Seeking Enlightenment in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a vibrant, noisy, colorful city, whose name alone elicits thoughts of adventures in far flung places. It is the Gateway to the Himalaya, and the home of more than 700,000 people. For nearly 2000 years it has been a cradle of civilization in Nepal, and the spiritual center for many practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism as well.

Although steeped in tradition, in many ways this ancient city has become a large, thriving metropolis with round the clock activity. It can be challenging to find some peace and quiet at times, but savvy travelers know that you can head to the eastern portion of Kathmandu to a place called Boudhanath, a Buddhist enclave that is a bit of the cam at the eye of a storm. That’s exactly what writer Seth Sherwood did in this story from the New York Times travel section.

Sherwood traveled to Boudhanath to wander amongst the bazaars and stupas to soak in the Buddhist culture there. The area is inhabited with many refugees from Tibet, who have fled the country over the course of the past 60 years looking to escape the Chinese rule there. The result is a slice of Tibetan culture on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

The author grabs a traditional meal in a local restaurant that offers better food than atmosphere and service, and then wanders the street interatcting with the people there, who are as colorful and unique as the city they inhabit. For visitors to Kathmandu, Boudhanath adds another experience in a city that is already legendary. With travel to Tibet still challenging, visiting this area may be as close as some can get in the near future.