10th November 2014 – Kathmandu, Nepal
In a mountain, perched atop a city surrounded by mountains,There is a temple, buddhist at heart, but greets every saint and sinner.My camera grew restless here, and the shutter wouldn’t stop clicking.Between the monkey and the monk, the clouds were a clear winner.
So, last night, I made one of my first mistakes in Nepal, notwithstanding the blotched Sarangkot trekking attempt. I choose to look for accommodation in Thamel, the backpacker district of Kathmandu. The only problem is, that Thamel is like Varanasi and Pushkar, with very narrow streets, and no place to park my motorbike. And the very few places that actually had parking space, were way too expensive. Finally, I found a guesthouse in one of the alleys, which provided a room for 17 USD. If you are thinking that is cheap, most of the guesthouses in Thamel go for the 5 – 10 USD range.
After some rest, and some changes to my blog setup, I left the comfort of the hotel today to see the Swayambu Temple. One of the highlights of Kathmandu, this place is also known as the monkey temple. And for good reason. I had just entered the temple premises, when an army, literally an army, of monkeys swarmed around the stupas. They jumped helper-skelter, everywhere around the place, almost knocking down a korean girl from the high temple. It doesn’t help that the temple is located on a very high ground. I was speaking to an Aussie tourist here about the Blue mountains. He informed me that this temple was even higher than the blue mountains!
I hung around the temple until sunset, trying to catch a monk as he took his rounds around a stupa. I was told that a monk sometimes does 108 rounds around a stupa, to denote the 108 beads in a rudramala, that beaded necklace which they hold in their hand.
I couldn’t wait for the 108. It grows really cold here by sunset, and I returned back to the guesthouse in an almost crippled state.