“Wait, so what are you going to do in Nepal then?”
This would be the standard response I received from fellow travelers upon hearing that I was going to Nepal and *gasp!* would not be trekking through the Himalayas.
As stated before (and I’m sure numerous times throughout my blog), I have a strict anti-trekking policy. No seriously, I hate trekking. Yes, I appreciate nice views and flowers and all that, but spending hours (and days!) climbing uphill through the heat (often), bugs and trees is just not my cup of tea. Trust me, I’ve tried enough times.
Well, I’m proud to say I spent more than two weeks traveling throughout Nepal and successfully managed to entertain myself with a range of non-trekking activities.
Nepal was a relatively short trip compared with the amount of time I spent in other countries, but during that time my friend Naren and I had a lovely time wandering through the temples of Kathmandu, spotting rhinos in Chitwan National Park, chilling out in Pokhara and visiting the birthplace of Buddha (yeah, Trekkers, that is a pretty significant non-trekking component of Nepal ;)).
And, of course, there were the particularly fun moments, like flying over Mount Everest, jumping off Asia’s highest bungy jump, eating endless momos or shopping constantly for hippie clothes and Tibetan jewelry.
I really loved Nepal. When I first set foot in Kathmandu, a crowded city full of colorful shops, busy streets and beautiful temples, I was instantly reminded of everything I loved about India, plus, with only a fraction of the aggressiveness.
Nepal, of course, had other differences. The country’s unique blend of both Hinduism and Buddhism provides a fascinating array of temples, structures and beliefs that often blur the lines between the two. The Swayambhunath “Monkey Temple,” for example, is a unique Buddhist and Hindu complex that contains representations of both religions throughout.
On one occasion, Naren and I were privileged to have glimpsed at the eight-year-old face of Kathmandu’s current Kumari, a young girl believed to be a living goddess princess. She spends her days living in a large palace in the city, making daily appearances at her window (no photos allowed) and being paraded around town during important religious events. When she gets her period, she no longer gets to be goddess and a new Kumari is found.
Nepal also had incredible food, a mix of both Indian-influenced curries and rice, mixed with Tibetan-style “momo” dumplings, which were the best I found ANYWHERE in Asia.
Here’s a collection of my best photos from Nepal.