Our sponsor trips always include some sightseeing to local World Heritage Sites and temples as part of understanding the cultural heritage of our kids. So here are some impressions from Ralph Caraffa.
“2600 year old Pashupatinath Hindu Temple with its accompanying 518 temples and monuments for prayer and preparation and cremation of the dead is a study in contrasts. Many hundreds year old buildings with stone and wood structures ravaged through use, war and earthquake fill 650 acres in the center of Kathmandu surrounded by bustling people packed streets. The Bagmati river—a sacred river to Hindus—runs through the middle. Gold and orange marigolds, floating offerings to Shiva on behalf of the living and dead, were strange accompaniment to the charcoaled burning bodies and muddy river. The worn out structures were once again being rebuilt after earthquake damage—one could imagine the reparations had occurred many times through the years. An old woman carried a heavy basket of bricks up the steep river hill for the masons to use at the top. While we walked down the long steep stairway she climbed a well worn narrow dirt path. The beauty of the place wasn’t tarnished by the use, dust, and destruction. But, it was the vibrant colors worn by the prayerful marking stone and face that made the experience holy and memorable for me.
Our next visit was to Boudhanath a few minutes away. This sacred Buddhist temple, a gleaming white and gold spherical stupa shape like the Taj Mahal, had been recently repaired according to Nancy Williger. The whiteness was blinding and beautiful as we circled it under the watchful eyes of the Buddha. Pilgrims slept on outside mats and walked the circular temple praying their beads and moving the many prayer wheels.”
Nancy exploring Pashupati
Ancient and sacred Pashupati
Preparing for the cremation
Cremation ceremony at Pashupati
The giant prayer wheel at Boudha
The great stupa at Boudha
Many thangkas were purchased!
Entering the great stupa at Boudha