Kathmandu and Bodnath.

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Summary and Index


August 2013, we fly to Kathmandu, spend a couple of days there and a day at Bodnath before flying to Pokhara and the following day flying on to Jomsom. At Jomsom we start our 15 day trek into Upper Mustang.

We return to Jomsom and spend two days on the road by bus and taxi to get back to Pokhara and a flight back to Kathmandu. We spend a week in Kathmandu and Patan.

Kathmandu Ten years since we’ve been in Kathmandu and over 30 years since I was first here. Such changes, even in the last ten years. In 1980 you could happily cycle round the quiet roads in the the Kathmandu valley. Even ten years ago the walk down from the ridge from Dulikhel or Nagarkot took you through terraced rice fields with hardly a house. Now as we fly in low over the valley we see thousands of houses scattered throughout the valley, Kathmandu seems to have increased in size tenfold. Inevitably the traffic is worse but walking the lanes and backstreets is as charming as ever, narrow passages leading to small courtyards containing small statues of Buddhas or a Hindu Ganesh. Door frames and lintels, whether of stone or wood, are decorated with old carvings, the city is a living museum.

Bodnath On the 7th of August we stay overnight at Bodnath. The great stupa at Bodnath is the focal point for many Tibetans living in Kathmandu, numerous monasteries have sprung up here since I first came. Yesterday a Tibetan Buddhist monk set fire to himself inside the walled enclosure around the stupa, the second fatal self immolation at Bodnath in protest against the Chinese repression inside Tibet; the mood is sombre. Nepal is financially dependant on China, and Chinese influence on the Nepali government has resulted in life being becoming much tougher for the Tibetans living here. There are security cameras and plainclothes police watching from the stupa. The uniformed Nepali police carry fire extinguishers on their belts.

At dusk we join the Tibetans circumnambulating the stupa. In spite of the tragedy I get the feeling that life just goes on - these people have already suffered so much. In the evening we eat too late and get soaked in a downpour, bedtime is earlier here than in Kathmandu and the streets are deserted as we walk back to our hotel.

8th of August, my 65th birthday and I‘m at Bodnath, for over half my life this has been a special place in my mind.

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