My trip to Seto Gumba, Kathmandu, in Nepal was quite extraordinary. Firstly it was spur of the moment decided only the night before and I really had no idea how far away it was or what I was going to see.
Turns out that it was only and hour away situated at the western parts of the Kathmandu Valley, the turning to get there exits the ring road opposite Swayambhunath Stupa and winds it’s way up the foothills of the Himalayas.
So I don’t know why, perhaps because I’d never heard of it, I was expecting a small monastery building and a 20 minute visit but quite the opposite was true.
We arrived at Seto Gumba, meaning white monastery, I was amazed to find a huge Bhuddist nunnery rich in Tibetan culture, paintings, statues, architecture, and awesome views of the Kathmandu Valley.
Approximately 300 nuns reside and practice in Seto Gumba. Everyday, they wake up at 3am and finish their day at about 11pm. The youngest nun is about 9 years’ old and the oldest, about 60 years’ old. They come from remote places in Tibet, Ladakh, Lahaul, Bhutan and Sikkim.
There is a gift shop and a coffee shop all managed by the nuns which allows them to be financially independent, the whole place is very friendly and welcoming.
There is no entrance fee to visit, it’s totally free, on arrival you queue up for a visitors badge which you hand back when you leave. The taxi to get there from Thamel is about Rs 500 one way.
As I mentioned it’s only open on Saturdays, this seems to have had a side effect of attracting many young Nepalese couples for whom Saturdays is their day off college. It’s sweet to see young love in such a beautful place.
The day I went I was the only foreigner there, this fact along with the fact that I had never heard about it during twelve years of travelling to Nepal convinces me that not many tourists go there, so pencil in your diary for a day trip next Saturday and enjoy a really good trip to somewhere which is beautiful, interesting, spiritual and feels non-touristy.