Stupa's, a Dead Body, The Living Goddess and the casino

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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Buddhist Stupa

Nepal

March 11th 1990.  Stupa’s, Dead bodies, The Living Goddess, free meals and the casino.

We were up early again for the resumption of our organised tour, the bus arrived to take us to Buddhist stupa’s in two different cities, Patan was the name of one city   the other city was Bhaktur. 

 Badhnuth Stupa was on top of a quite high hill, with a long winding road up to the beautiful temple, with all of its interesting prayer flags and the big eye painted on the Stupa, all very nice and peaceful with a great view of the countryside, and a big crowd of people visiting.

Badhnuth Stupa
As we drove up in the bus we saw all these people who were throwing themselves on the ground, face-first with arms stretched out in front of them. We watched with interest, so the driver explain that these were devotees who were being most pious, they start at the base of the hill, on the roadside, throwing themselves onto the ground all stretched out to their maximum, say a prayer, then stand up on the spot their hands reached to and throw themselves down again for another prayer, stand up again only to throw themselves down again, all the way up to the top of the hill to the Stupa! They must be covered in cuts and scratches and bruises by the time they get to the top.

Not my idea of a religious experience, but to each his own!

We all went for a walk through the streets of Patan and Bhaktapur tooking photos of the big stone Lions at the entrance to the Golden Temple, lots of sweet children came up to us offering their services as a guide around the cultural sites, we took up one of these offers and had a great time with the young lad, no doubt improving his English, and he was well paid for his services.

Entrance to Gold Temple.

As the bus took us back through the city of Kathmandu we saw a big noisy gathering of locals and Police, to our horror we saw a dead body lying on the road with blood everywhere, the man had been shot, presumably by the Police as part of the illegal demonstration against the King that all these people had been holding!

Left us a bit shocked as we drove on to the to the Hotel Shanker, where we were told to pack our bags and get ready to move on to the Shangrilla Hotel which is also in Kathmandu not too far from the Shanker, we were never really told exactly why this move came about, we just did as we were told and moved, it is possible that it could have had to do with the demonstrations and was for our protection.

All the gold bars hanging in strips at the Golden temple.
The Shangrilla was much more modern and very nice and sunny, and closer to the town area we spent our time, so we didn’t mind at all.

After the big move Dave, Eric, John and I decided eat at Ozces a Nepalese restaurant well rated in Eric’s Indian Guidebook, and well deservedly so, boy did we get heaps of food, all of it delicious. I had another great time; I really like these guys, and I am sure they were having just as good a time as I was.

Wandered slowly back to the Shangrilla shopping as we went, I bought another great jersey hand knitted by some little Nepali village lady high up in the Himalayas, I plan to buy several, some I shall give away, some I shall keep. Bought a pair of Yak wool socks for my Husband back home, I carefully chose wool that was not full of seeds and twigs and didn’t smell too bad, these were thick and dark coloured, just right for a market gardener working out in the fields.

Kumari The Living Goddess, a post card.
  I was having such a great time its a surprise he came to mind at all!

While wandering, we came across an interesting building with a tiny wee low doorway that we had to almost crawl into; it was the kumari’s House, the home of the Living Goddess. We went inside, to the inner court yard, with rooms all around and an upper floor with a balcony all around overlooking this courtyard which is open with no roof, so she does get some sunshine, but we didn’t see the little child aged about 7 or 8 who is the Kumari. Apparently she is selected at birth to be the Kumari and is taken to dwell in this special house, in a kind of luxury, with servants, where she receives no schooling, just learns about things necessary for a Living Goddess, whatever they are, she is brought out for many festivals all dressed up in stately special clothes and makeup, carried on a pedestal high above the crowd. She lives in this house until menstruation starts and she is no longer considered to be a pure and Holy Goddess, when another tiny newborn baby girl just born on that day, is selected to carry on the tradition.

Me beside the Stone Lions.
Apparently parents are delighted and honoured to give away their baby to become the Kumari. While living as Kumari she is absolutely forbidden to speak; at least to foreigners, maybe she can talk to Nepali people I am not sure. We were quite intrigued by this child and wondered how a child from our own Nations would respond to such a life and for how long, we wished we could see her, but she didn’t appear.

The Shangrilla announced that there would be a free French meal provided to all of us to welcome us after the unplanned move between hotels, it was a nice gesture we all appreciated, but none of us really enjoyed the food, but we still ate it. We would have rather had Nepalese food that they really knew how to cook.

Eric’s guidebook again, told us of a Big Casino somewhere out of town that we could catch a free bus to, so five of us decided to do just that.

Street urchins in Patan
First time I had ever been in a Casino, or played poker machines or played the roulette wheel of blackjack, I was very big eyed and keen to try everything. I had taken only 200 N Ruppees and I managed to play all night on it. Had great fun losing most of it, then had even more fun winning it all back plus another 200 N Ruppees!  Should you ever go to this Casino; the poker machines all play on USA dimes, bring along a supply! I find I like the roulette wheel, playing corners where you bet on 4 numbers at a time, I was making good money. Sharon refused to bet all, Charlotte won lots of money at blackjack, Eric bet big and lost big, Dave did about the same as I did. We will have to do this again its so much fun, took the free bus back to the hotel where we all called room service, and had delivered big mugs of Hot Chocolate and assorted pastries at 2.30 am. A lovely end to another glorious day!

 

 

Kathmandu1 says:
Nice blog of the time. Little correction- Above mentioned temple on the hill is Swoyembhunath not Bouddhanath stupa. ;)
Posted on: Oct 15, 2013
reikunboy says:
i never knew there was a casino in Nepal. dead bodies you have seen and done amazing things on the trip to Nepal and India
Posted on: May 14, 2008
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Buddhist Stupa
Buddhist Stupa
Badhnuth Stupa
Badhnuth Stupa
Entrance to Gold Temple.
Entrance to Gold Temple.
All the gold bars hanging in strip…
All the gold bars hanging in stri…
Kumari The Living Goddess, a post …
Kumari The Living Goddess, a post…
Me beside the Stone Lions.
Me beside the Stone Lions.
Street urchins in Patan
Street urchins in Patan
Big sivler Lions
Big sivler Lions
Kumaris House, guarde by silver L…
Kumari's House, guarde by silver …
Kathmandu
photo by: sharonburgher