Before and after Tibet, our travels took us to Nepal, a country the size of Alabama, bordered to the north by Tibet and to the south, east, and west by India. I fell in love with its capital, Kathmandu, whose citizens are called Kathmanduties, and their greeting of namaste. It’s the Nepalese aloha, a word used for “hello” and “goodbye” and not reserved for the end of yoga class like in the U.S. We arrived at the Tribhuvan airport in Kathmandu, the country’s only international airport. Between the signs in baggage claim and the marigold-lei greeting, my troll Aurora and I had a feeling we weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.
We stayed at the Hotel Yak & Yeti at Durbar Marg in Kathmandu city. Located in a former Rana palace, the Yak & Yeti has gorgeous gardens, statues of Hindu gods (including my favorite, Ganesha, who helps to overcome obstacles), and framed quotes from the Bhagavad Gita in the guest rooms. It’s a little slice of heaven.
Our first evening was spent at a traditional Nepalese restaurant, enjoying many shots of rice wine and very good local beers. In Nepal, the red dots on our foreheads are called “tikas” and are a mixture of abir, a red powder, yoghurt and grains of rice.
We were entertained by Nepalese folk dancers. Aurora hung out with them afterwards.
The Kathmandu Valley includes Kathmandu city and several surrounding municipalities. It’s the cultural and political hub of Nepal and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. I was anxious to see Patan, also known as Lalitpur Sub-Metrolpolitan City. Founded in the third century B.C., Patan is renowned for its fine arts, particularly metal and stone works and wood carvings. Patan also contains many fine examples of nature’s own beauty, and the beauty of the Nepalese people.
Next post: The Wisdom of Indra (lessons learned from my Kathmandu guide)