Boudnath was another place that we didn’t get to the previous year.
Being just up the road, more or less, at Pashputinath, it would be a shame the second time around not to take it in.
We caught a cab from the western gate of the temple. Cramped into a tiny hatchback we felt every bump and pothole the car hit with the clapped out suspension.
When we arrived at Boudnath it was a sight that made me stop and contemplate the impact of the earthquake without the media hype.
Previously the site was a big drawcard for the area. It will be again I’m sure, but with the subsequent drop in tourists, there is a sense of pressure that is noticeable on the faces of the locals here.
The reconstruction works were underway and being done in such a way that afforded visitors an opportunity to move around the stupa in normal fashion to pray.
The works looked more like an upgrade to infrastructure than reconstruction. But there were signs of the severe impact when you looked around.
The stupa took a large hit and was needing some love. Through the scaffolding Buddha’s eyes peeked out in all four directions.
We found our way to the Monastery and passed through the front to pay a visit.
A middle-aged Monk met us as the stairs. Friendly and overtly polite, he guided us up the stairs and on to a balcony to view the stupa.
This view was where most visors took the best photographs from he explained. He offered to take our photo with the stupa behind us, to which I said “Tashi dalek.” (thank you in Tibetan).
He looked shocked and told me that is been so long since he heard his native language, and from a foreigner, it was a double shock.
Immediately we found a friend in him and he took us through the monastery. We were given a guided tour and a welcome blessing.
He told us of his plans to be smuggled back into Tibet to visit his family and the dangers.
I had seen how the Chinese had treated the Monks in Tibet and knew he had a challenge ahead. To help him get there I shook his hands and passed to him concealed in mine some money to help.
He thanked me and said it would be better used to help his brothers here, and that he would be fine with Lord Buddha watching over him.
His smile was genuine and he wished us farewell. Our visit to Boudnath would now be irrevocably etched in my heart and mind.