Last day / 最終日

-From Micheal

One of the greatest rewards of going on an ICEP tour is experiencing multiple aspects of a new culture. We’ve already had a close encounter with the hepang people and their village life in Ghorka and witnessed the embodiment of uddhist culture and devotion in Lumbini. On our second day back in Kathmandu it was time explore Nepal’s Hindu identity.

We ventured into Pashupatinath, a 2700 year old Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva and one of the holiest places in Nepal. Although we were not allowed to enter the main temple (access is permitted only to Hindu believers) there was still much to see. Through many surrounding shrines and small temples we’ve seen the various depictions of Shiva. Sadhus (Hindu ascetics or holy men) were sitting between the shrines and monkeys were roaming freely. However the most shocking aspect of Pashupatinath was that it also serves as a site for traditional Hindu funerals. The deceased are cleansed by the water of the river before being burned on a pyre adorned by flowers and tikka. It was a powerful reminder of how far back many of the Hindu traditions go and how central they are to Nepal’s daily life.

We continued to Nepal Model School, a private school that offers its students training in English and many other important skills. Rather than one performance we elected to visit individual classrooms so that the students can have a closer and more intimate experience of the music. It was evident that many of them were enjoying the music and were reacting physically to the music. Our experience so far in Nepal has been that even though virtually all the children were listening to classical music for the first time their response has been very positive and intuitive.

At the end of the day we passed through the Patan Durbar, one of three ancient squares in the Kathmandu valley containing many ancient temples. It was there that the severity of the earthquake really struck us as many of the old temples were reduced to rubble. Although preservation and restoration efforts are going at full speed one can only wonder how many of these national treasures can be fully restored. Nevertheless, it also encouraged us seeing how strongly and bravely the Nepali people have dealt with the earthquake. Even a year later there are still many destroyed buildings, roads, and heritage sites, and yet the Nepali people are finding ways to be joyful and content, and are looking to the future rather than the past.








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