Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kathmandu. The Serene Boudhanath.


I went to visit Boudhanath stupa twice and I loved it both times - my refuge from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.

My first visit to Boudhanath was on October 3rd and it was at the end of a very long day of sightseeing. I had spent the morning walking through Patan and most of the afternoon in Bhaktapur. It had been a dizzying day of sightseeing and to compound it all, I had to get back into the horrendous Kathmandu traffic to get from Bhaktapur to Boudhanath. Not a long ride but as usual, the sights of the city and the sounds of the traffice that whizzed by outside my car window were enough to tire my senses out!




I really wanted to just go back to the hotel and relax but Ahlay drove on and well, I decided that it would be a short visit. Oh so wrong of me!

Boudhanath is located smack dab in the middle of the city so Ahlay drooped me off with instructions to buy my ticket. He would meet me inside.

From the ticket booth, I could see the stupa - it wasn't a far walk :-)



Looking up, I saw the eyes of Buddha looking down upon me.

Buddhist devotees and pilgrims alike were already walking the kora.



I joined the kora so I could get a good look at the stupa from all directions. I came across a Tibetan Buddhist temple. This was before I saw the monasteries in Tibet. Looking back at the photo now, I realize how "new and shiny" this building looks in comparison to the monasteries in Tibet! Somehow, despite its ornate decoration, it also lacks the character of the Tibetan monasteries.


Once round the kora and I headed up the steps of the stupa.

From above, I could see the complex of buildings that surround the kora.....

....including the Tibetan temple.

There are also a few "lesser"stupas that surround the main stupa of Boudhanath.

After I walked around from above, I sat on the steps and simply watched the world go by. Far from the maddening crowd, it was a calming way to end my hectic day!

The second time I went to Boudhanath it was with Claire, Margaret and Barry. Barry took us to a nearby rooftop restaurant where we had breakfast. We had an entirely different view of the stupa from that vantage point - looking straight into the eyes of Buddha.


We were also lucky enough to witness an event that occurs only with specific cycles of the moon - large symbolic lotus petals are painted/thrown with the yellow dye of saffron juice. I captured part of the event on video. It's amazing how they manage to throw the liquid in a perfect arc!

On this day, they also restring all the prayer flags.
It would be the last time I would see prayer flags fluttering in the wind.
I sat on the steps of the stupa to enjoy the serenity of the place. My senses refreshed, I eventually rejoined Margaret, Claire and Barry for the ride to our next destination - a local cinema house to catch a Bollywood film! Life is good!