Bhaktapur, page 2 of 3
We have taken our time on Durbar Tole to watch around and start on the walking tour described in our LP guide to see more of Bhaktapur, not only temples but also the daily life going on. It is not difficult in Bhaktapur to see both, because the terraces of old temples are used to spread out grain to dry it and people are constantly busy with shuffling the grain to get optimal drying. The air is permeated with dust coming of the grain, sometimes in big clouds that make me sneeze (in fact I usually sneeze a lot already). As promised by our LP guide, Bhaktapur is indeed a fascinating town to wander in. And yes, the lack of traffic makes it a real pleasure to walk, compared to Indian cities but certainly also compared to Kathmandu, where walking resembles more a continual struggle for life than a relaxed enjoying of the interesting surroundings.
I can recommend this walking tour to everybody. You see a lot of the daily life and all kind of temples, sometimes quite beautiful and newly painted, sometimes quite old, almost falling apart, temples that everybody seems to forget about. Also the houses are very picturesque to watch, standing silently behind big water reservoirs, completely covered with drying laundry or dyed wool or whatever women need to hang out. The people are busy with their grain all day, or with washing their laundry in the Pokhari, or with transportation of meat, did you ever see somebody carrying a complete leg of a pig on a bike? So much for hygiene, when you eat meat over here its better not to know what happened to it. Anyway meat is not safe in India and Nepal, all meat is sold on the street, lying out in the open covered with flies, maybe some hours, maybe the whole day, maybe You understand what I mean.
Late in the afternoon we organize a taxi to take us tomorrow early to Nagarkot, a mountain ridge on the northeastern rim of the valley, from where you have an excellent view over the Himalayas, especially at sunrise, or so our LP says. At least in between October and March, but we have seen so much clouds already in Pokhara we are a bit worrying if this October is really the good old after-monsoon-October we need! It is not so easy to find a taxi that is willing to leave early, and when we find one he is asking a lot of money. After the necessary negotiation we settle for a still very high price, but the taxi driver will wait for us in Nagarkot and bring us afterwards to the starting point of our walking tour to Changu Narayan, a very beautiful temple on top of a hill in between Bhaktapur and Nagarkot. Our taxi driver explains he is very experienced and it is important to leave in time in order not to miss the sunrise. That is exactly what we want; only he thinks it necessary to leave at four o'clock! We are not experienced at all but think this is really to early, the sun doesnt rise until 6 o'clock and it cant take longer than one hour to drive up. So we agree on half past four, still incredible early!
Of course we arrive too early in Nagarkot and have to wait one hour in the extreme cold up on the mountain till we see some sun! Jacques only wears a shirt, but keeps saying it is no problem at all. A lot of Indian people also came here to watch the sunrise, women clothed in a sari with some extremely thin shawl around their shoulders, bare feet, freezing to death on this mountain. The weather was not completely clear, still the same problem as in Pokhara. But at least we saw the snow-tipped mountains clear now, a beautiful sight but cold!
We were very happy to see the mountains that clear at last, but to be honest, our mountain watching experience in Sarangkot, Pokhara, was much more special for me although we almost only saw clouds! Why, you are asking now? In Sarangkot the clouds and the fog offered a very mysterious view and somehow I felt atop of the world over there, ready to fly! In fact you can never tell beforehand which will be the more special experience to you, it depends not only on the place you visit, but also a lot upon your own mood and imagination.
During our breakfast in the hotel you see on this picture we had a perfect view on the mountains, very special! I keep watching the snow capped tops, to be sure they dont disappear. At half past 7 we drive some kilometers down the road with our taxi to start our walk.