Mystic NagarkotMarch 9, 2019 in Nepal ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C
Our final stop on this trip was Nagarkot, high up in the hills east of Kathmandu and with great views of the Himalayas - on the one or two days a year that are clear, it seems.
But that was in the future as we boarded a Buddha Air ATR-72 for flight 101 - destination “Mountain”, a flight past Mount Everest. It was quite magical, not exactly reach-out-and-touch-it close but crystal clear in the early morning sunshine. No doubt that’s as close as we will ever come to the highest mountain in the world.
Later in the morning we drove out of Kathmandu, stopped for some booze (these guides are easy to train once you get the hang of it) and drove to the Pashupatinath Temple, another complex of Hindu temples on the bank of the Bagmati River.
This was another cremation experience, fascinating and unnerving at the same time.
A cremation was commencing as we looked on from the other side of a narrow, poisonous looking river. This person was apparently well-known and had attracted quite a crowd, with spectators lining all the vantage points across the bridge and on both sides of the Bagmati.
Just up the river another body was being prepared for the same destiny, feet being washed in the river and river water seemingly poured over the face. Some banknotes were left on the body as well.
As this all took place life went on around it. A woman washed her hair under a tap in a far corner of the cremation area. People shopped and stickybeaked. Fake or real sadhus badgered us for money for a photo. Monkeys and dogs wandered around looking for scraps.
It was the wails of a relative of one of the deceased that broke the spell for us. In all of our tourist-perving it was too easy to forget that these people were father or mother, son or daughter, loved and lover - real people whose death had caused real suffering.
Back in the van and a little quietened, we drove on to Bhaktapur, a nearby township with another UNESCO Durbar Square.
After lunch in another atmospheric rooftop restaurant - these seemingly breed like rabbits around medieval Nepalese squares - we took in the finer points of some carved pillars on the appropriately named Erotic Elephants Temple, copulating elephants (among other 1600’s erotica) being exactly what is depicted.
Later in the afternoon we had an hour’s bone shaking drive up a rough track to Nagarkot and the Mystic Mountain Resort.
It was certainly mystic, 2,100 metres up with the hills rolling away into the distance, and, somewhere beyond, the snow capped Himalayas. It was also certainly cold, quite a shock after the temperate weather we had enjoyed.
We relaxed for a day, alternately cold or hot depending on the clouds that would regularly clear overhead but leave those elusive mountains invisible, reflecting on the incredible sights, experiences and fun and laughter that the last three weeks have brought us.
Finally, at sunrise on our last day as we packed to leave, the sun rose to a clear day and we were treated to the magical reflections of the sun on the snow covered mountains, a fitting end to a great holiday.Read more