A Travellerspoint blog

The rain in Nepal falls mainly... everywhere

Dodging the monsoon in Kathmandu


View Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur 2011 on Chris Parsons's travel map.

Having landed under blue skies in Delhi, we thought perhaps we had missed the tail end of the monsoon, but alas it was not to be. The descent into Kathmandu flew us through several layers of cloud, and droplets streaking along the plane's windows signalled the rains still lingered over Nepal.

It took just one day for our meticulously planned itinerary to fall apart. We have arranged a trek which links together trails through some restricted and protected areas, which means five separate permits are required. As it turns out, one day was not long enough to satisfy all the bureaucrats and officials needed to authorise our trip.

We have made the most of our time here, despite the rain, which has been persistent but is refreshing and cooling. We visited the Gardens of Peace yesterday, an relative oasis of calm which was once part of a government ministry and has now been renovated. Here, the blaring horns of Thamel (Kathmandu's tourist ghetto) are slightly less intrusive, and the plants, after three months of heavy watering, are particularly lush.

Chris in the Gardens of Peace in Kathmandu

Chris in the Gardens of Peace in Kathmandu

In the afternoon I braved the traffic-choked narrow streets as I set out for Durbar Square, the heart of the old city. Crowded into a tiny temple courtyard with pilgrims, tourists and locals, we waited patiently for a six-year old girl to appear at an intricately-carved window. She is a living representation of the Buddha, has been chosen for her beauty and bestows good luck upon anyone who witnesses her face. As she appears, tour guides shout "No cameras!" to the mob, who raise their cameras to the window in unison, then drop them, gasp and burst into spontaneous applause. The girl looks non-plussed, but has been trained to act that way. A strange experience.

Woman spinning cotton in Bhaktapur

Woman spinning cotton in Bhaktapur

Today we took the local bus to Bhaktapur, a nearby city in the Kathmandu Valley. This is the cultural capital of Nepal, and was a truly eye-opening experience. We learned that koi carp like doughnuts but can't swallow a cigarette lighter. We also learned that you can never judge a temple from its cover. What appears Hindu from the outside can turn out to be Buddhist within. And that some of the more intricate thangkas, or Buddhist paintings, can take one individual two years to complete.

Jen in Bhaktapur

Jen in Bhaktapur

This afternoon, a miracle happened. The rain stopped, the clouds parted and distant hills and mountains appeared for the first time. Perhaps my encounter with the living Buddha has had something to do with this turn of events? It certainly bodes well for our trek, which begins tomorrow with a seven hour journey by local bus to the trailhead at Arughat Bazar. Wish us well, it will be some time before you hear from us again!

Clearing skies over Kathmandu

Clearing skies over Kathmandu

Posted by Chris Parsons 09:59 Archived in Nepal

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

This evening I went to the gym. That is all.

by mikeparsons1981

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login