I am now in Kathmandu, Nepal, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my break from India. . .The main architectural attraction in Nepal must certainly be the pagoda temple, which one sees in every major square of every city with any importance at all. It is a multi-tiered (multi-roofed) structure which sits on a multi-level base and is composed of carved wood. The roofs extend out well beyond their supporting walls and are held by finely carved roof struts. These pagoda temples are usually not accessible inside but are decorated outside and the space of the square around them is occupied by worshippers. I actually arrived in Kathmandu on one day of a major festival to celebrate the end of the monsoon. The festival lasts about 10 days, but on one particular day near the end they hold massive animal sacrifice all day. In the morning they slaughter 8 buffalo and 108 goats by chopping off their heads with a ghorka knife in one swift chop. Then all day people are sacrificing chickens and goats and spraying the blood onto cars, houses, bicycles, motorcycles, etc. as a blessing. . . There were also parades and colorful processions everywhere so I got to see how the space of the courtyards is occupied for ritual purposes. Because Hinduism is not a congregational religion as is Christianity or Judaism, these courtyards where each person performs individual religious rites take on great importance. Usually people live in them also and often women dry grain or wash clothes in them, children play, people gather socially, alongside religious activity.
- Janet Bloomberg
From a letter dated 23 October 1992, Katmandu