Kathmandu, Oct 2017

Nepal

The fusion of marigold fragrance and burnt incense in the holy night of Deepavali had created a memory that would be echoing forever.

Boudhanath Stupa

The moment a bird was flying over past the Boudhanath Stupa, adorned with colorful prayer flags and deep blue sky backdrop, evokes our inner freedom and peacefulness.


Let the volume up!

On all the footsteps I had stamped in Nepal, the melody of Classic by Joakim Karud was tinkling in my ears. And until now, for every time I play the track, it reminds me of the good old time there.


Thamel and Durbar

Had just been back on the long, arduous and bumpy taxi ride from Nagarkot to Kathmandu, it was a total difference I could see between a resort-like stay in Nagarkot where the natural breeze was so fresh and the Kathmandu reality being filled with dust.

But that dusty, potholed street of Thamel leading to Durbar Square was not bad at all, it had its own charisma: marigold strings sold by the vendors, jammed walkers, and electrical wiring all over the place. The local experience was authentic without many touristy clichés, just a bit disturbed by the sellers trying to rip innocent visitors off.

Thamel Thamel

…leading to Durbar Square

Heading straight southward was Durbar Square. Along that path of Thamel Marg, you could encounter a few ceremonial and market squares such as Thahiti Chowk or Indra Chowk.

Indra Chowk
Indra Chowk

…here came the ruins of a formerly magnificent site

Though heavily destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, the square is still a must-go for tourists visiting Kathmandu. The architectural style is unique and highly identifiable. A bit messy though, as there were a lot of pigeons, stray dogs, spitting men and mendicants wandering around the place. That could be looked from another side: it was a charming mess. It could be either turbulent or tranquil at the same time, depending on how you perceived it.

Durbar Square Durbar Square Durbar Square Durbar Square
Durbar Square

Swayambhunath

I reached Swayambhunath for sunset, as it is the highest point in Kathmandu where people can capture a panorama of the city. Contrary to the usual perception of busy streets, Kathmandu valley overlooked from high vantage point was full of peacefulness. No distracting noise, no heavy light pollution.

Kathmandu from High Point
Kathmandu from High Point
Swayambhunath

Boudhanath

Well it’s always the best captures I have ever taken. Ever.

Coming back from Pokhara (it was more than 10 hours of bus, due to traffic jams and mountainous passes), I just wanted to take a good rest, and get up in a totally fresh morning at Boudhanath.

At Kalanki Bus Stop At Kalanki Bus Stop
At Kalanki Bus Stop

And it treated me really really well. The clear blue sky, and the wavin’ flags. People walked around the stupa in the clockwise direction (circumambulation) composedly, and filled in the ambience was the melody of Om Mani Padme Hum. Without any haste, I calmly breathed in this spiritual atmosphere and gave all of my mind to that moment, that reality.

Pigeons on Azure
Pigeons on Azure

Fact: Topped upon the stupa is a square tower decorated with Buddha eyes on each side representing the omniscience of a Buddha; the nose which looks like a question mark is Nepali sign of number 1, symbolizing the unity of everything in the world, and the only true path for enlightenment.

Boudhanath Atmosphere
Boudhanath Atmosphere
Tibetan Monks
Tibetan Monks
Upon the Platform
Upon the Platform

Pashupatinath

I took a short taxi to Pashupatinath, not very far from Boudhanath. A pretty massive complex of Hindu temples by Bagmati River, it’s the place where people can witness open cremation ceremonies, which sounds a bit creepy though.

Hindu Sadhus at Pashupatinath
Hindu Sadhus at Pashupatinath
Under the Trees
Under the Trees

Here is the full view of Pashupatinath, the river is quite polluted indeed.

Pashupatinath

Boudhanath on Deepavali

I hadn’t realized my last day was on Deepavali, until I had a precious chance to observe the celebration at Boudhanath before taking the taxi to the airport. I could call it “save the best for the last”. Thousands of candles were lit up, and firecrackers were making joyful sounds in the middle of the roads.

And there came marigold. And there came incense.

Deepavali at Dusk
Deepavali at Dusk

Those moments would be staying forever, like no others.

Boudhanath Girl

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This post is a part of the Nepal series.

Written in Mar, 2019 © Zuyet Awarmatik.

About

Zuyet Awarmatrip is a subsidiary identity within the personal ecosystem of Zuyet Awarmatik, focusing on travel and photography.

A Vietnamese currently and not permanently based in Singapore, he usually regards himself as a carefree solo Eastern backpacker, alongside with his main profession as a UX designer & developer. His photos shall always deliver the colorfulness of this worldly reality, rather than monotony and cheerlessness.

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