When we came back to Kathmandu, the city had transformed: it was noticeably more crowded with 2 million additional people in the city, and the main street in Thamel had been paved while we were in the mountains. Since we had limited time in this sprawling city, we decided the best way to learn its stories was to take a guided tour. It was definitely the right decision. We organized a tour through our hotel and explored the city with a local university economics professor all day.
Patan Durbar was our first stop. There are three Durbars in and around Kathmandu, each marking a palace of one of the three kings who ruled Kathmandu valley.
Golden Temple is just north of Pata Durbar. It’s the residence of Kumari, the living goddess: a young pre-pubescent girl chosen to live as the manifestation of divine female energy. A curious tradition.
Our next stop was Bhaktapur Durbar Square. This is also where we had our Newari food for lunch.
After lunch we headed to Pasupathinath, a temple where cremation takes place. I was expecting another experience like Varanasi (in India) but the scale of this burning ghat is much smaller and far more manageable. I was worried that Tricia may find the scene disturbing. If she was, she showed no sign of it.
Our last stop was Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas of the world.
Our guide told us to walk around the stupa three times for good fortune (he may have just needed a break from us). The area gets crowded with Tibetans, who came to pray, and local and foreign tourists who came to scene. Shops line the stupa’s perimeter. Our guide told us that the area is wonderful to experience at night.
Interested in reading about our food adventures in Kathmandu? Click here.
Are you planning a trekking trip of own? Check out my packing list.