Monday, March 28, 2016

Prayers and Squares in Bhaktapur

One doesn't really need two days in Bhaktapur, but i had given myself two days for a more relaxing pace. This proved to be just fine. On my second day i was able to be leisurely in a way that i could not if i had to cram in sightseeing. I awoke at about 5am and shortly thereafter the square awakened. The large temple right outside my window had its door unlocked and then the bell ringing began. People began to enter the temple and each person that entered rang the bell at the threshold several times before entering. The men arrived empty handed but the women all arrived carrying brass trays on which (as best as i could tell) was a few smaller vessels filled with oil and some sort of power, as well as lots of flower petals, and in some cases bananas. I could see through the latticework on the windows that candles were lit. (Non-Hindus may not enter the temple so whatever else happened inside is a mystery.) this carried on for several hours. I also saw women climbing the stairs at the ruined temples and scattering flower petals and something else. When people left the temples they had flower petals on their heads.

I enjoyed my morning coffee at a decidedly western looking cafe called Beans, which had comfy sofas, excellent coffee, and a broad view of the square.

After breakfast i set out wandering. I wanted to find "potters square" (a square where pottery is made, dried, and decorated) and another more far flung square with more temples and whatnot. Of course it is really more about the walk than anything. For example, i came across a group of men pulling by a latge rope a massive wheeled cart, for what purpose i do not know, but it was squarely medieval in appearance.
I took a wrong turn heading for potters square and ended up walking through a residential area by the river, where the unpaved roads and brick buildings were in poor repair but it was interesting to see the goings on. A family of pigs picking through trash at the river bank, women sorting sticks for sale for what i do not know, people selling produce, women doing laundry. And of course, the requisite temples.

Turning back i came across potters square, which was tiny, but nice, with men creating the pots on wheels, women laying pottery in the sun to dry and glazing it, and people tending to straw covered kilns. And of course there were various vendors of the finished products.

I then set off for Tachupal Tole, which proved to be a lovely walk and a pretty square, marred only by some peripheral construction. Goats wandered about and men stood in groups watching the construction efforts. Tourists passed through in groups snapping pictures.

There was a large well in the square and women ceaselessly lowered jugs on ropes to the bottom, filling them with water, hoisting them out, emptying them into a large vessel, and repeated. It is amazing to think how luck those of us are who need only turn on a tap.

I sat in the square and had water and a lassi before strolling on, pausing just long enough to enjoy some of the erotic carvings on the main temple. (You'll notice that in the picture below the woman is washing her hair while getting rogered. I found that funny.)
And that was pretty much it for me for the day. Aimless wanderings, beverages, and not much else. I had plans for the evening, but they were cut short when a huge windstorm came up, shaking the windows and ringing all of the bells violently. I a city it would have still been fine to walk around, but here, with unpaved roads and so much broken brick and piles of dry dirt from the reconstruction, one would have been blinded by all of the dust swirling about. So i stayed put, reading my book by flashlight, and going to bed very early, which was fine.

1 comment:

Barry Curts said...

Thumbs up. CHEERS PAT