Nepal (part 6 Chitwan – Pharping)

We sighed upon leaving Lumbini. Despite it’s deep significance in Buddhist terms, it was a dusty, grey and dirty place and the hotel we stayed in was a soulless establishment. The whole place was submerged in fog every morning, until way after lunch – so all inall, it was a confusing and eerie place.

On our way to Chitwan National Park we took a few wrong turns and only realised our errors as we drove through a “Welcome to India” arch! Oops, we took a u- turn quicksmart and continued on our way to Chitwan.

One of the most significant experiences for us in Chitwan, with our hotel right on the river, surrounded by greenery – was the realisation of how much we take GREEN and CLEAN for granted, how much we just feel entitled to have all this clean nature around us!img_8786img_8782

But right after that comes the experience of WILD animals, which was pretty awesome! So, elephants in the street.img_8780

Rhinos bathing in the river at dusk.img_8843

We did an elephant ride into the park and saw rhinos from very close, that was pretty amazing! (No photos).

Crocs everywhere along the riverbank. img_8833 img_8831img_8836

Cheeky monkeys in trees (no photos).

We did a wonderful guided walk through a village adjacent to the park and were privileged to see how people live. These communities were supported by various international Aid projects that provided toilets and biogas in the individual homes.img_8802 img_8810img_8827img_8824img_8806img_8792img_8791img_8788

After 3 nights at Chitwan, we took forever to get back to Kathmandu… 8 hrs for a 100km journey. Here is why it took so long (hint: potholes, road repair, slow trucks, mountains, goats on roads…):img_8847 img_8848 img_8856 img_8868 img_8871 img_8873 img_8874 img_8882

To be exact, we went through Kathmandu to Pharping, where we stayed for 2 nights in a Buddhist monastery. img_8913 img_8915img_8902img_8906img_8903

We joined the monks in prayer / meditation. img_8963 img_8964 img_8967

We also had a private meditation lesson with a Tibetan senior monk. He taught in Tibetan and had an interpreter to translate into English. Again, I loved hovering in the kitchen to observe how our meals were prepared.

One afternoon we took a guided walk with a young monk into the local village and saw more holy sights. And more monks… on bikes, on mobile phones, playing soccer… monks everywhere!img_8948img_8921img_8926img_8936img_8937img_8927img_8954img_8950img_8951img_8953

On our last morning, the monks sat their 3 hour ethics exams in front of the temple. At sunrise. Right after morning prayer.img_8971

It was a short drive to Kathmandu, but as we walked the streets in Kathmandu, we felt that we had traversed the universe – the contrast between the two locations could not have been more dramatic!img_8982img_8981img_8978img_8974

 

 

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