Friday, September 24, 2010

One Last Trip Part I: Pashupatinath

Before travelling back to Canada, I spent two weeks in Nepal to bridge the gap between my visa expiry date and my flight home. The original plan was to take an eight day trek in the mountains, but some health problems prevented that. They didn't prevent me from having a great time in Nepal, but I guess I'm just not meant to trek!

I started with a trip to the holiest temple in Nepal, mostly dedicated to Shiva. I lost count of the small temples.

The temple is built on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. Here's a line of eleven temples with lingams/yonis. Cremations were also happening continuously, and here you can see the smoke rising up behind a trident, a symbol of Shiva.

I was fascinated to find anthropomorphic representations of Shiva focusing on his virility much more graphically than those in India.

The temple was filled with hundreds of red-sari-clad women. Apparently there was a festival going on, and the goal of one religious organization was to make a huge number of clay lingam/yonis.

Holy men also congregate at this temple.

I've mentioned in other blogs that I've really come to dislike monkeys; they're dirty and aggressive, but the temple had some incredibly cute baby monkeys which were at the stage of walking just enough to annoy their mothers, but still uncoordinated.

Finally, a five-temple enclosure is now the site of a home for the destitute elderly.