We took a journey to the under. I don't mean Down Under, though we did already go to Australia. No, we are in Nepal which is both in the northern hemisphere and pretty high up in elevation.
But we took a trip into the underground. Underwater.
We walked to Devi's Falls and the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. You know the saying, "Getting there is half the fun?" Well, I don't know if the proportion was precisely 0.5, but getting there was pretty fun. We walked around Fewa Lake. We saw the dam that contains it. We saw homes and narrow roads. Here's one.
|...while you yourself walk the primrose path|
Along the way we got to see the cool terracing that has been done to make rice paddies and other fields.
We saw a system used for irrigation.
|Not sure what that white bag is for|
We met this guy, though he didn't have much to say.
|Maybe if I had spoken to him in Nepali|
And along the way we got to cross this rickety bridge. I would like to tell you it is way safer than it looks, but that might be debatable.
|Yes, there were a few boards with holes. Risk makes it fun, right?|
We arrived at Devi's Falls. A sign there explained that a woman named Mrs. Davis was swept away while picnicking there some hundred years ago, and since then its English name is Davis Falls. Except it isn't. It's Devi's Falls. So I'm not sure what the truth of the mystery is there.
The falls are interesting. This is the dry season, so they are not nearly as booming or voluminous as they apparently get.
|The flow is low when we go|
You can see how the underside of that higher rock has been carved by water. That's how high the water is during monsoon season.
|The flow would be high if it were not so dry|
There are many such examples of carved rocks that seem way too high to have been carved.
While at the falls, we got to try on some traditional outfits.
|The outfit must not have fit Alrica so well. Or it was itchy.|
And we saw the wishing pool. Do you know those coin drops you sometimes see at Taco Bell or similar restaurants? You drop in a coin and if you can land it on the thin orange shelf you win, I don't know, churros or something. This wish pool is something like that. You throw coins into the pool, but you are trying to hit the circular pillar in the middle that has a statue of a god on it. If you do, your wish will come true. If not, well, nothing specifically said your wish wouldn't come true. But I think that is the implication. At least it's I inferred. So it's plenty of incentive to try again.
|...and if it echoes back, your wish will soon come true.|
The other interesting element is that in Nepal, they don't use coins. All of the money is paper money, even down to five rupee notes (which is about 4.6 U.S. cents.) So if you want to throw coins in the wish pool, you have to go buy coins from a stand in the area that sells them for just this purpose.
Across the street from Devi's Falls is the entrance to the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. In addition to being an underground cavern carved out by water, it is a holy site in Hinduism. Even the walk down is well decorated.
|I don't know which statue is whom, but it's impressive|
Inside the cave is a stalagmite that is naturally in the shape of Shiva. To be honest, I saw the stalagmite, and its many supplicants praying to it. I'm not sure I would have identified it as Shiva, but I'm not sure I know what Shiva looks like. But maybe it is one of those situations like where people see the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast or Abraham Lincoln in a potato. Or like those 3D images where you have to let your eyes relax and cross and then a humpback whale is suddenly apparent where before you just saw squiggles. I'm not so good at those either.
I couldn't take a picture of it, because that's not acceptable. But above it someone had carved a stone naga shield. I've seen sculptures with that before, usually of Buddha. A naga seems to be a multi-headed snake. Many statues of Buddha have the naga shield over his head, apparently protecting him from rain.
I was able to get a picture of a different naga shield. The strange thing was that whatever statue it had been protecting was missing.
|I'm glad these guys want to be umbrellas and not man-eaters|
After you pass the stalagmite Shiva, you go through a very short tunnel. The kids could walk upright, but Alrica and I had to crouch. You arrive in a taller, wider cavern. There are lovely mineral deposits on the walls.
|As if it were raining salt|
And at the end of the cave there is a pool of water. You hear rushing pounding water from an opening across the pool. Through that opening sunlight streams. And do you know where it goes? To Devi's Falls! I got a picture of the same opening from both sides.
And then we had lunch, with our journey to the under over.