KATHMANDU, NEPAL, Oct. 24, 2011 — Today we visited temples, World Heritage sites and stupas around Kathmandu. At Pashupatinath Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu, our guide Sohan explained aspects of Hinduism to us. I wish I had a tape recorder-Sohan is very knowledgeable about Hinduism, Buddhism and Nepalese history. We really enjoyed the time we spent with him.
We saw several families on the bank of the Ganges eating sacred meals in honor of their deceased family member. According to their practices, the oldest child in the family lights the fire to cremate the body. Then the ashes are poured into the river completing the cycle of life. According to their beliefs, our bodies are made of the elements: air, earth, water, fire and metal. These elements are represented in the colors of the prayer flags seen all over Nepal.
After visiting the temple we piled back into the van and to Durbar Square. Another World Heritage Site. We walked thru Thamel, exploring hidden corners of fabled Kathmandu.The ancient past lingers on in a maze of narrow streets crowded with turmeric sellers, small golden temples, wandering cows and traditional workshops. The streets are tiny, busy and crowded! Our senses were bombarded.
What a relief to walk into the Garden of Dreams for a late lunch. The garden is a neo- classical garden renowned as the garden of Six Seasons which was created by late field Marshal Kaiser Shumshe Rana. Built in the 1920s. It was considered one of the most sophisticated private gardens of that time. The renovation project was handed over to the Austrian Government and implemented by Eco-Himel. This model project has become a sustainable historic side which was lying dormant. It is an example of how historic places could be similarly restored and developed.
We had dinner at a roof top restaurant near Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in the region. It is 2,000 years old and a UNESCO World Heritage sites. Stupas are structures built to resemble mounds and contain Buddhist relics. Pashupatinath and Boudhanath are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their architectural design and place in world history. You can see more pictures in my website slide show.