Friday, 27 February 2009

My thoughts on Nepal

I didn't love Nepal as much as I expected too.

Everyone had told me that after India it would be a breath of fresh air, hassle-free, beautiful.

The Landscape of Nepal was quite simply beautiful. Absoultely out of this world. I loved Nepal for it's beauty.

Kathmandu was great for shopping. Hardly any hassle or pushiness. Very relaxed and easy.

In the city it wasn't clean. Like in India, rubbish was everywhere. Kathmandu felt suffocating. Everywhere there were mopeds and bikes blaring their horns and bells.

I was quite excited about visting Durbar Square. In the 60s and 70s when the Beatles were there it would have been a very different place. The pollution of the bikes and cars, which drive crazily around the temples, was starting to eat away at the wooden temples. Even sitting on the Hippy Temple you could not escape the blaring of horns. The overloaded power cables also spoiled the view somewhat.

The most interesting thing in Nepal was the Kumari, the living goddess. This is a little girl who lives as a goddess in one of the temples on Durbar Square. When the living goddess starts her periods the search begins for a new living goddess. A living goddess must be 3 or 4 when chosen and has to go through 35 categories to be the chosen one. Some things are a matter of fate - must be born in the right horoscope, must have pretty eyes, clear sking, neat teeth. The final test to become a living goddess involves the 3/4 year old staying for as long as possible in the pitch black of a temple where she is scared by men who chant and shout while buffalos are sacrificed around her. The little girl who lasts the longest without being scared is declared the Kumari. She lives her life in the temple until she starts her period when she is then returned back to the village she came from. It's a fascinating custom, but incredibly strange. The little girl comes to a window to see here public in the afternoons. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her. She was very bolshy-looking for a four year old. But then again you have to be to i suppose to pass the criteria. Very interesting.

I think the main thing about Nepal is that it isn't such an interesting place as India. Everywhere in India there is something to look at or something to see. In Nepal there is less fascinating stuff to keep you occupied.

Women are more free in Nepal, or appear to be at any rate, as they work in the shops and talk to tourists in the street. Women in India are far more hidden away.

I'm glad I've been to Nepal. But mainly for the beauty of the place. It doesn't have as many curiousites as India.

Sorry these thoughts are a bit scatty, I'm just writing my htought processes against a time limit! I might write more on Nepal in time.

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