Postcard of the Week: Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu is a hectic hive of 3-million-people strong activity, but dotted in amongst the chaos are more religious monuments than you can shake a bamboo stick at. Hindu temples, Christian churches and endless Buddhist stupas, this Bouddhanath Stupa being one of the largest in the world, built in the 5th century AD. What I find fascinating is how the many religions live in harmony alongside each other. Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal are closely related and Buddha himself was even born within Nepal’s present-day borders in the town of Lumbini. Despite this, Buddhism is now in the relative minority, capturing the hearts and minds of only 9% of the Nepali popuation, compared to the 81% that follow the Hindu religion. In our particular village of Bhalu Khola in Makwanpur, virtually everyone is Hindu and we celebrate all the Hindu festivals, such as Holi on the 22nd March (so much fun!), but all the holidays of all the religions are included in calendars and designated as national bank holidays.
Nepal being the first majority Hindu country that I’ve visited, I’m thrilled to understand and learn more about Hindusim, and it makes a nice balance with the majority Buddhist Sri Lanka, which I visited immediately before flying out to Nepal.