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Nepal: Mountains, Monks, and Monasteries

Updated: Jul 10

The Himalayas! Fluttering prayer flags! Monasteries! Ancient temples! Charming Hill Villages! Nepal - These images intrigued me for so long and eventually I got the opportunity to visit the place where the greatest chain of mountains in the world was formed. I have been mystified by scenes of hanging suspension bridges spanning big raging rivers deep down in ravines between lush green hills peeping out behind thick rolling mist.



It was my travel buddy’s idea for us to take a trip to Nepal. I had never been there, so I decided - let’s go!

I was advised to request a window seat on the left side of the plane when flying from Dubai into Kathmandu. The benefit of this became clear as the plane approached the destination and the snowcapped Himalayan Annapurna Mountain range majestically appeared above the clouds. The closer the plane flew to the ragged edges of the mesmerizing Himalayan mountain peaks I wanted to stretch out my hand to touch the mystical mountain. As I sat in quiet contemplation and admiration my thoughts were taken back to the fascinating accounts and stories I had read about adventurous Himalayan mountain climbing expeditions.

I had arrived! A dream had come true! I was about to enter the world of my exploration heroes.


Kathmandu


Taking the taxi ride from the airport into Kathmandu was a pupil-dilating experience. My senses were instantly overloaded by a riot of sights, sounds, and smells.


Just like the bright red, blue, yellow and green fluttering prayer flags, my eyes were drawn to the color spectacle in the shops, clothing, buildings, and temples.

As the car barrelled along little alleyways to reach my hotel in the Thamel area I got to marvel at medieval temples and buildings made of red brick and intricately carved wooden finishes. Kathmandu promised to be an amazing and intoxicating place to explore.


Bhaktapur Durbar Square with its conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara-style temples is a charming architectural showpiece, highlighting the ancient arts of Nepal. Walking around the square gives the impression of uniformity in design with the buildings featuring effigies of kings perched on top of stone monoliths, guardian deities looking out from sanctuaries, beautiful wood carvings of the struts, lintels, gateways, and windows.


Through the windows, there are visions of artists performing the ancient craft of Thangka painting, magnificent cashmere and yak wool shawls for sale and perfectly forged singing bowls to be purchased.


A spectacle of red and saffron robes welcomed me as I entered the grounds of the largest Buddhist Stupa in the world at Boudhanath