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Category: Travel Blog

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Travel Blog

Unique Nepalese People and Customs

With the distinct climatic conditions and geographic differences, Nepalese people have unique features in terms of human social diversity and their customs. Above then eighty percent of Nepalese follow Hinduism, while rest of the population follows Buddhism and other local religions. The population constitutes various groups of different races which are further divided into different caste systems. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood more easily with a view of traditional hierarchy and stratification of the population. Looking at the myriad layers existed and prevalent in cast system Nepal sustains the features of multiethnic society.

Nepalese People
An elderly woman spinning cotton

Basically, some of the ethnic groups are such: Gurungs and Magars who live mainly in the western region of Nepal; Rais, Limbus and Sunwars who live in the eastern mid hills; Sherpas, Manange and Lopas who live near the mountains of Everest, Annapurna and Mustang respectively; Newari community strongholds Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal; Tharus, Yadavas, Satar, Rajvanshis and Dhimals found in the Terai region; and Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakuris generally are over all parts of the country. In this respect, ethnic heterogeneity and mutual coexistence are foundational layers of Nepalese people.

Multiple ethnic groups speak more than hundred languages in different dialects where as Nepalese language is spoken through the country as the official language. English is spoken by many in government and business offices. It is the mode of education in most private schools of Kathmandu and some other cities as well.

In the northern region of the Himalayas are the Tibetan – speaking groups namely Sherpas, Dolpas, Lopas, Baragaonlis, Manangis. The Sherpas are mainly found in the east in the Solu and Khumbu region; the Baragaonlis and Lopas live in the semi – deserted areas of Upper and Lower Mustang; the Managis live in Manang district area; while the Dolpas live in Dolpa district of West Nepal, one of the highest settlements on earth at 4,000 meters.

Several ethnic groups live together in harmony in the middle hills and valleys. Among them are the Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Sunuwars, Newars, Thakalis, Chepangs and majority of Brahmans and Chhetris. The Brahmans and Chhetris have dominance in all spheres of social, religious and political life. There are also some occupational castes namely: Damai (tailor), Sarki (cobbler), Kami (blacksmith) and Sunar (goldsmiths).

Kathmandu Valley represents a cultural backbone of the country, where, people from varied backgrounds have come together to present a melting pot. The natives of the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars. Newari culture is an integration of both Hinduism and Buddhism.

The main ethnic groups in Terai are Tharus, Darai, Kumhal, Majhi and other groups that have roots in India. They speak north Indian dialects like Maithili, Bhojpuri. There are, however, some occupational castes like Majhi (fisherman), Kumhal (potter) and Danuwar (cart driver).

Overall, with presence of hundreds of caste divisions and their mutual interdependence preserves Nepalese’s uniqueness. The different ethnic groups have different living custom within the country.

Travel Blog

Aesthetic Expression of Nepalese Art and Architectures

Inclination of a civilization toward art and architecture represent the civilization’s aesthetic expression of creativity. In this regard, Nepal’s ancient remnants of arts and architectural heritages give reflections of Nepalese fond for creative arts and architectures which are the characteristics of lived society and culture.

Nepalese arts and architectures available at different cultural, historic, and social sites represent Nepal’s proximity to aesthetic expression.  Along with arts and architectures found rural locations of Nepal, Kathmandu Valley stands a complete art and architectural legacy of ancient Nepal’s inclination towards aesthetics. Numerous monuments in Kathmandu Valley have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Further, Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama the Buddha, is the only World Heritage Site outside the Valley in Southern Nepal.

Nepalese Art
Nepalese Art

Like architecture, most artwork of Nepal is based on theological aspects of prevalent religions in Nepal. Art and architectures of Nepal further depict Nepal’s cultural and social diversity. The aesthetic creative art and architectures whether those are artwork of Bhojpuri paintings or Maithili music all reflect diversity of Nepal cultural milieu. Likewise, artworks range from the famous Buddhist Thanka and Newari Paubha paintings to the traditional crafts of woodwork and metal. Other art include literature, theater, music and dance, mirroring the different stages of Nepali society.

Early art of Nepal can be seen as stone sculpture and temple architecture. Other art include wood and metal crafts, ceramics and clay pots, textiles, paper, Tibetan carpet, music and literature. Contemporary Nepali art represents two distinct segments, traditional idealistic paintings and the contemporary western style works. The contemporary painting is specially noted for either nature based compositions or compositions based on Tantric elements or social themes.

Kathmandu Valley itself is a museum of number of museums and art galleries showcasing art work of the past and present. Kathmandu Durbar Square Museum, Museum of Natural History at Swayambhu, National Library at Puchowk, Kaiser Library at Thamel, National Birendra Art Gallery at Naxal, Asa Archives at Tangal, National Art Gallery at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, National Woodworking Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bronze and Brass Museum at Bhaktapur, Nepal National Ehnographic Museum at Bhrikuti Mandap are the sites where a visitor can view contemporary historical diversity of Nepalese arts.

Museums outside the Kathmandu Valley such as Dhakuta Museum, Hattisar Museum in Bhimphedi, Mustang Eco Museum in Jomsom, Tharu Cultural Museum in Thakurdwara and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara reflect historical art portrayal of Nepalese arts. Beyond art reflection at different art galleries and museums, the various temples, stupas and traditional building represent architectural artistic presentation throughout Nepal including Kathmandu Valley.

In brief, Nepal’s architectural monuments and artistic expressions found throughout the country showcase the passion of Nepalese aesthetic perfection.

Travel Blog

Lumbini Circuit: Archeological Findings of Gautama The Buddha

Lumbini Tour Circuit engages to the global visitors in the depths of insightful archeological findings of Gautama the Buddha and the development of Buddhism. There are 62 archaeological sites scattered outside the Lumbini. Lumbini – the birth place of Buddha and surrounding area of ancient Kapilavastu and Devdaha are in Terai of Nepal.

The set of Lumbini Buddhist circuit tour encompasses picture of some of the important findings from the scientific excavations. Lumbini is one of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites based on major events in the life of Gautama Buddha. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a “foot imprint”, indicating the exact place of Lord Buddha’s birth. Along with these, there are scores of ruins of ancient stupas, palaces and monasteries marking different incidences in Buddha’s life.

Buddha
Buddha

Further, the Lumbini Tour Circuit goes through Tilaurakot, Kudan, Gotihawa, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Devadaha and Ramagrama all bearing significance to the life, Enlightenment and death of Buddha.

Tilaurakot is one among the many important Buddhist sites of interest located some 27 km west of Lumbini. In Tilaurakot lies the ruins of the historic town of Kapilvastu believed to be the capital of Shakya dynasty where Lord Buddha spent the first 29 years of his princely life. There are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of kiln burnt bricks and clay mortar. In the same way, the Kapilavastu Museum exhibits coins, pottery and toys dating back to the 7th century B.C. and 4th century A.D. including a collection of jewelry and ornaments. The terracotta figures recovered at Tilaurakot belong to pre-Mauryan, Mauryan, Sunga and the Kushana periods.

Kudan, located some 4 km south of Tilaurakot is historically and archaeologically important religious and archaeological site for the Buddhism. The huge mound of structural ruins and a pond nearby appears to be the ruins of stupas and monasteries. These are believed to be the Kasaya Stupa. This is where King Suddhodhana met Lord Buddha for the first time after he returned from Enlightenment.
Gotihawa is an important religious and archaeological shrine for the Buddhist world community and also historically and archaeologically important. Located about 3 km southwest of Taulihawa, it is believed that Krakuchanda Buddha, who came before Shakyamuni Buddha, was born in Gotihawa and attained Nirvana here. Brick structures of stupas and monasteries can be seen in the area outside modern Gotihawa village. At the center of the main mound the remains of a broken Ashokan Pillar lie on a slab adjoining Nirvana Stupa of Buddha.

Niglihawa, another archaeological important site at Lumbini Circuit lies 8 km northwest of Taulihawa. The site has a quadrangular pond locally known as Niglisagar. Likewise, on the western bank of the pond there are two broken pieces of the Ashokan pillar. The pillar bears two peacocks on the top part and an inscription which reads, Om Mane Padme Hum.

Sagarhawa forest is about12 km north of Taulihawa. In the midst of the forest, there is a huge rectangular tank, which is popularly known as Lumbusagar. Sagarhawa is the archeological findings as place of the Massacre of the Shakyas. The ancient tanks ruins, which were excavated and identified as the ‘Palace of massacre of the Shakyas’ can still be located on the west south banks of the Sagar.

Devadaha is the parental home of Queen Maya Devi, mother of Lord Buddha which is situated 38 kilometres east of Lumbini. Devadaha was the capital of the last Koliyas dynasty. It is a holy place of pilgrimage for the Buddhists.

The Ramgram Kingdom was 60 km to the east of the holy place of the Buddha’s birth. The King of Ramgram Kingdom was one of the eight Kings who obtained Buddha’s relics and he also built a pagoda named Ramgram Pagoda. After building the stupa containing the relics of the Buddha’s body, this site became one of the centers of pilgrimage and devotion.

In short, Lumbini Circuit the holy site is recognized as the ultimate Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace. The holy site is waiting to share the Gautama The Buddha’s archeological history, the land of pilgrimage sprite of world peace, and remnant of cultural spirit of Tilaurakot.

Travel Blog

Dharan: Nepalese Hong Kong Offers Glimpses of Mt. Everest

Set in the thick jungles of eastern Nepal, the city of Dharan also called Nepalese Hong Kong offers magnificent glimpses of Mt. Everest. Dharan is developed with the contributions of former British Army stationed at Hong Kong. Geographically located at the meeting point of the Himalayan foothills and the Terai Plains, Dharan is a striking place for exploring the natural and cultural wonders of eastern part of Nepal.

Dharan
Dharan: Nepalese Hong Kong Offers Glimpses of Mt. Everest

Just 6 miles north from Dharan, Bedhetar provides the best viewpoints of all the Terai in its downwards and range of Himalayan peaks to its north. Further, Raja Rani Hill, just more than 12 miles from Dharan, also is a splendid viewing spot for Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Everest.

Visitors also may enjoy the misty hills and tea gardens of the nearby hill towns of Dhankuta and Hile which are 30 miles from Dharan. Basantapur, about 50 miles north east of Dharan treks depart to the base camp of Kanchenjunga (the third-highest mountain in the world). Other than hiking and trekking, adventurers may enjoy paragliding from Bedhetar and torrential rafting on the Kosi and Tamur rivers.

Dharan contains blending of cultures, races and castes, offering a diversity of cultural attractions. Further, the city contains more than 25 Hindu temples. The temples of Dantakali Panch Kanya, Buddha Subba, Pindeshwar and Shiva Jhata are most meaningful to visit, each featuring distinct architectural styles and history of pilgrimage. Also around the vicinity of Dhankuta, Hile offers impressive Tibetan temple, Urgay Namedo Chöling Gompa.

In short, Dharan (Nepalese Hong Kong) a magnificent meeting point of plains of Terai and Himalayan foothills developed with the contributions of ex-Gurkhas has impressive view of Himalayan range, melting point of cultural diversity and pilgrimage sites, and adventurous ventures to offer to the visitors.

Wonders of Nepal par excellence

With the innumerable gifts of nature, Nepal is full of wonders calmly appears to be in the state of solitude. The human words are miserable to fathom the depths of limitless wondrous mountain peaks, snow melting glaciers, and meditative pristine lakes found in the higher altitudes of Nepal.

Mount Everest

everestMount Everest (8,848) is wonder of nature which is beyond human words to describe. The highest peak on earth constitutes the beauty of the Himalayan range in Asia. The popularity and adventure of Mount Everest is beyond estimation from the fact that thousands and thousands of visitors dream to reach the top of the world. The climbers who undertake the heroic epic journey to the apex of Mount Everest touch the absolute joys of adventure unattainable to human beings.

Climbing Mount Everest is not a high probability for most people, but there is a better chance of trekking to the part of the mountain known as base camp. A trek to Mount Everest base camp will be an exhilarating adventure too.

Tilicho Lake

tilichoTilicho Lake is one of the rarest lakes in the world found in the highest altitude of the world. It is 4,949 m high in the Annapurna Himalayan range of Nepal. Due to the extremely inhospitable surroundings and the difficulties associated with reaching the area, Tilicho Lake is rarely visited by outsiders and even by domestic visitors.

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Tibet: The Pristine Holy Land

Tibet is considered to be the pristine holy land for visitors. Tibetan land, its people and culture are till date untouched by the influence of modernization even at the dawn of century of material quest. For international visitors, Tibet is an exotic land of treasure and riches, for its peculiar geographic features and unique natural beauties, featured with culture and characteristic of local residential customs.

Tibet, the roof of the world, is located on Tibet Plateau in the southwest frontier of China, with the height of over 4,000 meters. For centuries this mysterious land is locked with panoramic range of Himalayas. Tibet is without doubt one of the most remarkable place to visit in South Asian Region. Further Tibet offers fabulous monastery sights, breathtaking terrific high-altitude treks, and stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and some of the noblest people in the world.

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