Day Four - 27 January 2008
Kathmandu, Nepal
Bhaktapur, Nepal

We watched this monkey steal this orange from a woman and scuttle away with it before the woman even realized her bag was a little lighter. We were on our way to our first real tour of Kathmandu temples.

Some hungry cows a little further down the path.

It's nice to see that someone is still using payphones.

The outskirts of the Pashupatinath Temple. The Bagmati River, which flows to the Ganges and is thus holy, is trickling along the bottom of the steps, which are called "ghats".

The shape of these temples is reflective of the Himalayas. It's also the inspiration behind the unique shape of the Nepali flag, which is the bisection of one of these temple spires.

Another Kathmandu juxtaposition shot, with the lightpost competing with the temple towers.

This Temple is really a complex of tens of shrines and temples. You can start to get a feel for it here.

These were higher up in the complex, which had an intricate mix of styles, along with trees aplenty.

Move over, Liberty Bell.

You can really get a feeling for history looking through a shrine like this.

Many of the shrines and temples have this expectant bull figure waiting to enter. If I recall correctly, this bull represents Shiva, one of the three primary deities in Hinduism.

Pashupatinath has been built over several centuries, and thus almost every building is of slightly different age.

I really have a thing for juxtaposition shots.

Stairway to heaven?

From an American (or at least Western US) perspective, it's strange to get used to the buildings being older than the trees.

This monkey's either posing for this picture or calculating how he can nab the camera taking it.

I'm guessing this arch is pretty old.

Here you can really get a sense of the scope and size of this place. The temple yields to the city about halfway into the distance.

The smoke is from a cremation at the riverbank below.

Because of the building over hundreds of years, the diversity of architectural style is most impressive.

I really couldn't get enough of this place.

Someone's home, in the rock face, near the temple. This would be an awfully cool place to live. And yes, that's a phone wire running across the middle of the shot.

The aforementioned cremation.

The most popular (and best maintained) part of the temple, barred for entrance by non-Hindus. There was a good deal of pilgrimage traffic there constantly.

Another variation on the theme.

A sadhu (holy man) hanging out.

Some pretty nice color.

The bundles of kindling are for future cremations. I'm less sure about the shaped stone... it's either replacement parts for the temple structures or what needs to be replaced.

And now for something completely different... this is a Buddhist stupa, Bouddhanath, a little ways across town. Note the people in the lower-left of the picture for scale.

This gargantuan gorgeous stupa is completely surrounded by colorful structures like this... a village of sorts that has slowly sprung up around the holy site.

Prayer flags are strung from the base to the top of the stupa, which is itself completely solid.

The wind was blowing the prayer flags fairly significantly.

Bouddhanath was recently repainted (and is regularly repainted), but drainage seems to leave its mark.

The encircling village was remarkably commercial for its close proximity to such a revered site.

Of course, it also contained some pretty beautiful architecture.

These eyes... cry every night for you...

Something seems off-kilter about this one.

A popular pilgrimage destination for birds as well as people.

Guarding the steps to the top of the stupa.

The gate from the stupa and encircling area to the streets of Kathmandu. Not exactly in the quiet section of town.

Close-up of the prayer flags.

Yes, that's a whole lot of intricate prayer flags.

Up on the roof...

The detail work on this place is pretty incredible.

An almost Hitchcockian quantity of birds.

At the very bottom are prayer wheels, which one spins clockwise for good karma. There were much larger ones ringing the whole base of the stupa that I seem to have managed to not capture on film... er... digital.

Smoke... on the stupa...

I swear they just don't make colors like this back home.

Gorgeous and invitingly angled doors. With, oddly enough, tourist shots of the stupa we were visiting, in the lower-left. Even though we were there already.

All that visiting made us hungry. This was supposed to be a surreptitious shot, but Emily's Mom and Holly found out.

This was more of what I was going for. Action shot!

Back on their level. Will is really starting to wonder why I'm taking so many shots of them at the lunch table. But Emily's Mom is ready to retaliate.

An intersection in downtown Kathmandu. Yes, that's a shrine in the middle of the road, which they've sort of built around.

I'm not sure I'd enroll here for English proofreading.

Probably better free healthcare than is available in the States.

In the lobby of the Harati.

We retired to the lawn and garden of the Harati.

It was starting to get cold.

Bienvenidos a Harati!

Not quite prayer flags, but reminiscent.

It's hard to fully explain what we went through to get this picture. I have the details in my journal from the trip. Suffice it to say that it involved a nearly three-hour taxi ride covering about 12 miles. But this vision alone was worth it... there was an official ceremony and performance for French dignitaries that night at the beautiful Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Many of the pictures don't do it justice because of the low light, but it was a magical place to be after dark.

We climbed up this temple, lined with various animals along the steps.

The view from the top.

We were a little tired, but awfully glad to be out of the taxi.

See... I was there too!

The guarded steps, with a panorama of the square in the background.

It was sort of like this to walk around at night... not everything was overlit, and sometimes wandering felt like a mystery.

Like Pashupatinath, Bhaktapur had a collection of shrines built over the course of many disparate eras.

We'd circled back to the main event, aglow with both candles and floodlights.

It's easy to lose sight of the details in all this vast history.

Things look a lot lighter when you use the flash...

...but the lens then also can pick up raindrops in the air...

...but there are bigger problems with not using the flash.

Did someone mention details?

On our way out of the Square, Emily got this great shot of this really neat elephant carving.

Nearly all photos taken by Storey Clayton or Emily Clayton. All photos © 2008, Storey & Emily Clayton. All rights reserved.

[Day Eighteen - 10 February 2008]
[Day Seventeen - 9 February 2008]
[Day Sixteen - 8 February 2008]
[Day Fifteen - 7 February 2008]
[Day Fourteen - 6 February 2008]
[Day Thirteen - 5 February 2008]
[Day Twelve - 4 February 2008]
[Day Eleven - 3 February 2008]
[Day Ten - 2 February 2008]
[Day Nine - 1 February 2008]
[Day Eight - 31 January 2008]
[Day Seven - 30 January 2008]
[Day Six - 29 January 2008]
[Day Five - 28 January 2008]
[Day Four - 27 January 2008]
[Day Three - 26 January 2008]
[Day Two - 25 January 2008]
[Day One - 24 January 2008]