Kathmandu – The Spiritual Hub : Enchanting Nepal Part 1
The trip started at home on 29th of March 2014 with celebration of Amit’s birthday - cake cutting and an early lunch of Chola Bhaturas. Post this we left home at noon for a 3:50 flight as it was bros first trip on air and wanted him to see the magnificent terminal of Delhi Airport T3 and also to get a seat on left window to see the mighty Himalayas on the way – so asked for the same with request for it to be in front to give a view uninterrupted by the wings. Got the boarding pass and then proceeded to the immigration where a departure entry was stamped on the passports. The guy on the desk was curious about my Guwahati origins from the address on the passport and on some queries he really was astonished to hear that there was an IIT in Guwahati, and though I am not new to it but after 20 years of its existence, I would hope it gained some name for itself. Once into the departure areas we roamed to almost each nook and corner of the airport and had some light (second) lunch at the food court. This was followed by some window shopping and start of our activities to preserve the memoirs of the visit – picture taking. We reached the departure gate right at the time and boarded the plane after a short wait.
Meanwhile here is a video providing a glimpse into the city developed from our photographs of the trip.
We freshened up and went down to have a first experience of the city. We strolled around the area surrounding the hotel and interacted with a few locals and shopkeepers to gain some knowledge of how thing were. With everyone we interacted we felt a sense of inquisitiveness and connection they showed and overall the treatment meted was more of elderly brother. They considered us as if it was our own country, went out of ways to help, were eager to guide and were interested in conversing. It was after talking to them that every shop big or small across Nepal would accept Indian currency at a conversion rate of 1 INR to 1.6 NPR without hesitation. Though not technically allowed, in case you want as souvenirs or to make calculations easier they were willing to exchange some currency too. We picked up some snacks and returned to the room. As it was a special day, we ordered pizza from the hotel room service which came in soon. After the dinner we retired for the day looking forward to the five days of Enchanting Nepal ahead of us.
Next morning, we woke up relatively early and went down for the complimentary breakfast which had a decent spread of items. After the breakfast and calling home about our well-being we got ready for our day tour of the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley is collective name given to the city along with surrounding suburban areas including those of Patan and Bhaktapur. The entire valley is kind of spiritual hub with multiple places of religious importance especially for Hindus and Buddhists. The Kathmandu valley has in all seven monuments / areas declared as world heritage sites which includes two temples (Pashupatinath and Changu Narayan), two Buddhist stupas (Swayambhunath and Boudhnath) and three historical palaces (Durbar Squares of Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu). We had read a lot about these places as part of the preparation and were looking forward to have a taste of the country and were really happy to hear from the reception that our driver was there to pick us up. Our ride for the day was a 1990 model Toyota Corolla and was driven by a gentle guy Shukra who was friendly yet reserved.