The atheist usually argue who has seen god and goddess ? It is one and only in Nepal that you can witness the real living god and goddess. She is popularly known as Kumari. Yes, visit Basantapur Durbar Sqaure to experience this awe inspiring moment of seeing the living goddess kumari.
The famous Kumari House is situated at the South end of Basantapur Durbar Square. It was built in 1757AD by Jaya Prakash Mall, the last Malla King of Nepal. Built in typical Newari Monastery design, the house has an artistic lattice windows with peacock carved on them. The house enclosed a rectangular courtyard with Buddhist stupa in the center. Here, the devotees and tourists are found waiting to have a glimpse of Kumari. An opportunity to see the Kumari is considered as a mascot.
Kumari, the living goddess is the best testimony of the religious tolerance that prevails in Nepal. While kumari represents the clan goddess of Nepalese Hindu King, the entire rituals is carried out by the Buddhist family. As such, the Kumari girl also has to be strictly from Buddhist "Shakya" family who are believed to be from the family line of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
"Kumari" means a virgin girl not yet in age of menstruation. So, as the kumari girl grows over 10 years, the team of priests goes for selecting a new one.
Being kumari means to accept a lot of restriction and rituals. As such, kumari lives in a house specially built for this tradition in 1757 AD. The kumari comes out into the world only once a year to observe local festival Indrajatra. During the festival, Kumari appears in her traditional attire that defines her divinity. Likewise, Kumari has regular life that includes daily Puja, to give blessing to the devotees and to appear once awhile at the Balcony window for the curious Tourists.
It is a great privilege and an honor for the parents to get their daughter selected for Kumari. Despite the fact that this does make the priest's job easy for selecting new Kumari, the procedure itself is not less rigorous because the Kumari is supposed to have 32 auspicious qualities that includes her beautiful eye lashes like of a cow, an attractive look like of princess, long black hair, well proportionate figure and sonorous voice etc. Apart from that, she should be very brave to be alone at Taleju Temple amidst the 108 beheaded water buffalos and goats. She also should have an aura that reflects the mighty goddess Taleju that she embodies.
Since Kumari is worshipped as the manifestation of Taleju or Tulaja Bhavani, she is deeply revered and it is ensured that her every "whims" are fulfilled. Hundreds of local Buddhist and Hindus devotees await to touch her feet and offer gifts. The king himself visits Kumari once a year to touch her feet and get blessed.
The devotees also notice her gestures for the oracular message. When the Gorkha King Prithivi Narrayan Shah invaded Kathmandu in 1768 AD and captured, he immediately went to get blessing from Kumari. Goddess Kumari also blessed him as the new king of Kathmandu. This convinced the citizen that it is the will of Goddess Herself to have a new king for Kathmandu and of course they acquiesced.
There is a common belief that if a kumari marries, her husband will be ill-affected and destined to early death. So, people shun kumari girl to marry. To some extends it makes sense that Kumari is used to getting her every whims fulfilled. This might be a real trouble for her Husband!!!!!
Hindu Cremation ritual is a fascinating Culture. According to the culture, after someone’s death, the body is carried to holy river banks or on to the top of the hills as soon as possible. In a Hindu country like Nepal, each village, city or community has a particular designated spot (especially river bank) for cremation. Among many of such cemeteries, Pashupathi Nath in Kathmandu is considered the holiest of all. This cremation lies on the holy Bagamati River besides Pashupati Nath Temple, the most sacred Hindu pilgrim sites.
Cremation is a way to reduce the body back to the prime elements: earth, water, fire, air and space.
The entire cremation procedures can be observed in Pashupati Nath Temple every day (throughout the days). Therefore, this is a place of attraction for visitors.
The culture can be quite confronting for the western community where burial is not given public exposure. Nevertheless, it is equally a very special moment to witness the ultimate truth.
The cremation ritual is obviously directed by the Hindu philosophy of life and death. In Hindu community, people often take the reference of death to preach the young one for spiritual approach.
Hindus believe in soul. After the death of a person, the soul departs the body and makes another cycle of journey. According to Hindu philosophy, the soul has to dwell in the bodies of 8.4 million different species of lives before it finally gets reborn in the form of human. So, human life is considered the best form of life. Only in this life, it is possible to make effort to get free from “Samsara” (wheel of life) through good karmas (good deeds). In this very life, the Karma of the person will decide whether s/he should take another cycle of life or get emancipation. An emancipated soul will enjoy the grace of union with the Existence (the supper soul).
Once the news of relatives’ death is received, the family members, friends and relatives reach the mourning family for help and to participate in funeral procession.
A person at his eleventh hour is rushed to the holy cemetery. The belief behind this practice is that at the time off death, the soul leaves the body. It is considered holy to take last breath at holy cremation ground rather than at hospital.
“From which part of the body will the soul exit? The best expectation is that after the soul exits from the body, it should enter holy water in the river. Therefore, the body is positioned on the tilted stone slap in a way that the feet touch the holy water. The person is expected to take his last breath in this position. To make the job easy for him, the relatives and family member offer holy water to him/her. Each participant would cup a handful of holy water from the river and trickle it along the right thump into the mouth.
After this, the body is wrapped with holy clothes (white or yellow often with holy chant printed on them).
For Hindu, death is not the end of life but a point to make another journey. Therefore, the relatives wish the journey of departed soul into the heaven. To symbolize this journey, the body is symbolically decorated with cosmetics and holy color and clothes.
After this ritual, the final journey is arranged on a green bamboo stretcher. By then, the funeral pyre is ready which is often piled with vegetable butter, Sandal wood and other aromatic incense sticks.
When the body is placed on the pyre, the head part must be positioned towards North. Gradually, the fire is set beginning from mouth. When the body is burnt into ash it is finally submitted to Holy River.
Who sets fire also is a meaningful case because the eldest son offers the fire for father while the youngest son should do it for mother. In the case of parents who do not have son, their closest relatives can offer the fire who will also be an eligible heir then after. The one who sets the fire also should do Shraddha ( a ritual of offering food to the departed soul) which is done throughout the year can be costly.During mourn, the sons shave their hair/mustache/beard and wear white from head to toe for a year.
Shradha (Offering for departed soul)
Shradha or offering ritual is another important part of cremation culture. This is done several time during the year of death. From the second year, the family do remember their their ancestor once a year often during 16 sacred days that fall in September-October.
The Hindus show deep reverence to the departed sould of their ancestor and make every possible effort to satisfy them through different offering and worship.
The Upper Mustang unveils the hidden world of Mustang – the Legendary Buddhist Kingdom in the hidden valley amidst Himalayas bordering Tibet.
Among several scattered Himalayan community, Lho- Manthang, situated at the elevation of 3840m, is one of the major attraction of this trip.
The region remained restricted to the tourist until 1991, an still requires a special permit for the visit. The whitewashed settlements, surrounded by fields of barley, filled with several impressive small monasteries and colorful prayer flags reflecting the abiding Buddhist culture of the village can be accessed only after passing through incredibly fierce wind and mystical barren landscape.
Nepal is a beautiful country rightfully called a paradise on earth. The enigmatic country boasts its diverse ethnicity, rich culture and awe-inspiring natural beauty. With a wide variety of flora and fauna in the country, Nepal holds some of the rarest species like the one-horned Rhino, the Bengal tiger and the national flower Rhododendron. Nepal is truly a god's playground with stunning landscapes, majestic mountains and mesmerizing lakes.
Here we are listing the most fun and interesting facts about Nepal. The most baffling fact about Nepal is that all of the following happens within the limited area of 147,181 sq. km (56,827 sq. mi).
1. Nepal has 8 out of the world's 14 highest mountains including the Mount Everest.
2. The highest mountain in the world, The Mount Everest is in Nepal. Everest is called Sagarmatha in Nepali which translates to "Forehead of the Sky." In the local Sherpa and Tibetan language, Everest is called Chomolungma, which means "Goddess Mother of the World" The word Everest comes from George Everest, a British surveyor general of the Himalayas.
3. In a span of 100 km going from South to North at any part of Nepal you can experience hot tropical climate to bone chilling Artic type weather.
4. Nepal is the only country with altitudinal variation that ranges from 60 meters to 8848 meters.
5. Nepal boasts the most extreme places on the earth such as the highest lake on the earth (Tilicho 4800 meters), the deepest gorges (1200 meter) in Kaligandaki, the highest valley on earth (Arun valley) and the tallest grassland in the world in Chitwan.
6. Kaligandaki is the river older than the Himalayas. Therefore, it acts as a major ecological dividing line of the whole eastern and western Himalayas.
7. Nepal is a four season destination.
Nepal is called an Amazon of Asia. The hidden treasure of its rich biodiversity is not yet fully explored. Many new species could be discovered from Nepal.
1. Nepal has more than 360 species of Orchid which constitutes over 2% of the world's orchids.
2. Nepal has 8 % of the total species of birds found in the world.
3. Nepal comprises 6% of the world's rhododendron species.
4. Nepal harbors 5980 species of flowering plants which covers 2.4% of the world's total. Over 250 species of the flowering plants are endemic in Nepal (i.e. It is not found elsewhere else in the world.)
5. Nepal has one of the largest concentrations of Royal Bengal Tiger in the world after India and Bangladesh.
6. It is said that Nepal has largest moth in the world (Atlas Moth)
7. Some of the largest wild honeybees are found in Nepal.
8. The only natural breeding ground of the Long Snouted Gharial crocodile exists in Nepalese river.
9. Nepal has nearly 870 species of birds, which arguably more than the whole continent of Europe and North Africa combined.
10. Nepal has 4.2% of the world's butterfly species which is over 650 species of butterflies.
11. Thirty six percent of the world's Meconopsis species "poppy" including Blue Poppies are found in Nepal of which four are endemic, only found in Nepal. In Nepal, one of the Blue poppy grows as high as 5400-meter altitude. This is perhaps one of the highest limits for the poppy to be found in the world.
12. The mysterious creature of the Himalayas called Yeti is said to be spotted in the Nepalese Himalayas by many. Sir Edmund Hillary even led an expedition to find the Yeti in 1958.
13. Second largest population of One-horned Rhino is found in Nepal.
14. Nepal has one of the best habitats for Snow Leopard.
15. SuklaPhanta in West Nepal harbors the world largest herd of Swamp deer.
c) Culture, Lifestyle and pride:
1. Nepal is the birthplace for the Lord Gautam Buddha, the light of Asia. Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha) was born in Kapilvastu, Lumbini which lies in Nepal. Lumbini is a sacred place for Buddhists.
2. Nepal was never under any foreign invasion. Thus Nepal does not have an independent day because Nepal was never colonized. Nepal is also the oldest country in South Asia.
3. Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometers. No wonder Kathmandu is called the living cultural museum of the world.
4. Nepal is the only country with a non-rectangular flag. Nepal's flag is maroon with two triangular shapes stacked on one another with blue border. The upper triangle consists of moon and the lower triangle consists of the sun. The current flag has been in place since 1962 although the basic design has been used for over 2,000 years in Nepal.
5. Cows are sacred in Nepal. Recently turned secular, Nepal still has the highest proportion of Hindus in the world. Cow is considered the national animal of the country. In Nepal, cows are not eaten and it is considered illegal to kill the animal. Due to this fact, it is not uncommon to see a cow wandering around the streets of Kathmandu.
6. Nepal has the only living goddess in the world called Kumari. "Kumari" literally means virgin in Nepali.
7. Nepal displays an incredible religious tolerance where the Buddhist and the Hindus worship together in the same temple.
8. People in Nepal greet one another by saying "Nasmaste" or "Namaskar" with their palms together and bow their forehead. Namaste is directly translated as "I salute the God in you". Like "Namaste" is common in the Hindu influenced culture, "Tashidele" is a common greeting in the culture close to Tibetan culture.
9. Elephant polo game was originated in Meghauli, Nepal. Tiger Tops in Nepal is the headquarters of elephant polo and the site of the World Elephant Polo Championships.
10. Some of the highest permanent human habitat exists in Himalayan region of Nepal.
11. Nepal has recorded over 125 ethnic groups and 123 local dialects so far.
12. Nepal opened its borders in 1949.
1. Over nineteen percent of the total country’s landmass is protected under National Park and Protected Area in Nepal. 2. Shivapuri National Park at Budhanilkantha in Kathmandu is the only World’s National Park close to the capital and international airport.
3. In the last 25 years of conservation work, Nepal has managed to save Blackbuck from extinction, successfully increased the tiger population, and brought back endangered wildlife species such as Gharial, Indian bison, wild buffalo and many others to a healthy and viable population.
4. Chitwan National Park and Everest National Park is listed in World Heritage Site.
5. Multi conceptual park management system was first successfully implemented in Annapurna Area and now ACAP is the world model for conservation and sustainable development.
6. During 70s, there were less than 80 rhinos in Nepal, now Nepal has more than 500 remnants. This is undoubtedly an excellent result in the context of global wildlife conservation record.
1. Nepal boasts few of the world’s most popular trekking trails such as Annapurna Circuit trekking and Everest Base Camp Trek.
2. Nepal is one of the best arenas for Extreme & Adventure Sport tourism such as mountaineering, cannoning, paragliding, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, bungee jumping, high altitude marathon etc.
3. Karnali in Simikot is one of the best rivers in the world for kayaking and most of the upstream Nepalese rivers offer the best rapids for white-water rafting.
f) Facts about the Himalayas:
1. The word "Himalaya" in Sanskrit means abode of snow.
2. The geological age of the Himalaya is approximately 70 million years. It is the youngest Mountain Range in the world.
3. According to Hindu mythology, God Shiva resides in the Himalaya.
4. NamehaBarwa peak is the easternmost and Nanga Parbat is the westernmost peak of the Himalaya.
5. Kumbhakarna is the new name of mount Jannu (7,710 m).
6. Gosainthan (8046 m) is the Nepali name for ShishaPangma.
7. The ideal height gain per day for mountaineers is 1,000 ft above 10,000 ft.
8. The Himalayas are the source for rivers such as the Indus, the Yangtze and the Ganga-Brahmaputra. All three are the major river systems of the continent of Asia.
9. The Himalayas are the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world, after Antarctica and the Arctic. There are approximately 15,000 glaciers located throughout the range.
10. The Himalayas are alive geographically! The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km into Asia.
Stupa, the sacred temple of Buddhist is built in accurate uniformity around the world. While a stupa can be in various sizes, the shape/design must follow the universal pattern. This is because, a stupa carries Buddhist message. Each and every part of the stupa has a symbolic meaning connecting to Buddhist teaching.
Stupa is a Sanskrit word that means “to heap” or “to pile up” and refers to the mound-like shape of the earliest stupas.
The Mahaparinirvana Sutra tells us that it was the Buddha himself who outlined the basic design of the stupa. The story begins at Buddha’s deathbed. When he realized that death was imminent, Buddha gave instructions about the disposition of his body. He said that his body should be cremated and the relics divided up and enclosed in four different monuments. These monuments were to be erected at the following places, marking important milestones in the Buddha’s spiritual journey: at Lumbini, where he was born; at Bodhgaya where he attained Enlightenment; at Sarnath, where he gave his first teaching; and at Kushinagar, where he died, entering parinirvana, or ultimate liberation.
Giving a practical demonstration, he folded his outer yellow robe over and over until it became a rough cube. Then he put his begging bowl over it. These two elements, the square and the dome, are present in every stupa (India), dagoba (Sri Lanka), chorten (Tibet), chedi or pagoda (Burma), t’ap (Korea), ta (China), tarp (Vietnam), thaat (Laos), sotoba (Japan), or chandi (Java).
The stupa, universal throughout Asia, evolved into more than a reliquary monument. It has become an expression of the ideal of Enlightenment. Statues represent the Buddha’s body, Dharma texts his speech. Stupas are representations of the Buddha’s mind. They reveal the path to enlightenment, or how the mind can actualize its full potential and be transformed into enlightenment. Stupas can be seen as an expression of the five elements.
§ Earth, which spreads out in the four directions, provides the solid basis.
§ The dome is the garbha (“womb”), primordial, creative Water – formless potentiality. It is also called the anda, or egg.
§ The conical spire is Fire, which always rises upwards. It represents the wisdom which burns away ignorance.
§ The crescent moon is Air, expansive, waxing and waning (an ancient symbol of the feminine).
§ The circle is Space, wholeness, totality, with no end or beginning.
§ Finally, above the circle is a jewel, which represents a higher state of reality, gone beyond the five elements. It is the ushnisha, present on the crowns of all Buddhas, revealing their perfect, enlightened state. This ascent to perfection is laid out with precision in an Enlightenment stupa.
Parts of Stupa
The Base: The base of Stupa represents Earth
White Dome: The white dome is for water element
Sphire: the sphire has four sides and each sides has a pair of enlightened eyes
A pair of Eyes: The Buddha’s eyes are so mesmerizing that you feel they are looking at you if you look at it. The eyes are in fact looking at the universe in compassion.
Questioning Nose: The nose looks like a question mark. It is indeed a question. The enlightened and compassionate eyes are looking at you with a question “who are You?” Obviously, this is a million Dollar Question. The Buddha’s teaching is focused on the fact that we are not what we think we are. We take our mind and body as our real entity. But, Buddha says, we are never a body or mind. Mind and body is impermanent. In absence of mind and body, what you can realize is the real existence.
13 Rings: The thirteen rings symbolize the ten mystic powers (they are also known as Paramitas or perfection. The ten perfection mentioned in the Buddhism are: Dana, Sila, Nekkhamma, Pana, Viriya, Khanti, Sacca, Adhitthana, Metta, Upekkha) and the three essential types of mindfulness. They also symbolize the thirteen Bhumi.
In other words, the thirteen rings are thirteen stages of mind or thirteen stages of mind that one goes through before attaining enlightenment. Buddhism appeals all the people in the world to know their real existence. The answer to the question “who are you?” can be found through “Sila” ( way of life) and “Dhyan” (meditation).
The top : The top is the position of enlightenment. After accomplishment of 13 different stages comes the top, the Enlightenment. The top most part of stupa contains an Umbrell that symbolizes the victorious state of Enlightment. Similarly, the moon symbolizes the elimination of all sufferings, while the sun symbolizes the radiance of the thousand lights of compassion. The nada (the jewel) symbolizes the realization of all the aspirations.
The Hindu holy men are also known as Sadhu Baba or Baba or Santa or Mahatma etc. They are known for their rigorous ascetic life.
The secret of Babas is something most of the westerners are curious about to know. The Western travelers find it really very confronting to see the Sadhu Babas, also known as Hindu Holy men in Nepal and India.
The Sadhus’ spiritual journey begins from symmetry in persuade of enlightenment. A typical Babas are normally found in naked/semi naked with long deadlocked hair and beard, remarkably painted forehead, pierced ears and number of chains of bead (called Rudrakchhya). The other features could be a long forceps and a vase ( Chimta and Kamandalu) that they carry with while outing for alms. And for accommodation, they managed to adjust in a small hut (Ashram) where they mandatorily set a permanent fire (Dhooni).
Obviously, there are number of myths, assumption and illusions about the significance of their lives. This article is based on the writer’s personal experience (Sat Sang), witnesses and interviews.
When do they become Baba?
It is a different story depending on person to person. Some starts at their early age because they are inborn spiritualist; some follow the lines after twisting tragedy in life while others gradually grow inclined to it out of sheer interest in spiritualism. It means some Babas have family and some don’t have.
Why do they become Baba?
A very simple answer is: in search of meaning of life (the ultimate truth). There are number of people who are distinctly curious to spiritual aspects of life. They are interested to learn what different spiritual teachers (Gurus) talk about life, universe and the existence of life and at the same time spend most of their time pondering on the secret of life- its sorrows and happiness. However, very few of them are consistent and persevere to unbolt their questions. The quest eventually leads to the utter realization of the ultimate truth that EVERYTHING IS IMPERMANENT. The realization has to be so deep and strong that they can renounce the mundane world and adopt the holy life.
Can holy men have family?
Yes. Most holy men have family (Grihasti Jeevan). The philosophy of the Hindu religion insists on successful accomplishment of family life. They have categorized life into four stages – Baal, Ashram, Grihasti and Sanyas (infant, student, family and renouncement). Indeed, a successful family life certifies a person as a successful one. Someone who has failed in organizing family life is unlikely to be successful in rest of things.
Are there some fake holy men?
Very simple! A true holy man is more inclined to giving. Generosity and simplicity is their characteristic. A graceful personality he is, who has nothing to share but unconditional love and peace; who has a compassionate approach to all the living being and leads his own life denying all the attachment to physical comfort – an exemplary of a complete egolessness!
Do all the Babas take Marijuana?
Of course not! Unlike the rumor, most holy men do no use marijuana. It is believed that the use of it can enhance in proper meditation. But, the fact is when one is into meditation; no such addictive stuff is required. Since meditation helps one to detach from the worldly pleasure, the use of marijuana cannot be the feature of Babas.
Where do we find the real Babas?
Diamonds are often hidden in between the coals! The true search of knowledge is possible only when it is possible to dive deep down rather than only floating in the surface. In the same way, an hour or a couple of hours ‘tour may not bless you with the chance to meet the genuine Babas. In the beginning, you may only see easily available ones who are ready to give you poses for photography and ask for a Dollar! But, the gunuine Babas who completely detached from mundane world do starkly contrast to the one who would give you pose for photo. The true babas are the one who live beyond duality and hence attain the level of supreme consciousness. Hari Aum!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where do the real Babas live then?
Definitely, the genuine Babas are never after your Dollar. Instead, they don’t care any show business. But they are definitely available if you are a truth seeker, in search of love and humble to mankind. They live in Ashram often close by cemetery, temple or in the mountain caves. Hundreds and Thousands of Western Tourist visit Pashupati Nath in Kathmandu with the purpose to meet holy men. There are number of holy sadhu residing in the cementery ground of holy Pashupati.
What do the Babas do?
A million dollar question!
Satsang, , Yoga, meditation, be humble and Love to all…………are the activities they do.
Satsang: “Sat” is truth or goodness and Sang is a group. So Satsang means circle of good people. In Satsang, your objective is to find the ultimate goodness that is God himself through good connection with good people. When you are in Satsang, you feel the vibrant of positive feeling. Which helps you to feel the Bhramha, the supreme Soul?
Yoga: The holy men are known for their exquisite skill of Yoga. The experienced Sadhus can do 84 different yoga Postures.
Meditation: They are familiar with Chakra meditation. Our Body has 7 main energy point known as Chakras. The genuine holy men are in practice to activate all the Chakras making it possible to recognize or learn Bhrama (Supreme Soul).
Humbleness and love: The holy men are very generous, compassionate and loving to all living things.
Durbar means palace. Aesthetically, among the three Palace areas in Kathmandu, this is rated as the most enthralling. The palaces was meant for accommodation and temples are juxtaposed in parallel line on the either side of open square. The palace is embellished with magnificent Digu Taleju ( A temple dedicated to th Royal Clan Goddess Taleju) Krishna temple, Bhimsen Temple, Mahadev and Bishnu temple etc. They stand as a testimony of ancient civilization, their expertise in wood carving, stone carving, Newari architecture and an art of expressing their philosophy in symbol (symbolism).
Usually, you will spot this area with full of visitors (both local and International) for admiring the art and in some corner feeding pegions or for leisurely chitchat.
A couple of minutes’ walk to south of Durbar squar is located the Mahabaudha Temple. Built in 14th century, this is a Buddhist Temple made ofBTerracotta. This Shikhar style temple has the face of Buddha on each brick. So, it is also known as Thousand Buddha Temple. In terms of its architecture, the temple is a replica of Saranath Temple in India.
3.Rudra Barna Mahavihar
Close by Mahabaudah is Rudra Barna Mahabihar. The Bihar or Monastry is a museum in itself with score of Buddhist sculpter, animal figures and a Statue of Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher.
Now we walk back to the Palace through bustling market place. After walking a couple of minutes to the other side of the palace is another legendry monument to stun the visitor. Commonly it is called by Golden Temple because the temples inside this Buddhist monastery is cladded with gold plated copper.
The spiritual ambience in the interior of the monastery is so immense that you will hesitate before you click on your camera. But no Worry! Photography is allowed here.
The ritual of the monastery is of 12th century and is still carried out in full swing. As such, only kumar (meaning bachelor, not fully ordained man) is eligible to be appointed as a priest. The place remains busy with Hindu and Buddhist ceremonial rituals. Most importantly, this is still the center for Theravada Buddhist practice. As a regular activities, the monastery organizes Prajyan Paramita Lesson ( one of the thirteen stages to be passed through before getting Buddhahood).
5.Banglamukhi and Sankahmul Ghat (Cemetery)
Walk further down, and we reach another busy temple called Banglamukhi. It is mostly crowded with women in red attire offering holy light and worshipping for good health and prosperous life of their family. The young couples often visit this place in belief that the God will make their love eternal!
6.Visit Bahals on the way from Mahapal to Pulchowk.
Now we are back along narrow alleys leading to core part of settlement. The streets leads to open squares after squares occupied by the local people. They are all built in Monastry design with Stupa in the center.
Without guide you will easily miss this beautiful temple dating back to 15th century. The temple is protected by iron grill. The temple is also beautifully painted with natural colour.
Nar and Phu villages are part of Manang district. Its remoteness justifies the fact that even the neighboring villagers were stunned to know about their existence.
The valleys situated over 4000 thousand meter are still fertile for millet and oat and the alpine Tundra vegetation is appropriate for Yak and Sheep. Life is hard but full of satisfaction. The Buddhist Chorten and Monastery are the testimony of Buddhism in practice. The ultimate goal of life is Nirvana, here too.
Trails are rocky and hard of course but well-trodden by the gentle steps of the monks!
For many, it is hard to believe that there could be human settlement above 4,000 m from sea level amidst the snowcapped mountain. Yet the stranger part is that they make their livelihood from agriculture and animal husbandry. This unbelievable myth is a common fact in Nepal.
Nepal, where the northern board to Tibet is all Himalayans stretching 1414.88 km from west to east is a home for many Nomad Tibetan-origin Himalayan people who find it cozy to make their nest in the valley surrounded bysnowcapped mountains.
To cut it short, a visit to such villages is normally challenging but a true adventure lovers would find it luring as a-must-do holiday in life.
If you are still determined to scroll down to read further, we believe that you are one of those adventurous souls.
Nepal is known as a trekker’s paradise. Thousands of trekkers around the world make their holiday plan to trek in Nepal. Blessed with abundant natural scenery, great ecological diversity and an ancient culture, trekking in Nepal is a wish that many all over the world would like to fulfill at least once in their lifetime. This is of course, aside from the thousands of mountain climbers who have to come to Nepal to conquer some of the high Himalayan peaks includingMount Everest (8,848 m). However, for those not so inclined, but looking for adventure nonetheless, Nepal beckons one and all to come and trek on its fantastic mountain trails and experience varied lifestyles of those who live in the hills and mountains of this small but scenic country.
That said, here are the things you will need for a 10 day trek: jeans or slacks, woolen shirt, woolen sweater, woolen socks, shorts and T shirts, walking shoes, parka, poncho, gloves, hat, towel and toilet kit, sleeping bag, rucksack, water bottle, flashlight and pocket knife. These are the basics; you can depend upon us (Nepal Trek Ways) for tents, mattresses, utensils and mountain expert as your personal guide and Chef in Mountains. Here, then is a list of Nepal’s most popular treks.
Everest Base Camp Trek is the most popular trek in Nepal. The trail leads from the airfield of Lukla through villages and forests and across high suspension bridges. Rest a while at bustling Namche Bazaar. From Tengboche, you will get a close up view of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. From Gorakhshep, go to Kala Patthar. Above the tree line you will reach Base Camp high on the Khumbu Glacier.
Annapurna base camp trek commences from Nayapul in Pokhara. The sight of golden sunrise from these mountain ranges is an incredible scene. The trail traverses several Gurung and Thakali villages giving you opportunity to explore the rich local culture. As you move forward on the expedition you will pass through deep gorges, rich bamboo and rhododendron forest , narrow forest trails and beautiful mountain vistas before finally arriving at Machhapucchre and Annapurna Base Camp.
Take a scenic Flight or Drive to natural city Pokhara. Drive to Nayapul, start trekking, reach Ghorepani, hike to poonhill for the spectacular sunrise unveiling the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges. Then head to Modi River gorges via Tadapani. Then, walk through the bamboo and rhododendron forest. Find yourself in the center of spectacular Mt. Fishtail and Annapurna. The major peaks Annapurna South, Fang, Annapurna, Ganagapurna, Annapurna 3, Machhapuchhare and Hiunchuli, are aligned in a circle of about 10 miles in diameter creating a deep glacier-covered amphitheater in the center.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is a rewarding trek. After driving down to Besisahar, the trail follows the Marsyangdi River. On the way, one is treated to the imposing view of Annapurna II, III and IV on the trail from Pisang to Manang. Snow-white ridges make for a magnificent panorama from the Thorung Pass at 5,416 meters, while down below is the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the world’s deepest gorge. A long descent downhill takes you to Muktinath and Jomsom, renowned for its apple orchards. Next, hike up to Ghorepani where the sunrise and sunsets from Poon Hill are rejuvenating. Then, walk down to Pokhara, where the Macchapucchre Himal towers over the city and its tranquil lake throughout the day.
Mustang Trek takes you to Mustang which has an aura of mysterious romance. Fly to Jomsom via Pokhara. Then, take the trail to Kagbeni. Climbing out of the river valley of Chele, you will come across interesting Tibetan style flat roofed houses, some with sheep horns above doorways, amulets to guard against evil spirits. Onwards to Charang with its rolling fields, willow trees and houses separated from each other by stone walls, and large Chortens and Gompas. Mustang lies at the end of the Kali Gandaki beyond the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges and consists of Lower Mustang, inhabited by people related to the Mananges, whereas, in northern Mustang (the ancient kingdom of Lo) the languages and the customs are of purely Tibetan origin.
Imjatse (Island Peak) Climb (20 days): This is the trek that can claim to have it all – from the high valleys and glaciers of Khumbu to the classic Everest view and the ascent of a Himalayan peak. Fly into Lukla from where begins this unique trek that takes you first to Phakding along the Dudh Koshi, meeting on the way, long lines of yak caravans ferrying trekking equipment and other supplies. Onwards to culturally rich Namche Bazaar, abode of the Sherpas, and Tengboche, with its magnificent view of the mighty Himalayan peaks. Then it’s on to Kala Patthar from where you will get a view of Everest so profound, you will be literally left breathless. The trail carries on to Dingboche and Chhukung and beyond these, along moraine and glaciers streams to Imjatse Base Camp from where you ascend the summit ridge of Imjatse Peak (6,189 meters).
Ghalegaun Village Trek (10 days): Trek through the villages of the honey hunters of Nepal. A pristine area, newly opened up for tourism, the stunning landscape and the gorgeous view of the Annapurna region would be reason enough to make it a favorite trekking destination. But as if that wasn’t enough, one also gets the golden opportunity to mingle with local Gurung families and become part of the local village life. The region is home to the famous honey hunters of Nepal. The trek starts after a drive down to Besisahar, from where the trail leads to Khudi along the Marsyangdi River and then to Ghalegaun from where the sunset-view of Annapurna and Manaslu is simply riveting. Then, trek down to Ghanpokhara and Bhujung with its cascading waterfalls and rhododendron forests before climbing again to Khumre Danda in Pasgaun. The descent down to the Mandi River takes you to Pakhrikot and Thumsikot and then back to Pokhara.
Tourists can book a package holiday to Bhutan through both International and Bhutanese local tour operators. Information is available from travel agencies.
The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan and this must be paid in US dollars prior to arrival in Bhutan.
The minimum tariff for tourist visiting in a group of 3 persons or more are as follows:
High Season Tariff – US$ 250 per person per night halt ( February, March, April, May, August, September, October, November and December).
Low Season Tariff – US$ 200 per person per night halt (January, June, July).
The minimum price includes:
· All internal taxes and charges (including the royalty)
· All Meals
· All travel with a licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide
· All Internal Transport
· Camping Equipment and Haulage for Trekking Tours
The rates given above are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan. On the day of departure, the ‘local agents’ host obligation shall be limited to breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on actual basis.
The rates shall apply uniformly irrespective of locations and the type of accommodation provided/asked for. List of hotels and lodges approved for international tourist accommodation updated from time to time shall be issued by TCB.
Minimum package cost is revised starting 1st January 2012. USD$ 250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. And USD$200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December. For more information please check with TCB.
Individual tourists and smaller groups of less than three persons shall be subject to surcharge, over and above the minimum daily rates applicable, as follows:
Single individual US$ 40 per night
Group of 2 persons US$ 30 per person per night
The 10% agency commission payable to agents abroad shall not be deductible from the surcharge.
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.
a) With effect from 01/07/2009, the government has revoked the 25% discount on Diplomatic visas.
b) There shall be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/ guardians shall be given 50% discount on daily rates and 100% discount on Royalty.
c) Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions shall also be given a 25% discount on daily rates.
d) A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person in a group of 11 to 15 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
e) 50%discount on Royalty shall be provided from the 9th night and 100% discount on Royalty shall be provided from the 14th night.
f) Visitors availing discounts under Sections A, B & C shall not be eligible for discount under E.
Detailed information on Druk Air flights, tour and trekking programmes, festivals, places of interest, hotels etc can be obtained from the tour operators.
Other than Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa; all visas are issued from Thimphu; visas are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator. Visa clearance from Thimphu must be obtained before coming to Bhutan. Visa clearance takes at least 10 days to process. Air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport on payment of US$20, two passport photos will also be required. Visas are issued for a 15day period; extensions can be obtained in Thimphu at a cost of Nu.510.
Tour Programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:
· within 30 days of start of programme ~ no charges
· within 21 days ~ 10% of rate
· within 14 days ~ 15% of rate
· within 7 days ~ 30% of rate
· less than 7 days or without notice ~ 50% of rate
· after arrival in Bhutan ~ 100%
There is no charge for delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other services required.
Note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan.
Make your dream come true! Achieve the life time experience of this amazing adventure to the Mt. Everest Base camp. We fly early morning to Lukla, start trekkig to Phakdigma the same day. Enjoy the unique ambience in Namche Bazaar. Witness Buddhism in full swing in Tengboche. Visit Everest base camp and Kalapathar. Capture awe inspiring mighty Himalayas and mystic landscape in your memory.
The Everest or Sagarmatha region is one of the most popular areas for trekking in Nepal, with a mystique derived from its soaring giant, ever panoramic peaks and the extreme adventures of legendary mountaineers.
Sagarmatha situated in the Solu and Khumbu diversified district is justifiably renowned, not only because it encompasses Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain (8850m), but also because of its exotic Sherpa villages, Buddhist monasteries, flora and fauna etc. The main goal of many Everest treks is the Everest Base Camp at an elevation of about 5430m. You cannot see Everest from the base camp but it’s worthwhile to be in the spot of triumph and tragedy, so we take you for your life time experience and also climb Kala Pattar, a 5555m lap on the southern flank of Pumori (7145m). From Kala Pattar there is a dramatically marvelous view of Mt. Everest after a few minutes ascend.
Best Season: September to late December and February to May Inquire Manirimdu Festival with the Trek in November January For Winter Treks
Duration: 18 (can be customized)
Trekking Days: 14
Maximum Altitude: 5555
Commences At: Lukla
Ends At: Lukla
Neapl trek ways Standard Package @ only USD 1650 per person in two pax group. (can be customized)
Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02 Half day World Heritage Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 03 Flight to Lukla Start trek to Phakdingma
Day 04 Trek to Namche
Day 05 Acclimatisation day in Namche/Excursion to Everest View Hotel
Day 06 Trek to Tengboche Day 07 Trek to Dingboche
Day 08 Acclimatisation day in Dingboche/Excursion to Ngazong
Day 09 Trek to Lobuche
Day 10 Trek to Gorakhshep/ Excursion to Everest Base Camp
Day 11 Trek to Pheriche after Early morning climb to Kalapathar
Day 12 Trek to Tengboche
Day 13 A day rest in Tengboche
Day 14 Trek to Monjo Day 15 Trek to Lukla
Day 16 Flight to Kathmandu
Day 17 Leisure in Kathmandu
Day 18 Departure Kathmandu
Notes & inclusion The Trek Cost Includes:
All the International arrival and Departure Transfers
Pre and Post Trek deluxe Star Hotel Accomodation in Kathmandu
Domestic airport Transfers
Flight To/ from Lukla
Half Day Guided Cultural Sightseeing
Comprehensive Trekking Map
Authentic Nepali Welcome Dinner
All the accommodation and full board meals and hot beverages on the trek
Everest Trekking permit and Sagarmatha Conservation entry fee
An English speaking mountain expert as your private Guide and Porter services
Field staff Insurances
Dawn Jackets, Sleeping bag, walking poles, duffel bag, facilitiies on Loan during the trek
Extensive First aid medical kit
Quick Rescue supporting services in case of Emergency
Extra snacks services
Communication services in case of Emergency
Applicable government Taxes
The Trek cost excludes;
All the personal expenses like Alcoholic beverages, Bottled drinks etc.
Nepal is probably the only country where a tourist can literally command a local folk to halt and insist to stay calm to make pictures! It sounds crazy or exaggerated but this is something I have witnessed several times in my hometown Bhaktapur. Hundreds of Thousands of Tourist visit Nepal. Their first priority is to trek in serene mountain and take additional day tour in ancient cities of Kathmandu. For most of the visitors, the main attraction of place remains the old folks, women and children in their traditional attire passing time leisurely in different squares and streets.
Obviously, the simplicity of Nepalese people fascinates everyone. They are so docile that the tourists sometime are tempted to feel superior complex and tend to claim right on them for making pictures or filming. Surprisingly, people don’t mind! Very few people can speak English to ask something in return. Perhaps they deserve some rupees. That’s why many tourists find it reasonable if they would want some rupees.
Now, imagine…. Would it be safe to travel in the country of such people? Definitely there is no reason why it should be unsafe for the foreigners to Travel in Nepal.
First of all, to recognize a guest as a God has been an age old culture and tradition in Nepal. So, most tourists find that the Nepalese Hospitality is enticing. So, this should be enough to assure that when you are in Nepal, you can feel it at home although away from your home because it is possible only in Nepal to find people who always welcome you and serve you with that incredible smile.
One fact perhaps that foreigner might shun to have holiday in Nepal can be due to a decade long civil war. Yes, there was a long moist insurgency. Many people lost their life. Then, there was a massacre in royal family (2001) resulting into long political instability. On the top of it, Nepal was hit by great earthquake of 7.8 Richter scale of magnitude which took lives of nearly 9000 thousand in 2015 April 25. Despite all such tragedies, Nepal could stand back to normal life quite soon. It was possible only because the people living in this land are extremely tolerant and optimistic.
Next reason why Nepal should be safe for tourist is its policy for tourism. Nepal government has been announcing Visit Nepal year time and again. As such, coming 2018 is in pipeline to promote it for Tourism in Nepal. In such environment, tourists are warmly welcomed. In case of any inconvenience reported for any reason is handled with top priority by special tourist police.
Most importantly, there are over two thousand travel and trekking related company in Nepal who possess enough number of intensively trained tour and trekking guide with experienced local porters. It means, during your stay in Nepal, you will be surrounded by responsible representatives of such company.
For access to Nepal, there are over 35 international airways connecting Kathmandu with most major cities in the world. So, the travelers can easily get in and out of this country without any hassles. As a matter of fact, people from Europe, America and Australia can get easy on arrival Visa.
To be proud, there is only negligible number of cases where the tourist are intimidated, misbehaved or cheated.
In conclusion, Nepal is the best, hence can be your next holiday destination. The Natural beauty, weather, Mountains, people and their culture are simply enchanting.
Trekking, for what Nepal is so popular in the world, offers the best opportunity to be in the Himalayas. Everest region, Annapurna region, Langtang route, are most famous among the trekkers while remote restricted area and far western newly opened trekking zone can be equally surrealistic. Along the trails winding up, down, over and around, it takes you through serene villages brooded under the scintillating mountains. It offers you a hypnotic beauty of nature to behold as you meticulously tackle the challenges in the treacherous yet tantalizing mountain regions. Obviously, it is an experience you would cherish in your lifetime, then after.
Some of the popular trails are used by mountaineering expeditions to get to their base camps while most of them are still used predominantly by Nepali people for everyday travel and trade. So, it is common to meet Nepali porter carrying supply like groceries or lengths of corrugated roofing iron slung from a jute strap (Namlo) around the head or a sick relatives being carried in a basket (Doko) in the same manner to the nearest medical facility.
A trekking trip can be of any length you choose. There are a number of short treks around Kathmandu and Pokhara to be traced in one day. Then, there are treks that may take a week to a month as well. For those with enough time can combine a number of treks and spend months just walking around and stopping by local tea houses/ homestays.
Nepal TrekWays Pvt. Ltd, can help you customize a trekking itinerary to suit your needs at an affordable price leaving you free of any confused travelling, bureaucratic or logistic hassles.
Nepal is the ultimate destination for trekking and adventure holidays from easy to challenging base camp treks or Adrenaline adventures that may quite often test your physical aptitude. So, step on in Nepal, a trekking paradise where you will enjoy the most spectacular scenarios flipping one after another as you move on the trail.
“Biskha Jatra” Also known as “Bisket Jatra” festival is celebrated in Bhaktapur city to celebrate New Year. This can be considered as the sequel of Spring Celebration. In the center of the city, a huge Wooden chariot is assembled which is pulled by two groups of people ( upper and lower part of the city) This gives a glimpse of grand tug-of-war competition. When hundreds of participants uproar as they put effort to take the chariot to their side, you are enticed to join the troop.
Pulling of Chariot Ritual
The festival elaborates deep Philosophies of Newari people (the indigenous people of the valley) in a very beautiful way. Among various rituals, pulling of chariot is the most attractive. The chariot is dedicated to the Wrathful deity Bhairab. Bhairab is another fierceful form of Shiva Himself. In the very front of Chariot is placed “Betal” the vehicle of the Bhairab. Betal is synonymous to disorder, wild, random, shameless, merciless and unpredictable act. These qualities represent our human sub-conscious mind where the storms of thoughts (both good and evil) generates.
On the other hand, Bhairab is the Lord of all. He is the creator and controller. He represents wisdom, and a very tough element that can put the Betal (storms of thoughts) under control.
So, the God Bhairab and Betal go in parallel with Two dimension of human mind – Good and Evil. Both good and evil exist in us. It is the Good one that should suppress the evil. So Bhairab is our conscious mind which is wise to decide and control where as Betal is our sub-conscious mind which is always automatic and out of control.
The creaking and swaying chariot lumbers around town, pausing for a huge tug of war between the eastern and western sides of the town. This chariot festival is also connected to many other aspects of the festival. So, after the battle, the chariots head to Khalna Tole, where a huge 25m-high lingam (phallic symbol) is erected in the stone yoni (female genital symbol) base.
“Yosi Dyo” or Yosin God.
“Yosin” is a tree trunk. It can be about 25-30 meter long tree collected from a pine forest closed by the city. This is basically a Phallic symbol that enhances in showing how important is coming of spring for the villagers who are mostly farmers. The erection of Yosin in the stone yoni (female genital symbol) is said to be of the same wrathful Deity Bhairab and Bharabi. The symbolic mating of the Bhairab and Bhairabi is also symbolic to the creation that comes after the beginning of spring. The spring in fact brings life back, make the surrounding green and yielding. This is of course the moment of happiness and time to cheer!!!!
The pulling of Yosin is also often justifiably linked to the Serpents which were slain. The legend tells that two serpents would appear from the nose of princess every night and kill her husband every time she gets married. However, she is finally married once again to a brave and wise prince who remains awoken to find two serpents sliding from the princess’s nose. He slays them then and there. So, to mark this moment, the festival is celebrated where two such Yosins are erected to represent those two serpents. The king who was happy with this result started this festival to be celebrated every year.