Jalebi from Purano Bazaar

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It was still quite early in the morning when I started leaving Bindhyabasini Temple. Back in riding Mr. Tirtha’s daily rental taxi, I along with a trio of backpackers from hotel started down Pokhara-Baglung Street heading south. Mr. Tirtha planned to take me to an old market which was more than 250 years old. He said, this old market was called Purano Bazaar, but public often called it as Old Bazaar.

The road leads to Old Bazaar.

It was true that said by Mr. Tirtha that this temple and market are close to each other. Only 1.5 km away with 5 minutes of travel time. Quickly arrived, Mr. Tirtha dropped me off on a side of market and he threw his index finger in a corner as a sign that I should meet him there when my Purano Bazaar exploration was over. He wanted to enjoy situation in his own way. All I knew was that he hadn’t been exposed to coffee aroma since early morning.

Description: D:BC ReportsFoto and VideoGo Abroad15. NepalIMG_20180101_100636468_HDR.jpg
Starting to explore the market.

My stomach which started to feel hungry, automatically led me down market corridor to find street food as a breakfast. Before long, white smoke which rising from three furnaces caught my attention.

“Namaste”, said old merchant who was busy frying. Before answering, my heart laughed when it was the first time in my life to see Jalebi’s appearance. Yes, it is a kind of typical Indian street snacks which I got to know when Saroo and Guddu couldn’t afford to taste it because their money from stealing coal in a mining wagon was only enough to pay for a few bags of milk for their poor family in Ganesh Talai. A touching scene in a film which titled “Lion”. Since then I have been determined to taste Jalebi in India, although I was tasting faster in Nepal.

That old merchant who was initially stunned watching me when I spoke English to buy his food suddenly laughed and raised his hand while frowning. Then a young man in blue jacket who was enjoying his meal got up from his chair and with his fluent English helped that old man served me….Great.

Come on….It were sweet jalebi.

Going back down to market corridor, while munching on snacks, I enjoyed the classic Newar architecture which were shown by many old buildings. Each building always featured visual strength of red bricks which were integrated with distinctive carvings on building wood.

One of the buildings.

It was said that Newars originating from Bhaktapur in far east of Pokhara were skilled traders. Short story, King Kaski invited him to trade in Pokhara in 1752. And at that time Pokhara had also developed trading activities with Tibet as well. My mind agreed, because there was a Tibetan village in Pokhara….I would visit it later.

Description: D:BC ReportsFoto and VideoGo Abroad15. NepalIMG_20180101_100503369_HDR.jpg
Are my shoes cool?….#showingoff.

Market beauty could be felt because there were still no activity that morning. Himalayas sight was still an idol just down the road. Two bonus destinations which were well presented by Mr. Tirtha, a tall, thin Nepalese, has brown skin typical of South Asia but has slanted eyes like a Chinese.

Description: D:BC ReportsFoto and VideoGo Abroad15. NepalIMG_20180101_100620328_HDR.jpg
Nice view, right?

Come on, let’s have breakfast at hotel …

Check out the Purano Bazaar situation here: https://youtu.be/wVmGgYnTs-M

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Goddess Bhagwati’s Aura at Bindhyabasini Temple

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After my eyes enjoyed Himalayas view. Two hours in Sarangkot and witnessing natural drama which began when first rays of dawn shone and then noon came.

You may completely read my adventures in Sarangkot in a story which I wrote earlier.

Here:

Passing a Morning and Getting a Sunrise in Sarangkot, Nepal

I said goodbye to Mrs. Celesse, a Belgian woman who still had a beautiful face. Maybe she was a photo model when she was young. Mrs. Calesse, who had shoulder-blonde hair, using a red jacket and a white scarf, still chose to pretty sitting in Sarangkot fot watching Phewa Lake expanse which shining blue when hit by the sun.

Parking area at the bottom of hill.

Meanwhile, at the botton of hill, precisely in a car park, I had been waiting by three other backpackers who had been heading to this place since early morning with me.

—- **** —-

Me: “So, we returned to the hotel for breakfast and taking a bath“, I said on taxi front seat to Mr. Tirtha-our taxi driver-.

Mr. Tirtha: “Sure, but before it, can I take you to two places which are located along with our way back? “, His smile held mystery and surprise.

Me: “Oh, yeah …. Is it one of International Mountain Museum, Tashi Ling, Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave or Shanti Stupa?“, I think we were still time there after breakfast.

Mr. Tirtha: “Oh No, Hahaha….These were different places…. Two places were close together, Sir“, he deliberately made me curious.

Me: “Oh yeah….Nice to hear that. How about you, bothers?“, I asked to other backpacker’s in the backseat asking for their approval. Finally we agreed to go to those place.

—-****—-

Main temple Building.

Heading east, the taxi slowly crept down Sarangkot Street. Riding it for 20 minutes, I arrived at a T-junction. I found several school buses which looked like have yellow colour all over the world, then the journey continued with passing the crowd of cyclists and motorbikes. The taxi was slowly uncovering their way until finally it was parked on the edge of pavement.

The trident given by Lord Shiva to Goddess Bhagwati.

Visitors were free of charge when they took turns entering temple area through stairs on a side of courtyard. Having finished climbing the stairs, the large temple courtyard was in front. Some congregants began queuing to perform rituals at a white stupa on the left, while others made offerings at a cow statue which overlooking a temple building. And right in the center of courtyard stood a main building with three levels of roof which were no less crowded with congregation. It was in this building which the statue of Goddess Bhagwati was located.

A monument in courtyard.

Goddess Bhagwati herself was believed to be the Protector of Pokhara who was purified in the temple. Congregations regularly made offerings to Goddess by slaughtering various livestock. And Pokhara people should be grateful that their king Siddhi Narayan Shah contributed to building this temple in the 17th century.

Temperature was starting to warm up to spoil anyone to linger sitting on the edge of courtyard with 900 meters high above sea level. Then while breathing the fresh air, I enjoyed residential areas view with the blue background of Himalayas.

Cool….

See the situation at Bindhyabasini Temple here:

Bindhyabasini Temple, Pokhara – YouTube

Let’s go to the next place …. Follow me, OK!

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Tourist Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara

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Bus queue at Kanti Path Road.

Enough with 300 Rupee for 10 minutes, riding a taxi from Thamel to Kanti Path Road. If you weren’t afraid of getting lost, you could also walk for 20-25 minutes.

My imagination told me that a bus which I was chasing would standby at a travel agent office. But the reality was far beyond presupposition. All buses from various travel agents lined up along Kanti Path Road.

48 minutes before departure, I took time to have a light breakfast because this was a long journey which I myself didn’t know how the travel time management was.

BG’s Coffee Shop which had opened on a side of Kanti Path Road.
You could also have breakfast on sidewalk, guys….Wouw, a child was pious to help his father in selling food.

I already ordered the ticket via email from Jakarta for 750 Rupee, it was just the payment was do at departure location. It was a strange transaction which I encountered for the first time abroad. Now the problem was only one, I had to be transferred to another bus because according to ticket seller, a bus which I ordered was fullseat (it seemed that this was their strategy, catching passengers via email first and regarding which bus would be placed on, that was the next business….Hahaha, smart).

Amazingly, I was only given a ticket and then asked to independently find a bus along Kanti Path Road based on a number plate on the ticket. I confidently executed his order. It was just that, just walking for 5 minutes to looking for it, I started to get overwhelmed….Yes, it was puzzling!….Nepali numeric was different from Latin numeric!.

Worse …. Now half an hour to departure began to be count down. Armed with no communication access, I returned to starting point of searching to ask ticket seller who seemed to be concurrently as bus coordinator. Dizziness was made by him because I couldn’t find him. I showed my ticket to several people around, they just shouted “wait!…. wait!”. Trying to disguise my panic with 15 minutes remaining to departure time, my eyes closely watched crowd one by one to find the person who I was looking for. Yes, I recognized green color of his winter beanie and a polyphonic phone necklace around his neck. I approached and asked him to help me in finding the bus which was referred to in the ticket….Yes, he only briefly said “Looking for light green bus….Row number three from the front”. Seeing her busy and impossible to accompany me in looking fo the bus, I immediately ran towards front row.

Finally, a light green bus departed at 7 o’clock. Armed with a liter of free mineral water, I sat in the back seat with Korean students who would then have a friendly conversation throughout 8.5 hours journey to Phokara.

Bus interior.

Along the way, the bus would stop four times.

Twice for toilet breaks for 15 minutes, i.e 1st break stop on 9:30 hours and 4th break stop on 14:30 hours.

Apart from toilet breaks, bus would also stop twice for meals, each with a duration of 20 minutes. 2nd break stop for breakfast on 10:30 hours and 3rd break stop for lunch on 13:30 hours. I paid a little attention to restaurant cashier table. It was seen that if how many of food was taken, passenger would pay for 450 Rupee.

So sweet….
You have to be fast if you didn’t want to be left by bus.
I didn’t even have time to chew it….I swallowed it in my mouth.

During the trip, I was really fascinated when I was presented with views from right side. Leaves were turning white because of thick dust from streets, giant billboards which were displayed in the middle of rice fields, suspension bridges which connecting hills, rafting along river and bustling Chandragiri Cable Car tour. Even I could be made to smile by residents behavior in sunbathing in 9° C air while playing carom or some of them surround fire which was lit in house yard.

.

Dust….Look!
Rice fields also became commercial land.
Do they have neighbors?….

Slowly bus climbed, descended and circled mountains with ravines on the right. I wasn’t too worried because bus was slowly running. A thing that then made me realized that most of cars, trucks and buses in Nepal came from Tata Motor manufacturer, India.

Look at trucks in mining area along Kathmandu-Pokhara.

I thought bus which labeled with “Tourist Bus” word wouldn’t pick up passengers on streets, it turned out that its little conductor had picked up passengers twice, but the better ting was no one stood up in bus.

The trip was stopped due to a wheel leak on 15 minutes before reaching Pokhara. The conductor was a teenager who struggling to change bus wheel, luckyly three taxi drivers came to help. In this condition, I still managed to do transactions at a street market to get a bag of oranges for 100 Rupee. But repairing took too long time and didn’t fast finish, so I was finally transferred to another bus.

Old taxis but exclusive.

In Pokhara, bus would stop at Tourist Bus Park with a view of the Himalayas behind it…..pretty amazing.

Ignoring many offering from taxi drivers, I rushed to a travel agent office, not far from where I got off. Yup….I took initiative to immediately order a return ticket to Kathmandu because later I would fly to New Delhi via Tribhuvan International Airport. This travel agent offered three types of ticket prices, ranging from 650 to 850 Rupee depending on bus quality. Not taking it long, I chose the cheapest price.

Tourist Bus Park.

Let’s Explore Pokhara!

Check out a video which was related to this article here: https://youtu.be/sSDNtAYx0tQ

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Sweet Spicy Sour Panipuri at Swayambhunath Stupa

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First destination in Nepal.

Receptionist: “Mr. Donny Suryanto from Indonesia? ”, greeted me when he got closer to his desk.

Me: “How do you know me?“.

Receptionist: “Yes Sir, we are waiting for you. Our last room which we have. And you have kept it via Booking.com

Me: “Yeaa wright….Hahaha, excellent”, Simultaneously signed a confirmation sheet with a smile.

I entered Holiday House Hotel room for 1,100 Rupee. Planning to stop overnight in Kathmandu. And next morning, I left for Pokhara to enjoy the Himalayas.

Limited time forced me to hurry up. Without taking a bath and immediately took a folding bag to fill it with important items, then heading to Swayambhunath Stupa.

Now I walked along narrow streets of Thamel with inevitable suction of dust with every step. Distinctive smell of dust was obscured by pungent smell of incense which slowly diminished by small embers in pashmina stalls.

I approached a driver who was wiping his tiny taxi from dust, then started a transaction to Swayambhunath Stupa which was 3 km away from hotels where I was staying. I deliberately canceled to walking because I was worried that it was getting late.

Rows of stupa in Swayambhunath.

400 Rupee was my agreement with him. During trip, Nepali pop songs, which I never understood, made my head nod in following its tune. Every now and then the driver who was the owner of that taxi looked at me with full of smiles and finally we nod together.

Taxi driver advised me to get off at top gate of shrine. He said it took a long time if I had to tread from bottom gate. After I agreed to his suggestion, that tiny taxi slowly drove in a circle following Swayambhu hill contour and dropped me off right at front gate.

Exploring between stupas.

Security: “Where are you come from?

Me: “Indonesia, Sir

Security: “Oh, I know…. I know…. Jokowi“.

Me: “Hahaha great….You know that

Security: “He is very famous here“, he said while tore my entrance ticket for 200 Rupee.

Swayambhunath’s main stupa.
Look at those sharp Buddha eyes!

It was true, according to its nickname, i.e “Monkey Temple”, area around stupa was often found monkeys which cheering up tourists arrival in front courtyard. Crossing “the peace pool” which full of coins which were tossed by travelers. It was said that they believe their prayers would come true if they throw coins. I continued up the stairs to worship’s main place at hill top.

Rotate it and your prayers would be answered.

Congregation took turns coming and turning prayer wheels one by one…. Of course they hoped that Buddha would grant their request.

Around the stupa, souvenir sellers offered their merchandises to tourists. Souvenirs made fro metal which dull because of were exposed by dust didn’t deter tourists to buying and owning them.

Lots of souvenir were requested by my frends….

Passing through each groove around stupa, dogs as guard animals looked limp and some of them were asleep anywhere. Meanwhile, thousands of colorful prayer flags neatly lined up on a rope which centered on stupa and stretched out in various directions.

Cute.

Meanwhile, on other side, there was a sunset which splashes the city with a reddish-yellow spectrum. Combination of religious nuances and natural beauty which really spoiled the eyes.

Kek BandLike Bandung City which was seen from Bukit Bintang, right?

Exiting at the same gate, I took time to walk down street, watching activity of street food stalls. My steps stopped when a husband and wife who selling panipuri were busy. Then I redeemed a portion for 100 Rupee and started to enjoying Nepal’ street food for the first time. Spicy taste mixed with sweet and sour, also strong aroma of curry made me a little slow to swallow every piece of panipuri which I bought. In the end, that seller spouse laughed at me when I chewed that snacks while glaring.

Must taste Nepal’ street food.

After enjoying this famous South Asian folk-style snack, I stopped a taxi which had just dropped its passengers. It was time to go to hotel, took a shower and got ready to enjoy dinner on my first night in Nepal.

Bye Swayambhunath….Got ready to go to Pokhara tomorrow.

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Old Transportation from Tribhuvan International to Thamel

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Invoice of Nepal’s Visa on Arrival.

Thai Airways TG 319 was perfectly parked in Tribhuvan International Airport’s apron at exactly 14:08 hours. There wasn’t aerobridge which greet me, one by one passengers descended the stairs on either side of plane door.

Aviation security: “Hi, Sir….Please, directly stepping to airport building!“, While stepping closer while hold a handy talky and his hand clearly pointing at my face….Assertive with a dark skin and thick mustache.

Tribhuvan-Thamel pre-paid taxi invoice.

Me: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry“, without thinking, I put a black Motorola E4 into right pocket of Emba’s brown pants whixh I was wearing.

In the end, I failed to capture my face image along with Thai Airways TG 319 in one frame because of it. Then I began to enter in passengers queuing who entered into terminal building.

Wow….music in the taxi was cool.

My hands tightly gripped my backpack’s shoulder harnesses and my face saw from side to side, paying close attention to Tribhuvan’s interior, which momentarily felt like I was passing through a temple room. Red-brown brick patterned walls with several carved decorations were scattered in every corner of room. Then I was greeted by a line of Visa on Arrival application machines on left side. Without any command, I understood and immediately took a queue at machine in the middle.

In the queue, I was intrigued by behavior of a son who was inputting visa data for his mother who not tall. He ordered his mother to step closer.

Ring road situation towards Thamel.

Snap 01….Just her forehead which was captured….Failed.

Then he told his mother to tiptoe.

Snap 02….The photo was 100% her face….Failed again.

A second later, his mother while looking at me with full of smiles, stood on top of small cardboard which she was still carrying a while ago.

Snap 03….Yeaaaa….It worked.

Similar to India’s streets, yes?

I immediately went to payment counter after successfully printed out the VoA application form. No needed to queue long, I got my visa after handing over USD 25 to female staff who wearing blue saris and on middle-aged age. “Oh, Indonesia. Welcome to Nepal and enjoy your trip. ”, She said when ending our immigration transaction.

Now I was getting closer to arrival hall exit gate. Before I actually went out, I took very slow steps to read whole information in a hallway. Instantly I quickly stopped at information board which displayed transportation rate to several areas in Kathmandu. Finally, I was relieved to find the word “Thamel” which became my next destination. It was only cost 700 Rupee (USD 6) to got in a dull red minivan which could accommodate 4 passengers and its last row seats were removed and changed as luggage.

The dust was incredible.

Ticket seller: “Where will you go, Sir?” Asked to me while holding a wad of red transaction notes.

Me: “Thamel, Sir“.

Ticket seller: “Do you want private booking or shared booking?“.

Me: “Is there someone who is ready to join with me?“.

Ticket seller: “Come!… .Come!”, he asked me to follow him and out through airport door.

Competition in tourism services in Thamel area.

After a while, I finally entered an old car which looked like a Suzuki “Carry” (Carry is a brand from Suzuki manufacturing in Indonesia) from the 80s. The car slowly drove leaving Tribhuvan and down a dusty road. Yes, only dust which I remembered in the first time when I had to tell about this “Land of a Thousand Temples”.

At an intersection, the car stopped and was entered a man who dressed in dapper Bollywood style and accented with extraordinary English. Offers all kinds of tour packages, from hiking, rafting, trekking and canoeing. It was common knowledge that Nepalis were competing to earn money from their tourism excellence which was famous for the beauty of Himalaya. I told him that I had bought all tour packages which I was going to take while stayed in his country from Jakarta via online. Even though, in fact I never had any tour packages which I prepared. I prefered to follow my heart and foot in my Kathmadu and Pokhara exploration.

Hotel Holiday House for 1,100 Rupee (USD 9.4) per night.

Passing the Ring Road route, I continued to be stunned by road view which at a glance resembled to old Indonesia. Thamel, which was only 6 km away from Tribhuvan, was finally reached in 25 minutes.

Now I entered a famous tourist area in Kathmandu. Dropped down in an alley and taxi driver showed me which way to head towards hotel which I had booked.

Welcome to Thamel !

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