Nepal Part 1: Kathmandu
As promised (mostly to myself), I will be blogging my travels over the next year or two. It was a bittersweet farewell to my coworkers, students and friends in Korea when I took off on December 1st 2016. The first leg of my trip was a short sixteen hour layover in Chengdu, China before arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal.
I don't have much to say about Chengdu since I only had time to take a nighttime walk through the “old” main tourist street, eat a few things and sleep at my hotel. China seems interesting and I hope to have the opportunity to spend more time there some day.
The next day I arrived in Kathmandu where I met my stepdad, Rick. We spent about three days in Kathmandu shopping, purchasing flights and making last minute plans before starting out on our Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek. We also ended up having time to see some of the main sights in Kathmandu. The history, culture and religion were all fascinating to see. Nothing I write will do these places justice so I will just show the pictures and make a few notes about what it is. I highly recommend looking up more information about the significance if you see something that interests you.
Swayambhu aka Monkey Temple
A bit of a drive to get here, this is a temple on top of a hill where many monkeys live. The temple is large and beautiful. The damage from the earthquake was apparent and like many other places in Nepal a sad site to witness. The monkeys are very used to people and there are a ton of them up there. Definitely worth a visit for the temple, monkeys and a great view of the city.
This was the most interesting site we visited in Kathmandu. It is an extremely holy place where all Hindu's make a trip to at least once in their life. There are weddings, cremations and other religious activities happening every day here. The cremations in the river are unlike anything I have seen. It was a humbling experience to see everything that was happening here. Foreigners are not allowed in the temple for obvious reasons, however, this is a place I highly recommend experiencing.
The last place we visited was yet another Buddhist holy site. It's one of the largest stupas in the world and an extremely holy place for Tibetan Buddhists. As far as I know a stupa is a place for prayer. Buddhist circle the stupa and turn the prayer wheels as part of a religious prayer.