Dakshin Kali Temple is definitely a must-see but non-Hindus are not allowed to enter in to the compound where the image of Kali is actually located. Dakshinkali is regarded as one of most important Hindu goddesses.
Pilgrims visits this temple to offer their prayer and animal sacrifices to the goddess. Here, the animal are sacrificed such as goat, sheep, cock, duck etc as it is believed by doing so ones desire and wishes comes true. Saturday is the major day for the sacrifices but on Tuesday also you can see the process of sacrifice and during the Dashain festival, the temple is literally full with blood everywhere and the image of Kali is bathed in it.
Dakshinkali is around 23.8 km far from Kathmandu city (New Bus Park) towards south in Pharping-Kulekhani Road. One can also reach Dakshin kali temple by bus from Shahid Gate or can do cycling. The cycling takes 2 hours generally but the ride can be very exhausting.
Video of Mountain Biking to Dakshinkali Temple : http://vimeo.com/85837056
Being able to visit temples of two great beliefs within minutes of each other is a very rare thing, but in Nepal it is very possible. You get the best of both worlds here, and if like me you never tire of visiting temples, you will be very very happy.
Fondest memory: The contrast in Nepal is great. You can go from the mountains to the city to the jungle all in one day if you really want to, you are spoilt for choice.
When we were exploring Bhaktapur, a bus stopped and women poored out. It seemed like one bus could hold an uncountable number of women. They were al dressed in reddish colors, and were holding all different kind of offerings, rice, orange dye, flowers....
The offerings were layed in a small temple at the square we were standing, the women danced outside and just as suddenly as they appeared they started to disappear. Within minutes the square was empty again.
The Nepalese constitution says that the National Animal of Nepal is the cow , which is sacred to Hindus, and Nepalese law makes killing cows a crime.
In 1998 a man was actually sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing a cow.
Fondest memory: If you look carefully at the pic.. you could probably see the headless sacrificial lamb. Not exactly my fondest memory but definitely one of the most interesting.. and certainly an eye-opener. Probably irksome to some of you, but that's their culture, so have some respect for it! =)
Favorite thing: Budhanilkantha - the giant statue of the Lord Vishnu, on the coil of the snake. This 15th century old statue, placed is in the middle of small pond (which represents the ocean). This is a famous place of pilgrimage. The interesting thing is that reigning King of Nepal is not allowed to visit this holy place.
Shivaratri and the Holi festivals.
The first was a festival for the followers of the goddess (?) Shiva. The followers are normally Sadhus who go on long pilgrimmages, do acts of self inflicting agony to prove their faith and who smoke marijuana daily in their search for enlightenment. They don't smoke like we usually smoke and there really is an intricate ritual invloved here as this is a religíous action.
'Holi' is the popular 'Color Festival'. Dyes and paints and everything colorful that can stain you and your clothing is used in this ceremony which happens during the first full moon in Spring. It is a festival celebrating the end of Winter and beginning of Spring...so I'm told anyway.
Fondest memory: Dasain Festival in the autumn is a festival with flying kites, flower decorations, flags, festive people and --- animal sacrifices! You have to watch almost every step you take so that you don't step in a pool of goat blood. If you are a bit sensitive about decapitated animals - go to Nepal anouther time of the year! If you on the other hand are very interested in culture and ancient traditions, the festival gives you a perfect opportunity to meet this richly-coloured culture and to help you understand the way of life in the Himalayas. Every car and bicycle, bus and rickshaw are showered in flowers and blood to make sure that the year to come is a safe year without accidents.
take the time to see more than just the mountains snowcapped peak and the stones you're stepping over as you pick your way through the twists and turns of the trail below your boots. Nepal has a depth greater than the river gorge you'll be traversing and wider than the valley, is the rift between your culture and theirs.
Fondest memory: The Nepalese culture is a blending of Buddhist commpassion and Hindu cerimony with holy icons and historic relics that are worshiped by all.
The Himilayan Kingdom of Nepal is steeped in incense and vermillion powder to present a way of life inconsevable to most people in the Western World.
Favorite thing: The Hindu people bring many offerings to the temples. In this picture a woman is burning something, that looks like straw. Other women brought rice and dye.