Photo of the Day: Chilling in Kathmandu

Tensions are spilling over at the temple, and that's not cool.
'If we wanted all this acrimonious bickering, we could have just stayed home and watched cable news.' (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)
Jul 26, 2011
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Disappointment comes in many forms and can strike anywhere. Imagine that you have flown, trained, bused and donkey-carted to the remote and world-famous Pashupatinath Temple in the Nepalese city of Kathmandu. You have tagged along to this sacred and ancient Himalayan redoubt as part of the annual "Bol Bom" (Say Shiva) pilgrimage.

Braving the altitude, and risking your pedicure, you've trotted after a horde of saffron- and orange-robed devotees in a nine-mile, barefoot run to the temple. The devotees' jog, while chanting the name of Lord Shiva, is offered up in a bid for good health, wealth and happiness.

But earthly prosperity is not on your mind. You are sprawled, panting and blissed out, on the steps of a 5th-century Hindu temple in the pursuit of spiritual adventurism. The cares and conflicts of the modern world could not be further from your oxygen-depleted consciousness.

Except for one thing. The trust that operates the exalted shrine at Pashupatinath and the communist government of Nepal are beefing. A government cultural minister is pressuring a secretary of the trust to step down and be replaced by one of the minister's allies. The member secretary, Sushil Nahata, has vowed to serve the full four-year term. The minister, Khagendra Prasain, has raised questions of embezzlement.

Until Nepal's monarchy was abolished in 2008, the temple, which is listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, was under the protection of the former queen. Surely, she is disappointed that the peace of the holy site is dependent on squabbling bureaucrats.

But she is no more disappointed than you are, as your saffron bliss turns to simple orange exhaustion.

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