Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Band Baja Baaraat in the Temple of Sleeping Vishnu

This is Day 3 of Nepal Travelogue (May 15, 2013)
Sleeping Vishnu: A Sample of Nepali Art
The hilly town of Budhanilkantha, where we were staying, is famous for its unique Temple of Sleeping Vishnu. Honestly, we got to know this reason of fame only after we reached there but it was really worth it. The ton-tonnn-tonnnnn, which eventually became part of our lives, was also emanating from the same Mandir – located right in front of our window.

Every now and then, the tonn-tonn used to follow a clamor of traditional wedding bands with Misha rushing again to the window. It was quite a show - a small festival: happy kids running around and women wearing colorful traditional dresses. From their attire, and familiar Hindi, we could assume that some of the families are even coming from India to seek blessings for the newly weds.

The temple was unique mostly because it was open-air without any formal, church-like, seating arrangement. Inside, a pond, with greenish water, was the center of devotees’ attention, where an impressive sculpture of Vishnu – a Hindu God – was resting on a coiled snake. The unmaintained site was all happening.

In front of the shoes rack, a modern-looking jogi with a traditional Nepali cap was blessing a visitor by putting color to his forehead while an old lady was literally bent upon hammering the heavy brass bell. Nearby another man was preparing coal-fire for nuptial rituals with families grouped around on the holy floor performing rites as per their traditions and reciting religious mantras. 

Budhanilkantha's 'Famous' Temple
'Ghanta' is an Integral Part of a Hindu Temple
Asheerbad in Nepali Style
A Family Visiting the Temple of Sleeping Vishnu
Wedding Hall inside the Temple
This is not BBQ!
Reciting Holy Verses
Colors All Around
Vegetarian Sacrifices
Another Family Performing Wedding Rituals

Can Anyone Tell What it Means?
Tolerance: Buddhist Monk at Hindu Temple

Today’s Bills – in Nepali Rupees

410 Food Milk, snacks, etc
50 Telephony Calling back home
460 Total for May 15, 2013
5650 Total as of Today
 * Room charges and hotel's food bill will be included in Day 4 at check-out

Traveler's Tip # 7: Finding Authentic Yoga in Nepal
Nepal attracts meditation and yoga lovers from all around the world. Scattered in every nook and corner of the hill country, Hindu ashrams, Buddhist monasteries, and urban yoga studios offer an incredible variety listing a couple of hours of a day practice to full-board weeks long courses. A few of them are free, some accept donations, and several target Western tourists with rip-off USD rates!

Confused with all the options, we SOS Shally, a kind Nepali Couchsurfer, who helped us locating an authentic place. In the meantime, we came across an announcement from Yogi Nomad and found ourselves lucky! While staying at Budhanilkantha, we also heard about Vipassana Meditation Center in good words. Kopan Monastery, an extensive Buddhist center located around Kathmandu, is also famous among tourists.

So if you are thinking of learning this age-old tradition, seek a word from a local friend, or visit travel forums, and stay clear of places demanding money. Imo, it requires patience and a particular aptitude, so in case it is a whirlwind trip, then believe me yoga might not be your cup of tea, as it was not mine!

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