Detailed explanation of “Kathmandu”, including definitions of difficult words. In addition, the explanation is followed by a lesson summary. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Chapter and do well in their exams.
The chapter ‘Kathmandu’ is taken from the book ‘Heaven Lake’ by Vikram Seth. This chapter is a description of the two famous temples in Kathmandu i.e. Pashupatinath temple and Baudhnath stupa. The author describes his visit to Kathmandu where he went Pashupatinath temple and the Baudhnath stupa. He describes the surroundings of these two shrines and the markets in the town. He also gives a vivid picture of a flute seller and its music that he encountered in the market.
After arriving in the town Kathmandu the author along with Mr. Shah’s son and nephew decided to visit the two holy temples i.e. Pashupatinath temple of Hindus and the Baudhnath Stupa of the Buddhist located in the town. The author visited the Pashupatinath temple and he saw a sign at the entrance that proclaims ‘Entrance for the Hindus only’. There was huge crowd near the entrance of the temple. Animals were roaming around through the ground. There was a lot of confusion. People were rushing towards the entrance and had gathered around it to get the priest’s attention. When a Nepalese princess comes to the temple everyone bows and makes way for her to show respect. A group of Westerners were trying to enter the temple by the main gate. They were wearing saffron coloured clothes. However, they couldn’t convince the police that they were Hindus. Two monkeys were fighting and chasing each other around the temple which amused the author.
The holy river Bagmati flows near the temple. A corpse is being cremated on the bank of the river. Washerwomen were washing clothes and the children were bathing in the river. There is a small temple on the river bank. It is half inside the river. The people believe that when the temple completely comes out of the river, the goddess inside will escape and the evil period of Kaliyug will end on Earth. After visiting the Pashupatinath temple, the author visited the Baudhnath Stupa. It was completely different from the Pashupatinath temple as there was peace or stillness around the Stupa. The Stupa had a white dome like structure and was surrounded by roads. On the outer edges of the roads, there were some small shops owned by Tibetan immigrants. One can get Tibetan prints, silver jewellery and felt bags from them. The surrounding was very quiet and peaceful and there were no crowds.
Kathmandu was a very lively place with small shrines along the narrowest and the busiest streets. In these streets, there were shops of fruit sellers, flute sellers, hawkers selling post cards, shops selling cosmetics, film rolls, chocolates, copper utensils, Nepalese antiques, etc. There is continuous blaring of songs, car horns and bicycle bells as well as cows in the town. From the Kathmandu bazaar, the author purchased a bar of marzipan, a corn-on-the-cob, some comics, etc. After leaving the bazaar, he went to Nepal Airlines office to buy a ticket for Delhi.
In Kathmandu, the author came across a flute seller, standing in the corner of the square near his hotel. This seller was different from other sellers. He was occasionally selecting a flute from his pole and playing a tune. He was not shouting to sell his flute. The melodious tune of the flute played by the seller attracted the author.
A flute is a universal instrument. Almost every culture has its flute like reed neh, the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi, the Hindustani classical bansuri, the breathy flutes of South America and the high pitched Chinese flutes. Each flute is different but all of them are played using the breath and thus, unites all human beings together. The author is surprised and mesmerised by the melodious flutes and now he started noticing small things that he never paid any attention.
(1) Why were the devotees so much eager to enter the Pashupatinath temple?
(2) Why did the policeman stop the Westerners from entering the temple?
(3) What does the author see near the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu?
(4) What of monkeys does the author see before the Pashupatinath temple?
(5) What is the belief at Pashupatinath about the end of Kaliyug?
(6) How does the author describe the Baudhnath stupa, the Buddhist shrine in Kathmandu?
(7) How is Baudhnath stupa different from the temple of Pashupatinath?
(8) How does the author describe Kathmandu?
(9) How does the flute seller sell his flutes?
(10) How did the author find the flute seller different from other hawkers?
(11) How is the flute seller described by the author?
(12) How does the fruit seller sell his flute?
(13) How was fruit seller’s life different from that of the other sellers?
(14) Why does the author find it difficult to go away from the place where the fruit seller is selling the flutes?
(15) How does author analyse about the sound of the bansuri?
(16) What did the Tibetan immigrants do near the Baudhnath Stupa? Did their activity disturb the atmosphere?
(17) What alternative route does the author think of taking to go back home?
(18) What impression do you form about the devotees at Pushupatinath temple after reading Kathmandu?
(19) Describe the busy streets of Kathmandu and the religious nature of people?
(20) How does the author pass his time in Kathmandu?
(21) What idea do you get about author from the extract Kathmandu?
(22) Religious places are abode of peace and calm. Describe in context with the chapter Kathmandu bringing out the values that all religions teach us?
(23) Describe the scene relating to holy river Bagmati?
|febrile||hurried activity; complete chaos|
|elbowed||push or strike Someone with one’s elbow|
|proclaim||announce publicly, declare|
|protrude||extend above a surface|
working for money or reward
|deities||gods or godesses|
|blare out||(here) played loudly|
items that are offered for sale
a thin strip of wood, metal or plastic inside some musical instruments that makes a sound when you blow over it