Nepal

Nepal is a landlocked country in the middle of the great Himalayas “Hima” in Sanskrit means snow and “alya” means abode (Snow Abode), The Himalayas are  the Roof Top of the  world, overwhelming us with their magnificence and eternal beauty, giving us a perspective of how small and insignificant we are but at the same time can give us a true sense of belonging to The Mother Nature, and Himalayas is Mother Nature’s biggest miracle, Nepal a home to the highest mountain in the world: Chomolungma ; the ancient Tibetan name, Sagarmatha; Nepalese name and Mount Everest, worldwide known name, at a height of 8,848 m.

Himalayas - there are many myths and legends surrounding the Himalayas, one of them is Shangri-La "The Hidden Paradise" and we really believe it is true. The Himalayas is an earthly replica of paradise, it is greatly revered by Himalayan people as the point of contact between heaven and earth. The Himalayan culture and way of life is deeply rooted in the legends of the mighty mountains which are considered an abode of the GODS and the spiritual center of the world. It is the backbone of the Indian, Bhutanese, Nepalese and Tibetan culture and religions.

Nepal birthplace of The Buddha(Gautama Siddhartha) 563 BC and Lord Shiva, Supreme God is revered by Nepalese Hindus as Patron God of Nepal, since ancient times people belongs to different religion and their religious practices  and faith co – exist harmoniously, therefore it is often that one can find both Buddhist Deity’s and Hindu Gods at same place.  

Nepal is so incredible rich in its heritage and its diverse culture that UNESCO identified 8 ancient areas in Kathmandu valley as World Heritage sights, here you can find beautiful ancient towns, Hindu and Buddhist temples, some of among them being Holiest on Earth;

Swoyambhunath, This most sacred site has always been the most important power place for local Buddhists and for pilgrims from all over the world. It is considered to be the most powerful shrine in the Himalayas.

Pashupatinath, is revered as the oldest and is a place where century-old Hindu rituals are practiced in their astonishing initial form, giving a chance to the visitors to feel the unique spirit of Hindu traditions of life, death and reincarnation.

Nepal’s diverse rich colorful culture among Nepalese people stand out having 101 ethnic groups with 92 languages in just in a small area with about 27 million people, living in stunning landscapes of diversity, From the world's highest mountain region with snow clad peaks to the region's rich alpine meadows, dense temperate forests and humid lowland jungles, people have managed to settle everywhere but more settlements are found in lower and central region of Nepal, and it is only the legendary Sherpa people who wishes to live in the high mountain region, around Everest, and this have given them a World famous recognition as the toughest mountain climbers in the world.

Culture

Folklore is an integral part of Nepalese society. Traditional stories are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local lifestyles, cultures and beliefs. Many Nepalese folktales are enacted through the medium of dance and music.

The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (28 December), Prithvi Jayanti (11 January), Martyr's Day (18 February), and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as Dashain in autumn, and Tihar in late autumn. During Swanti, the Newars perform the Mha Puja ceremony to celebrate New Year's Day of the lunar calendar Nepal Sambat.

Most houses in the rural lowlands of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be used on roofs.

Nepal's flag is the only national flag in the world that is not rectangular in shape. The constitution of Nepal contains instructions for a geometric construction of the flag. According to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in war or courage, and is also the color of the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal. Red also stands for aggression. The flag's blue border signifies peace. The curved moon on the flag is a symbol of the peaceful and calm nature of Nepalese, while the sun represents the aggressiveness of Nepalese warriors.

Cuisine

The staple Nepalese meal is Dal bhat. Dal is a spicy lentil soup, served over bhat (boiled rice), and served with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients). It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items served with non-alcoholic beverages. Mustard oil is the cooking medium and a host of spices, including cumin, coriander, black pepper, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, chilies and mustard seeds are used in cooking. The cuisine served on festivals is generally the best. Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with or without fillings. Momo have become a delicacy in Nepal. They are one of the most popular fast foods in many regions of Nepal.

Flora & Fauna

Fauna and flora reflects the color and ecology of the lives which includes all possible elements from bird to animals and also butterflies. Nepal has rich heritage of birds.

The diversity in Nepal also reflect in Flora and Fauna, it is a Natural Paradise, Nepal has great number of mammals and birds and with Nepal’s parks and reserve system, the country has managed to preserve more endangered species of flora and fauna than any other country in Asia. The protected areas  include 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, one hunting reserve and 6 conservation areas and 11 buffer zones covering an area of 34,186.62 sq. km, that is, 23.23 percent of the total area of the country. 

Two of the parks are UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites one in the highest mountain region and the other in the low land of Tharu:

SAGARMATHA NATIONAL PARK in Everest region and CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK in low land of Tharu.

The Sagarmatha National park wildlife consist of Snow leopard, Himalayan Thar, Ghoral, musk deer, pika (mouse hare), weasel, jackal, black bear, wolf and lynx, and a varied bird life with 193 species including impeyan pheasant (Daphne), blood pheasant, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, snow cock, snow pigeon, Himalayan griffon and lammergeyer.

The vegetation in the park consist of pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, while above 3,500 m, forests are dominated by silver fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper trees

The Chitwan National park in Tharu region is a popular park to ride on elephants while going on Safari, the park having 56 species of mammals that include one – horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, monkeys, deer, leopard, gaur, wild boar, wild dog and wild cat, 49 species of amphibians and reptiles that in the endangered long snouted Gharial, marsh mugger crocodile and python.

Chitwan is a paradise for the birdwatchers having 539 species of birds that include summer migrant birds like paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta and parakeets etc. during, while winter birds include waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, bar-headed geese, cormorants and migratory birds from Siberia.  The vegetation have deciduous forest with 600 plant species.

Tourism in Nepal

We all know that Nepal experienced a huge earthquake, in April this year with many aftershocks destroying a great number of houses, villages and historical places in Nepal.

There were disastrous effects in and around Kathmandu with places that were historical sites and popular tourist destinations being ruined. And one can wonder, is it safe to travel to Nepal now, and how is it actually, well here are reasons and fact why you should not cancel your planned trip to Nepal and visit Nepal:

Out of 75 districts in Nepal only about 10 districts are affected by the recent earthquake with the earthquake having its effect on the central and western districts only. Eastern part, the Mid-West and Far West part of Nepal is free from damages. Nepal has a lot more places to see, that would be exciting, adventurous and beautiful which would make your stay and travel at Nepal really amazing.

Nepal wildlife and national parks, only one out of ten national parks is affected by the earthquake with the remaining nine national parks completely safe to visit.

The highways and subways connecting major cities and towns in Nepal have not suffered any damages so moving around and traveling around Nepal would not be any problem.

Nepal’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites out of which only 3 has suffered damaged due to the earthquake with the remaining 5 sites being completely safe to visit where one can check the wonders of Nepal recognized globally.

The national and international airports in Nepal have not suffered any damages due to the earthquake with flights operating making travel to

Nepal from other countries and domestic travel around Nepal safe and risk-free.

Only 2 out of 35 major trekking routes have been affected by the earthquake, making trekking in Nepal really safe and okay.

Hospitals, clinics and various medical facilities in various Nepalese cities and towns are safe, in operation and running smoothly. There has been no burst of epidemics or viral diseases.

Communication in Nepal is not a problem as well with access to telephonic lines and internet working fine and smoothly.

There are plenty of hotels in Nepal and tourist destinations around which are completely safe. A large percentage of hotels in major sites were not affected by the earthquake.

A note from Nepal:

Nepal was hit by an earthquake that had a disastrous effect but now the country needs your help to recover from it and the best way how you can help Nepal recover is not cancel your travel plans to Nepal and go visit. Yes, it is true that few popular travel destinations have suffered damages due to the earthquake but you can have your little contribution to rebuild this heavenly paradise and now is the time you can help and that’s by visiting Nepal.

 

Please visit the page with Inspiring Travel itenaries, there you can find our recommendation for Nepal, the itenaries named as " Everest Sherpa Trek in Nepal " & "Royal Trek with wildlife tour"  and if you wish to see more travel itenaries contact us at info@helenaindiatravels.com

Namaste

Helena