Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tourist Festival in Bhaktapur

There is always a festival going on in Nepal. In fact, they say there are more festivals in Nepal than days of the year. They are always amazing to see, too. So, when my friend, Rajani, offered to take go with me Saturday to a special festival on tourism I knew I was in for a treat. Rajani is about my daughter's age, soon to be 26 and she is a lovely young, Newari woman-kind, sweet, polite and patient. When we go out for a day together she always helps me to do a bit of shopping and I always save money with her. This day was no exception. This day I bought fabric for queen size bed sheets for only 350 NRs. ($4.00). I had bought another one a few months ago in Kathmandu for 750 NRs. Quite a bargain at either price! For another 200 NRs. I will take it to a tailor to have them made.

I also bought a natural fiber shawl for around three dollars along with some felt items I will use as gifts. I just couldn't pass them up. 

One of the first things we saw was dancing goddesses in a ceremonial dance. The old city was so crowded, mostly Nepali, and many things to see. There were art exhibits, cooking demonstrations and even boat rides in the pokharis around Bhaktapur.

There were men parading in the street with drums and flutes. I recorded some of the sounds hoping I would be able to upload them in the blog, but I don't see how to do it. But there is something about the rhythm that seems to energize a person.

 These young girls wore such bright, colorful costumes, waved the swords in dance so beautifully.

Here you can see some of the drummers and the size of the crowd. There were people everywhere.
Bhaktapur is famous for its King Curd, Ju Ju Dau, pronounced 'zu zu dau.' It is yogurt, but creamy smooth and sweet. As we walked I noticed some young people sharing a dish together. They were very kind and allowed me to photograph them to illustrate a bit of cultural difference from the west.This liter dish will cost about 120-140 NRs. at the local shop, but if you buy it in a restaurant it will cost 70-90 NRs. for a tiny bowl. You will see open stall type shops with a sign that has a picture of this clay pot where they can sell you a small cup of it for only 20-30 NRs. It's really worth a try if you come to Bhaktapur. You will enjoy it.

These pieces were behind glass so there is a bit of a reflection, but you can almost see how amazing they are. They are hand made from wheat straw.

As you can see, there was a lot going on in Bhaktapur that day. Obviously this is one of those 'you had to be there' things, but the real value of this blog post is to let you know to always ask at the ticket office about upcoming events that will be taking place while you are here. The tickets are usually good for a week, but as I mention in my book, Nepal: On a Budget, always ask and if you think you might want to come back after a week just be sure to bring two small pictures and a copy of your visa. There may be a power outage when you want to take care of this so I suggest bringing some pictures from home if you can print them yourself. Otherwise you can have them made here for pretty cheap. Have 10-12 made because you will need them for your trekking permit, SIM card and many other things and the electric situation gets pretty intense prior to monsoon. Keep in mind that this is Nepal and electricity is optional for having a wonderful time.

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