(aka Boudha)

After returning to Kathmandu, we stayed two days at Bodhnath and were immersed in an ambiance of Buddhism. Bhouda (pronounced "boe-duh"), as it is also called, seems to be the biggest center for Tibetan refugees in Nepal. The town has 32 Buddhist monasteries. Monks in shades of rust and orange and gold and women in Tibetan striped aprons are everywhere. The first afternoon, John went for a walk down to the stupa, only five minutes on foot from our hotel in the narrow, crowded, carless and fascinating streets of old Bodhnath.

Bodhnath stupa Bodhnath Stupa
Bodhnath Stupa seen from our hotel roof Bodhnath Stupa
Painting lionStatues in niches
Repainting the lionStatues in niches
Worshipping with butter lampsStatue of the Buddha

We were told that the stupa is re-whitewashed at every full moon. The moon was full the day we left, but some repainting was already taking place. The light on the buildings on the round town square was lovely. Apparently, people have not been behaving themselves correctly, littering and leaving grafitti and so on, so the uppermost level of the stupa is now closed to strollers. Two guardians on horses are there to enforce the ban. On the lowest level, around the  base of the stupa is an area where "real" worshippers can go to prostrate themselves.

If you go a little (even 50 meters) away on one of the smaller streets, you come upon the shops for locals, not for tourists. One shop was selling monks' clothing in beautiful hues of gold and russet.

Guarding the upper levelBodhnath town "square"
The Buddha is watching youA worshipper
Clothing shopBack street
Monks' garments for saleBack street and shops
Bananas for sale in the eveningMarigolds, mountains and monasteries in the morning

The next morning, the mountains were visible from our hotel rooftop. From our room, we had a clear view of the assembly hall in the gompa (monastery) just across the courtyard. We could also hear the monks chanting and playing huge horns at noon. (More about that later.)

That day, we went to see the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple. On the way back, we saw a smaller stupa, like the big stupa in reduced format. Then we had lunch on a rooftop across from the stupa. The view was excellent and so was the food.

GompaSmaller stupa
Monks' assembly hallSmaller stupa
Bodhnath StupaBodhnath Stupa
Bodhnath StupaBodhnath Stupa, viewed from rooftop restauran
Bodhnath StupaWorshipper
Bdhnath and mountainsWorshipper in Tibetan costume
Walking worshippersWalking worshippers
In the evening, worshippers circumambulate the stupa in a clockwise direction.

We came back again in the late afternoon and watched worshippers walking around the stupa in a clockwise direction, as is the tradition. We did a bit of shopping and, of course, while John was taking a picture, Siv got into conversation with a very interesting gentleman she met. (One more time!)

You can see the tale of our visit to the very interesting the Pashupatinath Temple here.

The next day, we flew to Varanasi and spent ten days participating in activities at and with the DISCC, the DEVA International Society for Child Care.

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