Friday, June 05, 2009

Nepal Trek 2009 - May 5, Part 1 - Swayambhunath

Our second day in Kathmandu was for sight-seeing and photo opportunities. We took a bus from our hotel in Thamel to Swayambhunath (The Monkey Temple) and then to Pashupatinath. The first one is primarily a Buddhist site, but there are Hindu shrines there as well. The second one is a Hindu Temple.

First, though was a drive through the streets of Kathmandu - avoiding any protest areas. The government was in complete disarray when we arrived in Nepal.

The shop fronts are colorful and full of advertisements for soft drink companies - Pepsi and Coca Cola products for the most part.

This is why Swayambhunath has the nickname, "The Monkey Temple." They're all over the grounds.

A small shrine to Buddha

Shopkeepers like to keep up with the daily news when business is slow.

This is Jon Miller's friend, Kumar, who has been featured in The Rest of Everest podcast. Our trip will be featured in a future season of the podcast.

Kumar gave some of the group a tour of the grounds, including the monastery. Unfortunately, I missed out on that part of the tour. I was distracted by a photo-op and when I finished, the group had disappeared. I'll have to watch the podcast to see what I missed.

One of many, many statues of Buddha at Swayambhunath.

Steve bought a small prayer stone with the Om mani padme hum mantra inscribed in Tibetan script.

The eyes of Buddha on this very large stupa are very impressive.

Prayer wheels. These are all around the stupa and you're supposed to do a Kora in clockwise direction, spinning the wheels as you go. Everytime the wheel spins, prayers are sent up to -- I'm not sure where.

Prayer flags are more than colorful decorations. They are inscribed with prayers and the different colors represent the different Buddhas and elements. Once hung, they are to be left alone until they decay away.

These were aesthetically pleasing as well as comforting to contemplate, but they sure felt more at home up in the Himalayas.

Yes, the monkey temple seems an apt name for this place.

I posted more pictures from this temple here.

1 comment:

The Quacks of Life said...

enjoying this tour