Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bandipur and the road to Pokhara

We drove from Kathmandu to Bandipur in about 5 hours.  Most of the trip was on the main road connecting Nepal to India.  The traffic was quite heavy with most of the traffic being large trucks and buses full of people.

This picture was taken in the small roadside town of Agara Khola.

We stopped for Tea in Agara Khola.  This young girl loved having her picture taken.  She entertained us for most of our tea time.

The local men were busy playing a game of carrom.

Nepali tea is a milk tea.  The clear tea is called black tea.

About 1-1/2 later we stopped for lunch and ran into this entertainment group from Jomsom.

Hamming it up for the camera.

The dancing reminded me of Hawaiian dance moves.

This small town had a lot of restaurants and street vendors to serve all of the buses that traveled the route between India and Nepal.

We arrived in Bandipur mid-afternoon and immediately went out to photograph. This lady was sitting outside a sewing shop.

Shucking beans.

This gentleman let me come into his shop for this picture.

There were a lot of children playing in town.

I walked about a mile outside of town to checkout a spot for the next morning's sunrise picture. This looked promising.  It was quite smoking this evening. Hoping for great light in the morning.

Got up at 5:15.  Walked back to the same location and this is what greeting me.  On Oct 31st we headed to the mountain villages.  Hope we get some clear weather there.

Bandipur is loss in the fog.

This is the hallway outside my hotel room.  We stayed in a historic building.  The floors are only 7 foot high and the doorways are 5 foot.  The bed was designed for short people too! The electricity was spotty.  We had five power failures in the course of our one night stay. 

On our drive to Pokhara we came across one group pf rice harvesters.  The four women were adamant about not having their picture taken.  But this gentleman was happy to let us take his picture.

Busy threshing. He is hitting the rice stalks against the rock.  You can see the rice kernels in the air around his legs.

It is tropical in this area of Nepal.  Pokhara is 500 meters above sea level. Rice, bananas, and citrus grow in this area.

At 5:00 am tomorrow we fly to Jomsom.  We will be in mountain villages for the next 7 days. Internet will be a little spotty but I still hope to get out a blog or two.

Bhaktapur the Cultural City

55 Windows Place - The King's Home

 Bhakapur is the Cultural Capital of Nepal. The city was the capital of the whole of Nepal from the 12th to 15th century.  After the 15th century it became a city state and it's citizen surrounded it with a wall.  The city is home to almost a 100 thousand people, most of who are farmers.  Bhakapur is know for pottery and handicrafts. 

 Until just 20 years ago water flowed into the King's Bath from this spout 24 hours a day.

The King's Bath was surrounded by a stone snake and there is a bronze snake in the middle. The Snake was seen as a protector of the king.

Most of the streets are very narrow.  You only see foot traffic and motorcycles in the central part of the city.

This lady is hand crushing soy beans.  I watched her for quite a while.  It is going to take some time to crush all of those beans in the pot.

Normally this square is full of drying pottery, but this was rice harvest season.  The rice is cut in the fields, dried, and thrashed.  Then the rice is brought to this square where it is separated from the chaff and dried again.

The separation process

All of the windows in the city center where handmade here by craftsmen.

Local pottery piggy banks

Vegetable sales.  These balance scales are used in most transactions.  I bought 5 oranges around the corner.  I wanted only 4 but I had to buy enough to balance out the weight.

More rice separation

Wash day

This was the chicken market. The wicker baskets hold up to 6 chickens each.  I believe this hen will be in someone's pot before the day ends.

The main square of the city is called Dunbar Square.  This square has a conglomeration of stone art, metal art, wood carvings, and terracotta.

The lady behind the umbrella is removing weeds and grasses from the bricks.  I asked if I could take her picture and she politely turned away and blocked the camera with the umbrella.
According to local legend the strength of stone figures gets progressively stronger as you go up the steps.

This is what happens to you if you tell a lie.

Dunbar Square temple.

The golden gate into the King's palace.

The majority of the inhabitants are either Hindus or Buddhists.

This craftsman was working on a brass instrument.

Local pottery products.  The small cups in the lower left corner are one use drinking cups.

Bronze lion in Durbar Square.

The clouds opened up and dumped rain for about two hours.  Water was ankle deep in the square.

This goat did not like photographers.  About ten minutes before this picture it ran over to me and head butted me.  I saw him chase another photographer for about 5 minutes.

Almost all goods and trash is carried on backs with a strap around the forehead.

These two ladies are carrying bananas to this market.  The younger lady in the background looked to be a novice.  She needed help unloading the basket from her back.

That's all for Bhaktapur.  The next blog will cover Bandipur and the road to Pokhara.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Kathmandu welcomes us with open arms

These two children were playing at The Great Boudha Stupa World Heritage Site.  There will be more photos from this location later in the blog.

This is a picture of the courtyard at our hotel in Kathmandu.  My room was on the fourth floor.  I share a room with a fellow american from New Mexico.  John was in the Peace Corp in Nepal in 1966-1969.

Since John and I both arrived a day early we headed out for a morning walk to Durbar Square.  Along the way we passed a morning market.

These gentlemen were playing at a temple adjacent to the market. .

You can buy almost everything you need at the market.  The market is setup in the street.  By mid-morning they have to be packed up and gone.  

Durbar square is a holy site.  There were a lot of people making their morning devotional visit.

Pigeons are feed at all of the temple locations in Kathmandu.  There are also two calves in Durbar Square.

I thought these mask were interesting and a little scary.

After we left Durbar Square we stumbled across this little worship building.  It was right along side the road and couldn't have been much bigger than 6 foot by 8 foot.  I could easily look over the roof.  Throughout Kathmandu there are many religious sites along the road or at intersections.

Our photo tour officially began at dinner the first night.  But picture taking started at sunrise the next day. At 5:30 am we headed to Swayambunath.

As the sun rose a little higher it highlighted all of the dust in the air.  Quite a few people in Kathmandu wear a mask over their mouth to keep the dust out.

Swayambunath is also know as the monkey palace.  When we arrived there were monkeys everywhere.  As more people arrived most of the monkeys disappeared.

A monk who is just completing his walk around the Stupa. Swayambunath has many shines as well at the Stupa. The complex is an important site for Buddhist as well as revered by Hindus.  

Bamboo scaffolding at the complex.  One of the vertical poles had a 30 degree bend.

Incense,smoke, and candles are part of the worship practices.   

This is why you shouldn't build your scaffolding out of bamboo.

The Monkey Palace Stupa.

Monkey with a cataract. He doesn't look too happy.

Street vendors at the foot of the temple site.  Food and materials are still delivered by foot power.

Worship candles were sold by quite a few vendors at the foot of the stairs to the Stupa.  The Stupa sits on the top of a large hill.  You can see the top of the Stupa just over the Buddha statues left shoulder. 

One of the candle vendors.

We ate lunch at a roof top restaurant close to our hotel.  Many of the older buildings in Nepal have six foot ceiling heights.  Historically Nepali people weren't very tall.  

After lunch we went to the Great Boudha Stupa site.  

This young lady was at the Stupa with her family.  She was poising for pictures for them and let us photographers capture a few shots.

The dome of the Stupa is a 120 feet in diameter.  Buddhist people believe that the relics of Kashyapa Buddha, the third Buddha of Bhadrakalpa was enshrined in the Dome.

In 1979 the great stupa became a World Heritage Site. Today it is a major destination for pilgrims from the Himalayas, Tibet, and Southeast and Eastern Asia.

Touch up work to keep the stupa looking it's best.

Prayer flags back-lit by the sun. 

People were constantly walking through this smoke.  Many stopping for a minute to say a prayer.

Camera sun flare turns a pigeon into a rainbow. 

Ewen Bell our tour leader does a lot of people photography while shooting into the sun.  So for the next two shot I am trying to replicate his process.

Setting sun putting a warm glow on the buildings around the stupa.  Tomorrow we are off to Bhaktapur which is know as the cultural capital of Nepal.