Nepal was the second country we visited and our tour was limited to the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu is the historic center of Nepal and the place where kingdoms rose and fell, palaces and temples were built and rebuilt and Nepalese art and culture were developed and refined. Many of the buildings you see from this 2000 tour have fallen or were seriously damaged in the recent earthquakes.
Most likely, many of the historical buildings will be rebuilt largely from donations by organizations and various countries as was already occurring when I visited in 2000. The German and Japanese governments were especially active in restoration efforts when I was there.
Our small group of adventure travelers were led by Max Holland to the second Asian country in our itinerary. Here are some of the pictures that capture some of the scenery, events, and people I saw in my travels to this fascinating valley of timeless beauty.
Our first stop was the Swayambhunath Buddhist stupa (the famed “monkey temple”), which is located on a hill overlooking Kathmandu. I filmed the monkeys on the way up the stairs as well as the guide’s description of the stupa.
Later that night we were entertained by Nepalese dancers during our delicious Nepalese dinner.
During our visit to the Pashupatinath (Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva) and its cremation ghats, we witnessed several cremations and were entertained by a whole group of “holy men” who seemed to feed off the tourists donations as much as anything.
The workers in Patan were cleaning out one of the courtyards in preparation for the upcoming animal sacrifices that would begin at the following morning.
In Bhaktapur, we found this city-state near Kathmandu was probably the best preserved of all. If you see my video of these buildings, you may recall that you have seen portions of them in some of the popular movies featuring Tibet.
Our visit to the Barkhor in Kathmandu provided us with a sensual feast of sights, sounds, and smells. These pictures are unable to reproduce the smells, or the energy of the crowds.
Lots of vendors fill the walkways throughout the Barkor.
Tika powder used mostly by Hindus and is usually applied between the eyebrows symbolizing the third eye or eye of the spiritual reality. It is a sign of respect and a welcoming for others. The tika powder is also used in religious ceremonies by participants and priests ascribing different meanings depending on the situation.
The military presence was evident because of the Maoists insurgency that continued and the occasional strikes that shut down offices and transportation.
One of the most beautiful buildings we enjoyed visiting was the Tibetan Stupa called Boudhanath. Kathmandu is home to many Tibetan refugees and seem to be living in this area around this stupa. About 20,000 Tibetan refugees fled from Tibet-China to Nepal after the Chinese invaded Tibet.
Currently the Nepalese government is trying to reduce the number of Tibetans there because of pressure from the Chinese government. Many Tibetan refuges find India to be a more welcoming country now.
Here are some other views of what we saw during out Kathmandu Valley visit.