Monsoon: Season of Festivals

Posted Jul 30th, 2017 under Luxury Tours, Photo Essay, Special Events, Tourism News,

Monsoon season in Nepal brings joy and happiness for everyone. It is the main season for agriculture as well as the season of the festival in Nepal. A monsoon festival falls on different date every year.

 

During monsoon season, Seasonal tourism activities in Nepal are low in numbers and trekking in monsoon season is not favorable time. However, during monsoon season, Pilgrimage tourists are high in number; especially from India. They prefer to visit Muktinath and Mansarovarduring monsoon season as these places are rainy shadowed area. But from the cultural point of view; monsoon season is best time to observe Nepalese cultural way of Living, festivals, Monsoon cycle of agriculture and Lush green valley’s with seasonal crops.

Festivals fall on Monsoon

                Enjoying throwing Hilo ”wet mud” during Ropai ” Paddy Plantation

15th Ashar (June) is celebrated as Paddy Plantation day  “RopaiJatra” all around Nepal. RopaiJatra“is a most awaiting and cheerful time for farmers. This day symbolizes the end of the rice planting period, a day when all farmers enjoy the end of the plantation of rice and wishes for good production. As an entertainment, they will sing a Nepalese folk songs and dance in rhythm on field while cultivating the crops mainand as lunch they will have homemade yogurt and beaten rice and drink a special kind of local drink called ‘Chyang’, which basically is made up of fermented rice.

On this day, especially Pokhara and Kathmandu (being a touristic area), different programs are being held targeting the foreigners, on the muddy flied to show Nepalese culture and traditional way of farming. This festival has been able to attracted many tourists though the festival is quite weird, yet fun. And the number of tourist wanting to participate on this festival is increasing. On this day especially for the foreigners, a travel and tour offices organizes a program/event for “Paddy Plantation” festival. This program is all about planting rice, playing around with mud, dancing in a traditional Nepalese folk song and not to forget to test traditional foods. Not only that, you can have an opportunity to communicate with Local Nepalese families which will help to learn about the Nepalese life style, culture and tradition.

                          Nag Panchami and JanaiPurnima/ RachayaBandan:  

This following year Nag Panchami and JanaiPurnima festival falls on same day.The festival Nag Panchami,Picture of Nags is posted above the doors of Nepali households with the belief of keeping away the evil spirits.

Normally, the priest visit door to door carrying the poster of Nags, Dubo (Cynodondactylon. Priest paste the poster of Nag with the help of cow dung, post a coin and Dubo. People offer milk in the temples of Nag Pokharai (snake pond) Naxal /Kathmandu and NagDaha (Snake Lake) in Lalitpur.       

                                             Naag Poster, Doro and Rakhi”

According to the Puran”Ancient Scriptures”, the earth is lifted by Shesh Nag on his head with Lord Vishnu Sleeping on its coil inside the ocean. Shesh Nag, BasukiNag,KaliNag,AsthaNag,Padma Nag and Karkot Nag are the most powerful Nags in Hindu religion.

Ancient Scriptures also mentioned that without Nags, the rainfall will not be possible, that’s why people worship Nags for causing the rain fall.

Janai Purnima is the festival of the Holy Thread which is also falls on same day of NaagPanchami

On this day every Hindu/Buddhist tied a Yellow, red colorful cotton strings in wrist of right hand. Nepalese people call it Doro.Especially Brahmins and Chettri change theirJanai, once a year. White cotton string wears on his chest or tied around the wrist of his/ her hand.  In every house this day, cooks mixed of every grain Quawati “and eat together with family members.

Similarly, this is also a day of Rachaya Banda, Rachya means to protect and Bandan means bond of togetherness. Where sister tie the rakhi on brother wrist, pray for the long life and success of her brother.Brother promise sister to protect from every harm and give gifts and sisters

                      Brahmin “Priest: tiding a sacred thread   Sacred thread (Local Nepali Word “Janai”

                                                                                    Gaijatra:  August

 Gaijatrais the festival of cows is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. GaiJatra festival came in the tradition of the medieval period of Nepal, under the reign of the kings JayasthitiMalla.  

According to traditions since time immemorial, every family who lost a family member during one year period must participate in a procession in the streets.Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and PatanNewar community follow this tradition. If a cow is unavailable then a young boy dressed as a cow is regarded as a fair substitute.

In Hinduism, a cow is regarded as the most respected among all pets. It is believed that the cow, venerated as a sacred animal by Hindus, will help the deceased parent’s journey to heaven.

Stick dance (Typical Newari word: Ghintangghisitwakin Bhaktapur

                                                        PATAN: KRISHNA MANDIR

Krishna Janmastami is one of the popular festivals in Hindu religion. It is a festival celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna is believed as the eighth incarnation of lord Vishnu and powerful. It is celebrated as victory of good over evil and their power.

All the devotees gather in Krishna Mandir, the ancient Krishna Temple in Patan other temples which is the symbol of Lord Sir Krishna.

                                        Baby dress up like Krishana

                                                                    Teej:  August

Teej is also known by the HariTalikaTeej. It is biggest festival and celebrated by Nepali women all across the world. Every Married women,Child and Young girls wears red and green attire decorated 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 married sisters and daughters offering them complete liberty to enjoy this particular day.

Foreigners Joining Dance with Local Nepalese Women in Teej Festival

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.

According to the Holy Purans say that “on this day the Himalaya’s Daughter Goddess Parbati had finally receive Lord Shiva after her long time of devotions towards him.From this day, Teej festival was celebrated.                        

Married women’s take fast for the long life of their husband, good health of their children. And young ladies take fast in desire to get their dream husband.

Rishipanchami:

Rishipanchamiis the last day of Teej and women worship Sapta Rishi (seven saints). In Hindu religion, menstruation is taken as a symbol of impurity and women are not supposed to take part in religious performance during their periods. Hence, it is believed that Rishi Panchami is the occasion to wash off one’s impurity of the entire year

 IndraJatra: September

 Indrajatrais the celebration of God Indra” the god of Rain, King of Heaven”. This festival begins each year from the day of BhadraDwadasi to Aswin Krishna Chaturdasi according to the lunar calendar, which falls during place to celebrate is in Kathmandu Durbar Square which is known as Basantapur Durbar.

Bhairav a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva

The Kumari (living goddess), departs the shelter of her temple in a palanquin and leads a parade through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Indra. The main attraction of the festival is the procession of chariots and masked dancers representing deities and demons.           

According to myth, Indra’s mother Dagini wanted night-flowering coral jasmine “PARIJAT” tree in the gardens of heaven to perform some ritual and Indra disguised as human and came to Earth for the plant. While Indra was stealing the plant from a garden in Kathmandu Valley, the communities 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 caged

Upon Dagini’s request, the people of Kathmandu agreed to free Indra. Pleased with the kindness 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 IndraJatra is observed enthusiastically in Kathmandu Durbar Square.

                                                                           Chariot of living Goddess Kumari

Homestay in Nepal- an authentic Nepalese living experience

Posted Dec 30th, 2016 under Food & Accommodation, Photo Essay,

 

Homestay in Nepal

Are you visiting Nepal for an experience? Then staying at a homestay in Nepal might just be what you are seeking for. The traditional way of accommodation has emerged as an exceptional attraction for travelers visiting to remote areas of Nepal since few years. These homestays do not only provide only a bed to sleep and meal to eat but also an authentic Nepalese living experience. They allow travelers to observe how people in Nepal spend their daily lifestyle and also to participate in it if interested too.  

Typically, a traveler is welcomed from the heart offering Tika or Khada and they will also be exhibiting their culture through a cultural program. The type of the program depends upon what kind of ethnic tribes are in the village.

Travelers sometimes may not be able to get their own private room unlike any other hotels in the city areas and have to share with others but this is not something they should be afraid of. Likewise, attached bathroom should not be expected. However, they will be very precious memories you will be taking back home.

 In the meal, one can taste delicious cuisines which are way more hygienic as you will be served each and everything produced from the locality. You will experience hospitality in its purest form where it is served from the heart.

Homestay in Nepal

One can also explore the village to see things that are unusual, leaving you amazed for those who live in a more urbanized area. Trying to communicate with locals may also bring surprises that you didn’t expect.

The motives of these accommodations are to let travelers familiarize with a complete village life environment to get lost in nature for a whole new experience.

Here we have some 30 Photographs from and around Phoolbari Homestay offering you a glimpse of how does a stay in Homestay look like:

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.

upper-mustang-tiji (06)

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.”

 

Happy Explorers

Thanks again for everything. I will recommend your services for anyone that may be looking for an adventure in Nepal! Thanks again!

- From USA, October 2011 Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

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