This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bodhnath, Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath

Street kids outside Bodhnath

Yesterday we had a wild motobike ride to Bodnath, one of the Buddhist temples with the big eyes on the stupa and Pashupatinath where there is a shiva temple and the burning ghats for the Hindus of Kathmandu. It's been a big jump in the dark for Christine to sit on the Yamaha 125 four-stroke and negotiate potholes narrow alleys and then the shrieking busses and diesel fumes on the ring road. Riding here is chaotic and the threats are diverse and different just about every street you drive down. The whole place is a bunch of one way streets, so at the very best you can end up going in endless loops and taking four times as long - and you can`t retrace your steps to get home either.

There are always a bunch of street kids outside Bodnath. The picture above shows them in 2000, but they were there again in 2006. As in Calcutta, in Kathmandu we had been pressed by young girls with babies to buy them kilo packets of milk powder, but before I could do anything a Nepali guy laughed at them and told me they just borrow a baby and take the milk powder and sell it off again. Sure enough the same girls had shifted their position to Bodnath gate by the time we made it there on the motor bike.

Bodhnath stupa

Bodhnath is a major centre of Tibetan culture and religion and there is a whole suburb around it with Tibetan houses and a large number of Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monks in attendance.

The Bells of Bodhnath

Pashupatinath nearby down a river valley is a different kettle of fish altogether. It is a principal Shiva temple in the name of Pashupatinath - Lord of the Animals - a title you can see Shiva in all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilizations of Mojendaro and Harappa 2500 BC, along with a sacrificial Kali planter Goddess figure.

Top left: This woman was selling these pendants in 2000
and was still there in 2006 with her hair turning grey.
The sadhu in orange can lift 50 kilos of rocks with his sexual organ.

Two views of the 'radio babas' sitting with a ghetto blaster
also filmed by Michael Palin in "Himalaya".

Pashupatinath concourse with the burning ghats

Immolation on the burning ghats

In 2000 I stopped here to film the 'holy music' of the milk baba Swami Paramhansa Ram Krishna Das, before he set off for the US like many gurus, which you can hear in the following video.

The Milk Baba plays Holy Music

The milk baba's room

Monkeys rule - okay?

A little Kali temple that was supposed to have been the site of human sacrifices

Erotic carvings around the temple frieze

Later in the evening I rode to the other big Buddhist stupa on the hill at Swaymbhunath

Four old images of Swayambunath I took on my first visit in 1969

Images of Swayambunath on our visit in 2006

Swayambhunath Evening and Night

Kathmandu from Swayambunath

Above: Swayambunath at night Below: Views of Kathmandu from the hotel in 2000

The polluted river you cross on the way to Swayambunath on foot

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