#4, India/Napal, (final) Jan. 19, 1989

Dear Everybody,

My cold is the worst I’ve had in ten years! In spite of it, I walked to Durbar Square again, and visited the Old Palace.  Then I made some arrangements with a travel agency to take some mini-tours. The huge bazaar offered everything under the sun for sale and was fun to slowly peruse. Back at the hotel for lunch I ate curried mutton, which, in spite of many bones in it, was very tasty, as was my dessert of khir, which is rice pudding.

A tour the next day took me to Chovar Gorge, Seshnaranga Temple, and then to Dakshinkali Temple where they were sacrificing goats and chickens in religious ceremonies. The holy man (wearing high rubber boots and standing in a tiled area) would anoint the goat’s forehead with a yellow paste, and then slit its throat, after which the family that brought the goat (or chicken) would use the facilities provided to butcher the animal. They took the meat home to eat it. I suspect this is another example where, for health reasons, they incorporated a practice into their religion. I learned that they only made these sacrifices on Tuesdays and Fridays. Perhaps they were eating too much protein and decimating their herds of goats or flocks of chickens? Or perhaps they weren’t eating enough protein so they were required to sacrifice a goat or a chicken every Tuesday and Friday to maintain a supply of meat to eat. Or perhaps it doesn’t have anything to do with nutrition—who knows? Anyway, the temple provided beautiful views of the Himalayas, which are thrilling to see.

 

 

After having lunch at the hotel with one of the men that I met on the tour, I read and rested most of the afternoon to try to cure my cold!

The most sacred Hindu Temple, Pashupatinath on the Bagmati River was the destination of our small tour group the following day. We saw many covered bodies that were laid out ready to be cremated and their ashes thrown in the river.

 

 

 

 

Some bodies had already been cremated and we could see their charred remains floating down the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here we were taken to the Bondinatil Stupa, a 2000 year old Buddhist Temple with the ‘Eyes of Buddha’ watching us. An elephant park at Gokarna on the edge of town was a great place to observe those charming elephants and to have a ride on one.

The Himalayas were gorgeous as a small group of us were taken to Dhulikhe, which prompted me to arrange a flight over the mountains for the next day. Unfortunately the next morning the flight was cancelled due to poor visibility, so I didn’t get to see Mt. Everest.

 

But after shopping for a few more souvenirs, I went to the airport. The good news was that the plane finally arrived very late; the bad news was that as we observed it coming in, it was blowing lots of black smoke! So, no flight today; we were taken to a hotel where I had dinner. At 10:30 they called to say that we would not be leaving the next day, but the day after, as parts and mechanics had to be flown in to fix the plane. This necessitated changing some other flights, which I managed to do.

After the two-day delay as we flew above the clouds from Napal to Bangkok , I heard a man in the seat ahead of me explaining to his traveling companion that the tallest peak that he was seeing out of the plane window was Mt. Everest! I looked out, and, indeed, saw a very tall peak! So there it was—Mount Everest!! What a thrill!

Eventually I arrived home a couple of days late, but better late than never!
Carol

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