The First Temple I Visited When I Was In Nepal

Who would have thought that when I accepted the job in Nepal to support my organization respond the destructions brought by the earthquake in 2015 it would also pave the way for me to visit holy site after holy site … I started a pilgrim without me knowing.

I was happy to meet Nepalese returning from their work abroad, like our driver and many new physical therapists to help in rebuilding Nepal. They are willing to leave their high paying job because they know that their family and country needs them. It is good for us as outsiders to work with them knowing that their intentions are the same as us … to help and support the nation building.

The Monkey Temple

Found the middle of the busy streets of Kathmandu, the Monkey Temple was named because of the abundance of monkey around the hills that joins the pilgrims as they climbed the stairs to venerate their gods.

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Buddha welcomes you to the temple … start your ascent!

In Hindi, it is the Swayambhunath Stupa and temple complex. It is on a hill that can be seen from far if you know where to look. Hindu worship animals and as you already know the “cow” is a “holy cow” to them.

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The view from the top of the hill … overlooking one part of the densely populated city of Kathmandu in the late afternoon as the smog rises up covering the sky

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When you see them in the middle of the streets, you drive around it, or you completely stall the traffic until it moves out of the way, you cannot shoo them away, or you will have the evil eye upon you!

Reading up on Swayambhunat made me feel sad when I saw the destruction around the complex brought on by the devastating 7.2 and 6.8 earthquakes within one month apart in April and May 2015. Most of the buildings, statues, and murals that toppled to the grounds can be said to be over 100 years, and in that jolt, they fell like Lego bricks and nothing could have prevented it.

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Fallen bell
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One of the altar with the Buddha eye in the center
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Prayer bells … you can see the shine caused by the hands of those passing and pray

It is wonderful to see that the spirits of the people didn’t falter, they come in droves and continue life after the destructive earthquake. With the contributions from all over the world – the pilgrims and the devotees had made constructions and reinforcements of the structures possible. The community was able to start rebuilding early.

The photos are some of the devastations I saw when I visited the temple during one of our weekend breaks. There was less and less aftershock by that time, and there are more and more people allowed to visit and worship again in the temple.

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The peace it brings to the pilgrims amidst the rubbles
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More climbing required … the price is at the top of the stairs
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The stairs … along the way you will be welcomed by HIndu gods to guide your way, to the enlightenment
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Constructions commence. The community reinforced the structure to prevent further collapse
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One of the last standing column/stupa that’s reinforced for safety and reconstruction
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One of the stupa that didn’t make it … it was reduced to a stub
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The temple complex with the round bell for everyone to turn as they pass by praying
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One monkey contemplates the outcome of the destruction the earthquake brought to his temple
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Monkeys are part of the life in the temple
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Bells left hanging secured by those huge chains
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Rubbles blocking the way to the other side of the complex
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Cracks in the wall of an old building that houses monks looking after the temple complex
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It all comes down to this … more rubbles
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More structure damage … some of them are condemned to be demolished completely
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Debris everywhere … the red building is an old library and bookstore
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Houses of monks destroyed during the quake
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Piles of rubble from buildings that collapsed during the shake
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One of the stupas and housing complex for the monks

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