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Himalaya

Day 44: Kathmandu

Michael Palin - HimalayaWe arrived here last night from Delhi on the penultimate night of Dasain, a big Nepali festival, and though badly in need of some rest and recuperation after our Indian adventure, the final day's celebrations cannot be missed.

To start the day we've been asked by Pratima Pande, a formidable, energetic, Gordonstoun-educated Nepali, to watch a puja, a ritual act of worship, at the home of one of her in-laws. This being the first time I've ever been to Nepal, I'm craning my head out of the car window as we drive there. I have a sense of streets that are less hectic and a city much easier on the eye than those we've seen these past few weeks. Buildings look like buildings rather than structures for supporting billboards.

The house is comfortable but not opulent. As we arrive a group of musicians are parading around the garden before taking up a position on the far side of a small swimming pool. It's a bit of a squeeze, as two of them are wielding large, curved horns.

I'm told that this is Bijaya Dasami, the 'victorious tenth day' of the Dasain festival and Pratima and her husband, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces and cousins are here to celebrate King Rama's victory over the demon Ravana, helped by Shiva's consort, Durga.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 44: Kathmandu
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Book page no: 99

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