Posted by : Prajna LS April 3, 2014


Kathmandu to Kadori


Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is an ocean of mysteries. It is one of the ancient cities of Nepal comprising Hindu, Buddhist and local Nepali culture. At the outset, the city does not open up to strangers. Temples of ancient Hindu origin, Buddhist Stupas, Tantric cult, relics of vanishing royalty, and the silent presence of China can represent only half of the umpteen hidden stories. 
 We were there for only one day and were allowed to go out till the evening to explore the city. In the evening, we were supposed to attend a training session conducted by our travel supervisors. We were put up in a three star hotel near the airport. Yatris (pilgrims) coming from various part of India were there. Our batch of pilgrims consisted of around twenty yatris from Karnataka. A small group had come from Delhi. All of us were set to start our Yatra the next day.
We woke up to a misty morning; the city was drenched in rains the night before. The local guides had told us that they would take us to see Pashupatinath Temple at around 9 a.m. We, three ladies (me, my aunt and my sister-in-law) wished to have a morning walk. We found a joggers pathway just in front of our hotel.
We found group of ladies wearing red and yellow saris walking up and down that path. Some passerby said that the pathway leads to the Pashupatinath Temple and the ladies were dressed up for Naga Panchami celebrations. As we moved back, we were tempted by a roadside tea vendor and we sat on the small cane stools before the vendor. It was she. Her name was Manju. As we were sipping the hot tea served in tiny plastic cups an old woman whose hair was knotted into a bun on top of her head came there, took another stool and perched there. She had worn a brown colored sari and was joined by another woman wearing similar kind of sari. As we greeted they smiled at us. Manju served black tea to them. They were conversing in Nepali Bhasa. In a few minutes, as we were watching, Manju offered a cigarette to the top knotted old woman, and the lady started puffing fumes!
The moment was like a flash of experience for us. I knew about Nepali men and women puffing Ganja (Marijuana). One can recall the song ‘Dum Maro Dum’ from Devanand’s film Hare Rama Hare Krishna! When we asked, the woman told her name, it was Velmayi. Earlier, on our walk, we had met another old woman plucking some tender herbs on the roadside. Whenever I recall this ‘flash of experience’, I feel like visiting Kathmandu once again to spend lengthy hours with these women to hear their stories!  
We took a round of the city in the noon. We visited Pashupatinath Temple. This ancient temple of Shiva is situated on the banks of Bhagmati River. It was crowded with women in bright hues. Saris in red, yellow and green combination, bright red lipstick, vermillion on the forehead, flowers to hair and bead necklaces…gleeful Nepali women in groups were seen everywhere. 
Image Courtesy:Prajna LS
 Some were sitting before priests performing rituals, some were dancing in the temple courtyard, and some were standing in the long queue waiting for their turn to have a darshan of the deity. We were not allowed to take the camera inside the temple premises. So, I missed taking a picture of that ancient structure. 
 After that, we were taken to the well known Bouddhanath Stupa of Nepal. That evening we attended a briefing session about trekking. We were given down jackets; these are provided by the travels people for rent. They took 500 Nepali rupees. Next day, we were supposed to cross the Friendship Bridge at Kodari and reach Nyalam. 

 


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