So after another crazy week at school I of course could not find the time to post until now -and after being home from Nepal for three weeks I am finally going to wrap up our trip . . .

Our last day in Nepal was Christmas Day. We decided to take a tour of the city and see all the major Hindu and Buddhist temples. It was pretty crazy because we hit up all the major religions on Christmas – we started the morning celebrating Christmas, explores major Hindu and Buddhist sites, and then flew home to the UAE and the sound of the Muslim call to prayer!

Here was our Christmas morning in Nepal:

DSCN3459DSCN3463DSCN3465We then headed back down the mountain for the last time. Nagarkot was a great place to stay but it was now time to explore Kathmandu. Kathmandu is very polluted and its hard to breathe. Just spending the day there made Scott and I sick for a couple days. I’m so glad we decided to just spend the day there and not spent multiple days there. Even from the mountain we hiked in Nagarkot we could see a cloud of grey and green pollution surrounding Kathmandu.

Our first stop on our exploration of Kathmandu was Durbar Square, very similar to Bhaktapur Durbar Square that we had seen the day before. In the square are various Hindu temples, many of which are still used and closed off to people who are not Hindu.

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DSCN3490DSCN3508DSCN3510From here we then went to the Buddhist stupa Swayambhunath – more commonly known as the Monkey Temple. There are monkeys all over this temple.

DSCN3512DSCN3514DSCN3520DSCN3525All around the stupa are these prayer wheels. As you walk around the stupa and spin the wheels the prayers are carried to the heavens and blessing are dispersed all around.

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From the stupa we could see the foggs haze of pollution that lingers above and around the city of Kathmandu

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DSCN3545DSCN3556DSCN3546After leaving this stupa we then headed to the Boudhanath Stupa which is considered one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal . . .

DSCN3562DSCN3565What you see strung from top of the stupa are prayer flags. These prayer flags carry prayers to the heavens and shower blessings below. The colors represent earth’s elements and so, as the color fades due to earth’s elements, new prayer flags are put up – this symbolizes the changes in life and its cycles.

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A very large prayer wheel

A very large prayer wheel

DSCN3573DSCN3574While we were there many Buddhist monks were meditating and it really added to our experience.

DSCN3580DSCN3579DSCN3584After spending two hours here and feeling very peaceful we thought it was time to go to our last stop – Pashupatinath. It is a Hindu holy site where many bodies are cremated and their ashes laid in the Bagmati River which flows into the Ganges. Over 75% of Nepalese people living in the Kathmandu valley are cremated here. Also in this holy site in a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is the only place where you can see a depiction of the face of Lord Shiva. Because we are not Hindu we were not allowed inside the temple but we were allowed to walk around the surrounding areas of the temple:

The entrance to the temple (this was as close as we could get)

The entrance to the temple (this was as close as we could get)

The back of the temple - you can see the river. This is where the cremations happen as well.

The back of the temple – you can see the river. This is where the cremations happen as well.

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Here are some shots from the surrounding area . . .

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DSCN3611We even ran into a Hindu Holy man called a Sadu:

DSCN3604After leaving Pashupatinath we wandered around the Thamel area until it was time to take a taxi to the airport and head home. Thamel is a really great place for tourists – filled with shops, restaurants, and hotels. And our day would not have been complete if we had not ran into Santa Clause on Christmas:

DSCN3614Nepal was a great break filled with nature, history, religion, and culture.

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