Mountains, temples & jungle

By Xing Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-10-28 07:24:04

Mountains, temples & jungle

A local house of Tharu people village by the jungle in Chitwan.[Photo by Xing Yi/China Daily]

A stroll around the city

What impresses me first of all is the ubiquitousness of Kathmandu's temples.

They come in every size imaginable and appear in almost every corner of the old city. They can be as small as a miniature stone carving set into a concave hole in the wall or a religious sculpture placed on an altar, or as large as a pagoda sitting on a huge stone base resembling a Mayan pyramid.

Rarely walled, temples in Kathmandu can be found on street corners, in markets and squares, or even at construction sites, where people pass them as they perform their daily routines - chatting, playing, resting, doing business, or simply getting from A to B.

The lines between Hinduism and Buddhism are so blurred in Nepal, and it's often difficult for outsiders to distinguish between them.

On our first morning our guide Bipin Banepali, an indigenous Newar from Kathmandu, led us on a walk from the city's main tourist district in Thamel to the old royal palace in Durbar Square, which is still being reconstructed after being damaged by the destructive earthquake of 2015.

As we walk around the labyrinthine alleyways, we bump into local people engaging in morning prayers at these temples.

Carrying plates with small offerings such as rice and flower petals, they visit temples with one and another. At each altar, they sprinkle offerings, touch sculptures of the gods with vermilion-red powder, and lower their heads while murmuring a string of prayers.

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