Like most capital cities of developing countries, Kathmandu is an incredibly interesting mess. A boggled and miscalculated Gordian knot, that offers the enchanted tourist both confusion and an uncommon opportunity to live weeks in a spiritual hazy dream. A city of interesting dichotomies, Kathmandu relishes between slow OMs and fast paced sellers, new Indie upscale restaurants versus Dal Baht street corners, mystical ancient history facing today’s development race. You can literally feel the tug of war between the city’s desire to follow the lead of its Indian Neighbor versus its plain need to stay true to its elemental roots. Kathmandu is today, as it has always been, an alluring crossroad. The city was so full, so fascinating, that Rob and I found ourselves spending our extra 5 days in Nepal, after EBC, in Kathmandu vs making the trip to Pokhara. Every day we found something new, something beautiful about the city and her outlying villages.
On our last day in Nepal, we spent the afternoon at the sacred Swayambhunath Temple, west of Kathmandu city. For Buddhists of all sects, the Swayambhunath temple is holds high significance and is either the most important or second most important pilgrimage site, so we simply had to go! The temple sits very high on a hill, with steps ascending to the eyes of Buddha looking over the entirety of Kathmandu and her people. Whether it is because of the climb, the stunning views, the smell of incense or the energy of our earth that surrounds this stupa, it is difficult to leave. It is completely magnetic. In the end, it was the notorious monkeys of the Swayambhunath temple (AKA Monkey Temple) that sent us scurrying down. We had already been through one round of traveling rabies shots, and I was not eager to have to commence another cycle. And so, as evening came around, we rode our moped back through the busy wet streets, with echoes of OMs and motors, and eventually settled in a nest like restaurant with vegetarian burgers and sweet rum. Nepal, a piece of your magic is kept in our heart.