Nuwakot, an amazing district flanking the capital valley Kathmandu is Nepal’s one of the best kept secrets. Easy access with very few tourist class hotels & restaurants, Nuwakot is an emerging destination for travelers.
First of all, Nuwakot has huge historic significance. It was from Nuwakot King Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu Valley. While doing so, Nuwakot palace square was established on a hilltop, which now has become the center of attraction for tourists visiting to Nuwakot. Though the massive quake of 2015 badly hit the palace square locals have initiated campaigns to restore the historic and cultural significance of this landmark.
Nuwakot is also the hub that enthusiastically practices medieval time cultures. Sindure Jatra, the unique festival celebrated at Nuwakot Durbar Square is probably one of the most fascinating celebrations across Nepal. Bull Fighting in villages like Taruka & Betrawati is entertaining festival that takes place only in Nuwakot District. The district also hosts annual Rice Plantation Celebration in different villages to entertain as much as travelers from neighboring districts like Kathmandu. Nuwakot is also a replica of Kathmandu that celebrates almost all jatras of Kathmandu Valley with equal degree of energy. Gai jatra & Indra Jatra are perfect examples. Like of Kathmandu, Nuwakot also practices the culture of worshipping its own Living Goddess, Kumari.
Talking about tribal cultures, Nuwakot is a mini-Nepal with Nepal. The cultures of many tribes and clans can be observed in Nuwakot district. Tamangs, Newars, Magars, Chettris & Brahmins and Dalits among others live in this district showcasing their own unique culture & lifestyles.
Since the district lies in a very close proximity to Langtang Himalayan Range, it is also the vantage point that caters incredible Himalayan vistas blended well with lush vegetation & raging Himalayan Rivers. Last but not the least, Nuwakot as a district also has huge potential in catering adventurous activities like mountain biking & motorcycle tours. Rugged terrains in the remote parts of the district are ideal for such activities.
The team- Danish Opticians, Explore Himalayans and the local representatives
After the treatment when the people lacking facility of eye check-up had the proper seeing abilities, to see the happiness in the faces of these people, made our day. We felt proud on what we did. Recently, six Danish Opticians through our exclusive country partner Kipling Travel were in the mid-hill settlements of Nuwakot, a district flanking Kathmandu. The opticians from Denmark and Explore Himalaya’s few staffs conducted a week long Free Eye Clinic Camps in different places of Nuwakot. Almost 2,200 people enjoyed the benefits of free Eye Clinic Camps and 1,650 people requiring spectacles received free pairs of spectacles throughout the project. In brief the Free Eye Clinic Camp was one of other effective Community Service Projects we have conducted.
Every day was a busy day. Hours before the eye clinic camp began; the people thronged to the site and stood in a long queue that sometimes stretched to several hundred meters. It was amazing to see the health consciousness in people and at times, it was difficult to imagine a long restless day ahead. However, the passion of the team never went down who were there to contribute something really important in any human’s life. From Day 1 to Day 7 the level of enthusiasm remained same and the willingness to help was intact.
Native senior citizens welcome the noble people
The first day camp was set in a small health post nearby famous Nuwakot Palace. Nuwakot Palace having huge historic significance lies on a hilltop above Bidur, a small municipality 70 km north of Kathmandu. The people of Nuwakot Durbar area and neighboring regions welcomed the Danish opticians and their two assistants with open arms. Before the camp started to work, the Community of Senior Citizens of Nuwakot conducted a small welcome ceremony. Seeing hundreds of people waiting in a long stretched queue, a long busy day was guaranteed. Despite of many patients, the Danish team of Opticians and their two assistant were able carry out an excellent job in the limited time. With the help of The Nepali doctor from “Trishuli Eye Hospital”, many people having cataract problem were recommended for operation in the lower town “Devighat” 25 min’s from Nuwakot. After a long day, the project was a big success, treating 350 patients. On the first day, 250 pairs of spectacles were distributed.
Local volunteers helping the elder citizens during Free Eye Clinic Camp
Day 2 started with the fresh morning air blowing in the town Nuwakot. The venue for the second day was a gymnasium in the town of “Battar” 20 minutes from “Nuwakot Durbar”. As of Day 1, the people seeking treatment had lined up in front of gymnasium hall gate before we got there. A long line of people waiting in front of the gate was the sign of a very long day ahead. A long busy day ahead! we were okay with it. As the opticians began, their work the non-stopping flow of patients kept on moving into the hall seeking check-up. In addition, after 8 hours of hard work 150 people were recommended for cataract problem and 280 people were treated for their poor vision. The second day of event was hectic yet satisfying.
Second day at “Battar” was same as the first day. On Day 2 at Battar, 250 people were given free pair of spectacles.
The long queue of at Battar stretches to few hundred meters
A beautiful village of “Samari” was the venue for the fourth day of Free Eye Camp in Nuwakot. The work done in previous day was very remarkable and a motivating for all the team members. A small health post in the village was the workstation for the day. Now we were used to seeing people lining up in long stretched queues hours before the camp even started. Again, after 6 hours of hard work 200 people received glasses for their daily use.
The location for the fifth day’s Clinic Camp was in a Buddhist monastery in village of “Kalabari” south of Samari. The monks and the local people welcomed us with a lot of enthusiasm. They had a hope of seeing better on sighting our team in their village. Again, the people of all ages lined up for the checkup before the team reached the venue. After a long day of hard work 150 people were given glasses for their poor vision and the fifth and of the charity project ended with the happy smiles in the faces of people who got treated.
Danish opticians giving 100% to make sure that free Eye Clinic Camp benefits more
Hard work continues
The venue for the sixth day Free Eye Camp was at a local government school in the beautiful village of Sele. Needless to mention, there was a long queue on the venue, hours before the project started. The sixth day of Free Eye Clinic Camp started and with a lot of energy. Yet again 150 people were given free pair of glasses and the second last day of the program was very successful.
The last day for the program was scheduled just for a half day. 120 people were enjoyed the benefits of free Eye Clinic Camp on this day.
Isn’t the smile beautiful? We are proud that we made that smile possible
Sometimes a small help means a lot to one who badly needs it
After a hard work, everyone deserves refreshing few moments
Welcoming session at Nuwakot
Elaine Brown from Wilderness Expertise led a team of 11 students and 1 teacher from Blue Coat School, Reading UK for a month stay in Nepal. First they went to Mustang and then to Nuwakot for community project. They stayed in local home-stays for 7 days and involved in different community based activities (30th July -5th August).
EH: How are you feeling now?
Ms. Brown: Good. Thank You.
EH: When did you start the project?
Ms. Brown: We started in Nuwakot on 30th of July
EH: How was your stay there?
Ms. Brown: Food was really good, we felt very privileged during the stay in Nuwakot.
EH: Your accommodation was organized in local home-stays, how did you manage your stay there?
Ms. Brown: We separated into groups; everybody was placed single except for:
two girls (only two of them in the whole group), one of them having the habit of eating less, one boy with the problem of sleep walking, with me at Shyam’s house and a bit naughty boy with the teacher
EH: What’s the purpose behind this program?
Ms. Brown: After we were sure that we wanted to have such program, the students started fund raising, doing jobs. They were trained, we met with blank itinerary. Once we decided to come to Nepal we did research, identified the learning needs of the students. Challenge and community involvement are the two elements that should be in the program. We met each other in different intervals of time did costing, familiarization, training etc. Despite of having nominal budget left with us after our visit to Mustang, we still wanted to do it.
EH: Why Nepal?
Ms. Brown: I had been here before and I am passionate about Himalayas, especially I admire Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu culture. So it is partly because of the leader’s choice. I had positive past experiences. During the whole course of time the students transformed themselves to be self dependent…. Personal development! All we want is to build confidence, good attitude, respect their parents etc. After this visit the students are willing to come back to Nepal.
Nuwakot community service project- Garden being cleaned
EH: How did you find the community there?
Ms. Brown: The entire community was welcoming and gentle with strong community bond with each others. Community takes care of each other in contrary to UK…a good lesson for us. Technology has not overcome their lifestyle, 4 generations in a single family. “Small scale is sustainable”.
Don’t have to be big to be happy. Nepalese lead a very happy life.
EH: What is your best part?
Ms. Brown: Best part is always different for different people. For me it is quite emotional. The importance of building relationship during the home-stay with the family of Sharmila is so far the best part for me.
EH: How was it in Mustang?
Ms. Brown: During the trek to Mustang the tea houses contributing to the community was WONDERFUL.
EH: What are the areas of your focus in Nuwakot?
Ms. Brown: Our focus was on community activities like painting and renovation, interaction, clearing local historical taps (favorite activity), plantation, short health awareness classes. We also focused on community interaction, so we organized sports like football regularly in the evening at Tudikhel.
EH: Did you find it difficult to communicate with them?
Ms. Brown: Not at all. Only in the beginning when the students were nervous.
EH: Do you see any area of improvement?
Ms. Brown: Nothing. It’s a self-contented community….some youth want to settle in modern setting, getting ready to leave, but I think they are lucky to have such a life.
EH: Difference between Mustang and Nuwakot?
Ms. Brown: Mustang very Tibetan whereas, Nuwakot is a typical Hindu community. Besides highly contrast cultures geographically, Mustang is dry- desert like Tibetan Highlands but Nuwakot is lush green, almost tropical. I loved the thunderstorm in Nuwakot, which is the most memorable moment in Nuwakot.
EH: Any last words?
Ms. Brown: I would recommend, don’t expect to be working physically, rather emphasize in building relationship. My team is ready to work again, we expected to be involved more physically like 6 hours a day of hard work but we were involved just few hours a day, opposite to our expectation. But we also learnt to manage expectation…….at the end we learnt that building relationship is very important… and we are quite happy with the whole things.
EH: One word to describe the whole experience?
Ms. Brown: Privileged
A time to leave the memories back
Amazing welcoming session at Nuwakot
Community Service Project is a unique blend of various activities principally designed for students taking a gap year. This multi activities vacation includes a volunteering service spotlighting on the progress of local community in Nuwakot, cultural exchange activities, and an adventurous trek to the very rarely trodden part of Nepal, Mustang.
Got red and Khataa- during the hospitable welcoming session
For the Cultural Exchange and Community Service Project recently, a British group of ten students from Reading Blue Coat School accompanied by a teacher is in Nepal. The group is led by an expert leader from the company called Wilderness Expertise.
Cutting the shrubs during garden cleaning session
Based at Shree Bhairavi Higher Secondary School in Nuwakot, the group is scheduled to get involved into several activities. Junior Red Cross Garden and Taleju Park has been maintained and cleaned by the group in collaboration with the locals. Cleaning of the historic site which, supplies drinking water to the natives; Tindhara will be undertaken.
For a team- it is simply a piece of cake
Sessions of lectures on how the tourists shall be treated will be conducted. Health Awareness Campaign as well as village sanitation program are supposed to be the integral parts of this community project. The visitors will also join the locals and rejoice during the cultural programs. During the 6 days stay at Nuwakot, the guests will be experiencing the home-stay accommodation where the three course meal will be provided by the Nepalese family.
Pet gets a clean playground.
Prior to this community service and cultural exchange project, the group had the 14 days long wonderful trek to the rarely trodden part of Nepal, Mustang.
Time for the photo shoot
Guests and natives for the shoot
Explore Himalaya with its partner Kipling Travel, Denmark has been working quite a lot to promote the villages of Nuwakot, Samari and Sele. Despite of tourism perspectives, these destinations are unable to achieve the significant recognition amongst the visitors to Nepal. Acknowledging, the possibilities, the duo of Explore Himalaya and Kipling Travel has been promoting these destinations for the last few years. The dual effort has showed the positive signs over the years as Nuwakot, Samari and Sele are starting to expect the noteworthy visitors.
Seven storied palace at Nuwakot.
Nuwakot has the major historical charm of the Shah dynasty. The seven storied ancient palace built between 1763 AD to 1770 AD by Prithivi Narayan Shah reflects the perfect cultural and civilization images of the region in the very ancient days. Samari, is a village rich with ethnical culture of Magar race and lies amongst the beautiful green forests. Sele is popular Tamang village rich with natural beauties and ancient Tamang culture. The village is a hilltop for the panoramic mountain views of Himalayan peaks like Mt. Manaslu, Mt.Langtang etc. from its ridge.
Home-stay house at Samari.
Nuwakot and Samari have been the popular home-stay destinations for the past few years. The EH Kipling alliance owns two traditional old houses in Nuwakot and Samari to provide basic facilities to visitors in this region. The third linking point Sele had the camping accommodation facilities. Since the number of visitors is increasing every year, the companies has planned an alternate to Sele camping.
A team including a photographer and an architect were recently sent to visit all these sites. As per the organizational plan of constructing the new ecological resort in sele, the team took the necessary measurements at our location in Sele and the construction is expected to start very soon.
Construction site for ecological resort at Sele.