Last week a small group of us(Kerry, Hannah, Connie, Ben and myself) went on a research retreat for a few days. The goal was to get out of the valley, away from the smog and traffic, and have an informal discussion group about the status of our research. Along with the discussion of our research, we were able to see the sites around the area and take in some relaxation by the pool (yes, there was a pool!).
About half the way to Pokhara is a resort called Riverside Springs Resort (the late king and Mr. Miyagi have stayed there!). They have a nice big pool (though it was chillier than we would have hoped, so the only one brave enough to get in was Ben) and a nice restaurant area with a fire place. It was a perfect place to relax and sit and have our research discussions. Plus, the rooms were kind of like little cabins, so it was like we had our own little house for a few days.
On our first day we went on a little field trip to a temple nearby called Manakamana. Manakamana is the name of a Hindu goddess that fulfills the wishes of the people. This temple is on the top of a big hill and the only way to reach it used to be by hiking or horseback. Most Nepalis try to make it here at least once in their lifetime (and often times right after marriage). Now, thanks to the Swiss, there is a nice, new modern cable car that takes you to the top which makes the visit much easier. They even have special cargo carts that bring the goats up that people have brought for offerings (they also bring them back down afterwards…). I’m not sure if we were more excited to go to the temple or to ride the cable car up to the temple.
Once at the top, after exiting the cable car there is a path of vendors leading up to the temple. I imagine that most of these popped up after the cable car was put in. Almost every vendor specialized in one of two things: items for offerings and toys for children. There were tons of children there, so it makes sense about the toys. I guess since kids 3 ft and under can take the cable car for free, a lot of people bring their children. It’s like kids eat free night at Fuddruckers, you can’t pass it up.
Of course, we had our resident asian religion and temple expert, and all around great tour guide, Kerry, with us. So it was not only fun to look at, we learned a little too (though, just like with most tours, what I told you is about the limit of what I remember). There were a lot of people making offerings to the temple (which to enter, you must be a Hindu) and great views all around (including some spectacular views of mountains). Overall, it was a great experience and a lot of fun and I came out with a lot of great photos (and I mean a lot). Enjoy!
photos (c) Bethany Meuleners