BHAKTAPUR – snake gods and feisty kings, Nepal 1976

[It was goodbye to room-mate Neva who was returning home to Australia for Christmas – we’d shared many a delicious pastry and cake along the trail and a lot of laughs.  Then our driver Geoff took us to look round the amazing medieval town of Bhaktapur – vibrant, squalid, artistic and mystical]


“Neva woke early – very excited, smoking like mad!  We all went in convoy to airport (flap on because clothes not dry!)  Tearful partings then we all shouted rude things as she walked to the plane – “Can we have some more music please?!”

Then Geoff took us on trip to Bhaktapur– one of 3 capital cities – medieval town.  Big square with pagoda temple 15th century.  Old run down brick and wooden houses – ancient carvings – museum full of them (various Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses and ghosts).

Art gallery full of rice paper paintings and wooden paintings – highly elaborate, colourful, intricate, often horrific paintings of gods – snakes with big gaping mouths etc.  Collection of paintings depicting life of Krishna; one or two modern paintings of mountains and town (good).  Old wall paintings of warrior figures – great costumes.  Several artists’ impressions of Nepali kings (since 18th century) – all look the same – underneath is explanation of each one – rather interesting.  Great praise for one who repulsed British influence – worshipped as a god.

Tallest pagoda temple in Nepal was a little beyond Durbar Square in smaller square.  Very dirty and poor – dead dog covered in stones, loads of chickens, people pulling lice out of each others hair!  Saw the outside of Buddhist temple – the horse of the temple was tied up outside – statue of god and goddess by small door, so all bow when go through it; 5 small windows for Buddhas (a young boy pointed all this out to me).”