I arrived in Nepal and out to my destination for the next year, Boudhanath. The center of the town is a giant Buddhist stupa, a large shrine housing a relic of a bodhisattva. How large? Look at the enlarged photo and you will see some people. They are about half way up the stupa.
All day long pilgrims by the hundreds come and pray here. Some light butter lamps, as in this picture. Some sit silently or chant. Some visit the smaller shrines around the plaza with their own butter lamps and statues.
The most popular prayer, however, is to walk clockwise around the stupa. When doing this, one can gain more merit by spinning the prayer wheels build into the holes in the sides of the stupa's walls as one goes. One can also give some money to one of the many beggars who sit patiently around the stupa offering themselves for this service.
Surrounding the plaza are religious goods stores carrying an incredible array of hand made statues, varieties of incense, prayer beads, clothing and such.
The whole scene overwhelms my ability to take it in and understand. Everything is different, new, unknown, cryptic, so for now I cannot really even describe it, let alone explain it. So I offer these first few pictures as a first glance at my new life here in Nepal.