The Journey: Part 4

Hello again from beautiful, smoggy Kathmandu! Today the clouds are so low and thick that we cannot even see the hills surrounding the city!

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The main building of the monkey temple

Last night we climbed 365 stairs to see the Hindu Monkey Temple. It is a working temple, and it called the monkey temple due to the swarms of monkeys that hang out on the hill and all over the temple. They are cute, but also a little gross. The temple has an official name that escapes my mind at the moment, but everyone in town refers to it by the nickname anyway.

The temple is brightly colored with gold, red, greens and blues. Hindu flag banners hang all over the trees and buildings, and at the bottom of the stairs is a giant gate that is ornately decorated with intricate paintings and designs. If you turn around while going up the stairs, the dichotomy of wealthy/ornate next to poor/shoddy is striking, and heartbreaking.

One of our hosts told us yesterday that religion is the culture here. It is so deeply ingrained in the lives of the people, that you cannot be in the city and escape it. Every neighborhood has its own shrine, and there are three major temples around town. As I looked out from the top of the temple, it was amazing how far you can see – all the way across the valley to the hills in the background, while the mountains hid behind smoky clouds. What struck me was the sheer number of buildings, which you feel while walking around, but cannot fully appreciate until you see it from a distance.

Kathmandu has around 2.5 million residents, and over 80% of them are Hindu. 30 years ago there were only 500 Christians in the entire country of Nepal, but we learned that now the Nepali Christian church is one of the fastest growing in the world. While that is encouraging, there are still millions upon millions of people in this nation who have not heard of Jesus. As I thought about those numbers, my heart broke for those who are walking in darkness. Kathmandu will not be the most comfortable or easiest city to live in, but Jesus makes any inconvenience worth it.

 

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