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Himalaya

Day 56: Kathmandu

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe most dramatic building in the square is the five-storeyed pagoda of the Taleju Mandir, with a bronze stupa at its apex. The pagoda, a tapering succession of roofs symbolizing the various stages of enlightenment, was perfected here in Nepal, and it was Arniko who took the design to the Ming court at Peking.

One of the pleasures of meandering round Durbar Square is the immense amount of carved and sculpted detail. In the Royal Palace there are stone slabs called shildayras that carry historical records from the Lichavi period, 1800 years ago. On the beams in the chowks are intricately worked and painted lotus flowers, dragons and swastikas, and the stone walls of Krishna's temple are adorned with athletic, erotic couplings.

'Krishna is the God of Love,' explains Kunda. 'He's a young guy with a flute and girlfriends all over the world.'

I'm rather envious.

'Our gods don't tend to have girlfriends. It's something we've rather missed out on.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 56: Kathmandu
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Kathmandu
  • Book page no: 126

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