Our First Days in Kathmandu

Boudha – Great Stupa of Nepal at sunset

 

Flying Flags from Boudha – the Great Stupa of Nepal
We arrived in Nepal in July 10th after a long flight from Melbourne. The reknown traffic and dusty roads of Kathmandu made us choose a more relaxing place where to spend our first nights in Nepal.
I came to Nepal for the first time in 2014, therefore I already had some contacts and some knowledge of places where to stay and areas to visit. We stayed in Boudhanath for nearly a week.
Boudhanath is home of the Greater Stupa of Nepal. It is a Buddhist village at the outskirt of Kathmandu. It is considered the holiest Stupa outside Tibet.
According to historians, the Boudha stupa was built shortly after the death of Lord Buddha, and is the largest single Chhorten in the world. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley.

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake badly damaged Boudhanath Stupa, severely cracking the spire. It was the first heritage site of the nation to be rebuilt in a short period. The reconstruction work of the Boudhanath Stupa began in June 2015 and was completed in November 2016. Buddha followers contributed the remaining amount of gold along with cash to complete the reconstruction task.

In Boudhanath you feel the spiritual atmospehere all around you. Moreover cars are not allowed so it is a beautiful area where to avoid the noisy roads of Kathmandu.

On the othe hand we saw lots of debris in other areas of Boudhanath; we could really understand the difference and appreciate the quick reconstruction of the Great Stupa.

Shechen monastery is an example of the damages of the earthquake on important landmarks. I was shocked to see this beautiful monastery which I visited inside many times in 2014 destroyed in many parts and the debris of beautiful painting on the ground.

 

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Badly damaged Shechen Monastery – Boudhanath
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Colorful debris of the Monastery’s decoration
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Debris on the ground of Shechen Monastery

We also walked around the city centre of Kathmandu and Durbar Square is a symbol of the procrastinated reconstruction of important landmarks of Nepalese history and architecture.

So many temples in Kathmandu Durbar Square are completely destroyed and gone for ever. Some others are still there but it hurts to see that after two years and lots of money from other countries the Square hasn’t been touched at all while it should be a symbol to get tourists back and get business running again.

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Durbar Square palace
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Collapsed Ashoka column in Kathmandu Durbar Square
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Temples completely destroyes in Durbar Square
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Slow reconstruction of Durbar Square

Although there are lots of temples destroyed, people still come to Durbar Square as a meeting point and catch up. It is wonderful to see many people just hanging out making the place alive despite the collapsed temples and the debris.

Do you want to travel to Nepal? Have you ever been in Kathmandu and in Boudhanath? What was your first impression of Nepal? Share your experience with us.

 

© Sustainable Action Nepal 

 

Photos by Martin Stringer and Silvia Di Domenicantonio (Walk One Earth)

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