Yes, I've been here many times, so what? I still love this place. It's very easy to get here: just board local transport right on the left of main Bouda stupa's gate. It takes half hour in bus or microbus which gets more and more empty as you go and in the end you see traditional nepalese gates to Sankhu village.
Totally typical nepalese village. Plain brick houses, dusty road.
But sometimes among all these plain newly built places you can run into old houses from the times when people still were not lazy to make beautiful windows and balconies. I've been passing here many times but still cannot be satisfied with the quality of the picture of this house. Even now. So I will have to come back and try again.
Puppies. These are first of all those innumerable puppies and kittens that would appear here and there in my stories about places we visited with the group. The matter is that our Anton managed to find and cuddle them everywhere he only could and I naturally could not help but take pictures :)
This is old bas relief and little temple pictured dozen times. It's beautiful, why not doing it once again.
And this is road along fields and nepalese homes in the distance.
Assend starts after a while: you can see the road we have to get to.
We just should not go off it to small paths which are used only by locals to get to their homes.
There are such stone fountains on the way up shaped as dragon heads with water coming out instead of fire. One can make oneself fresh, wash one's hands, it's still long way to go.
Then we were absolutely denied access to short road to the cave. There is new retreat center being build for many years already, and though our crowd of pilgrims hardly would hinder anything - especially people in retreat as there are none of those yet - the guard did not miss his rare opportunity to do his job and sent us to long way through jungle.
This was very hard way. A big challenge for us all right in the very beginning of our trip, but later when I am asked on the way to next temples if it is still long way to go I would respond: "Less than to Milarepa's cave!" - and everybody would laugh joyfully.
And this is our reward: the view.
And of course the cave itself. Here Katuysha pretends to be a great yogini.
Other people are just taking rest. You can see three girls named Sveta on the front. "Sveta" means "light" in Russian, it is a pity one of them was not buddhist, otherwise they would do "three lights meditation" everywhere.
Another place we should get to is Vajrayogini temple. The way to the cave goes to the left from the main road and now we have to pass the main road to its end. We do not look above, it's still long way, better not to think about it, we look down.
There is a small stupa on the way.
Another view down.
We stop again for some rest and refreshing our hands and faces. Locals look at us in wonder, they not only wash their hands and faces there, they take complete shower.
Okay, little bit of view to the top.
Vajrayogini temple is not only buddhist. This is some kind of tough mix of local bloody hinduism and buddhism usual to us. Altar behind this statue serves as a place for animal sacrifices, ribbons sodden in blood hang here and there.
There is another sourse of water on the way.
And very old stupa.
Wow, wow! We overpassed whole stairway! Here you can see the temple itself.
You can have good rest here and take picture of oneself in one of temple's mirrors. Does anybody know what they mean? Can one look into them? One cannot look in Ba Gua mirror used for feng-shui. But I am still alive and nothing bad happened yet.
Bloody ribbons hang next to ordinary buddhist white scarves in the temple.
There are beautiful stone buddhas.
There are copper decorations and bells.
Lots of bells.
There are also beautiful stone faces.
Now we have to walk little bit more up to the other part of the temple.
Eventhough the place is holy it's very lively. It's exactly in Nepal and India as nowhere else that you understand old russian proberb saying "holy place never stays empty".
You cannot take pictures inside, everything inside is sodden with thick smell of blood from numerous sacrifices. But nevertheless an ordinary buddhist monk lives nearby and you can also see ordinary buddhist prayer flags. Such a neighbourhood, quite frequent to find in Nepal.
Simply beautiful sky.
And beautiful roof of the first temple with cedar trees.
It's not so nice upstairs, some people already run away but some people still want to stay in the lower part to take pictures of beautiful old nepalese architecture.
Suddenly they opened small stupa inside the temple.
And this is Andrey. I have to speak especially about this boy. Neither him or his wife Maya were buddhist but they managed to look most authentic from us all bringing some of us to very empty conclusion that "best buddhist is not buddhist at all". Is he praying? No, he put together his palms to call for Maya who got lost somewhere.
But then iron lion is kind of waving his hand good bye to us all.
And even thouse who are least influenced by bloody miasma have to go down.
Here I am stopped by Olga who asks to take her picture. As a classic tourist she stands somewhere in the middle of the stairway. And I as a photographer do not agree with it and make her stand much closer to get a proper portrait.
Then there are few more beautiful views from the road.
Simply a white goat on white sand. It's not so easy to take such a white picture in Nepal aside of temples and stupas!
Here is dog that Olga somewhy liked very much. Anton liked puppies especially but Olga often paid attendion to grown-up dogs.
Oh! Such a rural mountain idyll!
This is not so idyll, but the sky...
Again familiar places, trying to take their picture in new way.
Another familiar place.
School children and ducks, another piece of rural idyll.
And it's when I am picked by a bus with tibetan pilgrims which Anton and Alyona had already joined. "Can we pick up some more of our friens?" - he askes looking for them through bus window, and tibetan pilgrims' wonder grows with each new member of our group from 15 people.
Somewhere in the middle of the way half of the group shifts into faster microbus and other half stays with tibetans. And so they reach stupa much later but along with mantras and national tibetan songs performed live by women from the bus. All my photographic inspiration exhausts on this bus and the story is completed by the worst picture of all.