Nepal (Day 21 continued) – Kathmandu; healing singing bowl 11 July 2009

After that fantastic “morning of mountains”, we breakfasted in the hanging gardens with the resort management (they don’t get many American guests, and were interested in feedback), and then flew back to Kathmandu.

templeThe afternoon was filled again with too-short visits to ancient temples, stupas, and pagodas – we started in Patan, one of the four kingdoms, and it’s Durbar (royal) Square, and marveled at more of the beautiful, intricate woodwork everywhere. One highlight of our tour in Patan was to a renowned Tibetan singing bowl vendor. (Patricia gave Lester one for his birthday several years ago, and I love it.) The bowls in this shop were exquisite; the vendor informed us that the handmade bowls are used for healing purposes. He invited me to come inside his tiny shop and be seated on a small stool. I was instructed to remove my hat and pony-tail holder and place my hands on my knees in the traditional Buddhist meditation pose (palms up, thumb to middle finger). He then put a *very* large bowl upside down on my head, and made it sing! WOW – it was so amazing to feel the vibrations humming down through my body!! And after some serious negotiating, Andrea purchased that lovely bowl which included a brocade pillow for it to rest on.

stupaLunch was in a rooftop cafe, with views across the city of Patan, and from there we went to visit the Boudhanath Stupa – a UNESCO world heritage site on the ancient trade route from Tibet. It is one of the two most sacred sites for Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists, and possibly the largest stupa in the world. We enjoyed the now-familiar site of many Tibetan pilgrims and monks making their way around it, offering prayers and turning the prayer wheels, some chanting, some chatting.

Our next stop was the Swayambhunath Stupa, also a world heritage site, buddha eyesand the other most sacred site for Nepalis. The stupa is high on a tree-covered hill, and is also known as the “Monkey Temple” because of the holy monkeys that live in parts of the temple. This site includes a Tibetan monastery and many other shrines, and is sacred also to Hindus. In addition to the hundreds of monkeys, the most striking feature of this stupa is the bright blue Buddha eyes (always found) on all four sides, but these include the Nepali symbol of unity between the eyes.

We finished the day, and tomorrow’s end of our tour, with a final dinner celebration at Wunjala Moskva, a beautiful garden restaurant featuring traditional Newari food and dance. peacockThere are about 9 separate pavilions, each with seating for about 15 persons, all facing a central square for musicians and dancers. We were served an amazing and fabulous array of Newari dishes, and the elaborately-costumed performers would parade around the pavilions before and after each dance – my favorite was the peacock. We all went home stuffed and tipsy from “rokshi”, the traditional Newari brandy.