Well at first I did not believe it. But during second visit my daughter Munu called me to show that the Monkeys are jumping in the pool, which is especially made for them. It was crowded and many leave it as this a monkey affair. But believe me we enquired with people they confirmed that at about 4.30 every afternoon they jump in this pool of Swyambhunath in group. It is worth watching believe me!
Next time you are in Kathmandu, please make sure you see this. I had never seen the Monkeys taking bath in a pool made for them just like human beings. They use the same technique we use while jumping in a pool. Who taught them? How did they know the technique? How do they calculate timings? May be it is because of God's blessings. I leave it to the fellow travellers to decide.
You may think why this is a tip? But I feel viewing Kathmandu city from The Swyambhunath is a different experience altogether! Just be there for 20-30 mts, you will feel sudden change in weather, temperature and the scenario in changing!! The setting of the camera will have to be changed and you may feel why I did not bring a sweater!
To experience all these you need to be there!
In Pashupatinath stand the most important Hindu temple of Nepal on the banks of the Basmati River. It is even one the most important Shiva temples in the on the subcontinent, so also visitors from India come to this holy place.
The Basmati River is a holy River and so is Pashupatinath a popular place to be cremated. The burning ghats are just north of the footbridges.
Pashupatinath is 5 KM west of Kathmandu and can be reached by bus. Go off at Gosala.
From the bridges and the terraced hill side of the east bank we had a nice view at the ghats. The Arya ghats, just in front of the Pashupatinath Temple are reserved for cremation of the royalty. At the southside of the bridges are four cremation ghats for the common people.
Like in Varanasi, there is almost always a cremation going on. Allthough photographing is permitted, out of respect for the dead and family, I felt uncomfortable to make pictures, so I didn't.
The Arya Ghat at the Bagmati River, just down the steps to the Pahupatinath Temple is a very popular place to visit.
So there are most of the time a lot of visitors around. Pelgrims take water from the holy river to bring home. Also ritual bathing take place in the river here.
We could sit at the riverside for hours, enjoying all the activities around the river.
In Pahupatinath, coming from the village mainstreet at the west, we crossed the bridge to the east bank. The eastbank is a rather tranquil area, where you can walk to three temples, reachable within 500 M.
We sat for a long time at the terraced hill-side at the east bank, having a very good view at the busy other side.
A lot of pilgrims and visitors climbed the stairs, to the Pashupatinath Temple. Entrance to the temple is forbidden to non-Hindus.
The large gilded, triple-roofed temple was built in 1696. Nearly 300 years before there must be allready another building on this site.
Most of the people, pilgrims and tourists, are to be found along the Bagamati River or in the temples on the western side of the river. Steps lead up from the eastern side of the river, too, and by going up you get into another warren of little temples that are much quieter and more serene. Lots of monkeys will keep you company as you wander about.
Just off Boudha, and another twenty minutes on a motorbike....and you reach this village right on the base of the valley hills....Sankhu...iddylic....newari...paved...sometimes I think it is even better than Bhaktapur....
Do not forget to have some Newari "Tho" (beer) and some snacks when you are there..the restaurants looks dirty...but I can assure you that you will have never tasted such good food in your lives.....ok, I admit it is a bit spicy....
while in kathmandu, try to get up very early (... yes, i know its hard, but around 7 a.m. will do) and explore the streets between thamel and durbar square, esp. around asan tole and indra chowk. It' s already busy at that time but mostly with locals, selling all kind of stuff: form kitchen utensils to vegatables and radios. There is not such a tourist buzz, like during the day and you can roam around freely without being bothered by will-be guides, dope-dealers etc.
When we walked to Patan we had to cross the Bagmati Bridge the area on the Kathmandu side of the bridge had a lovely temple which I cannot name as it was not even featured on my map. Behind this temple going nearer to the bridge there was an open area teeming with wild monkeys and cows. On the other side of the bridge stretched a shabby shanty town area. The temple was certainly worth a look if you have time. I would also be grateful if anyone could tell me what it was.
A hilltop village with good fresh air and hardly a vehicle in sight. The vehicles stop outside the town and only a lorry or two are allowed into the town square.
Hike down the mountain and discover a cave which has not been fully explored.
There's also a silkworm factory in the village where you can see mulberries and even eat them.
The "1905 Club and restaurant bar" is one of the oldest and once the poshest private club in Kathmandu. Today, every Saturday it hosts a "Farmers Market" in its posh compound, a beautiful naturally landscaped garden with a pond containing ducks.If in Kathmandu then don't forget to visit this restaurant on a Saturday when the "Farmers Market" is in progress and the place filled with tourists and sellers of "Organic food products".I happened to accidentally step into "1905 Restaurant " on Saturday(12-11-2011) while strolling around my hotel in Thamel.This restaurant is located on the main "Kantipath road" just opposite the American embassy.I was familiar with "Farmers Organic Market" since the same is also held occasionally at the "Mahalaxmi Race-course" precincts in Mumbai.Met various interesting people at the "1905 restaurant " grounds including the former scion of the Nepal royal family Mrs Prerana.Shah.Rana who is a staunch animal welfare activist having founded "Dreams", a animal welfare organization in Nepal and had a stall advocating the benefits of adopting stray dogs .Came across other expatriate foreigners settled in Nepal and dealing in "Organic Farming".Its one of the best places to get European cheese products.If in Kathmandu on a Saturday spend the morning at the "1905 bar and restaurant".
For those who wish to hear Sunday Mass, you can go to the city's sole Catholic church, the Assumption Church. For directions and schedule of services, I suggest you call them at the tel. no. provided.
If you are fed up wth KTM traffic and hassles and bad air, there are a number of places on the rim of Kathmandu that has excellent accommodation. I list them here:
Dakhsinkali and Pharphing.
Try accommodation here if you are fed up! Google the names, check with travel agents, ask around!
Off the beaten path on a varied trip combining three different activities. From the Bhote Kosi, the "Tibet River", a 5 day trek on the foothlls of the Himalayan range where you'll join Sun Kosi for a day of rafting. Then, 4 stages of Mountain biking through Nepali hills scattered with welcoming villages to join Kathmandu, capital of the kingdom, its temples and old areas.