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‘Birthplace of the Buddha’

– Reisverhaal Nepal: Lumbini –    

Siddhartha highway is described as the most scenic in Nepal; quite an understatement. The road winds, turns and twists. Bumps, goes up and down and leads to stunning views over rivers in valleys ways below me, endless terraces built on steep hills, dense forests and through traditional lively villages. It’s when we get to the villages when the bus fills with the sweet smell of delicious treats that are being prepared. Men kneeled next to their pots to prepare today’s stock.

Floor Veegens 2

No two vehicles fit on the narrow road. Still the horn is blown constantly. To make sure forthcoming busses, motors, pedestrians and bulky trucks are warned. Overtaking is risking life with one hairpin bend after the other. So we get into a engaged Nepali discussion. A SUV made a scratch on our worn off bus. This discussion continues at the next village under the watchful eye of the army. Once the gentlemen have settled the financial compensation we can continue.

The next delay is caused by an endless stream of pilgrims in a tiny village travelling by a similar endless queue of vehicles causing a complete blockage of the road. I even see a group of men lifting an abandoned car to the side hoping other vehicles can pass while balancing on the steep cliffs.

Because of all this I get to Lumbini way later then expected. While walking around the tiny town I spot to men who are tossing a stick in a small bush. The men with the stick is the older one. He’s skinny, wrinkled and bare foot. Curiously I circle around the bush with them. At some distance not to be in their way. And then there is a snake. At the middle of the road. The bare foot man continues to push the snake away with his stick until he’s in the bush at the other side of the road. And then everyone continues their way.

Apart from chanting monks the park is quiet. The early morning haze mysteriously hangs around. The wet grass under my feet feels fresh. I sit down at a bench built around a huge, thick old tree. And feel if I can absorb the peace that Buddhas birthplace is injected with. I open one eye to see what all fuss is about. A big group of Indian has just past through the temple. Their excitement won’t temper and silence please signs are neglected. I’m grateful for the quiet moments I’ve had and head back to town for breakfast while passing monkeys performing acrobatic tricks and loudly chasing each other.

Lumbini, 8 november 2014

– Reisverhaal Nepal: Lumbini –