Prized Possession – A TV

SYNOPSIS:  About village life inside and outside.  About pigeons and cows and different beliefs.  A photo essay.

As we were driving from Lumbini to Kapilavastu yesterday and from one archaeological site to the next, I passed several villages and fields, and took numerous pictures from the back seat of the motorbike.  That any of them turned out at all is a miracle, but please cut me some slack.

People’s homes and shops in the larger villages are typically placed alongside the main road and close to it.  That makes for constant traffic noise and dust, but it seems to be the preferred location, perhaps for access to public transport and perhaps, to attract business.  Almost every home had some sort of a small wooden stall in front of the dwelling selling something or other, or providing shelter for a small business run out of the home. 

What I first mistook for outhouses or small shrines and similar in size to the business huts, turned out to be pigeon homes.  I could not get a satisfactory answer out of either one of my guys as to why everyone needed pigeons.  Do people eat them?  Yes, was the answer.  But some people also release them at various festivals.  But that depends on their belief.  No further explanation was forthcoming on who did what and why, and when. 

Hindus are the predominant group in Nepal.  The area around Lumbini and some other towns (such as Patan), are predominantly Buddhist.  There is also a handful of Christians; no Jews as far as I can tell.  The occasional church attests to the Christian presence and the star of David around here should not be mistaken for a Jewish presence, but it is a sacred Hindu symbol.   In this area, a surprisingly large number of mosques indicated a large (I was told about 40%) number of Muslims.  They all have co-existed without troubles for centuries. 

Most houses in small villages are single-story adobe homes.  In the larger street villages, concrete is taking over, resulting in multi-storied buildings.  Just 50 meters from the palace site, there were some traditional dwellings, and as I roamed the area, several women invited me to come inside their adobe compound to enter their huts and to look around.  If you visit a person’s home not as a guest but to photograph as I did, a small monetary donation is expected. 

I was just so impressed, that I decided to dedicate a whole blog to village life, mainly using images to share what I saw.  Enjoy!

7 comments so far

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  1. We recall seeing pigeon houses without the thatched roofs in Egypt.

  2. Love the adobe huts.

  3. My sense from reading about the Muslims in Nepal is that it is a complicated study; the Muslims are not a singular entity. Some have quite a good idea of what is taught in their religion/Qu’ran, some are very identified with the Hindu state.
    Apparently, many of the schools…and some madrassas of course, have a curriculum entirely based on traditional Islamic subjects with little or no attention paid to the national course of study. Only a few have combined both.
    All the different religious groups have, as you say Elisabeth, co-existed for centuries and have “learned” to live together.
    There has been a push for secularizing Nepal, but the Muslims want a Hindu-identified state as they feel more secure under it than a secular constitution. They fear that secularization will break the long-standing alliance between Hindus and Muslims.
    As usual, the relationship among religions living in such close proximity for so long is complicated…and always interesting.

    • Thanks Ann, for looking into this further. Very insightful.

  4. If the Moslems have been coexisting peacefully with all those Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, if is because they are in a minority and because they are probably quite ignorant about what their god in the Koran commands them to do. In the backwoods like this, even their imams might be ignorant. Either way, their peaceful behavior tells us nothing about Islam, the belief system.

  5. Love their efficient “rocket” stoves. Clever (lucky?) of you to include your picture on the motor bike as an inset to some of your pictures.

  6. Do they actually have TV reception way out there?