I wander in these busy streets and ask myself where do the shop owners will put all the things they have hanging outside their shops. Is there enough space inside to put everything they display outside? I enjoy these buzzing streets. I watch people negotiating prices. Shop owners counting their revenue for the day on calculators. People stopping to chat or arguing about the quality of some fabric. It’s all very lively.
It was a very hot day in the southern Terai. We were few kilometres from the Indian border. We had left the hills behind us and reached the flat area and the temperature had gone up considerably. It was dry season and the main color my eyes could see was the light, dry, brown of the barren fields. The weather has become more erratic over the last few years, they told up at the meeting in Tikapur. Dry and wet seasons have changed in their intensity and duration. This makes life very difficult for farmers.
“The street looks really nice with all these candle lights”, I said. “The atmosphere suddenly changed as soon as the sun set”, she said. “Just before sunset there were all these people walking quickly towards Boudhanath, to start walking around it and recite their prayers. They all see a bit in a rush. Now that is dark, they are quietly walking in the narrow streets near the pagoda where they stop to light these candles.”
“By prostrating before a stupa, we turn our face away from our egos and toward our enlightened nature. By circumambulating—walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion and reciting prayers—we keep the image of enlightenment at the center of our attention.”
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Boudha Stupa dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudha Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Charumati Stupa (often called “Little Boudhanath”). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur – thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha (Wikipedia).
I was back in Kathmandu last April. I had not been back for many years. I lived there of a year in 1999-2000 when I started working in international development in food-for-work project funded by the German agency for international cooperation (GTZ at that time). This is why Nepal and Kathmandu are special places for me. The first night I was back, I went for a walk to Thamel to take some street photos. I stayed in Nepal for three weeks for work and will post over the next week or so some of the images I took.