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  • alexellenward

kathmandu - the city of rooftop laundry

A flock of birds soars across the backdrop of one family’s laundry - all of pink hues. Rainbow prayer flags intermingle with clusters of cloying cables. Monkeys swing wild, staring you down as if they own the place; their eyes so humanlike that you feel as though they’re about to ask you why you’re here. The contradiction of the coos from stall holders beckoning you to buy everything from Tibetan singing bowls to Himalayan paintings creates the backdrop of your pilgrimage to Buddhist temples. Attachment and non-attachment are all bundled into one. Sadhus, wanderers who have renounced their everyday life for a spiritual path, ask for money. We learn that the ones without tridents are just playing dress-up. Hindu deities are graffitied onto walls and plastered over t-shirts. The reverent mingling the mundane.

Pashupatinath Temple. Hindu cremation ceremonies occur here where they bless and burn the bodies as soon as possible after death, as the quicker they will reincarnate. Their bodies are covered in white for purity and orange for fire and transformation. Their mouths are washed out in the river and their ashes are sprinkled here as it connects with holy The Ganges in India.

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