Mini getaway to Godavari

As I mentioned in a recent post, from 25th-28th of November this year the SAARC conference took place in Kathmandu. Amongst other things this meant that as I work in a government related office we had an extra two days of holiday on the 26th and 27th. I decided to use my days off to escape the city briefly and head up to the lovely village of Godavari and surroundings.

#1 Godavari lies south of Kathmandu up in the hills that make up the southern border of the valley. For my mini-getaway I had the joy of staying with Naomi, Narayan and family in their spectacular self-built ecohouse;

ecohouse

There’s more information about the building project here  but in short it’s a beautiful house built with environmentally friendly materials and methods (complete with domestic size biogas plant of course!)

#2 And a personal favourite – the use of wine bottles as an excellent building material. Above as light features in the veranda and below to allow light into the halls and bathrooms;

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#3 During my stay the family still had to go to school and work so to entertain myself I headed off towards the horizon to explore a new side of the Kathmandu valley. Here is an example of the many small temples and shrines which can be seen regularly along each path. Here a spectacular tree has its own Shiva temple at its base;

shiva tree

#4 My walk took me on into the Godavari Kunda Community Forest and to the Naudhara Kunda or Pulchowki Mai Temple. Here I happened upon the highlight of my day of exploration – by pure chance when I arrived a family had just started a large, complex pujaa (worship) ceremony in the heart of the old temple. The pujaa was dedicated to ensuring peace and health to the family and most specifically the young lady in red about to head off to America to study. The temple was stunning with its canopy of towering trees and the family were extremely welcoming of this stranger who just decided to sit down and start watching the proceedings – they even offered me a cushion and a cup of hot chiyaa during the tea break;

ceremony

#5 Other sites around Godavari included a giant Buddha statue the Shanti Ban Buddha, the sacred spring at Godavari Kunda and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Here I spent a lovely sunny hour wandering through the gardens where many Nepali friend and family groups were also spending their impromptu bank holiday;

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#6 In amongst the exotic plants and trees I finally found a species which was clued into the time of year and got my first sight of some true autumn colours. Sometimes you do not realise you have been missing something until you suddenly see it!?;

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#7 Back to the house after an entire day of exploring for a quick relax – the adorable brother and sister kitten duo seemed to agree that I made a pretty comfy resting spot;

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