12 March 2007, City Tour - Kathmandu and Patan.

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Today we had our Katmandu and Patan city tour. Wongchu met our group at our hotel this morning right on time at 9 AM. Krishna Dhakal served as our guide for the day. We left the hotel in a very comfortable Toyota van for our day on the road. If you have never driven the roads of Nepal you will find it a significant part of the adventure. Roads are narrow with lots of motor cycles, cars, trucks and pedestrians. It makes for an interesting combination of vehicular dodge ball.

Our plan for the day included four stops:
Swyambhunath Stupa
Bouddha Nath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple
Patan Durbar Square


Swyambhunath Stupa is the oldest temple in Nepal (more than 2,000 years old). It is often called the monkey temple, which suits it well with many monkeys wandering the buildings and grounds. It is a Buddhist temple located on a hill not far from our hotel in Thamel. Our guide (Krishna) did an excellent job of explaining the many architectural and religious aspects of the buildings.

At Buddha Temple we were able to see the largest Stupa in the world. It was built in about 500 AD. With 1,000 workers more 12 years were needed to complete the construction. Our Buddhist education continued and we could actually begin to understand the correlation between the buildings and the many facets of the religion. The hand positions of the Buddha's, the color of the Buddha's and the location on the Stupa all have significant meaning in the Buddha religion. The prayer flags with their meaningful colors - Red / Desire, Blue / Anger, Yellow / Pride, White / Lust and Green / Envy all added to the experience at the temple.
Pashupatinath Temple was the only Hindu temple we visited today. It is one of the holiest temples of the world revered and worshipped both by Hindus and Buddhists.
While there we had the opportunity to visit art training for the monks in the area.

We visited the Patan Dunbar Square, which included many ancient monuments, temples and shrines. One is Krishna Mandir, the temple of Lord Krishna built in the 17th century. We also enjoyed lunch at the Royal Palace gardens.

We ended our day back at the Peak Promotion office to review our departure to Mustang tomorrow for our 13 day trek. We also discussed our gear with Wongchu and his staff for our planned climbs of Cho Oyu and Everest after the trek.