004 | Reflect :: Bhaktapur, Nepal, 2014

Bhaktapur literally translates as “The City of Devotees,” and lives up to its name. In addition to the majestic ancient temples, you can’t go more than a block or two without running into stone statues set into the wall, surrounded by fresh offerings, with the occasional praying worshipper. A large rectangular pond called Siddha Pokhari sits in front of the city gates, and on a clear day you can see the colorful koi play in the clouds next to the reflection of snowy mountain peaks.

This is not that pond.

This is just an ordinary, unnamed pond, deep within the city, next to some rundown houses. The bodhisattva perches on top of his pole, his eyes closed, pose serene. Being in the middle of the pond, he’s far away from adulating devotees, and has no offerings to show off. I’m not sure why people decided to erect the statue in the middle of the pond, making the demigod even less reachable. Then again, perhaps that’s the way it should be, for gods to be a bit more out of reach, so people spend more time figuring things out on their own, instead of wishing for divine intervention.

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