Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nepal: Let the sun go down again and again

Wednesday 23 April 2014 - Monday 19 May 2014

There are lot of things happening around us again and again. Sunset is one of those and I never get tired of watching the sun gets down again and again. At my busy life in Dhaka (ঢাকা) I rarely get a chance to see the sunset. Its almost impossible to enjoy this thing for the mammoth buildings around us.

But it was a different story when I use to visit the Nepal. From the roof of our apartment the western side is all most totally viewable, except the tail of the Nagarjun (नागार्जुन) hill located in Nagarjun (नागार्जुन) Reserve Forest. The sun use to go behind that hill every day and I used to enjoy the beauty all most every day even after my busyness. Most of the day the red sun was fully or partially visible. Few other days were unlucky as the sun was totally covered by the clouds, or by the fogs which are formed from the clouds.

I have stayed at the Indreni (इन्द्रेणी) Apartment at Kathmandu (काठमाडौँ). All most 95% of the families living there are foreigners in Nepal. From the roof of that building I have enjoyed my daily sunset at Nepal. The GPS coordinate of the apartment is (27°43'15.72"N, 85°19'59.52"E). And the GPS coordinate of the tail of Nagarjun (नागार्जुन) hill is (27°44'6.48"N, 85°18'1.22"E).

I have posted the photos of sunset with this article. These photos are taken in between a one month of period. You'll see the deviation of sun's position from left to right in terms of the fixed hill.

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nepal: Swayambhunath Stupa (aka The Monkey Temple)

Friday, 09 May 2014

It was 4:00 PM of the day when I have decided to visit the Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप). To save the Taxi fare I started walking from the Thamel (ठमेल) to reach the Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप). It was a long, dull walking under the hot sun of Spring in Nepal (नेपाल). I had to walk unnecessarily a long way as my GPS wasn't working for a several minutes. But there was a very short-cut route available from Thamel (ठमेल) and I have missed that.

My tiring walking ended at the bottom stair of the eastern gate of the temple. Initially I didn't know that the stairs were so long and steep. But still I was climbing slowly. I was taking rest (as I grew older? and do not have much stamina?) frequently and enjoying the bargaining of local vendor and the white-skin foreign tourists. One of them was trying to sell a handkerchief for 5000 rupees and the clever tourists just called him a crazy vendor.

After few initial steps, three 12 feet tall statues of Buddha are placed in an array. I was observing those statues and also was taking photo using my cell phone. I was disguised amongst the local people and none of the irritating vendors paid any attention towards me. Lucy me!

It took a while (actually more than expected time) to reach at the top of those stairs. Lot of tourists along with local visitors were occupying the top. I was standing a side at the top from where the whole Kathmandu valley was open in front of me. After taking a break on there I started to explore the temple premise.

It has few small temples around it. Few more statues of Buddha were around the other sides. It also had few roof top restaurants and the souvenir shops around. I was hungry (starving the whole day) and wanted to have my meal from one of those. But unfortunately I didn't find any tourists over there. So I have controlled my mind from going there.

There were a small pond named World Peace Pond located at the western side of the temple. It has a brass made statue of standing Buddha (on Lotus flower) at the middle of it. It has a bucket in front of it and the people were trying to throw the coins of one and two rupee on that bucket. Local people were selling the coins beside that place. I enjoyed others who were throwing coins, but I didn't throw any.

I have left the place at around 6:40 pm after observing the premise. I exit the temple through the gate of the Southern side. I didn't buy any ticket as I have entered through the eastern side, and also I do not like an outsider. Also, I wasn't carrying any bag, camera or anything that can make others to feel I am a tourist.

About Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप):

Swayambhunath (स्वयम्भूनाथ) temple (mainly known as Swayambhunath Stupa) also known as The Monkey Temple is located at the Western side of the Kathmandu (काठमाडौँ) valley of Nepal (नेपाल). It is located at the top of a small hill and it is a very sacred place for the Buddhist devotees. According to the mythology, a Lotus flower converted into a Stupa (स्तुप) atop of the hill by itself. That's why it is known as Swayambhunath Stupa (means self created in Nepali language).

The temple is also known as Monkey Temple because the holy monkeys were living there. Those monkeys were actually transformed from the lice of Manjushree's (मञ्जुश्री) hair (he who raised the mountain on that the temple is standing). While visiting the temple, you must have to be beware from the monkeys before they snatch or steal things from you.

Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) has two main entrances, one is at the eastern side that has 365 high steps which leads you to the top of the temple. Another one is at the southern side (most people reach there by car) with a ticket counter. If you are young and enthusiastic then you must enter the temple by climbing the steps. This is tiring, but you'll enjoy it at the end.

This temple is sacred for both Buddhist and the Hindu religion. The powerful Hindu king of 17th century named Pratap Malla (प्रताप मल्ल) along with other Monarchs used pay their homage to this temple. The king Pratap Malla (प्रताप मल्ल) built those stairs at the eastern side of the temple.

From the inscription it is found that the Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) was built during the 5th century. But lot of people use to believe that it is even before that. They believe it is standing since 1st century. During this period the temple was renovated only 15 times (unbelievable in 1500 years). Even the last one was during 2010 which was first after 1921. That time the dome was re-glided with 20 kg of gold.

At the top, beside the Stupa (स्तुप) you'll find lot of souvenir shops, roof top restaurant, hotels, etc. The souvenirs are crazily costly. So before buying anything from there, make sure what you are exactly doing.

How to Go:

Shombhunath Temple (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) is very easy to access as its inside the valley of Kathmandu (काठमाडौँ) in Nepal (नेपाल). You'll just need to ask a Taxi driver to drop you there. From the tourist area Thamel (ठमेल) it will be around 120 to 200 Nepali rupees taxi fare. Alternately, you can have a walk as well. Its not too far from Thamel (ठमेल). A 15/20 minutes of short walking will lead you towards the temple. GPS coordinate of the temple is (27°42'53.42"N, 85°17'25.48"E).

Best time to visit the Stupa (स्तुप) is before 9:00 am at morning when you'll find only the pilgrims instead of the chaotic tourists.

The 365 stairs begin from here.

Where to stay:

Tourism is one of the main incomes of Nepal in recent days. That's why there are plenty of hotels and resorts all over the country. Here is a list of hotels near Kathmandu for you. It is always better to reserve your room before traveling anywhere.

A beautiful statue of Buddha beside the stair.

Believe me, I was tired even at this stage!

Still long way to go. This is probably the best view of the stairs.

The view of the Kathmandu (काठमाडौँ) valley from the top of the Swayambhunath (स्वयम्भूनाथ).

I do not know what this things. They can rotate around the center and people use to push them so that it can circle on it's center.

A Brass made statue of an animal. May be a Lion!

A small temple is beside the Stupa (स्तुप).

The Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप).

Few small shrines.

A Statue of Dipankar Buddha from 7th century. It is made on a shingle stone.

This small temple resides at the western side of the temple.

View of the western side of the temple.

Statue of standing Buddha on Lotus at the World Peace Pond.

Watch closely the nose under the eyes. It is basically the digit one in Nepali script.

Another Shrine. Not sure how it is functioning.

Are these the statue of the Holy monks?

What does it look like?

View of the Swayambhunath Stupa(स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) from the down at southern side.

Swayambhunath Stupa(स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप),
Kathmandu (काठमाडौँ),
Nepal (नेपाल)
List of hotels near Kathmandu

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Trumpet Creeper - Campsis radicans

Common Name : Trumpet Creeper, Flamenco Trumpet, etc.
Botanical Name : Campsis radicans
Family : Bignoniaceae

I have never seen this flower in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ), but in Nepal (नेपाल) it was everywhere. This is commonly known as Trumpet vine, Trumpet creeper, etc. I don't know any Bengali (বাংলা) name for this beautiful looking flower. Its botanical name is Campsis radicans and belongs to the plant family Bignoniaceae. Trumpet creeper is mainly native to the North American region.

Trumpet creeper is a deciduous high climber woody vine plant that usually grows around 20-30 ft in height (with strong support). Its leafs are dense and a perfect place for nesting for the small birds like hummingbird, etc. Pinnate leafs of this plant are dark green but touching the leaf can cause itching or allergic reaction to the skin. Probably for this reason this plant is also known as Cow Itching vine at North America, where it it native.

Flowers of Trumpet Creeper are showy and very much attractive. It has a color of a mixture of red and orange. Trumpet or funnel shaped flowers bloom as a cluster. These flowers are very much attractive for the birds, specially the Hummingbirds. During it's blooming season it brings lot of flowers continuously.

This creeper has covered a supporting tree totally and resembles as a plant itself. The vine brought lot of red-orange attractive Trumpet flowers on it. This photo was taken from the Garden of Dreams.

Photos of this article were taken from the Kathmandu, Nepal (काठमाडौं, नेपाल) during the May 2014. The flowers were hanging at the outside of a wall from a private property.

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bashok Ful (বাসক ফুল) - Justicia adhatoda

Common Name : Malabar Nut, Vasaka, etc.
Bengali Name : Bashok (বাসক ফুল).
Botanical Name : Justicia adhatoda
Synonym : Adhatoda vasica
Family : Acanthaceae

Its a herbal plant, highly medicinal and well known at Indian subcontinent. This plant is native to this South Asian region along with Malaysia and China. Botanical name of this plant is Justicia adhatoda. It belongs to the plant family Acanthaceae. In our country Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) it is known as Bashok (বাসক), Basak (বাসক), etc. In other countries it is know as Malabar Nut, Vasaka, etc.

Basak (বাসক) is an evergreen shrub plant that can grow around 2 meter in height. Leafs are lens shaped, large and can be up to a foot in length. These leafs are arranged oppositely around the stem with a short petioles. Leafs are shiny when young but become brownish green color at the later age.

As Basak (বাসক) is a herbal plant, that's why it is not being cherished as an ornamental flowering plant. Basak flowers (বাসক ফুল) are white in color with having a hood. Flowers use to bloom in a cluster where the cluster having a shape of the tip of a spear. At the lower lip of the flower it's petal has a violet colored corrugated texture. The fruit of the plant is like the Nuts and having plenty of seeds inside that.

Basak (বাসক) has numerous uses as Herbal, Ayurvedic, Unani, etc systems of medicine. The Root and bark of the plant is very useful against the cough, asthma, etc. People in our country have been mixing the honey with the squeezed juice of the leafs to cure the colds of children.

Photos of this article were taken from the Mymensingh Botanical Garden (ময়মনসিংহ বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন) of Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) during the month of March 2013.

Another similar plant like this Bashok (বাসক) is Tamropuspi Basok(তাম্রপুষ্পি বাসক): Phlogacanthus pubinervius.

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

ফুলের জন্য ভালবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gopalganj - Ulpur Jomidar Bari (উলপুর জমিদার বাড়ী)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

After visiting the Arpara Munsi Bari(আড়পাড়া মুন্সীবাড়ী), we headed for the Ulpur Jomidar Bari (উলপুর জমিদার বাড়ী) which is located a bit North from there. It was around 10 Taka per person 'Easy Bike' ride that place. After reaching the Uplur (উলপুর) we have hired an aged rickshaw puller to help us explore the area. Basically it was around 6:00 PM at the afternoon. So we had only few minutes left before the sunset. Also, its a village like area, and we had to return back to Dhaka on time. That's why everything went through in a hurry.

The Ulpur Jomidar (উলপুর জমিদার) family was a bit larger. They were living in small small houses around the place. Most of these houses are standing firmly even in these days. Few of those old edifices are two stored building. Most of those are occupied by the government's service offices like post office, land registry office, health office, etc. So I'll suggest you to visit this area during the weekends or at holidays.

Small tea stall type of shops have grown in front of one of those archaic edifice.

We didn't get much time to explore these area. After visiting only two houses we have returned back to the bus stoppage to catch the bus. Our next destination was to reach at the Tekerhat (টেকেরহাট) of Madaripur (মাদারীপুর). From there the bus of Dhaka was available. We have ridden on a local bus and it was running through the straight road that was exactly beside the Beel Route Canal(বিল রুট ক্যানেল). It was probably the day before the full moon and it was glowing on our right side and the straight canal was on our left. It was an awesome ride that day.

How to go:

Ulpur Jomidar Bari (উলপুর জমিদার বাড়ী) is a less visited place by the travelers. Also, the small small buildings are scattered around. So its not a specific edifice you are visiting from here. Rather you have to find out the buildings from around. My suggestion will be to come at the Ulpur Union (উলপুর ইউনিয়ন) first, after that hire a rickshaw and explore the historic area.

1. You can come to the Ulpur (উলপুর) Bus Stand. You can come to this place using a hired bike, public bus or anything from the Gopalganj (গোপালগঞ্জ) town. GPS Coordinate of the bus stand is (23° 3'48.57"N, 89°50'20.09"E).

2. From there take a rickshaw and ask him to play around the old houses of Ulpur Jomidar Bari (উলপুর জমিদার বাড়ী). Better hire the rickshaw puller for hourly basis instead of fixed price. You can start from this location (23° 4'12.59"N, 89°50'1.74"E) to explore the area.

This area is scattered with lot of this kind of small houses.

I think this is an old temple that was used by the inhabitants from these aristocrat families.

This temple is surrounded by water from the rain.

This photo was taken from the Ulpur Bridge.

Ulpur Jomidar Bari (উলপুর জমিদার বাড়ী),
Village: Ulpur (উলপুর),
Union: Ulpur (উলপুর),
Upazila: Gopalganj Sadar (গোপালগঞ্জ সদর),
DIstrict: Gopalganj (গোপালগঞ্জ),
Country: Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/