We ventured to the nearby village of Bungamati, a 16th century Newari village, and were lucky enough to stumble upon a major religious festival for women. Surprisingly, they don’t mind visitors wandering through.
They also have their own village Kumari here. Unlike the primary Kumari we saw yesterday, this is one of several others that live with their parents in surrounding villages. We were allowed to photograph her, so you can get a good idea of how they dress. She was out for the festival, to give blessings; I’m guessing about three, she seemed to really want to get the makeup off her face.
We spent some time in Patan, founded in the third century BC and home to 55 temples and 126 monasteries, as well as another Durban Square. This square was in much better shape than the one in Kathmandu and it was so interesting to have a better idea of how the temples looked. They had good examples of interior restorations. The town is pretty large and we enjoyed a bit of retail therapy as well as a light lunch, and a mini-treatment with a healing bowl (did not cure our coughs) before heading back to town.
I need to say something about our interesting hotel – Dwarika’s Hotel is one of my favorite venues of the trip. The founder (Dwarika) salvaged wood pillars, windows and artifacts from temples, buildings, and homes that were being destroyed. Pieces date from the 13th – 18th centuries. Locals were tearing them down for firewood. Dwarika provided regular wood for fires and stored these treasures for years until finally incorporating them into his heritage hotel, adding to it through the last few decades. Terracotta bricks are locally crafted and restoration and reproduction work is done on-site. It’s a roomy, elegant, rustic, refined, relaxing property. There are 5,000 pots of flowers; that’s not a typo – 5,000.
As I write this I can hear a choir of birds outside our windows, local flute music and traditional dance performers will start soon. A group of about 20 black-suited Asian businessmen and women are conducting a quiet meeting under the trees (each staring at a phone), people are resting in poolside cabanas. We just got back from the spa and will have a traditional Nepali meal tonight to celebrate the last exotic dinner of our adventure.