I’m in Bombay (Mumbai), on my way to see these guys. That’s Mustafa on the left, of Seeco Shipping
So, in the cab, on the way there
The driver says he knows an amazing suit shop I should stop at. LOL! He probably makes 10% commission for everyone he drops off. I’ve been through this countless times and think to share a pitch with you. It was also a good exercise learning to how to trim a voice memo in Quicktime, exported from my phone, and import it to the blog. This guy is typical, and awesome
So many stories to tell, so much to catch up on. It’ll happen shortly. I love India.
More on Kathmandu later, but this was almost unbelievably cool
The Naga Pkhari (snake pond) in Bhaktapur, about 30 minutes from Kathmandu proper. I’ve only ever seen one other ‘power snake piece’ so far, the completely different one in the fields outside Srikalahasti. The upper edges of the pond are snake, heads everywhere. 17th C.
There’s a mysterious bronze spout over the lingum, where an ox is being eaten by something called a makara, which I just looked up
Makara (Sanskrit: मकर) is a sea-creature in Hindu culture. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part (stag, deer, crocodile, or elephant) and half aquatic animal in the hind part (usually a fish or seal tail, though sometimes a peacock or even a floral tail is depicted).
Haha, typical charm
Change of topic.
Nepal just elected its first communist party, called the Communist Party of Nepal, they’re a merger of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) which is interesting trivia if you think about it and if I’ve got the story straight which is never a sure thing.
Everywhere, major monuments are in various stages of ruined, working on re-building, or approaching a completed restoration from the earthquake of April 25, 2015 that killed nearly 9000 and levelled much of the city. Worth reading this.
The tourist industry appears to own this city. Unique for a place this big in my travels so far.
Recent things (and before the election). Banned: begging, using your bike or car horn, smoking in any public place anywhere, plastics (being phased in). So the opposite of India, lol. But as righteous as that is, the river that runs through the city, the Bagmati, maybe the world’s winningest river/sewer.
So where was I about 6 hours ago? Not at the destination I’m planning to go, but that’s a story for another day, soon. I’ll be there soon enough… I was here
This small bronze is remarkable in a lot of ways and by now I’ve seen about a billion. For a start, it’s immaculate, as are all the pieces here. Unlike northern India, the last path of Muslim destruction here was about AD 1200. Whereas the incredible museum at Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first speech to his small band of disciples, not so far south of here, is a story book of repeated destruction over centuries, not one piece remains intact, including the most beautiful Buddha ever conceived in stone, the masterpiece of the sculpturally elite Gupta empire, yet 2 of the ruined objects are the origin of 2 of India’s important images, including their flag logo (the 24 spoked wheel), and another a currency logo (the 4 lions), salvaged from the scrap, and on display.
Don’t get me started.
This 6″ bronze above is quite recent, somewhere from the 18th to 19th century but is nonetheless a national treasure. It’s representative of keys elements of Tantric imagery. The characters are (unimportant to the story a bit) Chakrsamvara and Vajravarahi. The picture is lousy but she’s astride him facing him with her back to us. He represents wisdom, she compassion, and therefore together enlightenment. Further, this period of imagery took the license to increase traditional multi-limbed deities to an extreme, so many many arms, multiple heads. The idea here is that the enlightenment from the union of these two resulted in a unique idea, the merging of deities. This is kind of my maybe lousy summation, you have no idea how hard this stuff is to Google.
There are maybe 200 of these helpful pieces (if you’re Hindu curious) here. It’s in the excellent but small Patan museum, in the capital city here
So why am I here, for 4 days only, and why I am I not at my next destination. Good question.