People were excited for this long awaited heritage hunt. Finally on 30th January 2015, 8 members of Youth for Heritage Foundation gathered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport of Delhi. We cleared all formalities much ahead of scheduled time so that the Duty Free could be explored. And hence started our window-shopping :).
Day 1 – Kathmandu
Air India’s plane took off and we landed in Kathmandu on time. Our van was waiting, which took us to our Hotel. After check-in, the first thing was to head to the Durbar Square of Kathmandu. Luckily, it was at walking distance. We started walking and clicking. In about 20 minutes, we entered the Durbar Square, just to find out that there is some procession going on. We purchased tickets and started exploring the temple square. we found the entry to Royal Palace, which was now converted to a museum. The main temple was locked as it opens only once a year. But we able to see it from outside. The museum was amazing. Loaded with pictures and personal items of the Nepalese royal family, this museum was unique. The 9 storeyed palace was a surprise. Decorated with personal items of the Royal Family, this palace was a treat in itself.
The YFHF Logo
Nepali architecture has always been a mystery for many. This is where we found that the emblem of Youth for Heritage Foundation is actually a Hindu/Buddhist motif. It is known as the “Eternal Knot” or the “Infinite Knot”. In Sanskrit, it is called “Srivastsa”. It is a classic icon of reality, that represent the interconnected world and endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It mirrors infinity and wisdom of Lord Buddha.
World Peace Pagoda
Our van took us to magnificent Swambhunath stupa up on the hill. We sat in a cafe next to the Stupa and enjoyed amazing tea/coffee with a view of entire Kathmandu Valley. Huge stupa on one side gave the majestic feel. We spent more than an hour in that chilling windy weather. As the sun began to set, we continued our journey to the Hotel.
We reached hotel after sunset, Freshened up, met at the reception, and headed to the market. We went to Garden of Dreams, got a nice place to sit and enjoyed some historic stories. Post our stories, we wanted to have nice pizza, but the pizzeria we chose was over booked and had a long waiting queue. We had to settle for a small roadside restaurant, but it turned out to be a better choice. Food and Tea was amazing.
Day ended with a tight sleep in our cozy beds.
Day 2 – Bhaktapur
We started our day by paying homage to Lord Buddha at the Boudhnath Stupa. The stupa is amazing and surrounded by many historic monasteries. Each one has its own importance. Giant Buddha Statue in one of the monasteries took our breath away.
The day was filled with spirituality. Our next stop was world famous Pashupatinath Temple of Lord Shiva. We felt blessed in the aura of these holy shrines. Some team members engaged the priests of Pashupatinath and had interesting conversations. First hand information by the locals is always a treat to listen to.
After having our souls purified, we headed to Bhaktapur Heritage City. This sub-city is a magnet for Heritage Lovers. Loaded with ancient architecture and culture, Bhaktapur has something different and special to offer at each step. We explored almost every corner of the city. From temples to museums, the place was nothing less than some hidden treasure.
On our return, we decided to get down on the main market road. After checking out the shops, we reached a restaurant, which had a familiar branding. We then found out that it was a franchisee of Bikanerwala of Delhi. Food was awesome there and more special was “Tato Tato Jalebi”, which somehow, Tauseef read as “Tota Tota Jalebi”.
Day 2 ended with nice veg dinner at a Pure Punjabi restaurant and a cozy sleep in our beds.
Day 3 – Patan
We started our last day with shopping. Everyone got something or other for their friends and family. Then we headed to Patan Heritage Zone. Temple Architecture of Patan was even more beautiful than what we had seen in last two days. Clearly, we were saving the best for the last. After clicking few temples, we chose a roof-top restaurant and enjoyed our food with a backdrop of Patan Durbar Square.
Our flight was also on time. We reached airport, had some fun while waiting for the boarding to happen, and finally, boarded the plane. While the landing was not so smooth, it sparked laughter amongst the team member as we thought that the Pilot has not got his salary on time and he is trying to punish the airline by damaging ‘Shockers’ of this aircraft.
In short, the trip to Nepal was something that we would remember for lifetime.
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