We had a very lazy day. We just chilled out watched some movies in the hotel room. Late morning we ventured out to Thamel for a coffee and some postcards to send home. In just two days we would be starting our hike so we were just trying to relax.
In the evening we met Raju for dinner. Raju led us through Thamel to a restaurant. We were served local Nepalese food and watched a traditional dance show. It was great to get to know our guide Raju. We discussed the hike and he answered any questions we had. Raju has been a guide for 10 years so his knowledge on hiking in the mountains was endless.
Today we had a day tour around Kathmandu. We met our guide at the hotel and then she lead us to our driver. Our first stop of the day was The Monkey Temple. The temple was the oldest temple in Kathmandu. It was actually built before Kathmandu existed. As you can imagine there were monkeys everywhere. We walked up to the top where our guide explained the concept behind the Buddhist Temples. She also told us in the earthquake the original temple was the only bit which survived and everything else had to be re built. This temple gave us a great birds eye view of Kathamandu. Our next stop was to visit a real living goddess called a Kumari.
The Kumari is selected at birth and she lives in a building on the second floor as she is not allowed to touch the ground. People come from all over to see her. A few times a day she will come to the window to give people blessings. Unfortunately when we showed up she was having a nap…she is only 3 years old after all. We did see a photo of her. They are a goddess until they get their first period then they return to the local village and a new Kumari would be selected. Just around the corner from the Kumari was the Royal Palace. There is no longer a royal family in Nepal but the palace is still there and is currently being rebuilt after the earth quake. There was a Hindu festival going through the area we were in. It was a long line of women all dressed in orange and chanting whilst carrying small vase on their head. They were walking on the pavement in bare feet whilst passers by would throw water on there feet to keep them from burning from the red hot pavement. We followed the parade back to our car and ventured on for our last Buddhist Temple of the day.
Before we had lunch we walked around Boudhanath Stupa. The Temple was surrounded by shops. The first shop we visited sold medicine bowls. The owner of the shop gave us a demonstration on how they work. I sat on a chair and he placed the bowl on my head up side down and began to hit the bowl. The vibrations from the bowl worked there way down through my body giving me a relaxing feeling. He then moved the bowl to my knee and did the same thing the vibrations felt amazing. MK had his turn and the man put the bowl on his chest and back. The next shop we went into sold paintings of the circle of life. Each painting was so detailed and you had to be trained to a certain level to be able to paint the circle of life. Monks would draw them in the sand and it could take weeks to create and at the end of the process they would just destroy it. The detail of the pictures was incredible. The circle of life is about life always changing and how nothing in life remains the same. After checking out the gallery we headed to lunch. At lunch our guide chatted to us about our lives in Australia and she told us about her two children. She then asked us if we would like to visit the Hindu temple and see them do the cremation of the bodies. I immediately was not keen on the idea but MK said we should go as this is why we were here to experience new cultures.
The last stop of the day was to visit a Hindu Temple. You can not go inside the temple unless you are Hindu. We had a walk around the grounds of the temple then went around to the back. At the back of the temple is where they cremate bodies and bath them in the river which leads to the Ganges river. It was extremely emotional to watch families say good bye to there loved ones. I did notice other tourists taking photos which I did find very strange. For me it was a moment to take in for yourself and not through a lens. We were watching someones funeral and watching people at their saddest moment. The guide took us back to the hotel for us to enjoy our last night before flying up to Lukla (the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek).
This night we went out for a big carb dinner and then came back to the room to pack our duffel bags. Our day packs had to be 5KG and our duffel bags had to be 15KG and no heavier. It was pretty hard to fit all our essentials in and keep it under 15KG. There was a weighing scale in the lobby of our hotel, we did a few trips to the lobby weighing the bags. We had to get up at 4AM. I was pretty nervous about the flight to Lukla and it took me a while to get to sleep my brain just wouldn’t shut off. Our big adventure was about to begin.