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Buddha Jayanti festival

Bodhnath, Nepal

storm 32 °C
View Nepal & India on skerrigan's travel map.

After reading in the Bible (Lonely Planet) that I was in the right place at the right time for the full moon, I headed to Bodhnath for the Buddha Jayanti Festival which celebrates the birth of Buddha (not quite Thailand’s full moon parties!) The small town of Bodhnath is a Buddhist sanctuary, home to hundreds of Tibetan refugee monks. The center piece of this town is an enormous stupa, which glares down with its watchful eyes on the thousands of pilgrim’s.

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

My self and Carlein, a Dutch girl I had met on the India tour, headed to Kathmandu bus station to find ourselves with the same ‘excellent idea’ as every other tourist and Nepali Buddhist in town. Busses were packed full with people, so we were forced to make the journey on top of the bus on the luggage racks! It is safe to say that I feared for my life on more than one occasion in that 30 min journey, by the end I looked like Bridget Jones, when she looses her head scarf while traveling in an open top car!

Packed busses

Packed busses

On the luggage rack!

On the luggage rack!

After figuring out we needed to take a left at the stupa to get to our hotel, we were met with thousands of pilgrims circulating the stupa anti-clockwise. The only option was to be swept around the enormous stupa with the hundreds of pilgrims until we reached our hotel. The sight was absolutely mesmerizing; walking around were followers of every race, nationality and age. It was really clear to see the spread of Buddhism along the old silk trade rout between China, Tibet, Nepal, India and Thailand. Carlien and I just sat for hours absorbing the unique spectacle and atmosphere. There were hundreds of monks dressed in their maroon and orange robes sitting in rows, rhythmically chanting their mantras.

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti festival

Buddha Jayanti

Buddha Jayanti

The evening however was not so enjoyable, dog packs roamed and fought in the street, a huge monsoon storm erupted and I woke with excruciating itching on my feet. In the morning I discovered 9 mosquito bites on one foot and 5 on the other!

P1010585.jpg

My final days in Nepal have been full of wondering the streets of Patan and Bhaktapur, towns in the Kathmandu Valley towards the Tibetan boarder. In Patan I was able to view the strange ‘Rato Machhendranth festival’, where a crudely carved tall piece of painted wood (a statue of sorts) is moved by chariot across the town. The Machhendrath is considered to have powers over rain, to plea for generous monsoon rains. Though in my opinion this chariot looks as if it houses many street boys between its wheels and could kill quite a few if it fell.

Patan

Patan

I fell in love with the town of Bhaktapur, a small rural town, nessled in the Kathmandu valley with the most amazing square; full of Hindu and Buddhist Temples that look distinctly Chinese with their tiered roofs. With no other tourists in sight, it was nice just to wonder the streets and witness normal life- with no trekking shops or touts. It’s probably quite easy to get blind sighted by the charm of the town and not recognize the relative poverty the citizens were living in. It only had electricity for 3 hours a day 7-8am and 8-10pm. There is also a water shortage in many parts of Nepal. In Bhaktapur I saw women crowded around a huge water truck to collect water, the truck only comes for 2 hours every other day.

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

Water truk in Bhaktapur

Water truk in Bhaktapur

All in all, I am absolutely smitten with the country. Its people, scenery and culture just kept surprising me day on day.

Now for Sri Lanka….

Posted by skerrigan 06:09 Archived in Nepal

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Comments

This is all very informational and interesting and looks fantastic!

But we are still waiting for photos of men in green Speedos!! It didn't take long for your sister to find such specimens.

by Thomas, Caroline and James

Not much space left for luggage. Like the idea of getting swept away with the flow to get to the hotel, but not sure it's what I'd want if I've been travelling on a bus roof to get there.

by Dad

As I read your blog we are watching Football Aid this is a mix of celebrity A listers, pro. footballers (not in England team) in one team and the rest of the world, plus pro footballers and other sports men in the other team.This to raise money for Nepal and Haiti UNISEF,and Save the Children!

by mum

Hi Sarah,
Love all the description, Sounds fascinating! I bet the journey on the bus was amazing! Wish I was there! How are the feet bet they itch well!
Yes I agree with Thomas Where are the photos of the men in green speedos? don't let us down! X

by Rosemary Davis

I'm loving reading your beautifully written blog sazzal! I can tell Nepal has cast a poetic spell on you- I'm enchanted just reading it!

Use the tiger balm I gave you on the bites- it's good stuff!

I can't wait to hear about Sri Lanka!

Lot's of Love and Super massive hugs! xxx

P.S. Those speedo specimens were Irish not Brazilian unfortunately! ;) Think they might be arrested if they try and only don speedo's where Sarah is!

by Nikki

I have visited countries where people shower with their clothes on and go in the sea in sari's!!! I have not dared wear my shorts as they would be perceived to revealing...there is no way that I would be able to find a smashing photo of a man in tight green speedo's!!! Though I promise to keep my eyes pealed...the moment I see any one in speedo's, I'll whack my shorts on.

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by eskayseo

Buddha Jayanti is the one of the most important festival of the our country. Most of the people can celebrate this festival.

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