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Kathmandu in a day!

Its hard to imagine the scale of a foreign city when all you have to compare is what you have seen in Lonely Planet guides, but when you stand at the highest point and gaze out in awe, dreams are turned into a reality.
Kathmandu has so much to offer. Magnificent architecture, spiritual rituals, hustle, bustle and a hell of a lot of noise, this city is not for the faint hearted.

Surely there is no way you can see everything in a day...


Top Tip: Hire a taxi for a day to see the sights of Kathmandu. We were able to book this through our hostel. We paid 5000 rupees (£30) but this is double the usual cost due to the current fuel crisis in Nepal. 


Swayambhunath 


One of the oldest pieces of architecture in Kathmandu, the Monkey Temple was first on our list. It’s fairly clear when you get there that the nickname is well suited. The monkeys even have their own swimming pool! The Boyf was outsmarted and his pineapple was a goner, highlight of the day!


Swayambhunath 

Cheeky Monkey!


It is typical of spiritual and cultural tourist attractions to have ‘guides’ swarming around in packs.


I was approached by a friendly, three toothed man who softly spoke, “How lucky I am to meet you today, what a wonder it is”. Maybe it was the compliment or his charm but I was hooked and I don’t regret the £3 I spent on his fascinating lesson.





According to my guide (AKA Mr Charmtastic), the dome at the base represents the world. When one awakes, we are greeted by the eyes of wisdom and compassion, which is the path to enlightenment (reaching/recognising/sharing ultimate power within oneself). The thirteen pinnacles at the top represent the stages of realisation.


Prayer wheels that circle the entire dome

365 steps for each day of the year. Monks ascend these everyday 

Another symbol of Wisdom

Mr Charmatstic told me about the King who built the monument 2500 years ago. He designed two pillars for him and his wife. Due to the recent 2015 earthquake, his wife's pillar collapsed. Also a four story building behind the monument fell and killed 43 monks, only 1 survived. 

King pillar in the background is how this foreground pillar once stood


In my opinion, it is well worth getting friendly with a guide. I learnt so much more about Swayambhunath than any other place on the tour. Budget depending of course, I recommend it at least once.

Durbar Square - The City of Fine Arts


And fine it was! I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful gardens and wildlife in the middle of an insane city. Many locals sat on the steps of the structures in the midday sun, it seemed like a place to relax and socialise.


Hand carved wooden detail throughout the city







Pashupatinath Temple


One of the most popular attractions, Pashupatinath Temple is sacred, so sacred they burn the bodies of the poor. Apparently the rich are burned on the other side of the river. Unfortunately we arrived at the wrong time and we were not allowed to look inside because they were mid-cremation. 

I do not have any pictures out of respect. It is worth mentioning to be careful when visiting certain sites. We were unable to get our money back.

Top Tip: All sites require tourists to pay a fee to enter the attractions. The money goes to the repair and up keep and can cost from 200 - 1000 rupees (£2-£9.60) 

Boudha Stupa


So far on the tour, this was the worst affected religious site. The entire Stupa had fallen from the dome. I felt truly horrified.



Although the locals had lost a lot, there was a still special atmosphere about the place. It felt like I had walked into a private service at a church back home yet I didn't feel out of place. It was welcoming and heart warming. 






Basantapur


Simular to Durbar Square, Basantapur was spread out across the city centre however many of the structures were in a state of serious dis-repair. We came across a number of volunteers who were collecting seismic data from under the ground, inspecting the unseen damage.  




At this point in the tour, we were close to home so this gave us a chance to wander back through the streets of Kathmandu.

Top Tip: Situate yourself within the Thamel district. Full of great shops, restaurants and hostels. We stayed at Kathmandu Madhuban Guesthouse for 550 rupees per night, including breakfast (£3.60).



We came across another momument, simular to Swayambhunath. This particular area is for art students and those wishing to take part in their projects.





So it is possible to get a taste of Kathmandu in a day - but at some expense.

The local bus costs from as little as 15 Rupees (9p)! If you have a more time and less of a budget, this is a great way to get around. I will be trying this when I come back in a few weeks.


Thanks for reading,

peace and love
Megaventurous
xo

1 comment:

  1. I love love this post my dear! It's so interesting to learn about the city. I can't believe you did so much in a day! It's also heartbreaking to see some of the damage the city has gone through. Stay safe! Much love Deimante xx

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