Nepal: May Your Gods Have Mercy On You

06 Jul 2013
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Although it was just about a month ago, so many things happened since I was in Nepal. Not just new trips covering three countries that I have not been to before but additionally and more importantly, exciting things and – to put it in a better context – a stage of awakening happening in my very own country. I was already in Nepal when the Gezi Park events have started in Turkey so the emotions that I was trying to deal with in Nepal have been replaced by excitement and to some extent worry focusing on my own country. However, looking back to those Nepal days, there is still one emotion, which still feels so alive and captures me entirely – sorrow. For me Nepal was many things, a country of spirituality, a country of kids knowing how to genuinely smile, a country where death is worked with such subtlety into the real life and celebrated, a country where the religious tolerance truly exists but more importantly, Nepal was a country full of sorrow for me.

Bakthapur, Nepal

There had been times in Nepal I felt angry for how Hinduism is claimed to be adopted and appreciated by the western culture by missing the very core part of it – renunciation of anything worldly. Seeing the sorrow on those peoples faces and how they try to cling on to life just for their kids, it made me feel like even appreciation of their beilefs and their religion would require an experience on at least a fraction of the things they go through just to remain alive. I came back from Nepal with so many questions and even questioning whether it is in fact their religion leading to so much poverty and eventually sorrow or whether it is their religion, which gives them the strength to go through life despite so much poverty. Probably both. You can check out some the photos from my trip to Nepal here. I know it will sound a little too worldly but this is the song I listened to most while in Nepal – Devil`s Dance by Asaf Avidan.

Kathmandu, Nepal

  • KenE

    Great photo’s and text.

    Are you sure your own sorrows over the poverty you saw, wasn’t being projected upon these people? A long history as a fairly peaceful country, and those happy children you mention, suggests some measure of contentment.

    • Burcu

      Thank you. I definitely see your point and I questioned myself on that too maybe to find some relief by convincing myself that the people I see are actually happy but the sorrow is manufactured by my own difficulty to emotionally handle such poverty – pretty selfish, isn`t it? 🙂 Kids are sure happy and most of the kids I had a chance to observe live out on the streets or under pretty harsh conditions. However, I could not see the same happiness reflected on adults` faces and especially in smaller towns of Nepal. As for the peacefulness, I will have to disagree with that as when you look at it – it looks like the country is still trying to find its political system. Monarchy is not so far back and a royal massacre has happened in 2001. When I was there – there were some protests and a lot of political campaigns were going on as they are yet to finalize their constitution. I understand that political turmoils are quite frequently happening in Nepal and now it is a fairly stable time compared to before but it can change any moment. Although they do not cause any disturbance, you definitely feel the military presence in every corner of Kathmandu as well. This is just talking of their domestic peacefulness though. Otherwise, I felt very safe as a tourist and the people I have met were all very nice to me.

  • I’ve never been to Nepal myself, and therefore I have a completely romanticized view of it, like a typical tourist, and I don’t like that much… Thank you for your post, showing a different view. And thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, I especially loved the old man with the orange beard 🙂 (And the young woman in the sari was beautiful!)

    • Burcu

      Thank you for taking time to visit and comment on my blog. Despite all the sadness – I highly recommend a trip to Nepal, which was one of the most rewarding destinations I have been to. Please do not hesitate me contact me either through here or via e-mail if you have more questions.

  • Tuncagul

    Religion; an institution built for political correctness. However, beliefs are the essence of human nature, even it is observed in primates. I have never been to a country where I could observe Buddhism or Hunduism. I understand that the religion had become their core belief when I read this article, just wanted to scratch a few words, sorry if it doesn’t make any sense 🙂 I would be delighted to have a full conversation on your trip to Nepal. Love your articles 🙂