Saturday, August 7, 2010
shades of brick
After meeting the students at Shree Mangal Dvip School in Boudha, I knew I wanted to stay. As far as Bandipur was concerned, it didn't exist— the light and warmth of the kids at SMD was so powerful, I felt drawn to them and the school. What I believe most people would take for bad luck, I took as a stroke of good fortune; the school in Bandipur I was meant to volunteer at was closed due to the monsoon, which meant I had nowhere to work and live. It was suggested I stay in Boudha and work at SMD for the month, pending the approval of the director, Shirley, who was away on business. While I waited, fingers and toes crossed for the go-ahead, I decided to do a little sight-seeing in Patan.
Patan in Lalitpur is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is most likely the oldest city in Kathmandu Valley, dating back to the second century CE, though legend has it that the city is much older. The architecture is simply stunning— the use of brick gives the ancient city a rich earthy tone, often interrupted by electric blue and deep pink saris, painted window and door frames. Temples curl up into the sky with extraordinary carvings, flocks of pigeons turn and dive as though one creature through the sandalwood-scented air, while people go about their daily business.