October 18, 2008:
Dakshinkali and Pharping
David and I were going to meet Bharat at 7:30 am to go to Dakshinkali. Therefore, we decided to meet at
Pumpernickel at 6:45 am. Well, we found out that Pumpernickel does not open before 8 am.... So we had
breakfast at Hot Bread. The croissants there were not as good as the ones at Pumpernickel but they did
the job. Bharat and the driver were a little late, but we made fast progress on our way to Dakshinkali even
driving through Durbar Square which was not crowded as it was early. Outside of Kathmandu, we slowly
gained altitude and there were great views of the southern Kathmandu Valley.
Arriving at Dakshinkali I was amazed at the amount of people there. The Hindu temple at Dakshinkali is
dedicated to the godess Kali and is famous for its sacrifices. The creatures sacrificed must be
uncastrated male animals. Saturdays is the most sacrificial day of the week (we were there on a Saturday)
and lots of chickens and goats were being sacrificed.
The major path from the carpark to the temple is lined with street vendors selling everything from live
goats and chickens to veggies to plastic flowers and souvenirs. There is a festival spirit in the air. Once
we arrived at the temple, we saw long lines of people waiting to get to the temple to make their sacrifices.
They were carrying live chickens, goats and all kinds of other stuff to be sacrificed. As the temple sits
down in a small gorge, there were many stairs down to the temple and they were lined with hundreds of  
people queued up.
We went down the stairs past all of them
and into the temple complex. Right outside
the main temple there was a place where
we could observe what was happening
inside the temple. One rooster after the
other was sacrificed right in front of us.
The pilgrims would hand the animal to a
guy who had a sharp knife. He then would
cut the animals head off, leave the head at
the altar and give the animal back to the
pilgrims who would then either take the
animal back home and eat it there or have
it cleaned at another place in the temple
complex and then barbecue it right there
for a feast. We also saw several goats
being sacrificed in the same manner. Only
difference here was that the "sacrificer"
not only cut off the head of the goat but
also the tail and stuck it into the goats'
mouth. After a while we had seen enough
blood to last a lifetime and we left going up
the stairs at the other side of the temple
complex.
Up here was the Mata Temple which according to
Bharat is dedicated to Kali's mother. From here we
had good views of the surrounding area. Then we
went back down the main temple area past another
long line of people and back up on the other side
towards the carpark. We stopped at many of the stalls
looking at the displayed wares. For example, I had no
idea how many different types of lentils there are...
We drove back to Pharping where there are quite a few Tibetan Bhuddist Monasteries which for the most
part seemed quite new. Unfortunately, they were all closed with the exception of one which had 16 huge
prayer wheels in it and a huge statue of the Guru Rinpoche outside.
On the outskirts of Pharping we visited the Seth Narayan Temple. This Hindu temple is one of the most
important Vishnu temples in the Valley dating to the 17th century. There was a cave to the right of the
temple which is believed to be a pilgrimage site since the 5th century. The priest wanted me to go inside,
but as it was small and smelly I politely declined as I could see everything from the outside. In one of the
ponds of the temple complex is half submerged a statue of the sungod Aditya which dates back to the
12th century.
Then we went back to Kathmandu where David and I had lunch at the New Orleans Cafe. After that
went back to the hotel and had a shower and some rest. At 6 pm I was going to meet Bharat, David and
Gyan at Ciao for pizza and beer. We talked about how we could channel trekking business directly to
Bharat and Gyan. Having been in Nepal now several times, in my opinion there is no need to use a big
agency if you are just going for the normal teahouse trekking routes. So we discussed a few ideas and
approaches. Both, Bharat and Gyan are right now dependend on their agencies to get work and are at
their mercy. As they are both excellent guides who are extremely knowledgable and caring, I feel that
they should be able to get a lot more work if they were to go on their own rather than the occasional
trip their agencies give them. (Bharat quit Thirdpole after my trip was over, something he told me he
would do during our trip and therefore we had this discussion to explore possibilities).
After dinner, we said good-bye to Bharat and Gyan. David and I went to Jerry & Ben's to watch British
football live and have a few cold ones. Went to bed late and didn't hear too many dogs bark. Lots of
Tuborg can do wonders....