Pashupatinath price gouging extravaganza
September 22-23, 2009 – Day 271-272 – Kathmandu, Nepal
First day spent at the embassy and doing a whole lot of nothing around town. But After spending another half day at the Indian embassy on day 2, we discovered our Indian visas would be ready later this afternoon. Having a few open hours on our hands, we took a taxi across town to see the Pashupatinath temple complex and were rudely met with a NPR 500 entrance charge (that’s US$7 !!).
It took much deliberation and finally we decided okay, fine we will pay your stupid fee to get in. It was a very intriguing complex but its smaller inside than it seems from the outside. The smoke from the burning ghats (where the dead a burned and “depositied” in the river) is a real smack in the face and the number of beggars rivals the amount of thieving monkeys running about the place.
The sadhus make nice photos but they will ask for a small donation from you if you want a picture of them. Groups of tourists come in waves and many local youths who claim to be students will test as many tourists as possible until they find someone who will give them “only a small donation” for telling all about the history of Pashupatinath.
It is definitely an interesting experience and best viewed from above where you can discreetly people watch and take photos without causing a scene or making anyone angry. Keep a very close eye and hand on your stuff from the hoards of thieving monkeys and people as well.
We recommend taking a hankerchief or at least a tissue to cover your nose and mouth for when the wind changes and blows the smoke from the burning corpses in your direction.