What a Blessing! And Patan ... Wednesday, 10/21/15

Back on the Bus!  Our group of 11 Happy Travelers!

Meanwhile, these guys just want a bit of petrol in their bikes.  Tomorrow is the last day of Dashain.

While on the bus, our guide, Krish, called out, "Would you guys like to stop in at a local temple to see how the people are observing Dashain?"  Yes, of course!  Wow, it looks crowded.  One more thing about this important festival is the tradition of buying and wearing new clothes, and we saw some striking examples of color while we were Out and About today.  

(We didn't have to wait in this line since we were not actual participants.)

Perhaps this looks silly, perhaps not, but anyone in our group who chose to could receive a blessing (Tika) from the Brahman at the local temple.  The Festival of Dashain occurs just after the harvest season ... farmers are happy and households are filled with rice and grains.  It's the most pleasant time of year ... the season itself is a celebration.  Dashain is celebrated by both Hindu and Buddhist, with only slight differences and interpretations. Dashain is regarded as victory of good over evil and it's a time of family renewal, highlighted by family dinners, and worship.  Today is the ninth day and the day is fine.  It's wonderful to be in Nepal during the festival.

Barley is an important symbol during Dashain; it's sowed in sand brought from the river, and is called Jamara when it's grown.  The seeds sprout in ten days.  The sprouts, which symbolize a good harvest, are placed on the heads of family members later on in the festival as a blessing.  In this case, above, two volunteers (one male, one female -- in different tents), elected to have the barley seeds placed on their stomachs to grow.  They took no food, and only sips of water, and tomorrow on the tenth day, they'll arise.  Amazing, isn't it?

The goat I showed in a previous post?  He'll be a goner, along with a lot of others, as thousands of animals (buffalo, ducks, rams) are slaughtered for Dashain every year.  It's considered an important ritual since it's believed that the goddesses are appeased by such sacrifices.  People also slaughter the animals for family feasts.

As we walked along, this man, who spoke fairly good English, was proud to introduce his 84-year-old Mother to us.  She didn't speak English, but she knew he was talking about her and she beamed!

Such an eventful morning!  Lunch was special, served outdoors at the beautiful Summit Hyatt, and here we sit, all of us with our blessings visible.  (The dessert was fabulous ... so, I ate mine and Krish's!)

Afternoon found us at Patan Durbar Square.  (Who knew there was more than one Durbar Square -- there are actually three in the Kathmandu Valley, all within a few kilometers of each other, and all received significant earthquake damage to the temples and palaces.)

Above is the temple of Lord Krishna, which holds a commanding position in Patan's Durbar Square palace complex.  It was built in 1637, in the Shikhara style, imported from India.  Beneath its 21 golden pinnacles are three floors.  The first floor enshrines Krishna, the second Shiva, and the third, Lokeshwor.  Scenes from the Ramayana narrated in Newari script decorate the interior.  It's managed by local Brahmans and is still used.  Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple (tho a great deal of beauty can be seen from the courtyard).

More earthquake destruction.

This is Hiranya Varna Mahavihar -- known to tourists as The Golden Temple -- a unique Buddhist monastery just north of Durbar Square.  Legends say that the monastery was founded in the 12th century.  The principal priest of this monastery is a young boy who has to be no more than twelve years old.  He's assisted by a slightly older priest, and both serve for only one month, and then both are replaced.  During the month they must stay inside the courtyard.  We saw both the young boy priest and the older mentor.  

The roofs and screened windows, including cornices and struts are all gilded with gold.  The temple banners you see above that hang down from the roof to the level of the doorway are remarkable.  A legend links them with the Buddha, who used them as a ladder to come down from heaven to earth.

More prayers on the prayer wheel.

This evening, after another very full day, dinner was "on our own."  Jimmy and I elected to eat by ourselves downstairs in the dining room of our hotel, and it was lovely to just sit quietly and enjoy each other's company, and a fine dinner.  It may come as no surprise that Jimmy ordered a hamburger (!!) and I ordered a Caesar salad with chicken ... both excellent, and a happy change from the same old-same old (rice and stuff, that our entire group was growing tired of).

Tomorrow we load up and fly to Bhutan ... another new country!  As with Tibet, we'll treasure forever our time in Nepal, appreciating their culture (and cultural differences), the people and the fantastic monuments and shrines we were thrilled to see, and especially to share ... albeit in a small way ... their happy festival known as Dashain.  

On to new adventures!


  1. Fabulous post, Nickie.

  2. And the saga continues!

  3. The visit to the festival was a smart suggestion from your guide ... would have lightened the mood from the earlier visit to Pushupathinath.


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