Exploring Kathmandu……Part One….
Archive for the 20/4/2013
Arriving back in the late afternoon, from collecting our bike from customs, the day we did have planned was now stuffed….
We had originally planned two nights in Kathmandu.
But we decided to stay longer as this little town of Thamel has a great vibe….
So we checked the hotel site to see if we could extend our stay…
Bummer…. no rooms available, so with what little of the afternoon was left we went in search of a new hotel…
Bingo the first one we came too Access Hotel had a vacancy plus somewhere safe for the bike….
Breakfast wasn’t included but that’s fine and just to make the deal even sweeter they came down in price, plus the room was better and we had a large balcony with a view over looking some streets of Thamel….
Great we’ll be back in the morning, moving the bike early to avoid the traffic in the narrow streets….
We settled in to our top floor room feeling rather exhausted as the power was off so we had to walk up 5 flights!
Now Settled in to our new ‘home’, we decide to head off to check out Dubar Square.
Off we go in what we hope is the right direction!
As you would expect the streets were filled with old buildings that have incredible personalities…..
The craftsmanship is fantastic…little archways between some buildings lead you into courtyards and you may even find some Stupas..
Finally we got to our destination.
First up you have to pay the entrance fee that is 750 NP each then you can enter the area.
UNESCO lists Durbar Square as one of the eight Cultural World Heritage sites…
It is a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries.
It is also home to a Palace and was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century. The palace is decorated with elaborately carved wooden windows and panels simply stunning
Not forgetting the other buildings, temples and monuments in variable architectural styles, which will engross you, the detail in the woodcarvings are outstanding.
The whole area is packed with traders, tourists, locals and pigeons…thankfully I was wearing my hat!
On the way back to the hotel we went a slightly different way, the correct way…lol and to our amazement we came across the Tooth God…..
It’s located in old dental street and still has many old looking dental surgery’s there!
The Tooth Stone God is a small rock with countless nailed in coins…apparently the belief goes that if you have a toothache, you go there, nail in a coin and your pain will be gone!!!
We were looking for this Tooth God on our way to Dubar Square…see what happens when you go you the right way!
Heading back towards the hotel we passed an ice-cream trolley and two scruffy kids ran up to us and asked for an ice-cream-how could we refuse? They were about the same age as our two eldest grandchildren, the little buggers didn’t even say ‘Thank-you’ although they pose for a photo then ran off and showed their mum their ice-Creams…
The following morning…
After our chocolate croissant and coffee at the Pumpernickel café (this was a daily pattern until we left Thamel…. sound familiar?) we agreed a fair price with a rickshaw driver to take us to Swayambhunath or also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living at the temple!
The ride out of Thamel was pretty easy but the roads soon became broken up with massive potholes trying to dodge them and the rest of the traffic must have been a nightmare let alone having 2 fat westerners in his carriage!
Part of the journey was up hill the driver was really struggling and got off his bike to push us up the hill….
Clive felt bad so got off and helped him push!
Gee it was hot sitting in the rickshaw all on my own!!
We finally made it to up the Monkey temple after walking the 365 steps trying to avoid the monkeys that were running and jumping around……
some even watching to see what goodies you may be carrying…
The stupa has Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows painted on all 4 sides of the main stupa, which represent Wisdom and Compassion.
The area consists of a central stupa, several temples, shrines and a Tibetan monastery, this place is amazing a must see for anyone going to Nepal.
The next day was Monday so we needed to sort out our Visas…Indian first….
We thought we could go to the Chinese Embassy after Applying for the Indian visa…ha ha what a joke we didn’t get out of the Indian Visa office till after 12pm and the Chinese embassy closes its doors at 11.30am, Oh well tomorrow it will be…..
On the way back from the Indian Embassy we stopped in at The Garden Of Dreams…
Which is an historical garden, and just a short walk from Thamel, or a short walk from the Indian Embassy…..
The Garden is also known as the garden of Six Seasons, its Surrounded by a high brick wall, and was built by Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana (1892-1964).
Some time later It was abandoned and became overgrown and in ruin…
Austria provided money to restore about 3 of the original 6 acres…
It was only 200 NP entrance fee, and well worth it once inside the garden you forget all the noise and chaos that is happening outside the walls…
It was like a Secret Garden….
The following day we went to the Chinese Embassy to apply for our visas…it was quick and easy… We paid to get the visas done within 24 hours.
The next day after collecting our Chinese visas we spent the rest of the day getting ready for our four day trip towards the Tibetan border…
The next day we left some luggage at the hotel (just taking a few basics with us) as we were returning to the hotel in Thamel as we needed to be back to hand in our passports to the Indian Embassy.
NB- we have already done a blog on ‘Wordpress’ on how to get a Chinese and Indian visa