After arriving yesterday in Kathmandu it was time to get out and explore the sites of the city. Although the capital city of Nepal it was great that the pace was still not as manic as we found in the typical larger Indian cities. It made getting about somewhat less stressful.
After a 2km walk we arrived at the Swayambhunath (aka Monkey Temple) which has the large gold topped temple as the centre piece and various shrines surrounding it. This Buddhist religious temple is ancient, however in recent years has suffered due to a lightning strike and the earthquake earlier this year.
There are 365 stairs on the approach to the temple (one for each day of the year) making getting there a serious task due to being on such a steep hill. The resident goats and monkeys did not seam to mind however.
Next we were off to Durbar Square which many of you may have seen in the news reports following the earth quake. This part of town is full of buildings that are considered UNESCO world heritage sites and it is such a shame to see the damage that occurred on that faithful day on 25 April of this year when the major earthquake hit this area. Hopefully in time and a lot of hard work many of these buildings will be returned to their former beauty.
The final stop off for the day was to visit Shree Pashupatinath Temple which is a Hindu temple and burial place, located along the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. To see bodies being cremated in open view and the grief families are going through when saying good by to their loved ones was quite confronting. The cremation process takes 4hrs and afterwards the remains are tipped into the river alongside where the process takes place.
After bodies are tipped into the river, children jump into the river and try to retrieve an jewellery the deceased may have been wearing! Odd but true.