Pokhara Skydive 2017: Flying in the Himalaya!

Posted Nov 19th, 2017 under Company News, Photo Essay, Skydive, Special Events, Tourism News,

The morning of 09th November was different at Pame Lauruk, a small settlement 11 km northward from Pokhara lakeside. Excited skydivers were milling up in the dropzone, a wide grassland nearby the village. Crew were busy around preparing and briefing, jumpers were being all geared up and waiting with dreamy anticipation. Many of them were having their first ever jump – so things were being so intense for them. A whole lot of spectators were waiting for the moment to capture in their mobiles and cameras. The sky was exceptionally clear, the mountain was smiling its brightest smile and the hills around as lush as ever. It was quite a sight! At round 9 am, the jump started and added a real thrill to the already excited crowd. Well, to be honest, to jump off the chopper at the height of 11,000-13000 ft with the majestic views of Annapurna range at your backdrop and the sprawling valley of Pokhara along with serene Phewa lake below, is not just an adventure but a sublimity in itself! The first day, 27 lucky jumpers achieved that momentum!

This year’s Pokhara Skydive continued for three days till 11th November and a total of 65 jumpers from India, Nepal, Denmark, Australia and Netherlands achieved their dream of flying in the Himalaya. Among the happy jumpers, some were even able to make it to the record list of Pokhara Skydive.  Aniket Jain (India), aged 16 and Rajinder Singh (India), aged 65, became the youngest and the oldest skydivers respectively to have done Pokhara Skydive. They have proved that age doesn’t really count when it comes to adventure! Jad Kamel became the first Lebanese to skydive in Pokhara. The whole three days passed with amazing chopper take offs, crazy freefalls, spectacular landings, overwhelming moments and a series of never ending excitement. The event concluded with great memories and hopes of welcoming more skydiving enthusiasts next year. Congratulations to all the dare devils who ticked the dream of “flying in the Himalaya” out of their bucket list! 

[Pokhara Skydive https://www.nepalskydive.com/, is an annual skydiving adventure, organized by the pro team of Everest Skydive and Explore Himalaya, the only skydiving company in Nepal. Pokhara Skydive has officially started its commercial operation since 2014, after its first test operation in 2010. It has welcomed hundreds of skydivers round the world ever since. As the event is the blend of adventure and the exceptional beauty of Pokhara, every year Pokhara Skydive community is getting bigger and bigger!]

Take a look at the photo story of Pokhara Skydive:

Pokhara Skydive Squad 2017

Puja Ceremony before the jump starts! Pokhara Skydive

Puja ceremony before the jump starts! It’s not just a ritual, but a solemn request to Nature!

Gearing up before the jump!

Gearing up before the jump: Excitement starts right from here!

With crew before the jump! Pokhara Skydive

No rush: A photo moment with Tandem Master before the jump!

Smiles before the jump!

All about smiles and thumps-up!

Tandem Master and Skydiver on the way to flying...

When your heart pounds louder and louder at each step: Tandem Master and Skydiver on the way …

Before jump moments are not less exciting! Pokhara Skydive

Pre jump moments are not less exciting!

Pokhara Skydive with Nepali flag

When skydiving is an emotion, and not just an adventure: A Nepali diver with national flag!

Before the take off: Moments are being too intense now! Pokhara Skydive

Before the take off: Moments are being too intense now!

Whoosh...there you go, off the chopper, in the Himalaya! Pokhara Skydive

Whoosh…there you go, off the chopper, in the Himalaya!

A Tandem Skydiver Pokhara Skydive

This is what flying in the Himalaya truly means!

The first thing that I see is a bird ...no a human! Skydiving is all about being birds!!

I was really high, almost near to the mountains and the first thing that I saw was a bird …no a HUMAN! Skydiving is all about being birds!!

Flying doesn't need wings, all you need is the mind of a bird! Pokhara Skydive

Flying doesn’t need wings, all you need is the heart of a bird!

Back to where we belong!! Pokhara Skydive

Back to where you belong!!

What to ask when you see that smile as free as the wind! Pokhara Skydive

That smile as free as the wind! No words!

Happy Mother after seeing her daughter fly!! Pokhara Skydive

Happiness multiplies if it’s shared: Delighted Mother after seeing her daughter fly!!

"I can't Keep calm, I went skydiving over the Himalayas!" Pokhara SKydive

“I can’t Keep calm, I went skydiving over the Himalayas!”

TIBET BORDER OPENS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS- Things you need to Know

Posted Sep 5th, 2017 under Company News, Special Events,

Tibet has been a fascinating destination for international travelers for a long time. To enter the roof of the world, Nepal has been a popular gateway where tourists drove through the 1000km long Friendship Highway that joins the capital city Lhasa of Tibet to the Himalayan nation.

Hundred of international travelers did the overland tour to visit the mystical land through Nepal via the Kodari/Zangmu border. But the border was highly affected by the 2015 earthquake forcing closure of the border that killed the hopes of many international tourists who wanted to visit the Tibet- The Last Shangri-la.

However, some good news came last week from the Chinese government mentioning that the Kerung Border, which was already open for Nepalese and Chinese has now been opened for foreign tourists as well. As this news was as important one for the cross border tourism, our team drove up to the border to gather some concrete information and plan the operation of the Tibet overland tours via the newly opened Kerung border.

Road Condition: It is about 9-10 hrs long adventurous ride going through narrow tracks and turnings in the Hill side all the way to Rasuwa starting from Kalikasthan to Syabrubesi and further to the borderland called Rasuwa Gadhi in Nepal side and Kerung in China. From Syabrubesi to border is mostly rough road. Main hurdle could be the landslide area between Ramche to Dhunche, about 7-8 km is slightly disturbed in small sections and are muddy and bumpy. This could be a problem mostly during the Monsoon season. Also being the only Highway in use for transferring Export/ Import goods from China, you can see many huge trucks passing through all the way.

There may be another shorter route to Kerung border from river side of Betrawati to Syabrubesi, avoiding the drive up to Kalikasthan, Dhunche, which is under construction at the moment. If this route is open, overland tour from Tibet to Nepal would be more convenient and shorter for the tourists.

 

Duration & Distances:  It is about 170 km distance from Kathmandu and takes about 9-10 hrs drive from Kathmandu to Rasuwa Gadhi (Kerung Border). From Syabrubesi it is about 30-45 minutes drive.
For the Tourists traveling to Tibet by overland from Nepal, it is wise to have a overnight stop at Syabrubesi and continue next day to the border which is about 30-45 minutes drive to the check post at Timure. After crossing through the both side’s immigration and Border, it is 26 km further drive from Kerung border to Kerung City in China.

Border Structure: Nepal immigration office and the Custom Check posts are at Timure. For the tourists entering from Tibet, after passing through the China customs and crossing the Bridge joining China and Nepal, will have to walk about 5-10 minutes to the Immigration office for Visa and Entry process. There may be few checking and searching by Duty officers for Security reasons starting from Border Check posts until Kalikasthan check posts.
Nepal entry check post, Immigration office and Customs are all in different places within the area, as such it could be quite confusing to the Tourists. Private vehicles can go near to the Bridge side for now, however depending on the traffic as the huge Cargo trucks occupy most of the area and could block the way to drive in. It is mostly crowded during the rush hour (office working hours).

Customs working time: The border gate opens at 8 am to 3 pm (Nepal time) for both sides and China part only will be closed during their lunch hours i.e. 10 am-11.30am (Nepal time). Tourists or the locals are to enter or exit the Border gate within the mentioned time frame. There is not One Day pass system for Nepalese Nationalities like it was provided in Kodari border. But the local people form that area only are allowed to pass through during the opening hour.

 

Comparing Chinese border securities and structures in Kerung side seems to be well planned and settled, while Nepal officials are still struggling to have a permanent office settled so as the road structures, parking arrangements all seems to be not well prepared for welcoming the flow of Foreign tourists already. The check posts, immigration and customs are all in separate building or small posts. After the damage by Earthquake to the historical remaining of the fort and the road structures, the situation seems to be even worse. Hopefully this situation will be better eventually, when the flow of tourists’ arrival increases through this route.

In conclusion, it is an adventurous ride overall passing through as low to the ground level of Trishuli river to the Hill top, could be interesting and thrilling experience to the adventurers, while for some it might be tiring and frightening if not mentally prepared well in advance.

Short Ghorepani “Poonhill” Trek – Jennifer Dombrowski (travel writer and photographer)

Posted Jul 21st, 2017 under Company News, Luxury Tours, Special Events, Trekking & Hiking,

Short Ghorepani “Poonhill” Trek Annapurna from Deurali

Interested in trekking to have panoramic views of Annapurna Region????? But you cannot trek for long days???? Yes, we have Poonhill trek which is suitable trek for you. Enjoy short trek with unreal mountain scenery that will leave you breathless. Annapurna foot hill trek is one of the most popular trekking routes for group of beginners, family holidays and for soft adventure seekers. This trek offers you the panorama view of Himalayas including Fishtail, Annapurna ranges, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Gangapurna, and Manaslu. Challenging uphill to burn your extra calories and detoxify the body physiology with snow town breeze in peaceful atmosphere.

                                           Deurali 

                                   Glimpse of Annapurna 

This is one of the most popular trek; known as Annapurna Sunrise Trek or Annapurna Panorama Trek and relatively one of easy trek. Poon hill is the Photographer’s Paradise with maximum elevation 3210M. The trail passes and twists through the beautiful ethnic Gurkha Warriors villages and lush green rhododendron forest. Especially Ghandruk Village is known to be unique and special to represent traditional culture of Gurkha Soldiers. Covering main highlight of Annapurna Mountain ranges you will trek about 5-6 hours a day for 5-6 days. It is also the prime choice for first time trekkers.                                              Poonhill tower

                          Annapurna range from Poonhill

Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara Approx. 220 km/ 6-7 hrs. Or fly to Pokhara which is about 20 minutes. Pokhara city is tourist zone of Nepal for domestic and international tourist. Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul about two hours/ 45 kms. This trek goes from Nayapul to Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani, Poon hill,then to Tadapani and Ghandruk or Landruk then back to Nayapul where you will drive back to Pokhara. 

                      Descending from Tadapani to Ghandruk

          Trekkers enjoying their moment at Naya-pul 

Historical Event, Himalayan Travel Mart 2017 offered an opportunity for a group of traveler Bloggers to experience this Poonhill trek and have a close sight of the Himalayas. The post trek article written by professional travel writers and photographers, JenniferDombrowski and Tim Davis did this trek. They have some memorable experience while doing Ghorepani- Poonhill trek.  They sum to be enjoyed this trek. However, this trek is one of the most challenging tasks of their life as the pain of exhaustion and tiredness seem to have moved away by the sums of achievement, overcoming to a height and serenity observed in the wilderness of Nepal Himalaya even an acute pain caused by the cramping of her foot muscles feels nothing bad as her joy and ecstasy of happiness was indefinable after completing her memorable trek.   

You can also read their experience at http://luxeadventuretraveler.com/ghorepani-trek-nepal

                                      Typical Nepali House

If you are interested in doing this trip, please have a look at the details about the trip in our website at https://www.explorehimalaya.com/packages/a-week-below-annapurna-poonhill-trek/

                                           Poonhill: 3210m    

                                                                 Annapurna Ranges: on the way to Tada-pani from Ghandruk

                   Picture Courtesy: Jennifer Dombrowski

 

Explore Himalaya with All Hands group in Everest Base Camp Trek

Posted May 24th, 2017 under Company News, Special Events, Tourism News, Trekking & Hiking,

Ultimate goal is to reach base camp and stand at the altitude of 5337m

Explore Himalaya recently organized the Everest base camp trek and Island peak summit for All Hands Volunteers for the second time under the name of All Hands on Everest Challenge 2017.The group consisted if 12 members from whom 9 took part in for Everest base Camp trek and 3 participants joined for Island Peak.

The group move towards the small village Phakding at the altitude of 2610m

On the following day, the group moved towards Tengboche located at 3,867 meters and visited Tengboche Monastery, which is the largest Gompa in the Khumbu region. As the weather was clear, they got a chance to see the surrounding mountains like Thamserku, AmaDablam, Nuptse, Lotse and Mount Everest.

Tengboche Monastery – Largest Gumpa in Khumbu region

Magnificent view of Himalayas from Tengboche

The next day, group reached at Pheriche at the altitude of 4371 meter where they also rested for acclimatization. From Pheriche, the group split into two and headed for Everest base camp and Island Peak.

Island peak group with their guides

On the way to Gorakshep

After reaching Gorakshep, the group decided to continue their journey towards Base camp which is the final destination for the group on the same day. 2 hours of walk through the rocks they successfully reached at Everest base camp.

Glacier seen on the way to Base Camp

Groups celebrating the happiness to be in the base camp

After completing the base camp challenge the group descended back to Lukla with having overnight in Pheriche and Namche. On 18th of May, the group completed the trek and flew to Kathmandu on 19th May. After landing in Kathmandu, the group had a whole day for their own and later they had a dinner with cultural dance show in Thamel. All the group members enjoyed the dinner by dancing, singing and sharing their memorable stories during the trek.

Groups celebrating the happiness to be in the base camp

 

After completing the base camp challenge the group descended back to Lukla with having overnight in Pheriche and Namche. On 18th of May, the group completed the trek and flew to Kathmandu on 19th May. After landing in Kathmandu, the group had a whole day for their own and later they had a dinner with cultural dance show in Thamel. All the group members enjoyed the dinner by dancing, singing and sharing their memorable stories during the trek.

Group posing for Photo shout near Hillary Bridge

Overall, the trip was successfully completed and the members were very satisfied with the service of Explore Himalaya / All hands and found this trip as one of the best memorable trip of their lifetime. Thank you for All Hands for making us a part of this memorable trip.

Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur- “A culturally adventurous festival, which takes you deep into well preserved heritage sites of the newar community in Bhaktapur”

Posted May 11th, 2017 under Company News, Culture & Festivals, Special Events, Tourism News,

Among the many local festivals in Bhaktapur, “Bisket Jatra” is one of the main enthusiastically celebrated festivals, which falls on the month of April. It is observed annually, four days prior to Nepali New Year (Baisakh) and last for next nine days.  It is a festival of chariot pulling, erecting a large wooden pole (Yoshin Deo/Lingo) in two different places of Bhaktapur, one is in Pottery Square, which is locally known as “Talako” and next is in Yoshin Khel/Bhelukhel. Tongue-piercing and Sindur Jatra are other highlights of Bisket Jatra celebrated in Thimi, Bhaktapur.

First day of Bisket Jatra begins by enshrining the wrathful God Bhairab and Goddess Bhadrakali in their respective chariots, which brought out from the sacred temple. It takes place in Taumadi Sqaure, near Nytapole Temple (Five storied Temple) with the various ritual processes. In the same evening, both the chariots are being pulled by hundreds of people as tug of war from eastern (upper) and western (lower) part of the Taumadi Sqaure. Both the parties try to draw the chariot to their direction, but as this first day is Deo kwayo Bijaayegu, which means “ God comes down to the mass of people from his own sacred home” as a ritual, the chariots are to be pulled down toward the west direction from Taumadi Square.

On the second and third day, the particular group who takes care of these chariots performs various rituals. Local people visits and offer Puja to the God and Goddess, which was pulled on the first day.

The fourth day is the last day of the year, according to the Nepali Calendar and the very special day of the festival. On this day, two poles are erected in two different areas of Bhaktapur. The first pole is erected in the morning in the Pottery square (Approx time is at around 11 AM to 1 PM). All the local peoples actively participate in the process of erecting the pole successfully. Once, it is erected, people perform various ritual and offer puja.

 

Similarly, another pole with two extended arms is erected in the evening in Bhelu Khel (Approx time is at around 6 PM-12 PM) with great excitement. The huge crowd gathered for this occasion and sings songs of joy during the procession. Energetic youths attempt to climb the pole, using big ropes in order to get the plants placed on its top. It is believed that anyone who is able to do so will increase his chances of siring a male child. On the same evening, the chariots are also being pulled into this area.

 

The pole in Pottery Square remains standing for another five long days, while the wooden pole of Bhelu Khel is kept for only 24 hours. 

Another day is the fifth day of the festival, which begins with gathering of huge masses of devotees in Bhelukhel and in Pottery Square. Devotees from the whole city in the early morning sacrifice cocks and goats to the chariots of God Bhairab and Bhadrakali. Apart from that, people offer puja to other Gods and Goddess like Ganesh, Barahi, Mahakali, Mahalaxmi in their own locality. Afterwards this event is followed by a big feast all over Bhaktapur. In the evening, the lingo in Bhelu Khel is pulled down. This is the moment of danger and excitement too.

 

The following day is the sixth day of the festival. On this day, devotees in Thimi celebrate the Bisket Jatra by welcoming the advent of spring and New Year by throwing vermilion powder over each other, as Sindur Jatra. Beside this, tongue piercing Jatra is also observed.  One of the volunteers from the Shrestha family gets his tongue pierced in a spiritual trance with an iron spike and walks around the town shouldering a round bamboo rack with flaming torches. With this extreme ascetic practice, the person is supposed to secure his place in heaven. Tongue piercing is the ceremony that takes place during the chariot demonstration.

 In the same way, Kha lawayaakeu jaatra (God and Goddess from two opponents getting together) is celebrated in various areas. In Pottery Square, small chariots of Lord Ganesh and God Bhairabs’ from two different places are brought together and throw vermillion powder to each other marking as Sindhur Jatra. Further, In the Suryamadi tole (which is the eastern part from Dattatreya Temple), Jatra is observed by carrying the small chariots of God Bramayeni and Maheshori. In this way, Bisket Jatra is celebrated in different places of the city on their own local god and goddess.

 

The seventh day of the festival is also celebrated by worshipping their local God and Goddess in different areas. People from different places gather together to celebrate the festival. They invite their friends, family and relatives for the special feast.

The second last day of the festival is celebrated by offering the various delicious food items to all the local God and Goddess of Bhaktapur city. On this day, most people wear their own traditional dress and visit the whole city in a procession and offer varieties of food items, sweets, fruits to all the local God and Goddess. This day is full of crowd with the traditional music, dance with great enjoyment.

The ninth day is the last day of the festival. The pole, which was erected before 5 days in Pottery Square, is drawn down today performing various rituals. In the evening, chariots of God Bhairab and Goddess Bhadrakali are pulled towards the upward direction, as “Deo tha bijaayegu” which means “God now return back to his own sacred home”. All the peoples gather together and play various traditional musical instruments marking as the end of the festival “Bisket jatra”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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