December 13th 2010
I caught a local bus to Dumre, the town at the base of Bandipur before taking a crowded jeep ride (sitting on top of the jeep) on the windy road to the top. Bandipur seemed different from the other towns. The buildings were old and many were made of wood. I saw many kids in school uniforms so it’s good to know education is important even in a small place like this. I couldn’t see the Himalayas (the main reason I stopped by) because of the mist but it was an enjoyable stop nonetheless.
December 14th 2010
The next morning, I took a bus back down to Dumre with plans to catch the next bus to Manakamana, where a famous Nepali wishing temple was located. It was a place most Nepalis try to visit at least once in their lives, bringing goats to be sacrificed for good measure. On the bus, I sat beside an Italian guy who surprisingly spoke a little Bahasa Indonesia, which is very similar to Bahasa Malaysia. He was traveling with 4 other guys, one was his friend, the rest he met trekking in Annapurna (one Indian, one Israeli, and one Belgian). I found out they were also making their way to Manakamana so I joined in temporarily. At Dumre, we took a 1-hour open-air jeep ride and enjoyed a great view. I also found out these guys really like weed. They were lighting up at the back of the jeep and I found it amusing. We had to take a 2.8 km cable car ride up to the wishing temple (and it cost $15!) so these guys decided to roll a few joints before we got in line and as we crowded into the small cable car with all our bags and rode up, they lit up. The whole car was smoked out. It was quite amusing to watch. And we laughed at the thought of the next group of people who had to take our car and what they would think.
(The Wishing Temple.)
(Hand-picked for the slaughter.)
(Sadhus (holy men) blessing Hindus.)
(Sheer mass chaos.)
(A couple offering incense and then ringing the bell to have their wishes heard.)
(Simple Nepali ‘dhal baat’.)
The guys were staying overnight while I only wanted to stop by for a short while before heading to Kathmandu that same afternoon so we parted ways at the top. The wishing temple was crowded with people, goats, and chickens. I wanted to stand in line with them but it was too long and I had all my stuff with me and didn’t have a place to store them so I decided to observe instead. The area even had goat stables where people could buy goats to sacrifice if they didn’t bring one of their own. I later found out I missed seeing the place where the actual slaughter took place.
After spending about an hour there, I took the cable car down and caught a bus to Kathmandu. It’s so easy to catch buses because all these towns are connected by the same highway, the Prithvi Highway. It was only another 3-4 hours to Kathmandu so it was no sweat. Got there pretty late and with the help of a Nepali local, managed to secure a taxi ride to a hotel where I would spend the next 3 nights.