We made the last part of a walk up a hill to the Namo Buddha Stupa (see below) and the adjacent Thrangu Tashi Buddhist monastery. The rest of the previously attractive hike had been replaced by a road. There was a service going on in the monastery Dhuand weird music from long horns and cymbals could be heard. Unfortunately we were only allowed to peer in from the door and could not take any photographs.
We also looked round the dilapidated town, where we were escorted by the children of a family who were friends of our guide. Repair work was in progress and was interesting to watch. Laying a new pipe in the road seemed to require more supervisors then workers and most of the workers were women! Even our up-market hotel had been affected by the earthquake and the new reception building was still under construction. The single story individual rooms had survived intact and the previous conference room had been turned into a restaurant. There should have been a view from there of the Himalaya including Everest in the distance but it was too hazy.
Dhulikhel is located 30 km to the east of Kathmandu valley, where the plains rise gradually up to the green mountains and further into the snow-capped Himalayas. The panorama offers a view of the Himalayan ranges stretching from Annapurna in the far west to Karolung in the Far East. More than twenty Himalayan peaks including Annapurna (8091 m), Ganesh Himal (7429 m), Mt. Langtang (7234 m), Everest (8848m), Mt. Lhotse (8516 m) and many others can be seen in clear weather.
The oldest area of the town is an assembly of old Newari houses, often occupied by 20 or more members of the local extended families. Their most valuable assets are the beautifully carved windows and doors, fine examples of traditional Newari craftsmanship. The narrow streets, are typical of a medieval city whose planning is based on ancient Hindu doctrine with the position, shape, scale & dominance between buildings, temples and public squares all having their own meaning and harmony. In the centre is the Narayan Temple with its yellow metal rooves, dedicated to Lord Krishna. Alongside is the Harisiddhi Temple. Both the temples are adorned with profuse wood carvings and fronted by two Garudas.
The Dhulikhel – Namo Buddha hike takes one to the beautiful Buddhist stupa of Namo Buddha (1982m)situated on a hillock above Panauti. Namo Buddha is a legendary place that is related to the pre-incarnation of Lord Buddha. It is believed that, 6000 years ago, a prince (Mahasatwo/Ngingdui Tshenpo), offered his body to a hungry tigress and her five cubs. As the tigress accepts the sacrifice of the prince she leaves only the bones, which were brought back to the village and buried in the tomb which is stupa of Namo Buddha. Some 3500 years later, Gautam Buddha came to the village and declared that he was the reincarnation of prince Mahasatwo. Founded very much more recently in 1978 the Thrangu Tashi Monastery now stands next to the Namo Buddha site. It has grown such that today it is home to more than 250 monks.