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A Journey to Katmandu eBook

Laurence Oliphant
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about A Journey to Katmandu.
guarded the lower steps as efficiently as he did the upper ones.  There were at least four pagodas, painted in like way, and guarded in like manner, in the great square of Katmandu.  The guard-house contained a large stand of arms of antique construction.  There was also the Durbar, the residence of the Rajah, a straggling building, almost European in its style, and gaudy enough to please even the late King of Bavaria; close to it was a huge deformed image of Siva, sitting in an uncomfortable posture on a square stone, violently gesticulating with her fourteen arms, perhaps at a party of heretical Bhootyas who were passing tranquilly by, leading along their sheep, decidedly the cleanest and most respectable-looking members of the group.  Beyond, high and gloomy houses almost touched, their wooden fringes creaking responsively to one another across the narrow streets, while the owners of the cobwebby tenements, peeping out of the narrow windows in their balconies, made their remarks upon the strangers in not much more melodious tones; in an old court-yard a little way above, was visible an unwieldy rhinoceros, placidly contemplating a bundle of grass, from which it had satisfied its hunger, in happy ignorance that its life is dependent on that of the Rajah; for in Nepaul it is a rule that the death of one great animal should be immediately followed by that of another, and, when a Rajah dies, a rhinoceros is forthwith killed to keep him company.  As he stood tethered almost under the palace windows, we thought him at once a fitting moral and a characteristic background to this novel and interesting picture.

CHAPTER VIII.

The temple of Sumboonath—­View from the platform of the temple—­The valley of Nepaul and its resources—­Tradition respecting it—­Entrance of the Prime Minister into Katmandu—­The two kings—­A brilliant reception.

The temple of Sumboonath, which we next visited, is situated on the summit of a woody eminence; it is approached by a long flight of steps, the trouble of ascending which is amply compensated by the lovely view which the platform of the temple commands, as well as by an inspection of the curious construction of the building itself.

Sumboonath is looked upon as one of the oldest temples in Nepaul, and was erected, according to Kirkpatrick, when Nepaul was ruled by a race of Thibetians; its possession was at one time claimed by the Dalai Lama, or Sovereign Pontiff of H’Lassa, but he has since been obliged to abandon the claim.

The Dagoba resembles the temple of Bhood, but is only about half its size; the spire is covered with plates of copper, gilt.  It is surrounded by pagodas, as well as numerous more modern shrines of a bastard Hindoo class, to which Bhootyas and Bhamas, a tribe of Newars, resort in great numbers.  Occasionally the Ghorkas visit these shrines; the thunderbolt of Indra, which is here exhibited, being, I suppose, the object of attraction to them, as they pride themselves on being orthodox Hindoos.

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