Back to Kathmandu
We started our journey back to Kathmandu on the same day after finishing parikrama. It was pretty much same as the onward journey, expect for the fact that we skipped one of the halts, thus reaching Kathmandu early, 2 days earlier than the schedule.
I had a strange health problem; my tongue went thick (like how it happens when you get fever). And because of that I felt puky, and couldn’t eat much. Prahlad was making fun of me saying it was a symptom of rabies.
Each and every one in the group kept telling me that the first thing I should do once we enter Kathmandu is to get rabies shot. As if I didn’t know! I know they were all well-meaning, but it gets to your nerves sometimes.
We took pictures with drivers and Tibetan guide when we almost reached Tibet border.
When we reached the border, we met Meetu. He looked happy to see us. May be he was about to take another group to Kailash-Manasarovar. Subha was wondering how exciting or boring that profession could be.
We crossed the border, got into the bus waiting for us on the Nepal side of the border, and after few hours we were in Kathmandu.
Of course... first thing I did in Kathmandu was getting rabies shot, after 5 days from the day I'd got bitten.
That’s what was printed in the destination column of the boarding pass, which was handed to us by Pushkar, our travel agent. We were to go on Everest sightseeing flight! This is, and will be, the most memorable flight of my life.
This one-hour flight from Kathmandu is operated by Yeti Airlines. They have small, 20-seater aircraft for this flight. We were given handouts, which had information about the mountains we were going to see.
We took off, and in few minutes we were close to the range of mountains. It was sheer majestic view from our windows. Air hostesses were helping us to locate mountains, and we were even allowed to go in to the cockpit to get a better view.
Initially, they looked like small stones emerging from a soft layer of cotton. We were at 25000 ft and the view started becoming clearer. With the help of the information and map on the handout, we could locate mountains. We saw Annapurna, Makalu, Gaurishankar, Kanchenjunga, Ganesh, Mansalu, and few other peaks.
We were deeply satisfied with the wonderful view, but we knew there was something more to come. After few moments, air hostesses started pointing to a peak, which was behind the row of all those mountains I mentioned – it was Everest.
Posing with Everest in the picture is Mt. Lhotse, which stands adjacent to Everest.
Needless to say, it was an amazing experience.
We visited three historical places in and around Kathmandu – Bakthapur, Paattan, and old Kathmandu area. These places were capitals of three kingdoms earlier; later on they were merged in to one and was ruled by kings at Kathmandu.
These 3 places have similar looking Durbaar squares; the one in Bakthapur is better than the other two though.
These durbaar squares are typically complexes with temples and palaces.
In Bakthapur, there is a five-storied temple of goddess Kaali.
After spending long time in Bakthapur, we went to see Paattan and Kathmandu durbaar squares, and found that they were much similar to the one at Bakthapur. The square in Kathmandu is very large, with lots and lots of temples. I didn’t have patience to see all of them.
But I was interested in seeing Kumari, the living goddess. I had read a lot about Kumari, so wanted to see her. She lives in a building called 'Kumari Ghar' at Kathmandu durbaar square. We had to wait till 4 pm to see her. There were quite a lot of people waiting there, mostly foreigners, in the open space of the ground floor. She came out and gave a glimpse through windows at third floor.
Kumari is believed to be the form of goddess Taleju and also believed to have healing powers. Nepalis worship her. Though it may sound interesting to be worshipped as goddess, I had read that Kumaris’ life is tough, deprived of normal childhood and education. And also Kumari’s divinity stint ends once she gets menstruated; and after that leading normal life could be tough for them.
We also went to Dakshinkaali temple outside Kathmandu. It is small temple in the open space, many people were doing animal sacrifice there. I didn’t quite like the scene, but liked the drive to the temple from Kathmandu.
Next morning, it was time to leave. In spite of wishing it should have lasted longer, we landed at Bangalore after few hours. Thus… I’m over and out with my story.
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Many people have been asking me about the trip logistics. So here are few points:
# There are many tour organisers in Kathmandu who operate Kailash-Manasarovar trips. Google for them. I know 3 such firms, I can give reference if you need.
# The trip costs quite a lot of money (at least by Indian standards), and you have to bear expenses of journey to-n-fro your town - Kathmandu. The fee includes your stay at Kathmandu 2 nights before the trip, one night after the trip, and pickup and drop to airport.
# You will have the option of flying from Kathmandu to Manasarovar area if you feel driving for 5 days is tough.
# Season for this trip is from May to October.
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ps: Photographs are from my camera, the ones that look better are from Subha :)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Back to Kathmandu