Sunday, May 26, 2013

Small Villages Surrounding Kathmandu - Sunday, May 26, 2013

The driver and guide we ready for another day with us!!  We drove to the village of Kirtipur just 5 km outside of Kathmandu.  It is a sleepy town at this point, but at one time it was the capital of the region. This village withstood attacks from other kingdoms but in 1768 suffered a crushing blow after being under siege.  So we saw the faded glory of the village – there are many temples, but what interested us the most was the daily village life that was in progress.  A lot of the wheat has been cut and they bring it into the village center to beat the grains from the heads and then winnow the chaff (all done by hand). After this the wheat is laid out to dry on tarps, made of rice bags sewn together.  Women stir/swirl the wheat with their hands and feet so that the wheat grain totally dries in the sun.
Countryside near Kirtipur

Day Care
Drying Wheat

Kirtipur Temple

We then drove to two other small medieval villages, Bungamatic and Khokana.

Bungamatic is a woodcarving village. There were wood carving shops everywhere.  The guide is a friend of one carver so we watched him at work as well as visited with him – his English was good. We walked through the back streets of the village where village life was happening. The temple square was very clean and once again there are lots of temples – by now they are all looking the same to us.

Today was the first we saw any sheep, plus there were lots of duck with ducklings and chickens with little chicks.  They are enjoying the grain that is left on the ground.  The older women sit near where the wheat is drying so they can chase the ducks and chickens away from their precious crop of wheat.  We saw some ducks have a great meal before they were chased away.   
Bungamati Street
Temple Square
Bath Time on the Square

Spreading the Wheat to Dry
Separating the Wheat from Chaff

Our Guide and Street
The village of Khokana was even smaller and sleepier.  But we loved these sleepy villages.  We were alone as tourist, no hawkers bothering us and we could simply observe the village life – it is living museum.  It is like a window back in time.  We saw women sitting in their doorways spinning wool, farmers putting the wheat straw into bundles and carry it to their sheds for use by the cattle.  Nothing is wasted. 
Kokana Street

City Fathers

Spinning Wool

We are finding the wood carvings on the temples interesting - the carved balconies and the carved fretwork screens. 

Our last stop of the day was Patan which is a suburb of Kathmandu, so we are back into the crowds!  Patan does have a beautiful Durbar Square (Palace square).  It has a fine collection of temples and palaces, except that we have seen enough!!  We walked on to see the tall 5 story temple, which was lovely.  The small temples are just one story tall, and there are a lot of 2 and 3 story temples.  We have seen several 4 story temples and now today we have seen the second 5 stories temple.
Paten Dubar Square Temples


Five Story Temple


Motorbikes of every size and color are everywhere.  We have seen as many as 5 persons on one bike – two parents and three children.  They go zipping around in these small streets.  A lot of persons are transported in this manner in Nepal. We do not know how accidents are avoided, but everyone seems to anticipate what the other driver will do. However the crazy motorcycle drivers are an annoyance. You have to be careful, as a pedestrian as you do not have the right-of-way. 

Finally, back to the hotel for a late lunch, refreshing shower and a nap! It seems every town or city is built on a hill. The temples and squares are located at the top, so we are climbing in every town, the streets are not even for walking and the roads are bumpy, so that after 5-6 hours you are hot, dusty, and tired.  These cities are not clean – dust, fumes, smog.  The issue of trash – trash is everywhere.  We would leave our empty water bottles and any other trash in the vehicle so we could dispose of it when we returned to the hotel.  However when we would be touring a village, the van driver would take the trash items and throw them along the road – it drove us crazy!  At one point when with the Rotarians, we stopped to buy snacks to eat in the car.  Later while driving down the road, trash was being thrown out of the windows, one piece at a time!  Unreal!  They need an “adopted a highway” program.  I must say that today we actually saw a trash wagon going down the street, and people were putting their trash on the wagon.  However the real question is, “Where did he dump it”?  They have more trash bins setting around than we saw in India, but that does not mean they are used!

Visiting the little villages this morning was another highlight of the week.  Tomorrow morning we have several areas to visit here in Kathmandu before returning to the hotel for a refreshing shower.  We need to check out of our hotel room by 12:00 noon.  We will have a late lunch and later in the afternoon go to the airport where we will board an evening flight back to Doha, Qatar, where we will spend the night with our daughter.    Our trip is almost over. 

When we return home we will post photos to support what has been written.  We were concerned before arriving that the internet would not be strong enough to post photos in a timely manner. So we will do it later.

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