26th November 2011
Temple of Kali
This morning we both managed to get going early and head out on the bike. Buddha wanted to take me to, what he called, “The Animal Cutting Place”. It’s a Hindu temple devoted to Kali, the goddess of destruction. How it works is that families bring chickens or goats or the like as a sacrifice. The animals are ceremoniously slaughtered, cleaned and returned to the family to take home for dinner.
The drive was longer and much colder than I had expected and by the time we got there we both had frozen fingers. Parking, we headed down to the temple. I have visited many places around the world but the intensity of this place was off the scale. Even though we were there before 10am there were already hundreds of people and the lines for the sacrifices wrapped round the temple. There was almost a festive air to the place, with people selling food, spices, toys, and everything else. At one point a guy came and tried to sell me a small brass lock shaped like a tiger. Even though I thought it was neat, I resisted and finally, in an attempt to get rid of him, I made the mistake of saying “Maybe later!”. He nodded and walked away. I figured there was no way he would find us in this crowd on the way back….
Everything for sale
Rows of beans
Colors and sounds abound
We attempted to enter the temple area and bypass the hoardes of people, but were promptly shoo’ed out by who I can only assume was “The Keeper of the Line”. So we walked around the perimeter and found another entrance. It was very smoky with all the incense and such and rather overwhelming in truth.
View from above
This is just part of the line
After wandering around for an hour or so we decided to pop into one of the “cafe’s” for breakfast. It was fascinating watching the food being made, we opted for tea and some sort of donut like things and a bowl of some sort of beans. It was delicious, but really have no idea what it was other than the tea.
Making Donut like things
About half way through this old gentleman came up to us and started playing a traditional instrument. I wasn’t sure if he was playing for money or was going to try sell me something, but I got 50rupees ready just in case. He was superb and added a great atmosphere to breakfast, in hindsight I wish I had given him a little more.
On the way out we decided to buy some veggies to make for dinner at the hotel tonight or tomorrow night. There was so much good stuff to choose from and pretty soon my shoulder bag was chock-a-block full and I was starting to get concerned on how my balance might be affected on the bike.
Remember the guy selling the brass lock, the one I was certain wouldn’t find us in this mass of human beings…. I underestimated the tenacity of a Nepali lock seller. He spotted us immediately and came right over. Being rather insistent and no matter how much we bantered and encouraged him to go sell to the obvious tour group just behind us, he was hell bent on selling me one. Eventually we settled on 300 rupees, as I did kind of like it. Later I found it for 270 rupees in Kathmandu, and that was without bargaining. He certainly was a persistent bastard, and was fun to barter with so its all good.
Walking around the grounds we came across family after family setting up their picnic areas. Each family had rather elaborate hand made screens that were set up and made a perfect private location for a family outing. It was rather touching to watch how the families interacted and it reminded one of how similar all families are all over the world.
At the bike Buddha got on and then braced himself for me to get on. As I went to swing my leg over I realised that:
1- we were on a slope
2- I was on the higher side
3- my bag-o-veggies was rapidly overbalancing me
My first attempt failed immediately. The 2nd attempt on the other hand had me almost all the way on the bike when I felt the bag slide. Next thing I remember is that the bike lying on me and somehow had managed to kneel on one knee and the outside leg got under the bike. Buddha managed to jump out of the way, but one of the rear breaklights had popped off and was damaged. I also knew I was going to have a whopper of a bruise later.
I felt unnerved and embarrassed, because you know there were people watching. Buddha decided to move the bike up to where a stump would allow me to get better leverage onto the bike. I limped behind him and managed to get on this time. The drive home was insane as it was high traffic time, and if you thought bus drivers were crazy in town, try them outside of town. It was damn near terrifying on one section as a bus wouldn’t let anyone get passed and people were getting quite insistent.
But making it home barely, Buddha took the bike to the shop to get it checked out and I chatted with a couple who were staying in the apartments next to the hotel. He was from Australia and she was Nepali, they lived in Goa, India and were back in Kathmandu to see her family. Its always interesting meeting couples of different nationalities.
After a very interesting, intense and insane day we opted for pizza before calling it a night.