Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Thursday 15 December: Now based in Kathmandu, I'm exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the area that I didn't have time to see during my short visit in 2009. The first one is a real corker and it's only a half-hour bus ride from the chaotic old bus station, at Rana Park, opposite the tourist office.
An important place of Buddhist pilgrimage, the great stupa of Boudhanath is where traders and travellers sought blessing for safe passage over the mountain passes to Tibet and gave thanks upon their safe return. I add my thanks.
Joining the other pilgrims I take several clockwise turns or koras around the whitewashed stupa and spin many of the multitude of mani or prayer wheels as I go. A double lotus flower is subtly depicted in saffron water around the base of the dome and, above the eyes of Buddha, strings of colourful prayer flags adorn the jeweled and gold embossed crown. A store for sacred energy? I'm not sure, but it is certainly a very special and heart-warming place.
On my way back to Kathmandu's Durbar Square, I stumble across Kasthamandap, the city's largest supermarket, where I'm able to stock up with some of the material essentials of travelling life - Shiraz red wine, Mustang apple brandy and a new pair of 'Nike' running shoes which, at 1,449 Rupees (around £14), seem like a bargain. I wonder how long they'll last . . . certainly longer than the drinks.
Photos of Boudhanath.

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