Picture behind the story #4 When I first met Buddha

A personal PhotoChallenge matching a story to a photo every day for 30 days with short tales of travel, mountaineering, Nepal, art, and a few personal ones too!

4. When I first met Buddha

I awoke at around 6am, Kathmandu time, the previous 36 hours a blur of flights, emotional family greetings with Dr C’s family, a Buddhist welcome ceremony, food then the oblivion of a very deep sleep. I had only a vague recollection of glimpsing from the taxi the BIG “thing” I most wanted to see in Kathmandu …. the Buddhist temple complex at Swayambhu. This was August 1983 and Dr C and I had been married for 11 years and had two young children, Michael and Sharon, all of us on a cultural adventure of a lifetime.

I got dressed leaving everyone else sleeping, walked to the end of the lane, and found thousands of people singing and playing drums, cymbals and horns as they ceremoniously walked up the hill to Swayambhu. I joined in, couldn’t speak a work of Nepali, no idea what was happening, but it seemed like a joyous, Buddhist, family affair. It took about an hour to get to the top of the hill, walk once around the stupa then back down to the house where we were staying. Nobody knew where I had gone, but it was a magical experience I eventually discovered was the Newari people’s festival of Gunla occurring every day across August. Guess what, I went up that hill every morning to meet with Buddha again!

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4 replies

  1. What a magical experience. Love it!


    • Thanks Darlene, it’s a specific experience never been repeated as it occurred in August and it just too hot and steamy to visit Nepal at that time of year. I didn’t even have a camera those days and had to borrow one from Champa’s brother! Try this link to see the Temple from the house we stayed in, and our daughter was even married there in 2009 https://goo.gl/images/6K7fwb


  2. Good story. Was it the noise that woke you up?


    • Unsure Andrew, I don’t think I heard the sounds until I was outside the house. We were all knackered after 24 hours of travelling and bearing in mind this was my first time on an aeroplane and first time out of Britain, we were all brain dead! I really was magnetically drawn to this temple and monastery which I have since visited hundreds of times as routine now. Our daughter was even married there! Hope this link works, not my photo but it’s what I could see that morning from Champa’s sisters house. https://goo.gl/images/8hG5ay

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