Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, and Everest (Jul 2018)

16 Feb

This isn’t properly treasure-related (although there is a treasure-seeking component, below). In July and August 2018, I spent several weeks in Nepal tutoring a student and friend, Michal C., who was interested in studying the origins of Buddhism and Hinduism. With expert guides we explored the holy and historical sites of the Kathmandu Valley, and for a couple of weeks, we sat at the feet of Tibetan monks as they explained the rudiments of Tibetan Buddhism to my eager student (and incidentally also to me)! In the afternoons we studied in coffee shops, and I gave Michal lessons on composition and rhetoric.

One of the sites we visited was the temple complex of Pashupatinath, dedicated to Shiva and one of the holy places of Hinduism — a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is situated along the sacred Bagmati River, where during the night, pillars of fire rise up along the banks marking funeral pyres.

In the daytime I caught sight of people wading in the river below the temple with shallow baskets. For all the world it looked to me as though they were gold panning. Our guide let me know, her lips pursed in disapproval, that some impoverished people panned the river hoping to recover bits of gold teeth or jewelry swept into the Bagmati with the ashes of the deceased.

At the bottom of the post are a couple pics of Mt. Everest, not visible from Kathmandu but well worth a 20-minute charter flight to cast eyes upon.

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