In a traditional Nepalese welcome, Prince Harry was offered flowers and a garland by five young virgins, the Panchakanya, at the ancient Patan Durbar Square in the heart of Nepal's capital Kathmandu. Five is considered a lucky number in Nepal and unmarried or virgin women signify purity.
The young girls were thrilled at meeting the prince and one of them admitted being "freaked out" on seeing him. "I've seen him before on television, I was really excited about meeting him and was wondering what he would be like. We freaked out when he was in front of us but it was a really happy moment. We welcome him with open hearts to Nepal and hope he enjoys his visit," she said after welcoming Harry at the square.
The prince was mobbed at the square and a group of school girls called his name and rushed to get selfies. He obliged them all with smiles and handshakes, The Telegraph reported.
Going slightly off the itinerary, Harry paid a visit to Patan Palace at the Patan Durbar Square. The palace was a major seat of power of the King of Patan when the Kathmandu Valley was divided into three kingdoms. The prince was impressed with the wooden carvings at the palace.
The 2015 earthquake either damaged or completely destroyed buildings and monuments at the square, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Taking a closer look at the restoration work, the prince also spoke about the expenses of the restoration work, which is partly funded by the British embassy.
In order to enable people to gather funds for the restoration work, Harry insisted that instead of visiting the palace for free, his party pay the usual charges for a visit. "We will all pay, we must pay," he said, insisting even the press do the same.
He also interacted with a few tourists at the square lauding them for choosing Nepal for their visit. "Why Nepal, why have you come here? Well done, it's so, so important to encourage people to come back. Why wouldn't you come back here? It's beautiful," he said.
From Patan Durbar Square, Harry headed for the Royal Palace and several surrounding temples and reviewed the ongoing restoration work. He then went to visit the Golden Temple. He lit a lamp to make a traditional offering to a statue of the Buddha at the 600-year-old temple, one of Kathmandu's holiest sites. The temple's chief abbot, 94-year-old Turtha Raj Shakya, welcomed the prince at the temple.
On meeting some victims of the 2015 earthquake, who were provided food and shelter by the temple's worshippers, Harry said, "Community spirit all over the world is forgotten. People are on their phones and so on, but when an earthquake happens it shows that the community spirit is still there."
On a five-day visit to Nepal, the prince, in addition to meeting dignitaries, visiting holy places and reviewing restoration work, found time to try his hands at wood carving. He joined a group of craftsmen and sat looking at their intricate handiwork and commented, "I did carving at school years ago but nothing like this." Harry also visited Hanuman Dhoka Palace complex, named after Lord Hanuman, the monkey god.