Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Tibetan New Year

Today we returned to our old haunt, Boudhanath stupa, to observe the celebrations for Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It was my first return to this area since I was last in Nepal in 2008, and it was exciting to be back at a place so special to us that it became the inspiration for this blog's banner.

Usually a colorful location, today Boudha particularly shined with holiday happenings. We saw the typical prayer wheels spinning and wares like peacock feathers for sale (thanks, as always, to my wife Claudine's beautiful photography) .

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In honor of the special occasion, Tibetans made offerings,

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and also burned incense.

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New prayer flags were attached to the stupa, offering a new year's worth of prayers, mantras, and good will.

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The tower received a face lift, freshening up the omnipresent eyes of Buddha along with a "nose job" for what is actually the Nepali symbol for the numeral 1, signifying unity and the one true path to enlightenment -- through Buddha's teachings. Note the barely-peeking third eye (mostly obscured by red banner), which symbolizes the wisdom of Buddha (not the rock band).

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By the end of the afternoon, the stupa looked refreshed and ready for a new year.

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I think these monks agreed.

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In search of some refreshment of our own, we stopped at a favorite nearby cafe, the Garden Kitchen, where we enjoyed traditional Tibetan steamed bread called tingmo.

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With this, we knew it would be a happy new year.

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