There it was. Finally. Looming against the skies of soft grey mists and sudden sunshine. With eyes wide shut, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Awesomeness? Living history?
After having seen so many intricate temples and ancient carvings throughout Asia, awesomeness came in small doses. Living history seemed to be all around me in Nepal, a contemporary history, well alive. Nevertheless, what awaited me was unusual and far from my expectations.
Among the carved wooden windows there were bashful, cooing pigeons, pieces of dirty straw protruding out between the wooden peacocks, sterile serpents and mighty demons frozen in their stoney power. A headless peacock peering down on visitors, colourful melted wax, spilt grains and rice. Remains of a ceremony.
And silent mists.
This was not quite the temple, but the old fort built by the Newaris, confusing me with its sacrificial left overs. A basin of blood, a bloody stone stained with fresh blood. The temple itself was attached and made part of this fort. In my eyes, bloody sacrifices mingled with rot and decay, a festering of abandon throughout the years.
And the silence.
Everywhere there was a sense of forgetfulness, memories best left to the mist and hills. It was then that I spotted the soldier who paced the fort in the slowest of motions and with his baton, indicated that I was not allowed in the smaller, presumably, holier quarters. The wooden door which appeared slightly ajar, was in fact locked; the bloody basin and stone, reminders of the freshly slaughtered lunch the soldiers had prepared. They were pleasant, their simple hospitality of smiles more welcoming than this fort rumbling with past pride. Their English was rudimentary, and their professionalism impeccable – no photos allowed. These young farmers had learnt their lesson well; young boys, plucked from the scattered villages, perched on the hill, waiting to become men as they wear their uniforms.
The sun suddenly broke the eery silence, bathing us in momentarily sparkling hues. Looking outwards to the hilly terrain, one could only imagine how it must have felt to reign a kingdom here. Fragile and feudal, the Newaris had ruled.
Time. History blended into myths and mythologies for whenever one required that extra strength to carry on. For how else would one survive without myths?
It was time to head down the hill before the mists shrouded us once more.