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Sep 2, 2011

Itinerary - Kathmandu

A Trip To Kathmandu
An exhausted, burn up couple... 
and their idea was to steal few moments for each other from the fast paced life of a metro. From planning for vacations to getting the tickets booked and a flight eventually to Kathmandu is the plot I have tried to knit my thoughts around. 

Kathmandu  - A place where one can explore nature, simplicity, history, religion and spirituality in different dimensions. Also could be tracking, mountaineering, discotheques, casinos and bars where you can enjoy the local Nepali Rock bands.

Day 1
The flight was scheduled at 7:20 am but got delayed by 40 minutes. Courtesy to the rain the sky was full of kites making it almost impossible to take off. We managed to take off around 8 am. and flew over dense clouds for most of our way though there was no rain at all. It was a route from New Delhi to Lucknow covering some parts of Bihar and finally landed at Tribhuvan International Airport Kathmandu at 9:30 am.
The weather was pleasant and in another 1/2 hour we were on our way to Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu our abode in Nepal. A decent five star property with all the amenities available. It should have been a drive of 30 minutes, which took not less than 50 minutes due to the traffic as we moved ahead in the narrow streets of the city.

We were welcomed with the everfreshing smiles of soaltee crew along with glasses of fresh orange juice and baskets of garden fresh apples. Our room with low height roofs, beautifully carved windows and cupboards with woolen rugs covering the entire floor was giving a typical feel of being in hills. It was amazing to sit next the big window with a cup of piping hot "Masala tea" and looking at the mountains and the greenery all over.
Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu

We decided to relax in the hotel for the entire day and explored the property. The entrance has been turned into a large porch – all sides open, where guest can relax on “Gorakha style chairs”. In the evenings local bands perform their music and one can also enjoy drinks along with the music. Three different restaurants specially “Kakori & Al Fresco” offering variety of delicacies which I liked most. A large swimming pool and well extended landscaping around the hotel rooms covered with soft green grass. Show plants and seasonal flowers blooming everywhere and the surroundings of hills is simply a WOW …

Pic in the center of the third row is " Gorbedo Ko Jhol" a typical Nepalese style soup served with bakery items.
Day 2
Pashupati Nath Temple 

In Nepal it is nemed as - पशुपतिनाथको मन्दिर. only Hindus alone are allowed to enter inside the temple premises. Non-Hindu visitors can have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river. This temple has a great pagoda style of architecture with cubic constructions, beautifully carved wooden rafter on which they rest. The typical two level roofs are of copper with gold covering.

Entrance gate of Pashupati Nath Temple
It was a Monday - a day dedicated for worshipping Lord Shiva. Drum beats with chanting of mantras were creating an atmosphere of amuse. Wedding ceremonies taking place in the large courtyard on the frontend while cremations by the riverside at the backend of the temple. An environment depicting the extremes of human life. I felt as if it’s a movie changing scenes one after another. Having different shades of life one -which is bright, joyous, and cheerful with all colors of life. Another -  plain, calm, peaceful. For all - people who are giving a final farewell to the departed soul with a shaven head and a single piece of white cloth wrapped around and people who witness this utmost truth of life. One universal truth for everyone.

Cremations rituals                                                     Wedding ceremony 

 Bhaktapur Darbar Square    &   Patan Darbar Square-
These Durbar Squares are a blend of pagoda and shikhara style temples made of bricks and wood at the heart of the city. The charm of this place is a fifty-five-window palace with the idols of ancient kings perched on top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuary, the wood carvings in every place - struts, lintels, tympanums, gateways and windows - all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony. This site is protected under UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal. One should never miss to visit the Durbar Square Museum.

Pagoda style temples & palaces with beautiful carvings on wood which are used to design windows, pillars, doors etc.
Day 3
Thamel Chawk: 

A place for food and window shopping. Full of restaurants and shops where you can by the local handicraft items such as wood masks, symbolic payers wheels, prayer ropes, idols of Buddha, temple lions, singing bowls, Tibetan patterned trinkets any many more. You can also find very good quality woolen rugs which is a specialty of Nepal.

Swayambhu Stupa: A place for people who have a quest for spirituality  and trying to find out a way towards Nirvana. More than 2,000-year–old Stupa and one of the holiest Buddhists shrines of the country. A cubically shaped architecture with Buddha’s eyes on all the four walls watching over the Kathmandu city from a hillock. Encircling the base of the structure are prayer wheels which pilgrims spin as they circumambulate the Stupa. The entire Kathmandu looks like a valley from this point and one can capture amazing shots from this point.

My inclination towards spirituality held me there for almost 2 hours and being honest it was the most peaceful hours I would have spent in last couple of months. Just can’t forget those eyes – when you look into them it feels as if they are going deep down inside you and leave you mesmerized. An amazing place which I would surely like to visit again.

There were some more places we wished to visit such as Pokhra and its peripheral areas which we couldn’t cover due to lack of time but worth visiting. 

We were in our return flight to Delhi early next morning with eyes closed still trying to recollect the peaceful srroundings of Swamyambhu Stupa with the aroma of scent sticks and Tibetan chanting all around.

Om Mani Padme hum..........
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  1. very well described. It was indeed a wonderful trip. More than the place, it was being with u which made it most memorable for me. Love u a lot and we will surely have many more such beautiful moments.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful post! Looks like such an amazing place to visit and your pictures are stunning.

  5. Thank you Eli... In fact Nepal as a country is an ideal place for all nature lovers. A country having its spirit in simplicity and spirituality. It was an amazing trip.

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