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Friday 28th August

Cooked our own breakfast. It was difficult to do toast as the bread kept breaking. Still it was better than yesterday.

We walked to the Swayambhunath Stupa, the so called Monkey Temple, but we didn't see hundreds of monkeys; just a few. It is a Budhist temple on the top of a hill. The buildings, with their striking gold roofs looked gaudy to me and I was interested, but not impressed; not like I was when I first saw the Taj Mahal. Maybe I shouldn't have gone to the Taj Mahal first. It is a hard act to follow.

Everywhere was covered in a red powder, some type of offering maybe, and the eyes painted on all sides of the main Stupa were ever present, I thought to ward off the evil, but which actually symbolise the all seeing eyes of God. I should have learned more about Buddhism so I would understand what I saw .... maybe when I got home I'd find out.

temple6The Stupa

There were many people making offerings of flowers and grain ....


Women making offerings at the template
and a few monkeys eating them!

temple2

All the time we were there a man was reading, presumably prayers or words from a holy book and children paying with the prayer bells.

Prayer bellstemple4

There was some sort of ceremony going on. A wedding we thought, but there were crowds of guests or well wishers and we could not see much.

Family ceremony taking place in the template

Besides the worshipers and sightseers were a small number of what appeared to be residents going about their daily domestic lives within the confines of the temple, including the lady pictured below laying out grains and peppers to dry in the sun.

Lady drying peppers in the template courtyard
It seems we entered the temple by some sort of back way. We left a different way, by the main entrance, down a long flight of steps emerging to find another ceremony entering past the grand statues of the Buddhas.

Procession ascending steps to the template

Statues of buddhist monks at the entrance to the temple
It was a long way up. Lots of steps. I hoped that the men carrying the carriage were fit. The day was already very warm. We set off to return to the town. Ben had set his heart on buying a Tibetan rug. Our visit to the Monkey Temple, the Swayambhunath Stupa, a place on the map we thought sounded interesting was over, but we had not learned much about it.