Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan

Nepal is vastly underrated. This past year I took two trips, primarily for visa purposes, but both times I discovered amazing landscapes, gorgeous architecture and sculpture, fascinating history, and cool people.
I'm looking forward to visiting again some day, perhaps in winter just after the monsoon, to complement my summer and monsoon visits.

Bhaktapur hosts the third historical square in the Kathmandu valley, after Durbar Square in Kathmandu, and Patan's Durbar Square. Durbar Square in Bhaktapur has an amazing golden door into the king's palace.
In the photo of Vatsala Temple you can see two bells; the Taleju bell on the right was for prayers, and the "barking bell" (partly shown) on the left was erected to counteract a king's vision.

A walking tour around Bhaktapur gives a glimpse into more traditional Nepali life, from worship at the Mahakali Temple to red chilis drying on the roadside.

Apparently another Canadian was wandering the streets, because I ran into this boy with a flag pin in his ear. His friend got a pin from me.

Religious icons often have flowers on them, but the monsoon made some striking combinations. Halfway through my walking tour, and well into the afternoon, it started to rain, so I grabbed a bowl of juju dhau, and caught the bus back to Kathmandu.

The southeast side of Bhaktapur included Potter's Square, filled with drying clay pots, and surrounded by pottery wheels and shops.

This photo shows Bhairabnath Temple from Nyatapola Temple at Taumadhi Tole.

The next day I returned, and took a side trip to Changu Narayan, a temple complex with the most impressive single collection of religious carving: all outdoors! The most interesting were an idol of Vishnu riding his mountGaruda (also on the 10 rupee note), and Vishnu with seven of his ten incarnations represented as heads on one body. Although there's a high risk of getting rained on during the monsoon, it's also a wonderful time for photography, because of the explosion of growth and colour. Many things outdoors grow a green fuzz. Pack a rain jacket and stick your camera in a bag!

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