Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trip to Boudhanath

The Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the largest in the world, and the surrounding blocks are home to many Tibetans that came to Kathmandu following China's occupation in 1959, and many Sherpa people that have moved here from the north east of the country. The area surrounding the stupa sells everything one can imagine having anything to do with Tibetan Buddhism, including prayer flags, lama hats, bronze statues depicting the Buddha and all the other characters of Tibetan mythology, Thankas (religious paintings), and a mish mash of the usual tourist driven merchandise.

Aside from the tourists there actually are many devout Buddhists that make their way here to either visit the Stupa or study as monks/nuns in the many schools that have pooped up in this neighborhood. Westerners are actually accepted at many of these schools now and you occasionally see some white dude walking around in the maroon robes.
This picture I think best shows the sheer size of this stupa, compare its base with the adjacent buildings and people. It's huge!
The prayer flags tied to its peak and flapping in the wind were a great sight. Other pictures from our trip to here have been added to the February folder and can be viewed on the left hand side of the page.

On a final note we walked over to this location from our apartment which is only about three miles away. That said, navigating a city where most streets have no name, and walls and other obstacles regularly block ones path is difficult and maps are of almost no help. This was the first time I got to really put the Garmin my dad got me to use, and I'm happy to report that it worked great. I was able to draw out a route in Google Earth, convert that KML file to a Garmin file using a program called GPS Babel (highly recommended) and uploaded it to my device. The combination of a shift in Google earths imagery and my devices lack of perfect accuracy made for slightly altered path, but all in all it guided us right to the destination with ease. Can't wait to use this in the mountains!
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