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  • Kathmandu, A Place with Many Gods

    Stupa Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal ©Brandon/flickr

    Stupa Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal ©Brandon/flickr

    The capital of Nepal is filled with a wonderful world temples

    Kathmandu is surrounded by a mysterious air when the morning fog comes from the cold and frozen valleys of the Himalayas. The temples and statues of deities are covered with snow and the strong wind blows the gongs while you can smell the cold smoke of a burning rotten wood. The Newar locals believe the fact that this atmosphere brings spiritual purification, all the bad thoughts and sins being taken far away by the smoke.  This is Kathmandu, traditional yet extremely beautiful in its own way.

    But the smell does not take that long, being replaced by the smell of gas and and vehicles of the modern part of the “City of Temples”. The number of tourists transformed the little isolated Himalayan settlement into an agglomerated urban which still continues to grow.

     

    The population has changed from 123.000 to 450.000 in 4 years. Nevertheless the mysterious air still can be sensed even in the modern part of the city that comes from the old district filled with old temples, palaces, and many statues representing gods.

    The Wonder of a Demigod

    Kathmandu itself is situated on a valley of a 1300 meter altitude which was a lake 10.000 years ago. According to Geologists, an earthquake occurred a millennium ago and changed the whole scene, but the Newar population who live their for centuries have a different opinion. They say that the demigod Manjusri did this wonder with a single blow of his sword of light.

    The Newar people are Hindu, they are exceedingly talented in wood sculpturing. They are responsible for creating many arts and operas from numerous temples that can be admired.

    Kathmandu  means ” the wooden house”. It dates back to the 10th century when some villages from the old roads for caravans and pilgrims that connected  Tibet and India, united and become a single community. Monks and merchants brought their religions, first Buddhism and later Hinduism, being taught by the Tibetan monks.This resulted the establishment of many temples between the 16th and the 18th century by diligent workers.

    The streets of Kathmandu @Esmar Abdul Hamid

    The streets of Kathmandu @Esmar Abdul Hamid

    10 Altars were constructed during the reign of king Pratapa Malla. Far from the noisy streets into the old parts of the city of Kathmandu which appears unchanged for centuries. Cows that are saint are roaming through thrash, skinny street dogs chase one another.

    Old stores are stuffed one to another on narrow streets. There is an open air museum of Nepalese and Tibetan architectures. The rectangular Hindustan temples with their 3 floored roofs alternates with the Round Buddhist Pagodas having big long praying halls or pavilions filled with images of deities and demon masks.

    In the center of Durbar square lies the royal palace called Hanuman Dhoka. It is built with nine floors  guarding temples and immense halls. The palace was dedicated to king Hanuman, who protects the people against deceases. The faithfuls also pray here to Ganesha, the god with the head of an elephant, the god of wealth and wisdom. A golden gate leads to the interior yard where the kings of Nepal were coronated.

    Further there is another yard called Mul Chowk, where gifts are being brought like cows, chickens to tame Durga, the mother goddess.

    Sex against lightning

    Some of the cult places have some surprising stories. There is a representation of couple having sexual intercourse on a roof of a temple being dedicated to Krishna. It is said that it has a role to protect the building from Jagannath, the goddess of lightning, who is shocked about the scene on the roof, will never hit the temple.

    At the Tibetan temple of Bonpo, 50 monks and mystique’s are waiting for the arrival of paradise on earth, that it is said to last 18.000 years.

    The Temples of Kathmandu @McKay Savage/flickr

    The Temples of Kathmandu @McKay Savage/flickr

    Newar faithfuls are guarding an expensive clothing, once being stolen by the snake god from a demon that now protects the city against storms. An enormous statues represents the terrible Bhairava, the god of truth, the one who destroys those who lie.

    Kathmandu is a fascinating place. Every street has a secret, every temple has a myth. Because this territory is so vast when it comes about mixed religion history, many tourists come over to Nepal just to see the wonders of Kathmandu and also the Himalayas, making a perfect destination especially for those from the west.

     

     

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