There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first is excellent, the second good, and the third useless.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Nepal - Day 10

The strike is over and everything is back to normal. Thank god. Managed to get in a good day of touristy stuff today so that's a bonus. I think I could spend a year in Kathmandu and still not see all the temples and pagodas that I want to. Last time I was here I got to make a flying trip to the monkey temple, this time I spent the whole day there! Nepal itself is an odd blending of religion and I love it, you have Muslim, Hinduism and Buddhism all side by side with no trouble what so ever. The country itself is the only Hindu kingdom in the world and religious tolerance is practiced all over.

Swayambhunath is one of the holiest Buddhist spots in Nepal and probably one of it’s most memorable sights. The great white stupa adorned with the watchful eyes of the Buddha stands out from between the trees on a great hill that over looks the valley. It’s a holy place for the monks that have been pushed from their homelands and forced to make a home in Nepal. It’s beautiful. It’s also the source of an ancient legend, the story goes that an enlightened being (excuse me if I can’t remember the name) saw the valley filled with water and drained it for the people of Nepal. The great hill that the stupa rests on was the lotus flower that crowned the valley and the stupa itself was a holy light inside the flower that was transformed into a holy temple.

Not many monkey’s this year (had my camera stolen from here last year!!) apparently they are dying because the river water is so polluted. I did have a good chuckle at the few tourists I saw walking up the steps towards the stupa though, don’t they know there is a back way in that’s a lot easier??

The stupa..

Steps to the temple
A very old Buddha
The temple complex


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