Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 83 - Nepal: Holy days, gluten free treats & King Curd in Bhaktapur

Half of yesterday I was with a tour guide, seeing another big white stupa, Swayambhunath:
And then I said goodbye to him in Bhaktapur, where I wandered the streets admiring the antiquated red brick buildings with ornately hand carved wood bordering the windows, including the 55-window palace in Durbar square:
And I found a restaurant that served a chicken 'pizza' made of gluten free lentil bread...yes, food makes me happy!

The next morning made me instantly think, "NOW, This is what I love about travelling."

I woke up at 5:30am and wandered the streets for an hour and a half, taking in the early morning routines and soaking up the empty Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur is a Holy town. Everyone awake at that hour was heading to their favorite temples or streetside shrines to pray. It involved a mixture of ringing bells, touching certain spots of the holy site, sprinkling rice, resting the head against a wall or statue, sprinklng red powder or flowers, etc. 

Here is a surreptitious video I did that gives you an idea of the deafening bell ringing noise before 6am.

Women are carrying plates with a mini brass pitcher set in the middle among a selection of different colored powders and offerings in compartments around the plate. I walked behind a woman who carried sprinkled red powder from her plate on a presumably holy stone and then continued through the streets to her favorite prayer spots, stopping to talk with her friends who she undoubtedly sees every ritualistic morning.

I'm not going to lie. It does seem like it borders on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to be unable to walk by certain spots without touching, bowing or chanting. 

If the women were not praying, they were at the wells in the streets collecting water. The men who were not praying we're hanging out at their local tea shop. I stopped by one and bought 'Wo' a fried lentil cake that's naturally gluten free. 

Then I tried 'Wo' from a competing vendor and another friend lentil item, but in my expert opinion, his 'wo' was not as good.

But Bhaktapur's famous culinary treat is Juju Dhau, king curd. Its a sweet yoghurt made from naturally sweet buffalo milk that's boiled in a pot with coconut, cardamon and cashew, cooled, and then combined with a bit of an older batch to introduce the lactobacillus that makes it curdle. It's creamy goodness is eaten for breakfast, snack or dessert. I tried all 3!

And with that final treat, I walked to the local bus station to head to the hill town Nagarkot.

NEXT STOP: 2 Final nights in Nepal watching the sunrises in Nagatkot

1 comment:

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