This post is going to be short, basically the last day in Kathmandu before we fly into Tibet. We will come back to Nepal after to continue our adventure.
Today is our last day in Kathmandu before we fly into Lhasa, we found out there is a citywide public transportation strike going on today, so no taxis or buses or flights are available. We tried to book a hotel taxi but they were busy picking up passengers from cancelled flights at the airport, so we agreed on a time that we can use it. We killed time by shopping and going to a better Momo place where we finally had some decent tasting Momos; still not a fan of those wannabe Chinese dumplings.
We waited for our visa guy to bring our passports back, we were nervous as we didn’t know if we got them but he finally arrived and everything was in order! We can now go to Tibet!
We got our chance to use the airport taxi to go to the Swayambhunath Stupa, this one is on top of a hill and the visit includes a monastery and other smaller shrines as well. The place feels very mystical and luckily this one i still intact after the earthquake!
For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudhanath.
There is a large pair of eyes on each of the four sides of the main stupa which represent Wisdom and Compassion. Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye. It is said that when Buddha preaches, cosmic rays emanate from the third eye which act as messages to heavenly beings, so that those interested can come down to earth to listen to the Buddha. The hellish beings and beings below the human realm cannot come to earth to listen to the Buddha’s teaching, however, the cosmic rays relieve their suffering when Buddha preaches…. Kids: Don’t do drugs please!!
Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in the north-west parts of the temple. They are holy because Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom and learning was raising the hill which the Swayambhunath Temple stands on. He was supposed to leave his hair short but he made it grow long and head lice grew. It is said that the head lice transformed into these monkeys.
We saw a couple small paintings we really liked so of course we bought them! They were a total of $10 for both so really cheap and we help the local artists.
The monastery next to the stupa was small of interesting as we were able to have a quick look into one of the bedrooms where the monks sleep.
You have a really nice view of the city of Kathmandu from the top of the hill. You can see the air pollution which is a big problem here as the surrounding mountains do not let the smog escape the area.
We came back to the hotel area to have another bottle of good wine with Courtney in the rooftop and then we went to eat some delicious pizza dinner that actually tasted gourmet with excellent imported cheeses (a nice change since we have been eating Yak and Buffalo cheeses since april!) We then passed out before waking up early for the airport.
Bonus Pic Of The Day: According to the guidebook, Nepal is part of the 10 poorest countries in the world. The earthquake in 2015 was more devastation due to this reason. It killed over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. Most of the people we have met here in Nepal have lost their home or know someone that was injured. Even after one year, the devastating evidence is still showing everywhere you look.