This morning we were awoken by the bells of the temple next door to our hotel at 3am. I managed to sleep ok, but Sam had been feeling ill since yesterday (I’ve already been through that once) and so we had a light breakfast overlooking one of the city squares.
We made our way through the streets; similarly packed to Thamel, but just with people as the use of cars and motorbikes is either not permitted, or just not a regular occurance.
Visits included a paper factory, a wood carving shop, a famous carving of a peacock, a number of temples, palaces and important gateways and a Thanka art school. Thanka is the name of the Nepalese art form which reproduces with incredible detail, illustrations of Buddhist importance. This includes Buddah’s life story and the mandalas. Each piece can take up to 14 months to complete and the highest quality pieces are completed by Lamas themselves.
We were able to see a number of the painters at work, who recreate each scene with a single haired brush to build up perfect gradients and apply fine lines of molton gold leaf using the same type of brush.
In the afternoon Sam went back to rest and I stayed up in the cafe where we had had breakfast just watching the markets and processions of drum and pipe bands pass through (happening all today as part of the festival). Afterwards I went to explore some more of the streets with my camera before the rain brought me back to the hotel where I watched the celebrations from the balcony of our room.
I’m currently working my way through “Tears of Blood” which I have been leant and tells the struggle of the Tibetan people over the past fifty years. Unfortunately it is incredibley biased and in it’s own words “[makes] no apology for it,” but it is giving me some insight before I get there.
Tomorrow we head back to Kathmandu.