quickly disappeared when Adam informed him we couldn't afford to pay him. The complex of temples straddles The Bagmati River, which is where Hindus bathe and come to be cremated, it is believed to be just as sacred as The Ganges by Nepalese Hindus. In size it is nothing compared to The Ganges though, and this fact probably extenuates the amount of rubbish that has been deposited in it.

That said it doesn't really detract from the the sanctity of the place. There is a strange juxtaposition in relation to religion which I have noticed here and in India, and not really being religious myself it is something that I simply view as an outsider. Religion is clearly very important and apparent here, but as I said the water where they bathe and their ashes are spread is clearly unclean, all around the sacred temples there are people begging and selling bottles of water, crisps, chocolate bars and then there are the sadhus (very religious men, who devote their lives to their beliefs) who pose for photographs for money. This is in no way a criticism, there is something quite enchanting about it, with the monkeys running around, climbing up the ancient walls, it is just different and for me unexpected that the sacred and the more harsh sides of life are thrust together.

We have now spent 6 days in Kathmandu, maybe a little longer than we would have liked, although this really could not be helped due to us both feeling off colour. However today has been enjoyable and really emphasises the contrast between old or rather ancient and the cutting edge of modern, Kathmandu life. It is a place to visit, but perhaps with a clearer idea of what to see and what not to see.

We'll hopefully be off to Pokhara tomorrow if the strike is over.

Update again when we're Lakeside.

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 07:46 Archived in Nepal Tagged round_the_world

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.