Friday, 12 September 2014

Cremations, Stupas and Dream-Gardens: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

Local Buddhists turn a prayer wheel, which contains a mantra written in Sanskrit. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning the wheel will have the same effect as orally reciting the prayers.

This was one of my favourite places in Kathmandu. The ring of shops and temples surrounding this immense stupa that towers over everything...simply majestic!

We went to a rooftop cafe and drank tea in view of the stupa.

More prayer wheels.

Passing another stupa on the taxi ride back to Thamel.
One thing I like about Kathmandu is the vague air of formality hidden beneath all its grime and disarray. There are government offices like this one with very proper, almost-imperial-sounding names, hints of a more regimented infrastructure than one would guess from the power cuts and traffic pandemonium.
Speaking of power's a restaurant on Mandala Street subjected to darkness. Most of these places have backup generators that provide a little extra light when the power's out, though it still sometimes means eating in relative dimness.
A band plays a curious mixture of bluegrass and traditional Nepali music at the Northfield Cafe, where we stopped for dinner.
Trying some tasty Everest beer.
Amusing ourselves with candles while we wait for our food.
Kathmandu's Original Burrito. 
Checking out gurkha knives the next morning in Thamel.

Visiting the Garden of Dreams.
When I heard of this place, I was imagining some Hindu-Buddhist spiritual garden abound in surreal figurines and deities. Instead it was a European-style neo-classical garden, built in 1920. It was a peaceful enough place, though I was a little disappointed at the lack of three-headed elephants and that sort of thing.

Tea-time again! 

That evening, we were back to Nepali food, including more dal bhat and a bunch of curries, this time at Pilgrim's Cafe, an all-vegetarian establishment with the tastiest yak cheese balls this side of Everest. Angela is visibly frustrated by my constant photo-taking while trying to enjoy her meal.
We departed from Kathmandu the next day, bound for Chitwan National Park. We left behind our passports so they could be processed and attached with Indian visas, which meant we had to return to Kathmandu to pick them up. For now, though, it was time for some sweaty eco-farming in Chitwan.

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