We have come the end of our three month long journey starting from Qatar, completing two major ancient trade routes the Silk Road where we started at Iran (Persia) and ended up in Western China, and the trans-Himalayan trade route continuing in China and heading south to India.
We have learnt a lot about the Persian empire and experienced the great extent of it along the Silk Road, with influences all the way in India. The trans-Himalayan route elevated us to the highest we had been with glimpses of Mount Everest.
Click on the markers below to find links to blog posts with further details of the amazing journey.
Pokhara, situated a little over two-hundred kilometres west of Kathmandu, is a hub for trekkers heading into the Himalayan mountain range. For us, it was a stop-over on the way to the Nepal-Indian border. Pokhara was a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. We spent our time wandering the edges of Phewa (Fewa) Tal Lake, lounging around with icy-cold Coca Colas, and at sunset, even taking a boat out for a dip in the lake. It was all very relaxing.
The day after things were back to normal, with initial plans to travel to Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Siddhartha Buddha, but when we arrived in Bhairawa, the transiting town to Lumbini some form of strikes were occurring making no transport available. We stayed the night in the tiny town, making the journey across the border to India and onto Varanasi the next day.
On our last full day in Kathmandu we went to the Indian Embassy to pay for and pick up our visas. On the walk back to Thamel we found a street vendor cooking chowmein for sixty rupees (seventy-five cents), it was the nicest noodles we had tasted during our whole trip.
After this we headed to Bodhnath (or Boudha) to see the Bodhnath Stupa, one of the world’s largest. We took a tempo (shared rickshaw) from Thamel. The stupa looks like many we’d already seen, however it is its sheer size that makes it so remarkable. It is said to have been built in the 7th century, during the time of Tibetan King Songsten Gampo and also contains a bone that belonged to the first Buddha himself (Siddharta). Around the base of the stupa are hundreds of prayer wheels, which we spun as we traversed in a clockwise direction.
Patan, or also known as Lalitpur, is the second largest town in Kathmandu Valley and also has a Durbar Square, full of temples and stupas. We did a day trip to Patan from Thamel and spent our time wandering around its Durbar Square and doing a walking tour of the old city. The walking tour gave us insight into the everyday lives of Patan residents, as it entwined us through courtyards, water tanks and wells.
One particular highlight was the Patan Museum which detailed the different Buddhist and Hindu gods and their characteristics. For example, Ganesh, the Hindu God of Prosperity (with the head of an elephant) is often depicted with his vehicle, a rat (or mouse) and because of his love of sweets, holds a ladoo ball (Indian sweet).
Patan Walking Tour
- Ganesh Shrine
- Sulima Square
- Pim Bahal Pokhari
- Chandeswari Temple
- Lokakirti Mahavihar
- Nyakachuka Courtyard
- Naga Bahal
- Golden Temple (Kwa Bahal)
- Manjushri Temple
- Kumbeshwar Temple
- Uma Maheshwar Temple
- Rada Krishna Temple
- Krishna Mandir
- Narayan Mandir