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Introduction 

More than a hundred countries reside in the map of the world, among them a small country with 147,181 sq km area which has been locked between the two gigantic countries i.e. China and India from all sides. Yet it has managed to have a unique topography where he place i.e. 65 m above the sea level to the 8848 m point above the sea level resides in this boundary with the golden grains at Terai region ( plain area as well as the snow capped mountains in the Himalayan region. These all above feature have made it apart from rest of the world and it is identified as the NEPAL all over the world.

Nepal holds more than 100 ethnic groups with more than 92 languages spoken all over the nation with Nepali as their national language. These groups of community have various kinds of tradition, culture and have their own way of celebrating their own festivals in a unique manner. Still it has the most peaceful environment, respect and sense of coordination among the people for each other.

 

Nepal's History

 The recorded history of Nepal is centered on the Kathmandu valley and begins with the Kirantis who are said to have ruled for many centuries beginning from the 7th or 8th Century B.C. with their famous King Yalumber who is even mentioned in the epic, ‘Mahabharata’. The Gopalas who were herdsmen are believed to have ruled before the Kirantis but little is known about them. Their descendants are said to still live at the edge of the valley. Around 300 A.D. the Lichavis arrived from northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. The descendants of the Kirantis are the Rais and Limbus who predominate in eastern Nepal. One of the legacies of the Lichavis is the fabulous Changu Narayan Temple near Bhaktapur which dates back to the 5th Century. In early 7th Century, Amshuvarman, the first Thakuri king took over the throne from his father-in-law who was a Lichavi. He married off his daughter Bhrikuti to the famous Tibetan King Tsong Tsen Gampo thus establishing good relations with Tibet. Bhrikuti went on to convert the king to Buddhism. The Lichavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived with the Mallas who came to power around 1200 A.D.

 

During their 550 year rule, the Mallas built an amazing number of temples and splendid palaces with picturesque squares that are lined with architecturally beautiful temples. It was also during their rule that society and the cities became well organized, religious festivals were introduced and literature, music and art were encouraged. Sadly after the death of Yaksha Malla, the valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) and Patan (Lalitpur). The rivalry among these kingdoms led to the building of grand palaces and the uplifting of the arts and culture. Around this time, the Nepal as we know it today was divided into about 46 independent principalities. One among these was the kingdom of Gorkha with a Shah king in power. Much of Kathmandu valley’s history around this time was recorded by Capuchin friars who lived here on their way in and out of Tibet.
Nepal, as a state, was established when an ambitious Gorkha king named Prithvi Narayan Shah embarked on a conquering mission that led to the defeat of all the kingdoms in the valley (including Kirtipur which was an independent state) by 1769. Instead of annexing the newly acquired states to his kingdom of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan decided to move his capital to Kathmandu establishing the Shah dynasty which ruled unified Nepal from 1769 to 2008 when the last Shah ruler, Gyanendra relinquished his power to make way for total democracy under the rule of a Prime Minister. 
The history of the Gorkha state goes back to 1559 when Dravya Shah established a kingdom in an area chiefly inhabited by Magars. At this time the Kathmandu valley was ruled by the Malla kings. During the 17th and early 18th centuries, Gorkha continued a slow expansion, conquering various states while forging alliances with others. Prithvi Narayan dedicated himself at an early age to the conquest of the Kathmandu valley. Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India, he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century, Nepal remained in isolation. 
During the mid-19th century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal's first prime minister to wield absolute power relegating the Shah king to a mere figurehead. He started a hereditary reign of the Ranas that lasted for 104 years during which time the Shah kings had no real power. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s with support from an unlikely person, the monarch of Nepal, King Tribhuvan. Soon after the overthrow of the Ranas, King Tribhuvan was reinstated as the head of the state. In early 1959, Tribhuvan's son King Mahendra issued a new constitution, and the first democratic elections for a national assembly were held. The Nepali Congress Party was victorious and their leader, Bisheshwar Prasad Koirala formed a government and served as prime minister. But by 1960, King Mahendra had changed his mind and dissolved Parliament, dismissing the first democratic government. 
After many years of struggle when the political parties were banned, they finally mustered enough courage to start a people's movement in 1990. With the public rising up against absolute monarchy and demanding democracy, the then ruler King Birendra accepted constitutional reforms and established a multiparty parliament with himself as head of state and the prime minister heading the government. In May 1991, Nepal held its first parliamentary elections. In February 1996, one of the Communist parties (Maoist wing) went underground to wage a people's war against monarchy and the elected government.  
Then on June 1, 2001, a horrific tragedy wiped out the entire royal family along with many of their close relatives. With only King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra and his family surviving, he was crowned the king. King Gyanendra tolerated the elected government for only a short while and then dismissed Parliament to grab absolute power. In April 2006, strikes and street protests in Kathmandu led to a 19-day curfew and the political parties joined forces with the Maoist rebels to bring pressure on the monarch. Eventually, King Gyanendra realized it was futile holding on to power and relented. He agreed to reinstate parliament. But the political parties and a majority of the general public had had enough of dynastic rule and their abuse of power.  On May 28, 2008, a newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old monarchy. Nepal today has a President as Head of State and a Prime Minister heading the Nepal Government.


People in Nepal


Perched on the Southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, the Kingdom of Nepal is ethnically diverse. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations. These migrations have taken place from India, Tibet, and Central Asia. Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newar of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Tarai region. The ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups came from India, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to Central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai and Limbu in the east, and Sherpa and Bhotia in the north.

In the Tarai, which is a part of the Ganges basin, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryan people of northern India. People of Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid stock live in the hill region. The mountainous highlands are sparsely populated. Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5% of the population.

Nepal's 2001 census enumerated 103 distinct caste/ethnic groups including an "unidentified group". The caste system of Nepal is rooted in the Hindu religion while the ethnic system is rooted in mutually exclusive origin myths, historical mutual seclusion and the occasional state intervention.

 

Religion of Nepal

Religion occupies an integral position in Nepalese life and society. In the early 1990s, Nepal was the only constitutionally declared Hindu state in the world; there was, however, a great deal of intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Many of the people regarded as Hindus in the 1981 census could, with as much justification, be called Buddhists. The fact that Hindus worshipped at Buddhist temples and Buddhists worshipped at Hindu temples has been one of the principal reasons adherents of the two dominant groups in Nepal have never engaged in any overt religious conflicts. Because of such dual faith practices (or mutual respect), the differences between Hindus and Buddhists have been in general very subtle and academic in nature. However, in 1991, approximately 89.5 percent of the Nepalese people identified themselves as Hindus. Buddhists and Muslims comprised only 5.3 and 2.7 percent, respectively. The remainder followed other religions, including Christianity.

The geographical distribution of religious groups revealed a preponderance of Hindus, accounting for at least 87 percent of the population in every region. The largest concentrations of Buddhists were found in the eastern hills, the Kathmandu Valley, and the central Tarai; in each area about 10 percent of the people were Buddhist. Buddhism was relatively more common among the Newar and Tibeto-Nepalese groups. Among the Tibet-Nepalese, those most influenced by Hinduism were the Magar, Sunwar, and Rai peoples. Hindu influence was less prominent among the Gurung, Limbu, Bhote, and Thakali groups, who continued to employ Buddhist monks for their religious ceremonies.

Hinduism

Hinduism generally is regarded as the oldest formal religion in the world. The origins of Hinduism go back to the pastoral Aryan tribes, spilling over the Hindu Kush from Inner Asia, and mixing with the urban civilization of the Indus Valley and with the tribal cultures of hunting and gathering peoples in the area. Unlike other world religions, Hinduism had no single founder and has never been missionary in orientation. It is believed that about 1200 B.C., or even earlier by some accounts, the Vedas, a body of hymns originating in northern India were produced; these texts form the theological and philosophical precepts of Hinduism.

Hindus believe that the absolute (the totality of existence, including God, man, and universe) is too vast to be contained within a single set of beliefs. A highly diverse and complex religion, Hinduism embraces six philosophical doctrines (darshanas). From these doctrines, individuals select one that is congenial, or conduct their worship simply on a convenient level of morality and observance. Religious practices differ from group to group. The average Hindu does not need any systematic formal creed in order to practice his or her religion Hindus only to comply with the customs of their family and social groups.

One basic concept in Hinduism is that of dharma, natural law and the social and religious obligations it imposes. It holds that individuals should play their proper role in society as determined or prescribed by their dharma. The caste system, although not essential to philosophical Hinduism, has become an integral part of its social or dharmic expression. Under this system, each person is born into a particular caste, whose traditional occupation-- although members do not necessarily practice it--is graded according to the degree of purity and impurity inherent in it.

Other fundamental ideas common to all Hindus concern the nature and destiny of the soul, and the basic forces of the universe. The souls of human beings are seen as separated portions of an allembracing world soul (brahma); man's ultimate goal is reunion with this absolute.

Karma (universal justice) is the belief that the consequence of every good or bad action must be fully realized. Another basic concept is that of samsara, the transmigration of souls; rebirth is required by karma in order that the consequences of action be fulfilled. The role an individual must play throughout his or her life is fixed by his or her good and evil actions in previous existences. It is only when the individual soul sees beyond the veil of maya (illusion or earthly desires)--the forces leading to belief in the appearances of things--that it is able to realize its identity with the impersonal, transcendental reality (world soul) and to escape from the otherwise endless cycle of rebirth to be absorbed into the world soul. This release is known as moksha.

Veneration for the cow has come to be intimately associated with all orthodox Hindu sects. Because the cow is regarded as the symbol of motherhood and fruitfulness, the killing of a cow, even accidentally, is regarded as one of the most serious of religious transgressions.

Hinduism is polytheistic. It incorporates many gods and goddesses with different functions and powers; but in the most important and widely held doctrine, the Vedanta (end of the Vedas), gods and goddesses are considered merely different manifestations or aspects of a single underlying divinity. This single divinity is expressed as a Hindu triad comprising the religion's three major gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, personifying creation, preservation, and destruction, respectively. Vishnu and Shiva, or some of their numerous avatars (incarnations), are most widely followed.

Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is regarded as the ninth avatar of Vishnu. Some Hindus identify Christ as the tenth avatar; others regard Kalki as the final avatar who is yet to come. These avatars are believed to descend upon earth to restore peace, order, and justice, or to save humanity from injustice. The Mahabharata (compiled by the sage Vyasa, probably before A.D. 400), describes the great civil war between the Pandavas (the good) and the Kauravas (the bad)--two factions of the same clan. It is believed that the war was created by Krishna. Perhaps the flashiest and craftiest avatar of Vishnu, Krishna, as a part of his lila (sport or act), is believed motivated to restore justice--the good over the bad.

Buddhism

Buddhism had its origin in the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya caste prince of the Sakya clan; he was born in Lumbini, in the central Tarai Region, about 563 B.C. His father was the ruler of a minor principality in the region. Born a Hindu and educated in the Hindu tradition, Siddhartha Gautama renounced worldly life at about the age of twenty-nine and spent the next six years in meditation. At the end of this time, he attained enlightenment; thereafter, known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, he devoted the remainder of his life to preaching his doctrine.

The Buddha accepted or reinterpreted the basic concepts of Hinduism, such as karma, samsara, dharma, and moksha, but he generally refused to commit himself to specific metaphysical theories. He said they were essentially irrelevant to his teachings and could only distract attention from them. He was interested in restoring a concern with morality to religious life, which he believed had become stifled in details of ritual, external observances, and legalisms.

The Four Noble Truths summarize the Buddha's analysis of the human situation and the solution he found for the problems of life. The first truth is that life, in a world of unceasing change, is inherently imperfect and sorrowful, and that misery is not merely a result of occasional frustration of desire or misfortune, but is a quality permeating all experience. The second truth is that the cause of sorrow is desire, the emotional involvement with existence that led from rebirth to rebirth through the operation of karma. The third truth is that the sorrow can be ended by eliminating desire. The fourth truth sets forth the Eightfold Path leading to elimination of desire, rebirth, and sorrow, and to the attainment of nirvana or nibbana, a state of bliss and selfless enlightment. It rejoins right or perfect understanding, aspiration, speech, action, livelihood, effort, thought, and contemplation.

Culture of Nepal

Nepal's culture is greatly influenced by its music, architecture, religion and literature. Your first sight of Nepal may leave you speechless, the great quantities of temples, churches, monasteries and other religious buildings, the hurly-burly in the streets and the number of people and animals socializing on every corner of the narrow cobble-stone lanes.

Nepal has about thirty-six different ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages. Its music is similarly varied, with pop, religious, classical and folk music being popular. Musical genres from Tibet and Hindustan have greatly influenced Nepalese music. Usually, women, even of the musician castes, do not play music except for specific situations, such as at the traditional all-female wedding parties.

The architecture of Nepal is another art that has become an important part of the country's culture. Nepal's architecture can be divided into three broad groups, the stupa style, the pagoda style and the shikhara style.

Nepal is constitutionally a Hindu kingdom with legal provisions of no prejudice against other religions. The Hindu inhabitant in the country has been constantly over 80 percent since the 1950s. The second largest religion of Nepal is Buddhism, it is practiced by about 11 percent, while Islam comprises of about 4.2 percent of the population. The Kirat religion makes up nearly 3.6 percent of the population.

Nepal has many customs and beliefs that might be difficult to understand and not so easy to obey but this is the way of life to them and you should respect it when you are in their territory.

Do not feel offended if any Nepalese hesitates to shake hands with you because it hasn't been very long since the western traditions were introduced to them. Most Nepalese greet one another by a “Namaste”, a common act done by putting the palms together in a prayer like gesture.

It is customary to eat and deal with food with your right hand. They use their left hand to wash themselves after being to the toilet. Note that most Nepalese eat with their hands, forks and spoons are not very common.

Note that men and woman should always dress appropriately. Men should not walk or trek bare-chested, shorts are acceptable but it's recommended to rather wear long pants. Women are recommended to wear long skirts that cover the ankles, because exposure of a woman's legs can draw unnecessary attention.

Showing affection between men and woman in public is not acceptable. So avoid kissing, hugging, cuddling or even holding hands in public.

Festival of Nepal


Festival in Nepal begins with something religious and moves with spontaneous spirit into a pleasant family feast as for a Nepalese religion has been influenced and has always been the core of Nepali culture.

Festivals are manifestation of cultural sensibility of any particular society at its beat. Festivals, through acts and performance of rites and rituals and rituals, are fact not only a way of appeasing of gods and goddesses, but also for warding off evil, for pastoral and agricultural prosperity, longevity, happiness and good health of human life. it also helps in strengthening familial and societal ties by way of gathering, merry-making and socializing.

We all the Nepalese believe that in Kathmandu they are celebrating festival every next day. Most festivals honor a deity with worshippers crowding around a shrine to worship. Great processions win through the streets of the three old cities, kathmcndu, Bhatapur and Patan and other cities of Nepal. These processions are accompanied by bands of Newar musicians and masked dancers. Some time idols of Gods and paraded in gigantic wooden chariot Rath unique to Nepal. Festivals are an important part of Nepalis society. It is the essence of their everyday life.

Maghe sankranti

In the holy month of Magh the sun enters the southern hemisphere, and the days begin to grow longer and warmer. Lord Vishnu the preserver is thanked for his efforts. On maghe sankranti people take an early morning bath in holy river, visit the shrines of Vishnu,and present flowers, incense and food to him. They read the Bhagwad,Gita also known as the song of the Gods, apply mustard oil over their bodies, and enjoy feast rice cooked with lentils, yams or tarul-a must-and til ko laddu, sweets oade of seasame and jaggery (sugarcane paste).

People from many parts of the country rush tp Devghat, a confluence of three rivers, to take holy bath in the river on this day.

Lhosar

Sherpas and Tibetans welcome their New year with feasts, family visits and dancing. Families put on their finest clothes and jewelry and exchange gifts. Buddhist mon in th ks offer prayers for good health and prosperity, and perform dances at the monasteries. Colorful prayer flags decorate streets and rooftops, and the colors seem especially brilliant at the Bouddha and Swayambhu stupas. Crowds of celebrants at Boudha bring in the new year by throwing tsampa (roasted barley flour) into the air.

Basanta panchmi (shree panchami)

Basanta panchami of Shree panchmi honors the deities of knowledge and learning. Hindus honor the goddess Saraswati and Buddhists the god Manjushre. Basanta panchami announces the advent of spring, with official ceremonies at Hanuman Dhaka. The day is also considered one of the auspicious in the year to get married. On this day upper caste Hindu boys are given their first initiation as it is dedicated to learning. Most popular is the especially school children, line up from sunrise. People also flock to the kunda in patan. Ceremonies associated with the instruments of art and learning books, pans, brusher, etc. take place at home. Traditionally, children are given their first alphabet lesson this day.

Maha Shivaratari

All year pashupatinath attracts pilgrims sadhus, devotees and mendicants, but on this day the visitors are in the reans of thousands, many are from India or the terai ane begin arriving a few days before, some camping out in the vicinity of the temple. Shiva’s sacred day begins at midnight but devotees don’t really begin streaming in, past a tremendous Variety of sadhus, mendicants of various types and deformities, devotees performing roadside penances (standing with a small trident thrust through the tongue, being buried up to the neck etc.)And metro the scared lingam inside the temple and then bathe, or at least splash a little, in the river. The royal family takes part in afternoon rites at Tundikhel parade ground, receiving a 31-gun a salute at the end. The king and his entourage pay homage to Shiva in the evening, when the whole tempo of the activity there has picked up, especially the musical side. Hundreds sadhus reside in attendanced camps in the courtyards of the temples situated at the opposite bank, where non Hindus are also free to wander. The curious can witness some rather interesting yogic demonstrations there.

It gets chilly in the evening, but there are usually several fires and lively scenes going at least till midnight, when the consecrated time elapses. In Bhaktapur, devotees honor Shiva by playing a visit to the Dattatreya Temple in Tachapal and people in other towns and villages of the valley celebrate it with bonfires and vigils.

Fagu Poornima (Holi)

Holi celebrates the death of the demoness Holika. This wicked woman, who was supposed to be invulnerable to fire, tried many times to kill her nephew, an ardent devotee of lord Vishnu. In the end she put the boy on her lap and set fire beneath them, thinking he would be burned up and she would escape. But instead the boy remained unharmed and Holika, to her surpise, immolated herself. The rites of this festival celebrate her end.

Fagu poornima begins the first day with the raising of the Chir pole about noon in front of kumari house in basantapur. Holi is known as ‘playing with color ‘festival. Young and old, especially the children throw bags of water or handful of colored powder at each other and make it pleasure. In Terai region, they celebrate it the next day when people of valley celebrate it.

Chaite Dashain

Hindus celebrate Dashain twice a year in Nepal. Chaite Dashain is one of these. The most public of the ceremonies are the ritual animal sacrifices performed by the army in the courtyard of the police station at Hanuman Dhoka. This commences from 8:00 a.m. and is performed before the banners and insignia of various military units. Goats and buffaloes are the victims, beheaded by a single stroke of the sword. In previous years anyone in the audience could volunteer to dispatch one of the animals, but this custom has lapsed. Western visitors are slowed to view from a balcony overlooking the courtyard, with a splendid view of all the gore. The rites last about two hours and are concluded after the military commander smears each of the banners with the sacrificial blood.

Ram Nawami

Hindus worship God ram as a victory day, all Hindus worship Ram at various temple in janakpur. Sacrificing of roosters, goats, and buffaloes at temples are main activities of this day.

Bisket Jatra

The old kingdom of Bhaktapur and its neighhoring areas replay a drama passed on over the centuries during this important festival. Images of wrathful and somewhat demonic deities are placed on tottering chariots Raths. They are offered blood sacrifices, flowers, and coins. Men brimming with youthful vigor and rice beer, drag the chariots across brick-paved streets of the town, and where ever these raths stop, lamps are lit and devotees overflow into the surrounding alleys. Other gods and goddesses too are put on palanquins and carried around so that they may see the sights. There is a tongue-boring ceremony at Bode village, Thimi in which there is a belief that the dedicated will be reserve a place in heaven.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s day symbolizes love, affection for living mother and memory for dead mother. It is also the day of ‘looking at Mother’ face’. For the living it is a reminder to pray for their souls. In this day, a special Mela is organized at Mata Tirtha. There are two pools at Mata Tirtha, the lower one is bigger and used for bathing. The smaller upper one is called the pond of “Looking at Mother’s Face”, for it is believed, or was believed, one could see the face of one’s mother in the pool’s reflection.

Buddha Jayanti

Buddha jayanti is the special occasion for both Hindu and Buddhists. They celebrate this day as the day of the Buddha Siddartha’s birth, enlightenment and death. His birthplace-Lumbini Grove is in the Terai region of Nepal. Buddhists of all persuasions throughout the valley, as well as pilgrims for abroad honor the Buddha on this day, most particularly at the two great stupas and the largely Buddhist city of patan. Activity at the main Buddhist stupas and shrines begins at down. Swayambhunath and Budhanath are the busiest sites for the day of the day of Buddha jayanti.

king of serpents is asked for blessing, and his jeweled vest is shown to the public.

Nag panchami

This day honors the Nagas, the snake-gods, who in Nepal are associated with rain. The festival honors an ancient victory of a king, who was also a Tantric master. Over the nags, who had been withholding the rain. The king forced their submission by casting magic spells over them. Worship of the Nags on this day, a compromise the conqueror graciously bestowed, insures there will be on brought. Nepalese Nag portraits from the street stalls the day before and on the morning of Nag Panchami attach these over their doorways. They then perform a small puja and leave a food offering in the yards and paddies for the snakes.

Janai Purnima (Rakshya Bandban)

Janai Purima the day when Hindu change the janai, the sacred thread the men were on their chests. This full moon day sees floks of Brahmins ( hindu priests) at the holy riverbanks. They take ritual dips in the water and offer ablution to gods. They then change their sacred threads and also tie yellow sacred threads around the wrists of the faithful. Newars of the Kathmandu valley call this festival Gunhi punhi, a soup of different sprouted beans known as kwati, is prepared as the special menu of the day.

At kumbherswar in patan, richly decorated limgam, the phallic symbol of load shiva, it placed on a raised platform in the middle of the kumbherswar (knowanti) pond to received homage form devotees. Another ceremony that takes place here is Byan –ja nakegu, in which rice is offered to frogs in gratitude for a good rain. In baktapur, as a preclude to saparu the next day, a jujuya ghinatanghishi (kings carnibal)goes around town. The participants dress in outlandish costumes and gambol to the tune of traditional music.

Gai Jatra

On the day of gai jatra, families how have lost a member during the year pared a decorated cow around the city. Other dress up kids as cows or ascetics and walk in procession along the festival route. The sacred animal help departed soul to cross the cosmic ocean in their journey into the after-world.

There is also a cosmic aspect to the festival. Humorous and satirical items are included to help be received families get over there grief. There are street shows making fun of government officials. People also roam the city dressed of like lunatics. News papers bring out special mad editions on the day.

In Kathmandu, the bereaved families proceed along the festival rout individually. In patan, all the participants first gather at durbar square and then move out together. The celebration in Baktapur is the must interesting. Tall bamboo contraptions, wrapped in cloth and toppea with horns fashioned of straw, are carried around the city in memory of the dead. People of Bahtapur proceed along the festival rout performing spectacular ghinda-ghini twakka dance.

Krishnastami

Lord Krishna, the dark god who taught warrior Arjuna the value of karma in the Bhagwad Gita, was born at midnight on the eight day of the dark moon of August. To celebrate the birthday of this much-loved Hindu god, devotees flock to the Krishna mandir in patan on the preceding day. There, men and woman from far away gather around the 17th century temple and sit in vigil waiting for the midnight fill the air, and small oil lamps are lit as a mark of felicitation and devotion to the deity. Images of lord Krishna are also carried around the city in a procession accompanied by joyous crowds of followers and musical bands.

Father’s day

Gokarna aunsi is a special day set apart for the veneration of one’s fathers alive or dead. On this auspicious day, son and daughter offer ritual food, sweets, meat and other gifts to there father. The streets are a happy scene with married daughter with loads of goodies making their way to their parents ‘houses. Ceremony is also known as looking upon father’s face.’ Those whose father are no more make this day by visiting gokran and other sacred sports and worship the deities. Their day performs anniversary rituals in honor of their departed father and offer aims of rice, pulses and coins to the priests.

Teej

Dancing, flock song, and the red color of woman’s wedding sarees dominate the day of teej, a hindu festival of womanhood. The day recalls the heavenly occasion when parbati, daughter of the himalaya, won the hand of lord shiva after serve meditation and fasting.

On the first day mother send gift of food and sarees to their daughter’s houses, and groups of woman’s gather together to feast. At midnight, the woman begins a fast in emulation of parabati. The second day is for worship, in the early morning of the third day, woman in red flock to the pasupatinath temple, the grate temple of load shiva.the married ones asked for a happy and productive marriage an a long life for the their husbands, and those at to tie the nuptial knot asked for an ideal husbands.

Dashain

The grate harvest festival of nepa, dashain is a time of family reunion,the exchange of gifts and blessings, profuse pujas , ritual bathing and animal sacrifices. Dashai honors the goddess durga, hor was crated out of the shakti energy of all the gods, armed with weapons from each of them. Goddess Durga, symbolizing valor and prowess, is worshipped and offered animal sacrifices for the devotees’ progress prosperity.

During the first ten days, pilgrims throng various river confluences early in the morning and sacred shrines in the evening. Ghatasthapan, phool pati, mahaastami, nawami and vijaya dasami are series of the events under dashain. On dasmi, men ane woman in their fineries visit there elders to seektika (a dab of red vermilion mixed with yougort and rice). Sword precessions (paayaa) are also held in various part of the Kathmandu valley.the last day known as kojagrat purnima, is the full moon. From this day onwards. Hindu woman being a month – long fast, many in residence at pasupatnath. New clothes visits, grand feasts, kite flying and village swings are the highlight of dashain.

Tihar ( Diwali)

This festival is a time of light and tinsel decorations, fancy sweets and juicy fruits. The calibrations being with the adoration of cows and dogs. Leaf dishes of rice, incense and light are set out for the dark messenger, while dogs are worshiped and offered goodies. In the period of tiher laxmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped. Rows of lamps are placed on windows and doors, with the strong hop that laxmi, the goddess of walth is worshipped. Rows of lamp are placed on windows and door with strong hop the laxmi pleased to reside in light. The following day belong to the cow, representative of laxmi. Laxmi pooja, gobardan pooja and Bhai tika are the series of event under tihar. In the day of Bhai tika sister and brothers get together and accept tika from each other. This day is called brothers day. Bother and sister honor each other on this day and sister pray to yama, the god of death, for their brother’s progress, prosperity and longevity.

Chhath parva

The worship of surya, the sun god, attracts thousands of pilgrims to the holy town of janakpur in southeastern Nepal devotees from Nepal and India throng the ancient city to worship at the janaki temple and take ritual baths in the rivers and ponds. Devotees light lamps, sing song and spend the night before chhath parva at banks of rivers and ponds to grate the coming of the god. As the fiscal rays of the sun blaze from the sky, devotees scramble to offer prayer holy water, fruits, coconuts and sacred threads. Thy pray to the sun protection from skin diseases.

Mani Rimdu

Mani Rimdu is grates festival of the sherpas of the khumbu in the Everest region. The celebrations take place of the tengboche monastery and last for three days. The ceremonies start with the blowing of horns by Buddhist monks. Then the chief lama and other monks arrive in the procession. Prayers are chant and gratitude is extended to all those who has contributed for the function. The crowd then rises of to symbols, horns, flutes and conch shells announce the start of the second day’s events. Then follow the sacred dance in which monks wearing masks perform routines symbolizing the destruction of evil forces.

Bala Chaturdasi

Another special day for the deceased, this festivals rites are designed to appease the souls of the death any wrong committed against them wile they were still alive. The rites of this chaturdasi are in honor of bala, a burning ghat laborer how accidentally at a piece of bourn flesh become a demon addicted to cannibalism. Several different stories narrate the tale but motif common to all is that bala was trcked by a gesture of friendship and killed. His vanquisher then began the custom of scattering grains for the dead this day, to atone for the fatal subterfuge. The mela begins at dusk evening, prior with devotees assembling in the vicinity of pasupatnath for all night vigils. Ceremonies ritual bating being at dawn, followed by a long, 2-3 hour procession though a rough course over which the participants scatterbrains. This continues until a horn sounds the termination in the evening.

Tamu lhosar

Nepal’s Tamang, Magar, Gurung and other Himalayan communities celebrate lhosar to commemorate the beginning of the Tamu lhosar lunar new year. As part of the festivities, Buddhist monks hold prayer meetings at monasteries, which are specially decorated for the event. People raise holy flogs atop their homes, and relatives and friends exchange greeting. The festival is an occasion for people to come together for singing and dancing, dressing up for many days. Cultural performances are also held.

Christmas

Chrstiam communities of the country celebrate Christmas and teenagers and others from different religion join in as well. All the major hotel and restaurants organize special parties for to occasion.

New Year Eve

Chistiam New Year celebrated in all major cities, specially in themal of Kathmandu and lake side of pokhara. All the major hotels and restaurants

Climate of Nepal

The seasons in Nepal are pretty much the same as in Europe, opposite of the Australian seasons. In January it's cold, while in July you could make do with shorts and t-shirt. The climate of Nepal is moderate which means the winters are dry and the summers are hot. But because of the huge range in altitude and landscape, climate of Nepal differs significantly throughout the country. 

Monsoon is approximately from the end of June to end of August. About 80 per cent of the rain falls during that period throughout the country but the remainder of the year is dry. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the most pleasant seasons. Winter (December, January, and February) temperatures drop to freezing with a high level of snowfall in the high mountains.

Summer, monsoon and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC (83ºF) in the hill regions to more than 40ºC (104ºF) in the Terai (southern plains). In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7ºC (45ºF) to a mild 23ºC (74ºF). The central valleys experience a minimum temperature but not often falling bellow freezing point and a chilly 12ºC (54ºF) maximum.

The Kathmandu Valley has a mild climate most of the year, situated at an altitude of 4,297ft (1,310m). Summer temperatures range from 67-81°F (19-27°C), and in winter temperatures are between 36 and 68°F (2-20°C). During the rainy monsoon season between June and August, there is an average rainfall of between 7.8-14.7 inches (200-375mm) in Kathmandu. May and June can be very hot and humid until the monsoon rains bring relief. In spring (March to April) and autumn (October to November) the temperatures are pleasant with occasional short bursts of rain, while November to February are dry, but can be very cold, especially at night.


Best time to visit Nepal
Most recommended seasons for trekking are autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov) and spring (March, April, May). In these seasons you will be rewarded by good weather, sunny and warm with clear sky and outstanding views. During monsoon (June, July, Aug) although there will be no problem for trekking, the issue could be of less visibility and rain. But, for a keen botanist, monsoon is blessing as the higher valleys, mountains and meadows blossom with flowers and abundant vegetation. You can trek in winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) also, only the issue is cold weather with snow-fall at higher elevations.

The trekking routes are crowded during spring and autumn but during monsoon and winter the routes are not packed and you could enjoy rather best of nature.
 
However, because of effects of global warming the climate is changing world wide and there could always be possibility of exception in these weather patterns. In best seasons also there could be hoax of bad weather and sometimes even in adverse months; weather tends to be excellent for trekkers.

Flora and Fauna in Nepal

Ranging from the subtropical forests of the Terai to the great peaks of the Himalayas in the north, Nepal abounds with some of the most spectacular sceneries in the whole of Asia, with a variety of fauna and flora also unparalleled elsewhere in the region. Between Nepal’s geographical extremes, one may find every vegetational type, from the treeless steppes of the Trans-Himalayan region in the extreme north and the birch, silver fir, larch and hemlock of the higher valleys to the oak, pine and rhododendron of the intermediate altitudes and the great sal and sissau forests of the south.

The rolling densely forested hills and broad Dun valleys of the Terai along with other parts of the country were formerly, renowned for their abundance and variety o wildlife. Though somewhat depleted as a result of agricultural settlements, deforestation, poaching and other causes, Nepal can still boast richer and more varied flora and fauna than any other area in Asia. For practical purposes, Nepal’s flora and fauna can be divided into four regions:-

1. Tropical Deciduous Monsoon Forest:

This includes the Terai plains and the broad flat valleys or Duns found between successive hill ranges. The dominant tree species of this area are Sal (Shorea Robusta), sometimes associated with Semal (Bombax malabricum), Asna (Terminalia termentosa), Dalbergia spp and other species, and Pinus rosburghi occurring on the higher ridges of the Churia hills, which in places reach an altitude of 1800m. Tall coarse two-meter high elephant grass originally covered much of the Dun valleys but has now been largely replaced by agricultural settlements. The pipal (ficus religiosa) and the ÔbanyanÕ (ficus bengalensis) are to be noticed with their specific natural characteristics. This tropical zone is NepalÕs richest area for wildlife, with gaurs, buffaloes, four species of deer, tigers, leopards and other animals found in the forest areas rhinoceros, swamp deer and hot deer found in the valley grasslands and two species of crocodile and the Gangetic dolphin inhabiting the rivers. The principal birds are the peacock, jungle fowl and black partridge, while migratory duck and geese swarm on the ponds and lakes and big rivers of Terai. Terai forests are full of jasmin, minosa, accecia reeds and bamboo.

2. Subtropical Mixed Evergreen Forest:

This includes the Mahabharat Lekh, which rises to a height of about 2400m and comprises the outer wall of the Himalayan range. Great rivers such as the Karnali, Narayani, and Sapta Koshi flow through this area into the broad plains of the Terai. This zone also includes the so-called Ômiddle hillsÕ which extend northwards in a somewhat confused maze of ridges and valleys to the foot of the great Himalayas. Among the tree species characteristic of this region are Castenopsis indica in association with Schima wallichii, and other species such as Alnus nepalensis, Acer oblongum and various species of oak and rhododendron which cover the higher slopes where deforestation has not yet taken place. Orchids clothe the stems of trees and gigantic climbers smother their heads. The variety and abundance of the flora and fauna increase progressively with decreasing altitude and increasing luxurance of the vegetation. This zone is generally poor in wildlife. The only mammals, which are at all widely distributed, are wild boar, barking deer, serow, ghoral and bears. Different varieties of birds are also found in this zone. Different varieties of birds are also found in this zone.

3. Temperate Evergreen Forest:

Northward, on the lower slopes and spurs of the great Himalayas, oaks and pines are the dominant species up to an altitude of about 2400m above which are found dense conifer forests including Picea, Tusga, Larix and Abies spp. The latter is usually confined to higher elevations with Betula typically marking the upper limit of the tree line. At about 3600 to 3900m, rhododendron, bamboo and maples are commonly associated with the coniferous zone. Composition of he forest varies considerably with coniferous predominating in the west and eracaceous in the east. The wildlife of this region includes the Himalayan bear, serow, ghoral, barking deer and wildboar, with Himalayan tahr sometimes being seen on steep rocky faces above 2400m. The red panda is among the more interesting of the mammals found in this zone; it appears to be fairly distributed in suitable areas of the forest above 1800m. The rich and varied avifauna of this region includes several spectacular and beautiful pheasants, including the Danfe pheasant, Nepal’s national bird.

4. Subalpine and Alpine Zone:

Above the tree line, rhododendron, juniper scrub and other procumbent woody vegetation may extend to about 4200m where it is then succeeded by t a tundra-like association of short grasses, sedge mosses and alpine plants wherever there is sufficient soil. This continues up to the lower limit of perpetual snow and ice at about 5100m. The mammalian faun is sparse and unlikely to include any species other than Himalayan marmots, mouse hare, tahr, musk deer, snow leopard and occasionally blue sheep. In former times, the wild Yak and great Tibetan sheep could also be sighted in this region and it is possible that a few may still be surviving in areas such as Dolpa and Humla. The bird life at such as lammergeyer, snowcock, snowpatridge, choughs and bunting, with redstarts and dippers often seen along the streams and rivulets. Yaks are the only livestock, which thrive at high altitude. They serve both back and draught animals. The cheeses prepared out of the milk are edible for months. The female Yak provides milk to the Sherpas.

Of the wonderful flora and fauna must suffice to indicate what a paradise Nepal is to the lovers of wild animal and bird life, to the naturalists and to the foresters.

 

Transportation in Nepal

Getting Around by Air

A network of domestic flights radiates from Kathmandu, and links major towns, from Luklu and Pokhara to Simikot, Jomsom, Janakpur and Bharatpur,Bhadrapur and other areas. Many of these flights offer spectacular views across the mountains. But because of the ever-changing weather conditions, there are often last-minute delays and cancellations. Always give yourself plenty of time to catch connecting flights.

Royal Nepal Airlines (NA) operates an extensive range of scheduled internal flights including to the trailheads for the main trekking routes. Other domestic airlines, including Yeti Airlines (OY), Buddha Air (BHA), Guna Airlines and Agni Air (AG) provide regular and charter services to popular destinations. Helicopters can be chartered for various purposes.

Note: Air fares must be paid in foreign currency by foreign nationals. Only Nepalese and Indian nationals are allowed to pay in Nepalese Rupees.

Getting Around by Rail

Nepal Railways Corporation Ltd operates a freight and passenger service in the eastern Terai. However, tourists aren't allowed to cross the border on the passenger train.

Getting Around by Road

Traffic drives on the left. The interior parts of the country are linked with a number of motorable roads. The road system is of unpredictable quality. Many of the mountain and hill roads are impassable during the monsoon season (June to September).

Bus: There are regular bus services to Kathmandu from all the border points. Tickets may be booked in advance from hotels or travel agents in Thamel. Buses for the different parts of the country are available at the Gongabu bus terminal, which is located near Balaju. Services are operated by the Transport Corporation of Nepal and by private operators. Deluxe tourist buses are available from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Chitwan. Most of them depart at 07:00 am from near by Thamel. Six-seater sumo tato vans, 12-seater vans and air-conditioned minibuses are also available for long distance travel. Visitors should, however, be aware that multiple-fatality accidents on buses are common.

Bicycles and motorcycles: These can be hired cheaply from Thamel, Rani Pokhari and Jhochhen Freak Street. Motorcyclists require a driving licence. Cyclists should make sure they have a working bell and a scarf to cover their mouth and nose from powerful exhaust fumes.

Car hire: There are no self-drive hire cars in Nepal. Instead, hire a car and driver or negotiate a daily rate with a taxi driver.

Regulations: The minimum driving age is 18.

Documentation: An International Driving Permit is valid in Nepal for 15 days, after which a local licence is required. A temporary licence is available from local authorities on presentation of a valid national driving licence.

Getting Around Towns and Cities

There are bus services in the populous areas around Kathmandu, which include the neighbouring cities of Patan and Bhaktapur. A trolleybus route provides frequent journeys over the 11km (7-mile) Kathmandu- Bhaktapur road. Private minibuses feed the trolleybus route from nearby villages. On buses and trolleybuses belonging to the Transport Corporation of Nepal (tel: (2) 12972), a four-stage fare system applies, with colour-coded tickets issued by conductors. ‘Microbuses' also operate.

Taxi: Metered taxis are plentiful in Kathmandu; at night, the meter reading plus 50% is standard. Private taxis are more expensive and fares should be agreed before departure.

Tempos: These are metered three-wheel scooters, which work out slightly cheaper than taxis.

Rickshaws: These operate throughout Kathmandu. Fares should be negotiated in advance.

 

 

 

 

For futhur more info and interested in travelling and performing activites here then contact:

Sabin Basnet 

Tour/ Trek Operator

Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal,  

GPO Box: 14401,   

Contact No. : +977-01-4249881

       +977 9841893918      ,  

Fax: +977-01-4249479,  

Email: info@himalayanenchanter.com

www.himalayanenchanter.com

 




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