Wednesday, March 4, 2009

19-20 February – Bandipur and Gorkha, Nepal

We left Pokhara and headed east. The town of Bandipur is balancing on a ridge high up in the sky. The drive up there is spectacular. We walked around and looked at the old Newari architecture and the people sitting in front of their houses, enjoying the winter sun.
We found a few flat square meters (perhaps the only in Bandipur) on the top of a hill and camped there, halfway up in the sky. The sunset view of the snow-capped mountains was very nice.
In Gorkha we expected to see Gurkha soldiers and to buy Gurkha knives. But the soldiers are occupied elsewhere, and the knives are made in Kathmandu. We focused on the famous Gorkha Durbar (palace) instead. It is perched on a hill 1500 steps above town. We managed to drive most of the way, on a rocky mountain track. It cost us a goat (it committed suicide in a kind of chicken race with our car) and the hairpin turns were scary, but at least we only had to climb some 400 steps to reach the palace.
On the other hand, the palace is now a Hindu temple and a center for animal sacrifice to the very demanding Hindu gods (there are many of them). So, the palace has been turned into something very gruesome. The ground is stained with blood from ex-goats and ex-chicken. You are required to take off your shoes. The smell... Yuk! We ran down those stairs again, almost forgetting that we should enjoy the unique architecture of the original palace.

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