Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang – festival observed for world peace

Posted May 18th, 2016 under Photo Essay,

“For trekkers craving to see unique ancient celebration like Tiji & contrasting landscapes in the restricted territory of highland Nepal Upper Mustang would be an ideal destination. The fabled walled city & the ancient kingdom of “Lo”, Upper Mustang has so many special features, which stands out the region from rest of other trekking destinations of Nepal.  Arid & windswept wide valleys with colorful small hills having wonderful myths of Buddhism, Upper Mustang probably is the only region in Nepal that practiced sky burials in the past.”

Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

The huge thanka painting drapes down the wall- the manifestation of the painting means Tiji begins

Upper Mustang is a central attraction during the month of May, which is the time for the Tiji festival, the biggest celebration of the year of the entire region.

Tiji Festival also known as “Tenchi”. Locals consider this festival more as a prayer for world peace. The festival doesn’t have a fix date. Every year the date is fixed for the three days festival after the new Tibetan calendar is released. Celebration that prays for the world peace itself signifies Tiji importance.

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Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

Monks playing traditional musical instrument announce the beginning of Tiji Festival

The three days festival in process of establishing the world peace takes place inside the Wall City of Lo-Manthang. Several dances including mask dances are performed by the monks during the festival. Locals from six different villages of Lo- Manthang gather in the venue where they are accompanied by hundreds of foreigners who come to observe the festival. In recent years the popularity of this celebration has taken heights. This year the festival was held from 3rd to 5th May, where more than 1000 tourists from different countries made their way to Lo-Manthang to participate in the occasion.

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Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

Dancers in colorful traditional attires add energy to Tiji

On the first day, a large Thanka Painting of Guru Rinpoche is displayed against the wall where the stage is set. The Thanka is said to be displayed to public only on this day of the year. People bow to the painting of Guru Rinpoche which they describe would eliminate illness and diseases establishing good health to them and their family throughout the following year. A huge prayer is done inside the monastery earlier in the morning which denotes the starting of Tiji Festival, which is also an annual occasion.

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Later, the monks arrive to the stage and take their places respectively. These monks play the music through various instrument assigned to them throughout the festival. Monks would also perform their dances inside the fix territory made of three circles in the venue. The head dancer performs from the inner circle while the supporting dancers perform on the outer circles.

The head dancer has to go through a huge cave meditation for 3 months to be ready for the festival. It takes him a total of 3 months for the preparation of this dance. Day 1 of Tiji highlights monk dances.

Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

Mask dance – the lead dancer encircled by fellow dancers

 On the second day, another large Thanka is displayed in front of the venue which is also displayed only once a year. This day, the monks perform various dances including mask dances. A lot of mask dance take places on this day as well. Later, in the afternoon, the king of Lo-manthang also attends the festival. The locals honor the king by playing musical instrument. Unfortunately, due to sickness, the king could not make his presence this year.

Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

The gunshot celebrates the end of Tiji

On the final day of Tiji, the monks continue their mask dances. This is the main day of Tiji. It is the day to establish world peace. So through their dance performances, the head monk takes the process to the end. As one of local monks described, it is the process of killing the evil spirit that you own in yourself. You have to kill the negative factors inside you to establish peace. So the process sees the killing of the demon inside you.

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Celebrating Tiji in Upper Mustang

With Gun fires from locals & archery from the lead dancer -Tiji ends

In the occasion of the termination of the evil spirit, the locals fire gunshots which are obviously just for the purpose of celebration. The festival comes to an end, as the head dancer lead the evil out of the Wall City.

Why 2016 is the best time to visit Nepal?

Posted May 16th, 2016 under Photo Essay,

“No wonder if someone says Nepal is a wonderland and 2016 is the best time to visit Nepal-the wonderland.”

To create an individual travel bucket list is always a puzzling task. Global travelers put their logic based on their experiences about the potential destinations one should travel at least once. Simply putting to include a particular destination into the travel bucket list depends on traveler’s preferences, their budget and sometimes the statements from previous travelers they listen to.

best time to visit Nepal

Trekking & climbing – Himalayan adventures, which are prime attractions of Nepalese tourism

As far as I have seen and explored Nepal, I won’t be surprised to see Nepal hitting the bucket list of many travelers across the world. No wonder if someone says Nepal is a wonderland. However, to include Nepal into travel bucket lists and to put it into the top of the list are two different things. Is it time to travel to Nepal? We would say there is no better time than now to visit Nepal.

Having said it, our claim is not all prejudiced. To justify the statement, why this is the best time to visit Nepal, we have strong logic. Have a look.

Where else would you go for extreme adventures?

“There might be destinations around the world which specialize in particular genre of adventure. But in case of Nepal, it is different.”

If you want to feel the adrenaline rush that compels your heart to beat in a very fast pace, that raises goose perms throughout your body and that frequently introduces you to real fear and brings you back to the safety – Nepal is the destination. There might be destinations around the world which specialize in particular genre of adventure. But in case of Nepal, it is different. Nepal hosts diverse kinds of thrilling adventure sports in air, water & land.

Bungee jumping into world’s one of the deepest tropical gorges, paragliding & ultra-light aircraft flights taking you very close to world’s highest peaks & highest altitude skydiving facing Himalayan giants including Everest & Annapurna are the biggest and the most exhilarating aerial adventures Nepal hosts.

best time to visit Nepal

Everest Skydive – adventure that beats all adventures

When it comes to white water rafting adventures, the name of Nepal is on the top of the list. The rivers of Nepal that originate from Himalayas are the prime sources of river-system of entire subcontinent. Raging liquid highways that penetrate narrow gorges, wide sandy beaches and forested hills are ideal waterways to experience extreme whitewater thrills of different categories.

If you are ready to allow your bodies suffer a bit before being rewarded with unparallel wonders of nature, no other destination can beat Nepal. From soft treks at Himalayan foothills to adventurous climbs to the top of Himalayan peaks that really tests travelers’ endurance; Nepal caters wide array of land adventures for every kind of travelers.

Experience huge cultural contrast in every next 100 mile

“Every 100 mile you travel the culture you encounter totally contrasts with the previous one you witnessed.”

To encounter a completely different culture that manifest contrasting food habit & costumes to languages spoken, deities worshipped & festivals celebrated one should travel 1000 miles spending a hefty amount of money. Once again in case of Nepal it is different. Every 100 mile you travel the culture you encounter totally contrasts with the previous one you witnessed.

best time to visit Nepal

Living Goddess Kumari- Culture, where gods & goddesses still mingle with the humankind

Nepal is the nation where every tribe practices their own unique and authentic culture and lifestyle. The common garden of 40 different races and more than 100 different tribes, Nepal manifests incredible unity in extreme diversity. The cosmopolitan lifestyle of Nepal’s urban cities doesn’t reflect real Nepal. The real Nepal is beyond these urban towns. Visit the rural hamlets of Nepalese mid-hills where you can experience the culture of tribes like Gurungs, Tamangs, Magars, Chettris & Brahmins among others. Go a bit higher and witness extremely diverse culture & lifestyles of Sherpa and Bhotiya clans. Travel to the lowlands and encounter with Tharu & Madhesi culture & lifestyle. Take your time to explore distant & underprivileged territories like Upper Dolpo to sight nomadic culture & lifestyle of Tibetan Buddhists & Bons.

Enter the different world as you enter Nepal

“Kathmandu’s first impression is deceiving. Nobody loves Kathmandu on Day 1. As you get to know it better the following day, the different and the beautiful side of Kathmandu begins to unfold.”

The only air-way that welcomes foreigners to Nepal is Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. The entrance to Kathmandu is an entrance to a completely new world. No sophisticated airport facilities, where sometimes travelers need to wait hours to collect their luggage, Kathmandu’s first impression is deceiving. Honking vehicles, long traffic jams & unpleasant aroma all around nobody loves Kathmandu on Day 1. As you get to know it better the following day, the different and the beautiful side of Kathmandu begins to unfold. The valley dominated by Newars manifests rich history, incredible arts, primeval and medieval era monuments and most importantly the vibrant celebrations.

best time to visit Nepal

Nyatapole scientifically designed ancient monument at Bhaktapur Durbar Square that survive quake 2015 – One of the outstanding aspects of Kathmandu Valley among many

UNESCO enlisted Heritage Valley, Kathmandu comprises Bhaktapur (City of Devotees), Lalitpur (City of Artirts) & Kantipur or Kathmandu (City of Gods). The valley houses 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites making it the densest concentrated town of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Lalitpur & Bhaktapur are incredible showcase of ancient and medieval arts, which were built during the intense Art War between petty kingdoms of the valley in the past before Nepal was unified. The existence of world’s biggest Buddhist stupa, Boudhanath & world’s one of the prominent Hindu Shrines Pashupatinath in the same valley clearly states the harmonious blend of Hinduism & Buddhism.

Moreover, the valley where mortals mingle with Living Gods & Goddesses is known for vibrant celebrations of jatras (festivals) throughout the year. The interactive tours where travelers can learn traditional Nepalese skills like pottery, cooking, wood carving & gold works among others can be interesting aspects around Kathmandu Valley. To be precise, Kathmandu is the perfect example where modernity most ideally blends with the ancient culture & lifestyle catering travelers an opportunity of unique experience.

Traveling in Nepal helps in rebuilding Nepal

“Nepal being a nation, which hugely depends on tourism can enjoy economic boost if travelers at the moment decide to travel to Nepal.”

The dust of the destructive quake of April 25 2015 has settled but the adverse impact made by 7.9 magnitude quake will remain for years to come. Nepal being a nation, which hugely depends on tourism can enjoy economic boost if travelers at the moment decide to travel to Nepal. Every dollar that enters Nepal through tourism plays vital role. People who directly and indirectly depend on tourism get positive vibe discouraging them to leave the country for employment. Every year almost a billion dollar revenue is generated through tourism in Nepal and this is huge amount for a developing country like Nepal. Hence, the revenue generated through tourism benefits the quake affected villages directly or indirectly as many of the touristic landmarks of the country suffered badly during the quake.

best time to visit Nepal

Colorful tents accommodated people whereas concrete buildings were empty – sufferings during quake 2015

Meet people who never give up

“At the meantime traveling to Nepal is an opportunity to meet the people who never give up their legacy of hospitality, bravery and kindness even after the biggest tragedy.”

Nepal, the land from where Buddha & Buddhism emerged houses peace loving Nepalese who are also known for their bravery, kindness and hospitality. No matter what clan or tribe they belong to every Nepalese make sure that no traveler in Nepal gets deprive of food and accommodation even during the toughest conditions. If you encounter a stranger in any part of the world and if that stranger manifests any of these two attributes identify him/her as Nepali.

best time to visit Nepal

Smile despite extreme hardship – amazing attribute that defines a Nepali

Traveling to Nepal is an opportunity to meet the most wonderful people of earth who have incredibly beautiful human qualities. At the meantime traveling to Nepal is an opportunity to meet the people who never give up their legacy of hospitality, bravery and kindness even after the biggest tragedy. Surprisingly, during this tragedy they successfully manifested another beautiful human quality, resilience.

Himalayas of Nepal surpass every other destination for outdoor adventure

Posted May 6th, 2016 under Photo Essay,
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Conversation with the yak

“What would you prefer, to enjoy a holiday in the destinations housing the best beaches or to endure the same holiday in the foothills of the highest mountains of the world? Many of us would prefer to enjoy rather than to endure. Hence, beaches with diverse activities entertain thousand travelers & tourists every day. The mountains entertain a handful. The prime question is what after the holiday?”

Himalyas of nepal

Peaceful nap in the wilderness of Himalayas

After the holiday, getting back to the office on Monday with stories to share, who do you think would have the most incredible story? Nine travelers out of ten who visited beaches or exotic & well facilitated destinations have same old and lame stories, which have been heard hundreds of times during the gatherings you participate. The one who flew to the isolated and raw Himalayan territory boastfully shares his experiences keeping everyone spellbind.

Himalyas of nepal

Getting higher to Kalapattar 5545m for the better view of Everest

“Folks, Himalayas are spellbinding. They are not spellbinding just because they are restricted within a small territory of planet Earth. They are spellbinding because of their soaring heights and incredibly pure snow, which sparkle like an enormous heap of silver during daylights & gold during dawn & dusk.”

Himalyas of nepal

The view of Himalaya during dawn

Nepal with the stretch of more than 2000 km of Himalayas is the biggest hub of Himalayan Adventure. No nation in the world can beat Nepal when outdoor adventure attached specially with altitude is talked about. The exciting trekking journeys through lush vegetation of the conserved woodlands in the mid-hills and low alpine region emerge into the nival regions where base camps of world’s highest peaks including Everest nestle at peace. The landscapes in the vicinity change almost every day with the rise or fall of altitude. World’s deepest gorges are here so do the highest altitude lakes, pass, farmlands and the human settlements.

Himalyas of nepal

A glimpse of monastery under the shadow of world’s highest peaks

“Yes, the journeys to the base camps or the summits of elevated Himalayan peaks also cater extremely authentic or at times purely nomadic highland culture and lifestyle. These cultures are truly experiences that settle down in your brains forever. The lifestyles tough & difficult in the highlands still houses resilient and welcoming natives, which are the inspiring & life changing moments.”

Himalyas of nepal

To help guests is in the blood of every Nepali

Moreover, the spirituality that a trekker gets to witness in the highlands of Nepal is wonderful. Fluttering prayer flags, revered chortens and mani walls, peaceful monasteries and fascinating myths of holy Buddhists monks would undoubtedly grab your attentions.

Himalayas of Nepal

Highland Buddhism and solid devotion

“So, the destinations peaceful and untainted by human influence, the culture in the primitive forms and the lifestyle more than inspiring- what else a traveler wants during a long awaited holiday he/she has been planning. Keeping a holiday in Himalayas at top priority of your bucket-list is folks a wise decision. We recommend you to travel to Himalayas of Nepal, which of course would change your lives forever.”

 

Nepal as Travel Destination – smiles of locals make a difference

Posted Apr 26th, 2016 under Photo Essay,

Nepalese Hospitality

“Nepal as travel destination is definitely for travelers. If you expect challenges while traveling, if you are ready to immerse into cultural authenticity or if you really desire your heart to beat in the fastest pace possible- Nepal is the destination.”

“An encounter with beautiful unexpected experiences is Nepal’s specialty. Himalayas & Buddha are the prime identities of Nepal among potential travelers across the world. However, the most important aspect that every traveler values while making a travel decision is the native people of the travel destination.”

Nepalese Hospitality

If someone is talking about the people of Nepal, they should have wonderful experience with Nepalese. Known for their bravery, kindness, hospitality and resilience, the people of Nepal are amazing. No matter what tribe they belong to or kind of lifestyle they enjoy, Nepalese are probably the most likable people across the world.

Travelers who have visited the Nepal frequently speak about Nepalese hospitality. The friendly and welcoming smiles of Nepalese have touched many people’s heart. Serving their guests with the best food & accommodation possible has been the culture since the starting of civilization in Nepal. (Atithi Devo Bhava) is a Sanskrit verse which simply means, Guests are Equivalent to gods. This code of conduct has been adapted by the Hindu civilization, and also has been a part of our Nepalese culture.

Nepalese Hospitality

“During the 2015 mega earthquake a British reporter shared a story on social sites, which got viral. A British journalist was reporting on the current situation of Bhaktapur city. He came across an old lady who was around her 70s. He started asking about her current situation. The lady replied, “Everything is destroyed, my house, my furniture and my elder son got badly injured”. Then out of nowhere during the conversation the old lady asked the reporter, if he was thirsty or hungry, if he needed anything. He was overwhelmed by her generosity and the level of hospitality that a broken Nepalese could show. This is a prime example of hospitable nature and the level of Nepalese mentality towards their guests.”

Nepalese Hospitality

Nepalese are a very proud group of people. The culture, tradition and history of Nepalese play an important role in our day to day lives. Travelers can expect something extraordinary out of a very simple Nepalese because when it comes to serve the guest Nepalese hearts are big enough to satisfy them with the limited resources they own.

Nepalese Hospitality

 

Special moments of Nathan Horton Photography Tour Nepal 2016

Posted Apr 10th, 2016 under Photo Essay,

“Apart from Photography aspect, Nathan Horton Photography Tour has many wonderful facets, which makes this tour more fascinating, meaningful and  fun-filled. At times the tour evokes the softest side of travelers heart and at others it bursts out into huge laughter. Totally an interactive photography tour led by professional photographer Nathan Horton makes travelers/photographers understand and live Nepalese lifestyle, their welcoming hospitality, the tolerance within them despite of their hardships and most importantly the unity within them despite extreme diversity.”

Today’s post is an interesting photo essay describing these special moments of Nathan Horton Photography Tour.

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Discovered abandoned at 8 inside Pashupatinath Premises, this granny who is now 82 refused to take money offered after being photographed – Life reflected beautiful and content with simplicity

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Dr. Didima, offered her professional skills to know the illness of Lal Baba at Pashupatinath

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Julie, amazed to see the Holi celebration at Patan Durbar Square and unable to stop herself she joins the celebration – In fact the whole group played Holi enthusiastically

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Money!!! Money Baba insists everyone to put Tika after being photographed- Mark gets into the frame

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

After getting American Degree, Bashudev from Nuwakot decides to pursue spirituality and becomes the disciple of Aghori Tantra – Group interested in him, but Mark kind of freaked out!!!

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Group in rush captures the shot of young Tharu lady and her kid in Madi, Chitwan

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Nathan’s specialty, he shows the photo captured to his character, Kind of makes them happy but here little kid has some other interest

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Julie joins the farmers for rice plantation, quite and interesting activity on the way to Pokhara – It was our luck and farmer’s hospitality to allow us photograph

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Hailstorms welcomed us as we entered Pokhara – Mountains were lost somewhere but luck favored us once again right on time and the sky opened up. Hence the group drove up to Peace Pagoda – Excited in capturing Himalayan panorama blended with lake and lush vegetation

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Nathan in Dhampus, shows his photography to local kids and they are loving it. Why won’t they?  After all in Nathan photos their village and their acquaintances look more amazing!!!

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Nathan’s favorite granny, Lundri Budi. She was this time taken very well care of. She wouldnt have to cook anymore as Nathan arranged someone else to cook for her. In the photo Didi holds her into her arms

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Walk to Australian Camp was long enough but the reward was awesome, Didima enjoys it and captures the deep valley down

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

Julie joins the dance with Magar women- on the way back to Pokhara from Dhampus

special moments of nathan horton photography tour

At the same event Mark tries to play the traditional musical instrument Narasimha and he does it

Happy Explorers

There was excellent preparation before the trek. Samundra went over and beyond what we expected from him, and we really appreciate his excellent service.

- Lou Lamontague & Friends, Canada Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

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