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Courtright Reservoir Hiking

Courtright Reservoir Guided Hiking

Courtright Reservoir Guided Hiking
Courtright reservior guided hike

Almost in the exact center of the high Sierra National Forest is Courtright Reservoir. Courtright is located between Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. One of its most striking features is its massive granitic domes protruding around the lake. The other key feature of this area is the powder blue reservoir water. Ice Age glaciers sculpted much of the landscape while Helms Creek shaped the “V” shaped canyons to the south. There are some amazing hiking and horseback riding trails around the lake.

Guided Hikes and Horseback Rides

Unless special circumstances are present, such as a pandemic or snow, Courtright Reservoir can be visited from late May through the end of November. The elevation of the lake is at 8,182 ft above sea level (fasl). There are a few different trails you can go on. Each has its own unique qualities. This post identifies Maxson Trail and the trails leading to Mt. Goddard.

Maxson Trail

Courtright reservoir guided hike
A brief view of Maxson Dome

Maxson Dome is the most striking geologic feature in Courtright. It is what I originally connected with on my first visit to the area. It reminds me of kneading bread dough. The way the granite seems to fold in and onto its self like a wave at the beach, and its round smooth features make me think of bread. The Maxson Trail leads directly behind Maxson dome. This trail is relatively straight forward and through the forest.

The Maxson Trail starts on the East side of the lake just past the Helms Creek damn. It is an out and back hike with a round trip length of 8.6 miles. The elevation gain is about 900 ft. It is a moderate day hike that permits camping at Hobler Lake. The key features of this hike are the beautiful granitic Maxson Dome (9,456 ft), soothing forest trail, and Hobler Lake. This trail is also the beginning route of others, like the Mt. Goddard Trail.

You do not need a wilderness permit unless you are camping. Be aware that there is a sign that says you need a permit, but I checked the forest service website and it clarifies that it is regarding camping.

A large part of the Maxson Trail is through a rather uneventful forest. However, there are a lot of dead trees and hazard trees surrounding the trail. This can be very eventful in windy conditions. You will have limited views through the forest while hiking. The best part of the trail is the Hobler Lake at the end. There is also a branch of the trail that leads to the Maxson Dome. Unfortunately the Forest Service hasn’t maintained the trail and it is not obvious from the sign posting.

Hobler Lake
Hobler lake

Mt. Goddard Trail

Courtright Reservoir Guided Hiking
Sign splitting up the trail Post Corral leads to Mt. Goddard

Mount Goddard is one of the tallest mountains in the area. It is remote, and often described as “a beast of a mountain.” From its peak you can have unobstructed views of all the surrounding mountains in the Sierras and beyond, including Mt. Whitney. If you are feeling adventurous and bully, you only need to look at Mt. Goddard.

This round trip hike can take up to 5 days to complete. It is just under 50 miles round trip. It has a lot of similarities to the Everest Base Camp trek. It would be a great way to prepare for it, if you didn’t want to hike Mt. Whitney.

Some of the key features of this trail are its lakes, the Goddard Divide (a very neat canyon), the wilderness, and Mt. Goddard. The trail requires camping permits and is regulated by the forest service. In addition you need a class 2 cross- country permit to go on it.

On my way up the Maxson trail, I ran into two hikers getting back from Mt. Goddard. They were able to go up and back in 4 days. They were not able to summit the mountain, but they did make it to Martha Lake in the Goddard Divide. If you want to summit the mountain, It will take 5 days to complete the trail.

Courtright Reservoir Guided Hiking
Forest trail

Directions

The Goddard trailhead is just past Courtright Reservoir’s Helms Creek dam on the South East side of the lake. The trail leads North along the Maxson trail. Just before you arrive to Hobler Lake, about 4 miles, turn right at the split. Continue hiking for another 3.5 miles. You will pass Post Corral Creek and come to a junction where the you will stay to the East. The junction is where the North Fork trail leading up to the Kings River meets your trail. The Forest Service has not identified where the trail leads only the name of the trail, so be careful. The trail turns into Hell for Sure trail. You will then pass Fleming, Disappointment and Hell for Sure lakes. Just keep hiking until you reach Goddard Canyon Trail. Then hike along the San Joaquin River (cross-country) until you reach Martha Lake. Hike East to access Mt. Goddard for a South West approach.

Horses

There are a few pack stations near Courtright. Clyde Pack is probably the closest one, but they are a little expensive. they charge $50 for an hour. If you have the means and want to take a horse on the trail, I recommend bringing your own or borrowing a friends. It will probably take about 3 hours round trip on a horse to Hobler Lake.

For a full service pack trip, Clyde charges $700 per person, per day, with a minimum of 6 people for 5 days. That is a total minimum charge of $21,000.

Directions to Courtright

Directions to Courtright
Follow the trail

From Fresno, Take Highway 168 to Shaver Lake. Turn right onto Dinky Creek Road. Travel for 13.6 miles past Shaver Lake and make a right to cross over Dinky Creek. The sign says Courtright reservoir. If you miss the turn you will end up in the Sierra National Forest visitors entrance. After you make the right you will pass a forest service station. Keep going until you see the sign for Courtright reservoir. Make that left up the hill and you will then be in the Sierra Nevada forest.

What to Bring on Your Cortright Reservoir Guided Hiking Trip?

You will want to wear a comfortable pair of hiking boots. You can get by with regular tennis shoes, but your feet will be sore the following day. It is a good Idea to bring a day pack with snacks and water. A camelbak is an excellent choice for hiking. It is portable, easy to use, and can fit in a larger bag filled with snacks. The forest can bring about unexpected situations, which you could not plan for. For example windy events that cause trees to blow over. In such cases it is best to stop the hike and get to some place safe.

When is the Best Time to Go?

The short answer is any time you want. The long answer is it depends. The High Sierra mountains offer unique climates ranging from dry hot chaparral to frozen alpine. The Maxson Trail can be hiked from summer through fall. The Forest Service blocks the trail entrance in the winter and spring. I like the fall the best because the temperatures are more forgiving and you can see some of the fall forest colors.

Extras

 

Fishing is supposedly amazing at Courtright. I do not fish, so I can not speak from experience. There are also a lot of climbing rocks to top rope or free climb on. Every time Ive been to Courtright, Ive seen people fishing and climbing. I hear the fishing in Dinkey creek is also good. Whatever brings you to this paradise above 1 mile, you are sure to have a great time. If you come up, check out Courtright reservoir guided hiking trips!

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Healing with shamanism

Healing with shamanism

To heal and the healer: Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

We certainly live in a time of uncertainty. For a lot of us that means a higher degree of anxiety and fear of loosing what we’ve worked so hard to gain. These feelings are completely normal especially during a crises. Maestra Paloma Cervantes is a shaman at the Institute of Shamanism and Curanderismo. She has created online classes to help us use shamanism to heal our fear and anxiety. This article is a review of her free class.

(disclosure: I work with Paloma in organizing spiritual trips in Nepal. I am not receiving any compensation for this article.)

How do you prepare for Shamanic Healing?

Paloma starts the course by telling her students what they can expect from the course and what to do after they take the course. She begins with an organized teaching structure. she is composed, relaxed, happy, and powerful almost in a meditative state.

She asks her class to prepare their space before they begin the shamanic healing process. Preparation consists of getting comfortable, clearing their area of distractions and preying to your deity to remove all obstacles to healing. She invites you to prey to your ancestors, spirit guides, angels, and any gods or goddesses.

Paloma begins the class with an introduction of shamanic energy and spiritual healing.

The soul can be more powerful than any physical body. With care, people can harness the souls energy to heal their bodies. However, the power of spiritual healing is limited to the power of the body. Shamanic healing cannot take the place of emergency care or superscribed medications.

Paloma begins the healing session by bringing awareness to the signs and symptoms of anxiety and fear. She explains the feelings and how to recognize them.

The practitioner should know and understand their own body, its abilities, and limitations. After the identification of the emotion (fear or anxiety), Paloma recommends healing actions.

One activity Paloma recommends is crafting an Awakening the Healer in You jar. I am not going to spoil it for you, but it is fun, builds positive energy, drafts power, and I highly recommend it. It is great for handling stressful situations and PTSD.

As Paloma transitions from physical actions to take she conjures the most important element in spiritual healing. She shows you how to wake up your heart energy/ chakra. She shows you how to connect your energy to your soul and spirit.

She ends section 2 of her class with identifying acupressure points to touch or message. Pressing the physical points will calm your soul. You can see it working in the demonstration. For the Star Trek fans, you can see the Vulcan nerve pinch in action.

Section 3 of the class is involves meditation, breathing exercises, and prayer. You are supposed to stay awake during this part, but I cant help but to fall asleep. It is that good! the shamanic healing for stress and anxiety should be completed by the end of section 3. Your physical body should be completely relaxed without fear and anxiety at the end of the session.

What happens during a shamanic healing session

During a shamanic healing session you ground your body and your power while elevating your soul and connecting it to the spirit world. You identify your concerns and with the help of a shaman you find a way to remiss the concern through a shamanic practice.

the practice can be in the form of an elaborate ceremony lasting longer than 20 hours, or as simple as a walk around your neighborhood. Shamanic healing is extremely unique and tailored to the person, and situation, and shaman. The best way to find out what happens during a shamanic healing session is to attend one.

Paloma’s free online course is an excellent introduction into the world of shamanic healing.

Some indigenous cultures in North and South America use hallucinogenic plants to incite the spirit world. These plants are not used at the Institute of Shamanism and Curanderismo. Paloma does not permit the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other mind altering substances at her classes.

Sign up for a course

If you are even a little bit interested please sign up for one of her online classes.

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Yoga Retreat Nepal

Which Yoga Retreat in Nepal is the Best?

Yoga Retreat
Finding the right yoga studio can weigh heavily on your mind

 

Yoga and well being go hand in hand. It is all about harmonizing your body, mind, soul, and heart. Starting yoga for the physical practice is great, but it isn’t the best part. The best part of yoga is the lifestyle, and the comfort that comes from being the best version of yourself. Becoming physically fit is a welcomed side effect. Gaining muscle tone and becoming limber are part of the life style. It also involves eating right and detoxing your body with healthy eating practices. The Yoga Retreat in Nepal is available to get you out of your daily routine and reform your neuro-connections to favor your best version of you.

Nepal Yoga Retreat

The Nepal Yoga Retreat can be many things to many people. This is why it is completely customizable. If what you need is a yoga trek to the most beautiful mountains in Nepal, then that is what you will receive. If you need an old fashioned retreat in a lodge where you can detox and be pampered, then that is what you will receive. The best yoga retreat is the one that is right for you. You can request a special yoga practice in a private lesson with a private teacher. For those of us who want something special, but don’t quite know what it looks like, we can try the Yoga Studio Tour, or the Phewa Lake yoga retreat.

Phewa Lake Yoga Retreat

In my humble opinion Pokhara is the best city for retreats. It is centrally located with access to comfortable facilities. In one day, you can visit the foothills to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna Mountains, walk along the beach, go kayaking, meditate in a Buddhist monastery, and practice yoga. It is a little impacted with people during the busy season (September through November). The sparsely populated area just north of Pokhara is Sarankot. It is an excellent alternative with all the same luxuries.

My second choice for a yoga lake retreat is Rara Lake. It has a few hotels and is not frequently visited. If you want to get away from modern life and practice yoga in an isolated and pristine environment, this is for you. Full disclosure, I have not been to Rara Lake, but some of our guides have. This is their translated account: It is difficult with many hardships, but it is beautiful and clean.

Phewa Lake
Island temple in Phewa Lake

Kathmandu Valley Yoga Retreats

The Kathmandu valley has an extraordinary history worthy of a Hollywood movie production. In fact a few movies have been filmed in Hollywood. Dr. Strange and Everest are the two most recent productions. Watching these movies you catch a glimpse of the cultural context of the yoga retreats in Nepal. You can stay in an ashram and practice yoga. You can even live in one of the temples like Pashupatinath with sadhus. The architecture is amazing and definitely worth a visit.

Lalitpur Nepal is one of the best places to take yoga classes in the Kathmandu valley. It is historically named Patan and is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. It has multiple yoga studios and yoga lessons are offered in Patan Durbar Square. The Krishna mandir is one of the most famous shrines in Nepal.

kathmandu yoga retreat
Lets get those tangles out in a Kathmandu yoga studio

Yoga in Nepal

The exact history of yoga is unknown. The first written mention of it is in the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is one of four books of Hindu scripture. It was written around 1500 BCE in India. In the book it identifies yoga, “yogam” as a spiritual yoking. It does not relate to the physical exercise we know it as today. In this way yoga was brought to Nepal in scripture and religious practice. As of 2020, about 81% of Nepali people practice Hinduism.

Yoga became a physical practice around 1100 CE. Initially it was a type of seated hatha yoga and meditation for spiritual wellness. It had few standing poses.

Current yoga practice in Nepal is limited to a couple dozen studios in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The yoga philosophy of joining ones self with Hinduism is practiced by most people. You can find saddhus and yogi at Pashupatinath and at centers in Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you book a yoga retreat you can have a private retreat center anywhere in Nepal.

Yoga and Meditation

meditation
Peace and meditation

The physical process of yoga is a pathway for your body to rid itself of emotional and physical tension. The exercise prepares the body for stillness and the mind for concentration. This duality, concentration and relaxation, is important for achieving meditation. Once the union of mind and body is made, they become grounded (advaita). This grounding strengthens the balance of the body, mind, and senses.

Yoga meditation classes are available during a yoga retreat. Make sure you find the right studio and teacher. If you do not Know where to start, please contact us. You want to feel comfortable during your meditation and yoga sessions. The stronger the bond you have with your teacher and classmates, the more you will get out of your yoga class.

Best Yoga to Practice in Nepal

I recommend combining traditional asanas with hatha poses during your yoga retreat. This this style of yoga is most common in Nepal, and you are likely to find an excellent yoga teacher and studio for your practice. It will be a little bit more tricky but you can find a yoga teacher for most types of yoga at a yoga center. Be sure to call ahead to request the type of practice you would like to do. The following is a list of “basic” asanas I found on Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asanas)

downward dog, half lotus, bound angle, two-legged Kaundinya, one-legged headstand, reverse triangle, wide stance forward bend, supported headstand, reclining hero, wide-angle seated forward bend, upwards bow, extended side angle, inverted staff

nepali yoga studio tour
Asana yoga

Yoga Retreats

When picking your wellness retreats, you should keep a few things in mind. In general, you want to know what yoga style or yoga styles and techniques they offer. It is good to know how long each yoga session is. If you are interested in teacher training, ask to see about qualifications and accreditation.

Here is a list of some questions to ask and actions to take before you decide on a retreat:

Actions

Review their rankings on third party sites like google reviews and trip advisor

Make sure you have a few backups in case they overbook and you are left out.

Schedule your retreat through a tour operator. Studios are less likely to overbook you if your reservation is made through a tour operator like Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures.

Questions

Ask if they offer any special diets or detoxes like juice cleanses

Ask if they offer any spa treatments like massage

Ask if they mix their beginner classes with their advanced classes

Ask if they have what you are looking for, even if its not advertised. Be careful if it is a highly specialized training or item and they say “yes” without thinking about it.

Contact the retreat centers and inquire about their classes and facilities.

Ayurveda

yoga in nepal
Well being

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and well being. It can include yoga practices, breathing exercises, chanting mantras, meditation, body cleansing, natural herbal medicine, massages, and others. It originated in India and has spread around the world. You must pre-book a ayurvedic consultation at most studios. The high end studios and spas will have an ayurvedic healer on staff. He or she will be able to consult you on appropriate diets, cleanses, natural remedies, and treatments for many health issues.

Please note: ayurvedic treatment may not be an appropriate alternative to some illnesses. Please consult your doctor before pursuing ayurvedic treatment.

Incorporating ayurveda in a yogic lifestyle can have compounding health benefits. It is an excellent way to “yoke” healthy mutually beneficial behaviors together.

Namaste

Thank you for reading. Please contact me if you have any questions about any of the content.

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Yoga in Nepal

Top 10 Yoga Retreats in Nepal

yoga in nepal
Peace Corps friends doing yoga in Nepal

 

This article was written to inform people of what to expect from a Nepal yoga retreat. In general, these activities range from treks through the Himalayas to spa days with detox and internal reflection as a focus. Whichever type of yoga you are into, you can find it in Nepal.

Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure’s Yoga and Adventure Camp in Nepal

Our yoga and adventure camp provides classes while exploring nature. These courses are held outside and in full view of the Annapurna Mountain range. You can practice hatha yoga at the top of Poon Hill, or Tibetan yoga in Muktinath. The range and variety is dependent on your comfort and skill level. You can expect world class trekking with phenomenal mountain views and not to mention 3 outdoor classes a day.

1) Poon Hill Yoga Retreat

yoga in nepal
Sunrise yoga

 

This retreat combines a gentle hike to Poon Hill with rejuvenating yoga. Classes are held morning, afternoon and evening with striking views of the mountains. The goal of this retreat is to uplift and energize your energies while bringing balance to your system. Purna yoga is the focus of the trip while the mountains act as inspiration.

2) Australian Camp Yoga Retreat

The Australian Camp retreat is similar to the Poon Hill course but it is much milder. The hike is mild, but the yoga is pure. You will receive boundless amounts of hospitality on this retreat. It is perfect for smiles and poses. The view of the mountains from Australian Camp is distant. This retreat is perfect for internal awareness and getting away from crowds.

3) Annapurna Base Camp Yoga Retreat

This is a phenomenal trip for Hatha yogis. It combines world class hiking with yoga while utilizing the clean and fresh mountain air. The Annapurna Base Camp retreat uses the environment to enhance pranayama techniques while drawing energy from the incredible sights. The hiking day begins with asanas yoga to warm and limber the body while the pranayama conditions the spirit for the upcoming journey. Mid-day lessons focus on the body, while evening lessons are focused on spiritual well-being.

4) Annapurna Circuit Trek Yoga Retreat

yoga in nepal tour
Outside yoga

This is my favorite yoga retreat. Nepal has many outstanding areas to hike, but this one is so much more. It encompasses culture, art, temples, monasteries, history, Buddhism and Hinduism. This is a 120 mile long hike over 16 days.

Each day 3 lessons are provided. The type of yoga taught on the trek changes based on location. It begins with vinyasa flow and power while smoothly transitioning to hatha and meditation. When you reach the Tibetan plateau in Muktinath and Kagbeni you receive lessons in Tibetan yoga.

5) Pokhara Centers for Yoga and Meditation

pokhara classes
Studio

 

If you prefer a sedentary practice, I highly recommend the centers in Pokhara, Nepal. These centers have a full time and specialized yoga guru on staff. Many of the centers have phenomenal reviews and reputations, but please keep in mind that they are not completely westernized.

You can expect various yoga training and mantra chanting at the centers. Ayurvedic diets are provided at most centers.

6) Yoga Teacher Training Course in Pokhara Nepal

The best yoga class for your teaching credential can be found in Pokhara Nepal. The instruction at the facilities combines vedic wisdom in a healing atmosphere with the heart and soul of yoga practice. Two bonuses of taking the training course in Pokhara is Pokhara valley and Phewa lake.

7) Kathmandu Centers for Yoga and Meditation

yoga in nepal
Rooftop yoga

 

Nepal is amazing, and in many ways Kathmandu is Nepal. The Kathmandu valley holds an incredible amount of joy for yogis. The temples in Kathmandu are historic and beautiful areas to take a class. There are many Nepal yoga retreats that offer exercises in these ancient cities. Other centers offer are strictly inside due to the air pollution.

If you would like some help finding a center in Kathmandu, please contact us and we can find which one fits your needs. You might also want to try the studio tour. It is number 10 on this list.

8) Kathmandu Yoga Teacher Training

The Kathmandu valley is the home for teacher training classes. If you are looking for a teacher training course in Nepal, You will probably find it in Kathmandu. The first yoga retreats in the world were in Nepal. Yogis came from the northern states of India to Nepal during pilgrimage. When they did, they brought the practice to Nepal where they trained more yogis.

9) Yoga Philosophy Tour

If you venture far enough into its practice, you will find yogas’ purpose. It is more than an exercise. It is more than a stretch. It is to bring awareness of ones self into reality. It is part of orthodox Hinduism that teaches people how to improve their selves physically, mentally, spiritually. In this way the yogi reduces the distance from the heart to the mind.

On the philosophy tour, the primary objective is to learn and receive lessons about Hinduism while practicing with a yogi. These lessons are held at health centers, studios, and temples. They include ayurveda principles as well as naturopathy. They are intended to guide people on the path of self-healing and consciousness.

10) Yoga Studio Tour

yoga in Nepal
Studio in Kathmandu, Nepal

 

If you will be staying in Nepal and want to find a suitable studio to practice at, try the studio tour. This tour visits the different studios in Kathmandu and Pokhara. At each studio, you will receive a one lesson and tour the facilities. This is a great way to identify the “good” teachers and studios in an area.

Summary

Yoga retreats in Nepal are abundant. Most of them provide phenomenal services from experienced teachers. If you are having any issues finding the right facility, please contact us. We can find the right teacher and studio for you. We offer outstanding yoga treks and can recommend options to fit your needs. Kathmandu Nepal is a great area for philosophy while Pokhara Nepal is excellent for a western style retreat.

I highly recommend one of the adventure camps. Poon Hill is excellent for beginners, while the Annapurna Base Camp is a great place to work on your breath. Pokhara is great for relaxation, peace, and practices.

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Hand Weavers Tour of Nepal

Hand Weavers

hand weavers tour
Tibetan women weaving a throw in Nepal

Hand woven fabric and clothes are impressive. The amount of time, skill, and attention to detail it takes is awe-inspiring. In Nepal, it is a trade that is learned over the course of years. It involves harvesting natural fibers, dyeing, and spinning the threads into yarn, and finally weaving. This knowledge is passed down in intimate lessons from elders to young students through generations. The Textile Tour of Nepal visits these traditional weavers and explores this cottage industry.

History

Nepal’s history in the textile industry dates to around 3,000 BCE (best guess). At this time fabric was already being woven on looms and traded throughout the world. This trade predates the Silk Road by over 2000 years. At this stage in the industry weavers probably used a backstrap loom with available fibers like cotton, nettle, hemp, yak, and goat. The backstrap loom is still used in rural areas.

As the industry developed, people learned how to spin and dye yarn, and weave detailed and intricate patterns, like dhaka. It has become fashionable while remaining culturally significant.

dhaka scarf
Dhaka shawl

Natural Fibers

In Nepal, the entire weaving craft depends on natural fibers. I believe hemp, and nettle were used before trade routes started bringing in exotic products like silk, bamboo, and most recently polyester. Before these imports were introduced, cotton was imported from Egypt through India, yak was introduced from Tibet, and wool was imported from Pakistan.

Harvesting and Processing Fibers

Traditionally, groups of people will harvest the plants by hand. This could be painful if nettle is being harvested. First, the harvested stalks are allowed to dry. The outer layer of tissue “skin” is then separated from the plants in a process called retting. The skins of the plants are then peeled off. The fibers are then agitated to separate them from each other. The bunches of loose fibers are carded to prepare them for spinning.

Harvesting and processing is labor intensive and normally done by women.

handweavers tour of nepal
Women with hasiya cutting weeds

 

hand weavers tool
Hasiya with wooden scabbard and red scarf (photo credit Katie; Nepal 203)

Spinning Fibers into Yarn

Hand weavers and spinners turn the processed fibers into yarn using a spindle. Few people use or have access to spinning wheels. In Kathmandu factories make yarn with machines. Machine spun yarn creates a uniform product.

The carded fibers are wrapped around the spinners hands while he or she turns a drop spindle. A drop spindle is a dowel with a disk at the end. The end of the dowel closest to the disk has a hook to keep the yarn positioned above the spindle. It is normally made out of wood. Fibers are attached to dowel underneath the disk and looped under the hook.

The dowel is then twisted with one hand while the other manages the thickness of the threads being twisted into yarn. With this, fibers such as cotton threads can be turned into yarn for weaving.

textile tour of nepal
Tibetan women spinning yak hair

Dyeing

Fibers can be dyed before or after they are turned into yarn. They can even be dyed after they are turned into fabric. The dyeing process in Nepal is simple and most of the dyes are natural. Water is first boiled and color is added to it. Different colours can be combined to create the perfect combination of hue, value and saturation.

Material is added to the vat one unit at a time because most batches are small. The units are taken out and strained. They are then put in the sun to dry.

Weaving

Nepali weavers are as diverse as the styles that are represented in their textiles. These textiles are the palet for Himalayan culture. Ranging from Tibetan refugees in pokhara to the Limbu weavers in the Terai, the variety of art and patterns represented in cloth is amazing. Weaving is even different by geographical area. East Nepal has a more Indian spin where Western Nepal has more of an indigenous design.

Backstrap loom

The backstrap loom is surprisingly simple. It consists of 6 sticks one rope and one strap. It is very portable and can be set up almost anywhere. Like all looms it is limited on the size of cloth that can be woven. The strap goes around the man or women who is weaving. It is connected to a cross bar that holds the threads. A beater bar and two other rods hold the shed open and in place. The last bar holds the ends of the warp and is connected to a rope. the rope is looped around a sturdy object to make the warp taught. Dhaka cloth for garments and blankets are primarily woven on the backstrap loom in Nepal.

Dhaka weaving

Dhaka fabric was once only made in western Nepal, but because of its popularity, its production has spread internationally. Dhaka topi (hats) are very popular among Nepali men. The patterns range from simple to ornate with ostentatious designs. The patterns are generally geometric but can have swirls and chevrons. Dhaka clothing tends to be made from cotton, while the scarfs are normally silk.

Dhaka Topi
Dhaka Topi

Rugs

Most rugs in Nepal are made out of wool and cotton. I have only seen Tibetan women weaving rugs in settlement camps near Pokhara. They are woven with a traditional pattern, and spiritual, and coin designs. The women belong to women’s groups that support marginalized individuals within the community. The handweavers tour visits these production facilities and supports their work.

There is a collection of rugs for sale at the studio. They pair well with antique furniture and at a reasonably price.

Products

Weaving textiles like dhaka fabric and rugs provides income for marginalized women throughout Nepal. Many NGO’s have been created to help support women through the creation and sale of textile products. Carpets, rugs, apparel and fabrics can be found in Nepalese stores in Kathmandu and Pokhara. These goods are an expression of their lives, their country, and their passion. We hope you will visit them to learn how to hand weave rugs, dhaka, and other textiles in Nepal.

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Nepal Shamanism Tour

Nepal Shamanism Tour

Nepal shamanism tour
Blue shamanism spirit

Himalayan shamanism is as unique as each of the over 100 ethnic groups that live in Nepal. Many of the groups have their own form of shamanism, and culture surrounding spiritual healing. They all have a different process of spiritual healing along with different rituals they use to achieve a specific result or obtain guidance. Shamans are called Dhami Jhakri in Nepal. This article reviews shamanism in Nepal and how to learn from shamans on a Nepal Shamanism Tour.

The Nepal shamanism tour explores spiritualism and nature as we delve into ourselves, learning ancient rituals and preforming secret ceremonies. We visit sacred places to pay homage and strengthen our spiritual energy. We visit world heritage sites in Kathmandu and Lumbini and we receive one week of lessens from vetted shamans belonging to different tribes. We will be dhami jhakri at the end of the training. We also receive blessings from a Hindu priest in Pashupatinath temple. We stay in private accommodations.

The following information about Nepal shamanism is general and not meant to be comprehensive.

What is shamanism?

Shamanism is the connection between our inherent nature and the natural spirit of life inherent to all. Through shamanism, humans can strengthen their connection to nature and spirituality. It identifies the spirits of all plants, animals, and non-living elements such as earth, wind, fire, and water.

Rituals are preformed in shamanism that involve dancing, chanting, and wearing clothes and tools that protect the shaman from misbehaving spirits. The rituals and chants are often passed to an apprentice by an elder shaman. Chants or mantras can also be given to a shaman in a dream or while in the spirit world.

What is a shaman

A shaman is a spiritual healer. They can be male or female. They are considered priests and are often regarded as such. They enter the spirit world on a person’s behalf in order to heal the person’s spirit or perform rituals, which aid or guide spirits. In Nepal the rituals include energy healing, cutting the lines of fate, and others. They are mediators between the spirit world and the human world. On the Nepal Shamanism Tour these rituals are taught by experienced shamans.m

Nepali shamans have normal daily lives where they farm and take care of their animals. They often have families with kids that attend public schools. What makes shamans unique is their ability to connect to spirits and nature.

How old is shamanism

Scholars traced the origin of shamanism back at least 20,000 years; However, the earliest archeological record identifies the oldest burial to be more than 12,000 years old from the Czech Republic. Siberia is often credited as the heartland of shamanism.

A common misconception of shamanism is that it is a religion. It is not a religion. The shamanism tour in Nepal explores the difference between religion and spirituality while teaching rituals and visiting Buddhist and Hindu temples.

How are shamans chosen

Shamans can be chosen at a young age by their elders. The chosen kids or young adults often exhibit a connectedness or unique trait not normally found in the community. Shamans can also be chosen after having a near death experience where they make a report of the spirit world after dying. Reports of these accounts came from illnesses or poisoning, lightning strikes or natural disasters, and animal attacks.

Shamans can also be self-chosen. People having the natural or inherent connection to the spiritual world with an understanding of ecological processes may feel a calling towards shamanism. The “calling” may also be sudden and precipitous in the case of a vision or traumatic event, which throws the person into a spiritual state.

The shamans that are chosen for the Nepal shamanism tour have been screened and vetted through peer review and interviews.

Dangers of being a shaman

Most of the dangers of shamanism come from people’s misconceptions of what a shaman is and what he or she does. They are not soothsayers. They do not predict the future. They do not practice witchcraft or black magic. They cannot hurt people by casting spells on them. These misconceptions and others can lead people to attack shamans. The Salem Witch Trials are an example of what can happen as a result of others misconceptions.

Some of the misconceptions are attributed to “chicken shamans”. They are fake spiritual healers that mislead people for personal gain. These people are not connected to nature or spirituality.

There is no danger associated with being a shaman in Nepal. Nepali citizens are some of the most accepting people Ive met. On the Nepal Shamanism tour, you do not have to worry about being harassed for your beliefs. Until 20 to 30 years ago, Shamanism was used by a majority of Nepali people seeking treatment to health related issues.

How to Spot a Shaman

nepal shamanism tour
Shamans, a Hindu priest, and a tour guide at Pashupatinath Nepal

 

It is impossible to identify someone as a shaman based on the way they look. When trying to spot a shaman keep an open mind. They come from all types of backgrounds without limitation to race, gender, social class, wealth, sexual orientation and other factors. This is very evident on the shamanism tour in Nepal.

shamanism is a profession like a general practice doctor, but for spiritual conditions. Dhami jhakri will charge money for their services. Do not expect it for free. Unlike most medical doctors though they will not have and ego. Their focus is to help you develop your spiritual intuition.

Jhankri are clean and sober. Anyone who is under the influence and claiming to heal your spirit is not a true shaman.

A shaman will never cure you but guide you to your own ability to heal a spiritual bond. They are realistic about the help they provide.

Controlled Substances

Cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, opium, and hallucinogenic honey are the only controlled substances in Nepal. Please refrain from using these during your spiritual journey. These will only hinder your spiritual progress. The only place you will likely come across these is in Kathmandu.

Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu has sadhus, who routinely smoke cannabis. Outside of pashupatinath you might be approached by “street vendors” just ignore them and they will leave you alone. If you talk to them, they will not stop harassing you.

Shamanism Symbol in Nepal

Each culture has its own healing traditions. Himalayan shamans do not have a unified symbol that identifies Nepal shamanism because of the many different ethnic groups in Nepal. There are two religious items that are becoming popular symbols of shamanism. They are Shiva’s trident, and the dhyangro.

Dhyangro

The Dhyangro is essentially a Phurba with an attached drum. A Phurba is a Tibetan Bon Buddhism tool. It is a three-sided nail or knife representing “heroic power”. It is associated with the deity Vajrakila. Vajrakila is roughly translated as “the hard or mighty one.” The Dhyangro is only found in Nepal and is a symbol of Nepal shamanism.  They can be found in antique stores in Kathmandu Nepal and in Pokhara Nepal. New ones and special orders are also available.

Trishula

Trishula is Shiva’s trident. It is also held by the deity Durga.  The trishula is believed to be the tool Shiva used to cut off the head of his son Ganesh. The points on the trident represent the known trinities. They include creation, maintenance, and destruction; past, present, and future, body, mind, and soul…

The trident is a well-known symbol of Hinduism in Nepal. It is also becoming increasingly recognized as a symbol of Nepali shamanism. Hinduism in Nepal tends to absorb other spiritual practices such as Buddhism and present it as one.

Other symbols include Melong mirrors/ aina, japamala (beaded neckless), masks, and feathers. Melong mirrors or Aina are polished brass discs worn by shamans to reflect the spirits bad deeds.

shamanism tour in nepal
Masks are used in rituals when visiting the spirit world

Nepal Shamanism Tour

The shamanism tour in Nepal brings the spirituality of Tibet, Bhutan, India and Nepal into one location. True dhami jakris are invited from different ethnic groups from around Nepal to teach their process of spiritual healing in Pokhara. This tour visits monasteries, sacred caves, shrines, stupas and temples including Pashupatinath temple. The shamanism tour also visits temples in Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Buddha and the monasteries and temples dedicated to him..

This tour in Nepal provides accommodation with western style amenities. During the lessons jhankri and students will live side by side while learning. In our training room, each shaman gives a demonstration on a ritual then provides instructions on how to perform the technique while monitoring your spiritual health. Our staging locations in Kathmandu and Pokhara are at a low altitude but close to the Himalayas for amazing mountain views and short trips to spiritually dense locations. Any person with any fitness level can join this tour.

It is a misconception that to visit Nepal people need to be fit or be hikers. To visit Nepal and learn from the local shamans the only thing that you need to have is an open heart and good intentions because the shamans will do an evaluation of your intention and abilities for these teachings. They will help you to discover what you need to “fix” in your life in order to become a practitioner of Nepali shamanism. Usually after the ceremony of evaluation it follows next day a ceremony of spiritual healing and fixing what the prospect students need in order to receive the teachings

The Nepal Shamanism Tour guarantees a healthy and safe learning experience from true Nepali shamans. The classes are in Nepali and translated into English.  Only a small group size can receive the training because the shaman can provide focused attention. The classes are held in a safe environment for westerners where the focus is clean healthy food, beds or accommodations.

Cost

The cost of the Shamanism tour in Nepal is $3,200 through Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure. The cost includes everything once you arrive in Nepal. All your transportation by land and air, meals, hotels, bilingual guide, tips, training with shamans, entrance fees to monasteries, and world heritage sites, a Hindu blessing ceremony, a welcoming flower garland and a goodbye surprise gift to remember Nepal. The tour does not include extra meals, drinks, souvenirs, spiritual tools, or anything acquired while shopping. Please bring extra money for anything you want to purchase that is not included on the trip.

Shamanism Tour in Nepal Itinerary

On the first day of the shamanism tour in Nepal Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures picks you up from the airport in Kathmandu Nepal. We take a rest day in Kathmandu and go on a walking tour of Thamel for shopping and food. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure treats its guests to a welcome dinner the first night. The following day we fly to Pokhara where we settle into our rooms and meet the shamans. We make introductions and start the classes. Classes continue for 6 more days. On the 9th day we fly to Lumbini where we tour sacred sites and stay in a temple for 3 nights. On the 12th day we return to Kathmandu and continue the shamanism tour in Nepal by visiting Boudhanath stupa and Pashupatinath. In Pashupatinath we receive a blessing from a Hindu priest.  The shamanism tour concludes in Kathmandu on the 14th day.

The trip can be extended into a hiking tour to Poon Hill. Poon Hill is an excellent destination to reflect on the shamanism tour. It is a mountain retreat with close up views of the Annapurna mountain range.

What to bring

Here is a list of things you will need on a Nepal Shamanism Tour. You will need a current passport, a visa, which is obtained at the airport, comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, dust/face mask, and toothbrush and paste. You do not need to bring any spiritual tools. They will be provided on loan during the training

 

 

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A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MT. KANGTEGA

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MT. KANGTEGA

Kangtega and esatern ridge
Kangtega and eastern ridge leading to Thamserku

Nepal is blessed with countless peaks that welcome all who hunger for adventure. Among the thousands of mountains located in Northern Nepal, Kangtega is the only saddle shaped mountain.

Kangtega the Snow Saddle

Kangteg is also known as the Snow Saddle because it translates to “snow saddle” in the Sherpa language. Kangtenga was named after the slight depression in its peak which, when viewed from Tengboche, resembles a Tibetan saddle.

Location

Mt. Kangtega is one of the main peaks in the Khumbu region of Nepal. However, it is located outside the Sagarmatha National Park. This majestic mountain, just like Mt. Thamserku, sits between the Khumbu and Hinku Valleys. It sits east of Namche and south east of Tengboche.

First View

You can have prominent views of Kangtega from above Namche Village, in Khumjung, and along the Everest Base Camp Trek to Tengboche.

kangtega and Thamserku
Kangtega and Thamserku, from Khumjung monastery

Height

The mountain’s highest point is 6,782 m (22,251 ft) high. If you were to guess its second highest point as 22,250 ft, you would be wrong! Its 22,250.9 ft. all joking aside, the saddle portion of the mountain is lower in elevation. The highest peak is 6,618 m (21,712ft) and its other summit is 6,425 m (21,079 ft).

Climbing

In 1963, Mt. Kangtega was first surmounted by David Dornan, Tom Frost, Michael Gill and Jim Wilson on an expedition preceded over by the famous Edmund Hilary. Ever since this first expedition, mountaineers have come with the sole aim of conquering Kangtega, and many have succeeded.

From 1963 to 2001 there are 28 known successful summits of Kangtega. The most successful attempts have come from the Northern side

Like many of the mountains in its region, Mt. Kangtega peak climbing expeditions are considered technical climbing ventures. It is only suitable for those with adequate experience and experienced guides.

Kangtega peak climbing
Kangtega peak climbing by year. (The list was generated from information from the Alpine Club.)

Best Time to Climb

The best months to go on a Kangtega trip are April and May (during springtime).

Itinerary

After arriving in Kathmandu, you will fly to Lukla. Next, you trek From Lukla to Phakding and then to Namche Bazaar.  You will then acclimate in Khumjung. The following day you trek to Kangtega base camp.

It takes about 1 week to arrive at the south base camp through the Hinku Glaycer route. It is located at the foot of the Kangtega Ice Fall. The Ice fall closely resembles the Khumbu Ice Fall of Everest. This ice fall is very dangerous and extreme safety precautions should be followed.

While the Ice Fall route seems like the most obvious way up this mountain, it is advisable to go for the rock face that leads to the ridge at an elevation of about 6,070 m (19,914 ft). Then descend by rope for some 70 m. This is in order to get to the top of the Ice Fall so that potential hazards are avoided.

Other routes with a high summit to fail ratio have been on the north face, and north west face of the mountain. These are more challenging but safer.

The base camp precedes steep, snowy slopes, constricted crevasses and ice falls. But for those who make it to the top of Kangtega, there is the natural reward of the stunning views of surrounding peaks, including Thamserku, and Kusum Kanguru, and the awesome landscapes of the valleys.

Kangtega and Maneki Neko
I think Kangtega looks like Maneki Neko wishing you good luck on your Trek. (My friends disagree with the comparison)

Time Required

From base camp to base camp the climb takes about 10 days. The whole trip can take up to a month depending on weather conditions.

After summiting the Kangtega, the climbing party can retrace its steps back to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu from where homeward flights can be taken. A well planned Kangtega expedition, including trekking and climbing to the summit, should span about a month.

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Dudh Koshi River

Dudh Koshi River

Dudh Kosi River
The Dudh Kosi River in Nepal

The Dudh Koshi River is in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. It originates from the southern slopes of Mount Everest. This frothy, white and extremely cold river rushes down the Khumbu valley. From the southern slopes, it joins the Sun Kosi River in Lekhani, Nepal and then the Ganges River on its southeastern journey through India.

The Dudh Kosi is famous among daring trekkers and thrill-seeking kayakers. Those on the popular Everest Base camp trek will first see it flying into Lukla and again along the trail through Sagarmatha National Park. It is a popular destination for avid kayakers and rafters who love white water rafting and paddling.

Where does Dudh Koshi River get its name

In Nepali, “Dudh Kosi” means “milk river.” Its milky opaqueness comes from dissolved minerals from the mountains and turbulence. Its rapid class ranges from IV to VI.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Dudh Kosi is during the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November). In summer the river can experience flash floods. In the winter it is very cold.

https://mynepaltrek.com/product/everest-base-camp-trek/
Dudh Koshi River, Day 2 of the Everest Base Camp trek, Nepal

Wow to Get to the River

Once you reach Kathmandu International airport, Fly to Lukla. From Lukla, start walking up to Namche Bazaar along on the Everest Base Camp trail. On the way, you will encounter Kayaking spots and plenty of mountain views. The trail follows the river north. On your second day of walking you will cross over the Dudh Kosi river on the Hillary Bridge (Namche Bridge) after the Bhote Khoshi river tribitary.

Namche bridge above the Dudh Koshi river and prayer flags
Namche bridge above the Dudh Koshi river, just before Namche Bazaar in Nepal

How long is Dudh Kosi River

Dudh Kosi River is about 90 km (56 mi) long and drains about 60,000 km (37,282 mi) of the area’s basin. About one third of eastern Nepal and parts of Tibet drain into this river system. Dudh Kosi river is about 48 km (30 mi) north of the India-Nepal border. Dudh Kosi River meets with several major tributaries and heads south through the narrow Chatra Gorge’s Siwālik Hills.

Tributaries

Dudh Kosi river is one of the most dynamic rivers found in the world. Its tributaries are also identified as having a dynamic nature. There are many tributaries flowing into Dudh Kosi River. Spaning from Lukla to EBC They are: Chhusema River, Kyashar River, Phakding River, Nagbuwa River, Manja River, Bhote Koshi River, Panchoche River, Kohanar River, Phute River, Phungi River, and Imja River. These are the tributaries along the EBC trek. Many more exist along the length of the river.

Dudh Koshi River and Amadablam
Dudh Koshi River and Ama Dablam in Nepal

Sun Koshi Tributary and Koshi River

The Dudh Koshi feeds into the Sun Koshi River east of Lekhani, Nepal. The Sun Koshi is another excellent river for white water rafting. The Sun Koshi extends from Tibet through Nepal and into India. It is 270 km (167 mi) long. It is also a major tributary of the Koshi River. The Koshi River flows a total distance of about 736 km (457 mi) and meets the Ganges River near Kurusela in India.

The Dudh Koshi, named after the color of its water, is a 56-mile-long river flowing from Northern Nepal to the plains in the south. It features class IV, V, and VI rapids along the Everest Base Camp Trekking trail. It is best visited in the spring and autumn because the summer monsoon can cause flash floods along the river. Winters can be extremely cold and the water level very low. The best views are from the Hillary Bridge below Namche Bazaar on the Everest Base Camp trek.

 

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Thamserku

Thamserku

raptor and Thamserku
Bird of prey below Thamserku near Namche Bazaar.

On a climbing expedition to Thamserku, you can be sure of catching amazing views of Mt. Everest, Kusum Kanguru, Kangtega are many others. In addition to the stunning mountains, you can see beautiful and lush valley landscapes of the Khumbu region. You will also experience Tibetan Sherpa culture. The priceless scenery is reward enough for the bravery that it takes to embark on such an adventure.

Location

Thamserku is located south east of Namche Bazaar. It is first seen on day 2 of the Everest Base Camp trek. The best view is obtained on day 3 when you acclimate to the elevation in Namche Bazaar.

Thamserku
Thamserku, from Khumjung monastery. (the lower peak is Kangtega)

Height

In the epic Himalayan region of eastern Nepal stands the majestic Mt. Thamserku. A 6,623-meter high (21,729 ft). Thamserku is connected to Kangtega through an eastern ridge. Kangtega further connects to Kyashar via a southern ridge. This ridge then connects with Kusum Kanguru through a western running ridge.

Kangtega and esatern ridge
Kangtega and eastern ridge leading to Thamserku

Climbing Difficulty

Owing to its steep and snowy slopes, the climb to the summit is rated as a highly difficult, and technical. Though the mountain isn’t exceedingly tall, reaching the peak remains a major mountaineering accomplishment. The expedition requires the involvement of well-trained climbers brimming with experience and sound physical fitness. A successful summit needs the forethought and planning of a mountaineering company.

 

Thamserku
Thamserku and Kangtega

Who was the First to Summit

Mt. Thamserku was first surmounted on its south face in 1964 by Lynn Crawford, Peter Farell, John McKinnon and Richard Stewart. Since then, no one has entirely retraced their route.  But in 2014, Alexander Gukov and Alexey Lonchinskiy reached the summit taking the southwest face. Six camps are essential during this trekking and climbing adventure, and the best months for the expedition here are April and May.

Kususm Kanguru
Thamserku, Kangtega, and Kusum Kanguru

Itinerary

From Kathmandu, Nepal we fly to Lukla. From here, we begin trekking to Phakding. It takes about 4 hours. On day 2 we trek to Namche Bazaar and acclimate. It takes about 5 hours to trek to Namche. On our acclimation day we hike up to Khumjung. After we are acclimated, we trek down the north side of Kumjung to Phunke Tenga. we continue trekking up to 3,660 m (12,000 ft). We finish trekking when we reach base camp.  We begin our climb surrounded by mountains. Our guides set up 6 camps along the north face. We spend the next 19 days making our way to the summit, and back down to Thamserku Base Camp. After we arrive at the bottom of the mountain, we begin trekking again. We trek for another 2 days, stopping in Phakding, and Lukla. Our trek ends in Lukla with memorable experience.

A well-coordinated team can complete this trip including surmounting Mt. Thamserku with an itinerary spanning about a month. Completing a trekking and climbing expedition as challenging as the Thamserku excursion is, no doubt, an adventure and a lifetime experience.

 

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Kusum Kanguru

Kusum Kanguru

"The 3 Snow Gods"
Kusum Kanguru
A view of Kususm from Thado Koshi village

Kusum Kanguru is located in the Hinku Valley on the Everest Base Camp trek. It is the first major peak you will see after landing in Lulka. It is also an excellent choice for difficult and technical peak climbing. Kusum is one of the most difficult peaks to climb under 7,000 m (22,965 ft) in Nepal. It maintains a thick covering of snow all year long on its 3 co-dominant peaks. Reaching the peak is a rewarding mountaineering experience because you have panoramic views of Kyashar, Kangtega, Thamserku, Malangphulang, Peak 41, Junku, Kongde Ri, Ama Dablam, Namche village, among other beautiful sights.

Why is Kusum Kanguru called “3 Snow-White Gods”?

Kusum Kanguru’s name means Three Snow-White Gods in Sherpa. It is named after the 3 peaks on the main summit. The name originates from Tibetan and Sherpa Buddhism. The traditional belief is that Buddhist divinities, in this case three snow-white gods, live in every mountain, forest, and cave.

They believe the gods have to be respected and appeased through rituals performed by lamas (Buddhist priests). If you do decide to go peak climbing, Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure will invite a lama to perform the ritual for a safe climb.

Folk lore tells a story of how the three snow white gods separate the East and the West by forming the border between the Dudh Khosi river and the Hinku Valley. The snow-white gods look over the area and protect it.

Who was the first person to climb Kusum Kanguru?

Kusum Kanguru was first climbed by a Japanese expedition in 1979. After four historically unsuccessful summit attempts by the British, a Japanese team headed by Ken Kanazawa reached the north-eastern summit of Kusum Kanguru peak on 9 October 1979. They met one of the three snow-white gods.

Kusum Kanguru
The west peak of Kusum

 Where is Kusum Kanguru located?

Kusum Kanguru is a Himalayan Mountain in Nepal’s Khumbu Region. Kusum Kanguru’s Kyashar Himal ridge, which runs from the North to the South of Kusum, forms the border between the Dudh Khosi river and east Hinku Valley. The mountain is the leading source of the Kusum Khola (or Thado Koshi Khola) that flows from the south summit westward to merge with the Dudh Khosi River at Thado Koshi village. You get your first view of Kusum Kanguru from Thado Koshi village.

How tall is Kusum Kanguru?

The main summit of Kusum Kanguru reaches an altitude of 6,367 meters (20,889 ft). The mountain is classified as a trekking peak, and is considered to be one of the most difficult to climb.

Its base camp is located off of the Kyashar Kola (on the north side), below the Thamserku Trekking trail. The trail leads to Thamserku base camp. Kusum Kanguru’s base camp is at an elevation of 4,440 m (14,566 ft). The first and second camps are at 5,400 m (17,716 ft)and 5,880 m (19,291 ft).

The western summit is at an elevation of 5,579 m (18,303 ft). The Eastern Summit is just a little taller at 6,356 m (20,853 ft)

Kusum Kanguru Climbing Peak Route

There are 3 routes on the north face of three snow-white gods. The routes begin at Monjo and follow the Kusum Kanguru trekking trail, which branches below the Thamserku trail. The trail ends at Kusum base camp above Khyshar Kola and above Kyshar Glaycer. From here the trail branches into 3 parts. It takes 2 to 3 days to get to north base camp.

  • The eastern trail leads to the ridge below Kyashar. Then continues to the east summit.
  • The middle trail leads south east then hooks south west. It terminates at the main peak.
  • The western trail leads south to the main summit.

Camp 1 and Camp 2 can be taken anywhere on the mountain.

  • The route on the south face begins in Hinku Valley where base camp is located at the base of the mountain. On this trail you can reach base camp in about 5 days.
Kususm Kanguru
North face of Kusum Kanguru

 

Final Thoughts

Kusum Kanguru Peak Climbing is an amazing mountaineering experience. It explores Sherpa culture and life at elevation. In addition peak climbing in the Hinku Valley of Nepal is just beyond words.

If you Enjoy tall mountains, Nepal, hiking, or just a fan of Kusum. Please join us on this adventure.

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RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF CANNABIS IN NEPAL

Religious Significance of Cannabis in Nepal

yogis and sadhus
Sadhu at a closed temple in Kathmandu Dubar Square

Nepal bears a long and significant history of cannabis use.  For centuries marijuana has been cultivated and has grown wild.  It’s been used for its psychoactive as well as its medicinal properties.  However, the most important aspect of Cannabis is the religious significance of Cannabis in Nepal. Since the beginning of Hinduism, about 2300 B.C., spiritual people have been consuming Cannabis as an act of worship.

It was so embodied in the culture and way of life that the government of Nepal sold hash out of brick and mortar stores. Nepali charas (finger hashish) became very popular in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Legal hashish shops were all over Nepal until 1973 when cannabis was declared illegal. After the ban, the law was rarely enforced. When it was enforced, it was for political motives. There are exceptions to the ban too. This is due to the religious significance of Cannabis in Nepal.

HINDUISM AND CANNABIS

Most of the people in Nepal (over 80%) follow the Hindu religion. The pujari (Hindu priests) and the dreadlocked sadhus (holy men) maintain an unofficial exemption from the Cannabis ban. Their spiritual rights to cannabis are generally upheld and respected. Sadhus often use cannabis to aid their meditation, imitating Shiva, the god they worship.

Cannabis is usually consumed at religious festivals like those in honor of Lord Shiva. He is one of the three major Hindu gods. The others being Vishnu and Brahma. Shiva is known to be fond of marijuana and the holy men devoted to his worship are also inadvertently devoted to the consumption of cannabis.

RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF CANNABIS IN MAHA SHIVARATRI

Maha Shivaratri marks the day Shiva rescued the universe from darkness and took the goddess Parvati as his wife. It is celebrated at night (ratri). The celebration is normally intended to be introspective with meditation on one’s self and Shiva. It is also characterized by the consumption of Cannabis.

During Maha Shivaratri (The Great Night of Shiva), groups of dreadlocked Hindu holy men (sadhu’s) sit around bonfires at Hindu temples, and smoke hashish through clay pipes. Sights like this can be observed at the holiest Hindu temple, Pashupatinath, located in Kathmandu.

Hindu holy people and devotees travel from all over India and Nepal for the festival. Ahead of the holiday, they lounge and pray at the temple to commune with Shiva as well as smoke hashish. Both actions are regarded as symbols of religious devotion to Shiva because he used marijuana to relieve pain, for relaxation, and to focus in his meditation.

Sadhus share their marijuana with those devotees and worshipers who care to indulge and will often offer a smoke to anybody willing on normal days. While temple authorities currently claim to be clamping down on cannabis use, it is considered acceptable during the holiday which takes place in February or March, based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar. The celebration lasts for 10 days.

Pashupatinath by the Bagmati River
Pashupatinath by the Bagmati River

CANNABIS IN NEPAL

Owing to its religious significance, cannabis remains a highly celebrated substance in Nepal. Hinduism and the love for Shiva fuels people’s desire for cannabis consumption. And due to its many applications as a food source and as a textile many Nepalis can never truly view it as unlawful.

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Cannabis In Nepal

Cannabis in Nepal

Cannabis Tour in Nepal
Cannabis garden on a major trekking route

Marijuana and hemp are hugely accessible in Nepal. Cannabis grows naturally in fields, along roads, and is cultivated. I have found myself mesmerized by the natural beauty of the Himalayan Mountains, only to realize later I was standing next to some Cannabis plants. The beautiful thing about Cannabis in Nepal is that it has such a rich cultural heritage.

A Little History On Cannabis In Nepal

Nepal has a long association with marijuana. Since ancient times, people used it on the farm to feed animals, for recreational use, as well as medicinal purposes, and for spiritual worship.

Genetic Diversity and Origins

Cannabis originated in Central Asia, probably in or around Mongolia or southern Siberia in 10,000 BC. From there it was traded, farmed, and became naturalized in southern Asia, middle east and rest of the world. It is believed to have been introduced into Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal around 2,000 BC.

During this time many genetic variations developed. Landraces became adapted to Himalayan as well as southern tropical climates. We now have strains named after their geographical region such as Hindu Kush, and Baglung.

Cultural Acceptance

Another very important development was occurring in India at the same time Cannabis was being introduced. It was the creation of Hinduism. To put it in perspective, it is one of the oldest religions in the world. Cannabis is referenced multiple times in the Vedas. One of my favorite religious stories involves cannabis.

The Samudra Manthan tells the story about how the Hindu Gods nearly destroyed all of creation by stirring the ocean with a venomous snake god. If you’re thinking “that sounds carzy!” You’re right, it is, and I don’t completely understand it either.

While they were stirring the ocean, the snake released its venom, which threatened all life on earth. A God named Shiva quickly came and drank the poison but kept it in his throat. The Poison Turned him blue and caused him great pain. To deal with the pain he smokes cannabis.

Cannabis is still used to relieve pain in Nepal and India. It is also used for feeding livestock, making textile products such as baskets, paper, and cloths, and the seeds are ground into a past that is eaten as a garnish with certain foods.

The Price of Cannabis in Nepal

Getting cannabis may have become a little more difficult as compared to old times. However, enthusiasm remains high for the better. As more and more tourists are seeking to get that Nirvana experience, getting the chance to smoke cannabis is increasing. This makes Nepal one of the ideal places for advocating “Cannabis for the Culture” motto.

Interestingly, you can get a chance for a puff or two from the sadhus sitting at the temples.

You can get it for free growing in fields and along roads. But please do not harvest a farmer’s plant without his or her permission. Farmers may charge you $1 or $2 for a handful of uncut flowers.

A bhang lassi will cost $2 to $3 dollars in Pokhara. Bhang is the Indian word for hash. When it is added to the lassi drink, it makes the experience uplifting.

Cannabis Strains in Nepal

Nepal is among the few nations across the globe to provide a home for cannabis landraces. The country has an old history of marijuana consumption for recreational and medicinal use.

Although Cannabis is officially illegal in Nepal, one can find many popular strains of Cannabis in Kathmandu as well as other popular places through many distributors and sellers. Moreover, cannabis is legal on special occasions, such as the Shivaratri Festival.

Cannabis landraces bred into Strains

Many of the Nepali landraces were selected for the sativa uplifting qualities, for their growth habit, or early maturity. These strains were bred with other cultivars to produce muddled crosses. Some of them include

  1. Nepali OG
  2. Nepalese Jam
  3. Nepal Gold
  4. Nepali Queen
  5. Hytiva Nepalese Dragon
  6. Cannason Nepal, and others.

None of which, in my opinion, are as good as the originals.

Hemp Plants and Fiber

Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world and has been used by Nepalese to make fabric for years. Natural pure hemp yarn from the Himalayan regions of Nepal is used to make cloths, rugs, and other fabrics. After harvest, the stems are soaked in water for about 20 days. After the required period, the tender bark is detached from the plant, smoked directly above a fire, and then boiled in ash water. Finally, fine strips are separated from the bark by hand.

You can find a variety of products, including hemp clothing, hemp Laptop Bags and hemp backpack in a variety of colours and designs. These products are available throughout Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you are interested in the process, our textile tour might be something to investigate.

Conclusion

If you like marijuana and enjoy incredible mountain views along with ancient cultures, then a Himalayan Cannabis Tour is a must for you.

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Cannabis Tour of Nepal

CANNABIS TOUR OF NEPAL

Cannabis tour of Nepal
Cannabis field

Formerly popular as a paradise for hippies, Nepal has changed a lot since the 60’s but remains a home for the cultivation, sales and distribution of Cannabis. It one of the world’s most weed-friendly countries although officially illegal. Similar to Amsterdam, but without the cost, the Cannabis tour of Nepal will leave you in high spirits.

“Smoke?” “Hashish?” These are common phrases in Thamel, even after marijuana was officially declared illegal in 1973. After it became illegal farmers officially protested declaring that it is an important feed for their farm animals.

The religious and spiritual uses of cannabis by the dread-locked Sadhus, and the Maha Shivaratri festival, and many other reasons have allowed Individuals to continue to “freely” indulge in the use of cannabis.

There are no signboards advertising its availability, only street merchants aggressively demanding you to buy their products. Unfortunately, street venders may lace their hash balls with opium. It was actually sold that way in the 60’s. Thankfully you do not need to look far to get a great tour with honest service in Nepal.

WHERE TO GET HASH IN POKHARA

Aside being one of the best locations in the world for paragliding, Pokhara is also known by many as a dream city for good quality marijuana. Hashish, or hash, as it’s popularly called, remains the most commonplace drug in Nepal. It is made from the resin of the cannabis plant and normally consumed by smoking small pieces at a time pipes, chillums, or joints, or simply ingested orally.

If you’re wondering where to get hash in Pokhara, you can get it from the locals in the city center – high quality, pollen hashish, hand-beaten from plants locally grown in gardens in Pokhara and in the surrounding mountains and brought to Pokhara.

Pokhara is also known to be the cleanest city in Nepal, so it’s a breath of fresh air… mixed with good weed.

BHANG LASSI IN POKHARA

There is a secret restaurant on the edge of town that offers a drink called bhang lassi. It is a mixture of yogurt, water, spices, milk, and Cannabis. Essentially it is a Cannabis milkshake without ice cream. It can be ordered in strong, medium, and lite.

Trust me… It’s good! I tried the lite and for 3 hours I couldn’t stop giggling. I felt light and breezy, like bubbles. It was a lot of fun.

Though not readily found in local stores, if you ask your tour guide, you’ll be sure to locate the areas where you can find bhanng lassi in Pokhara. You are likely to find it in the small restaurants on the north side of the lake.

NEPALESE FINGER HASH

Cannabis Tour in Nepal
Juvenile Cannabis garden on a major trekking route

At the end of the growing season, Cannabis farmers separate the cannabis seeds from the flowers. During this process thick layers of waxy, sticky resins and trichomes bind to the farmers fingers and hands. It is then rubbed into balls or noodles and collected. This is the first rub and is generally considered the best because it contains much higher levels of THC and other cannabinoids. It is, therefore, highly sought after.

Nepalese finger hash although not technically finger hash, is also made by rubbing cannabis plant material through various screens to separate the resin glands from the flowers. This is collected and formed into hashish sticks.

ROLLING TOBACCO, KATHMANDU

It is generally believed that rolling your own tobacco is the best way to smoke. In the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, there are several brands of rolling tobacco available, both local and foreign.

While some complain that the quality of foreign tobacco available in Kathmandu is comparatively low, especially considering how costly it comes, you may want to consider exploring local brands. Local rolling tobacco in Kathmandu comes different forms including bidi, hookah and kakkad, while foreign brands available include Drum, Golden Virginia and Samson, amidst appeals for a smoke-free Kathmandu.

Though most Nepalese men consume some form of tobacco they will often hide it from everyone except their closest friends. This however is not the case for sadhus.

Sadhus smoke hash mixed with rolling tobacco out of a chillum. They will smoke openly in and around temples, especially in Pashupatinath.

This Practice is not only tolerated but also accepted because it is part of their religious practices.

CAUTIONS

Whatever you do in Nepal, please use caution and consider safety first. Be careful of adulterated cannabis products and the people who might try to take advantage of you.

The best way to avoid these issues is to not seek them out and refuse any offers. But if you must, please do so responsibly. This may include hiring a guide or making friends with a local. You can also just go on a trek. But please do not harvest the farmers flowers without permission. Below is a video of a guy coming across a wild growing Cannabis plant.

 

 

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The Ultimate Poon Hill Trek Guide

 The Ultimate Poon Hill Trek Guide

4 day trek to poon hill
Annapurna 1 from Poon Hill

Table of Contents

  1. Poon Hill Trek
  2. Packing list for Poon Hill trek
  3. Poon Hill Trek Difficulty
  4. Poon Hill Trek Cost
  5. Poon Hill Trek Guide (6 Days Poon Hill Itinerary)

 

Are you considering your next family vacation to be in Nepal? Or do you love hiking but hate high altitudes? Perhaps you are visiting Nepal and want to go on a trek, but don’t have a lot of time. Nepal’s Poon Hill trek can accommodate all scenarios. This trek is a micro-version of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek and the Langtang Trek. The Poon Hill Trek is also known as the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, because Ghorepani is a 15-minute hike to Poon Hill.

Bennifits of going

The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is a short and economical trek suitable for beginners, family groups, solo hikers, and female hikers. It doesn’t require a high degree of fitness or skill. And one of the nicest things about the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, is that there are plenty of facilities to stay in. The trek also requires less time to complete making it ideal for short vacations. And the highest elevation reached on the trek is only 10,531 ft!

The Poon Hill Trek is the best option to get sweeping panorama views of amazing, highly coveted mountains. The breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains, and the immaculate scenery will make you fall in love at first sight. At least for me it was.

This trek is also perfect for photographers, because it has views of Annapurna I, II, III, and IV, Lamjung Himal, the Dhaulagiri range, Mt. Manaslu, Gangapurna and many other 22,965+ tall peaks too. Did I mention the sun rises over the Annapurnas are world famous?

The Poon hill trek is famous for its mesmerizing views of sunrises over the Annapurna range. You can watch the white snow capped mountains change color, from a cold blue hue to magnetic oranges and reds. You will fall in love with its magical beauty. The trail could be Disney’s inspiration for his many fairy tales. The trail passes through Rhododendron forests, beautiful paddy meadows, and terraced slopes. You can stay in and explore cultural villages with ethnic communities of Magar, Gurung, and others.

Ghandruk and Ghorepani are primarily Gurung settlements. They offer their visitors insight into their traditions, way of life, and outstanding customer service.

The Poon Hill trek is relatively easy. The trail takes advantage of pathways linking villages together. These pathways are made up of stairs, which makes it easy to walk on. The trek is comparatively inexpensive costing between $400 and $1,200. This is due to convenience and duration. The trek can be completed in 2 to 4 days or can be prolonged for up to 7 days. This is one of the most popular treks in Nepal due to its benefits.

Best Time to go on the Poon Hill Trek

The best time to go on Poon hill trek is between October and May.  specifically, from March to May and September to November. This is because the summer monsoon rains bring a lot of clouds and haze and the winter months may be too chilly.

Packing list for Poon Hill trek

So if you have planned to g0 on the Poon Hill trek, the following are some essentials you must pack to keep yourself warm in the fall and cool in the spring.

Headwear:

For head wear, you should keep at least one warm hat, a pair of sunglasses, and buff. You may be interested in picking up a cashmere scarf in place of the buff.

Hands:

For your hands, you must keep cool weather gloves to save them from getting cold. You may also want trekking poles, which will help navigate all those stairs.

Footwear:

Ankle length trekking or hiking boots are perfect for the trip. You can also wear sneakers or running shoes. A pair of flip flops will also be good for a comfortable stroll during the teahouse stay.

Clothing:

For clothing, you should keep:

  • 1 pair of shorts
  • A pair of hiking pants
  • A thermal layer or base layer for legs
  • 4 to 5 T-shirts
  • A base or thermal layer for the torso
  • A jumper
  • Hoody
  • Warm jacket

Others:

Some other miscellaneous things to keep are:

  • A water bottle
  • Some snacks such as chocolate bars, nuts, chips, etc.
  • Sunscreen

Make sure you don’t carry too much and your stuff can fit into one pack. It is because carrying extra stuff during a hike can be tiresome. If you expect your pack to be too heavy to carry, please hire a porter. They will take care of your belongings.

Ultimate Poon Hill Trek Guide
Village on the way up to Ghorepani

Poon Hill Trek Difficulty

The Poon Hill trek has an easy difficulty level due to its elevation, terrain, and available facilities. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the most difficult, the Poon Hill Trek has a difficulty of 3. You do not need to be in shape to do this trek. There is a saying in Nepal, “Go slowly!”

If you go slowly on the Poon Hill Trek, you will not have any problems. Here is a story of some boy scouts who Trekked to Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp.

You can go on this trek with no training, but I recommend training for a couple of weeks to identify a healthy pace and to build stamina and endurance.

The Poon Hill Trek route is an easy one and requires only 6 to 7-hours of walking. This can be spaced between 1 or several days depending on your athletic condition.

Poon Hill Trek Cost

The typical cost of Poon Hill trek varies from $ 325 to $700 depending on the number of days of trekking and the additions such as porters, guides, food, supplies etc. Most booking agencies have a floating price, which can be adjusted depending on what you want.

While booking through travel agencies, you can get transportation, and accommodation in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and in teahouses during the trek. You will also get lunch or dinner in teahouses, trekking permits, guides, with porters included.

Additional expenses, such as the tips, trekking equipment, snacks and beverages, personal expenses, are normally the trekkers responsibility.

The international flight ticket is also an expense that you may have. You can book by yourself or let the travel company arrange it for you. You will probably get a better deal if you book with a travel agent.

annapurna 1
Annapurna 1

Poon Hill Trek Guide

You can opt for a 4-day Poon Hill Trek by driving up to Ulleri and hiking the rest of the way. But, the 6 days Poon Hill trek allows for more time to see the sights and experience the country. So, the 6 days trek itinerary of Poon hill is as follows:

Day 1: Pokhara to Nayapool and trek to Tikhedunga 1,480 m

The drive from Pokhara to Nayapool takes 1.5 hours. In Nayapool we start trekking. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach Tikhedunga by foot. It is a 5.7-mile walk. The slope is gradual. When we reach Tikhedunga we will check into a tea house for food and rest.

Day 2: Tikhedunga to Ghorepani 2,874 m

After a good night’s rest and breakfast, we continue our trek. The trail from Tikhedunga to Ghorepani is mainly composed of stairs. It is 8 miles long and takes about 6-7 hours to complete. This section of the trail passes through villages, and Rhododendron forests. We receive glimpses of the mountains as we walk. When we arrive in Ghorepani we check into a teahouse and rest.

Day 3: Poon Hill Summit 3,210 m, then trek to Tadapani

In the morning we start hiking up to Poon Hill 1 hour before the sun rises. If timed right, we should arrive at the top just as the sun is rising over the mountains. The sunrises like steam over the mountains. It is so beautiful that it feels like it will last forever. After about 5 minutes of awe, the sun has risen, and the mountains are in prominent display. When we are finished looking at the mountains, we hike back down to Ghorepani, eat breakfast, then start our trek to Tadapani. The Hike to Tadapani takes about 4-5 hours and is 7 miles.

Day 4: Tadapani to Ghandruk, reaching 1,940 m

This day is the shortest day on the trek. It takes about 3-4 hours to reach Ghandruk. The distance from Tadapani to Ghandruk is 4 miles. The trail passes through more forests, along river gorges, and through villages. Ghandruk is a nice stopping place. It receives visitors from all the ABC, Circuit, and Poon Hill treks. It has a monastery, and a temple. We can sightsee before or after checking into a tea house and eating.

Day 5: Trek to Nayapool and drive to Pokhara

This is our last day of trekking. It takes about 5 hours of walking to arrive in Nayapool. The hike is about 6 miles from Ghandruk. We start trekking after breakfast. When we arrive in Nayapool we take a car to Pokhar. The drive is about 1.5 hours long. When we arrive in Pokhara we check into a hotel and have the rest of the day to relax or explore the many shops or the lake.

Day 6: Pokhara to Kathmandu

It takes about 6 hours to drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu. It is 124 miles long. This may seem slow, but It goes by fast. The road can be windy at times and for these sections the traffic slows down to avoid accidents.

To book this Trek please contact us here.

 

 

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Climbing Routes on the Annapurna Massif

CLIMBING ROUTES ON THE ANNAPURNA MASSIF

Annapurna Mountain Range from Poon Hill
Daulagiri, Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Gangapurna Annapurna III, Machhapuchhre

Seated in the heart of beautiful Nepal, is the Annapurna Massif. This massive “massif” is found in the Himalayas of north-central Nepal. It has the world’s tenth highest peak and almost thirty other climbable peaks. It is one of the most visited peak-climbing destinations in the world; However it is as deadly as it is beautiful. Here are a few few climbing peaks and climbing routes.

The Annapurna Massif has about 29 peaks, with 13 peak heights being greater than 7,000 meters above sea level and 16 peaks being over 6,000 meters high. So far, peak-climbers have been able to achieve the most summits on about six peaks, making them the most desirable and climbable peaks in the area.

Peak Climbing the Most Prominent Peaks on the Annapurna Massif

Climbing Routes

  1. Annapurna I
  2. Annapurna II
  3. Annapurna III
  4. Annapurna IV
  5. Gangapurna
  6. Annapurna South

Annapurna I

annapurna 1
Annapurna 1

With a height of about 8,091 meters above sea level, Annapurna I is the highest peak on the massif. In addition, it is the world’s tenth highest mountain. In 1950, the first summit on this mountain, considered as a milestone in eight-thousander peak-climbing, was achieved. This was the first of its kind and was carried out by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog.

Annapurna I has killed the more mountaineers than any other peak on the Annapurna massif. Annapurna deaths are the result of the high difficulty associated with this peak. It has the highest fatality to summit ratio of about 32%, with about 61 fatalities to 191 summits as of March 2012.

Why is Annapurna so deadly?

Annapurna 1 is the deadliest mountain on the massif because it is a technical climb. Mountaineers have to battle the altitude, cliffs, crumbly/ slippery surfaces, the environment, equipment failure, operator errors, and possess the technical knowledge to climb on ice, and snow. This is a climb that must be thoroughly planned out first with knowledgeable and experienced guides.

However, despite the number of Annapurna deaths, a lot of successes have been noted on this peak proving it climbable.

Annapurna I climbing route

Of the twelve possible climbing routes, the easiest route to summit Annapurna I is the Northwest Face. The hardest path, however, is ascent via the South Face. Annapurna I’s base camp is called the Annapurna Sanctuary at an elevation of 4,130 meters.

You can get to base camp following the Annapurna Base Camp trek or ABC trek.

Annapurna II

Annapurna 2 and Lamjung Himal
Annapurna 2 and Lamjung Himal from the north

Annapurna II was first climbed via the West Ridge by a British, Indian, and Nepalese team led by J. O. M Robert on May 17, 1960. The summit of Annapurna II is at 7,937-meters high. It is the part of the Annapurna Massif referred to as the “Eastern Mountain Anchor,” and is the 16th highest peak in the world.

Annapurna II climbing route

The quickest way to Annapurna II’s summit is through a shortcut via the North Face. It is between Annapurna IV and V and then continuing along the West Ridge. This route was first used in 1973 by Katsuyuki Kondo, a Japanese expeditioner.

Annapurna III

Annapurna 3
Annapurna 3 above Milerepa Cave

This is the 42nd highest point in the world with an elevation of about 7,555 meters above sea level. Annapurna III was first summited on May 6, 1961 by an Indian expedition led by Captain Mohan Singh Kohli via the Northeast Face.

Annapurna III climbing route

Captain Mohan Singh and his crew set up base camp I (15,400 ft) across from Braga Village. From here they climbed up the east ice fall and set up base camp 2 at 17,400 ft. This gave them access to the east col and a suitable site for their advanced base camp 18,800 ft (base camp 3). They then climbed up the North shelf and set up their 4th camp at 20,800 ft. Camp 5 was set up next, to allow passage through the east saddle then to the summit.

Hire local guides and porters

During their assent, local villagers would loot their camps because the expedition did not hire anyone from the village or pay “the fee.” Government officials sent military aid to keep the villagers from looting the base camps.

Annapurna IV

Found near Annapurna II, this 7,525-meter high peak was first climbed by a Heinz Steinmetz-led German expedition via the North Face and Northwest Ridge in 1955.

Annapurna IV climbing route

The climbing route to Annapurna IV’s peak takes about 21 days and starts in Yak Kharka on the eastern side of the massif.

There are 3 base camps on the way to the summit of Annapurna IV. From Yak Kharka it requires climbing on a fixed rope to reach base camp 1 and 2 at elevations of 4,800 and 5,500 meters respectively. The third base camp, 6,600 meters, is reached by an easy climb with switch backs, and a more difficult climb with a fixed rope. From camp 3 to the summit it is a relatively easy assent and only requires the main rope.

Gangapurna

Gangapurna
East side of Gangapurna and annapurna II in the background

Gangapurna stands about 7,455 meters above sea level and was first climbed by a Gunther Hauser-led German expedition via the East Ridge.

Gangapurna climbing route

Though challenging, the East Ridge remains the most elegant and most obvious climbing route to summit. This route offers fantastic views of the Annapurna Massif. The climb begins with the crossing of the Gangapurna Glacier and climbing 1,100 m on the northern edge of the face then ascending another 400 m on the eastern face. Base camp is made at the foot of the north shoulder of Gangapurna. From here the trail leads to advanced base camp on the snowfield shelf at about 5,300 m. After acclimating, you climb to camp 1 at 5,600 m on the east ridge. Camp 2 (6,300 m) is located on the north face of the east ridge. You must climb on a snow field to get there. You then climb to camp 3 at 6,900 m. Finally the summit is attainable at 555 m above base camp 3.

Annapurna South/ Annapurna Dakshin

Annapurna South is the 101st highest mountain in the world at a height of about 7,219 meters above sea level. A team from the Kyoto University alpine club was the first to summit the peak in 1964. They had originally wanted to climb Dhaulagiri IV, but the permit was unavailable. There are many climbing routes to the Annapurna South peak; However the route starting at the ABC is easiest.  The Annapurna South Peak climb begins where most people end their trek, at Annapurna Base Camp/ Annapurna Sanctuary.

Annapurna South climbing route

From Annapurna Base Camp the route to the summit takes climbers to advanced base camp on the west bank of the south face glacier. Climbing up the glacier to camp 1 is the next ascent. Then camp 2 at 5,970 m. Camp 3 is the last camp. It is at 6,400m. The summit is about 800 meters higher.

Though peak climbing on the Annapurna Massif can be extremely dangerous, it is rewarding. The mountain views are unparalleled in landscape beauty.

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Four Day Trek to Poon Hill

4 day trek to poon hill

FOUR DAY TREK TO POON HILL AND BACK

4 day trek to poon hill
Annapurna Massif along the Poon Hill Trek

 

If you are someone who loves to explore nature and is seeking a place where you can witness beautiful mountains, and natural habitats, we can suggest one such place in Nepal and that is Poon Hill. In addition, our Four day Poon Hill Trek is perfect for people who are new to trekking, want an easy trek, or want a family friendly trek.

Why Poon Hill for Trekking?

the Poon Hill trek is a short and easy trek. One of its major benefits is that it is easy to enjoy the mountains without having to face the difficulties of the snow and high elevations.

The primary starting point of the Poon Hill trek is from Nayapul, which is a one and a half hour drive from Pokhara. However, there is a different path, which is less traveled. While trekking, you can witness the beautiful villages of Ulleri, Ghorepani, and Ghandruk. The hospitality of these villagers is acknowledged by the people who have previously come to visit Poon Hill. You can enjoy this serene landscapes with dense forests that are full of exotic birds and flowers.

The viewpoint on Poon Hill is at an elevation of 10,470 ft and offers the best view of the mountains and sunrise.

The Ghorepani Poon Hill 4 day trek is an excellent tour package to see the sunrise over the Annapurna Massif. At dawn the Himalayan giants, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and others slowly begin to appear like a whale breaching the oceans surface. Then in a moment of disbelief, the mountains are the only thing you can see. You don’t want to miss this once in a lifetime experience.

4 day trek to poon hill
Annapurna 1 from Poon Hill

 

What is the best time to visit the Poon Hill trek?

The best time to visit Poon Hill trek is from September to November and March to May.

Starting point?

It’s your choice; There are many starting locations. Most people take a bus or taxi from Pokhara and start the trek in Nayapul. You can also start the trek in Tato Pani, which I prefer because it is a less traveled road. The Poon Hill trek can take you three, four, or five days to explore. Here are the details of 4 day Poon Hill trek.

What to expect on a 4-day Poon Hill trek?

In the 4 day Poon Hill trek, you can start it from Nayapul, hike up to Ulleri, Ghorepani, and Poon Hill and then take the alternate route back to Nayapul via Tadapani and Ghandruk village.

Its extremely easy, but be aware of all the stairs and dust if you start on the Nayapul side.

On my way down from Poon Hill, I saw a troop of 25-30 boy scouts coming up. They looked like they ranged in age from 8 to 16. This trek is definitely family friendly.

Annapurna Mountain Range from Poon Hill
Daulagiri, Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Gangapurna Annapurna III, Machhapuchhre

Short Itinerary

Day 01: Pokhara – Nayapul – Ulleri, which is at 6,430 ft and takes 6-7 hours. Nights are spent in local lodges.

Day 02: Ulleri-Ghorepani, which is at 9,429 ft and takes 5-6 hours. Nights are spent in local lodges.

Day 03: Ghorepani-Poon Hill-Tadapani-Ghandruk, which is at 6,361 ft and takes 7-8 hours. Nights are spent in local lodges.

Day 04: Ghandruk-Kimche-Nayapul-Pokhara and 4-5 hours. Nights are spent in local lodges.

Do you need to hire a Poon Hill trek guide?

We do recommend hiring a guide to accompany you on your journey. Our guides are polite, friendly, and professional. They have first aid training and can identify the early warning signs of common trekking setbacks.

Our Poon Hill guides also know where to find the best vantage points of the mountains, and the best lodges to stay at. They are sure to make your experience safe, fun, and memorable.  We hope this Poon Hill trekking guide was helpful to you.

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Different Kinds of Textiles in Nepal

DIFFERENT KINDS OF TEXTILES IN NEPAL

Dhaka scrunchie
Dhaka scrunchie

Nepal is the 93rd largest country on the map according to the land size and home of the highest peak in the world. But its specialties do not end here; Nepal is a land with stunning and breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, kind and hospitable people, world class trekking trails and not to forget, a vibrant textile industry.

Textile Industry in Nepal;

The textile industry of Nepal encompasses the country’s colonial arts and crafts, culture, and creativity of its workers and residents. Nepals textile industry is influenced by over 125 ethnic groups that live in the country. They bring together their culture, skills, and creativity.

Textiles crafted in Nepal:

All across the country, from China to India, the textile industry of Nepal creates designs and patterns that are widely loved and acknowledged by the textile industry and connoisseurs. The textiles in Nepal are made from both animal and plant fibers. Here are some of the primary textiles you may see in Nepal.

Palpali Dakka Cloth:

Dhaka Topi
Dhaka Topi folded in half

Hand-woven textiles are made by the skillful crafts-women of the country who create beautiful designs and are loved by the people from different parts of the globe. Palpali Dakka cloth is the most acknowledged hand-woven textile, and it is made in factories in Tansen, a city of Nepal. Limbu people of eastern Nepal are also known for their distinctive patterns and Dhaka productions.

Dhaka is a cotton fabric that is woven on wood and bamboo handlooms. This cloth comes in various geometric patterns with Red and Orange colors.

Pashmina Shawls:

Pashmina is a very fine type of cashmere wool. Items made with Pashmina, like Pashmina shawls, are highly valued. The Pashmina shawls in Nepal are pure and are made in the homes of local weavers.

You can find Pshmina products throughout Nepal. Most of it is woven in the Kathmandu Valley, where it is exported in small quantities.

Jute Handbags:

Jute is a long strong fiber often used for industrial purposes. Because of its coarseness and strength, it is used to make sacks and is referred to as burlap. India, China, and Pakastan are the world leaders in jute production.

In Nepal, jute handbags are woven into fashionable and practical accessories. Jute is also used to make rugs in Nepal.

Tibetan Rugs:

tibetan rug making
Tibetan women weaving a throw in Nepal

Tibetan rugs are hand-made using fibers from jute, yak, or goat. Tibetan yak and goat rugs are some of the softest natural rugs one can find. These rugs are produced by Tibetan refugees who have settled in Nepal

The communities of Tibetan tribes living in Nepal make beautiful true Tibetan rugs that are exported worldwide. Kathmandu and other areas of Nepal like Jawalakhel, Himalayan regions, and Jomsom village are home to Tibetan weavers who create incredible Tibetan rugs in Nepal.

Chikankari:

Chikankari is an artfully done hand or machine embroidered piece of cloth. It can be done on a variety of textile fabrics such as silk, muslin, organza, chiffon, net, and others. In Nepal, beautiful Chikankari cloth is made by hand. The Nepalese learned the art of Chikankari from the neighboring country, India.

India and Nepal have a long history of trading textile goods dating back to the silk road. Chikankari embroidery can be found in Jawalakhel and Kathmandu.

Next time you are in Nepal, please ask us about our textile tour of Nepal. You will get to experience Nepali culture, arts, crafts, and textiles in one amazing tour.

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Trekking and Climbing On the Annapurna Massif

Chulu west, Chulu East, Pisang Peak, Kangaru Himal, Runam

TREKKING AND CLIMBING ON THE ANNAPURNA MASSIF

annapurna 2, pisang peak, manaslu
Annapurna 2, Pisang Peak, and Manaslu from Upper Khangsar

Most people are familiar with the great Mount Everest located in the Himalayas, but what many do not know is that this mighty mountain range is housed by a landlocked country in South Asia called Nepal. Nepal is home to a rich heritage and culture, as well as eight out of the ten tallest peaks in the world, including the Annapurna Massif in the north-central region.

The Annapurna Massif (or Annapurna Mountain) derives its name, “Annapurna,” from the words anna (meaning “food”) and purna (meaning “filled”) in the Sanskrit language. In other words, Annapurna can be translated directly to mean “filled with food” or “everlasting food.” Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment, and it is believed that she resides within the mountain range.

The Annapurna Mountain also has the reputation of being one of the world’s deadliest to those who try to summit it. Because of its 32% fatality rate since 1990, few people attempt to summit. The Annapurna death rate is one of the highest of the eight-thousanders, with only Mount Kangchenjunga having a higher fatality rate.

That notwithstanding, the Annapurna Massif is still one of the favorite climbing and trekking destinations in the whole world, and thousands of people show up every year to climb the peaks and undertake the Annapurna Massif trek through different trekking routes, and it’s always an unforgettable experience. As a matter of fact, the first set of people to climb the Annapurna Massif in an expedition in 1950, led by Maurice Herzog, succeeded the very first time they tried!

This said, before you take that leap of faith and come over to the wonderful, fast-developing nation of Nepal to enjoy the rich culture and, of course, to trek and climb the Annapurna Massif, it’s important that you learn a little about the climbable peaks and trekking routes.

 

ANNAPURNA MASSIF CLIMBABLE PEAKS

Annapurnan 3
Annapurna 3

Aside Annapurna I (the main eight-thousander Annapurna Mountain peak), there are other climbable peaks where the “Annapurna death rate” is much lower. In total, the Annapurna Massif has 13 peaks over 7000 meters high and 16 peaks over 6000 meters. But the most prominent climbable peaks are:

  • Annapurna I (Main) – 8,091m (26,545ft), first summited by Maurice Herzog, Louis Lachenal, Lionel Terray, Gaston Rebuffat, Marcel, Ichac, Jean Couzy, Marcel, Shatz, Jacques Oudot and Francis de Noyelle (1950)
  • Annapurna II – 7,937m (26,040ft), first summited by J. O. M. Roberts, Richard Grant, Chris Bonington and Sherpa Ang Nyima (1960)
  • Annapurna III – 7,555m (24,787ft), first summited by Mohan Singh Kohli, Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Girmi (1961)
  • Annapurna IV – 7,525m (24,688ft), first summited by Heinz Steinmetz, Herald Biller, Jurgen Wellenkamp (1955)
  • Gangapurna – 7,455m (24,457ft), first summited by Gunther Hauser and 10 others (1964)
  • Annapurna South – 7,219m (23,684ft), first summited by a 6-person team from Kyoto University Alpine Club (1964)

 

ANNAPURNA MASSIF TREKKING ROUTES

Here are some of the most popular Annapurna Massif trekking routes, so that you can set your mind at ease and prepare yourself for the Annapurna Massif trek and other exciting adventures that await you on this journey. Are you ready?

  1. Annapurna Base Camp Trek

The route taken during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most common treks in the Annapurna region. It is also called the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek and it combines a lot of great Himalayan views, as well as a vista of Nepalese culture as you traverse the highs and lows of various well-known peaks and mountains on the Himalayas.

When you undertake the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, you go through the rhododendron forests, and pass by terraced farms in the middle hills. This way, you get to experience the beautiful scenery of the local villages and get a sneak-peek of their lifestyle.

The Annapurna Base Camp itself is a high glacial basin lying at 40 km north of Pokhara (a metropolitan city in Nepal and the capital of the Gandaki Pradesh province) is located at an elevation of 4,130 meters (or 13,550 feet).

Some of the climbable peaks and mountains you’ll come across on your journey to the Annapurna Base Camp include: Dhaulagiri, Himchuli, Machhapuchhre, and of course, the Annapurna Mountain itself.

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek takes a period of approximately 14 days to complete.

  1. Annapurna Circuit Trek
Thorang La Pass
Thorang La Pass sign

The Annapurna Circuit Trek distance varies depending on the route you take and whether or not you choose to entertain yourself with side treks, but on average, it is about 170 km to 230 km. This trip could take between 16 to 20 days to complete, depending on your speed.

Taking this trip means you must go through Thorong La Pass, which is the highest point of the trek and one of the most amazing sights you could ever see.

When planning to undertake the Annapurna Circuit Trek, bear in mind that the best times of the year to go about this expedition are October to early December, or late February to April. Attempting this trek outside this period would mean risking getting snowed in – or worse.

Some of the climbable peaks and mountains you’ll encounter as you traverse the Annapurna circuit include: the Gangapurna, Pisang Peak, Paungda Danda, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre, Tilicho Peak, Manaslu and the Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I – IV).

  1. Khopra Ridge Trek

The Khopra Ridge Trek is one of the easiest treks to undergo if you’re a beginner. The average time taken to complete this trek is 6 to 9 days, and the highest elevation is the sacred Khayar Barahi Lake (4500 meters or 14,760 feet). The beautiful landscape will keep you awestruck throughout your journey, as you experience the lifestyle of the ethnic villages and the wildlife of the region.

The trek is made more picture perfect during the spring, when the light of the sun appears to beautify the mountains. Some of the peaks you’ll come across on this journey include: the Annapurna, Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri.

  1. Annapurna Panorama Trek/ Poon Hill Trek
Annapurna Mountain Range from Poon Hill
Daulagiri, Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Gangapurna Annapurna III, Machhapuchhre

The Annapurna Panorama Trek, just like the Khopra Ridge Trek, is also easy to complete for beginners. It takes a short 6 days to go through the entire process, but they are guaranteed to be the best 6 days you’ll ever have. October is the best time to go to view the mountains, but April is the best time to go to see the Rhododendron flowers.

You can enjoy the warmth from both the sun and kind villagers while you take your time to complete this trek.

  1. Mardi Himal Trek

The Mardi Himal Trek takes about 11 days to complete, making it a moderate level trek. Undertaking this trek, you’ll see sights like the Annapurna peaks, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and Manaslu.

The Mardi Himal Trek is also best undertaken during the spring, so that you can get the best of the spring’s sun and warmth on the mountain ranges in addition to the Rhododendron blooms.

Panchase HIll Trek
Th Annapurna Massif from Panchase Hill

Every mountain range in Nepal and the Himalayas was divinely designed for you to visit, climb, trek and experience. Sitting in your couch year in, year out, is tantamount to wasting all these beauties the universe has provided us with, especially when you have that burning desire to experience the wonders of the world. Getting up and out of your comfort zone and making the move to the Annapurna Massif so that you can experience these gifts should be among your major plans.

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Himalayan Hospitality And 10 Reasons To Visit Nepal

Shikhara style temple in Patan Durbar Square

Himalayan Hospitality And 10 Reasons To Explore Nepal

Boudhanath Stupa Nepal
Boudhanath Stupa Nepal

Why should Nepal be in the travelers’ bucket list? Nepal is a God gifted beautiful region with a distinct culture, historical art, natural assets, and lots of trekking places. Here are 10 reasons to explore Nepal like never before:

UNESCO Heritage Sites

Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Square
Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Square

Nepal has incredible architecture and owns seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most of which are in the Kathmandu region. Sacred temples, pagodas, monasteries, medieval complexes, palaces, mosques… and the list goes on.

Spectacular Hikes and Treks

a rarely visited but extreamly beautiful area on the Langtang trek
Langtang mountains, trekkers and guides

Nepal is a Himalayan country.  It is blessed with the world’s highest and finest hiking treks and trails. Trekkers and mountaineers have plenty of options including Poon Hill, Langtang, Annapurna, and Mount Everest. Tourists can encounter beautiful flora and fauna landscapes.

One of the best experience’s mountaineers can have is hiking in Nepal. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular among hikers. Watching the sunrise over Annapurna Base Camp can be the most stunning views ever seen.

Meet the Friendliest Host

Himalayan Hospitality
Host family poses for picture while doing chores

The Nepali people are exceedingly welcoming and warm. They make sure that their guests feel at home. They never say no to guests when they need help. People never forget the Himalayan hospitality that they received during their visit to Nepal.

Nepali Delicacies

Nepal is rich in cuisines due to cultural diversity. Their food is greatly influenced by the neighboring countries China and India, but still, Nepali food has its uniqueness. Their most famous delicacies include Dal Bhat which is Nepal’s national dish. Dal Bhat contains lentils with curried vegetables and rice and is available at almost every restaurant in Nepal.

Momo (Nepalese dumplings) is also a popular snack and can be bought from any corner of town. It is filled with meat and/or vegetables and is served with a tomato-based sauce. Other famous foods include aloo Tama, dheedo, and chatamari.

Wildlife Experience

rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park
rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park

For the wildlife lovers, visit Chitwan national park which comes in on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal. There you can spot one-horned rhinos, up to 544 bird species, sloth bears, monkeys, deer, majestic Royal Bengal tigers, wild elephants, leopards, crocodile, and many more.

Affordable Trip

Nepal is best for touring on a budget. With a low budget, you can have a great experience. Without emptying your bank account, you can explore the mountains, visit Chitwan National park, or see the world heritage sites. The trip budget also depends on the hotel and transport chosen. However, an average of $27 is needed per day to travel hike.

Safe Destination

Nepal is a safe country to travel to. Of course, a person may encounter a bad situation while in Nepal, but for the most part Nepal is safe for travelers. It is improbable that visitors will have any issue.

Buddha’s Birth Place

Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha, and you can trace the emergence of Buddhism. The shrine is dome-shaped and is the holiest temple and highly sacred for Tibetans. Stages of enlightenment paths are shown in each part of the temple.

Stunning Lakes

Nepal has about 200 glacier fed lakes that are a splendid blue color. Gokyo Lakes in Nepal is the highest freshwater lake in the Khumbu region of Nepal, However Tilicho Lake is the highest freshwater lake system in the world.

Volunteering Opportunity

Two Peace Corps Volunteers in a women’s group.

 

Nepal is a developing country full of smiling people. Though it is officially illegal for tourists to volunteer in Nepal, it is not enforced. You can find many volunteering opportunities to help and get involved. I did and its made all the difference in the world. If you are interested, you can find more information at https://www.peacecorps.gov/

So, when are you visiting Nepal?

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Nepalese Tradition in Textile

Nepali tradition in textile

Nepalese Tradition in Textile

 

Tucked between India and Tibet is a nation of rich history and cultural heritage. Nepal is perhaps best known for its ancient temples and world heritage sites, and for co-hosting the world’s highest peak, the Everest, as well as other great mountains in the Himalayan Range. This said, it’s easy to tell that the nation receives several visitors every year, but beyond its topography and famous sites, Nepalese tradition holds far more for those who care to explore.

Dhaka Fabric

Dhaka hats

Textiles have been a major element of Nepalese tradition for millennia. Dhaka fabric is a hand-woven cotton textile that is native to the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. The intricate patterns and carefully chosen colors of the fabric are well celebrated and are now becoming even more popular all over the world. The art of dhaka fabric weaving has been passed down for generations and the fabric represents the traditional dressing of the Limbu people. Men wear a dhaka topi (hat made of dhaka fabric) along with a scarf, while women wear a dhaka mekhli (dress made of dhaka fabric), adorned with a shawl and a scarf. Dhaka fabric is now majorly produced by weavers in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and in the districts of Palpa and Tehrathum.

Here is a 1 minute 19 second YouTube video of Dhaka in Palpa

Kalamkari Printing

Kalamkari printing, which dates back to medieval times, originating from the Middle East, has over the centuries been beautifully adopted and perfected by Nepali craftsmen. It’s really astonishing to grasp that such elaborate patterns and designs as those of kalamkari printing are made by hand – freehand or using a wooden block motif. Traditionally, the fabric to be printed upon is soaked with cow dung for a couple of days to bleach it. It is then thoroughly washed in flowing water and sun-dried. Afterwards, the colors are printed one at a time, and the fabric is rinsed after each print. Every color used for kalamkari printing is naturally sourced from plants and earth, and rid of the toxic chemicals that most synthetic dyes contain. After the printing is done, the fabric is boiled in a huge pot so that it shrinks and becomes color-run-proof.

Kachchi Embroidery

Embroidery pattern

Another noteworthy Nepalese traditional textile technique is kachchi embroidery. With its vibrant colors and rich designs, kachchi embroidery is an art form normally practiced by women on cotton, silk and satin fabrics. Small colorful mirrors known as “abhla” are often sewn over the geometric patterns of the finely threaded kachchi embroidery to produce a spectacular shimmering effect.

Tibetan Rugs

tibetan rug making
Tibetan women weaving a throw in Nepal

Introduced by merchants on the silk road from Tibet, Tibetan rugs have become a huge source of income for the nation of Nepal. These rugs were important and practical pieces in palaces, monasteries and houses, owing to their magnificent designs and the warmth they provide in the harsh Himalayan climate. Tibetan rugs were originally made from the wool of Tibetan mountain sheep and used to adorn floors, walls and horse saddles. The knotting method used in making Tibetan rugs is unique. However, the fascinating patterns and natural dyes really make Tibetan rugs stand out.

All Nepalese traditional textiles employ profound patience and extreme care to produce the extraordinary outcomes that are renowned around the world. The finished works are breathtaking, but what’s even more magical is to watch the persevering local artisans at work, and perhaps to take home some fabric whose production you witnessed. This will be sure to constantly remind you that anything is achievable if we are resolute. It’s truly the experience of a lifetime.

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Trekking in Nepal with Kids

Trekking in Nepal with kids/ Best hikes in Nepal for kids

trekking in Nepal with kids
This is my friend Ellie at a home stay in Nepal.

Trekking in Nepal with kids may seem as overwhelming as the Himalayas are tall. Let me be the first to say, “It is not.” In fact, it might be one of the easiest trips for you and your kids. Some of the best hiking trails in Nepal are perfect for kids. The Poon Hill trek is one example and is my top pick for family hikes. There are many facilities and services available along the trails, which make trekking in Nepal with Kids easy.

Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure will provide all the services and facilities to make your hiking trip with your family safe, fun, and exciting. We have skilled porters and expert guides to make your trip easy. Our guides are trained to identify altitude sickness and how to prevent it. We also have health and medical staff on hand if an accident happens. Our tours for families with kids are arranged so that there are frequent locations to access food, water, bathrooms, and comfortable lodges and tea houses. These hikes were also chosen because of their relative ease of completion, short time to completion, and access to roads or airports.  In this blog post I present some challenges to trekking in Nepal with kids, the best hikes in Nepal for kids, the best times to travel to Nepal, and what to pack. I hope you enjoy it.

Trekking in Nepal with kids
A kid doing somersaults in the straw in a village

little challenges

  • Altitude sickness is probably the largest challenge for everybody ascending above 12,000 ft, but it can also affect people as low as 8,000 ft above sea level. Children are more prone to be affected by altitude sickness and the symptoms are more difficult to recognize. The best solution is to stay below 12,000 ft and acclimate slowly.
  • Exhaustion from hiking long distances is another issue you might encounter. Thankfully it is easily avoidable. There are plenty of rest locations along the trail and rooms for rent in tea houses. If your little one can’t walk far it is entirely possible to have a porter carry your child. Horseback rides are also available in most locations.
  • Feeding your little one can seem like murder at times. I know because I have a few picky eaters in my family, and I am one of them. If your family has any dietary restrictions, you can tell your tour provider and they will make all the necessary arrangements for you. We can even provide you with a kitchen, if you prefer.
  • Illnesses are scary, especially if you are in a foreign place. Fortunately, there are doctors and pharmacies available at specific locations along most trails. A helicopter can evacuate an ill or injured family member within minutes of being called.
  • There are plenty of electrical outlets at the tea houses to charge devices for entertainment while not trekking. And yes, there is cell phone service on most trails.

Best Hikes in Nepal for Kids

  1. Poon Hill trek

Gurja Himal, Dhaulagiri 6, Jirbang, Dhaulagiri 4, 5, 3, 2, 1, and Tukuche Peak
Dhaulagiri mountain range over Poon Hill

The Poon Hill trek made the top of the list because it can be hiked in 4 to 6 days. The max elevation you will reach on the trek is 10,531 ft. The highest overnight elevation is 9,429ft in Ghorepani. In addition, you can take a car up or down most of the way if you want to shorten your hiking more. One of the things I love most about this trek is the Rhododendron forest you hike through to the top of Ghoripani. The trees enter full bloom in late March and early April. And if that wasn’t enough to make the number 1 spot, you can see 2 of the world’s 10 tallest mountains form Poon Hill. The trail has an abundance of stairs and a lot of resting places. It is an easy to mildly difficult hike for an adult.

  1. Lower Dolpa

Lower Dolpa is one perfect for families with children. This trekking route is not as popular as the Annapurna or Everest trails, which makes it perfect for people who don’t want to contend with others. Lower Dolpa features wide open, and charming views of the mountains from an elevation of 8,120 ft. Lower Dolpa has an airport in Juphal, which I recommend utilizing then doing day hikes around Juphal. The entire trip can be completed in 3 days.

 

  1. Chitwan National Park

rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park
Rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park

If your family prefers jungles with beautiful vegetation and equally amazing wildlife, then the jungle safari hike in Chitwan National Park is perfect for you. The hike is extremely easy, flat, and short. You can see endangered animals like the one horned rhinoceros, and the Gharial Crocodile. The adventure starts with an elephant ride through the forest and leads into a canoe trip along the Rapti river. After the canoe trip the hike begins, which lasts for about 40 minutes. At the end of the hike you can explore the elephant sanctuary. Rhinoceroses, tigers, and sloth bears, oh my!

  1. Australian Camp

The Australian Camp hike is very similar to the Poon Hill hike. You will have many of the same views but with fewer people and at a lower elevation. The maximum altitude you will come to is 6,200 ft. The people are also friendlier or at least more appreciative of the visit. The destination is drivable for the most part and only requires a little bit of hiking to get to the look out point. The whole trip can be completed in 3 days.

 

  1. Langtang

Kanjin Gompa and Langtang mountains
Kyanjin Gompa and Langtang mountains

I fell in love with the Langtang hike when I did it in 2016. It is a mildly strenuous hike, which follows the Langtang River through a canyon and a deciduous forest. Langtang is at an elevation of 11,154 ft and it is a complete joy to hike to. This hike is a perfect blend of the Namche Baazar and Poon Hill hikes because of its incredible scenery and beautiful rhododendron blooms in April.  The complete hike can be done in 7 days, but if you want truly breathtaking views take another 2 days and hike up to Kyanjin Gompa at an elevation 12,696 ft. I would reserve the hike to Kyanjin Gompa for pre-teens and older due to elevation concerns.

  1. Namche Bazaar trek

https://mynepaltrek.com/product/everest-base-camp-trek/
Everest, Lhotse, and Amadablam from above Namche Baazar

The Namche Bazaar trek offers world class views of the 1st and 4th tallest mountains in the world. From the top Namche you can see Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Amadablam! In my opinion the view of Amadablam alone is worth the trek, but these 4 mountains together make the view world class.  Namche is at an elevation of 11,286 ft, which makes it a little challenging for the little ones. This trek should probably be reserved for the pre-teens. You should be fine as long as you remember to go slowly. A round trip trek can be done in 5 days

Best time to travel to Nepal

The best time to travel to Nepal with kids is in the Spring March and April. These months have the warmest weather without being too hot or too cold. In April the Rhododendron trees bloom to which is an added benefit to hiking in the spring.  This is also the second most popular time to travel to Nepal. The first is in the fall, which has arguably better views and is a little cooler. The winter season is the third best time hike or the first if you like cold weather and the occasional snowstorm.

If you can avoid it, please do not plan your trip in the summer! It is hot, humid, and the monsoon rains make travel dangerous. There are occasional mud slides and road outages, which makes roads a little dangerous and keeping an itinerary a little more difficult.

Gear for trekking in Nepal with kids

I recommend bringing one item of each except for socks and underwear. For these items I recommend bringing 1 pair for each day you will be hiking. There is laundry service available along most of the hikes, but often they might not have a drying service. Hiking in wet and soggy cloths is not fun.

  • Hiking pants
  • Short sleeve shirt
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Underwear bottoms and tops, if you ware bras
  • Socks (preferably merino wool)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking shoes (breathable)
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletries (toothbrush toothpaste)
  • Water bottle

If you have a porter you might want to consider bringing some extra gear to be more comfortable. My suggestions include:

  • Jacket/ sweatshirt
  • Beanie
  • Flip-flops
  • Pajamas
  • Gloves
  • Rain jacket
  • Electronic equipment (phone, game boy)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Medications
  • Water purifier

Cell phones

Chances are your mobile provider does not cover Nepal. You will have to buy a cellphone. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures provides its clients with free phones, but if you are going to attempt it without service you should know what kind of phone and service plan to get. There are two cell phone services providers in Nepal, Nepal Telecom and NCell. I prefer NCell for general use. Both companies will have mixed service coverage in the mountains, which is why I recommend a dual SIM phone. It is a little more expensive, but you will almost always be able to make a phone call with it in any of the 6 destinations mentioned earlier. A cell phone will cost anywhere between $20 to $60. You can buy minutes in the form of a phone card from almost every shop keeper on the trek or you can buy them directly form the cell phone service provider.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Have a safe, fun, and exciting time in Nepal

Craig

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Nepal’s Trekking Fees Increase

Trekking and Visa fees increased for Nepal (August 2019)

Visitors copy
Visitors Copy

Visitors to Nepal must now pay $30 for a 15-day multiple entry visa. This is a $5 increase from the previous $25 fee. The 30-day multiple-entry visa’s price increased from $40 to $50.  The 90-day multiple-entry visa is now $125. It was $100.

Visa and Trekking Fees
Visa and Trekking Fees

The permit fees for Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpa are now $500 for the first 10 days and $50 for each subsequent day.
Travelers from the Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sir Lanka, and Pakistan can enter Nepal free for the first 30-days and $3 per day after that.
However, travelers from SAARC countries, except India and Afghanistan, enjoy free multiple-entry tourist visa for 30 days, and $3 per day thereafter. Indian and Afghanistan citizens are exempt from paying the visa fee.

Safe travels and have fun,
Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure

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Casinos in Nepal

Casinos in Nepal

Casino in Nepal
Casino roulette table

Nepal is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It is also home to 20 casinos. These casinos are primarily in 5 star hotels such as Hotel Annapurna, Soltee Hotel, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu Hotel, and Malla Hotel. I have never been in any of these hotels or casinos because my security advisor advised me not to go into them. From what I understand though, they are not always on the up and up. This is all second hand knowledge. I can only error on the side of caution as any traveler should do.

If you find yourself in any of the casinos in Nepal you would do well to not gamble.

Safe travels,

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Saune Sankranti

Saune Sankranti

Pashupatinath
Shiva temple Pashupatinath in Kathmandu

Saune Sankranti is a celebration dedicated to cleaning. It takes place on the first day of  Shrawan, which was July 17th on the Roman calendar.  On Saune Sankranti participants clean their houses, yards, bodies, and visit a temple dedicated to Shiva, like Pashupatinath temple. On every Monday of Saune, people also go to the Bolbam fair, which is a gathering of people wearing yellow and eating yellow foods. They wear yeallow cloths and eat yellow foods because yellow is Shiva’s favorite color. During this Saune Sankranti participants welcome the Capricorn sign and sing to Shiva.

Saune Sankranti Activities

Pandra Shivalaya
Pandra Shivalaya in Pashupatinath

The primary activity of Saune Sankranti is cleaning because it is believed to push out illness and welcome in good health and long life. Worshiping Shiva during this time is believed to enhance the benefits of cleaning. While people are worshiping Shiva they hit a woven bamboo plate because it is believed to help remove diseases. When this is accompanied by chanting the mantra “Om Na-Mah Shi-Va Om” it is believed to solidify the success of the effort. People also wear Rudraksh beads as a necklace or bracelet, and fast; However eating yellow foods is acceptable.

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Shamans of the Himalayas Packing List and Answers to Common Concerns.

Shamans of the Himalayas Packing List and Answers to Common Concerns.

Shamanism in Nepal

This post contains affiliate links to products on Amazon. Some of these same products are available in Nepal at lower prices. However, I cannot guarantee the quality of the products or that they are available to purchase in Nepal. You are encouraged to research which products are right for you before you make any purchases. For more information about Shamanism please visit the Institute of Shamanism and Curanderismo.

Let’s get started on your Shamans of the Himalayas packing list and answers to common concerns.

Electronics

Let me first say that the electrical system in Nepal is not stable. In many areas of the country the power is shut off for “load setting.”

Officially load setting is the result of a lack of infrastructure and not being able to meet the electrical needs of the country’s population. However, load setting may also be due to political corruption and the distribution of power to India at a “good” rate. In any case you may experience black outs, which may interfere with your electronic equipment.

But don’t worry, there is plenty of time when the power is on to charge all electronics.

Electrical grid

Nepal runs on 230 volts. I should say that the electrical outlets provide 230 volts. This is different and in excess to the 120 volts of the American standard. Fortunately, most of our standard electronics can convert the power to the required 120 volts.

There are some electrical devices that will not convert power to 120 volts.  Toasters, blenders, hairdryers, and flat irons are the few that I am aware of.

If you plan on bringing any items that will not handle 230 volts, please get this ($36.99) voltage converter or a product similar.

For more information you can visit https://whatplug.info/from/usa/to/nepal.

A shamans alter in Kathmandu
A shamans alter in Kathmandu

Outlet adapter

In addition to the power being a different voltage the outlet shape is different. The Nepali outlet will not accept American plugs. American plugs are classified as type A or B.  Plug types for Nepal are C, D, and M. They look like this:

plug type c
Standard plug for outlets in Nepal

Follow this link for an affordable ($8.49) outlet adapter. You can find a similar product like this in Nepal for about $2.5. The most common outlet adapter in Nepal is a power bar, which I prefer.

Toilets and toilet paper

The areas visited on the Shamans of the Himalayas Tour have western style amenities. You will be greeted with all the comforts of the United States including a “normally” furnished bathroom and toilet paper.

In some areas outside popular destinations, you can encounter squat toilets water buckets. The water bucket is used to “wash up” and to rinse off.

If you encounter a squat toilet the standard practice is to use your left hand to “wash up” while your right hand pours the water over your butt.

Eating

In a lot of aspects Nepal has become “modern.” In popular travel destinations in Nepal, food is served with silverware. You may eat with your hand but make sure you use your right hand to put food in your mouth.

Using your left hand to eat may increase your chances of getting sick as well as attracting unwanted attention.

trekking food
Nepali pizza

Drinking water

Do not drink the tap water in the industrialized parts of Nepal. I know plenty of people who have spent the day hovering over a squat toilet because they drank untreated water. In rural areas the water tends to be cleaner but I still wouldn’t risk it. Bottled water is a good alternative, but it can be expensive depending on where you are at. A bottle of water will normally cost about $0.2 but I’ve been charged upwards of $5 for a bottle.

Boiling water

The most common form of water sterilization in Nepal is through boiling. Participants of the  Shamans of the Himalayas Tour will be provided countless glasses of steaming hot tea, which are safe to drink.

sterilizing tablets

The second most common form of water sterilization in Nepal is through water sterilization tablets (available here for $7.45). I do not recommend them. I think there are better options available, but it is an option.

rai shaman
Rai Shaman in Kathmandu

SteriPen

I have only used a SteriPen once. I did not get sick after I used it. Other than that, I really can’t speak for it, but a lot of close friends swear by it. SteriPens use ultraviolet light to kill any biologically active contaminants in your drinking water. Its effective without any residue or residuals.

You can find it on amazon for $68.

The only downside is that if your water source contains silt, the pen will not remove the grit from the water.

Its not common to receive water with silt in it but it can happen.

Water filter

I spent two years living in Nepal drinking boiled water and water out of Sawyer water filter. I never got sick from the water! This water filter ($40.95) removes 99.9999% of all bacteria and protozoa from the water. It is the best water filter available to travelers.

The only down side to having a water filter is that it does not kill or remove any viruses.

Cautions

As with any new or foreign area you must exercise caution when traveling in Nepal. Traffic patterns and pollution are the 2 biggest issues. Cultural integration is the third issue you should be aware of.

Upper Mustang
Nomads riding to Mustang. The traffic in Kathmandu is much worse.

Traffic

In general people drive on the opposite side of the street and sometimes the sidewalk. But to be fair, there is no real traffic pattern in Nepal. Crossing the street can be scary but if you get in a group with other people and cross when they do, you should be fine.

Just be careful and exercise caution in traffic. Fortunately the  Shamans of the Himalayas Tour will have a private car with a driver and a professional guide to help you navigate the streets of Nepal.

Side note, vehicles share the road with all sorts of adventurous animals. I’ve seen cows, monkeys, dogs and even a rhinoceros in Chitwan hog the road. This can lead to minor delays.

Pollution

The Pollution in Nepal is not as bad as in China and India, but it is close. This is mainly an annoyance rather than a caution, but due ware a dust mask and eye glasses when walking around Kathmandu. You should also wear closed toed shoes to keep your feet from getting dirty.

This dust mask prevents particles 2.5 microns and larger from entering your airway. This article identifies the particle sizes of dust and other pollutants on the streets of Nepal.

Noise

Honking is annoying. Unfortunately, it is also a second language in Nepal. If you are sensitive to offensive noises, like honking, try getting ear plugs or ear muffs.  Fortunately the Shamans of the Himalayas Tour will be out of the major traffic areas for most of the time.

Culture

If you are a foreigner, people will stare at you. Most of the attention comes out of curiosity and interest. Occasionally it can be weird, but if you pretend, you’re a movie star then it makes sense.

Public displays of affection are not generally accepted in Nepal. Places like Kathmandu and Pokhara are more culturally aware and generally don’t care. Male-male and female-female hand holding are not considered affectionate, however male female hand holding is discouraged.

Nepal is a relatively modest country. Men wear collared shirts and slacks while women wear kurta surwals. Women may ware any non-revealing cloths like Balloon pants and a comfortable loose-fitting shirt. However, in Kathmandu and Pokhara foreigners can ware casual comfort cloths without getting socially scalded.

World Peace Pagota
World Peace Pagota above Phewa Lake in Pokhara

Weather

You can expect warm sunny days through march and into April. The average daytime temperature is around 79oF and the average low is around 41oF. You will want to wear warm clothing like a sweatshirt and beanie at night.

The weather forecast for Nepal in March and April can be found here.

Tipping and money

It is not necessary to tip in Nepal. Satisfaction of a job well done is good enough for most Nepali people.

Some restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara will charge a 13% gratuity. Be careful of these establishments. If you are concerned about being charged for gratuity, you can ask the staff if they charge a “VAT.” If yes, you can expect a more expensive bill.

I think guides and porters should be tipped but it depends on their service.

The Shamans of the Himalayas Tour is all inclusive and you shouldn’t be out of pocket for anything except souvenirs and miscellaneous expenses.

I don’t think I could spend more than $500 on souvenirs and still have room in my suite case. If you are worried about it, you can ask your bank or credit card company to issue you a travel card for Nepal. You will be charged $2 to $5 for an international fee when you withdraw out of an atm.

Most places accept American currency, but if you want to exchange it for Nepali money, you will find the best exchange rates at a bank. The exchange rate fluctuates daily but it’s about $1 to NPR-100.

Please leave a comment if I missed anything or you would like me to cover something in more detail.

Thank you

Craig.

 

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Lapsi Achaar

Lapsi achaar

lapsi achaar
Lapsi achaar in an unlabeled package

Lapsi achaar is one of the most delightful pickled fruits in Nepal. It is flavorful with hints of fenugreek, black cumin, fennel, and turmeric. Chilly and salt are also added to balance the sweetness of the fruit. Sounds great, right! In this article I will review how lapsi achaar is made in Nepal.

Lapsi fruit

lapsi fruit for lapsi achaar
Lapsi fruit

Lapsi (Choerospondias axillaris) is a fruit tree that grows naturally in southern and south east Asia. It is especially predominant as an agricultural commodity in Nepal and less so in other Asian countries. The tree produces gulf ball sized fruit that are sweet and sour and have a texture like mango.

In the winter the fruit ripens and are harvested by communities or food processors. The lapsi fruit are eaten raw, turned into a delicious gummy candy, and pickled. The pickling process is explained below.

Lapsi achaar

lapsi achaar
Lapsi achaar in boiling mustard oil

Lapsi achaar is Nepali for lapsi pickle. The pickling process in Nepal is a little different than in the US. First all the fruits are boiled for about 15 minutes. The fruit will plump up and split, which makes it easy to peel.

The peeled fruits are added to a boiling mustard oil. If you try this at home, make sure you are outside or have excellent ventilation before boiling mustard oil because it will make you cough and tear up. Fenugreek, black cumin, fennel, and turmeric are added while the lapsi as its being stirred. Next salt and chili powder are added.

himalayan black salt
Himalayan black salt

The resulting pickle has a water activity of 0.85, and a pH of 4. These 2 quantitative measurements predict the potential for microorganisms to spoil the food. A water activity level of 0.85 and a pH of 4 are values within the industry standard for “safe to eat.”

Himalayan food tour

If you are ever in Nepal make sure you go on a food tour, which visits different ethnic communities and samples traditionally prepared food. It is a great way to tour the country and try delicious cuisine at the same time.

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Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing Norgay

In many respects the first official summit of Everest would not have been possible without the help of Tenzing Norgay. He  saved Edmund Hillary’s life and guided him on their assent to the top of the world. This article is about the second man to summit Mt. Everest, Tenzing Norgay.

Early life

Tenzing was born on May 29th, 1914 in Tengboche, Khumbu, which is just below Mt. Everest. However, there are alternate accounts of his origin. One such account is that he was born in Tse Chu, which is in the Kama Valley of Tibet. He identified his parents as Tibetan but said he was born in Nepal.

His parents named him Namgyal Wangdi, but on the advice of the head lama at Rongbuk Monastery, it was changed to Tenzing Norgay. His name translates as wealthy/ fortunate religious disciple. Norgay’s parents had 13 children, but most did not survive childhood. Norgay was 11th born.

He was sent to a monastery to become a monk, but decided he wanted to climb mountains. As a teenager he moved to Darjeeling, India for work as a porter because Darjeeling was the starting point for climbs at that time.

Eric Shipton, in 1935, hired Norgay as a high-altitude porter on his British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition. This was his first opportunity as a professional porter. He was then hired as a porter on 2 other British attempts to summit Everest before 1940.

In the 1940’s he was hired as a personal assistant to a Major in the Indian army. He worked and lived in Chitral, which is now part of Pakistan, but once part of India. He married and had 2 daughters in Chitral, but after his wife’s death and Pakistan’s invasion of India he left with his daughters.

Mid life

After his escape from Pakistan, he was hired by Earl Denman help him summit Everest in 1947. Their attempt at the summit was prevented by bad weather.

Edouard Dunant and Gabriel Chevalley hired Norgay in the spring and autumn of 1952. Both expeditions failed to reach the summit, but the first expedition reached 28,200 feet and opened a new climbing route. The second expedition was stopped by bad weather.

Everest summit

In 1953 John Hunt hired Norgay on his 400-man expedition to climb Mt. Everest. The expedition included 362 porters, 20 guides, and 10,000 pounds of baggage. Norgay met Edmund Hillary on this expedition.

While climbing up Everest, Hillary fell into a crevasse, but was saved when Norgay secured Hillary’s rope to an ice axe and dug it into the snow. Norgay became Hillary’s climbing partner because of his fast thinking and quick action.

Tensing and Hillary were halted on the South Col for 2 days because of bad weather. On the first sight of clear weather, they made their first attempt at the summit. Carrying 30-pound packs they maneuvered over the Hillary Step and onto the highest point on earth, 29,028 feet.

They spent 15 minutes on the summit before returning to base camp. Their decent was a little tricky due to their tracks being covered by drifting snow.

After Everest

Before they made it down the mountain, they were famous worldwide. Norgay received the George Medal from Queen Elizabeth II, while Hunt and Hillary were knighted.

Norgay became the 1st director of Field Training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in 1954.

Tenzing negotiated and arranged for the first American tourist party to enter Bhutan in 1975.

Norgay founded Tenzing Norgay Adventures in 1978. The company is run by his son today.

Family

Tenzing Norgay married his 1st wife’s cousin after his wife’s death. They did not have any children, which was a factor in his decision to take a 3rd wife. He had 3 sons and 1 daughter with his 3rd wife.

Death

Tenzing Norgay died on May 9, 1986, from a cerebral hemerage. He was 71 years old.

 

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Sand in Nepal

Nepali sands

I heard a captivating story about sand on NPR. The story was told in an interview by Lulu Garcia-Narrvaro and Vince Beiser. Vince Beiser wrote a book about sand titled, The World in a Grain. This immediately caught my attention because it reminded me of the poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake. I realized how fitting the name of the book is after learning about sand. The interview inspired me to write this article about sand in Nepal.

What is sand and how big is it?

The stuff at the beach? Yes, that is one answer, but did you know there is a scientific definition for sand. Sand is identified by the Unified Soil Classification System as particles with a diameter between 0.074 and 4.75 millimeters (mm). Geologists identify sand as particles with a diameter from 0.0625 to 2 mm.

Inland continental sand is composed of silica and oxygen bonded together (SiO2). Tropical coastal sand is primarily made of calcium carbon and oxygen bonded together (CaCO3). Inland continental sand (quartz) is non-reactive to common chemicals and extremely hard, which makes it an excellent building material.

Abundance

Sand is one of the most abundant things on the planet, however only some of it is useful for manufacturing purposes. There is a limited amount of useful sand in the world and since it is the 3rd most consumed (oxygen and water are 1 and 2) natural resource, it is becoming scarce.

Uses

Sand is used in a multitude of manufactured products. A short list includes windows, computer chips, elastic, filtration, building, concrete, sanding, and insulation. In short it is the stuff our daily lives are made from.

Sand in Nepal

Nepal is primarily composed of sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks. The sedimentary rocks include marl, dolomite, siltstone, shale, and limestone. These rocks are made from the same components as tropical coastal sand. The metamorphic rocks found in Nepal, schist, phyllite, and gneiss, are composed of the same elements that make inland continental sand.

Abundance of sand in Nepal

If you were to take Nepal and lay it out flat, it would be comparable to the size of the United States (3.797 million square miles). Nepal is a huge land mass, but vertically stratified, which provides it the potential to produce a lot of sand. Nepal produces hundreds of thousands of tons of sand per year.

How is sand made

Sand is naturally made by 2 types of erosion, water, and wind. It is also artificially made by people. Sand produced by wind erosion tends to be rounded and is considered a poor quality for construction.  On the other hand sand created by water erosion tends to have angular edges and is better suited for construction.

Sand mining and production in Nepal

Nepal is going through a huge industrial boom right now. You can see sand mines processing sand on the banks of nearly all major rivers in Nepal. To a lesser extent you can also see people pounding on rocks with hammers and sieving the sand produced. This sand is going into concrete for houses and buildings that were destroyed during the 2015 earth quake, and to new homes and an international airport in Pokhara.

Sand in Nepal

Sand is not something that is not naturally considered when thinking about Nepal. Most people think of Chitwan, the Annapurna mountains, or Mt. Everest. Considering the amount of rain fall (about 63 inches), and snow that lands in Nepal each year, it is easy to assume most of the sand is created by water erosion.

Sand is one of the most important solid substances in the word, in my opinion it is second to wood. Without it, we wouldn’t have modern civilization. It may also become one of Nepal’s most valued exports because sand values have quintupled in the past 30 years.

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Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary mountaineer

Edmund Hillary and his mountain guide Tenzing Norgay were the first people confirmed to have climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest. This action secured Hillary’s position as the most famous mountaineer to date. The fame later helped him secure philanthropic roles, and government positions in New Zealand. Edmund Hillary has a developed biography full of adventures and contains memorable quotes. This article is about Sir Edmund Hillary and his life.

Edmund Hillary height

Hillary described himself as being a small and lonely child although he grew to the height of 6 ft 5 in by the age of 16. He was more comfortable indulging in books than in the company of his peers. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20th, 1919. It wasn’t until 1935, 16 years later, that he became interested in mountaineering.

Edmund Hillary Biography (in brief)

By 1939 Hillary climbed to the top of Mount Olliver (6,342 ft), his first major summit. Hillary put his passion for mountaineering to the side in 1943, because of the threat of Japanese invasion of Pacific countries. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator, but in 1945, he was injured in a fire and medically discharged.

In 1948 He climbed to the summit of the south ridge of Mt. Cook.

Hillary climbed Cho Oyu in 1952.

The defining moment in Edmund Hillary’s lice came on May 29, 1953 when he climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Hillary crossed the Antarctic shelf in 1958 to reach the south pole.

In 1960, Hillary joined a big foot tracking team. His goal was to find evidence of big foot. The team explored the Himalayas for 10 months, but Hillary was only with the team for 5 months. They only found evidence that disproved big foot’s existance.

Hillary established the Himalayan Trust in 1960 after his summit of Everest. His goal was to help the Sherpa people by improving health, education, and lively hoods in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. His efforts led to the construction of schools, and hospitals and helped improve the lives of people who live among the mountains.

Hillary created the 3 poles challenge when he and Neil Armstrong flew to the North pole in 1985.

Edmund Hillary became the ambassador of Nepal and the commissioner to India and Bangladesh from 1985 to 1988.

In 1992 his image was printed on the $5 note of the New Zealand currency. This made him the only living person that wasn’t a government official to appear on a note.

Edmund Hillary death

Hillary died from heart failure on January 11, 2008, in Auckland City Hospital. His body was cremated and most of his ashes were released in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. The other portion of his ashes were taken to Nepal to be released on top of Mt. Everest.

Edmund Hillary famous quotes

  • “it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
  • “you don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things… You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”
  • “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”
  • Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.
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Top 10 highest mountains in Nepal

Top 10 highest mountains in Nepal

Its about time I did a top 10 highest mountains in Nepal article, because 8 of the worlds 10 highest mountains are in Nepal. However, most of these mountains are shared by neighboring countries like China, and India. In this article I give a brief overview of the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal. I hope you enjoy it.

Everest

Everest
Mt. Everest is the darker mountain in the background

First up on the list of the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal is Everest. Everest is probably the most well-known Mountain in Nepal. China also claims ownership of the northern part of Everest. In fact, the north base camp in China can be driven to in a car! It takes about 13 days to hike to Everest Base Camp, which is an amazing hike. Pro tip: on your way to EBC, hike to Kalla Patthar for the best views of the area.

Everest is known in Nepali as Sagarmatha and is in the Sagarmāthā National Park. The Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site. The highest mountain in Nepal rises to a staggering 29,029 feet above sea level.

You can continue reading about Everest by following this link.

Kangchenjunga

Kangchenjunga is claimed by Nepal and India. It is in the south eastern area of nepal and the north eastern area of India known as Sikkim. The highest point of the mountain is at an elevation of 28,169 feet above sea level. Kangchenjunga is part of the Kangchenjuga Himalayan range and is the tallest mountain in India. This mountain is called “Five Treasures of Snow”, which relates to the 5 peaks in the range.

You can continue reading about Kangchenjunga by following this link.

Lhotse

Lhotse Main
Everest, Lhotse, Amadablam

Lhotse is a beautiful mountain. It is right next to Everest in the Sagarmāthā National Park. If you hike to Everest Base camp from Lukla, you will see Lhotse before you see Everest. The highest peak on Lhotse is 27,940 feet above sea level. Nepal and China share ownership of this mountain.

Lhotse has 3 peaks above 26,000 feet. Lhotse main is the tallest, Lhotse middle 27,605 feet, and Lhotse Shar 27,503 feet above sea level.

You can continue reading about Lhotse by following this link.

Makalu

Makalu is in the Makalu Barun National Park, which is an extension of the Sagarmatha National Park. Makalu is 12 miles south east of Everest in the Mahalangur mountain range. Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu can be seen together from the gompa above Dingboche. Makalu’s tallest peak is 27,838 feet above sea level. China and Nepal share ownership of the mountain as it is on the border.

You can continue reading about Makalu by following this link.

Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu is the 5th highest mountain in Nepal, but the 6th highest mountain in the world. Its highest peak is 26,864 feet above sea level. Cho Oyu is about 12 miles west of Everest in the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur mountain range and is partly owned by China. It is one of the most prominent mountains visible while hiking to Everest Base Camp. Cho Oyu has gentle slopes and is regarded as one of the easiest mountains above 26,000 feet to climb.

You can continue reading about Cho Oyu by following this link.

Dhaulagiri I

Rhododendron forest and Dhaulagiri range above Poon Hill
Rhododendron forest and Dhaulagiri range above Poon Hill

Dhaulagiri is a delight to see after trekking the Annapurna Circuit or from the top of Poon Hill. It is the 7th tallest mountain above sea level in Nepal at 26,795 feet.  Dhaulagiri mountain range is wholly owned by Nepal and has 5 notable peaks. The mountain range extends into 5 districts along the Kali Gandaki River. Dhaulagiri I was first summited by a Swiss/ Austrian/ Nepali team on May 13, 1960.

You can continue reading about Dhaulagiri I by following this link.

Manaslu

annapurna 2, pisang peak, manaslu
Annapurna 2, Pisang Peak, and Manaslu from Upper Khangsar

Manaslu is a beautiful mountain just off the main trail of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. It is the 8th tallest mountain above sea level in the world. The highest elevation of Manaslu is 26,781 feet. This mountain is wholly owned by Nepal. The Nepali government has restricted access to this mountain to only group treks. Restricted area permits are required to go on the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

You can continue reading about Manaslu by following this link.

Annapurna I

top 10 mountains in nepal
Annapurna I in the center

Annapurna I barely breaks the 26,247 foot elevation. Its highest point is at 26,545 feet above sea level. It is the 8th tallest mountain in Nepal and the 10th tallest in the world. Annapurna I can be seen from the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the top of Poon Hill, and the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Attempting to summit Annapurna I is one of the most dangerous mountaineering activities in Nepal. It has a fatality to summit ratio of 32%.

You can continue reading about Annapurna I by following this link.

Gyachung Kang

Gyachung Kang is the 15th tallest mountain in the world, but the 9th highest in Nepal. It is in the Mahalangur Himal range in-between Everest and Cho Oyu at an elevation of 26,089 feet. It is 158 feet below the 8,000-meter range and thus far less popular or well known than any other mountain in its height class. The peak was first climbed on April 10th, 1964. The peak was summited again the day after, by 2 people who rarely receive credit. Their names are K. Machida, and K. Yasuhisa.

You can continue reading about Gyachung Kang by following this link.

Annapurna II

Annapurna 2 and Lamjung Himal
Annapurna 2 and Lamjung Himal

Last on the list of the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal is Annapurna 2. Annapurna II is one of my favorite mountains on this list. It reminds me of an old volcano due to its characteristic opening at the top of its peak. Annapurna II is 26,040 feet above sea level. You can have the best view of the mountain while hiking up to Milarepa Cave. As the name implies, Annapurna II is second to Annapurna I in terms of height.

You can continue reading about Annapurna 2 by following this link.

Conclusion

That concludes the list of the Top 10 highest mountains in Nepal. If you would like to visit any one of these amazing geological masterpieces please contact us for a personalized trip or you may secure your travel package directly from mynepaltrek.com