. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: May 13, 2001

Sunday, May 13, 2001
Katmandu, Nepal
Nepal's FlagKatmandu Valley's Flag

Map
Katmandu, Nepal:
Latitude: 27° 42' 53" North
Longitude: 85° 17' 25" East
Altitude: 4610 feet
From Seattle: 8447 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Kathmandu Guest House

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: Nepal
Region: Katmandu Valley
Weather: Partial Sun

Available Photos:

Kids in alley Patan, Nepal

Some Buddha images The Golden Temple, Patan, Nepal

Elaborate prayer wheel The Golden Temple, Patan, Nepal

Prayer wheel The Golden Temple, Patan, Nepal

Part of the Krishna Mandir Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Carved rafters of one of the temples Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Two of the 9,000 Buddha bricks Mahabouddha Mandir, Patan, Nepal

Third story shrine in the Krishna Mandir Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Third story shrine in the Krishna Mandir Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Roof of the Krishna Mandir Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Roof of the Krishna Mandir Durbar Square, Patan, Nepal

Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

The palace and Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

Durbar Square Patan, Nepal

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

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Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1494
Linear Dist: 277282
Countries Visited: 76
Regions Visited: 289
More stats...
Hotels: 618
Friends / Family: 338
Camping: 133
Hostels: 262
Transit: 99
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4639
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Journal Entry:
I woke up to mostly blue skies and had no plans so I decided to go to Patan. I had a late breakfast / early lunch at a mediocre pizza place then set off. I didn't really want to deal with negotiating a taxi in Thamel so I walked about half way until I was in one of the more Nepali suburbs and then caught a taxi the rest of the way. I found Paton a little disappointing. Their Durbar Square is just more of the same as the Durbar Square in Katmandu, but somehow less real. Probably because tourist (and tourist shops) make up a much higher percentage of the people. You are supposed to pay to get in to the square, but by the time I was approached I'd already seen enough so I left the square and wandered around the "real" town. I wanted to see two specific Buddhist temples on opposite sides of the square - walking around the square through the small alleys and old neighborhoods gave me plenty of opportunity to get lost - which I managed to do several times. It also give me the chance to see real life Patton and as an added bonus I wandered into a couple smaller temples not on the tourist map.

The first temple I wanted to go to was Hiranyavarna Mahivihara (also known as Kwa Bahal and Suvarna Mahavihara), more commonly called The Golden Temple. This 12th century temple was compact and very ornate - even beautiful - and even though there were a lot of foreigners there were enough monks and worshipers there to keep an ambiance of devotion. The entire temple complex is pretty much covered with brightly polished copper and bronze which make it look as if it's constructed of solid gold. The most frustrating thing about the temple is that it's to compact - there is no place that you can get a good overview of the entire facade or shrine, or even the courtyard. But that's also a good thing - because I couldn't get a big view I really couldn't take any good pictures, and consequentially I didn't much try and I was just content to be there.

After wandering and getting lost a number of times I got to the next temple I'd picked out to go to. Mahabouddha Mandir is also know as the Nine thousand Buddhas temple because each of the approximately nine thousand bricks in the main temple has an image of Buddha on it. The entire temple was terracotta and very impressive. The best part was that there were no other tourists there (in fact only two monks were there), the bad part is that there's major restoration going on so I could only see bits of the temple between the massive scaffolding.

After the nine thousand Bhuddas I sneaked back into Durbar Square and sat down at a roof top cafe to have a beer while waiting for sunset. It was pleasant to sit above the square and watch life go on below. As it got later the balance of the crowds shifted from tourists to locals and the atmosphere started to feel more carnival like (much like at Bodhnath Stupa in the evening). I wandered around the square and enjoyed it much more - plus the guards had closed down so I didn't have to avoid the ticket inspectors.

I took a taxi back to Thamel and after a shower was starving. I was supposed to meet Chrissie for Indian food, but I needed something right then so I had a shake at Just Juice - as usual it was so good that I had to have a second. After the second shake I went and found Nir and Chrissie at their guesthouse and then Chrissie and I went to a local place for Indian food. Diner was great (Paneer Tikka and nan!) and afterwards we wandered around Thamel trying to let our stomachs settle. Ended up in my guesthouse's courtyard talking until midnight. I ended up staying up late again doing some sewing and then reading.


Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Katmandu
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Nepal
CIA - The World Factbook: Nepal

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