The inner beauty of Nepal | Teen Ink

The inner beauty of Nepal

July 21, 2021
By Anonymous

Massive, modern, vibrant, and eye-catching buildings have always fascinated me. However, my love for buildings had no reasoning behind it. I enjoyed looking at those constructions merely for visual pleasure. That was until I visited Nepal. I visited Kathmandu, Nepal, in the winter of 2019. Unlike the pictures of Nepal I had seen in tourist brochures, it was chaotic and unorganized in every aspect. The streets were dirty and filled with potholes, which took some time getting used to. The city seemed devoid of energy and happiness. 

I thought I would leave Nepal with a negative impression—I was disgruntled. On my last day in Nepal, I was walking down a narrow street with my tour guide who nimbly dodged motorbikes, cars, and people sitting on the ground while I struggled to walk straight on the gravel-embedded road. Despite my assuring guide, I never knew where we were going because every street looked the same. As we continued into the seemingly endless road of Nepal, we turned the corner. Just as I thought I would be greeted by another street, I shaped out a massive, gated entrance. The golden gates stood tall, and a tilted sign wrote out "Swayambhunath." I entered the gate in awe, as my surroundings wholly altered. The drab darkness of the streets of Nepal was nowhere to be seen. I saw worriless children running around, and I didn't see one motorcycle or car. 

Ironically, the tranquility and peace inside the gates made me uncomfortable. The tour guide explained that this masterpiece was one of the most prominent Buddhist temples in Nepal. His explanation began to fade into the silent background as I started to immerse myself in the surroundings of Swayambhunath. The eyes of Swayambhunath stupa stared down upon me, intimidating me. The immensity of the Buddhist burial mound left me open-mouthed. I stared back at my tour guide behind me to reassure myself I wasn't hallucinating. 

As we walked around the base of the structure, I viewed countless miniature shrines and votive structures donated by Kings in the past 4 centuries. I learned that the eyes staring down upon me was the famous "Buddha eye," which gazes out from each side of the tower in 4 cardinal directions. Countless pastel flags attached to ropes stretched out to the ground from the pinnacle of the temple. 

I walked up the endless stairs and arrived at the top of the Swayambhunath. When I saw Kathmandu valley from the top of Swayambhunath, a wave of emotions overcame me. I was able to appreciate each and every small building of Kathmandu, which I could not experience minutes ago due to the constant cacophony of car horns and motorcycle engines. The streets, which I thought were ‘gross,’ looked so beautiful to me from the top. The Swayambhunath revealed the inner beauty of Nepal, and I realized I was blinded by my surroundings. I had let all the minor imperfections steal the majestic beauty of Nepal.

The author's comments:

I explore different styles of writing to express one overarching topic - inner beauty. Looking at a world in a different perspective gives us the opportunity to uncover the beauty of the world. 

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