Tuesday 29 August 2006

Nepal: Nepal's oldest temple

We sat patiently in the airport lounge at 06.15 with our Buddha Air boarding cards in hand…to no avail. Flight 102 was cancelled yet again. We headed back to our hotel, recognizing the similarity with our attempts to spot tigers in India.

So now what?.......we sought advice and arranged a trip to Nagarkot about 30kms east of the city. Our driver weaved through the hills on single track roads like a Swedish rally driver, leaping from pothole to pothole in the underpowered Japanese car. With our guide we started the hike with stunning views across the florescent green Kathmandu valley.

Heavy black clouds rolled overhead and soon deposited their weighty load. The locals paid little attention to the mud-splattered strangers as we wandered through their villages. Mrs M’s cheeks shone like Chinese lanterns as her knees were functioning well after being Jiffy Lube’d.

We reached our destination, the Changu Narayan temple, still in heavy rain. Reputed to be one of the oldest temples in the country, it attracts fewer visitors than most due to its relative inaccessibility. Despite this, there is still a line of tourist shops to be negotiated, although most shopkeepers were too busy desperately keeping things dry. Little faces peered from the depths of cupboard-sized shops as we splashed by on the stony steps. We paused for a while in the main temple courtyard to marvel at the exquisite buildings and their stories.

The rain was unrelenting, so we stepped carefully back to the car to return to Dwarika for a nice cup of tea.

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