A time for prayer with some masturbating monkeys

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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Final day of Kathmandu sightseeing and saving one of the best for last.  The Swayanbunath (nicknamed Monkey Temple) dates from the 6th century and the holiest of all stupas outside of Tibet.  Just a 2 km walk from Thamel, braved the typical narrow streets of the Kathmandu suburbs dodging cars and motorbikes loudly beeping their way through the streets and breething in the rich aromas of various spices and josticks.

Swayanbunath visible from half a mile away standing on top of a hill.  The normal guide touts waiting for business but 1 no was enough to detract their attention.  A stiff 300 step climb that gets steeper as you get higher to where the stupa resides.

  Almost a little disappointed when I reached the top as nowhere near as impressive as Boudnath and currently covered in scaffolding.  However found my coffee shop for reasearch purposes.

History and legend of complex very impressive which justifies why it is the most revered stupa, where a prayer made here is worth 13 billion that are made elsewhere.  Not one to normally buy in to religious hype,  it sounds a lot to me, so made a circuit of the prayer wheels surrounding the stupa.  The surrounding area is full of Tibetan exile monks that come here as the closest they can come to Buddhism whilst in Nepal.  The temple therefore always containing many monks at any time of the day.

The nickname Monkey temple fully justified as the hills overrun by hundreds of them.

  Completely placid and far too occupied laying their territory against their peers than be bothered about tourists walking around their patch.  Most monkeys happy for people to walk past within touching distance.  Entertained by one adolescent quite happily masturbating on a tree branch within 2 foot of where I was standing before drinking the fruits of his labour.  Oh the smallest things are so entertaining !!

The complex contains a couple of other stupas including another 1500 year old construction where a holy man sealed himself meditating until  the valley needs him. Legend has it that he is immortal and still alive inside leaving the stupa its own pilgrimage site.  The hill behind Swayanbunath covered in prayer flags. The monks around all very welcoming and friendly.

 

Returned to Thamel and in much need of a hair cut, decided to risk a local barber with the view that if it went horribly wrong, it could be shaved off and not look out of place in Tibet. However cut was suprisingly good.  Before I could escape, I was talked in to having the full cut throat razer shave. Equivalent of going through a car wash as got a preshave moisturise, wash, lathered up with foam, shaved twice before getting an ice rub before aftershave, finishing with a good slap around the chops !!  Refusing the final step of a massage, I was was trapped as the barber pulled me in every direction a sitting person can be, cracking every bone in upper body.  In a state of shock, my 150 rupees had increased to 450, but $5 still not bad for what I got !

Met up with Dave and Nina for a final night treat of steak in the renouned KToo restaurant.  Really good.  Got a complimentary Irish coffee before we called it a night to travel in very different directions tomorrow (me - Tibet, Dave - England, Nina - Chitwan).

 

 

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Kathmandu
photo by: sharonburgher