After 42 hours of travel including an overnight stay in Delhi, I arrived in Kathmandu. My travel so far has been easy and I am grateful.
After getting settled into my hotel I went and explored the streets of Thamel making my way to Durbar Square. I arrived during the Dashain festival, so streets and sites are packed. The only way to describe it is chaotic but in some way it is an organized chaos. I don’t feel unsafe or afraid of anything just in awe of the sights and sounds.
Today I had a taxi take me to four different temples: Pashupatinath – a Hindu temple where I observed two people being cremated along the river (surreal), Baudhanath – a Buddhist temple that is still being rebuilt after being destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, Gokarna Mahadev – a small, unimpressive Hindu temple, and Swayambhunath (also known as the monkey temple) – a 2500-year-old mixed Buddhist Hindu heritage site and temple located at the top of a hill near Thamel.
The temples, albeit beautiful, are also where you get harassed the most. I was able to deter most but some stealthy Hindu holy men got me with the red & yellow string bracelet and a red tika mark upon my forehead before I was able to say no and then of course I had to pay them.
Overall I’d say the people of Nepal have been very kind and helpful. They are extremely poor and still rebuilding after the devastating 2015 earthquake, yet the vibe is very positive and welcoming.
Kathmandu has been great, but I’m looking forward to heading out to the mountains tomorrow. See you in 21 days.