Blog – Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure

National Women Commission goes to Trishuli beach for Team Building Workshop

Team Building Workshops create mutual understanding and co-operation among the colleagues of a certain organization for ensuring efficiency and effectiveness on their work. It consists of wide range of activities designed to improve team performance as well as work efficiency. Activities like sports, tours, lunch discussion, job rotation, group monitoring etc encourage employees towards achieving organizational goal or target, which is the main motive of Team Building Workshops.

There are many reasons why organization promotes Team Building. Enhancing communication skills, boosting morals and motivation, helps the employee to improve productivity and learn about ones strength and weaknesses for better result as a team in the workplace. Hence, Team Building is key aspect for the succession of an organization.

Explore Himalaya organized “Team Building Workshop”  for thirty employees of National Women Commission at “Royal Beach Camp” from 12th to 14th September . A two days package program, which took place the beautiful private beaches on the bank of Trishuli River, 85 km west from Kathmandu, was an entirely new experience for the employees of National Women Commission.  Since it was, the first Team Building Workshop attended by the employees of National Women Commission, the chief facilitator Mr. Pragya Raman from PR Foundation opened the workshop interestingly in the golden beaches of Trishuli River. The Team Building Workshop included the tented camp accommodation for the participants and the facilitators.

During the workshop, several Team Building activities were conducted. Every activity offered important morals of working as a team. Together we achieve more is the fundamental lesson provided during every Team Building Workshop. Mr. Pragya Raman’s Workshop also conducted scores of tricky activities, which at the end offered every participant a message of strength in a team. Similarly, the activities included sport, games, yoga, meditation and power point shows, which not only encourages, but also motivates the team and make them understand their role and their effort in the field as well as their workplace.  The participants also experienced the adventurous rapids of Trishuli River during the thrilling rafting at Trishuli.

As an outcome, participants were delighted to be a part of a successful curriculum. Having words with the participants, they were even more motivated and dedicated towards their work and their mother organization who gave them, this amazing experience in the sandy beaches of Trishul River. These types of Team Building Workshops are very helpful for the company and further more useful for the workers who are working together in any organization. As a result healthy working environment is created, which will help prosper both individual and company at the same time.

Photo Credits to Mr. Saroj Baniya

Explore Himalayan- Mr. Saroj Baniya

Explore Himalayan- Mr. Saroj Baniya

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The biggest festival in the city of festivals,Kathmandu- Indra Jatra

Festival in Kathmandu- Celebrating Indra Jatra, hundred thousands throng to Kathmandu Durbar Square for a glimpse of Living Goddess, KumariObservers waiting for the glimpse of Living Goddess, Kumari during Indra Jatra, Kathmandu Durbar Square

Introduction

Known as “Yenya” in Newari dialect, Indra Jatra the biggest carnival of Kathmandu Valley is dedicated to the king of heaven also the provider of rain, God Indra. Celebration of Indra Jatra in Kathmandu is associated with interesting myth of Indra being captured by the natives of Kathmandu. The eight-day long festival is celebrated from Bhadra dwadsahi to Ashwin Krishna chaturdashi according to the lunar calendar, which falls during the months September or October as per Gregorian calendar.

Indra Jatra Celebration at Kathmandu Durbar Square- Linga dragged from Nala in Kavre erected on the far end of Kathmandu Durbar Square

Artistic medieval monuments, pigeons, devotees and the Linga- Kathmandu Durbar Square during Indra Jatra 

The myth- “Holding the provider of Rain captive, the natives of Kathmandu desperately wanted rain”

Indra’s mother Dagini wanted jasmine tree in the gardens of heaven to perform some ritual and hence Indra disguised as human and came to Earth to fetch the plant. While Indra was stealing the plant from a garden in Kathmandu Valley, the natives captured him. Unknown to the fact that the God of Rain was captured Kathmandu suffered extreme dryness; however, the capturers would not free Indra. Dagini came down to the earth in search of her son and discovered that the people of Kathmandu held him captive. Upon Dagini’s request, the people of Kathmandu agreed to free Indra. Pleased with the generosity of the people of Kathmandu, Dagini promised for the timely rainfall and good harvest. She also took all the people of Kathmandu who died that year to the heaven. Since then Indra Jatra is observed enthusiastically in Kathmandu.

Indra Jatra, the biggest festival of Kathmandu

When it is a festival time the people of Kathmandu do not care about anything- Rain??? Their kingdom was conquered  when they were celebrating Indra Jatra

Sweta Bhairav being demonstrated during Indra Jatra at Kathmandu Durbar SquareDevotees offering prayers to Sweta Bhairav during Indra Jatra- a part of ritual of the festival

“History of Indra Jatra in Kathmandu”

King Gunakamadeva introduced the festival in Kathmandu during 10th century. With time, the celebration of this carnival modified. During 16th century, King Mahendra Malla established the ritual of “Mata Biye” where the Newar Communities of Kathmandu honored family members passed away in past year by small butter lamps processions that covered the traditional routes through the old part of the city. In 18th century, King Jaya Prakash Malla added the processions of Living Gods and Goddess, which include the beautifully carved and adorned chariots processions of Kumari, Bhairab and Ganesha. The degree of fun during Indra Jatra is manifested by King Prithivi Narayan Shah’s conquer over the kingdom while the entire town was celebrating Indra Jatra.

kumari-indrajatra

Kumari leaves her home during Indra Jatra- An opportunity once a year to watch this sacred beauty being carried to her chariot before her procession

The blue Bhairav performs religious dance during Indra Jatra

Religious dance performed by Blue Bhairav at Kathmandu Durbar Square during Indra Jatra

Celebration of Indra Jatra in Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square (Kathmandu Durbar Square)

The festival starts with the erection if 36 feet long pole carved from a tree and dragged from the forest of Nala, 29 km North of Kathmandu to the erection site at Hunamandhoka Durbar Square. This pole “Yasingh” symbolizes Shiva Linga and dragging the pole to the valley eventually signifies the arrival of lord Shiva in the valley. The festival is also dedicated in honor of “Bhairav” the fearsome form of Lord shiva and the destroyer of evil. This event is followed by the display of head “Aakash Bhairav” in Indra Chowk. It is believed that “Aakash Bhairav” was the first Kirat King, Yalamber who witnessed the battle of Mahabharat. Simultaneously, “Sweta Bhairav” is manifested at Hanumandhoka. The Bhairav with large red mask pours “Rakshi”   (Nepali local liquor) from his mouth. Similarly, “Baka Bhairav” is demonstrated at Wotu- next to Indra Chowk. The integral part of Indra Jatra is the procession of the three golden chariots, which are pulled by locals along the trails of the old city for three days. As the processions arrive at Indra Chowk, Goddess Kumari bows down before Aakash Bhairav that shows her devotion towards the masked deity.

The Lakhey- protector of valley children performs during Indra Jatra

Lakhey performance during Indra Jatra

Masked dancers known as Lakheys who are believed to be the protector of the city children perform spiritual dances symbolizing the human incarnation of lord Bishnu. Majipa Lakhey along with his musical band performs flawlessly through the crowds and into the city spreading the festive mood. The “sawa bakkhu” dance group from halchok, located in the east of the city also performs during the festival, which consists of the dancers and a impression of Bhairav in blue carrying a sword and his two disciples dressed in red. Majipat Devi Nach , Yeravat Hathi (pulu kishi) from Nardavi , Mahakali and Kathi Maka Nach from Bhaktapur are also performed around Hunaman dhoka Durbar Square during Indra Jatra. High Government Officials, including the Prime Minister and the President of Democratic Republic of Nepal and expats of several countries living in Kathmandu also attend the third day function of Indra Jatra at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.

Arrival of high officials and expats to Kathmandu Durbar Square

The army parade to welcome GoN high officials and international expats to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace 

The festive mood continues

The Linga “Yasingh” is pulled down and taken to Teku where Bagmati and Bishnumati Rivers confluence. At the site, the linga is submerged declaring the end of Indra Jatra. The end of Indra jatra also announces the beginning of “Dashain” and “Tihar” which is celebrated with a great gusto in Nepalese culture.

Article researched by: Anmol Shakya

 

 

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Everest Base Camp trek- the most popular trek in Nepal

Mt. Everest

The reason why trekkers and climbers all around the world dream to visit Khmubu- Nepal’s pride Everest

Waiting for the open sky at Kathmandu airport so that we could board a plane to Lukla, the closest gateway to Everest base camp sometimes might extend to one full day. Eight aircrafts operating three shifts to Lukla everyday were grounded for the day. We waited for ten long hours and finally, at four in the noon we chartered a helicopter to Lukla because the cloud-covered sky would not allow the plane to take off. Forty-five minutes of scenic flight above Nepal’s one of the toughest topography we landed at notoriously thrilling airport of Lukla. World’s one of the few high altitude airports, Lukla Airport 2800m, dramatically hangs on a cliff surrounded by high mountains. I and the 2 Danish brothers, with whom I accompanied Everest Base Camp Trek, were delighted to be at Lukla. Everything around us changed in a flash of time- extreme remoteness to the site where our eyes could reach.

World's one of the most thrilling airports- Lukla

World’s one of the most thrilling high altitude airports- Lukla 2,800m is the gateway to treks and expedition in the Everest Region

Mr. Tamang our guide to Everest Base Camp was overjoyed to see us. Afterall, his long wait was over. He welcomed us and transferred us to our hotel in Lukla. Quickly, keeping our luggage in the hotel room we slipped inside a common dining of the hotel, which had a warm fireplace. The dining occupied scores of trekkers who were sharing their interesting experiences of Everest Base Camp Trek. With a sip of hot coffee listening to trekkers perspectives on Everest Base Camp trial, landscapes and culture was intriguing. The vicinity was peaceful and pure unlike Kathmandu’s noisy streets.  A short flight had brought us to absolutely contrast region of Lukla. Everyone who fly to Lukla from Kathmandu instantly realize, Nepal is truly a diverse country where things around us changes every hour. Sudden shift of attitude and weather compelled us to wear heavy clothes to keep our selves warm from the chilly winds of Lukla. Lukla is the second windiest place after Pheriche in the Everest Region. Listening to other trekkers who had recently completed Everest Base Camp Trek confirmed that a lot more was yet to come. It was soon time for dinner. For the next few days, we had to start early morning and go to bed early. However, after the completion of Everest Base Camp Trek, everybody has plans for the party. Next, morning-early we had our breakfast began our trek towards Monjo- first step to the ultimate destinations Everest Base Camp and KalaPattar.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Every moment a beautiful white mass dominates the view in the vicinity during Everest Base Camp Trek

 We would stop at teahouses and restaurants to grab some lunch, tea or snacks. Among, the two brothers trekking with me the elder one had been coming to Nepal since 1960’s. He was very keen about Nepalese economy, culture and politics. He would ask teachers, politicians or hotel owners what was the most essential infrastructure they thought was an urgent requirement- education, roads or tourism. I was mostly translating words in between them. Whereas , tea and snacks would always be ordered by the younger brother .Our local guide Mr. Tamang would arrange such meetings with educated people in an around the area .

Everest Base Camp Trek

This is probably the highest altitude football ground in the world

 Namche Bazaar, a bustling highland village was amazing. The spectacular views of the valley below and towering Himalayan giants above from our hotel atop the hill at Namche were fantastic. Trekking further, we climbed steeply uphill to cross pass another highland airstrip of Syangboche and dropped down to the Khumjung Valley and eventually, arrived to Khumjung- the famous Sherpa hamlet of the Khumbu. Khumjung had a hospital and a school built by Sir Edmund Hillary.  It was more as if a quarry where one of the monasteries had yeti scalp pressured in a wooden box at Khumjung.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Black and white nature, colorful culture- the fascinating blend of nature and culture

As we gained altitude, we begin to feel the thinner air. Series of steep uphill and downhill climbs through lush vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park and crossing raging Himalayan Rivers over narrow suspension bridges we arrived to Pangboche. Pangboche, a highland hamlet over a cliff offered stunning views of mighty Everest and her towering white siblings.  The trek from Pangboche onwards provides the sensation of getting closer to the Everest. Eventually, a couple days trek along the classic trails to Everest Base Camp brought us to Lobuche via Dingboche. One of the few last settlements of Everest Base Camp Trial, these villages are very cold places. However, the views of sunrays glancing on the mystical peaks from these destinations are out of this world.

Everest Base Camp-Trek

Finally, the final few steps to the Base Camp of world’s tallest peak, Everest

The last place during Everest Base Camp Trek where, lodging is possible is Gorak Shep.  Gorakshep itself lies above 5000m and this place is practically a last camp for trekkers from where they explore Kalapattar and Everest Base Camp. The trial on the left goes to Kalapattar and the trial on the right stretches to famous Everest Base Camp. Kalapattar is three hour to and fro walk from Gorakshep. Kalapattar 5545m is the vantage point for excellent view of Everest , Lhotse, Nuptse and Cho Oyu among others. Whereas, Everest Base Camp 5357m is 7 hours to and fro glacial trek. Both destinations have their own attracting features, the magnificent view of snowcapped peaks from Everest Base camp, and Kala Patthar actually is a Lifetime achievement.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Mr. Bishant with the guest enjoying the trek of his lifetime

Photo  and text credits: Bishant Bista

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Experienced trekking guide and mountaineer shares, Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Expert mountaineer and trekking guide- Dayula Sherpa

“The first thing I prioritize during the trek to Nepal is Guest’s safety and security. Mountains in Nepal are magnificent but trekkers need to know that ignorance is never an excuse when something goes wrong in the Nepalese highlands. I focus on guest-guide intimacy, which is truly professional. Permitting trekkers to enjoy the moment, which in the near future may adversely affect on the ultimate destination of the trek is unethical attribute of a trek guide. Trek guides should know the practice of tough love. There are rules in mountains for both; Guest and the guide. Everyone shall follow these. Rules do not imply to restrict the fun trekkers deserve and desire during the trek in Nepal. Rules in the mountains refer to enjoy your trekking holiday to the fullest abiding few simple golden principles of trekking. I as a guide make sure that a trekker trekking with me boards a plane to his home sound and healthy.”- Dayula Sherpa

A joyful mountaineer who knows to satisfy with his achievements shows immense respect to the mountains from where he has been earning name and living for the last two decades. Mr. Dayula knew the limit his body could endure and hence he took the voluntary retirement from professional mountaineering in 2010. Obviously, it was a tough decision for a top-notch mountaineer like Dayula but his decision to live a peaceful life with family undertaking smaller challenges is understandable and admirable. However, before his retirement, he scaled Everest, the world’s summit three times. He also conquered several other 8000m+ peaks, which include Makalu twice, Shisapangma twice, Cho-Oyu once and Manaslu once. He also climbed technically challenging 7000m+ Tukuche peak twice and he ascended to the top of almost every climbing peaks in Nepal several times.

Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Every trekker with Dayula is a satisfied trekker

Aged 39, Mr. Dayula Sherpa was born in the isolated village of Khumbu. He started his trekking career at the early age from Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure. He never chased the records and limelight. Recently, he is senior trekking guide at Explore Himalaya- recommended and trusted by every trekker who has trekked with him. He says, “Mountain is my home and I know how to handle guests in my home.”

He has a set of golden rules for guides and guests, which could be beneficial to all trekkers trekking in Nepal.

Vibrating Phone and Free Ears:

During the trek, guides shall keep their mobile phones in the vibrating mode. Unless emergency, the guide shall not attend the call. He should focus on guest’s interest and politely answer to guests questions. He should prioritize in offering more information to the guest trekker. Both guides and guests shall walk with free ears. No headphones shall be plugged in to the ears. The trek needs to be interactive.

Drink heavily:

Drink heavy, but avoid alcohol throughout the trek. Drink enough water, juice, tea and coffee so that the body doesn’t suffer dehydration because of gaining altitude and trek exhaustion. This rule implies to both guides and the trekkers. Drinking alcohol after the trek ends to celebrate the success is really meaningful.

Proper Acclimatization:

Avoid rapid altitude gain. Higher the altitude thinner the air, gaining elevation in the rapid pace restricts your body to get used to with thinner air. Insufficient acclimatization leads to Altitude Mountain Sickness. Guide shall never encourage quick gain of altitude they should strictly refuse the guests proposal of gaining altitude in quickly. We have researched for years to design trekking itineraries. At least both guide and guest shall follow it.

Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Dayula has conquered Everest thrice- a dream for many climbers around the globe

Climb High Sleep Low

The basic principle of trekking and mountaineering all around the world is “climb high sleep low”. That implies while trekking in Nepal as well. A good guide abides this rule so perfectly that each trekker in the trekking group is exposed to higher altitude, is introduced with thinner air and while sleeping they slide down to lower altitude to minimize the risk of AMS- a proven method to get rid of AMS in high altitude.

Rules of Government of Nepal

Guides should know the rules of Government of Nepal regarding the mountains and activities in the mountains. For example, a woman wanted to swim in the lake below Kalapttar during Everest Base Camp Trek to raise the fund for noble cause. Can she do that? Yes, but she needs to pay huge permit fee and mandatorily should possess a Liaison Officer with her. Ignorant guide may allow her and next moment the woman might be penalized. So, the guides need to be updated with all rules of Nepalese mountains while trekking and mountaineering in Nepal.

Respect Local culture

Everyone should respect the local culture of the region, he/she is trekking. Guides shall brief about the local culture to all trekkers and trekkers shall respect it. For example, a trekker wanted to walk naked from Everest Base Camp to Gorakshep. Local culture doesn’t allow this. So, every trekker need to respect the local culture and religious values of the local region.

Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Born to guide in the Himalayas

No two hosts

While trekking in Nepal, trekkers pass by many teahouses and they express amazement on seeing people living in such isolated locations. Amazement is genuine and equally genuine is the livelihood of several families made possible by the operation of teahouses in such far-flung places. Once a group paid for the room and kept their luggage in the room of ABC Teahouse. They set out to explore the vicinity and on the way, they had their dinner at XYZ Teahouse. As they reached ABC Teahouse, they find their luggage at the reception. Upon asking, the angry teahouse owner said that there isn’t room for you. This is not disrespectful and this isn’t city. This is the struggle for survival. When teahouses offer you space for the night at a cheap price-respect it and pick the same host for your dinner. Teahouses make profits from food not from giving trekkers rooms to crash in.

Right is right:

While circumambulating any Buddhist landmark (monastery or chorten) during treks go clockwise or begin from your right unless you are circumambulating a Bon Monastery.

Trekking gears and clothing

Dress properly. Strong and comfortable trekking boots, loose trousers, a sun hat, light T-shirts, jacket and sleeping bag to cope with the temperature throughout the trek, pair of sunglasses, a duffel bag, warm socks and a pair of gloves are recommended for the trek. Do not trek heavy. Trekking pole, sun lotion, water bottle and water purifying pills shall be enough while trekking in Nepal. A camera with extra batteries and a set a pen and copy are recommended materials while trekking in Nepal.

Golden rules of trekking in Nepal

Dayula admires the beauty and power of the mountains

Dare to quit:

When it comes to life, dreams do not matter. Once the trekker experiences early symptoms of AMS, they need more acclimatization so that the situation does not worsen. In case the severe symptoms of High Altitude Sickness like Pulmonary Edema or Cerebral Edema is seen, it is wise to descend down to lower altitude. Dare to quit the trek at times. Mountains remain and you can go higher any other time if the life remains. Understand the severity of altitude sickness, at times it disguises and kills.

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Teej festival- the largest celebration of Hindu women in Nepal

Teej literally means “third” and the third day after moonless night of Srawan Month of Hindu calendar is an auspicious celebration of Teej. Teej is the biggest festival for Hindu women of Nepal. The festival falls either in late July or in early August according to Gregorian calendar. The festival that commemorates Goddess Parvati wedlock with Lord Shiva is observed for everlasting intimacy between married couples, well being of family and purgation of soul and body. A three-day-long festival allows delicious late night feast as well as tests endurance during 24 hour long tough fasting.

Teej Celebration in Nepal

The first day of Teej, Dar Khane Din (feast day prior to fasting) kicks off in a grand way. Women married and unmarried especially of Chettri and Brahmin ethnical tribes gather at their maternal locality. Everyone in red and green attire bedecked with jewelries gather at a place where they enjoy singing and dancing. Songs normally have words that describe the holiness and divine power of Lord Shiva. The musical celebration goes till midnight. Meanwhile, men of the maternal family host feast for their sisters, nieces, cousins and daughters offering them complete liberty to enjoy this particular day. After the feast, a 24-hour long fast begins. Teej, a traditional festival where women also express their pains through the lyrics of the songs they sing while dancing.

The second day of Teej is a fasting day. Some women go through tough fasting (24 hours without food and water) while others prefer liquids and fruits. Both married and unmarried women undertake fasting. Married women fast for the blessings of longlife, peace and prosperity of their husband and family. Unmarried fast to be blessed with rightful husband. Women sing and dance to the nearby Shiva Temple to be a part of mass fasting, dance and music.

The Final day of the festival is Rishi Panchami- a day dedicated to holy saints (Rishi refers to saints). After completion of prayer the previous day women satisfy seven saints offering them food, money and different gifts. They also offer prayers to saint deities bathing with red mud, and brushing with datiwan (a type of bush tree). This final ritual of Teej purifies body and soul of women freeing them from all their sins.

Teej in Pashupatinath

This temple dedicated to Shiva is painted red and green throughout during Teej. Several hundred thousand Hindu women throng to Pashupatinath. It looks like women hold 99% of total population of Kathmandu. Everywhere we see women and girls in beautiful red and green attires waiting to enter the temple. Inside the temple thousands stand in a line to enter main temple of Pashupatinath, thousands gather at a place to dance with the music and another thousands are wondering to figure out what to do next. It looks like a world of women devotee fasting hard for the longevity and prosperity of their men and family. Unique in a sense- women celebrate but worship a male deity and hardship of fasting women suffer is credited for wellbeing of a men.

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35,000 plus Nepali converge to create biggest human flag in the world

Biggest Human flag

More than 35,000 Nepali gathered in Tudikhel last Saturday (August 23, 2014) to stand during the historic moment that created the biggest National Flag. Participants who paid NRS 100 to stand united to form Human Flag that covered the total area of 238,455 sq ft, were thrilled to become a part of historic event that would possibly set a record in Guinness World Records Book.
Bhawesh Khanal, president of Human Values for Peace and Prosperity, the event organizer said, “Our aim is to show that there is unity among us.” He also added that a portion of money collected would be donated to the victims of Sindhupalchowk landslide.

Photo credits: ekantipur.com

 

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