Tibetans in Pokhara    

Karma Kagyu Chhonkerling Tibetan Buddhist monastery's entrance
We are trying to finish doing what we want to get done in Pokhara since we will leave early on the 18th. For the most part we've spent a lot of time hanging out and walking. But today we visited the Karma Kagyu Chhonkerling Tibetan Buddhist monastery on a hill above Pokhara. Close to the entrance, on top of a flight of stairs was a huge ant nest.

Camouflage Ant nest in tree
I think there was a festival of some sort today since the courtyard was full of people, most of whom weren't monks, eating meals. The entrance to the courtyard had 2 paintings: a wheel of life and one I wasn't familiar with-- a building in 1 quadrant of a circle filled with different colored waters and rising from it more buildings until at the top were rows of little houses. The monastery temple was beautiful with relief flowers and clouds as well as walls of paintings-- and that was just the outside.

City painting

Horse headed musician painting

Elephant, monkey, rabbit and bird
There was chanting going on inside. I peeked in and saw it was crowded so Rowshan and I waited until the ceremony was over before going in. The walls were thangka paintings of various Buddhas and Boddhisatva images. The ceiling had panels with mandalas painted. The altar area had a large statue of Buddha and offerings. There was rice all over the floor.

Mandala from ceiling of monastery

Buddha and monkey friends

Interior of monastery
There was a garden with more statues and prayer wheels. It occurred to me that perhaps monasteries do play a role in bringing peace to the world because otherwise all these men would be on the street-- fighting, and stealing from each other, etc. It's as if they imprisoned themselves to prevent the temptation of doing harm.

Door at monastery

Woman and prayer wheels
We stopped in a drum maker's shop to find out what they made the black spot on the drum head from-- answer: ground rock (looked like lava) mixed with rice.

Then we went by a pottery place Rowshan had noticed. We must have been by it a couple times but of course he didn't see it until a couple days before leaving. He recognized it by the big pile of clay outside.

A few days before we went to the Tibetan refugee camp N. of Pokhara. It had a monastery with pretty paintings on the walls-- I think of Buddha's life. We rode back on the top of the bus since the inside was too packed. However, it was a short calm ride (not like the mad zig-zagging the Kathmandu valley buses do).

Items for prayer in monastery

Prayer flags

Rowshan on top of a bus

Tamia on top of the bus
There is another refugee settlement South of town where women weave carpets. Carpet weaving using traditional techniques and natural dyes has become a good livelihood for refugees. The designs reminded me of some of my parent's Chinese carpets. Refugees also work selling Tibetan souvenirs. Lots of Tibetan women sell jewelry and trinkets in Lakeside. They are all really friendly and sweet but the last thing I want is jewelry and trinkets.

Carpet weaver at Tibetan refugee settlement

Tibetan souvenirs
On a completely non-related subject, a couple nights ago the moon was at its closest point to the earth for the year.

Largest moon of the year

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