Temples, Singing Bowls and Maybe a Massage

I booked a nice room through Air BnB in the nearby city of Patan, one of the three royal cities in Nepal.  My host is an ambitious, intelligent, young Nepalese man who went to college in New Orleans.  He is involved in several projects, including teaching American students who come to Nepal for a gap year.  The home is in a quiet neighborhood across from the Norwegian Embassy.  It is a very open and comfortable place, with people coming and going for various reasons, one being the massage parlor upstairs that is run by blind masseuses and masseurs.  I have met several of them and have enjoyed our conversations.  A massage may be in my future.

Yesterday, I took time to explore Patan and its “Durbar Square” which is where the royal palace, temples and museums are.  Although many of the ancient structures have been damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, it is still very stunning.

The road was backed up because some type of makeshift temple was right in the middle of it.
Stopping to pray amidst the traffic.
There was a sea of helmets. Imagine the noise and exhaust. No room for pedestrians. I had to get in line with the motorcycles.



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The square was filled with temples, museums and the palace.
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These supports are everywhere, holding up buildings damaged by the earthquake.
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The only place I’ve seen a sign like this on the entire trip.
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Earthquake damage

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The Golden Temple, run by a Buddhist monk who looked to be about ten years old.


Tomorrow, I will move back to Kathmandu since it turns out Patan is about an hour away from the home where I am volunteering (due to traffic).  I’ve had many interesting bus rides back and forth, remembering my first days in Bolivia trying to figure out the bus system there.  The smog in Kathmandu is the thickest I’ve ever seen and many people wear face masks.  The less commuting I have to do the better.  After getting lost trying to find the home, I eventually made it back there and had an amazing experience there today.  I’ll have lots to say about it, and already have tons of pictures, though I cannot post any without permission.

Although Patan is much calmer and the vendors are less aggressive than in Thamel, I did not get away without being brought to a special fair trade gift shop hidden down a back alley.  I had a complete demonstration of the singing bowls, which are used for meditation and physical therapy.  The bowl was even placed over my head and struck so I could feel the vibrations and hear the notes.  Well, since they were on my shopping list, and since I was probably put into some kind of trance, I ended up buying two very high quality handmade bowls.  It’s amazing how hotels might not take credit cards here, but a hidden gift shop down a dark alley does.

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6 Comments on “Temples, Singing Bowls and Maybe a Massage

  1. The singing bowls remind me of Ginny, she had one in her classroom. I love the sound, it really is amazing. When you come home the sound will transport you back to Nepal or maybe a higher place!

  2. Great pictures, Tim! Your singing bowls are beautiful and I like the story about how you came upon them. I bought four small ones for gifts and everyone has loved them. I wish I would have brought more home.

  3. Tim- Your writing is so compelling, honest, and descriptive. I expect/want you to turn this into a book/website on teaching about global understanding!

    1. Thank you, Laura. I often get asked why I’m keeping a blog. One of the reasons is that you never know where it will lead you. At the very least, it will help me remember this amazing trip, but I’m sure it can open some doors as well. Thanks for your feedback!

  4. Tim, I am loving this blog. I’m just on Cape Cod for weekends during the summer and hearing your stories gives me hope that I will travel far and wide again someday soon. Although, I don’t think my husband is the right companion for some of those trips that I have planned. He needs too much pampering. Singing bowls sounds so lovely, you made a fine investment.

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