That’s One Big Shiva

A few weeks ago, the Chinese Prime Minister came to Nepal. In Nepal, when someone big comes to visit, the government closes off the roads and puts everything on lock down, much to my irritation. Although most of the Nepalis I know just shrugged their shoulders.

That day I really wanted to go do something in the city, but alas, no access! So Tri and I decided to head in the other direction, past Bhaktapur, towards Dhulikel, a big dusty field on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley. We wanted to stop by Sanga, the location of South Asia’s biggest statue of Shiva.

Although we took a few wrong turns here and there, we were able to backtrack and get up the hill to Sanga just fine. It was 100 rupees to get in, a price which included a free cup of tea.

After making it up the steep inclines, we got to the gate, bought our tickets and went inside. I was getting ready to take some pictures when I noticed my camera had lots of dust on it, so I blew on the lens to try and clear the particles away. And then this happened…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear god, I can be stupid sometimes!

I thought it was permanent, but thankfully, after a few minutes in the sun, the condensation evaporated and I could take some better pictures…

The god's foot

Me in front of Shiva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were wondering how they assembled the statue. I guess the builders must have hauled it up in pieces and stuck them together at the site. Or maybe they helicoptered them in? It’s hard to imagine the pieces properly fitting on trucks and being driven up the narrow, uneven roads on the hill.

There were a few people doing puja and getting tika at one of the mundirs (temples). Actually, the whole place was packed with people checking out the statue and taking pictures in front of a nice little waterfall to the side of it. There were also kids jumping all over the playground in the park and people eating at the restaurant. I was very surprised to see no other foreigners there. (I guess there could have been some other South Asian-not form Nepal-tourists, but it didn’t look like it). I would expect something like that to be a big attraction for tourists, but maybe it’s just too out-of-the-way to be popular.

The site also had a spa, and there was a billboard advertising some of their services. Here’s one I found kind of interesting…

I don’t know what Colon Hydro Therapy is, but it must be intense! because three people need to be present to perform it 🙂

 

 

 

 

After we had meandered around the compound for a while, we looked to our right and saw some stunning mountain peaks…

The Himalayas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The statue and park were pretty nice. Not awe-inspiring but definitely worth visiting on a beautiful day.

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More on Dhampush

We set out on a Wednesday from Kathmandu and drove until we made it to Dhampush in the late afternoon. The village is above Pokhara along a trekking route that leads to the Annapurna Range.

The View from Dhampush

It was a relief to be outside of the pollution of Kathmandu for a little while.

Dhampush was absolutely beautiful especially when it wasn’t raining. One morning, after getting up at 6:30, we walked outside to this…

The people there were very welcoming, and we got to know one of the women who lives in Dhampush with her son…

Tara and Her Son

She told me that she had had an inter-cast love marriage. She’s Chhetri, and her husband is Rai. Although his parents approved of their marriage, hers didn’t, so she has little contact with them now.

All the rain and wet brought lots of leeches. While growing up, I always thought of these blood-suckers as big, but the ones in Dhampush were very small. They still left a big bite though.

A Leech Bite

In all, I got about 6 leech bites. One of the aunties on the trip told me that leech bites are actually good, that they drain out the cancerous cells, a piece of information that pacified me a bit.

Kupri the Monkey

There was another animal on the trip doing some biting as well…the lodge owners’ pet monkey. She could do a few tricks and one of the local women put the monkey on her daughter’s head to pick the lice out. Kupri was incredibly cute, but it was difficult to see her chained up all the time.

We also got to eat some local food including sukuti and makaiko chiuraa. Sukuti is dried meat that is then fried with peppers and other spices. It’s very chewy. The other treat is flattened and fried corn. The lodge owners cooked some up for us on our second to last day.

The Lodge Owner Cooking Makaiko Chiura

Because it had rained so much the day before we left, the road back to Pokhara was in bad condition, but we set out anyway on the bus. Along the rocky road, the wheel got caught, and came off its joint. We had to walk down to the nearest tea shop and wait a few hours for it to be fixed. Here is me and my friend in the pouring rain, making it down the mountain.

Walking Down the Mountain in the Rain

Eventually they got the tire back in place and we went on our way. To pass the time, we sang both Nepali and American songs in the bus…