Nepalese Hindus and Buddhists revere and worship the Kumari, who lives in Kumari Ghar, her palace in the centre of Kathmandu. Kumari means virgin and the girl is chosen from the Newari Shakya community via a rigorous selection procedure. Five buddhist priests will search for suitable candidates who have not lost any teeth, shed blood, or been seriously sick. Girls who pass the selection process are further examined to make sure that they possess the 32 perfections of a goddess, and must also have black hair, small hands and feet as well as well recessed sexual organs. Her horoscope is read and during the Dashain Festival 108 buffalo and goats are sacrificed to the goddess Kali, then severed the heads are illuminated while masked men dance around her but if she shows fear then another candidate is selected. She is then locked in a room with the severed heads during the night to prove she is fearless, then next morning she is shown objects then she must select the ones that belonged to the previous Kumari. She is then taken away by priests who perform sacred Tantric rituals before being paraded in a white cloth and installed in her new home, Kumari Ghar for the rest of her divinity. Her feet will never touch the ground as they are considered sacred, so she will be carried everywhere until her reign is over (when she reaches puberty) and returns to mortal life
When walking through Kathmandu and specially in religious places like Durbar, Patan or Pasupatinath is very common to find the Saddhus or holy men. A Saddhu or Sadhaka are ascetic people (some of then women) wich is doing Sadhara (a spiritual practice or spiritual way of life). They are devoted to one God but belongs to a particular face or form of the God. The vows that take includes: not having a family or a home, not work for money, not sleep in one specific place for more than three days. They are revered by their holiness but others are feared by their curses. In small towns they also intervene in conflicts between people.
I know that tuc tucs are a cheap and very good way of transport, specially in crowded cities like Kathmandu, but the drivers are really annoying; sometimes you´re walking along a row of them and every single driver is asking you Tuc Tuc Sir? Common sense if i say no to the first one that means that i don´t need one...at the beggining is Ok, but after hours saying no, it´s really a nightmare.
As everybody knows Hinduist have worshiped cows since the earliest times of their civilization. Cows are sacred for some specifically reasons: Because they give milk (Kamadhenu a sacred cow gave it´s milk to Vishnu) , helps working as an excelent beast of burden, for reincarnation beliefs and maybe mostly because is the animal companion of Gods as Shiva (also some Gods reincarnations have the cows form). Anyway is funny to find these beasts wandering freely through main roads or main squares causing heavy traffic jams specially in small roads.
Locals in Nepal Cremate the bodies of their dead. Along the river you will see this being done and the air will be filled with the smoke from the fires. Its quite an experience since most western cultures practice private death ceremonies and here it is in the city centre with man people hanging around.
All the Stupa's have the prayer wheel that are meant to be spun as you are walking the circle.
If anyone has seen the movie The Golden Child, you know of this custom... "I.. I.. I.. I want da knife!"
It’s a great honor when someone ask you to come over for Dal Bhat (lunch or dinner) at his/her house. You can expect to have a huge metal plate full of rice, Dhat (bean soup), stir-fried veggie (usually potato and cauliflower “Aloo Gobi”), and some kind of red curry. Please finish all of that, or at least try your best! – It’s sometimes considered RUDE leaving your plate barely-touched or even half-full. If at all possible, try to eat with your hands; Silverwares may not be familiar in many households. (yeah! I mean for the normal local families – of course NOT those well-off, affluent ones) And the most important thing, it’s better to have your own bottle of water, or if they offer you some drinks, then let it be hot tea or coffee!!
There is a wishing Buddha at the entrance of Swyambhunath Temple. This is the side from where you buy tickets, not the long stairs. The locals along with many others throw coins which has to land at Buddha's feet. You have to make a wish offer prayer to Lord Buddha and then throw the coin in such a manner that it lands at his feet.
Hey I was successful where as Munu & Rakhi could not land their coins at Buddha's feet. If you dont' believe it just do it for fun. It will cost you nothing only a few coins the money goes to Swyambhunath Temple development fund! You are not cheated.
In Hindu custom cremation of body is through burning only. It is considered holi and fortunate to be burned before the feet of Lord Shiva. In India or in Nepal burning of bodies are done on the banks of the river as it is believed that the soul reaches to God through the river. In Nepal, Hinduism is followed as in its original or ancient form. Before burning of the body the relatives dips his/her feet in the river , in belief that the soul will go to the Lord directly.
The Hindus consider it fortunate to be burned before Lord Shiva. In India the custom is changing, all the rites are observed as per Hindu custom then the body is burned in a Crematorium, to conserve Firewood and to avoid air pollution.
Nepal predominantly a Hindu country. Here you will find people are god fearing and most of the people are very honest. They offer regular prayer to the God they worship. It is customery to offer prayer to the God in the morning and in the evening. The life of the people of Kathmandu hovers araound Durbar Square. With its numerous temples in the vicinity people offer prayer whenever they get time.
We also took this opportunity to offer prayer whenever we had the opportunity.
There were piles of wood over the body of a deceased waiting to be cremated by the fire pyre and the ashes scattered into the river water.
It was a bit shocking to see a leg sticking out of the pile of wood but this is a local custom and everyone else is non-chalant about it.
After all, life and death is just part of the cycle.
At some of the market square, there is a row of bronze wheels that can be rotated by running one hands over them.
Observed that the locals will run over them as they walk by.
Both Buddhism and Hinduism have similar roots and believe in reincarnation and obtaining good deeds and merits in this life.
It looks similar to the Nehru hat. Nepali men often wear this cotton and colorful hat.
It looks a bit like the Malay songkok that is worn to the mosque and formal occasion.
Perhaps they have similar origin. Just a guest.
Nepalese currency is pegged to Indian currency.
1.6 Nepalese rupee = 1 Indian rupee.
1 USD = 73.4 Nepalese rupee.
1, 5, 10, 25, 50 paisa,
Rs 1, 2, 5, 10
Rs. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000
Monkeys are found in temples and are tolerated although they do cause havoc in their hunt for food. Hanuman is the monkey god in Hindu religion. Also naughty monks are thought to be reincarnated as monkeys.
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