On Location in Nepal, Part 1: We Kathmandu!

*Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part blog post.

As we say here at Casana, fashion is about caring and sharing. Sometimes part of that sharing is taking old traditions and making them new (like we love to do with our handwoven scarves). So to get some style inspiration for our latest collections, we headed “home” to Nepal, where our cashmere is harvested and manufactured. We shot some cool videos on our adventure – which we’ll be sharing soon – but for now, here are some of the greatest moments from the trip!

Our group’s first stop: the big city of Kathmandu. Nepal’s capital is the cultural center of the nation, home to more people than any other metropolis in the Himalayan region. During the first day’s location scouting, we visited the historic Swayambhunath temple. Nicknamed “Monkey Temple” for the hundreds of monkeys that reside in and around the structure, Swayambhunath is actually one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. So peaceful and majestic, it’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

See that dome-shaped structure rising above the rest of the temple? It’s called a stupa, and signifies a building designated as a Buddhist shrine. Stupas are popular in Nepali architecture, as we found out on our trip.

The monkeys living at Swayambhunath are believed to be holy, according to a legend that says they grew from the head lice of the Manjusree Bodhisattva (the embodiment of Buddhist wisdom). But one simian acted a little more like Curious George when we arrived. This fun-loving fellow stole our group’s flowers, hoping to eat them. He was disappointed when they didn’t taste as good as they looked.

After getting up-close-and-personal with Kathmandu’s wildlife, we took off on a modern magic carpet ride. For the second part of location shooting, we were heading high into the mountainous villages nestled around the Tibetan border. The best way to get there? By helicopter!

Flying over Kathmandu, we got a gorgeous overhead view of Boudhanath, the city’s largest stupa and the building that dominates its skyline. The aptly-named Great Stupa is ancient, dating back to the 500s C.E., and its history contains many myths tying it directly to Buddha. Fallout from the April 2015 earthquake badly damaged the temple’s original structure, and the reconstruction process has fitted Boudhanath with a new central pole or “life tree” at the top of the dome. Like Swayambhunath, Boudhanath has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kathmandu was incredible, but what mysteries would the Himalayan peaks reveal to the Casana team? Find out in our next blog post!