Nepal – Culture, clinic and crematorium in Kathmandu

Have you ever been to a hospital in Kathmandu? Never? Well, unfortunately I can do a – actually not planned – tick in the box at this point of my bucket list.

Kathmandu is taking my breath away. After the pretty smooth start in Thailand Nepal definitively is playing in a different league.

Everywhere in the city you still can see buildings damaged or completely destroyed by the earthquake. Lots of employees in my hotel are telling me that their families still sleep in tents during this still lasting winter period. Furthermore there is kind of an inofficial embargo in the south of the country leading to miles and miles of cars queuing for petrol and hours with power cuts. Medical car is expensive and the government pensions are pretty low as well. Not the easiest life in Kathmandu.

Despite all these facts the Nepali people are characterized by an outstanding friendliness and sereneness I never experienced before. Everyone is asking how life is in Germany and is telling me about his or her life without hesitation. Envy and grudge does not seem to exist in Nepal.

Religion in everyday life
Religion in everyday life

Furthermore the life in Nepal is strongly influenced by religious values – Karma, Dharma and the aim to escape the cycle of continuous reincarnation into Nirvana are guiding the people. Depending on the subjects prayers to Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the sustainer) or Shiva (the destroyer) are said. Everywhere you can find links to the elements of nature (air, fire, water, earth, space/sky) – even in the colours of the Nepali prayer flags.

Open-air crematorium in Kathmandu
Open-air crematorium in Kathmandu

A bit confusing for me was the open-air crematorium of Pashupatinath temple – the most important temple in Nepal. The bodies of the deceased are burned in public by their families just aside the holy river and the leftover ash is given to the river to reunite the body as a small universe with the big universe.

Together with Muga at the still destroyed Stupa of Bodnath
Together with Muga at the still destroyed Stupa of Bodnath

These really interesting insights I only could gain with the help of Muga – a friend of my mothers working colleague. I am really exited to get to know his family tomorrow as I have been invited for lunch.

On Sunday I am starting for my big trekking tour and hope my infected toe is getting better – this by the way was the reason I had to go to hospital. Never mind!

Tempelday in Kathmandu
Tempelday in Kathmandu

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