Monday, October 7, 2013

Searching for Islam in Boudhanath

This is Day 11 of Nepal Travelogue (May 23, 2013)

Kathmandu's Giant Boudhanath
During our previous travels also, we visited Buddhist temples around Malaysia and Singapore, but this big one in Kathmandu - Boudhanath - which we visited today was not only different from others but was also far more impressive. First influence I encountered upon was those omnipresent eyes on the forehead of the extended white dome. It was like God keeping an eye on what one is doing; good or bad – especially on those salesmen trying to rip-off innocent tourists!

That inevitably reminded me of  الله دیکھ رہا ہے (translation: God is Watching) hanging around Karachi shops, to the same effect.

Inside the arena, the most notable activity was people circumambulating around the big dome and around many indoor prayer wheels devotedly. I’m not sure if there is a fixed number of rounds one needs to make, however, the fervor was similar to that I observed during the seven rounds طواف around Kaaba – the holiest Muslim site in Saudi Arabia.

Chants in the prayer rooms also resembled to those in the Muslim ritual and so were the flying flocks of pigeons. Upstairs we noted a couple of girls performing a repetitive ritual shockingly similar to the movements in Salat (نماز )! 

There were several seminaries spread around the white dome out of which we visited one. Students were reciting religious scriptures while one of them was distributing the stipend and sustenance – as if in a Pakistani madrasa!

Well, I don’t feel qualified enough to shed light if there is a connection between Dharmic and Abrahamic religions but after these experiences my instincts insist that there might be one! 

Who knows!

The Big and the Ubiquitous
Yes One Can Get Lost Around the Boudhanath Vicinity
This is a Prayer Wheel
Let Me Try It!
A Bunch of Smaller Prayer Wheels
Going Up the Stairs
Please Note!
And Beautiful!
Namaz Like Prayers
Bigger Bang!
A Seminary
Inside the School
Buddha in Nepal
The Forbidden Lama
Students in the Madrasa!
Distributing Sustenance
Some Political Figure Was Awaited
Herbal Incense!
Some Folks Suggest I Look Like Mongol!
Momo Menu
Food for Stomch Now!
Momo Variety; Steamed Ones
Today’s Bills – in Nepali Rupees

Sight Seeing
Entry Ticket: Boudhnath
Snacks, Momo, etc
Indian Suit for Urooba!
Nepali Incense
Taxi - Boudhanath to Civil Homes
Total for May 23, 2013

Total as of Today

Traveler's Tip # 20: Umbrella and the Raincoat

While we were busy in exploring souvenir shops, it suddenly got overcast, as per the weather forecast, and started raining heavily. The downpour was far heavier than mentioned in the prediction making us really difficult to make it back to Kathrine's place, who graciously arranged the morning drop for us in her 4x4 Terios.

Without any exaggeration, it was the maximum rain in one day I saw in my life. Later next morning Kathrine sort of confirmed that as it broke Kathmandu's pre-monsoon record for the month of May!

Monsoon or not, the Himalayan country can get wet anytime, so keeping an umbrella and the raincoat is a must while traveling in Nepal. And it is pretty easy to buy one once there in case you don't prefer to bring it from home.
Raining Cats and Dogs!
It Was Undoubtedly the Heaviest Rain in My Life

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