Travel Notes from Gokharna Mahadev, Nepal
Things really do happen for a reason. I went to Bhouda ( locals call it Bhouda, without the Nath) this day thinking it was Losar. It is but there's no big festival or some sort. Tibetans celebrate Losar for almost two weeks. I paid the taxi driver 300 rupees from Thamel to Bhouda. That is the actual fare on the 6 kilometer trip. When i arrived, it was the usual. Although i can see signs of celebration ahead, like candles being lit up, offerings being sold like corn, spices, and flowers. I re-directed my taxi driver to travel a few kilometers more to Gokharna Mahadev passing through Kopan on the way to Gokharna forest. Gokharna Mahadev is almost forgotten. If not, probably the least managed site i have visited in Nepal. I could see a few tourist structures along the perimeter but none was open, and locals have built houses on the banks of the temple. It is only in Nepal where you can see someone bathing alongside a world heritage site. This simply means, history is still part of the present and future of the local people.
When i arrived at the dusty junction. I noticed how easy it is for travelers to visit but there was none when i went. Some trekkers combine the Bhoudanath - Kopan - Gokharna Mahadev in one action-packed loop. After visiting too many Hindu temples in Nepal, i can honestly say that Gokharna Mahadev is my most favorite of all. It's built in simply structure but the details are all elaborate. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, by now my most favorite Hindu god. For someone who's not born Hindu, it is a great learning experience to visit here. I could totally understand every detail of every Ganesh, Shiva, Kali, and all the hanky panky designs of the temple.
Once i sort out my photos, i will try to post some here on this site. This temple is a photographer's dream. Every angle, there is something worthy to photograph. I've spent only three hours around here, and my taxi driver did complain a little. Apparently, the next taxi driver on shift is already waiting. Promise me that you visit Gokharna Mahadev when you have the time.
As usual, a kind Nepali boy help me find the toilet. He must be probably weirded out that i look like his neighbor yet i don't know where the loo is.
I said, things do happen for a reason. Because if i knew the correct date of Losar then i wouldn't have visited Gokharna Mahadev. I've read about this temple since last year when i first came to Nepal but i have always deprioritized it for the more popular attractions.
I miscalculated the taxi fare and bargained a 1000 rupee payment for Thamel - Gokharna Mahadev - Bhoudanath instead of 700 rupees. On the way to my destination, he passed by his son. He was playing in the streets. His mother is at work. His father is driving me. He looks like the typical Nepali boy you will see -- funny, loud, and full of life. he is playing in the same street where trucks, motorycles, cows, and locals pass by on that dusty, potholed road. I reckoned, 1000 rupees is the least i can do to make his little boy happy. I hope he received a present from his father at the end of the day.
I am still here in Patan. I chose to stay here, and forego Bhaktapur as i really think it's getting more and more chaotic there as years pass by. Also, the entrance ticket is increasing and i don't want to deal with army checkpoints anymore. I like Patan because it's much more quiet, more laidback, and the bakeries serving fresh doughnuts and croissants are so welcoming. Last night, i woke up to two Chinese nationals having sex on their room below my room. Don't ask me more about it. I am on the third floor of Cafe de Patan, in front of an old Uma Maheshwar Temple, and they're on the second floor. It makes me realize how at the end of the day, simple things make people happy -- like having sex on vacation, getting a 300 rupee taxi commission, boys playing in the busy streets on a holiday or visiting Gokharna Mahadev Temple.