When I was staying in Nepal, my hosts took me to see all the best, and most beautiful sights that Kathmandu had to offer. I was volunteering as an English teacher there, and one day we took the whole class off in our big yellow school bus to see the National Museum. I love museums, they offer a great insight in the history of a countries culture; but trying to keep control of 40-odd kids at the same time was a little difficult! But, after the museum, as the bus was headed back to school, the principal told us we weren’t going with them! At first I thought ‘WHY? What did we do?’, and was a little panicked – language barriers at their best. As it turns out, we weren’t going back with them, because they were going to drop us off at ‘Monkey Temple’. I had no idea such a place even existed, so I was sceptical of just how ‘Monkey’ this temple would be. When we arrived though, I was not disappointed!
The temple itself is amazingly beautiful. As you arrive, you are greeted by two colourful Buddha statues, surrounded by stupas, and placed on the first, of many, steps to the top. And, straight away, you should keep your eyes open for the monkeys! That’s right. Even right here at the entrance, you can see the monkeys jumping around, and generally causing mischief! I did see some people attempting to feed them around here, but I’m not really sure how safe this is. The monkeys are wild animals, and may react badly to certain contact. Just be aware of this, and act accordingly – nobody wants rabies!
The next hurdle is a big one – the stairs. They reach up hundreds of metres, so take a deep breath and get climbing, because the top is well worth it! Up at the top, you’re treated with a panoramic vista of the enigmatic city of Kathmandu. On a clear day, you can see for miles across the multi-coloured roof tops, and dusty roads.
(Be careful though, your view might be interrupted by one of these furry fella’s!)
Monkey Temple, or Swayambhunath, holds one of my favourite sights in Nepal. The large stupa at the top of the temple, has streamers of colourful prayer flags leading off it, and all around. It makes a beautiful scene across a bright blue sky, and shutterbugs, like me, can happily snap away for hours.
The temple also has all the typical temple bits that you would want to see. From candles burning bright in honour of the Gods, to multiple stupas pointing up to the sun, the temple maintains a mystical feel – despite the number of tourists you might encounter.