Hello, travelers! Namaste from Nepal. We have been having an epic experience the past few days in the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal never ceases to amaze me - the warmth of the people are just a small part of what makes this Himalayan country so inviting. Kathmandu is a short flight from Delhi or Varanasi, making it an ideal excursion from India. (It is also easily accessible from Paro, Bhutan.) Here are a few highlights from the journey that I highly recommend to all of our Sodha Travelers:
View Mt. Everest
The one-hour flight from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport has daily departures starting at 6 am. Flights are dependent on weather and delays/cancellations are common. We had to wait one-hour but eventually boarded the 18-seater plane. With the airline named Buddha Air, I was anticipating a somewhat enlightening experience in the skies. It did not disappoint. Everyone has a window seat and passengers can also take turns viewing the Himalayas from the cockpit. After landing, we also received a certificate of flight: "I did not climb Mt. Everest, but I touched it with my heart."
Many South Asian countries have a version of this dumpling, but the momo's in Nepal are divine. The dough is thicker but still melts in your mouth, followed by an explosion of the filling that includes vegetables, chicken, and/or buffalo. One of my favorite dishes was actually momo soup, with a savory broth of stock, green onions, ginger and carrots. Also be sure to sample yak cheese and deep-fried balls of buffalo meat.
Healing Bowls in Patan
Healing Bowls (also called singing bowls, Himalayan bowls, and medicine bowls) are used as a support for meditation, healing and prayer. The sides and rim of the bowl vibrate to produce sound that can heal the body and induce a meditative state. Traditionally the bowls are made from seven metals, corresponding to the seven chakras in the body. They can also be filled with water and flowers and placed in a home to balance the energy. Healing bowl therapies have been used for centuries to heal and realign the wellness of the body, mind and spirit. My experience with a healing bowl master in Patan was equally profound and informative.
The temple and cremation site are located on the banks of the Bagmati River in eastern Kathmandu. Pashupatinath is also regarded as one of the most revered Shiva temples in the world. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple, but make your way to the ghats. On one side, rituals are performed to assure the person is deceased and to prepare the body for cremation. On the other side, several pyres burn while a priest and family members (mostly male) watch over the body. With the smoke in the air and rituals in every corner, visiting Pashupatinath is a truly sensory experience.