CelebrationTime at The Monkey Temple

Playing cards amongst the stupas

My first monkey spotting

The long way up…..

Drumming group heading down from the stupa

This dog has found some peace – not dead, just sleeping.

Buddha statue with colourful offering

Bright red offering over Buddha statue

Little stupas with the large stupa in background

Swayambhunath Stupa

Taking a peek inside the temple

Stupas all around

Butter lamps & man attending

Monkey & babe

After our Durbar Square visit, Michael & I hopped into a taxi (I tried, but just couldn’t convince him a rickshaw would be 3 times as much fun), & weaved our way through backstreets till we arrived at Swayambhunath (called Monkey Temple because there’s quite a few very naughty monkeys living there).

Being Saturday, there were thousands of Nepalis dotted all over the grounds – playing drums, having large group picnics, even playing cards amongst the stupas. I knew I was in for an uphill walk but never imagined how steep that uphill walk would be. It was hot & humid, rain sprinkling on & off, as we headed up the steps. I thought the first set of steps was all there was, sweat beading on my face as I arrived at the top only to find an enormous amount of steeper steps awaiting me – crap! And monkeys running around the stupas, climbing the trees, & being generally cheeky, as you would expect with monkeys.

I finally managed to climb the stairs, with my heavy pack, paid the 200 rps entry fee, dodged the drumming hoardes, & made it to the top. People absolutley everywhere. Strangely, even though this is a Buddhist Stupa, there were all these Hindu celebrations taking place all around the huge stupa (I was told later that this is a shared religious space). It was loud & hectic pandemonium everywhere with people praying, drumming, lighting incense & butter lamps, eating, & shopping in the various Buddhist shops scattered about. Michael wasn’t at all comfortable or amused, but I was fascinated. We spent about an hour looking in the museum & shops, spinning the stupa prayer wheels, & taking photos. Then headed all the way back down & got out of there, heading by taxi back to the tranquility of Kopan.

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