A Travellerspoint blog

Nepal

Lumbini & Chitwan

Our last days in Nepal

Lumbini

When we arrived at the sacred village of Lumbini (where Buddha was born) we realized this wasn’t a place to spend a lot of time. The temples and surrounding grounds were lovely but could only keep us occupied for a day or two. We visited the holy sites and got on a bus to Chitwan the next day.

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The eternal flame was lit in 1986 to commemorate the year of peace. a coincidence that I was born that year? I think not ;)

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Woman of Lumbini hard at work in the temple grounds

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Buddhist pilgrims come from all over the world to worship the place where Buddha was born.

Chitwan

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In Chitwan, it is more common to see an elephant walking down the road then to see a car driving. This beautiful wildlife sanctuary village captivated me with its completely natural charm. The quaint village homes are all made of straw bale and the villagers harvest cow dung for bio fuel. We spent the days canoeing down the river with the gigantic crocodiles, watching the elephants bathe in the river, trekking through the dense jungle and watching the Rhino feed at the river bank (trying not to get in his way of course).large_IMG_0190.jpg
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Two minutes after this photo was taken the drunk driver galloped this carriage through the village at full speed, did I mention the roads are not paved and we were in the back? We ended up hitting someone’s car and then trying to outrun them. Once the car caught up to us there was big trouble… so we took off and never saw the driver again.
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From Chitwan we bussed it back to Kathmandu to catch our flight into Kolkata India. We had a train booked but ended up being stuck on it for 14 hours instead of the 6 it was meant to take. There was a fire in the train ahead, tragically 7 people died including 6 Indians and 1 Australian tourist.
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Posted by H-Dizzle 00:20 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Pokhara

Never Ending Peace And Love

We have been in Pokhara for about two weeks. The town has more than charmed us with its beautiful lakeside community. The culture is thriving here and although tourism is strong it has not yet distroyed the way of life. Pokhara is much quieter then Kathmandu and it’s easy to find tranquility here. We spent the first few days chilling out and getting to know Pokhara with our friends Jim and Kate. We all hiked up to Sarankot (a small mountain with a temple on top) to see the city from above. Unfortunately the clouds rolled in and covered the city in a haze. On another day we canoed across the lake and climbed a small mountain to see the World Peace Pagoda. We have had great company here and it’s relaxing to simply hang out at our hotel (Lotus Inn), drink tea and chit chat. Above all, Pokhara is great place to do nothing.

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In sticking with our well-being theme, we signed up for 4 day Yoga/Meditation retreat. The studio is high in the mountains and has stunning views overlooking the lake; a beautiful way to wake up every morning although it was difficult to wake up to the sound of a bell at 5:30am.The days were full of yoga, meditation, eating amazing organic vegetarian meals and drinking herbal tea. Eric and I found the retreat to be both a challenging and an uplifting experience

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After being recharged at the Yoga retreat it was time to challenge ourselves with a hike through the Himalayan Mountains. The first day we ascended 1000m. We literally walked up uneven river rock stairs for hours. We were both exhausted at the end of the first day and discouraged due to the fact that after all that hiking we were stuck in a cloud and could not even see the mountains. The second day was similar; clouds, stairs, exhaustion. We arrived at our destination of Gorepani and realized that we were never going to make it to base camp. It was near freezing, we didn’t have enough warm clothing and we hadn’t even seen the mountains. The third day was spent going over the mountain pass. This was meant to be the best day in terms of views as the entire hike was meant to have stunning views of the Annapurna range. We spent 6 hours of gruelling walking only to see a small mountain peak through the clouds. The path from Gorepani to Gundruck brought my spirits back up. It was beautifully carved through the Himalayan jungle and alongside ancient river banks and waterfalls. The jungle was thriving with wildlife and lush greenery; the ferns were bigger than me! The hike was long and hard but I was easily distracted by the surrounding beauty. On our fourth day we awoke to the most amazing views of the Himalayans. We watched the sun rise while drinking morning tea and stayed here till almost midday enjoying the spectacular scenery. Afterward we started the journey down the mountain where we could catch a taxi back to Pokhara. The taxi ride home actually provided some of the best views of the mountains we had seen to date. Almost made us wonder if the journey was worth it…

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It is now the following day and we have managed with great difficulty to drag ourselves out of bed, every muscle, every fibre within us is screaming in pain. Today we are headed to Seeing Hands Massage, a massage parlour with blind masseuses; here we will get our tired muscles relaxed for several hours.

In the next few days we will leave Pokhara and our new friends Jim and Kate behind to head to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.

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Posted by H-Dizzle 20:24 Archived in Nepal Comments (2)

Kathmandu is Katman-CRAZY

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Eric and I first arrived in Thamel, Kathmandu at around 10pm when most of the city was at rest. We were accompanied by a lovely English couple Kate and James whom frequent Nepal and graciuously took us under their wing.
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It is the start of the cities high season and was especially difficult to find a vacant room. After checking every guest house in the area we lucked out and found a room at the Premium Hotel for 700 Nepalese Rupees per night (about $9/night). It wasn't very clean, but beggars cannot be choosers.

We spent the next few days touring around the city. We made the long climb up the Monkey Temple ( Swayumbu), when we made it to the top we were rewarded with stunning views of the Kathmandu valley. On the way up we were blessed with the company of many monkeys who call the temple home. Just don't get in the middle of a monkey fight, they can be vicious! We spent the day on the top, reading and drinking masala tea.

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After our visit to the beautiful architectural marvel, we decided to, rather then cab, walk back into town. Eventually after walking for about an hour we realized we were lost. We walked past our intended destination of Thamel and ended up in the middle of Durbur Square, to top it off it was rush hour FML. There are no traffic lights in Nepal, in fact there are no rules of the road period. We got stuck in the middle of an intersection, and when I say stuck, I mean.. we were stuck! The cars and bikes were so tightly crammed together that we literally couldn't move. The only way drivers communicate in Nepal is by honking repeatedly. The sound of hundreds of cars honking sent me into an anxiety attack. After the chaos I hid in my room for the rest of the night. So much for spiritual enlightenment!

Nepal is considered one of the main hubs of the world for yoga, meditation and Buddhism. The next day, in our quest for a more peaceful, enlightened way of life. We found ourselves in a Buddhist Monastery at the BoudhaNath Stupa just east of Thamel's town centre.
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The Monks took a liking to Eric's tattoos and were quick to make small talk. Before long we befriended the monks and were blessed with Khatas. It was a memorable and truly honorable experience to be in the company of such great spiritual masters.
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After enduring a rough 8 hour bus ride, we arrived in Pokhara. A town nuzzled in the Himalayan Mountains, 200km west of Kathmandu. I am excited to see what this town has to offer.

More pictures from Kathmandu:

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Monks at the Monkey Temple
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Posted by H-Dizzle 20:31 Archived in Nepal Comments (2)

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