Saturday, 17 May 2014

Blog on Saturday 17 May Cultural Sites

We set off fairly on time - it turns out Nepal works mainly on African type time awareness so it's acceptable to be late! Akkal our VIN driver is pretty punctual though. We equalled a Canadian. an American and two Chinese chaps called Dsniel and Billy! It seems it's also common practice to adopt an English name that is idiot proof!!!Patan Durbar Square is the former kings palace a mixture of mainly Hindu and Buddhist architecture with buildings dating from the 16th century- extraordinarily ornate (see pics in Jens blog) Nepal was never colonized something they are very proud of so there is no European influence. There are temples, stupas, statues, bells, incredibly ornate wooden and stone carvings on doors and eaves of buildings, 3 and 5 tier pagodas everywhere one looks- an absolute feast. Raj our really informative and charming guide overwhelmed us with really interesting Hindu stories. We then walked to and entered the GoldenTemple a beautiful Buudhist temple - a moving experience wth ancient prayer wheels highly polished in parts where centuries of people have turned them - the feeling of time and past is palpable. In each place we were given time to be on our own. We then visited a Tanka Art School where we were shown the ancient art of tanka painting - incredibly intricate paintings using deep colours made powder from ground stone and inlaid gold. Jen spoiled me by giving me a beautiful tanka depicting the Wheel of Life- very precious and a wonderful momento of an incredible morning. We then drove to the Bodhnath Stupa the largest stupa in the Kathmandu valley festooned with hundreds of fluttering flags radiating from the tip some 40 meters above the ground. We walked around the stupa on the walking level turning the prayer wheels as we went. The stupa us surrounded by very ornate buildings decorated with different statues and icons  - I'm very lucky to have Jennifer to explain so much of these symbols, even to point them out to me!
Sadly I need to stop now - hopefully to continue later with more of the observations included in the origanal blog - sigh!!' 

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