Sunday, February 11, 2018

Kathmandu Monkey Temple

Another favorite spot in Kathmandu is Swoyambhunath Stupa or the easier to remember and spell "monkey temple". We usually walk from Thamel. It's a couple of kilometers and can be a little tricky to navigate the winding narrow streets, but it's always interesting to get out of the tourist area. This time we passed by several vacant lots covered in drying sheets and other laundry. Obviously some kind of laundry service. The first time we walked here (1997) we passed open fields and farming. Now it's all developed and covered in buildings. This is my seventh visit to Kathmandu over the last 20 some years. In some ways it's changed a lot (cell phones!), but in other ways it's very much the same dirty, crazy, chaotic place.

prayer flags in Thamel

The monkeys themselves seemed quite mellow this visit. Sometimes they can be a little scary when they fight amongst themselves or try to steal food or shiny objects from the tourists. We were told there is a bigger risk of rabies from monkey bites than from dog bites.

monkey relaxing on stupa


monkey looking thoughtful

Of course, the young ones are still fun to watch as they climb and jump and play.

baby monkey showing off his climbing skills

The temple is much the same as always - stupas, prayer flags and prayer wheels, monkeys, pigeons.

prayer wheels

monkey with pigeons on the stupa in the background


We found a rooftop cafe to relax and observe the goings on around the stupa. The local raptors flew by regularly and I spent a bunch of time trying to photograph them. Needless to say, mostly unsuccessful, but I took enough (and I've had enough practice) that a few of them came out reasonably well. I haven't figured out what they were. At the time I thought maybe vulture but the photos don't look like that. Maybe some kind of kite? (good detail if you click to view larger)




These are cropped substantially, but I'm still impressed with the Tamron 18-400. Most lenses that would handle this would be twice the size and weight.

If you come up the main front steps of the stupa, it's worth going past the stupa and down the far side where there are more stupas and monkeys (and prayer flags!).

prayer flags

On previous trips to Nepal it used to be difficult to find good coffee. At best they'd dredge up an ancient jar of instant coffee. Now, you can get espresso coffee everywhere, and some of it is actually pretty good. There were four coffee shops within a block of our hotel. Mike's Breakfast has moved and doesn't get good ratings any more, but other old faithfuls like Fire and Ice (pizza) are still going strong.

Next stop Pokhara and paragliding! (the original instigation for this trip)

See all 21 photos

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