Destinations Magazine

Kathmandu, Nepal – Temples and Cows

By Sonyaandtravis @sonyaandtravis

The China-Nepal border crossing was one of, if not the easiest, crossing we had experienced during our trip. It took about five minutes in total including the walk across the half Nepal, half China Friendship bridge.

As expected, a number of Jeep taxi drivers approached us. We were told that there was a bandh or strike in Kathmandu and vehicles were not permitted in the city.  The drivers told us that the trip to Kathmandu, about one-hundred-and-fifty kilometres in total, would take about seven hours, as the Jeep/ute would stop along the way until the bandhs were over (at around 7pm or 8pm). Unsure whether to believe what we were told, but with no other option, we agreed on a fare of one-thousand rupees each to take us both to Kathmandu’s Thamel district. Fortunately, along with us was an English speaking Tibetan business lady who advised us that strikes were common and that it should be over in a few days. The drive was quite pleasant, although we were packed in with four other passengers and could start to feel the pre-monsoon humidity increasing. It was hard to believe that only that morning we were at Everest Base Camp where it had been snowing. It was a bumpy ride, through picturesque lush green mountainous jungles.  Every now and then the driver would pick up additional passengers who would sit in the back of the ute, or if their journey was shorter (or the back full), hang off the side of jeep (i.e holding on through the wound-down windows!). Road safety seemed to be of no concern to the Nepalese.

We stopped for a meal of flat, broken rice, chicken curry and tea (which the Tibetan lady kindly treated us), before the driver and group decided it was safe to enter Kathmandu.

By the time we reached our hotel it was about 8pm. We found out that the city faces some major challenges with electricity and our bathroom had none (until 11pm) so we couldn’t shower.  The internet was also not working due to the electrical outage, so instead we walked down the brightly lit tourist-friendly, Thamel Street. It reminded me a lot of Khao San Road in Bangkok – Money changers at every corner, hippy gear, jewelry and all sorts of souvenirs.  We bought a couple of mangoes, some books and headed back to our guest-house.

Walking tours

The following morning, after we had applied for Indian visas, we decided to do a walking tour of south Thamel and visit Durbar Square in Kathmandu. The strike was still ongoing which meant that during the day, there were no vehicles on the road, nor were the shops open.  However, on the upside tickets to the Durbar Square complex were not required, and we were able to wander around free of charge.

Central stupa of Thahiti Tole
Shigha Bihar with Kathesimbhu Stupa and surrounding smaller stupas
Shigha Bihar with Kathesimbhu Stupa

Small stupas of Shigha Bihar
Buddha stone statues inside the Shigha Bihar
Bird resting on a stupa inside the  Shigha Bihar

Hindu temple found inside the Shigha Bihar court
Prayer wheels located around the Kathesimbhu Stupa
Various colourful stone reliefs found on the circumference of the Kathesimbhu Stupa

Stone Buddha statues found in the Nag Bahal
Shiva sitting with Parvati on Mt Kailash, her hand resting proprietarily on his knee in the pose known as Uma Maheshwar
Colourful deity statues located around the Saraswati Shrine

Colourful deity statues located around the Saraswati Shrine
Sikha Narayan Temple with Rickshaw parked at the entrance
Standing Buddha statue dates from the 5th or 6th century

Travis confused with the lump of wood which thousands of coins have been nailed
Close-up of coins nailed into lump of wood
Ganesh statue, is a small recessed area

Triple-roofed Ugratara Temple with two cows in the front
Brass lions at the entrance to the Ugratara Temple
Three-storey Annapurna Temple

Narayan shrine with two cows in front
Buddha states outside the Seto Machhendranath Temple
Pigeons sitting atop one of a pair of lions at the Seto Machhendranath Temple entrance

Brass Buddha statue with resting Pigeons
Intricate brass Buddha relief near Seto Machhendranath Temple
Pigeons resting on a stupa near Seto Machhendranath Temple

Quite streets of Kathmandu due to strikes
Stone Shiva Temple
Metal lions of the Akash Bhairab Temple

Intricate brass Ganesh shrine
The long, rectangular courtyard of the Itum Bahal
Kichandra Bahal or Keshchandra Paravarta Mahar Bihar, one of the oldest bahals in the city

A chaitya has been completely shattered by a bodhi tree
Stone Buddha statue in the Itum Bahal courtyard
Calf found on the streets of Kathmandu

Children ringing the bells of Nara Devi Temple
Wooden window called deshay madu in Nepali, which means there is not another one like it
Entrance to the Yatkha Bahal with stupa visible

Yatkha Bahal courtyard with white stupa
Intricate door found in Yatkha Bahal courtyard
Another cow on the streets of Kathmandu, a regular occurrence

Stone Shiva Temple
Brass lion at front of Bhimsen Temple
Small stone shrine

Triple-roofed Jaisi Deval Temple on seven level base
Chicken standing outside an ornate metal door
White five meter high Machhendranath Temple

South from Thamel to Durbar Square

  1. Thahiti Tole
  2. Nateshwar Temple
  3. Kathesimbhu Stupa
  4. Nag Bahal
  5. Parvati on Mt Kailash
  6. Sikha Narayan Temple
  7. Saraswati Shrine
  8. Buddha statue
  9. Wood with coins
  10. Ugratara Temple
  11. Haku Bahal
  12. Annapurna Temple
  13. Krishna Temple
  14. Seto (White) Machhendranath Temple
  15. Akash Bhairab Temple
  16. Kichandra Bahal
  17. Nara Devi Temple
  18. Dance platform
  19. Narsingha Temple
  20. Wooden window
  21. Bhulukha Dega Temple
  22. Yatkha Bahal

South from Durbar Square

  1. Kasthamandap
  2. Singh Sattal
  3. Large tanklike hiti
  4. Bhimsen Temple
  5. Kohiti water tank
  6. Jaisi Deval Temple
  7. Ram Chandra Temple
  8. Tukan Bahal
  9. Shikhara Temple
  10. Musum Bahal
  11. Ta Bahal
  12. Machhendranath Temple
  13. Hari Shankar Temple
  14. Vishnu Narayan Temple
  15. Adko Narayan Temple

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