Photos 1-3. As the guidebook says “The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples.” Perhaps more simply: “temples, temples, more temples and then even more temples” – all within an area of 2-3 blocks. The initial construction of the place is thought to date back to the 10-11th centuries – but the temples are considered more modern – dating back to the 15-16th centuries. The construction of the various buildings reflects the evolution of various dynasties and rulers – their and favored gods and goddesses over time.
Photos 4-6. The crematorium is a rather sombre but important place within the city – located along the river. A wide variety of goods are for sale by numerous street merchants along the path – including the stands of brightly-colored pigments (e.g. Colors). At the end of this path is a large building that stretches along the river – with 4-10 funeral fires burning under canopies at any one time – with families tending to the fires and the ashes (no pictures – out of respect). Extensive grounds, stairs and related structures are present at this site.
Photos 7-9. The Great Stupa of Boudhanath presents a complete contrast to the crematorium. As one walks down another street and turns the corner – one is immediately accosted by a great white done, with two large eyes, and thousands of colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind. This one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, one of the largest in the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu valley. Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha, the third of the five Buddhas of the “Fortunate Aeon” (you can google for more info).