Sunday, 10 August 2014

Day 17 - Festival time!

Must have slept well last night as I had backache when I woke up from not moving all night. Woke early as usual then dozed and read until 8.30. Up etc and then went to Casa Pagoda for breakfast. Today is the big festival of the area where the lingam (penis) of Shiva is worshipped at the Kumbeshwar Temple. The streets were all in festive mood with flags, many, many stalls of hawkers selling everything from tableware to turmeric and lots of noise, bustle and gaiety.

I settled to a breakfast of coffee and french toast while overlooking Durbar Square. From there I had a fantastic view of the groups who were making their way round the myriad of temples in the local area and worshipping at each. They were accompanied by different groups of musicians, some playing drums, some flutes and some cymbals. There were also some Nepalese instruments which sounded a bit like an oboe but harsher. 

This one's for Mum - flute band!

Flute seller

Spice stall

Necklaces.I bought a string.
 After observing for an hour or so I left to meet Anastasia at the Golden Temple which is just round the back of my apartment. The streets had been closed to traffic and were full of people dressed in their finery, excited children with balloons and devout pilgrims.We walked down to the Kumbeshwar Temple in ever closer crowds and were greeted with a real fiesta of sound, smell and colour. Anastasia got herself a sacred cord bracelet and tikka on her forehead. 

Children in the small pool

We went first to the small tank outside the temple complex which had been filled with water for children to bathe in. They were having a great time despite the rather alarming colour of the water. There was much good natured pushing and splashing and diving in. We then bypassed one of the many cordons and entered the main temple complex to the big pool. This has been slowly filling up over the past few days and was now full and had a walkway across to the big golden lingam in the centre. Here men and bigger boys were diving in and bathing in the equally disturbing waters and we were told that the boys, who were having a grand time diving, were in fact rescuing coins from the bottom and earning themselves a bit of pocket money on the side! One of the boys was from class 5 and was very keen to show off his diving skills.
The main pool. The lingam (penis) is in the centre under the canopy.

Village shamen (Witch Doctors)

We spent time just soaking up the atmosphere. Still photos don't really do it justice and I have taken many movie clips but the laptop I have here in Nepal and the internet link aren't really up to uploading them. I'll have to do that when i get home.

We had been invited to Koruna's house (headteacher of the school) to watch the festivities and were warmly welcomed. We took off our shoes and had a spectacular view of the whole temple complex from her father's bedroom! Many members of the family came to join and visit and we were treated to many welcomes and a cup of tea. We then joined the grandchildren and great grandchildren for lunch which was a special menu for that particular feast day consisting of 9 bean soup, chapatis, potato curry, spicy fresh pickle, chicken curry and a dessert of curds (as in curds and whey) which had been sweetened - the texture was strange but it tasted delicious!

After thanking the family for their generous hospitality we headed back into the crowds and managed to make our way back to Swotha Square. there we indulged in a pot of tea each in the shade and watched the festivities in comfort.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the apartment reading and trying to bring my plan-let to fruition - no luck yet. We then met for dinner at Swotha Cafe where I had pasta carbonara and a spiced lassi. We sat and chatted for ages then, as it was getting dark, went back to our relative rooms. A very colourful and loud day...apparently the festivities continue all night so I'm not convinced that it's going to be a peaceful slumber! We will see.


  1. Oh Jane, what an experience. We look forward to seeing your movie clips when you get home.
    Books all counted, sealed and labelled ready for collection. Mum xx

  2. Love your experiences at the penis festival (not sure that will get through the blog moderation!). You are packing so much into your weekends, it is very impressive to see.

  3. An interesting object for a festival ;) it looks like a tremendous experience.

  4. This looks amazing Jane. So colourful and the pictures capture the festival atmosphere.