The Himalayan Express
Today I woke up feeling a little better. The schedule included the must-do flight to the Himalaya peaks and then a visit to Bhaktapur and Patan. We boarder the Yeti Airlines BA Jetstream-41 for a one hour flight to the Everest and back, with a guaranteed window seating. It is an amazing experience, a flight at 20’000 feet and the need to look up to to view the Everest. When we landed, I had an exhilarating feeling, a sense of witnessing something unique.
We left the airport and drove to Bhaktapur, half an hour away. Bhaktapur used to be the capital of Nepal – until the 15th century – and is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Together with Kathmandu and Patan are the three major cities of the valley, once separated, now forming a big metropolitan area. Here the people are fewer and you can really enjoy the architecture, temples, local markets for pottery, handcrafts and food. The people seem more relaxed and you get better photo opportunities when you walk down the narrow streets.
I was lucky to cross a local elementary school during break and the kids really enjoyed posing for me.
It is located just 13km away from Bhaktapur, at the south-central part of the valley. Well known for its festivals and hand crafts. We drove to the Durbar square, wondered the streets, visited temples and had dinner on a beautiful patio.
Before we went back, we had to pay tribute to Kumari the living goddess of Patan. A Kumari, a young girl selected from the Newari community, is believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju, until she menstruates. The girl is selected among many others based on her physical appearance, character and a series of test and receives a generous dowry after she is decommissioned. For some reason, it is considered bad luck to marry a former Kumari.
By the end of the wonderful two day visit in Nepal, I was cured and feeling well, ready to fly the next day to Kolkata and from there to the Andamans.