Kathmandu

In October 2016 I flew to Kathmandu to spend a month in Nepal.  Kathmandu became my base camp between two treks.  During my time in Kathmandu, I had the opportunity to visit some of the sacred sites in the city on several tours set up by our hosts at the Manang Hotel.  We visited Buddhist and Hindu temples, old palaces, and local artisans areas. The city is full of some of the most beautiful temples I've ever seen.  As we toured the city we also saw the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake and the lack of distribution of aid and resources. 

 
10/29/2016

The air is thick with dust and smog, the traffic is a series of near misses and disorder, the temples are beautiful, the food is tasty, the art is vibrant, the merchants are persistent, and the monkeys are just a tiny bit jerks.

My senses are on total joyful overload
— An expert from a letter home
 

 

Thamel, Kathmandu 

Waking up in Kathmandu. A sunrise view from the Manang Hotel. The city is alive with sounds; pigeons cooing, a rooster crowing, and car horns chirping at each other. 

Waking up in Kathmandu. A sunrise view from the Manang Hotel. The city is alive with sounds; pigeons cooing, a rooster crowing, and car horns chirping at each other. 

Marigolds in water at the Hotel Manang.  

Marigolds in water at the Hotel Manang.  

Prayers flags in the Thamel neighborhood. 

Prayers flags in the Thamel neighborhood. 

 

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Pigeons in Durbar Square. 

Pigeons in Durbar Square. 

Wood carvings at a local artisan's shop. 

Wood carvings at a local artisan's shop. 

Home of the Kumari, the living goddess.  Visitors leave red powder and marigold petals in the courtyard.

Home of the Kumari, the living goddess.  Visitors leave red powder and marigold petals in the courtyard.

On April 25, 2015 the earthquake hit Nepal. Many buildings were impacted greatly. While walking in Durbar Square you can see braces propped up against the buildings to add stability. Much of the money donated to Nepal in the earthquake relief effort has not made it to the rebuilding effort.

On April 25, 2015 the earthquake hit Nepal. Many buildings were impacted greatly. While walking in Durbar Square you can see braces propped up against the buildings to add stability. Much of the money donated to Nepal in the earthquake relief effort has not made it to the rebuilding effort.

The 2015 earthquake left damage to many buildings including the old palace, temples, and sculptures in Durbar square. 

The 2015 earthquake left damage to many buildings including the old palace, temples, and sculptures in Durbar square. 

Many of the ancient buildings were built with brick and embellished with hand-carved wood features. This photograph was taken in the old palace.

Many of the ancient buildings were built with brick and embellished with hand-carved wood features. This photograph was taken in the old palace.

A hand-carved wooden window frame awaits repair.  

A hand-carved wooden window frame awaits repair.  

Produce vendors prepare to sell their fruit. 

Produce vendors prepare to sell their fruit. 

A butter lamp burns in the foreground as two women take a selfie in front of Kala (Black) Birabi in Durbar Square.

A butter lamp burns in the foreground as two women take a selfie in front of Kala (Black) Birabi in Durbar Square.

 

Boudhanath Temple

The base of the Boudhanath Stupa is shaped to represent a mandala.  The community around the temple is largely buddhist, including a large population of Tibetan refugees.  

The base of the Boudhanath Stupa is shaped to represent a mandala.  The community around the temple is largely buddhist, including a large population of Tibetan refugees.  

The eyes of Buddha are painted in the four directions.  The eyes are all seeing and wise. 

The eyes of Buddha are painted in the four directions.  The eyes are all seeing and wise. 

A statue of Buddha at the Nyngmapa monastery. 

A statue of Buddha at the Nyngmapa monastery. 

A couple shares a moment on the steps of the Boudhanath Stupa. 

A couple shares a moment on the steps of the Boudhanath Stupa. 

 

Pashupatinath Temple

Sadhu Hindu holy men resting at Pashupatinath near the open crematorium along the Bagmati river.

Sadhu Hindu holy men resting at Pashupatinath near the open crematorium along the Bagmati river.

A portrait of a Sadhu holy man. 

A portrait of a Sadhu holy man. 

 

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur was the region we visited where the damage from the 2015 earthquake was most evident.

Bhaktapur was the region we visited where the damage from the 2015 earthquake was most evident.

Much of the earthquake relief money raised is still held by the Nepal government.  Some of the funds have been allocated to fix temples, but many families are left to repair their homes independently.  

Much of the earthquake relief money raised is still held by the Nepal government.  Some of the funds have been allocated to fix temples, but many families are left to repair their homes independently.  

Bhaktapur is an area known for the brick industry.  Bricks were stacked around the neighborhood to be used in the rebuilding effort. 

Bhaktapur is an area known for the brick industry.  Bricks were stacked around the neighborhood to be used in the rebuilding effort. 

A building in repair.  New framing on one of the traditional artisan paper factory buildings. 

A building in repair.  New framing on one of the traditional artisan paper factory buildings. 

A girl sits atop a roof as clothing dries on the line. 

A girl sits atop a roof as clothing dries on the line. 

Bhaktapur Durbar square. 

Bhaktapur Durbar square. 

Around many of the temples you will find goats, dogs, cows, and other animals.  Many are left as living sacrifices.  The community helps care for these animals. 

Around many of the temples you will find goats, dogs, cows, and other animals.  Many are left as living sacrifices.  The community helps care for these animals. 

A street dog nurses her pups. 

A street dog nurses her pups. 

Around many of the temples you will find goats, dogs, cows, and other animals.  Many are left as living sacrifices.  The community helps care for these animals. 

Around many of the temples you will find goats, dogs, cows, and other animals.  Many are left as living sacrifices.  The community helps care for these animals. 

A calf nibbles the petals of flowers and rice left on an alter. 

A calf nibbles the petals of flowers and rice left on an alter. 

A woman adds color to ceramic coin jars. 

A woman adds color to ceramic coin jars. 

Two women place ceramic coin jars in the sunshine to dry. 

Two women place ceramic coin jars in the sunshine to dry. 

Men stand on temporary framework that was put into place for the reconstruction of the temples. 

Men stand on temporary framework that was put into place for the reconstruction of the temples. 

 

Patan (Lalitpur)

Patan is an area known for its artisans.  The area has many of the traditional wood shops and a museum of statues. 

Patan is an area known for its artisans.  The area has many of the traditional wood shops and a museum of statues. 

A collection of wooden carvings cataloged and stored until the structures they adorned are repaired. 

A collection of wooden carvings cataloged and stored until the structures they adorned are repaired. 

Construction frames used to repair the temples. 

Construction frames used to repair the temples. 

A sacrifice of intestines hangs above a golden door. 

A sacrifice of intestines hangs above a golden door. 

Siddhi Lakshmi.  16th - 17th Century.  Bronze.  Patan Museum. 

Siddhi Lakshmi.  16th - 17th Century.  Bronze.  Patan Museum. 

Sundari Chowk courtyard.  The Tushahiti step well. 

Sundari Chowk courtyard.  The Tushahiti step well. 

A monkey is wraped in a garland of merigolds in golden temple

A monkey is wraped in a garland of merigolds in golden temple

 

Swayambhunath Stupa

A view of Kathmandu from the hilltop temple, Swayambhunath. 

A view of Kathmandu from the hilltop temple, Swayambhunath. 

Two macaque monkeys sit on top of a thunderbolt sculpture. Swayambhunath is known by Westerners as the Monkey Temple. Prayer wheels circle the temple which has Buddha's eyes painted on the top level.

Two macaque monkeys sit on top of a thunderbolt sculpture. Swayambhunath is known by Westerners as the Monkey Temple. Prayer wheels circle the temple which has Buddha's eyes painted on the top level.

Small stupas surround Swayambhunath.  

Small stupas surround Swayambhunath.  

A macaque monkey walks around the temple wall. 

A macaque monkey walks around the temple wall. 

 

Mangal Man Maharjan's Singing Bowl Collection , Kathmandu

A man plays a gong in a singing bowl studio.  

A man plays a gong in a singing bowl studio.  

A singing bowl collection.  Each bowl has its own unique sound.

A singing bowl collection.  Each bowl has its own unique sound.

Mangal Man Maharajan is a singing bowl collector and exporter.  Here he uses sound to promote meditation and healing.

Mangal Man Maharajan is a singing bowl collector and exporter.  Here he uses sound to promote meditation and healing.