Today was spent doing a fair bit of sightseeing around Kathmandu. This largely involved visiting some of the iconic religious sights. Or religious sites! First we went to the top of a hill that would normally provide views of the city. Today these were almost non-existent due to a haze supposedly caused by weather and pollution. Up here is the the ancient Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as Monkey Temple, which is certainly easier to spell. This is a nice place containing temples, gardens, Buddha statues and a lot of monkeys. A young lady was also demonstrating some of the most impressive yoga skills I’ve ever seen. Next up was Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in Nepal. It’s a bit like a smaller version of Varanasi, with the temple being located along the banks of a narrow river. Pilgrims were bathing in the river and a cremation also appeared to be taking place. Around the area are some nice terraces and quite areas with a fair bit of meditating going on. Our final stop was at the Boudhanath Stupa. This is the largest stupa in Nepal and is said to be the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It’s an impressive structure and often features on the cover of guidebooks for Kathmandu and Nepal. As well as the touristy shops and eateries, you’ll find many Buddhist monks in the area surrounding the stupa.
It was noticeable how dusty Kathmandu seems to be. Apparently this is due to a new series of water pipes being fitted that requires the digging up of roads. I may consider investing in one of those Michael Jackson-style face masks that quite a few of the locals seem to wear.
After going out for a final group meal, we were back at the room by 8.45pm. There were certainly no party animals in this lot! My roommate Colin would have probably gone out for a couple of beers if he wasn’t preoccupied by the urgent need to rush to the toilet at frequent intervals.