Before setting off back to India, James and I had a day to spare in Kathmandu and, as neither of us were particularly that enamored with the city, we weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. Thankfully our handy hotel owner came to our rescue and set us up with a day trip out of the city to Nagarkot and Bhatakupar.
The only catch was we had to be up at 3:30am to drive to our first destination. The last time I was awake at that time on a Saturday morning was after a big Friday night out so I wasnt too fussed on the idea. The early morning start was in aid of a second attempt (our first being in Darjeeling) to see the sunrise over the Himalayas. This time we were not disappointed. Even though we arrived groggy and sleep deprived we got to Nagarkot just as the dawn cracked the mountains. We stood at the look out gazing over the snowcapped peakes and shadowed mountain ridge taking it all in. I was glad that we had got up to see this but I didn’t realise it got better. Once the sun actually peeked over ridge the whole place was flooded with sunlight making the scene even more incredible. Watching the sunrise pop out over Mt Everest is pretty breaktaking and might inspire me to wake up earlier more often.
The next stop on our trip was the city of Bhaktapur which from what we saw of it looked like a mini Kathamndu. Similar to the capital, Bhaktapur is centred around their own Dunbar Square filled with temples, shrines and palaces. Getting there only a few hours after sunrise I was surprised to see it already so busy and full of people. Obviously the Nepalease don’t do sleep ins. We wandered through the square visiting several smaller places before hitting the Sun Temple sitting high above the rest of them over a big square. The building sat above markets of food and produce, trinket sellers and tourist touts, all before 8am. The temple was topped with locals looking out over the city and as we wandered through the rest of town we saw many families and groups saying their prayers at smaller shrines along the way. We often miss this morning ritual so it was really interesting to see their faith in action.
We were back in Kathmandu by about 10am and collapsed into our beds for a mid day seistsa. Unfortunately neither of us could sleep due to construction noise outside and the heat. The power cut in our guest house (extremely common everywhere) meant we had to retreat elsewhere for a fan and food. We wandered the tourist hub of Thamel and found the Pilgrim Bookstore complete with garden restaurant outside. After wandering through a huge store filled with books, knick knacks and local wares we spent the afternoon relaxed in in their garden. It was the best way to kill the hottest hours – sitting under a fan and snacking on momo’s (a hybrid of dim sum and samosas – they are delicious). As soon as it cooled off we headed back into the hustle and bustle of Thamel and whiled away the hours, and the rest of our Nepalease rupees, doing what I do best – shopping!
It was a great afternoon fornour last one in Nepal, a place that we both really enjoyed, and we were glad to finally get some sleep as we passed out about 8pm. Next stop is Kerala in South India where we plan to hit the beach!