The Journey

Day 4 – My first experience with Hinduism & Buddhism

We left in the morning ready for our adventure to discover my first hindou temple. I jumped on the rear sit of Sandesh motorbike (Sudesh’s brother) and made our way to our first temple.

Holding on to my life at the back handles of his motorbike we blend it perfectly in the chaotic traffic of Kathmandu.

We arrived at the hindu temple: Buddhanilkantha (Buddha–nil–kantha).

I was not allowed to take picture inside the temple so I will do my best to describe how it was.

In the temple there was a small pool where the statue of a god, known for protection, was lying in the water on his back. His name is lord Bishnu. You had to take your shoes off to go in (which is very common for sacred places). As I walked-in people were standing as close as they were allowed too near the statue and offering presents, flowers or money to the god in exchange for the protection that it would give them. A little kid of maybe 8 years old at the most was dress as a hindu priest. He was the only one allowed to stand on the side of the statue. He was offering blessing to the hindu’s by applying a powder to their forehead.

Standing back it was interesting to see adults gathering and waiting for the blessing of a kid. So much respect toward the little kid. I asked Sandesh about the kid and he said that he was a priest and was coming from a family generation of priest and that is where the respect came from. I than took money out thinking as a sign of respect I should donate but I didn’t want to disrespect anyone since I am not hindu. So Sandesh asked in Nepali to the security guard who answer back to him and who than spoke to the monk kid. The priest kid spoke loudly in Nepali in our direction and the hindu’s moved so I could proceed with my offering. They were smiling at me which surprise me. I felt really welcome and not judge because I wasn’t in their religion. As I bend down to donate, the kid approach me and blessed me and applied the powder to my forehead. When I looked up he had a big smile on. I could see the little kid in him! I smile back too feeling almost like laughing because we both knew I didn’t understand the extend of powder in my forehead but I was trying my best and being very respectul.

I walked out and smile at the rest of the group and the little kid kept smiling and went back to his duty as hindus filled in the space they had left me

We than left to go to the national park : Shivapuri. Such a steep drive to go there. Kathmandu is in a valley surrounded by mountains so roads get pretty steep.

There I drove the motorbike for the first time. Haha but that didn’t last long! The dirt road was so bad I could not do it so Sandess drove!

In the middle of the park the road arrive at the bottom of some stairs.

A Buddhist monastery was in the middle of the national park. What a beautiful location. We climb the many stairs and arrive at the monastery a little short of breath! Kids and adults monks were present.

We walked and saw little kids. They were looking at us. I remember someone telling me at the hair salon before I left that a cellphone is the door to communicate with others when you travel. So I took my cellphone out and started to show the little kids monk pictures. I than took a little monk kid finger and had him swap the pictures. He laugh so hard about the idea that his finger could change the picture. First thing you know about 8-9 kids between the age of 3-10 gathered around me (and mostly my phone! Haha) all in their little monk outfit (they are soooooo adorable!). I was in heaven! haha my trip could end and I would be so deeply happy. That moment really filled me with deep joy.

I than showed them a video that I had on my phone. I just took the first one I saw and it was Max (a golden retriever) and I walking. Sandess translated to them that he was my dog and his name was Max (for those that know me Max is my friend‘s dog but it was just easier to say that he was mine). The little kids laugh! I thought it was pretty cute. Haha but little did I knew what they were actually laughing at!

So here in Nepal (and now that I think of it it is also like that in other parts of the world) dogs are homeless. They are free to walk around in the city and do not belong to anyone. So Sandess translated to me that the little kids were actually laughing at the fact that the dog at a name, that he was on a leash and that I had said that he was ‘my’ dog! 😂!! That’s too funny!!!

I was lucky because after we walked around a bit the doors of the monastery open. Sandess asked if we could visit where the monks meditate and we were allowed in.

I learn that make monks are called Lama and female monks are called Any. You can address yourself to them by that name. I was able to sit down and do a little meditation where the monks normally meditate. I felt really blessed to be able to be in such place.

We than continu our biking in the national park with an incredible view of Kathmandu.
haha a picture of Sandess who is rocking this road!
Than we stop at a waterfall where Sandess and his brother use to come swimming when they were kids. The rocks there were beautiful.

The water apparently use to be very high in this river before. Kathmandu is getting unfortunately more polluted and what use to be high current rivers seem to have become more like creeks.

As I sat down to do a short meditation Sandess told me: listen to the water. Focus on the sound. So I did.

I got home pretty tired but what a great day.

I shower and as I lay down in bed my phone rang:

– ‘Val want a come out for drinks?’

– Sure!

… haha to be continued… ; )

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