Dead Town, Dead Bodies, and a Dead Big Stupa

Trip Start Jul 21, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Try to keep this brief as we've written loads in the last day or so and I've run out of superlatives.
To break up the journey between our trekking and returning to the capital, we stopped briefly at the old Bazaar town of Bandipur, it had a hayday many many years ago as it occupies a place on the old route from India to Tibet, - so high was it's standing at one stage, that it was awarded the only public library in Nepal outside of Kathmandu....  It sits high up on a ridge, in the middle hills, and has a lovely quiet old one-street town.  On our way up there the weather was overcast, and dense fog prevailed - a shame, as the main draw of the town now is the panoramic views around the Himalayas.  We managed to climb up through the mist to a high viewpoint - and with nothing much else to do for the day - lounged around, reading, playing cards until the mists eventually lifted and we were rewarded with magnificent views of mountains I couldn't recognise or name, and some eagles following the local paragliding school along the ridges.
On our return to Kathmandu we slowly settled back into the madness, had a "posh" meal in the most expensive hotel to see how the other half live (still came to about 12pounds total).. and were relieved to find out we actually preferred our streetside veggie curry emporium to the rather characterless atmoshpere of the swanky eatery.
Our first sight seeing trip back in Kathmandu was to Pashupatinath (the lovely sounding posh-potty-not) which is famed as a holy place next to the river where Hindus aspire to have their cremation.  We weren't allowed into the temples (Hindus only), but were treated to a tour of the cremation sites including the Royal platform, where the entire family of the ill-fated previous King were cremated.  We'll add some more useful info next to the photos, as it was a similarly impactful experience to our trip to Mnnknmnmnknm the other week.  We haven't included any pictures of the many Sadhus who were there, as there appears to be a proliferatrion of tourist sadhus - who bully you into taking photos of their odd appearance, or try to smear you with a tika for your forehead.. wheras the "real" sadhus would rather hide in a cave, or dash off the moment someone points a lens in their direction.
After PoshPotty we headed towards Boudha slightly further out in Kathmanadu.  It is the site of one of the world's largest Bhuddist Stupas, rumoured to have been created around the 5th century, when a local girl was permitted to fund the building of a stupa "covering the area of a buffalo hide".  The resourceful girl then shredded the hide of a buffalo and streched it out to create a huge circumference.  Once the King relented, this Giant Stupa was built.
Following our time in Tibet, it was very impressive (biiiiiiiiiiig stupa), but not altogether new or exciting, so we completed a Kora of the stupa, had some very nice grub on a rooftop nearby (watching the exiled tibetans mixing with the tourists), then offski.
We're going to be making for the border over the next few days (monster 20+ hours of nepalibus broken into 2 legs, heading east for the border with West Bengal.  We may or may not be back in touch before the festive season is upon us (you). 
So Season's Greetings to you all - take care and keep in touch!!!
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