Kathmandu - Pasupatinath

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Part of the morning is spent sending emails and messages to try and get some monk’s robes for a Tibetan lama living in the UK. There are some new gardens near the Utse called Dreams. Nicely laid out with ponds, lawns, pavilions and a cafe, the gardens are a pleasant green space away from the bustle of the streets. You have to pay to enter, the relative seclusion is great for courting couples; lepers and beggars wait outside.

The riverside ghats at Pasupatinath are used for cremations and there is an air of melancholy here as families come to cremate and say goodbye to their loved ones and cast the ashes into the river. Today it’s raining but, in between the dark clouds, the skies are bright and the light gives an ethereal quality to the temples and riverside. Smokes rises from the ghats and mixes with the low cloud and rain.

You can no longer just wander in off the street, Pasupatinath is now a world heritage site with souvenir shops and a Rs1000 entrance fee. Orange robed sadhus with individual eccentricities of dress seem to be here to pose for the visitors - though maybe I’m being ungenerous - this is a Shiva temple and the sadhus are Shiva devotees who’ve probably been gathering here for centuries.

The late monsoon rain gathers momentum during the afternoon and like everyone else we tread carefully through ankle deep water as we carry our umbrellas. 25 years ago we were here at the Teej festival when all the women of the valley put on a red sari and walked to Pasupatinth to immerse themselves in the river. Wherever you looked you saw lines of red sari’d women walking to Pasupatinath and the river banks were a delight of laughing and praying women.

It’s a very wet day, in the evening get drenched making our way to the Yia Tang restaurant where we have an excellent green Thai curry.


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