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Published: March 5th 2018
Woolly says – Our last day in Kathmandu, actually in Nepal, was upon us and I still had a few sights on my list, I hummed and hawed for a while before telling the women our plans for the day.
The fact that they were in opposite directions didn’t seem to phase him and as he obviously wasn’t going to pay, it appeared that taxi fares would be needed! Woolly says – ‘What’s a few rupees between friends’ I said, I won’t repeat Jo’s answer it is far to rude! Off to the palace we went, unlike Cinderella we didn’t get even a pumpkin just a small white taxi which seems to be the main method of transport unless you go for the cycle rickshaw which we were still a little flaky on, yes they need to make a living and they men seem happy pedalling for their livelihood, but watching someone sweat over your laziness is a tough one. Narayanhiti Palace served as residence and principal workplace of the reigning Monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal, with the current building reconstructed in in 1963. In 2001 there was a massacre when the
King and the Royal family were killed and the palace has not been used since, it was opened as a museum in 2006. There were bullet holes to see which must be a bonus in any place!
Sadly, my companion wouldn’t get the opportunity to see anything let alone holes! Woolly says – The ‘no mammoth’ rule had struck again, to be fair they barely let humans in with some clothes on, let alone me in a scarf and t shirt! Everything had to be left at the gates, I glanced towards the 70’s style structure and decided to find my own entertainment.
Zoe and I set off alone, the exterior didn’t give much away except for it being very modern, we couldn’t take pictures of anything which was a shame. The steps to the frontage led us into a greeting room with hundreds of settee’s and ashtrays, seriously there was an ashtray on anything that didn’t move! We followed the arrows which led us through rooms for signing the guest book, a room to sit in before and after dinner, bedrooms and living rooms, the list
of room requirements was strange, there were seven greeting rooms, that’s a lot of people to say hello to. In style it stood out as a twenties feature with some lovely art deco embellishments including two coloured bannisters. A further two offices/greeting rooms led us into the bedrooms for the honorary guests to stay in, huge rooms with leanings towards peacocks in every room. A watching room, so the Royal family could watch all of their guests behind glass, took us into a huge hall with four white tree shaped columns reaching to two storeys with a four foot throne for the Kings comfort. Several rooms followed, all with ashtrays, that contained an immense collection of medals, impressive. Outside signs took us to the spot where the king had been shot, followed by the area where each member of the family had been slaughtered, the bullet holes where there and the garden surrounding the palace was quiet. The house had felt abandoned and so did the garden, preserved but without feeling. Woolly says – I appeared to be in the posh part of town and having dodged the traffic I ambled along a main road which had
high end fashion brands on sale, the shops looked as though they were anywhere in the world. A black and white sign caught my eye and my tummy rumbled. I’d only managed three pistachio cakes and one black forest guatuex by the time the females arrived, and I tried to lick as much as I could off, there was no disguising the fact that I had broken the one cake a day rule! Having seen the array on offer the girls joined me in the cakely delights.
Having wiped off as much of the excess cake, cream and jam as possible I hoped the taxi driver wouldn’t notice the chocolate paw prints on his back seat. Woolly says – Through the town we went and then into the back streets of Thamel, passing our lodgings we cut through some side streets we had yet to discover and onto a bridge that spanned the dry river. There in front of me was a complete delight, well minus the steps! Swayambhunath is an ancient stupa atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city, it is probably the most sacred amongst
the Buddhist pilgrimage sites. I looked up at the steps and gulped a few times, there were a lot, I looked at my paws, this wasn’t going to end well. I made it to the first platform of shrines, very impressive detail in the stonework I thought as I fought to get oxygen into my lungs. A hiss behind me alerted me to a predator and although ever vigilant I realised that I hadn’t a clue what was behind and didn’t really want to know. I turned very slowly and gave a brief greeting to a large monkey before dashing up the next flight of steps. Known locally as the Monkey temple as my eyes focussed I realised the whole hill was swarming with monkeys. I really wanted to get to the top but there was no way my little paws were going to make it up the whole 365, never in a month of Sundays and defiantly not this Sunday!
His face was one of dejection, it was a lot forf us, but I couldn’t leave him behind again. Woolly says – It was worth everyone of Jo’s ragged breathes to
arrive at the Stupa that graced the complex. Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows were painted on all four sides of the small tower part that poked above the Stupa itself, representing wisdom and compassion. A doorway of gold was incredible as was an item mounted on a large base that looked like giant fancy golden anchor. The whole settings was amazing, with the flags flying and the incredible buildings and temples surrounding us and a view over the whole of Kathmandu, what more could you want. The dome that perched high above us had been refurbished in 2010 with the regilding of it using over 20kg of gold, that’s a fair amount of pistachios in anyone’s book. The whole place was fascinating, some stalls dotted in and around the shrines and temples, incredible woodwork for the windows and doors, it had a magical quality. In Buddhism you should ensure good luck by gong round a stupa in a clockwise direction as well as spinning the prayer wheel, we I didn’t need telling twice and I made sure to spin everyone in the whole place!
He seemed to have worn himself out after half an hour of
racing round the prayer wheels of which there were hundreds, we set off for the bottom. Woolly says – I raced down leaving the humans well behind, as I skidded around a corner I came into close contact with another small temple which had the biggest prayer wheel ever! Next to it was yet another and another, all the way down the road, incredible. The climb up and down had worn us out and I was grateful for Zoe’s haggling skills for a taxi to take us back. The temple receded into the distance and I set my thoughts to our next country and having mused for a while, I turned to Jo to ask, ‘Am I the first mammoth to ever go to Bangkok?’
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