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From the city to the country

A bumpy adventure from Patan to Nuwakot

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We started the day in Patan at Swayambhunath more commonly known as the Monkey Temple. It not called the monkey temple for any religious reason. It is called that because a whole boatload of monkeys live there. And they own it. And they are not nearly so hospitable as the Nepalese people. This is the site of a major Buddhist temple, but as Buddhism and Hinduism coexist, it is also the site of a Hindu temple.

After an early morning with grouchy monkeys who clearly have not embraced the Buddha, we checked out of the Inn Patan, which was gorgeous in all of its details as is so much of Nepal. And it was the home of a truly HOT shower.

This meant hitting the road for Nuwakot through some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. This also meant getting a little more into the mountains with the Famous Farm Inn in Nuwakot perched on a mountainside. Also perched on mountainsides are rice fields. Throughout Nepal the mountainsides have been terraced to allow planting. These go quite a ways upward and are quite the engineering feat, especially given that they have been dug largely by hand over centuries.

All along the way, there were river crossings in the form of suspension bridges. For all you Camp O folks, think of 300 yard Amantacha Bridge. These were mostly for foot traffic connecting villages back to the road, but this being Nepal were also crossing for some of the many motorcycles.

When we arrived at the Famous Farm we found an Inn frozen in time. Well, except for the wifi.

After a family style late lunch, we went exploring the town down the hill. There we found earthquake recovery, a beautiful sunset, and a living goddess. There are 7 Hindu living goddesses (Kumasi) with one selected for each of the kingdoms of Nepal. She was hanging out in Nuwakot and perfectly happy to have her picture taken. We were told these girls have a much more normal life these days except during festivals and except for the living goddess in Kathmandu who doesn't get to leave the temple until she is sprung from her gig as goddess upon reaching puberty.

And FINALLY for you history geeks out there, look carefully at this flag
Yes, my fellow geeks, that is a swastika. So why are there Nazi symbols in this very peaceful nation? Because, the Nazis and Hitler stole the swastika from Hinduism. Swastika is even a Hindu word. It is a symbol of prosperity, good fortune, and auspiciousness. So, in the west, this is a symbol of pure evil, but here, as it has been for centuries, it symbolizes good fortune. There were a pair of Swatikas on our bus to Nuwakot, in fact. I suspect if Hitler had tried to hijack the Christian cross, we would proudly reclaim our symbol, as is the case here. Still, a little strange to see this symbol and have happy thoughts.

History lesson is courtesy of our awesome local guide Bipin who knows all!

Posted by wangard 11:04 Archived in Nepal

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