Blog – Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure

New Luxury Resort in Nepal- Rupakot Resort

Rupakot Resort- Resort in Nepal

The Rupakot Resort is a new luxury 5 star category property located in Kaski district, which was officially inaugurated jointly by the Non-Resident Nepali Association’s President, Mr. Shesh Ghale and Mayor of Tielt-Wenge, Belgium, Mr. Rudi Beeken on December 26th, 2014.

This five star category resort is located on the top of Rupakot village about 22 KM East from Pokhara spreading in 25 acres of land. The resort is a combination of nature, luxury and heritage.

 Nature is always at its best at Rupakot offering a wonderful view of Rupa & Begnas Taals (lakes), Himalayas (Annapurna, Fishtail & Manaslu), Pokhara valley and, of course, the sun-rise and the sun-set. This area with sub-tropical climate is a home to verities of flowers, plants, trees, birds, animals and butterflies. Therefore, the resort garden is green and lively with colorful floral species round the year.

Rupakot Resort- Resort in Nepal

 The rooms are carefully designed and decorated with modern amenities to create the richness of luxury. Every room has a specious balcony to offer a tempting view of lakes, jungles, local villages and the Himalayas.

The architect of the resort adheres the medieval mountain village set up theme, keeping the houses facing south so that every household gets enough sun and fresh air. A great deal of attention has been given to the design to retain and regain the heritage of the mountain. The cluster of tiny houses of the resort, looking as if like a small village keep and maintain the harmony with nature and the surrounding.

Rupakot Resort- Resort in Nepal

Services that include free wifi, DTH television,  drop & pick up facilities to and from Pokhara, Village tour / Hiking around resort, Sun rise & sun set views from resort makes Rupakot Resort an ideal place for researchers, nature lovers and holiday makers.

 

 

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The most incredible traditional villages of Kathmandu Valley-Bungmati & Khokana

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

To be able to stick with the lifestyle, which our ancestors practiced is probably the toughest challenge anyone could face. However, few miles away from the cosmopolitan city of Kathmandu, the time stopped many centuries ago and still these two villages flanking each other boast and practice the traditional lifestyle, as the inseparable legacy inherited to them by their ancestors. Yes, Bungmati and Khokana are typical Newari Villages inside Kathmandu Valley, traditional enough to surprise any new traveler with their ways to perceiving life and the lifestyle.

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

Bunga in Newari dialect and Amarapur is its ancient name- Bungamati the sixth century village inside Kathmandu Valley is the half home to revered God of Rain Rato Machhindranath.  The center of Bungmati has the Shikara-style temple of Rato Machhindranath ringed by the traditional houses, where abundant traditional occupations and the signs of traditional lifestyle can be observed. Truly, speaking Bungmati is the living museum inside Kathmandu Valley, which preserves the prosperous legacy of arts and civilization of the ancient and medieval Nepal.

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

Nestling atop a slightly elevated land overlooking Bagmati, the village has been the hub of farming, livestocking and fishing throughout the reigns of different dynasties over Kathmandu Valley until the date. The first stele of Amshuverma that dates back to 605 AD was found here in Bungmati.

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

The carnival during the procession of Rato Machhindranath to his other home in Patan is the most interesting and important festival attached to the natives of Bungmati. In the close proximity, the temple of Karyabinayek adds religious significance to this historic site. Though, the existence of Living Goddess Kumari is only heard in three cities of Kathmandu Valley, the neighboring town Bungmati also has its own Kumari along with Rato Machhindranath and Ganesh.

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

While exploring Bungmati, travelers have the opportunities to witness the ongoing works of woodcarving, the rural lifestyle that manifests medieval time Nepal and they can peacefully observe the artworks carved in the walls, roof, doorways and windows of Rato Machhindranath Temple.

the sightseeing tour of Bungmati

Not far from, Bungmati, a small traditional Newari Village and the more authentic Living Museum, Khokana lies. Khokana, has its own incredible history and has the most authentic Newari culture that has been preserved here in every house since the medieval era. Most of the households in Khokana depend on farming and traditional occupations like woodcarvings. It is wonderful to watch the natives spending their times in the yards of their houses working and gossiping, which has been the integral part of Newa Community for ages.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

The sights like women spinning traditional wool-wheel (charkha) to weave the wool and men carrying kharpans (the circular boxes joined by a bamboo and stringed down to air to put their farm products inside it) are the most spectacular views in Khokana. Moreover, every sight the travelers get to see in Khokana is all traditionally authentic, which date back to medieval age Nepal.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

An example of well-planned settlement of the medieval Nepal, Khokana has the proper drainage system throughout the village. With the Temple of Shree Rudrayani at its center, every crossroad in this traditional village has chaityas (a place to worship) and a small temple. Stone paved streets with traditional houses on both sides, Khokana is an ideal sight for life and people photography. Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khokana has been well known for industrial Heritage with its traditional way of producing the mustard oil.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

This small town is at full swing of celebration during the August. The festival displays all unique and traditional Newari dances of Kathmandu that include Thimi dance and Devi dance.  Few enthusiastic female entrepreneurs being the members of Sabah Nepal cater Newari foods like Newari pancake (woh), a sweet steamed dumpling filled with molasses and sesame (yomari) and strong Nepali wine (ayla). The traditional music and artistic displays of wood are also the major highlights of the festival.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

Though criticized as cultural taboo by many animal rights activists, the Khokana Festival observes this unique festival with the sacrifice of young goat in a very dramatic way.  The goat hanged upright down to the pond is tortured to death. We do not encourage such inhumane activity; however, the culture of Khokana boasts this activity as pleasing the Gods and Goddess for the safety of entire village.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

Good and bad are everywhere. But, to explore these two magnificent medieval towns are worthwhile as they represent the most traditional culture of ancient Kathmandu, which still is at the full bloom in Bungmati and Khokana.

Cultural sightseeing tour of Khokana

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Tamu Lhosar 2014- the year of horse begins

TAMU-LHOSAR1

Lhosar is a combination of two Tibetan words, “Lho” and “Sar”. Lho refers to year and Sar means New and hence Lhosar is the celebration of the New Year. The ethnical tribes in Nepal who are the descendents of Tibetan Buddhists or follow Tibetan Buddhism have their own Lhosar. December 30th in most of the years is significant day for the Gurungs or Tamus of Nepal as their Lhosar falls on this day.

The indigenous inhabitants of the mountains in west-central region in Nepal the Gurung, is the globally admired ethnical tribe for bravery and authentic culture. Always welcoming in nature the Gurungs, have scores of clans within themselves. This unique ethnical tribe in Nepal breakdowns time into cycle of 12 years, which is known as Lohokor. Hence, every new year as per the Gurung calendar manifests the change of Lho, which are represented by the species of animals including garuda, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, deer, mouse, cow, tiger and cat. The Tamu Lhosar this year was celebrating the beginning of the horse year. Tamu Lhosar being the one of the biggest festivals of Nepal has been a joyful celebration throughout the mid-hills of the country.

Few Gurung faces during Tamu Lhosar in Tundikhel Kathmandu

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Beautiful Gurung ladies love their traditional attire

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Even the lads prefer their traditional dress

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Kids look beautiful in typical Gurung dress

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Few more pretty Gurung faces

Celebration of Tamu Lhosar brings the families of Gurungs together. Gurungs of all ages and genders gather at a place to celebrate the beginning of Tamu New Year. They exchange love and greetings. Prior to the celebration, they visit the sacred Buddhist Shrines nearby and offer their prayers. In remote villages, every Gurung communities gather at a village courtyard or in an open space for the celebration of Lhosar with feast, cultural dances and wishes for each other. The same process happens in the big cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. However, Lhosar in Kathmandu and Pokhara is grander and visitors have so many authentic things to see.

Gurungs across the globe observe Tamu Lhosar with cultural rallies and performances and in the unique manifestation things worthwhile to watch are their traditional costume and the lifestyle they practiced decades ago. Explore Himalaya visited the site of Tamu Lhosar celebration in Kathmandu, the wide spread open space in the city center- Tudhikhel. The place is adorned with colorful and vibrant stalls and stages with thousands of people flooding inside, in very few occasions and Tamu Lhosar is one them.

Few Glimpses Cultural demonstrations during Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

The group of kids and young ladies from the local Gurung Community of Lalitpur

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

The hotel entrepreneurs of Gurung tribe march during the festival 

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Gurung women performing their traditional dance

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Hunting with bow and arrows was a part of the Gurung lifestyle in ancient days

As we reached Tudhikhel, thousands of Gurungs were already there to observe the festival. Men were dressed in Bhangra, (a white cloth tied across the chest and opened like a bag at the back) and a Kachhad, (a short sarong). The women including elderly citizens, adolescents and little children wore their traditional velvet Ghalek (blouses), traditional saris and were adorned with large gold earrings and colorful stone necklaces. Girls especially with the marks of national flags on their cheeks demonstrated a degree of patriotism. The place was full of cultural highlights. The Prime Minister of Nepal also had attended the ceremony with other leaders to wish this great community “A very Happy Lhosar”. The cultural Gurung music and dances including Rodhi, Chudka, Sorathi, Ghantu and Dohori were demonstrated for the guests and the local public. The feast was ongoing in every corner of Tudhikhel. The feast included typical Nepali bread (Sel-roti), pickle (aachar), local alcohol (rakshi) and several other items of food. The entire environment was amazing. Beautiful people were wondering everywhere. The place was full of life and the attitude of the Gurungs was welcoming, for which they are well known in Nepal.

The show for the Prime Minister and other Dignitiaries

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

The Prime Minister of Nepal Honorable Sushil Koirala attending the ceremony

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

The cultural performance for the guests

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Beautiful people, beautiful dress and even more beautiful dance

Exploring the traditional culture of this ethnical tribe was a great experience. It was probably the best opportunity to grasp every authentic culture of Gurungs without trekking to the mountainous villages of western Nepal. Every bit of Gurung culture was on the floor. Their traditional attire, cultural performances, their lifestyle, the native language and the wonderful hospitality- every color of the tribe of the warriors was spilling throughout Tudhikhel.

Finally few random shots

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Next Gen Gurungs 

 Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Let us remember the prosperous culture our ancestors inherited us

Tamu Lhosar in Kathmandu

Now it is time to party

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Patan Durbar Square: Much more than the medieval monuments

sightseeing-tour-of-patan-durbar-square

The whole view of Patan Durbar Square

The inborn artists of Nepal also the original ethnical tribe of Kathmandu Valley, who are known for their love towards arts and carnivals, Newars are the accredited artists for the historic Newa architecture seen in and around various stupas, temples and courtyards of Kathmandu Valley and beyond. The indigenous patterns of arts manifested in several wonderful monuments of Nepal, Newa Architecture is possibly the best artwork done in bricks incredibly blended with the unique style of woodcarving.  The fascinating Newa Architecture inside Kathmandu can be observed in the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, temples like Pashupatinath and Nardevi among others and also in the palace of recently overthrown Royals of Nepal. The glory of Newa Architecture has gone beyond the valley; Muktinath Temple in the foothill of Annapurna Region in Nepal is also the religious monument built in Newari Style.  Centuries ago, few Nepalese artists including Araniko exported the unique Newa Architecture and the concept of stupas to few neighboring nations and hence, to see the monuments like of Nepal beyond Nepal is never a surprise.  

Every part of the Newa Architecture either in the whole building or in the part of it, a long and careful work manifests specific meaning and holds special significance. While exploring around Patan Durbar Square, I fell in love with the Newari Architecture. Every corner of this UNESCO World Heritage was tantalizing me, with its unparallel beauty, designed and engraved skillfully in the wood. I saw an exemplary woodcarving that had iconographic and decorative motifs. I was even more captivated with the artistic windows, columns and the struts- a lot of incredible woodwork that definitely required a huge passion towards arts, immense creativity and hell of a hard work. I mean who would put so much effort and wait for years just for the house they built to live in. Definitely, the kings- kings of petty kingdoms inside Nepal during medieval and ancient ages were in the state of Art War. As a result, so many artistically opulent monuments were built and undoubtedly, the creators of these arts were the indigenous artists of the Valley- the Newars.

Visiting inside the Museum of Patan Durbar Square explains why the place is much more than the monuments. The architectural idea of the door or the window looked like an individual building with freestanding columns that supported the roof like structure lying atop a large and artistic base like of a building. The window had a very small ventilation that connected inside to the outside world, however very well represented a concept of decoration and the function. Artistic wooden struts supported the building firmly and the columns on the ground floor arcades of temples, palaces and shelters were equally decorated in their every corner. The rectangular or the square bahals surrounded the entire monuments with the chaityas (a praying place) and wells at its center in most of the monuments. The entire floor was exquisite; either wooden or paved with stone or bricks. The corridors as if maze from one room to other and the narrow wooden ladders up and down the floors- everything represented the elegance of medieval Nepal. The iconographic and decorative motifs over spilt. The water tap in the middle of courtyard crafted so beautifully had golden color mouth and the Goddess boarded over it. The tap surrounded by the artistically carved idols of serpents and different deities had a mini- Krishna Temple right over it. Moreover, the statues of stones, metals and woods of different eras are very well preserved and have an easy access for thorough exploration.

Patan Durbar Square is much more than medieval and ancient edifices and shrines. The vicinity inside less than one sq.km truly cater the glimpses of ancient civilization in the region. The visitors interacting with the locals and locals indulged in their regular life- it is great experience to stroll in the stone paved historic site, Patan Durbar Square. Plus, the most important factor that a traveler can experience during the tour of heritage city in Nepal is that they get to see the traditional lifestyles of Newars, who have believed in their culture for ages and practice till date.

Trip Report based on Field Visit made by Explore Himalaya’s Content writer/Editor Jeeten Thapa and his associate Brijesh Lamichhane.

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What else Nepal has to offer except Himalayas?

Trekking, peak climbing and expeditions are the biggest and the most popular holiday activities in the Himalayas of Nepal. Forgetting all these activities in the Himalayas and still, Nepal is a great holiday destination in the Indian sub-continent.  Without the Himalayas, how can Nepal be a holiday destination, which is potential enough to attract the visitors who are continuously seeking something new and fascinating? Here we have the list of ten most popular amazing aspects of Nepal, which are important holiday activities in Nepal apart from the Himalayas.

Ethnical tribes: Gods walk with the mortals

The home to more than 100 ethnical tribes, Nepal is culturally very rich. Every ethnic group has their own culture, which totally contrast to the culture of another tribe. Each tribe has their own comfortable region to live, costume, language and festivals to celebrate. For example, the Newars of Kathmandu enjoy many carnivals (jatras) throughout the year and in most of them Living Gods and Goddess walk and celebrate with the mortals.

ethnical-tribes-of-nepal

UNESCO Heritage Sites: Time travels back to medieval era  

Nepal houses seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and seven of them lie inside Kathmandu Valley, which makes Kathmandu, the valley with the densest concentration of UNESCO Heritage Sites. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park are also UNESCO enlisted Heritage Sites in Nepal. While traveling around some places in Kathmandu, the travelers literally feel like traveling back to the time- few centuries ago.

UNESCO-HERITAGE-SITES-IN-NEPAL

History: Sovereign forever and the land of Gurkha warriors

Talking about the history, no powerful empire has been able to colonize Nepal ever. Besides, since the time Nepal had 2,400 small kingdoms ruled by various dynasties until date, it is the land great warriors including brave Gurkha soldiers. In almost every district, the remains of rich Nepalese history in the forms of forts are still available. Besides the history of Nepal is itself is a fantastic tale, not less interesting than any bestseller book or blockbuster movie- full of bloodshed massacres, romances and intriguing twists.

History-of-nepal

Lakes: Each of them has distinct feature

Nepal is the home to many beautiful lakes and they are scattered in every corner of the country. Fewa Lake in Pokhara is probably the most visited lake in Nepal. However, Gokyo Lakes in Gokyo Valley, Rara Lake in Mugu, Tilicho Lake in Manang and Phoksundo Lake in Lower Dolpo are the most popular lakes in Nepal; all having distinct features to stand out from rest of the lakes in the world.

lakes-in-nepal

People: Happiest people on Earth

Despite of million problems, Nepalese are considered one of the happiest peoples on Earth. They are ever welcoming with the kind smiles on their faces. Nepalese treat guests as Gods and hence visitors to Nepal certainly can enjoy quality time with the natives regardless the place they are in.

people-of-nepal

Food: As good as Nepali and as cheap as chips

Nepal is a paradise for food lovers. Availability of every kind of cuisines including the authentic Nepali food (Daal Bhat Tarkari), the restaurants of Nepal are good at serving the typical Nepali beverages in style. Momo, the most popular fast food in Nepal is available in almost every place in Nepal. Every plate of food in Nepal is delicious and nutritious, which is as cheap as chips compared to European or American Food market.

Plateful_of_Momo_in_Nepal

Extreme Adventure: Hair raising activities in air, water and road

Nepal hosts every possible adventure activity supported by its resources. Everest Skydive, Pokhara Skydive, Bunjee Jump, paragliding and Ultra light flights are the most popular sky adventures in Nepal. Similarly, the adventures related to water like rafting and kayaking run throughout the year in raging glacial river that penetrate the deep gorges and canyons in the mid-hills. And the mountain biking is real adventure that includes the longest and the most elevated trail the Great Himalayan trail.

extreme-adventure-nepal

Weather: Sunshine is beautiful and rain is more beautiful

The weather of Nepal is one of the most beautiful aspects of the country. Not many times the weather in Nepal has been harsh. The bright sunshine is good to travel and the rainy day is wonderful for adventurous activity if one is at the right place. Nepal has sunlight for almost twelve hours in the winters and more than twelve hours during summers.

weather-in-Nepal

Wildlife: A wildlife protected area in every 100km

Nepal is the paradise for wildlife lovers. If the traveler has will, enough to explore in every 100km distance traveled Nepal houses a protected park. Altogether the home to 14 National Parks and Conservation area, Nepal boasts on several wildlife activities including safaris, bird-watching, nature walking and jeep drives among others.

wildlife-in-nepal

Elevation Change: Rise to thinner air instantly

The elevation of Nepal changes in an unbelievable way. For example, Pokhara 800m is less than 25 miles away from Annapurna, which is 8000m + mountain peak. In case Nepal had easy road access, the journey from sea level to the Base Camp of Everest could be matter of few hours.

elevation-change-in-nepal

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A student group does volunteering in Nepal during Langtang Trek

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

The adventurous trail to Langtang

Langtang Trek initiates 19miles away from Kathmandu at Syabru Besi. It is one of the shortest approaches to snowy mountains. One can explore the ethnic Tamang villages, lust green forests and snowy peak surrounded in Kyangjin valley during the trek. Langtang Trek offers a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view of mountains from an elevation of 4350m at Kyangjin Ri.

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

A native awaits to welcome

Recently, a student group of 15 from Hong Kong, Great Britain and Canada led by their tutors Ms. Donna Gee and Mr. David Ensor were with us for the Volunteering Holiday in Nepal. The holiday that took them to Langtang Valley supported schools and a health post of the trail. Here we have a trip report on the group’s Langtang Trek.

Day 1: Kathmandu to Khamjing

The first day’s schedule was a drive to Khamjing via Syabru Besi. After the breakfast, the team exit out of Kathmandu along the serpentine Highway.  After a long drive of almost a whole day, the team was tired. So without any further activities on that day, the day was concluded. They spent the night camping at a local school premises at Khamjing.

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Beautiful kids of Langtang Region, yet underprivilged

Day 2: Khamjing to Lama Hotel

After the breakfast, the team donated NRS 75, 000 to repair the water tank pipes and paint the school to Shree Nepal Rastriya Prathamik School. Receiving the donation amount the principal of the school Mr. Temba Tamang was delighted and thankful to our valued guests. The team also contributed some sports items and stationeries to the school. The team was also involved in some sort games with the students of the school. This school currently has 16 students.

After 2 hours of program in the school, the team started their trekking again. On the way, at Sherpagaun, the team had their lunch. After the lunch, the team hiked to Lama Hotel where they spent the night after a long tiring day of walking.

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Helping others always brings the smile that worths millions

 Day 3: Lama Hotel to Langtang

After the breakfast, the team continued their Langtang trekking towards Ghode tabela. The team had to walk all over the day as they only rested on Ghode Tabela where they had their lunch. At the end of Day 3 the student group arrived at Langtang .

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Walking along the shadows of Himalayas- to Mundu

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Donating life-saving medical equipments in Langtang

Day 4: Morning hike to Mundu and trek to Ghumti

After the breakfast, the students on volunteering tour to Nepal donated medical equipments worth Rs.40000 to a local health post in Langtang. They also donated sports equipment to a local school- Shree Nepal Rastriya School. After the program, except three members of the group others had short hiking of 2 hours to Mundu and back to Langtang. Because of the altitude sickness few students suffered, the group had to abandon their plans of trekking to Kyangjin Gompa. Hence, after the hike to Mundu the student group had their lunch at Langtang and began their trek on the retracing trail towards Ghumti. Ghumti is a beautiful riverside spot on the Langtang Trekking trail, where the group spent a night.

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Playground in the Himalayas

Day 5: Ghumti to Syabru Besi

This day was all scheduled for walking. The team hiked all day until they reached Syabru Besi. They had their lunch at Bamboo on the way. After a tiring day, they spent the night at Syabru Besi.

The following day they drove back to Kathmandu and enjoyed the cultural farewell dinner at Hotel Shangri-La and the day after they departed back home.

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

Langtang Trek- the camera does not rest

After the conclusion of the trek in Nepal, Ms. Donna Gee the group leader said few beautiful lines about their trek to Langtang.

The best memory of my trip was Langtang village. It has been a remarkable trekking alongside the most unique opportunity to connect with very memorable and inspiring people.

Explore Himalaya’s meeting and handling was perfect and timely. I feel it was well taken care of. The hotel were all fantastic with good food. The guide was very helpful. The staffs were remarkable. The transport was excellent even during in rough conditions.

Without a doubt, I would recommend this trip and the service of Explore Himalaya. Thank you for this unforgettable experience.

 

Volunteering-in-Nepal-Langtang-trek

The group poses for the group photo

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