Nepal Needs Tourist : Tourism the sustainable way to help Nepal.

If you have already booked your holidays or you are planning to visit Nepal in coming days, then Nepal is safe to visit. As Nepal is continuing to pick itself from the devastating earthquake that has claimed more than 7500 lives, Nepal’s tourism industry is slowly and steadily getting back to normal.

There is no reason for Nepal’s Tourism to grind to halt. The tourism products are still there – Mountains, flora and fauna, jungle and trail. We welcome you with an open heart.

-Ganga Sagar Pant. CEO Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN)

Panta insist that Nepal remains safe and urge people to come visit. TAAN is planning further more assessment expedition to the popular trekking and tourism areas in Nepal to gather more concrete details and information about the impact of the earthquake.

Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple inside Bhaktapur Durbar Square standing tall after the devastating earthquake.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake has left most of the cultural heritage site into rubble.  All the three Durbar Square has been affected by the earthquake unfortunately Kathmandu Durbar Square has been affected the most.  Majority of the structure in Patan Durbar Square and Bhakatpur Durbar Square have withstood the earthquake and can still be accessible however some areas inside the durbar square’s has been restricted to both the foreigners as well as the local due to security reason.  The UNESCO sites of Pashupatinath temple & Boudhanath stupa are unaffected.

In the Himalayan, Langtang, Manaslu and Ghorkha Region are known to be the worst affected region and it may take several months for the treks to operate. Despite the Avalanche in the Everest, the Everest trails is safe to trek with fewer impact of the earthquake. The famous Annapurna region has been untouched by the earthquake therefore you can consider planning your trip to the beautiful Pokhara city and even start trekking the Annapurna trails while enjoying the stunning views and breathtaking mountain ranges.  Most regions are still safe to trek including the Mustang and Dolpa trails, therefore you can consider trekking in these regions in coming days and enjoy your trekking holidays.

Thankfully other major tourist destinations like Pokhara, Chitwan, Bandipur, and Lumbini are unaffected by the earthquake.

Nepal tourism contributes 10% of GDP and provides jobs to many people of Nepal, who are fully depended on the regular inflow of the tourist. The only way you can support Nepal is to go on vacation and spend your much needed money, which will help sustain many lives of those affected by the devastating earthquake.

The tremendous amount of support and help from all around the world is highly commendable. However, the most sustainable way to help Nepal is go there on a holiday, so there is no reason to discourage visitor wanting to visit Nepal in coming months.


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Remembering Phillip Hughes from atop Everest

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes (1988 – 2014) © Getty Images

On November 27, 2014, the cricketing world went to a shock when Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes bid a tragic and untimely farewell from our world after a cricket ball struck him on his head. Just a week sort of his 26th birthday, Hughes was a talented young cricketer from whom Australian cricket expected big things. Such was his talent that the Australian Test captain Michael Clarke predicted him to go on to play 100 tests for Australia. Above all, he was a lovely human being. The cricketing world mourned in his death. The Himalayan country Nepal, an emerging cricketing nation, set out to give its unique tribute for Hughes. On 11 April, it conducted a special tribute cricket match of 63 overs (63 not out being Hughes’ figure on his final match) that was played between two teams containing both Nepalese and Australian cricketers. Good 15,000 people were at the Tribhuvan University Cricket Ground to watch the tribute match which was also televised on national television. The match was high on emotions and as if some special force was in play, the team batting first made 163 runs.

Two playing shirts of deceased Australian cricketer Hughes

The bat and two playing shirts of deceased Australian cricketer Hughes to be carried to the top of the Mount Everest as a symbolic tribute. © Getty Images

Now, the cricket bat of the deceased cricketer along with his two playing jerseys (one test and one ODI jersey) will be carried to the summit of Mt. Everest. Chhurim Sherpa, first woman to climb Mt. Everest twice in same climbing season will do the honors. After the spontaneous outpouring of #putyourbatsout campaign in social media, players and individuals worldwide put out their cricket bats in memory of Phillip Hughes. Chhurim Sherpa will now take Phillip Hughes’ bat to the top of the world and point it to the heavens.

Chhurim Sherpa with CA Chairman Wally Edwards

Chhurim Sherpa with CA Chairman Wally Edwards in Nepal © cricket.com.au

The Everest expedition will start on April 17, weather permitting. After a six days trek to Lukla (2,860m), Chhurim will then head to the Everest Base Camp (5,545m) before gradually scaling up Everest over the period of three weeks. Chhurim is targeting the days between 17-25 May to climb the Everest Summit (8,848m). It will be a fitting tribute to Phillip Hughes that his playing jerseys and bat will reach the top of the world. Chhurim Sherpa plans to return to Kathmandu on May 31. The Australian Embassy in Kathmandu will display Hughes’ jerseys and bat for public viewing.

The Newārs (Chapter I): The Genesis

This story has been compiled into two sets of chapters. Chapter I: The Genesis and Chapter II: Continuing the Rich Heritage.


 Chapter I: The Genesis

Newārs or Newār people are one of the indigenous tribes of Nepal. A historically and culturally rich group of people, Newārs are known as the native inhabitants of Kathmandu valley.

Contents


Origin

The generic term Newār literally translates to “People of Nepal.” Newari or Nepal Bhasa, the local dialect is believed to have been derived from Prakrit language, one of the Middle Indo-Aryan vernacular languages.

Men in typical Newari attire

Men in typical Newari attire (Circa. 1940)

They constitute a linguistic and cultural community derived from the assimilation of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman ethnicity.

The term Nepal is related to the origin of Newārs.  During medieval period, only the Kathmandu valley was referred as ‘Nepal’ by the inhabitants and the outsiders, therefore, giving the name ‘Nepal Bhasa’ to the Newari dialect. After the conquest of Kathmandu valley by the Gorkha kingdom in 1769, the expanded territories constituting of many larger and smaller states came to be known as ‘Nepal’ as a nation.

History

The history of the first Newār community correlates with the establishment of Kathmandu valley. They are believed to have originated from the amalgamation of immigrants arriving from Indian subcontinent and Tibeto-Burman regions to Nepal’s hills. Over the time, they formed their own culture, tradition and language, known as a microcosm, “Newa Samaj.”

Painting of Patan Durbar Square

Painting of Patan Durbar Square, former Malla kingdom

The progress of the community came at the end of 3rd century Lichhavi kingdom and the commencement of 12th century Malla Kingdom. Considered a golden period, Mallas brought most social, economic and infrastructural development in Kathmandu valley along with the advancement of lifestyle, politics and administration. The kingdom lasted till 18th century, however, their lifestyle, decorum and philosophies has greatly inspired other tribes of Nepal.

Often considered a dark age by experts and local inhabitants, the conquest of Kathmandu by Gorkha kingdom brought struggle and suppression for the people of the valley. Newari was replaced by Gokha language in the offices.

The Rana regime (1846-1951) supposedly tried to wipe out the Newari language.  In 1906, legal documents written in Newār were declared unenforceable, and any evidence in the language was declared null and void. ~TUJournal.edu.np

Today, most inhabitants live inside the Kathmandu valley. Total of 1,321,933 Newars constitute the graeter population of Nepal2011 census.

According to the 2001 Nepal Census, 84.13% of the Newārs were Hindu and 15.31% were Buddhist, but most of the Newārs practice both Hinduism and Buddhism.


Culture & Lifestyle

A Newari lifestyle is marked by elaborate sets of ceremonies since the birth till death. Hindu Newārs consider daily rituals the preparation for the life after death.

The first ceremony starts from the age of 8 for boys and 5 for girls, known as Macha Janku, a rice feeding ceremony, followed by rite of initiation for puberty or manhood, Kayla Puja or Bara Chhuyegu for boys in some Newari sub-castes and Baray for girls. Janku is another rite performed at later stages of life.

Renowned in trades and crafts, most of their surnames were derived from their native professions.

Chhathariya Srēṣṭha are known as nobles and courtiers, Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha as tradesmen and merchants, Bajracharya as priests, Banra as Buddhist priests, Jyapu as farmers, Sayami as oil pressers, Chitrakar as artist/painter, Joshi as astrologer, Shahi/Khadgi as butchers, Tamrakar a copper craftsmen, Vaidya as physician etc.

Cuisine

Newari cuisine is defined by its rich taste, aromatic flavor and sharp colors. Savored by locales as well as foreigners, Newari cuisine is considered a major delicacy inside Kathmandu valley. Meals specially prepared during festivals tend to have symbolic significance.

Ethnic Newari cuisine

‘Samay Baji’ Ethnic Newari cuisine

Prepared with enough efforts and expertise, the cuisine consist of many assorted dishes. Some of the most popular cuisines are;

  1. Samaybaji – It is a meal specially prepared during festivals, which consists of many assorted dishes; set of beaten rice, roasted meat, vegetables curry, cowpea, soyabean, ginger and pickles.
  2. Chatānmari – Known as a Nepali crepe, Chatamari is a rice flour crepe eaten mainly as snacks.
  3. Chhoylā – A spicy set of boiled, sliced and marinated buffalo meat. Served mainly as a pickle or snacks, it can be eaten with many other meals.
  4. Momochā – A Newari styled momo, Momochā is same as the Momos found in Nepal added with extra spices and herbs.
  5. Yomari -It is a rice dumpling, larger in size, filled with Chaku (molten molasses) or Khuwa (dairy product)

Art & Architecture

Newari style of architecture is mostly self-invented with more or less inspiration from the South Asian Hindu buildings and Tibetan Buddhist monuments. Originated inside the Kathmandu valley, the craftsmen prefer to add intricate and complex designs into their . The buildings and structures are distinct from other cultures. These styles are marked by striking brick work and unique style of wood carving.

Best examples of Newari architecture can be seen at Hanumandhoka, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Pashupatinath Temple.

Pouba paintings reflect the traditional art of Kathmandu or the Newārs. A rich and delicate craft, it’s equally considered sacred. It’s origin goes back to 7th century. it’s one art form which has been exported north, to Tibet, from Nepal.

Clothing

Newari women in Haku Patasi

Newari women in Haku Patasi

Newari clothing is classified by traditional attires worn everyday or during special ceremonies. In early times, clothes were made of homespun. Many inhabitants used to own hand looms. Some of these traditional attires are distinguished as such;

  • Tapālan – A common men’s clothing consisting of a long shirt (Tapālan) and fittings trousers (Suruwa)
  • Hāku Patāsi – A women’s clothing made of black cotton sari with a red border. Today, it’s worn mainly during festivities.
  • Sayn kaytā – Men’s attire worn by merchants and courtiers till the 1930s.
  • Parsi – A common women’s clothing made of plain or printed sari.
  • Bhāntānlan – An ankle length tight-fitting gown worn by young girls.

~Gallery~


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Rara Lake | The Biggest and Deepest Lake in Nepal

A next major destination for tourist to visit, “Rara Lake” is the biggest and the deepest fresh water lake in the Himalayas of Nepal. Located in the Jumla and Mugu Districts the Rara Lake is the main centerpiece of Rara National Park.


Rara National Park

Rara National Park covering 106 sq. km is Nepal’s smallest and most scenic national park. Established in 1976, most of the park remains at the altitude of about 3,000 meters. The park with the country’s biggest lake, also protects and inhabitants’ the most beautiful alpine and sub-alpine ecosystem of the Himalaya. Established for the protection of the unique flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region, the park is managed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

Rara Lake

rara-lake

Rara lake with Chuchemara Peak on the backdrop

Rara Lake also known as ‘Mahendra Tal,’ lies at the an altitude of 2,990 m above sea level and having water surface of 10.8 square km, with a maximum depth of 167 meters. Oval in shape the Rara Lake is 5.1 km in length and 2.7 km in a width. Chuchemara Peak (4,039 meters) on the southern side and on the northern side, the peaks of Ruma Kand (3,731 m.) and Malika Kand (3,444 m) frame the alpine freshwater Rara lake making it the biggest lake in Nepal.


Climate

Due to the altitude factor, the climate is much more pleasant during summers, but becomes very cold during the winter. The best time to visit the lake is in September/ October and April to May. December to March is the cold, where the temperatures go down below freezing point, blocking ways due to heavy snowfall. The Monsoon season which falls from July to October is short, but the period between June to August is regarded as summer where the weather conditions gets hot making the Rara National Park Trek difficult.

Flora and Fauna

Rara comes within the area of the Karnali River, one of the three main river systems of Nepal. The habitat supports unique flora and fauna with rare and vulnerable species. As per the numbers and statics the park consist of 1074 species of flora among which 16 are common in Nepal, whereas the fauna includes 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds.

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Rhododendron, fir, brown oak and birch species are mostly found in the sub-alpine region, whereas Blue Pine,Rhododendron, West Himalayan Spruce, Black Juniper and Himalayan Cypress are mostly found below 3200 meter altitude. 51 species of mammals including animals like the red panda, black bear, yellow-throated martin, ghoral, serow, snow leopard, wolf and musk deer have also been reported sightings.

Himalayan Monal

Himalayan Monal

The lake magnetizes migrant birds like teals, pochards and mallards, other birds seen frequently include the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant and Blood Pheasant.


About Rara Lake Trekking

Starting from a beautiful town in western Nepal named Jumla, the trek trail proceeds following the north bank of the Tila Khola River crossing the Chaudhabise Khola passing and ascent up the Padmara valley. You trek through unrivaled natural beauty to reach Daphne Langa Pass at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,480 ft).

The path then continues climbing gently to Ghurchi Lagna pass 3450m/11316ft which is covered with round stone Buddhist monuments and prayer flags along a range of majestic Himalayan peaks and the daunting terrain of Dolpo region with a complete day exploring the Rara lake before end our adventure in Nepalgunj.

The trek, at times, can be strenuous and requires trekkers to camp in many parts. The sight of culture and landscape on the way is somewhat different from the rest of Nepal.


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David Stanfield’s Quest for Annapurna & Food

David Stanfied, an adventurer hailing from the highs of Auckland, New Zealand, completed his trek of Annapurna circuit back in 2013. His quest, as he recalls, was a trip to heaven with some unimaginable scenery and delicious meals.


David’s Quest for Annapurna

He completed his Annapurna Circuit trek in 2013, and came back the next year to complete another round of trek of the Everest. He recalls,

David Stanfield

David Stanfield

It was a two year plan. My original goal was to climb Everest Base Camp with a friend. Three months prior to our planned departure date, my friend pulled out of the trip. I was determined to visit Nepal and to do a trek. I had been in touch with Nepal Vision Treks & Expedition, who I found online. I dealt with Keshav, his quick responses to all my questions were greatly appreciated.

He adds,

Particularly when my original plans changed and I would now be travelling alone. Nothing was too much trouble […] This was my first time in Nepal and my first time trekking. I ended up doing the 21 days Annapurna Circuit trek which I highly recommend, I always felt safe and in good hands. My guide Santosh , who quickly became my friend was the best. […] The whole experience was beyond my expectations, and the trip of a life time. Thank you Keshav, Santosh and Ramesh.


~David’s Quest for Food~

His trip took him to many eateries on the trail, and we’re glad that he cared to bring some of what he ate during his trek. A combination of eastern and western flavors these are! Do Savor!


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