Bhaktapur is an ancient ‘Newari’ town to the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley. Famed for its ‘Durbar Square’ which was the Royal palace of the kings of Nepal; the seat of ancient power. Bhaktapur is much quieter and less polluted than Kathmandu. There is an admission fee for entering the city which I paid one Saturday afternoon during my stay in Nepal.
The Monkey Temple, Kathmandu
The Monkey Temple is an ancient religious complex at the top of a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The reason for it being named the Monkey Temple is its permanent monkey inhabitants, who live around the complex begging food from the tourists. The ascent up to the top of the Monkey Temple is an impressively steep climb and rewarded by the spectacular views of the city. At the top of the mount is the Buddhist Stupa and various Hindu places of worship; Hinduism and Buddhism sit very closely and comfortably along side one another in Nepal.
On the day of my visit to the Monkey Temple, I met a Buddhist monk in one of the shrines at the top, near the Stupa. I asked to take his photograph and happily he accepted. As well as taking his photo, I asked ‘why had he chosen to become a Buddhist monk’. Expecting to hear an explanation regarding great religious devotion, he simply said that he had been the middle son of his family; and becoming a monk was a duty and a matter of honour for his family. I was surprised to hearing this. The resulting portrait I was particularly pleased with.