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Taste of
dashain
Few days before the festival, the air tastes of
Dashain. It is a sweet mix of past memories

The Taste of dashain/ Tales of Taleju/ Stories, Sweet and Festive


and anticipation of fun times ahead.

October 2016

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Editorial
October 2016 l Issue 179

REG. No: 113/059/60, Kathmandu

ECS MEDIA Pvt. Ltd.


Managing Editor: Sunil Shrestha
Sr. Manager, Editorial & Marketing:
Sudeep Shakya
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Contributing Editor: Don Messerschmidt


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Editorial Enquiries: editorial@ecs.com.np

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SAJANA SHRESTHA, chandra s. magar
Photography Assistant: SURAJ LAMA

Executives Business Development: Rabin Maharjan,


Malati bayalkoti
Ad Enquiries: ad@ecs.com.np

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Bikram shrestha
Mood swings with Dashain
Subscription Assistant: My fervor for Dashain always starts to finish everything before Dashain
pralhad ranabhat peeking a month early, even before In- celebrations and the indolence that
ARM Assistants:
dra Jatra arrives. The Dashain induced unwittingly creeps in, when you know
keshar b.k., raju gautam nostalgia is ever present when the ten something as delightful as this festival
day long festival is slowly nearing, the is waiting round the corner; our hunt
overwhelming smell of guavas, the re- for stories despite this has left us in a
freshing spring breeze, the flight of kites state of half misery, half revelry. All in
in the sky, families chit-chatting, old a good way.
songs, idle warm afternoons. My mood In this issue, we have put together
starts to lighten up and gradually gets this essence of Dashain, stories of the
intoxicated with Dashain excitement. It most colloquial connotations of Das-
makes me feel ‘happy go lucky.’ hain, of festive nostalgia and longing.
Official Digital Marketing Partner - But it’s not just me who keeps the Stories about Dashain Tika, the taste of
Ads Market Pvt. Ltd [4218069]
count; there is my dad spending long Dashain, of the heavy feast and sweets,
ECS Services
Director: Ram Devi Shrestha
hours figuring out what new delicacy of adventure holiday plans.
Tusal, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal
4426439, ecs@infoclub.com.np
should he cook this time; my mom, who I hope this package of ‘Bada Das-
Color Separation & Printed at: WordScape The Printer Pvt. Ltd.
is always worried about her perfection hain’ entertains you.
Bhaisepati, 5590306, 5591112
Distributor: RB News
in making khasi ko masu (goat meat), Happy Dashain!
ECS Nepal Magazine (ISSN 1729-2751) is published 12 times a year at the address above. All rights
reserved in respect of all articles, illustration, photography, etc published in ECS Nepal Magazine. The
“What if the meat gets hard,” and way Lastly, I will end with recommending
contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the written
consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher,
ahead of time, she starts practicing her you this lovely song that I cannot stop
who cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. All editorial inquiries and submissions to
ECS Nepal Magazine must be addressed to editorial@ecs.com.np forte. While my elder sister becomes humming to:
Each Issue: Rs. 130.00 in Nepal, Annual Subscription in Nepal: overtly particular on Dashain for clean-
Rs 1300.00 (For 12 issues). Send all subscription request to ECS Nepal
Magazine, E-mail: subscription@ecs.com.np, website: www.ecs.com.np ing her car and her room. It’s a time Dashain nai hoki yo mero Dasha farki
when she comes up with all the crazy aaayeko!
and wonderful ideas to decorate the Dashain nai hoki yo mero Dasha farki
house. aaayeko!
Meanwhile, my list of things to do Pasal lai Picche mero kina tauko
for Dashain grows wilder with each khayeko!
passing day. Dashain aayeko! Dashain Aayeko!
Here at ECS, Dashain has come
early for the team. Work has been cal- Srizu Bajracharya
lous, with the strange mix of ambitions Sub-editor
Contents October 2016 l Issue 179

21
Living In Nepal
Five things to do in Nepal
Culture Blissful tika
from the Living Goddess
People Bits, Pieces, and Life
with Kabi Raj Lama
Movie festival Rich
Characters and a Meaningful
Culture The Taste of Dashain

89
Craft
Events The Maker Faire
Comes to Town
People Bags with
Purpose
A Story Worth Hearing

95
Travel
Escape Luxury with Nature

117
Adventure
On Going The Valley on a
Vespa
Destination Free Fallin’
Amidst the Mountains
Food Going Vegan for a
Day!
Experience Soaring Down
the Slopes
A Plate full of Festivities Feature

72 Photo
katmandu
Feature
Stories, Sweet and Festive
We endorse the recycling of our
52 Apart from the deep blue skies and bright sunny
days, there are a number of other sweet things
magazine and would encourage happening during the months that follow the end
you to pass it on to others to read of monsoon. Bada-Dashain and Tihar are major
when you have finished with it. highlights.
Contents October 2016 l Issue 179

98 Photo story
Tetang- Chusang, Under the Great
Mustang umbrella.

SUBSCRIBERs AUGUST 2016/ Rs. 130 SEPTEMBER 2016/ Rs. 130


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ISSN 1729- 2751

ISSN 1729- 2751

Did not receive Hajurba ra


your copy ? Hajurma
pg. 36
Khokhana’s Famed Tori-ko-tel/ Rain, Mist and Ropai/ Innovation in Education Fair

Listening to your Hajurba and Hajurma’s stories can


Hajurba ra Hajurma/ The Forgotten Haja/ People of Khumbu

be both enthralling and fulfilling, transporting you


back to their nostalgic memories.

Changed your
address ? Khokhana’s
Famed
pg. 46

Tori-Ko-Tel
One can pick up the aroma of mustard
oil cooking hundreds of feet away in
Khokhana. It’s evident that at first, you
will find yourself following the strong
On the cover
scent to gradually transcend to your own
memories of tori-ko-tel.

Langur Burja: a traditional popular game


Call: 5544350 (9 a.m to 5 p.m)
September 2016
AUGUST 2016

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SUbSCrIber COpY
because of the gambling vice it tends to
e-mail: subscription@ecs.com.np promote. But if played with a light hearted
spirit of Dashain the game is endearing
and fun for any festive get-together.

Our sister publications


[ october 2016 ]
What: Changa Chait
When: 1st October 11am-4pm
Where: Pilot baba Ashram
What: Unlimited
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Sattva
What: The Pump
When: October 1-2nd
anniversary
Where: Imago Dei
When: October 1st
1:15 - 8:15 pm
Where: The Pump,
sun mon Tue wed thur Fri sat Gyanmandala,
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What: National youth


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When: October 8
Where: Mega party
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What: Together for


2 3 4 5 6 7 8 hope, Walkathon Vol III
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When: October 22
Where: Durbar
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Where: Mangal Bazaar
 When: IndraJatra
“Together For Hope -
What’s
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by Rose Foundation
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set to take place 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 in Nepal. The Event
right amidst all the
will begin From Patan
Jatra action, along
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the path where the
at Jawalakhel Ground
rath is going to be
where there will be a live
escorted along.
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 performance by 1974
A.D., food stalls, and
many other attractions.

What: Jazzmandu
When:  20-26th October
Where: Various What : Open Air Flea Market , BAC Mela
The 14th Kathmandu jazz festival, is taking place When: 29th October, Saturday. 1pm-10pm
from 20th to 26th October in places around the Where: BAC Art Cafe, Pulchowk
valley. Kathmandu’s leading jazz event, It promises    On 29th October the Bikalpa Art Centre Cafe will
to be the biggest jazz event in the himalayas again, transform itself, to a festive mela. It will showcase
featuring artists from Nepal and abroad. Music Products made in Nepal, Local food and drinks, and
unity for peace and compassion. a garage sale. All this entwined with the atmosphere
of live music, Art Exhibition and extra activities for
children and Adults.
Brought to you by
LivingInNepal
Things to do l FOOD l FESTIVAL WATCH l CULTURE

5 things
to do in
Nepal
Make this time with your family and
friends even more special by doing
one or all of the following things.
HAri maharjan

Jerry Swari and Aila and Chyang


Forget for a moment that jerry swari is usually a break-
fast item. Pretend for another that aila and chyang are
not just served at bhwe. What we will have is a lip-
smacking combination that will blow away your mind
(maybe literally). Pair up this sweet confectionary with
the traditional bad-asses and report if it’s not any better.
But don’t worry if you’re not too keen about this one,
for the pairing of jerry with swari alone is amazing. You
know all about aile and chyang.

Swings
Dashain is not just for nostalgic time with your near
and dear ones. This is in fact a great occasion to relive
your most beautiful memories. After you’re done with
the rituals and meals, take some time to look for swings
which made your childhood perfect, instead of simply
talking about them. And you might probably want to do
that a little quickly – those lines of children (and adults)
are never going to end and you know it!

Playing Cards
The stakes have never been higher. That one cousin who
always sends you those meme to torment you has to be
brought down and what better opportunity to shut their
mouth than to beat them mercilessly in this wonderful
weapon of vengeance. You better polish your card tricks
and strategies so that you can make that beautiful loot
yours: Know your queens and kings, your spades and
clubs like the back of your hand. But above all, enjoy
this Dashain-exclusive pleasure!

22 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Flying Kites
Aside from upholding the traditions, what else can you gain
from flying kites during this great festival? Let’s not forget
that traffic is not as wretched as it gets on normal days so
there’s less pollution. Less pollution means (almost) fresh
air. And it is for this that flying kites in the autumn air is so
tantalizing. If it doesn’t tempt you, then you can be nice and
cheer the captain-in-chief and tease the losers.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 23


Hone your hobbies
Series of days with food, family, and
fun, and there you will be, with more
time than you thought you would get.
So what can you do with it? Sharpen
your photography skills, or knitting
techniques, practice keyboard, or nail
that dance move that you’ve been
meaning to. If you are really up for uti-
lizing the holiday to its maximum, what
better than this time to do it? Shock
your colleagues into thinking that you
are the undisputed queen/king, once
you come back from holidays.

24 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


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• Restaurant & Café • Courtyard / Beautiful Garden
• Food - Japanese / Nepali / • Parking Space
Continental and many more • Free Wi-Fi

Hotel Kaze Darbar


Blissful tika Culture
from the Living Goddess
The festival of Dashain is associated with the tika that is put on the
tenth and final day of the festival. This is the story of the divine tika.
Abhas Dharananda Rajopadhyaya

figure is simply attaining close-


ness to divinity. And so we go
to the Living Goddess Kumari.
While I associate the tika more
with Hindus and their festivals as
of now, I do not forget that Bud-
dhists too do it. Examples are
plenty and equivalent to almost
any Hindus in the Kathmandu
valley. The royal Living Goddess
Kumari herself is from a Bud-
dhist family, and is revered by all
religions alike.
While Buddhists regard Ku-
mari in forms of Vasundhara
or Vajradevi, Hindus too have
special reverence to the goddess
in the form of Durga Bhawani.
The Durga form is primarily wor-
shipped during Dashain— an im-
portant Hindu festival venerating
mother-goddesses in the Shakta
cult. Local lore associates Kumari
with another patron deity — the

E
ver since my child- ebrations and it is at the center Taleju, venerable both for Hindus
hood, the red tika of the forehead that most people and Buddhists Newars and even
on the forehead had prefer to put on this tika. While in esoteric form. Goddess Kumari
always been a fascina- this is so common almost on all is believed to be the living form
tion for me. One of the greatest occasions, many at hill areas of the tutelary deity of medieval
festivals for Hindus, Dashain, smear the tika on whole forehead Malla kings.
would unfailingly be an occasion with long recitations of blessings. The history of royal Kumari
when the red tika would show For birthdays or some do- tradition may be traced only to
the festive mood on my and all mestic celebrations or festive middle of 18th century during the
my family’s faces. occasions, the red tika is al- rule of Jay Prakash Malla, the last
Putting on a tika is also a part ways used. Yellow tika and Malla king of Kathmandu before
of adornment in the 16 classical even that mixed with rice and the 1768 Shah conquest. It was
steps, also called sodaśa srigāra. curd is used in commemora- during his time that the royal
Most therefore would usually tion of the dead. White tika patronage was offered to a Bud-
link it as a feminine thing: but is commonly a welcome sign dhist girl in the form of the living
this is equally enchanting for among different Himalayan goddess. But this does not mean
both males and females alike. On tribes in Nepal. there was no such Kumari tradi-
festive occasions, it has a deeper A tika is always put on by tion before this. Still some areas
significance. ones’ elder and is always ac- host girls to take the position of
A handful of red vermillion companied by blessings from the living goddess Kumari at a lo-
powder along with grains of rice the elders — by age or social cal/city level — of course without
mixed with curd, and often lawa position. Receiving tika from that royal status. Examples of
to stick the tika together makes elder relatives or even a pundit such are found at Makhan Jyapu
the tika ready at home. The red or guru is a sign of auspicious- Kumari, Kilagal Kumari in Kath-
is an auspicious color for all cel- ness: receiving it from a divine mandu, Pimbahal Jyapu Kumari

26 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


at Patan or city’s chief Kumari
at Hakhabahal in Patan, Ekanta
Kumari at Bhaktapur, Sankhu,
Bungamati, Kirtipur, Chabahil
and so on.
For a Newar household how-
ever, every girl child is a Kumari.
Most traditional families too
therefore equally celebrate birth
of a girl-child almost equally as
that of a male child. Every girl
child is revered as Kumari dur-
ing the Maha-Navami puja (ninth
day worship) of Dashain festival.
Among many others, Dashain
is also characterized by tika and
jamara. Tradition has it that the
tika is received from the elders,
and is always followed by bless-
ings. Elderly ones still recite few
or full of the following lines as a husa, speed of wind-God Pavana, main nerves emanating from the
part of blessing — dignity as that of Duryodhana, spinal cord of human body.
āyurdroņasute, śriyam daśarathe, valor as that of King Sāntanu, This philosophy is in practice
śatrukmayam rāghave | strength as that of plough-bearer not just in Hinduism or tantric
aiśvaryam nahuse, gatiśca pavane, Lord Balarāma, truthfulness as tradition, but also in Vajrayana
mānañca duryodhane || that of son of Kuntī [Yuddhisthira], Buddhism, Bon religion, Qigong
śauryamsāntanave, balamhalad- knowledge of the wise Bidura, practices, Malay-Indonesian prac-
hare, satyañca kuntīsute | fame as that of Lord Nārāyana. tices etc.
vijñyāna vidure, bhavantu The forehead is where the
bhavatām, kīrtiśca nārāyane Inciting the Aagya-Chakra Aagya chakra lies and putting
||1|| The philosophy of yoga divides the on a tika at the center of fore-
This translates as — [May you] have human body into seven chakras. head is linked with inciting this
years as that of the son of Ācārya/ These seven chakras are part very chakra. Scientifically, the
guru Drona [i.e. Aśvatthāmā, one of non-physical, spiritual body chakra is closely linked with
of the eight immortals from Ma- overlaying the physical one, and pineal gland producing melato-
habharata epic], riches as that of locate major energy centers within nin, regulating sleep and waking
King Dasarath of Ayodhyā [from a human body. Many Vedic litera- hours. The blessing along with
the epic of Ramayana], may your tures on yogic exercises, including tika is also then interpreted to
enemy gets destroyed as that of those falling into the tantric genre attain strength to balance one’s
Raghava [Lord Rama], may you mention of these chakras. These higher and lower selves, and
have richness of purānic King Na- amazingly correspond to the seven one’s intuition.

The following table will help understand these concepts in a simple way
Name Location Symbol Color Related to Remarks
Muladhar Base of spine Lotus with four petals Red Instinct, security and survival Kundalini rests here
White lotus,
Lotus with crescent moon, Relationship, violence,
Svadhisthan Sacrum Vermillion or orange
six petals addictions, pleasure
petals
Downward pointing triangle
Manipur Navel Yellow Power, fear, opinion-formation
with ten petals
Emotions, compassion,
Anahat Heart Two intersecting triangles Green/Pink
unconditional love, well-being
Silver crescent
Crescent within a circle with White circle
Visuddha Throat Communication, independence
16 petals Light blue/ turquoise
petals
Violet/indigo/ deep Balancing higher and lower
Aagya Third-eye, forehead Lotus with two petals
blue or white selves, intuition
White or
Sahasrar Crown Lotus with thousand petals Inner wisdom, death of body Pure consciousness
Multi-colored
The Taste of
Dashain
sachi mulmi Illustration: Ashmin Maharjan

F
ew days before the festival, the air discussing the cups, manas, and grams of peas,
tastes of Dashain. It is a sweet mix of chickpeas, lentils, meat, etc. that needs to be
past memories and anticipation of fun bought? It is beyond lively. This conference of the
times ahead. dashain demented devis is the main attraction and
There’s something about the air entertainment of the kamchor choris like me, who
when it carries the sweet smell of guavas. Though are only too happy witnessing the pandemonium
we feel the neighbors eyeing the tantalizing guavas from afar. After all, I’ll be dragged in anyway,
from August, it is when the veil of clouds clear away whether I like it or not.
to reveal blue sky that the truth of the approach- Mother is only too keen to listen to the latest
ing festival actually hits you. With this realization bhajans. My hip mom who plays Zen Koi and
comes a sort of nostalgia and expectation to match Plants Vs. Zombies in her spare time feverishly
and challenge it. looks for bhajans of the appropriate Gods and
For some reason, I can sense a change in the Goddesses. On Monday, it is Mahadev. On
air when September comes. A series of festivals Tuesday, I can hear her playing a song about the
in the months of Shrawan and Bhadra is nothing mysterious trumpet of Lord Ganesha. So naturally,
more than teasers to the grand ten-day affair that on Dashain, with more resources at her disposal,
is Dashain. And why not? Streets are bustling with she’ll shuffle between Mangal dhun and Malashree
shoppers vying for food, clothes, essentials, etc. dhun.
Houses are cleaned up (probably the only time A few years ago when I listened to the radio
every nooks and corners are covered). There’s religiously, I remember being excited when the
enough food and drinks to set the party mood. jingles in between consisted of Malashree dhun.
But the real work has barely started. For me, that signified the approaching Dashain,
Having been born in a household that believes meaning holidays and a break from school. That
in rituals, everyone’s main concern is the kitchen. paired with the sweet smell of guavas alone was
Shopping for enough food items alone takes days enough to send me into a state of elation. With
to manage. So many ingredients demand to be Dashain right around the corner, I find that this
used and seen. Have you seen a bunch of mothers bit has not changed. I hope it doesn’t.

28 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 29
People
Bits, Pieces, and Life
with Kabi Raj Lama
Sometimes, the most dreadful memories becomes our inspiration, woes
become our friends like bitterness strengthens our abilities. Like the saying
goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

maiya bajracharya

around those feelings—our


distorted faith, the looming
fear, the sudden evanesce, the
feelings that we are not easy
to come to terms with, the
fragments that made meaning
for itself , the encrypted sym-
bols that we missed out on. I
have also printed the hurdled
dream of a child who shared
his earthquake story when I
went to give art workshops to
some schools as art therapy.
If you look closely at ‘My
Home a Ray of Hope’ you will
see a motherly figure holding
her child. A student I met dur-
ing the workshop had shared
with me that he felt safe when
his mother hugged him tightly
during the quake. And that is
what I have printed.

Is there a recurring metaphor


that you have used in these
prints?

A
You may realize that I am
t Siddhartha Art disfigured alignment of our lives. an emotional person, and
Gallery, I am as- These vague fragments of our I think very deeply about
tounded again to lives hung themselves on the wall the meanings of our lives,
observe Kabi Raj as stained memories. And, the fears, and inhibitions. As a
Lama’s new col- feeling was overwhelming, after metaphor in these prints, you
lection of lithography that he all, it’s a truth we cannot turn will see that I have used a lot
worked in Steindruck Munchen ourselves from, and the exhibi- of boats, some stable, some
in Munich, Germany and Guan- tion gave me good goose bumps. turned upside down, some
lan Printmaking forum as an Art- on the background. Boats
ist in Residence. His prints deliv- What has been your inspiration are my metaphors. I don’t
ered the numb feelings that our this time? know how to swim, and I
lives are still freshly entwined The reiterating, recurring feeling am really scared of water,
with; the confusing turmoil we of panic every time the ground sea, and river. Having a boat
were in after the earthquake; below us shakes; the feeling makes me feel safe, it gives
the surviving notes we wrote to is unpleasant. It’s an indelible me a way out of my fears. And
ourselves; the need of the hour memory that will take time to that’s why they embedded in
to find hope in little things; the fade away. My work revolves these prints.

30 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Lithography takes a lot of patience
and hard work. I am insane when
I am working, I don’t realize the
passing time.

Were these ideas spontaneous? the related cost. I threw my-


Not entirely, I had to make self to draw freely in the big
proposals to apply for artist in heavy stones. Became a lunatic
residency in Munich, only the when something went wrong.
best ideas would get the oppor- Scrubbed wildly to make a
tunity. And hence, I took my clean slate for my prints. It’s
time preparing for it. Coming been tiring, but gratefully very
together with ideas isn’t easy, joyful. I explored myself as an
it’s more difficult than putting artist thoroughly.
your mind on paper instinctively.
However, these ideas changed These prints seem like frag-
when I was working with the ments of your lives. Your
stone, after all, art is impulsive. achievement, what does it feel
Ideas flow like river when it like now?
gets its space. About 50% of Happy. There is no other
my idea changed while making word for it. ‘Ramailo!’ (Fun!)
these prints. When hard work pays off, you
are motivated to do more. Ne-
How has the journey been? palis still are stereotyped and
Lithography takes a lot of pa- demeaned in a lot of working
tience and hard work. I am spaces in foreign countries.
insane when I am working, I They look at you with distaste-
don’t realize the passing time. ful eyes, delineating ‘Can a
And, I would say I was lucky Nepali truly do something?’
to be chosen for such an op- I believe I have done a little
portunity. I didn’t want to take to change those judgments.
things for granted. The univer- Our Nepalis are hardworking,
sity facilitated my stay with the and if given a chance, they re-
most valuable tools that I can’t ally will give away everything
even imagine; I could use them to prove their skills. Interest
to my utmost sense of creativity, and perseverance wins over
without being hesitant about everything.
Rich Characters Movie Review

and a Meaningful Plot


If you’re interested in Nepali cinema that pushes the boundaries a little
bit, then this is the one to check out: Masaan.
Evangeline Neve

M
asaan, a movie Russian Cultural Centre here in a nuanced, human performance;
by Nepali film- Kathmandu, and organized by even if you do not agree with
maker Nir the College of Journalism and all her choices, it’s hard not to
Shah, is quite Mass Communication. sympathize with her and the
u n l i ke mo s t The movie Masaan is based situation she inadvertently finds
Nepali films being made these on a short story by the late Gopal herself in. And it makes the
days. Not to be confused with a Prasad Rimal, the noted poet wrong done to her by her suppos-
Hindi movie of the same name and playwright, and his brother, edly loving husband even harder
that came out last year, it is seri- Hari Prasad Rimal, introduces to swallow.
ous and at times a little dark, the movie. With Nepali movies so often
amazingly well acted and touches Masaan—a word literally following the much used song-
on some interesting and mean- meaning cremation ground— and-dance routines, interspersed
ingful points that don’t often get tells the story of Helen (Keki with wild action sequences, it is
raised in such an insightful way. Adhikari) and Krishna (Raj Bal- a pleasure to watch something
Recently I had the pleasure of lav Koirala), a married couple so insightful. As I said, you may
watching it on the big screen; who are unable to have children. not agree with all of the charac-
it was the closing film screened They love each other very much, ters’ actions here, but there is
at this year’s Nepal Africa Film but as the years go by Helen be- a humanity and realism in this
Festival 2016, which was held comes more and more obsessed film that make it an out of the
between 7-9 September at the with the desire for a son, and ordinary viewing experience.
finally, despite her husband’s The female characters are strong
misgivings, arranges a second and intelligent, and in many ways
marriage for him, to the young outshine the men, which I believe
and innocent Dulahi (Neeta was the filmmaker’s intention.
Dhungana). As you watch the Kudos also to the supporting
movie it’s easy to see that this cast of the film—I truly enjoyed
is where things will begin to go the performance by Subadhra
downhill, though to its credit Adhikari, the actress who played
the film avoids the usual clichés the character of Bagmati; in ad-
and the twists the plot takes as it dition to her expressive face and
moves along came as a surprise keen nature that often saw more
to me. Krishna, despite his love than those around her realized,
for his wife, has made some very she and Thule provided a little bit
stupid and selfish decisions, the of comic relief as well. Good act-
consequences of which return to ing also came from Dinesh D.C.,
haunt him—and not just him, but who portrays Krishna’s wise and
both of his wives as well. Neeta longsuffering friend.
Dhungana won Best Actress at There’s a lot of human nature
the National Film Awards for her in here, good and bad, as well as
role as Dulahi, Krishna’s second topics that will make you think
wife in the film, but I was equally and wonder, and perhaps view
if not more impressed with Keki life and those around you a little
Adhikari’s performance. It was differently. If you’re interested
an unusual role in which she in Nepali cinema that pushes the
could have just been shown up boundaries a little bit, then this
negatively, but instead she gave is one to check out.

32 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


34 ECS NEPAL | October 2016
Photo story

Living (like)
Gods in Kathmandu
The attendance of the living gods on the Indra Jatra certifies the
grandeur of the cavalcade. Celebrated and revered, these gods
voyage in golden chariots as we look up to them. However many of
us fail to recognize that the living gods share many similarities with
us humans than they do with the gods from above.
shirish khatri amar danuwar rai

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 35


Photo story

36 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 37
38 ECS NEPAL | October 2016
October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 39
Photo story

E
very Nepali festival has vibrancy in Ganesh, Bhairav and Kumari’s are real people, trans-
abundance. Indra Jatra is no exception, formed by sacred rituals to living deities. Selected to
an eccentric amalgam of culture, tradi- hold the title of a living god or goddess are the young
tion and religion, which has stood the people, sworn to oaths, they live by the purity a god
test of time. Indra Jatra locally known must maintain. Kumari’s need to have 32 distinct pure
as Yenyā is the biggest religious street festival in qualities upon them to even be selected as a Kumari,
Nepal. An umbrella name for many processions while Bhairav and Ganesh have their own selection
taking place over time in Kathmandu, such as Ku- processes. They may not be as popular as Kumari,
mari Jatra, Mata Biye, Dagin and Bau Mata, Indra but Bhairav and Ganesh are also young boys with
Jatra is the true display of Nepali sophistication in busy lives. However being a “part time god” is never
even what seems like a one sided celebration. The that monotonous. They attend school, study among
centuries old ritual ends at the climax of the festival classmates have their own dose of fun but on big pro-
of Dashain. The Jatra has many aspects command- cessions are bowed to by even their grandparents. They
ing our awe, one in particular are the Living gods. do their homework, they like to draw pictures and like
to dance, and they have hobbies like any other children.
All iterations of Indra Jatra are well known among However unlike other children they don’t wear colorful
everyone in the local community. The most popular clothes but have clothes made for them for different oc-
one put into practice is the re-enactment of Dangini casions, they don’t have to wear school uniform either.
frantically searching for her son King of the gods and
the god of rain, Indra (disguised as a farmer), arrested After the Newari priests proclaim Ganesh the god
in Maru Tole for stealing Parijat flowers, those which of good fortune, Kumari the incarnation of Taleju
his mother asked him to get. After the locals find out and Bhairav the fierce manifestation of lord shiva, to
the captive is lord Indra, the city decide to release him vacate the bodies of the young normal children. They
to the promise of rain and the city erupts in pandemo- take part in large cavalcades like Indra Jatra itself.
nium, this very celebration has continued year after They live extra ordinary lives, playing the role of a
year. The locals also invite their three living deities Ga- living deity till they are big enough to fit in a chariot
nesh, Kumari and Bhairav to witness the celebration, pulled by men, after which they must return back to
and thus the grandeur of the Jatra, continues to date. real life. Would be quite amazing to have, “was once
Even today, and for many tomorrows to come, The a living god” on their resumé wouldn’t it?

40 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


A Plate full of
Festivities Feature
The ‘F’ in festivals, stands for food. Not just any food, but the
kind which starts a small celebration in your mouth. While
Dashain is ubiquitously celebrated my most communities
in Nepal, slight differences in their festive food habits make
the occasion all the more exciting.

Swosti Kayastha

C
ome Ashwin (September-October in ings of the shakti, nothing can proceed forward, and
the English calendar), the air all over so Dasain is celebrated as a prime festival after Chhat.
Nepal is filled with festivity. It is the The eighth day or ashtami, is the day of offerings, large
month of the biggest and longest festival. quantities of laddu and pedas are offered from early
Celebrated for ten days, when Goddess morning after which the temple is cleansed and pancha
Durga took the form of Mahirasurmardini defeating bali (offering of five different animals) is offered to the
and beheading Mahishasura, the buffalo demon to Rajdevi temple at Janankpur. This temple is one of
save the world from evil. Being the biggest festival of the places with the largest number of animal offerings
Nepal, Dasain is a time for celebration, merrymaking, made by families during Dasain. After which non-
festivity, receiving and giving blessings, plenty of good vegetarian food is introduced to the festivity. Before
food and drinks! Most people living away from their that the food is strictly vegetarian, uncontaminated
families, go back to their ancestral or parents home to (chokho) for those observing the navratra fast.
observe this festival. In many ways, it is a festival that Non vegetarian food in the form of fried meat and
revives the family bonding. It’s a time when we all go gravy are prepared. Cadi-badi, a variety of spiced curd
lax on our dietary plans and indulge in scrumptious with dumplings, taruwa or pan fried pakodas, lentil
food the festivity offers irrespective of the different stuffed puris made from rice as well as wheat flour,
communities we belong to. Even our religious texts kheer, laddu, pedas, gujiyas, malpuwa, are consumed
highlight the importance of good food- in large amounts, shared with friends, relatives and
‘When nourishment is pure, reflection and higher specially married daughters and their families. The
understanding are pure, memory becomes strong. festive food is observed for the next three days, ashtami
When memory becomes strong, there is release through Dashami - the main day of Dasain.
from all the knots of the heart.’ -Chandogya Upanishad Moving north from the terai region is the hilly re-
The next best thing to eating food, is talking about gion, dominated by the Brahmins, Newars and to an
it, and here writing about it! And who doesn’t like extent by the Gurung community. Each one celebrates
good food? So, let me take you through a Dasain Dasain with a different fanfare. Brahmins traditionally
culinary tour of some of the Nepali communities from form the priestly class and observe Dasain by celebrat-
the south to the north, to savour the festive relishes. ing Navaratri, nine days dedicated to the worship of
This Dasain, you must indulge in the variety of food the goddess Durga. Their celebration focus more on
the festival offers! the ritual. Like other communities they offer the bhog
Dasain being the most sought after festival of Nepal, or animal sacrifice of a ram on the night of the eighth
sets out with the sowing of the jau or barley seeds for day or ashtami called the kaalratri after the moon is
the special jamara, a tender grass offered to Goddess clear in the night sky. The male head of the family or
Durga on the first day called the Ghatasthapan. The the performer of the rituals and women folk observe
people of the central terai region, the Maithili kshetra a fast for nine days eating only a pure vegetarian diet.
revere the Shakti, and believe that without the bless- Non-vegetarian food is introduced only on the ninth
Feature
day, and the family relishes a
wholesome variety of fried and
curried meat, fresh vegetables,
puri, kheer, malpuwa a variety of
freshly made as well as preserved
pickles or raddish, potatoes,
cucumber served with selroti
with their family and friends.
Traditionally the Brahmins and
the Maithili communities abstain
from alcohol.
The Gurungs, originally lived
in the Lamjung area of western
Nepal and are specially known
for their service in the army.
Although a mixed community
of Hindus and Buddhists, spread
mostly in the hilly regions pres-
ently, they celebrate Dasain as Brahmin Families relishes a
their biggest festival. Besides
worshipping the supreme God- wholesome variety of fried and
dess Durga, they also worship
the ancestral deities on nawami curried meat, fresh vegetables, puri,
or the ninth day. Either a ram, kheer, malpuwa, selroti.
cock, buffalo is traditionally
offered in the Kot, a worship
place specially established by the ried daughters and all younger made of soot which is worn by
army. The offering is made by ones in the family visiting the member of the same clan on
the mukhiya or the head of the elders for blessings and receiving the day of dasami. Similar to
village. Nowadays, offerings are the tika. The Gurung tika is dis- the other communities, Dasain
made at temples and the meat is tinctively white in color and not starts with planting the jamara.
relished in the fried and curried the typical red. A mixture of rice However unlike other communi-
form. The intestines are another grains and yogurt, because the ties, they abstain from eating rice
delicacy relished as snacks with red simrik powder was unavail- from the seventh day, consider-
selroti and the jhilinge a special- able in the hilly regions where ing it contaminated or impure.
ity of the Gurungs. Preserved they lived earlier. The Newar community is popu-
cucumber pickles, seasonal The Newars, who claim to larly known to spoil themselves
vegetables and meat is savoured be the original dwellers of the with a rich variety of food, drinks
with rice and millet whiskey. The Kathmandu valley call Dasain, and merrymaking, to the extent
tenth day is a big feast with mar- ‘Mohini’ after the black tika that they were unable to counter
when Prithivi Narayan Shah at-
tacked Kathmandu in 1768 on
the night of festivity during Indra
Jatra. They offer the cock, duck,
ram, buffalo to Goddess Durga
on the eighth and ninth day at
various Shakti peethas and at
temple of their tutelary diety.
From the seventh day, they per-
form strict rituals and consume
the samaya baji or an assortment
of syabaji, chura, meat, fish,
ginger and garlic, black soya,
egg, wo, these are supposed to
represent the five elements of
nature. The evening meal on
the eighth day is called Kuchi
bhwye or a feast with two manas
(portion) of chuira. The night
meals are literal feasts: meat is
prepared in more than 6-7 variet-

44 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


ies accompanied with chiura, a variety of
seasonal cooked vegetables, pulses, fresh
pickles, a choice of locally brewed wine,
beer or whiskey, pau (a sour juice made
from lapsi), yogurt culminating the meal
with fresh fruits and vegetables. The order
of the serving is strictly followed to observe
a scientific path facilitating digestion of the
heavy meal. Traditionally the feasts before
the tenth day, is shared only with family
members. After the tenth day friend and
other relatives are all invited to receive
blessings and partake in the festivity.
The mountainous region of Nepal is
dominated by the Sherpa and the Thakali
community. The Thakalis traditionally
lived in the Thak Khola, the high valley of
the Kali-Gandaki River in western Nepal.
Although they claim their prime religion to
be Bon-po a form of shamanism, they are
currently a mixed community of Buddhists,
Hindus, and Shamanists. The Thakalis
are known to be excellent business and
tradesmen, thus migrating and assimilating
local culture as part of their lifestyle. Like
other Nepalese they celebrate Dasain, as
an important festivals planting the jamara
to commence the festival. Because they
traditionally belonged to the mountainous
region, they focus more on preserved pick-
les, especially made of cucumber called
khalpi, and lapsi, selroti, varieties of meat,
fried intestines and locally made sausages
all served with fried chiura or furandana.
The sausage has two varieties one stuffed
with buckwheat flour called dhung and
another with a mixture of spiced blood
and flour called kathug. Fresh vegetables
do not take the centre stage in Thakali
festive food besides szechwan spiced
fried potatoes. Locally made alcohol and
beer is an important part of the festivity.
Similar to other communities, relatives,
friends are all a part of the festivity and
merrymaking.
Everybody in Nepal, from a young
child to the elderly keenly look forward
towards Dasain. Earlier, it was also a form
of entertainment besides the festivity, now
days when other sources of entertainment
are galore, Dasain is still held sacredly as a
time to relax, bond with family and make
merry accompanied with lots of tasty food.
Nepal, although a small country physically,
is home to a large number of communities
since it was the migrating ground form the
north and south since ancient days. Hence
there are approximately 125 different com-
munities, living and celebrating various
festivals through their respective cultures
based on the availability of local resources.

46 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Rituals that
Blossom
Feature
Flowers have been an integral part of Hindu rituals and
practices. And one is left wondering why flowers are so
important, after all? ECS Nepal makes an inquiry.

sajan Shreemali Pradip raatna tuladhar

48 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


T
he harbinger of for- emerge as a symbol of cultural colors such as purple, red, white,
tune, the carnival of value in the long run. and pink. The flower includes
colors, lights, flow- Sayapatri (marigold) is be- ingredients used to make tea
ers is heading its way lieved to have existed from the ter- and can help recover human
towards Nepalese re- ritory of southern Europe. Its tall, from normal illness to useful
siding around the globe brining erect stems, long hairy leaves with for the patients suffering from
along with it joy, happiness and margins and aromatic flavor make heart diseases. This flower has a
festivities. Every child’s much its own identity. Sayapatri are specialty that it does not wilt for
awaited time of the year and the born to cope with moist soils and a long time even after it has been
one which brightens up our hous- that’s the reason they are consid- plucked from the main plant, even
es and lives is the festival Tihar. ered as the most versatile flowers. that it is kept away from sunlight.
Also known as Deepawali, this Marigold or more commonly Ca- It is also medically proven that it
is one of the prominent festivals lendula has been used medicinally contains medical properties like
of Hindus, celebrated under the for centuries. From the primary their seeds are found containing
Nepali month of Kartik. days, this flower has been used to high fiber and low saturated fats.
In Hindu culture, people be- treat conjunctivitis, eczema, and In Hindu Culture, Makhamali
lieve in performing rituals using gastritis, minor burns including and Sayapatri carry their own
different mediums. Tihar is en- sunburns, warts, cramps, coughs, significance especially in Tihar. It
joyed with a variety of food, dis- and snake bites as well. Marigold is used to make garland for Broth-
play of light-works, colors of bless- contains a chemical enriched er’s Day (Bhai Tika). The fifth and
ings and flowers like marigold with anti-oxidants to protect body last day of Tihar is called Bhai
(Sayapatri) and globe amaranth cells from damage caused by a Tika before Kaag Tihar, Kukur
(Makhamali). Everything that chemical process called oxidation. Tihar, Laxmi Puja and Govardan
comes from nature is supposed Oxidation produces oxygen free Puja and is observed by sisters
to have some significance towards radicals, and these free radicals applying tika to the foreheads of
human life. As it says, nothing cause in damage of human cells. their brothers to ensure long life
happens without reason, use of Globe amaranth (Makhamali) and thank them for the protection
these nature gifted flowers are is native of South America and they provide in return. According
braced under this principle. So, Inner Asia that grows up to 24 to the Hindu myth, the god of
let us find out how these flowers inches in height with multiple death, Yamraaj once went to meet

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 49


Feature

It is also said that marigolds symbolize


cruelty, grief and jealousy to show strong
passion, being associated with the
legendary brave and courageous lion.

his sister Yamuna. At that mo- used to make footprints of God- flower being Mary’s gold, depict-
ment, Yamuna, overwhelming dess as a symbol of bless inside ing coins.
with Joy and Happiness invited houses. Not only in Bhai Tika, While, this distinctive feature
her brother with lots of decora- Sayapatri is used in each day of of Makhamali portrays a myth
tions, healthy dishes, the garland Tihar for decoration purpose. that just like the longevity of
of makhamali and sayapatri flow- Not only on the ground of its endurance, the brothers of
ers and blessed tika on his fore- Hindu Culture, have these pre- females who have been offered
head. Yamraaj, also offered his cious flowers had their own Makhamali, will have a long life.
precious time to meet his lovely significance across the world Talking about the market,
sister. Being so much overjoyed, in different civilizations. The apart from locale, there are
Yamraaj gifted Yamuna a boon Marigold is said to have derived many Nepalese residing in for-
that whoever puts the tika and its name from “Mary’s Gold”, eign countries. Every Year the
garland of flowers for that day taken from the fact that early demand of garland of Makha-
will be surpassing death for that Christians placed flowers instead mali and Sayapatri is increas-
day. Since then, these flowers be- of coins on Mary’s altar as an of- ing rapidly but because of the
came an immense part of hindu fering. This flower is often used low production, the demands
culture. This flower is also used in festivities honoring Mary. are then fulfilled by importing
for decoration and medicinal The marigold is likewise from other countries in huge
purpose. Makhamali has a great associated with the sun - being price. Local people cannot
storage property so it can be vibrant yellow and gold in color. reach customers and custom-
stored for even a year. The flowers are open when the ers are left with no choice but
On the other hand, Sayapatri sun is out. The marigold is also to purchase from third party in
is a very beautiful and valuable called the “herb of the sun”, soaring price. As the importance
flower. Garlands of Sayapatri is representing passion and even of these flowers can be seen not
used to decorate houses in Ti- creativity. It is also said that only in our culture, a perspec-
har, automobile decoration and marigolds symbolize cruelty, tive view should be put forth
also worn in Special occasion. grief and jealousy to show strong about the cultivation procedure,
The flower is used to worship passion, being associated with investment, cost and profit of
Hindu deities especially God- the legendary brave and coura- Sayapatri and Makhamali. It is
dess Laxmi, the god of Wealth geous lion. Its Victorian mean- better to uplift our values and
and Prosperity on the occasion ing, desire for riches, is probably norms what bind us and other
of Deepawali. This flower is also consequent to the legends of the essentials what bind our culture.

50 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 51
Stories, Sweet
and Festive Feature
Apart from the deep blue skies and bright sunny days, there are a
number of other sweet things happening during the months that
follow the end of monsoon. Bada-Dashain and Tihar are major
highlights.

samip dhungel

S
ince my childhood I have associated the influence from across the continent can be found served
long list of festivals with the food that is upon a Nepali kitchen table, sometimes as offering to
prepared on that day. I have always found the many gods worshiped during the days. Sweets are
it more appealing to follow kitchen rituals a part of the main course and not only reserved for
over the ones done in puja kotha. Janai dessert. Sel roti and Haluwa are two examples.
purnima is for Quati, an assortment of over nine types Every year before the eighth day of Dashain, Mother
of beans pressure cooked to taste like salty heaven. ritualistically sits down to prepare sel-roti. She does not
Mid-Asaar is the good old beaten rice and curd. Ma- tire from explaining how it’s a challenge to strike the
ghe Sankranti is teel ko laddu and chaaku. Buddha right balance between sugar and rice flour in the sel
purnima and Sawan- sankranti are for a nice bowl of roti mix. She says- “In the end, everyone wants sweet sel
rice pudding. rotis. And, you want to put as much sugar as possible
Dashain for a lot of Nepali means above the average into the mix, but with more sugar it might be difficult
consumption of mutton. Despite being a non-vegetarian, to achieve the chewy texture as sugar, upon frying, will
Dashain has never been a meat fest for me. My family contribute towards the stiffness of the roti.” I must
practices what I call organized vegetarianism. say mother takes sel roti rather seriously. To add to
If we think about it, almost all Nepali festivals have a that, drawing a circle in boiling oil with a viscous ink
specialty dish that comes attached. For me the personal of flour and sugar is not child’s play. My hands have
truth is, the yearly cycle of sweet delicacies comes with not inherited the rhythm my mom’s hands have. I have
accompanying festivals. A necessary condition for any always failed at the basic task of connecting the ends.
day to be classified as a celebration would be a spike My grandmother, who lives in Terai, prefers making
in blood sugar level. Even the highlight of the Nepali Patre over Sel rotis. Patre literally translates to ‘layered’.
festival Teej, a day where women try to imitate a part Made of all-purpose flour, patre is a long strip of flat-
of Parvati’s tapasya, is ironically the darr. Darr is an tened dough that is folded multiple times before it is
exhaustive eating ordeal that goes on for days preceding deep fried. Later, it is smeared with thick sugar syrup,
the fast-day. Hindu women observe an extravagant eat- chasni. Patre is a popular among diabetic people as well.
ing ceremony that might go deep into the dark hours on Chasni smearing can be skipped. Of course, it won’t
the immediate day before the fast, and men might join taste the same. But it’s a dry simile.
in, but only for the food not the subsequent fast. One The foodie in me prefers Tihar over Dashain, Tihar
might be forced to consider if the teej-day fasting has is more sugar centric. Most communities in the coun-
evolved into a cleansing ritual after all the eating that try have come up with one or more substrate to lick
led up to that day. It would be an accurate assessment the sugar from. During Tihar, the wonderful Newari
to say food is to festival what a chain is to a bicycle. Lakhamari, though not prepared at my home, will most
Nepali festivals are a sugar parade. All we are look- certainly be selected for the assortment offered to me
ing for is an excuse to consume more sugar. During during Bhai Tika. I must admit it’s something I have
Dashain and Tihar we see a variety of sweets. Sweet always looked forward to during Bhai Tika.
Feature
After Bhai Tika, when the tika
rituals are done with, dry fruits
will find small plastic boxes, and
these boxes will find corners to
hide in cupboards and under
beds. Then commences an unof-
ficial game of treasure hunt. My
sister and I are in a constant pur-
suit of finding where the other
one has stored, read hidden,
their masala. The most prized
treasure during the treasure
hunt is the Anarsha. Not to be
confused with Arsha. Anarsha,
the disc shaped mithai, is as rare
to spot as a flying saucer is.
Any story about Mithais sport t-shirts that say ‘Rasbari Kathmandu have brought along
would not be complete without was born in Orissa’. and introduced a range of sweet
talking about Rasbari. At home, From the southern plain, Rajasthani offerings to Nepali
Rasbari is a staple offering for where my mother’s family lives, festivals through the major
mata Laxmi during Laxmi Puja. we annually receive a jar of a mithai pasals they operate. Kaju
I am a huge Rasbari fan. Rasbari Koseli called the Baadshahi. I Barfi and Motichur Laddus are
has travelled a long distance to have never seen Baadshahi being my major favorites. Recently,
be an indispensable part of Ne- sold outside Rautahat district. I had a chance encounter with
pali sweet diet. The dedicated Baadshahi looks a little like Ras- chocolate Rasbari in one of these
Bengali claim over Rasbari re- bari but is not entirely made of outlets. I have mixed opinions
sembles the Nepali claim over cheena. I guess it is rather made about chocolate rasbari. Proper
Buddha. Legend has it that Ras- of khuwa mixed with some rice chocolate bars too have become
bari was originally prepared by flour. This sugar saturated dump- unavoidable gift items. On TV
temple chefs as a special prasad ling, much harder than both Amitabh Bachchan convincingly
for Mahalaxmi in Jagannathpuri rasbari or gulab jamun, sounds displays an assortment of candies
Mandir, this was over seven hun- very Mughal. I am unsure about packaged in cuboid paper boxes,
dred years ago. Milk was turned its origins. But it is firm at hands painted with firework graph-
to chena, then to spongy dump- and coarse at tongue. Since it’s ics. We have dutifully obeyed
lings drowned in chasni. It was rare, we cherish it over it’s com- and made it a flashy side kick
probably an attempt at reducing mercially successful cousins. to the Dakshina we present to
milk wastage in times of good Apart from spherical sugar our sisters upon receiving their
milk production. However, the bombs, the consumer culture blessing.
temple is situated in Orissa, not has had influences of its own. In the coming years, sweet
West Bengal. I wonder if Oriyans The Marwadi community in celebration stories will take
it’s natural course of evolution.
Sel rotis can now be purchased
at grocery stores. I will not
be surprised if I spot Patre
wrapped in plastic and labeled
with an expiration date. Today,
chocolate bars are found float-
ing among Anarshas and Barfis.
Someday, chocolate bars will
make their way into puja ko-
thas, and will be distributed
as prasad. Perhaps, Krishna
janma-astami, is a suitable oc-
casion for making a debut, the
sweet and the lord allied by
virtue of their dark appearance.
Whatever the story is, behind a
festival, sweets make sure the
celebrations aren’t just on the
outside and that they resonate
deep into our blood vessels.

56 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Nepal: An
absolute
Adventure! Feature
A visit to Nepal is a clarion call to adventure. Here is a short
guide to popular adventure hotels in different touristy cities in
the country to make the most of your audacious time in Nepal.
Amar B. shrestha

58 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Feature

P
aragliding in Nepal is a fulfilling experi- The Last Resort is situated on top of a river gorge
ence, and one that will take you over some close to the Tibetan border. Extensive use of local
of the best scenery on earth. The flying stone, wood, and slate give a uniquely ethnic look to
season is from November through Febru- the resort. Luxurious, well-facilitated, safari tents set
ary. The favorite take-off point in Nepal is up spaciously in the gardens provide comfortable ac-
Sarangkot (1,592 m) in Pokhara. To give you an idea commodations, while the spa and wood sauna provide
of what to expect, here’s how one enthusiast describes great relief to tired bones and muscles.
his experience: “The height made me really nervous…I The resort offers exhilarating adventures, includ-
tried to hold my fear, but my pilot could smell it and ing the world-famous bungee jump from a 160-ft-high
was smiling the whole time.” Indeed, paragliding is a bridge. Other adventure activities include white water
sport that sets the adrenaline rushing even before you rafting, kayaking, canyoning, trekking, rock climbing,
actually take the leap into thin air. “Finally, it was time Canyon Swing, Tandem Swing, and High Ropes. The
to take off,” continues our enthusiast. “I closed my Canyon Swing is claimed to be the world’s highest gi-
eyes and could literally feel my heart pounding…I was ant swing. Canyoning is a challenging experience that
so scared at take-off that I didn’t even realize we had includes abseiling, jumping, and sliding down steep
taken off! My pilot urged me to open my eyes. I let out canyon walls and waterfalls.
a very loud and elated scream. I was actually flying!” High Ropes, where participants make their way
Sounds pretty thrilling, wouldn’t you agree? Well, across a network of ladders, bridges, walkways, cargo
if you do, you must put this in your must-do list when nets, abseils, and zip lines, encourages teamwork and
visiting Nepal. You’ll be happy to know that most builds individual confidence. The thundering Bhote
good hotels in Pokhara can arrange a paragliding Kosi River is a thrilling setting for exciting white water
outing for you, all you have to do is ask. They can rafting and kayaking. The resort also offers custom-
also organize treks, ultra flights, bike tours, and so ized professional development and team building
on and so forth. A visit to Pokhara is a clarion call to exercises for schools and organizations.
adventure. Among the scores of excellent hotels, one Location:
stands out in particular, since it is quite iconic, and Naya Pul, near Tatopani (Ward no. 5, Listikot VDC),
staying in it itself is somewhat of an adventure. That’s Sindhupalchok
Fish Tail Lodge, we’re talking about. Kathmandu office:
Mandala Street inside Sagarmatha Bazaar, Thamel,
The Last Resort Kathmandu
Suspended on a high cliff-top gorge above the Bhote info@thelastresort.com.np
Kosi River, and set amidst sprawling terraced slopes, Tel: +977-1-4700525, 4701247 (Sales office)

Borderlands claims to be the pioneer in
canyoning in Nepal, and they arrange
settings as per suitability of guests, such
as exploratory walks for school children
and extreme environments for the thrill
seeker.
Feature

Borderlands Eco Adventure Nepal Tel: +977-1-4381214 / 4381425 / 4701295


The Borderlands Eco Adventure Resort is built on Email: info@borderlandresorts.com
scenic sculpted terraces alongside the Bhote Kosi
River. Accommodations are in large and comfort- Fish Tail Lodge
able thatched safari-style tents. The resort’s goal is to Established in the late 1960s, with unique circular
satisfy the spirit of adventure of its guests, and this it cottages set amidst a verdant garden, and located on
does by organizing adventurous pursuits like canyon a peninsula across Fewa Tal, guests reach this scenic
descents, treks, including ‘an off-the-beaten trek to resort via shuttle-floats or boats. The facilities are, as
a hidden monastery’, mountain biking to the Tibet expected, outstanding. It has a choice of 3 Heritage
border, rafting and kayaking on the wild Bhote Kosi, rooms, 12 Palm Court Deluxe rooms, and 45 Garden
and so on and so forth. Terrace rooms. The Heritage rooms have played host
This resort claims to be the pioneer in canyoning to dignitaries like Crown Prince Narihito of Japan,
in Nepal, and they arrange settings as per suitability of HRH Prince of Wales, and former U.S. president
guests, such as exploratory walks for school children Jimmy Carter, besides other celebrities.
and extreme environments for the thrill seeker. As for The resort can arrange a range of adventure activi-
rafting, exclusive access to the highest raft put-in point ties for its guests, including boating, paragliding, zip
guarantees more whitewater, and an exciting rafting line/bungee: zip, rafting, kayaking, hiking, cycling, ul-
and kayaking environment. Treks are arranged to sim- tra flight, etc. Boating on the serene Fewa Tal is a most
ple rural mountain villages, offering the opportunity leisurely affair, one where you feel yourself ensconced
to interact with locals and get to know their culture in nature, what with lush greenery all around you,
and lifestyle. The resort also provides mountain biking and the magnificent Macchhapuchre (Fish Tail) Peak
tours on the old trade route, passing through ancient towering nearby. Hiking and cycling around Pokhara
cities like Bhaktapur, Nala, and Dhulikhel. to surrounding villages is also very refreshing, as is
264 Khusibu, Nayabazar, Kathmandu, Nepal rafting and kayaking on the Seti River.
Paragliding from Sarangkot is, of course, thrill- deserves the accolade of ‘pioneer in eco-tourism’.
ing to the extreme. The ultra-light flight gives you Presently it has three properties, namely, Tharu
fantastic views of the Annapurna range, as well as Lodge and Elephant Camp in Chitwan, and Kar-
Dhaulagiri and Macchhapuchre, and the charm- nali Lodge in Bardiya (on the Bardiya National
ing valley below. The resort also has a special Park periphery). Built in local architectural style
golf package at the pro-championship-designed using local materials, Tharu Lodge is nestled
18-hole golf course located about 7 km from beside lush forest overlooking Terai landscapes.
the city center in a beautiful amphitheater with a It has a garden side pool and tennis court, and of-
panoramic view of the Annapurna range. fers a range of interesting activities, such as jungle
Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal walk, bird watching (about 300 bird species have
Tel: +977 61 465071/460248/460258 been recorded in the park), visit to surrounding
E-mail: info@fishtail-lodge.com / info@fishtail- villages on foot or bullock cart (experience the
lodge.com.np rural life), and a ride on a dug-out canoe down
Chitwan National Park in Chitwan district, the Narayani River (you may spot some marsh
about 120 km from the capital, is one of Nepal’s muggers and gharials on the banks).
10 World Heritage Sites. This sprawling park is The lodge organizes regular jeep safaris into
home to numerous wildlife, including the endan- the jungle; chances are high that you will see the
gered one-horned rhino, Royal Bengal tiger, and one-horned rhino, but the Royal Bengal tiger is
the snout-nosed gharial, cousin to the alligator. very, very, elusive. At the Elephant Camp, live
There are plenty of exciting resorts and hotels close to elephants living chain-free in spacious,
all around the park. Till some years ago, there natural corrals, and be involved for a day or two
were seven resorts (‘camps’) inside the park, but in their lives. Here’s how it goes: get up early and
new laws required them to close down and move go with the elephants to the grass-lands, where the
outside the park perimeter. One such resort, mahouts collect fodder. Learn the art of cutting
certainly the most famous, is Tiger Tops, which grass and binding.
was established in 1964. After breakfast back in the lodge, hang around
the elephant corrals; you’ll absorb a lot of elephant
Tiger Tops knowledge from just watching them, and from
The Tiger Tops concept is built on conservation chats with the mahouts. Take a jungle walk in the
and a commitment to local communities; thus, it late afternoon with the elephants and mahouts.

64 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Feature

You can also follow the elephants to the river in the Accommodation consists of a cluster of two-
afternoon to watch them being scrubbed while they dozen cottages with well-furnished air-conditioned
play around in the water. rooms equipped with modern amenities, including
156/23 Tangal Road, Kathmandu, Nepal attached lavatories. Setting all its excellent ameni-
+977 (01) 4411 225 ties to one side, one must say that best part of the
Email: info@tigertops.com resort is its scenic view of the Rapti River and
Some 100 km from Kathmandu on the road to adjoining park from the private balconies attached
Tibet, there are two establishments—The Last Re- with the rooms. Naturally, the resort organizes
sort and Borderlands Eco Adventure Resort—that various activities, such as elephant safari, nature
are adventure resorts in the fullest sense of the term. walk, bird watching, canoeing, Tharu/Darai village
They offer an array of exciting adventure activities tour, ox cart ride, gharial conservation project tour,
that attract not only international tourists, but also bathing with elephants, indigenous cultural dance
an increasing number of Nepali thrill seekers. and song performances, and so on, accompanied
by experienced naturalists and tour guides.
When the Jungle Calls! You won’t be complaining about food when at
Aside from some truly international names like the resort; its restaurant serves delicious Nepali,
Tiger Tops, Gainda Wildlife, and Machan at the Chinese, Indian, and Continental cuisine, using
Chitwan National Park, there are numerous other organic vegetables and dairy products produced
resorts that offer international standard services by local farmers.
and facilities, in addition to remarkable sights and Jungle Villa Resort Pvt. Ltd.
sounds. The Jungle Villa Resort is one such resort. Bharatpur-27, Patihani, Chitwan, Nepal
One of the most popular luxury wildlife resorts.
This resort is located in the northern fringe of Chit- Tel +977 56 411011, 411010, 411012
wan National Park. Covering four hectares of lush Email info@junglevillaresort.com
green forest land and beautifully designed garden,
the resort is situated on the bank of the Rapti River, Corporate office:
an ideal habitat of many species of aquatic animals. Kathmandu, Nepal
The nearest airport is Bharatpur Airport which is Tel +977 01 4415070/4415080
just a half an hour drive to get to the resort. Mobile: 9851002496, 9841139351

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 65


LOCAL STORY
“Flying kites is one of the most pleasant things in life. During my teenage days, I remember sneaking
out of this very shop to fly kites with my tol friends. I ran to collect the kites broken at their threads; I
chased after my friends; I jumped over them to hold the kite and grin like I had saved the world. My
father used to scold me for not helping him out in the shop, but who thinks righteously at that tender
age, and especially when the kite has been cut down from the sky? It felt dutiful. It was instinctive. I
just had to run through these streets to hold the kite in my hands,” laughs Deepak Ranjit, enjoying the
nostalgic air of Dashain at his popular kite shop in Chikamuga.
(You can get the best kites here. Ranjit also makes Nepali kites every year; you might want to send a
letter to Indra this time the Nepali way.)
Feature

Tales of Taleju
The Taleju temple, which opens once every year on the ninth day of
Dashain Festival is an icon of Nepali culture and for the writer, it becomes
the locus to trace the countrymen’s resilience to persist in the face of
devastation and tragedy.
kashish das shrestha

68 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Kashish Das Shrestha
U
nder the deep blue moving energy one rarely feels to our temples, monuments, the The Taleju temple
is open to public
sky still dotted with anymore in this ancient valley of “built heritage.” for worship only
stars, ritualistic mythical proportions.  Cycling through Jyatha and once a year: on
flames danced in As I got up at 2:30AM, and entering Ason, street dogs bark- Nawami, which falls
on October 10th
the breeze, smoke from seem- brewed a French press of coffee ing echoed periodically. As Ind- this year. Here,
ingly infinite wickers and incense on Nawami 2015, I wondered rachowk approached, groups of the magnificent
spiraled upward. Ensembles how the Taleju temple would women lit up against a motorcy- structure, built in
1500s by Mahendra
with percussions and cymbals, feel, or how many would show cle passing by. Others, in small Malla, stands tall
performed steadily and end- up to worship. The quake had groups, headed towards temples against a starry
lessly as one moved on and taken a severe toll on one of carrying offerings. At 3:30AM, night in the city on
November 2, 2012. 
another emerged. Melodies of Kathmandu’s most dominating a line had already formed out
flutes blended them all. As the structures. Memories of being in Taleju’s gate, and volunteers
long line of devotees who had Basantapur as structures were assured those present that we
arrived here patiently moved a still falling apart and victims would be allowed in soon. 
few inches at a time, loud temple being rescued from under its The sky got lighter, the stars
bells of stone rung out every few rubbles on April 25, 2015, as disappeared steadily, cell phone
seconds, the metal ones echoed the earthquake reverberated screens continued to light up
more constantly, along with the beneath our feet was all too faces below. Before I knew
murmurs of prayers, hushed con- fresh. Still, we had witnessed it, I had been live tweeting
versations, and hymns. Above, a defiant celebration of Nepali the morning for almost four
the birds were starting their day spirit and cultural heritage hours. Dozens of ethnic Newar
too, their calls adding to the through Indrajatra that year. ensembles and hundreds of
magnificent chorus. Volunteers, And the festivities in the 8 days devotees had lined up around
a mix of pre-teens to elders, leading up to Nawami had been the temple and made their way
worked to keep everything in perhaps even more vibrant than out. Countless “we will take
order and warned against pho- the last few years many of us re- your cellphone away” warnings
tography. The Taleju Temple, in membered. Perhaps in a year of had been launched, often to no
Basantapur Durbar Square, lived devastation of historical scale, avail. Surely, great many selfies
up to its mythical reputation. To we had found strength and reas- and we-fies of worship at Taleju
be there at dawn on that cool surance in our “living heritage”, populated social media plat-
Nawami morning in 2009, was the traditions and rituals that forms that day. As did portraits
to be washed in a powerful and have for centuries given value of the Taleju temple.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 69


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October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 71
Flashback
Photo Kathmandu 2015

The Sumitra Manandhar Gurung Collection of the Nepal Picture


Library takes its focus in the life and times of its collector —Sumitra
Manandhar Gurung. The collection was exhibited in ZYU, Swotha.

'Hope for Tomorrow' told


the story of a community
through old photographs of
the inhabitants and others
connected to the Swotha
Square, including those who
either resided in or were a part
of the daily happenings of the
square in one way or other.

72 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


M
emories are worth sharing, be they The festival also exhibited important documen-
good or bad. Once these memories tations like: The 90s: A Democratic Awakening
become stories through photographs by Bikash Rauniar, Living in the Mist- the Last
they become priceless. Storytelling through Nomads of Nepal by Kishor Sharma, Juju Bhai
photographs, thus, is sometimes more powerful Dhakhwa: the Keeper of memories and Change
than words. Last year Photo.Circle’s celebrative of Course by Prasiit Sthapit.
photography festival: Photo Kathmandu revived Photo Kathmandu was cheered on for days,
the charm of Photography and brought together even after the exhibitions had closed down, people
collections of photo stories that traced our history were still talking about it. “Memories never fail to
in photography. recreate emotion,” said a Hajurma who enjoyed

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 73


Photographer Kishor Sharma
illuminates the last 140 Nepali
hunter-gatherers Rautes in
the western mid-hills by using
the power of black and white
color tones in his exhibition,
'Living in the Mist-the Last
Nomads of Nepal'.

Bikash Rauniar's
'The 90s: A
Democratic
Awakening' in
Dhaugal's east wall.

74 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


going through Juju Bhai Dhakwa’s photographs and the valley is now excitedly waiting again for
in Nagbahal last year. She further added, “I like Photo Kathmandu 2016, for the reveling photo
going through photographs, after all memories stories that will bring together friends and families
are what I have made so far.” to talk about their own memories. So, here is to
The nostalgic mood that Photo Kathmandu the celebrative photography: memories of the big
had set down last year hasn’t yet drifted away, show last year.
Losing your way
in memories
That was Photo Kathmandu 2015 — the coming together of memories, the
collision of yesterdays that created a mosaic for what tomorrow holds.
prateebha TuladhaR

I
n the dim, cool, ground floor of the Dhakhwa House her that it finally strikes me how the photos came to be there.
in Patan, I spot a photograph of an awkward teenager. My aunt’s maiden name was Dhakhwa. The author of these
She’s clad in a shin-length dress. Her hair is pasted to pictures, Jujubhai Dhakhwa, was possibly a relative.
one side of her forehead with a pin. She stares at the In the courtyard of the Dhakhwa House, there are groups
photographer in part nervousness, part curiosity, as if of youngsters looking at photos, giggling at men in Elvis Presley
trying to force a smile. haircuts and bellbottom pants. I pass them as I approach an
I break into peals of laughter at the sight of the photo. It’s elderly woman. The way she is wearing her shawl, wrapped
my mother’s youngest sister, the person I feared most growing around her waist, its end thrown over her shoulder is typical
up – she would twist my ears for even the slightest misbehavior. of the Patan women I have seen on my mother’s side of the
In the next photograph is another of my mother’s sisters, stuff- family. She pauses at every photo and spends some time cran-
ing food into her mouth and laughing widely, sitting on a sukul ing her head studying them. I strike up a conversation and in
at some whitewashed sattal in Gujeshwari. In the photo next her long drawn-out Newari, which is again typical to Patan
to it, a group of men standd outside the Gujeshwari temple, a residents, she tells me that she was on her way to the market
strip of the Bagmati river flowing in the background. One of when she happened across the photos and stopped. I ask her
the men in the photograph is my mother’s uncle. if she’s seen the other exhibits and she says it’s the first time
The next one is of my mother’s sister-in-law, turning her she’s seen something like this. There’s something of a lost-yet-
face away from the camera, staring at a branch she’s holding, fascinated child in her expression as she goes from photo to
as though looking for cover from an embarrassing moment. photo. In my mind, I conjure a picture of an ageing housewife,
In her floral sari and her boy-short hair, my aunt looks like she with children, perhaps grandchildren, who is transported
could have been a character from the movies. It is when I see briefly to a different yet familiar world as she steps from one

76 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


photo to another. One world into another; each picture being
a world unto itself.
That’s the kind of joy, release and relief the photos at the I break into peals of
Photo Kathmandu festival seemed to bring to every individual laughter at the sight of the
who paused to breathe them in. I think of this woman as the
perfect visitor. She was all by herself and had set her task photo. It’s my mother’s
aside for the time being, just so that she could live from photo
to photo. The thought was a little overwhelming. And if you youngest sister, the person
have ever experienced those brief getaways into little things I feared most growing up.
that bring you respite, you know what I’m talking about. It
could be a short walk into the night, a breeze, a drizzle, a
few moments with a puppy, these brief, stolen moments add
up to what life is a summation of.
The 2015 Photo Kathmandu festival, the first of its kind with the disaster more as an individual and not a journalist. I
hosted in Nepal, was successful, largely because of people like had tears in my eyes — as did many others who were there —
this lady I ran into. There were mothers bringing their tod- as photographs that documented suffering flashed before us.
dlers home from school who stopped for a quarter of an hour; Sessions like these were in sharp contrast to those of Kevin
there were teenagers returning from school who meandered Bubriski, whose characters stare into your soul through the
off; there were shopkeepers who took time off from waiting photos. They speak to you in a way that demands you throw
for customers. The festival transformed the city of Patan into more than a cursory look at an individual, regardless of where
an intriguing labyrinth. There were alleyways with worn-out they come from. They demand a conversation.
walls that now demanded an audience because a set of press Then, there was the work of Sohrab Hura, who did not
photos by Bikas Rauniar had gone up on them. I spotted group have an exhibition up but presented his work in artist talks. It
photographs of women journalists I looked up to — Ramyata is a stark reality he records in his photos and the darkness is
Limbu, Sangeeta Thapa, Hemlata Rai. beautiful because it is real and because it speaks to the scared
The alleyways, after leading everywhere into one another, child inside you. Photos of the mess that homes tend to be —
also led to the Yalamaya Kendra, where the photographers they are photos of the soul because the soul is torn with a love
came together to discuss their work. While listening to col- of longing and tangled in what the heart wants to untangle.
leagues Narendra Shrestha and Niranjan Shrestha talk about That was Photo Kathmandu 2015 — the coming together of
the tragedy of documenting a tragedy, for the first time since memories, the collision of yesterdays that created a mosaic for
the April 25 earthquake, I felt like I was finally able to connect what tomorrow holds.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 77


“…the exhibition venue is a museum where the photographs will be
displayed. There is a certain kind of ironic and poetic justice in it as it is the
place where kings and queens used to live and we are using this place to
exhibit the lives of Dalit.”

Dalit: A Quest
for Dignity
prabin Maharjan

T
he usage of the term photographs and images through time. We have new conversations
Dalit is relatively new Nepal Picture Library, Dalit: A which are emerging and they
in Nepal. The word Quest for Dignity explores this highlight how not just politics,
comes from Dalitpur, renewal and claim for agency but also history also needs to
India after the social by the Nepali Dalits in photo- be inclusive. How do we write
movement for caste equality that graphic form. An interview with a new history that’s inclusive
started there. The Dalit identity Diwash K.C., the curator of the of all such groups, historically
has a specific history, one of a exhibition. marginalized like Women, Dalit,
prolonged struggle against caste LGBTT and such. That’s what
oppression and discrimination Tell us something about Dalit: A the movement is about.
in the South Asian subcontinent. Quest for Dignity. This in a way is the first at-
The newly construed modern It is an exhibition about the his- tempt to do a series of similar
identity, supported with this tory of Dalit in Nepal and the kind of projects. This particular
terminology, challenges the experience of being one. There project was necessary to begin
systemic subjugation of an en- is a kind of stereotypical repre- with both because of the ur-
tire group earlier connoted as sentation of Dalit on the base gency after the context placed
‘untouchables’ and ‘shudras’. of how deprived and poor they by constitution last year as well
An archive formed by collecting are, that’s their image. We want as it is also deeply embedded in
this exhibition to focus more on our cultural history. We could,
how Dalits are carrying forward therefore, find enough material
to write their history. Obviously for the exhibition.
we have included the issues that
are keeping them down while we What ideas were you seeking to
also tried to look at how Dalits express or challenge when you
engaged with those history of curated this archive?
disadvantages and how they tried In this period of Nepal’s his-
to work with that situation to tory, we all understand how
create something for themselves. certain groups of people have
New identity, new ways of repre- been marginalized in a lot of
sentation and the sense of pride awful ways in the past. But we
on how they can look back which want the exhibition to be some
is the history of oppression and sort of a call for people against
exploitation and then finding complicity regarding progress
something new looking at that and development in Nepal. In
history. That’s what this exhibi- a way, it’s about how a legacy
tion highlights. of disadvantage still continues
in this society. It is not simply a
Why do you think engaging with thing of past.
Dalit identity is relevant for Ne- Further, even more impor-
pal today? How do photographs tant is the question of inclusion
address this relevance? which is at the same time, not
Nepal Picture Library has the so straight forward. We want to
goal of documenting the history suggest that inclusion is a very
of the nation. But the national difficult thing and possibly costly
history that has been written in as well. We have to think about
the books is not enough at this serious social, economic and

78 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


It was really difficult especially in
the beginning just reaching out
and finding photographs. The
hunt for the photograph was
quite challenging and continues
to be so. We are still looking for
photographs as this project will
go in as a part of a book that’s
coming out soon. We want to
cover the decades from 1950
to 2010 in a sound way. But the
pictures of peripheries of some
decades haven’t yet come out.
The challenge and the vision of
NPL is that the documentation
(visual and through other forms)
political renovation. Changes ized for years. It, thus, makes of history of the country is very
that are crucial for an inclusive it even more challenging for the poor. We still need to work a
society. We are dealing with very Dalit activist. lot on it.
serious issues, not just simplified
ideas of being nice and tolerant How is this exhibition ensuring Coming back to Dalit: A Ques-
towards each other. that the representation of Dalits tion for Dignity, tell us about
is done justice? That is, to what the exhibition date and venue?
Have not these social issues been extent are Dalit groups them- The exhibition will take place
addressed already, or perhaps selves involved in the making of from 27th September to 11th
will be addressed eventually, now this exhibition? October at Patan Museum and
that we have a new constitution? The Dalit organizations are then will be exhibited during
We are not at a place where we involved from the early phase in Photo Kathmandu. We are
can congratulate ourselves that this project. We’ve been relying happy that it’s a museum where
we dealt with a problematic part mainly on Dalit organizations it will be exhibited. There is a
of history. The whole point of the in Kathmandu to learn about certain kind of ironic and poetic
exhibition is to show that maybe the issues that matter in con- justice in it as it is the place
our mindsets have changed for temporary Nepal around issues where kings and queens used to
the better but the legacy of that of caste. In a way this project live and we are using this place
history is so deep that it affects wouldn’t have been possible to exhibit the lives of Dalit.
us in profound ways still. We without their input. But I think
cannot possible think that caste Dalit people who have been Would you like to add on any-
discrimination was a thing of experiencing this issues already thing about the exhibition in
past and we can let it off. That know what is at stake and the the end?
would be a mistake. We have urgency of issues that matter. It’s I think we left a part remaining.
exhibits that show the history of really us, non-Dalits who need to NPL and Photo Circle are the
exploitation continues to mark understand the complexity of the organizations engaging with
the present for many Dalits, also situation. We cannot continue photography. They, in a way are
how the non-Dalits continue to being ignorant and believing that trying to suggest how art needs
benefit at the present being the these things do not matter to us to engage with social issues.
privileged class. anymore. We have been careful to select
the images, although we have
But isn’t Dalit participation in What kind of challenges were not been hard and fast about
caste based hierarchy equally posed because of this peculiar anything. In addition to what
rampant in our society? difference in your position as a I’ve said about the issues about
Because of the power relation- non-Dalit curating narratives of Dalits earlier, I’d like to stress
ship, the people not in power Dalit History? that Art is something that needs
tend to internalize the things or We had a rough start because to think about these issues be-
practices established through the team was non-Dalit. The first cause the medium is a real and
such skewed power relations. issue we had to deal with was the essential one. Also to provide
Dalits here are the people that cost of doing a project like this the sense of alternative, how
have been historically exploited. which represents Dalits. A group we can get out of this society
It seems natural for them to of non-Dalits, attempting to rep- which can be exploitative and
believe that that’s the place or resent the Dalits is a problematic oppressive. I’d like to stress the
state where they belong to, after in itself. We struggled with that responsibility that falls on artists
being systematically marginal- initially, but went ahead anyway. in the field of art.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 79


80 ECS NEPAL | October 2016
October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 81
A glimpse into photo
kathmandu 2016
Photo Kathmandu in its second edition is hosting 12 exhibitions,
here is a sneak-peek of the show.

Ian Teh
The Vanishing: Altered Landscapes and Displaced Lives on the Yangtze
River (UK/Malaysia)
Saugahiti

The Vanishing highlights the grad- leys between and beyond the gorges.
ual yet monumental transformation By 2006, thirteen cities, 400 towns
of the once vibrant Three Gorges and 1,352 villages were submerged,
region into ‘submerged’ communi- displacing an estimated 1.4 million
ties. Banked behind a 2 kilometre people. In the series, the Three
long and 175 metre high wall, the Gorges Dam may appear as repre-
river transformed within hours into sentative of any immense change
a giant artificial lake, submerging during industrial and economic
settlements in the broad, fertile val- development.

82 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Shikhar Bhattarai – The
Other Side of Annapurna (Nepal)
Bhaidega
Shikhar Bhattarai is a Nepali
photographer, who having
walked a number of the An-
napurna routes several times,
began to wonder what life must
be like beyond the window of the
trekking season.
His photographs of Marpha
village in Mustang district were
sparked by this curiosity. This
work represents an attempt to
understand the people of Mar-
pha and their relationship with
the land. It is a reflection on the
silence and rhythm of life on the
other side of Annapurna. The
village and the people are beau-
Kim Hak – Alive (Cambodia) tiful beyond doubt. Yet there is
a sense of emptiness about the
Ebabahi place. Many of the young have
left the village in search of work.
Alive is a deeply personal examination own family’s memory, the purpose now And those left behind have a far-
of the intimate memories raised by old is to expand the project to other families away look in their eyes, as if they
photos and everyday objects entrusted throughout Cambodia. It is becoming a too would like to go somewhere
to Kim Hak by local Cambodian families, race against the clock, as living witnesses else. When a trekking season is
forty years after the Khmer Rouge regime. are gradually disappearing. For Hak, “all over, a sense of desolation hangs
Whilst many families (including Hak’s) these photographs and objects are deeply over this striking landscape.
threw away images and identity cards in significant. They are evidence of the past People live in limbo, uncertain
order to hide their educated backgrounds, time in history. War can kill victims, but of what the future holds.
for fear of being killed; some people took it cannot kill memory of the survivors.
great risks to keep photographs to remem- The memory should be alive, known and
ber their loved ones, and objects which shared for the current research of human
represented something important to beings, and the preservation of heritage
them. Having started the series from his for the next generations.”

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 83


Jannatul Mawa - Close Distance (Bangladesh)
Labim Mahal
Wanting to highlight the often ignored worth are poles apart. Through her work,
issue of domestic servants in Ban- Mawa wants to explore the possibility
gladesh, Jannatul Mawa approached of creating bonds of intimacy among
urban, middle class housewives, asking women who, according to dominant
to take their portraits together with norms, are unequal; norms which we
their housemaid, seated on the drawing ourselves come internalise. Although
room sofa. Through this project, Mawa this constructed moment of intimacy, and
wants to challenge the spatial taboo perhaps equality, is brief, and such mo-
in urban middle class homes which is ments are rare, Mawa is a believer in the
essentially nothing more than a class reformist power of photography; hoping
taboo. Although the mistress and the that her work will help us reflect on the
housemaid inhabit the same domestic need to change domestic relationships,
space, their social and economic privi- which are not ‘natural’ but rather social
leges, and their perceived ideological and historical.

84 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Sandra Calligaro – Afghan
Dream (France)
Saugal Square
Arriving in Kabul from France with the
aim of realising her adolescent dream of
becoming a war correspondent, Sandra
Calligaro found herself shooting very few
war photographs at all over the course of
the five years she spent working on the
project (2011-2015).
Instead, Afghan Dreams portrays the
fragility of the everyday life of this turbulent
country, with Calligaro trying to convey a
sense of the Afghan uneasiness that per-
sists, underlined by imperceptible details
that emerge from these scenes: ordinary
situations, moments in-between, where
tension is tangible, emotions perceptible,
but the conflict rarely visible. In this way,
Calligaro seeks to show Afghans, and
especially Kabulis in the most ordinary,
relatable way possible, thus bringing them
closer to the Western viewer, and going
against the tide of the majority of the pic-
tures spread by the media, which remain
focused on the spectacle of the conflict.

Arantxa Cedillo – Broken Rules (Spain)


Mani Mandap

Broken Rules is a project that speaks of the


power of women in Nepal. All the women in
Arantxa Cedillo’s project share one charac-
teristic: being the first women to have broken
certain rules in their native Nepal. They are
representatives of change. Having often heard
stories of discrimination towards women, Ce-
dillo wanted to highlight this issue; Choosing
to photograph a group of women working in
a range of different fields, fighting for their
rights in a highly conservative society. Inspired
by traditional Nepali portrait photography,
Cedillo decided to reverse the common form
of strictly posed, serious portraiture, instead
allowing each woman to represent herself in
her portrait, thereby opening a visual debate
of what being a woman means in a changing
society like Nepal. The photographs include
short statements by each woman to highlight
their work and carry messages of inspiration,
frustration or change.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 85


Azadeh Akhlaghi – By an Eye-
witness (Iran)
Chyasal Manka Khala
Hall
In her series By an Eyewitness, Azadeh
Akhlaghi intricately reconstructs and
stages the scenes of significant murders
or deaths that occurred in recent Ira-
nian history. Having taken place in a
time before ubiquitous camera phones,
or citizen journalism, there exist no
visual records of these events, and so
Akhlaghi’s reconstructions, based on
news reports, varying witness accounts,
and archived sources, become a new
kind of public commemoration. For
Tasneem Al-Sultan – Saudi Tales of Love Akhlaghi, the images are about depict-
(Saudi Arabia) ing the dying moments of these people
who, according to her “lived decently
Nagbahal
and passed bitterly,” with there being
something sacred about their death,
Whilst Saudi Arabia is an interna- challenging her own preconceptions
“which has been forgotten or stained.”
tional symbol of Islam, for many of a typical Saudi housewife. With
Among her reconstructed subjects are
Saudis there appears to be a strong each story, she found more women
Iranian artists, clerics, athletes and
disconnect between the Qur’an and sharing complex marriage theories
revolutionary figures.
local traditions. Tasneem Al-Sultan and experiences; and she followed
wanted to answer a question shared the stories of widows, happily mar-
by many: Do we need marriage to ried, and divorced women. Utilizing
signify that we have love? Do you imagery from weddings she had
need a husband to have a significant photographed, she interlaced the
life? Starting the project, she thought constructions and expectations of
that she had only her own story to marriage through often elaborate
share: married at the age of 17, and wedding ceremony imagery and ritu-
living separately as a single parent als. A common realization with every
for the last six years of an unhappy woman Al-Sultan photographed, was
10-year marriage. Only later did she that they all managed to overcome the
realize that there were many Saudi many hurdles that were put in their
women who had similar experiences, way by society and/or the state.

86 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


MOVING ASIA through the cultures they bring with
them.
Our understanding of the impact of
migration is in part shaped by images.
More often than not it is the outsider’s
gaze that determines that representa-
tion. Occasionally, the view is from
inside – where migrants tell their own
stories. Whoever the author of these
tales; they provide us with insight into
what is happening and how we can
react in a way that promotes tolerance,
acceptance and understanding.

ABOUT THE CURATOR


Robert Godden is a human rights
campaigner who uses visual media
for positive social change. He is cur-
rently the Director of Campaigns and
Communications at Rights Exposure,
an NGO focussed on the rights of
migrant workers in Asia. Previously,
PHOTO KATHMANDU 2016 will be showcasing a slideshow of photographic and he was with Amnesty International for
multimedia work focusing on labour migration in/from/to Asia. This slideshow will 15 years, and from 2004 the organiza-
be curated by Robert Godden. tion’s Asia-Pacific Campaign Coordina-
tor based in London, Kathmandu, and
SLIDESHOW THEME: MOVING temporary and historic – each com- Hong Kong. In 2015, he worked with
ASIA munity shaped by previous waves of independent journalist Mei Chi So
There are more people migrating for migration over decades and centuries. to produce the photos for the book
work now than at any time in human Economically, remittances sustain the ‘Strangers at Home – migrant domestic
history. Nowhere is this movement of families who remain behind. Yet, the workers in Hong Kong’, winner of the
people greater than in Asia. The ma- absence of a family member can de- RTHK 9th Book Awards 2016. He
jority go in search of a better life for stroy the very relationships that drove holds an MA in South Asian Area Stud-
themselves and their families, driven the migration in the first place. In host ies from SOAS, University of London,
by poverty and a lack of opportunities countries, discrimination often greets and is an alumnus of the New York
at home. those who come from afar to work. University Tisch School of the Arts/
The impact of this movement is Despite this, migrant populations can Magnum Foundation Photography &
manifold and complex. It is both con- foster the growth of cosmopolitanism Human Rights programme.

Photo Kathmandu
Fundraising BhoÉ
Photo.Circle in collaboration with Bungamati Museum are organizing by the 2015 earthquakes. Today, over a year on, Bungamati is still
a GRAND NEWARI FEAST to raise funds for the museum. struggling to recover and rebuild: crucial tasks in restoring both its
The event starts with a Rato Machindranath photo exhibition by physical and cultural identity, as well as re-creating viable economic
Bruce Owens, a slideshow presentation, followed by a KUTUMBA opportunities.
concert and then the Bhoé. photo.circle and the Bungamati Cultural Museum are working
on a number of projects that will contribute to both documenting
BUNGAMATI NOW the history (and recent damage), as well as to the rebuilding of
Bungamati is an important Newari settlement, notably home to Bungamati for the future.
one of the most important Gods in Newari culture; the God of
rain: “Machindranath”, who has been worshipped in the temple DATE: TUESDAY, 25 OCTOBER, 2016
situated at the heart of Bungamati for centuries. Bungamati is TIME: 7–9 PM
also famed for its many festivals and cultural practices, and for the VENUE: MAHARJAN SAMAJ COMMUNITY BUILDING,
artistic proficiency of its local wood carvers. Over the last decade BUNGAMATI
however, Bungamati’s identity has faced a number of challenges, Tickets: 1000 RS ( write to mail@photoktm.com to pre-book the
with increased youth migration, and disastrous damage caused tickets)

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 87


FAIR TRADE

TMAS BAZ
RIS AA
CH R Saturday, 26 November 2016 | 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Premises of the German Development Cooperation Office & adjoining street, Sanepa, Lalitpur

Children Natural PLASTIC


Furnishing
Gifts Cosmetics BAG FREE
& Organic
Decorations Food
Home Clothing Christmas Products
Textiles & Fashion Gifts & Spices
Accessories

ENJOY THE FAIR TRADE CHRISTMAS BAZAAR WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY. STROLL THROUGH THE
STANDS AND DISCOVER GIFTS WHILE CHILDREN MAY BLOCK PRINT THEIR OWN CARDS WHILE
WATCHING ARTISANS LIVE AT WORK. YOU WILL BE WELL CATERED FOR WITH NEPALI AND
WESTERN FOOD AND TRADITIONAL GERMAN MULLED WINE
Jointly Organized by: Supported by:

Trade and Export


Promotion Center
Craft
REVIEW l CRAFTED TALE l pLACE OF CRAFT l CRAFT MAKER l Craft shop
The Maker Faire
Comes to Town Event

The first Maker Faire was held in California in 2006, and it has since spread
all around the world—but the one recently organized in Nepal is the first of
its kind, which makes it all the more awesome.
Evangeline Neve

N
epal’s very first
Mini Maker Faire
was held on Sep-
tember 24th and
25th at the Com-
munitere building in Pulchowk,
Lalitpur. A Maker Faire is an
event licensed by Maker Maga-
zine in the USA, and this is not
only Nepal’s first, but the first
humanitarian themed Maker
Faire to be held anywhere in
the world. To quote the hosts,
Communitere, “The event will
celebrate the Maker Movement –
a movement that brings together
tech innovators, tinkerers, and
artisans – and showcase an
array of new technologies and
innovative projects that promote attendees of the event belonged carvers exhibiting their skills; a
STEAM (Science, Technology, to all over the world —altogether good reminder that making things
Engineering, Art, and Math) there were over 40 booths show- doesn’t have to be hi-tech and
learning.” The first Maker Faire casing different angles of what modern, but can also encompass
was held in California in 2006, it means to make things. For the old ways and traditions.
and it has since spread all around instance, I spoke to a youthful Bahar Kumar, Nepal Strategic
the world—but the one recently team from Israel, the Tikkun Advisor for Communitere, told
organized in Nepal is the first of Olam Makers, who focus on con- me: “The goal is to foster innova-
its kind, which makes it all the necting people with disabilities tion and entrepreneurship, and to
more awesome. with designers who can create engage young people in creating
I admit that I really did not and produce solutions to some viable small businesses. It’s a hub
know what to expect, but when of the daily challenges they face. for cross-cultural collaboration.”
we arrived I was struck by the Portal Bikes is another interesting This was definitely an event
tangible energy and enthusiasm project that produces sturdy bikes for all ages, and Karkhana had
that filled the event, known as that can both haul large amounts a large space set up for children,
KMMF (Kathmandu Mini Maker of goods or people, and can even, where they held a design chal-
Faire). From virtual reality and as demonstrated on site, with a lenge and science competition for
robotics to more customary special attachment husk corn! teams of school students, which
methods of making things, it was The Robotics Association of was a highlight for the younger
a fascinating blend of old and Nepal was there too, with some generation. There were also a lot
new, technology and tradition. of their fascinating designs. 3-D of other things on display for kids
The event was inaugurated printers and plasma cutters were to experiment and interact with.
and sponsored by the US em- shown in action. And front and Children who came—the event
bassy (among others), but the center were two traditional wood was free for all to attend—were

90 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


also able to visit the various down to the simplest elements
booths and get a hands on look – even the usual event swag,
at the kind of gizmos that are such as t-shirts and tote bags,
not so widely available here were screen printed on the
in Nepal. Simple computers spot with your choice of design
that can be customized, even and colour, turning a routine
by kids, were here too, such transaction into something un-
as Raspberry Pi and Arduino. usual and fun. I love collecting
It’s really wonderful to see chil- bags from places and events I
dren having the opportunity to go to, and seeing mine being
interact so freely with this kind printed and then waiting for
of cutting edge technology. I it to be dried made what is
ran into two young students generally a routine purchase
who had made a smart car a learning experience, and
with obstacle avoidance to made it feel more valuable to
enter in the science competi- me. Interesting, isn’t it?
tion—pretty impressive! It was easy to get caught up
Throughout the day there in the enthusiastic spirit of the
was a series of talks held inside Maker Faire, and I find myself
the main Communitere hall, already looking forward to
running concurrently to the next year’s. Ideas like those
other events, at which many of promoted here are something
the makers shared their knowl- we could use here in Nepal,
edge and experiences for the along with the all-important
education and benefit of all. lesson of keeping what is of
There was a practical and value from the past while look-
fun focus on making things, ing ahead to the new.
Bags with Purpose People

A Story Worth Hearing


An interview with Dr. Milan Maharjan, the founder of Ear Care Nepal,
a charity which helps in the redressal of a pressing health issue that
pervades the country.
Evangeline Neve

50% of that number are school


age children. Amongst those with
hearing loss, more than 50% of
the cases are preventable. It’s
only less than 1% that are deaf
and mute and can’t be treated.
In September 2013 I started Ear
Care Nepal, and now I do it full-
time. I’m a volunteer, I receive
no pay from it, but keep a small
clinic in Patan in the evenings to
cover my expenses.

Q: What does Ear Care Nepal


do?
A: We started with two pro-
grammes:
A screening programme at gov-
ernment schools, coordinating

R
with the Lalitpur District Edu-
ecently I was invited fessor at the Kathmandu Medical cation Office. This programme
to attend the launch College. Even when I was work- covers children ages five to six-
of a new line of eco- ing, I was always doing volunteer teen. It’s a very good method of
friendly handbags; it work when I could, and I wanted finding those who need help, as
was a fun event and to do it fulltime. the children who attend govern-
I was impressed with the quality, ment schools are generally from
fresh designs and stylishness of Q: What inspired you to start Ear poorer families, so it is an auto-
the bags displayed. But the event Care Nepal? matic filter; those who attend
wasn’t just about a fashion ac- A: Nepal has among the highest these schools are needy. There
cessory—all the profits from the prevalence of deafness in South- are 196 government schools in
sales were for Ear Care Nepal, East Asia. There are a lot of eye Lalitpur alone.
an organization that works for hospitals – it is a good example of The second place we do
the prevention of deafness and progress and quality health care screening is at monastic schools
the promotion and conservation in the country. But there are only – Buddhist monasteries and
of hearing in Nepal. Fascinated, 126 ENT surgeons registered in nunneries: again, we target the
I wanted to know more, and Dr. Nepal, and many of those are young monks and nuns who are
Milan Maharjan, the founder and now retired. There is not enough studying there.
driving force behind the project, manpower to address the need. Over 20,000 children have
took time out of her busy sched- been screened for hearing prob-
ule to meet and tell me more. Q: Is hearing loss a big problem lems so far through these pro-
in Nepal? I wasn’t aware of this grams, and 216 children have
Question: What is your profes- before. been operated on to date, all for
sional background? A: In 1991, the last national sur- free. In addition to screening,
Dr Milan Maharjan: I am an ENT vey reported that 16.6 % of the we also produce educational
Surgeon, and I was Assistant Pro- population has hearing loss, and booklets on primary ear care,

92 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


and illustrated posters on this Q: Why bags? fully, with lots of attention. We
topic as well. If the schools A: It hasn’t been easy with fund- want people to buy it because it’s
have electricity—most of them raising, paying our small staff (we good quality, made by Nepalis.
don’t—we also show a Power- can’t afford to pay doctors). We In fact, except for the zippers—
Point presentation. We try to do have an ambulance donated we could not find quality ones
educate the children, teachers by the government of India, and made here—each part of the bag
and parents. Prevention is very we have to pay a salary to the is locally made by local artisans.
important—most children pick driver, of course. A businessman But we didn’t want the cause to
their ears with whatever they from the US who made handbags be the primary cause—both are
have, and people pour warm oil happened to be at the Rotary important. A good design, good
into their ears for ear problems, Club the day I went there to give material, for a good cause. And
but now it is often contaminated a talk; at first the idea was to give 100% of the profit goes to Ear
and causes infections. Some training and open a small factory Care Nepal.
even put urine, squeezed roses to make the bags, but we couldn’t
or squeezed tobacco inside their afford that. Q: Anything else?
ears, all sorts of unusual and Sushmita Malla, from Yala A: There have been lots of sacrific-
potentially dangerous things. So Handicrafts, designed the bags— es, personally and professionally.
awareness and education are not from her company, but as a I come from a Buddhist family
really important. volunteer, herself, to help. She and our Rinpoche told me once,
And all the funds for these has created a brand for these bags “Don’t just be a volunteer, be a
programmes and surgeries have called Iyarkai. We will continue to professional.” I’ve tried to do that.
been from personal contribu- create new designs, not repeat the We keep expenses low—Nidan
tions—with the exception of a current ones. Hospital has also provided the
small Rotary Club grant—the use of our small office space for
work has all been supported by Q: You use a lot of unusual free, for example—and work with
individuals, friends, family; I’m fabrics – how did you decide to limited money, but we have to
very proud of that. do this? grow. There is a real need.
Ear surgeries are very ex- A: We wanted to make a bag that * *
pensive—even at government was unique and trendy, and made I was personally impressed
hospitals they can cost up to Rs. of natural fibres. We used hemp, after my interaction with Dr. Mi-
25,000. Some places say they banana, nettle, and also old tyre lan Maharjan and her staff—their
are “free” but there are many parts. No where else uses this professionalism and also the pas-
hidden costs, and it is often dif- combination. We do not use any sion for what they feel called to
ficult for those who really need leather or animal products, and do shine through clearly. It was
it to afford it. the cotton is hand loomed. We also refreshing to see such clarity,
Nidan Hospital has been thought that instead of wasting transparency and focus in a social
very kind to us, allowing us to what is already available, to use organization. They’re not trying
do our surgeries here at a very the inner tubes from tyres, instead to save the whole world, but just
subsidized rate, and Ani Choy- of leather. Some of our bags even concentrate on the needs they see
ing Dolma’s Arogya Foundation still have the tyre patches on in front of them and know best
contributes the lab costs for them, which is part of telling the how to meet. It’s a simple idea,
the children who need it. Some story of where they came from. but it works. And I’ve always had a
friends who are also ENT sur- Everything is handmade, not soft spot for social causes that also
geons volunteer their time, but mass produced. We make sure aim for sustainability—it’s the best
most of it I do myself. that we produce each bag care- of both worlds, I think.
And let’s not forget the bags—
while it’s amazing that they are
supporting a good cause, they are
also quite simply very fine bags
with careful, quality workman-
ship and a beautiful use of local
materials.
You can find more information
about Ear Care Nepal, as well as
how to get an awesome bag of
your own (with free delivery any-
where in the Kathmandu Valley!)
at the below contact points:
info@earcarenepal.org
earcarenepal.org
Or call: 9813185403

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 93


Travel
EXPERIENCE l MY JOURNEY l TRAVELOGUE l PEOPLE

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 95


A first-hand experience of Gokarna Forest Resort, where history, nature
and luxury blend seamlessly into creating an amazing experience.

Luxury with Nature


Escape

Neema Ghimire

W
hat would be ness of nature while enjoying As Tesring Deki Sherpa took
more comfort- luxurious facilities in a comfort- me around the property, I real-
ing than going able setting. All my way to the ized Gokarna is not just another
away from the resort, I kept imagining how I resort that you stay in for a day
hustle-bustle would throw myself on the soft and leave. It is rather a rich and
of the city when you are tired bed and relax endlessly. Little complex place which conserves
and exhausted? Just as when did I know, that the in-house history, nature, memories, it also
expert hands give you a sooth- Harmony Spa has so many things has luxury and it has maintained
ing massage you have deserve to offer – Ayurveda based treat- standard of its own. Hunter’s
laboring for long hours at work, ments, indoor temperature con- Lodge at Gokarna used to be a
I experienced something similar trol, a swimming pool, luxurious private royal hunting ground of
the moment I reached Gokarna treatment rooms with a sauna the Kings of Nepal. Today, the
Forest Resort. It is not just the each, steam room, Jacuzzi and lodge serves, authentic Nepali
enthusiastic hotel staff who make what not! cuisine. It has conserved nature’s
you feel welcomed there but the When I went for the massage, luxury. While you are roaming
whole ambiance of the resort is I realized had I opted to rest in around, you can see herds of
absolutely welcoming. the room instead of this massage, shy deer (they find some place
Gokarna has merged itself I would have missed a great deal. to hide themselves as soon as
with the surrounding forest so The relaxing massage kept me they see people) and mischievous
well that one can feel the rich- energized even the next day. monkeys.

96 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Luxury is another thing to
look for in Gokarna. It is a most
popular destination for Golf in
Nepal. The game never seemed
interesting to me until I tried my
hands on this luxurious sport
myself. I held the club and hit the
golf ball. As the coach in the club
was showing me the techniques,
I realized that the game has quite
a charm. I kept hitting those 25
golf balls and by the end I actu-
ally liked it.
Gokarna has maintained the
international standard of its Golf
course. One can feel how well the
course is maintained as one takes
a look at it. From maintaining the
length of the grass to maintaining
the texture and moisture, every-
thing is just perfect. You do not
need to be perfect for the game.
Just follow the tricks, maintain
your body postures and practice
how to hold the golf club – then,
hit the ball and bingo!

Don’t Miss
Saturday’s barbeque brunch is
something you should not miss
while you plan to visit Gokarna.
They have a brunch every Satur-
day and the place would be so
much more fun to visit with your
friends during the weekends.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 97


Tetang-Chusang,
Under the Photo story

Great Mustang
umbrella.
shirish khatri amar danuwar rai
Chusang is surrounded by huge cliffs
dotted with numerous caves.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 99


C
husang (3022) Kali Gandaki and its tributaries
is a village devel- and other seasonal flood rivers.
opment commit- Chusang/Tetang, much like the
tee in Mustang rest of Mustang, are regions
District in the with a strong Tibetan influence
Dhawalagiri Zone of northern blended with Nepali culture.
Nepal. It is located on the Up- Still untouched and isolated it
per Mustang trekking route, remains not fiddled with. The
between Tangbe and Chele, region is rich in Buddhist cul-
about an hour’s walk north of ture, similar to the area of the
Tangbe. It lies at the junction of Tibet Autonomous Region of
the Narshing River and the Kali the People’s Republic of China.
Gandaki. Chusang is arrived It is an alternate way to experi-
from a descent while Tetang is ence the Tibetan culture and
reached by an ascent. It is sur- landscape to the tours provided
rounded by gigantic red, orange by the Chinese government.
and silver gray cliffs spotted with
cave dwellings. The village con- The people here, are very slowly
sists of three different hamlets: moving towards modernization.
north of the Narshing River is Till a few years ago, the only way
Tangma, to the south of it is Bra- into the region was on foot; the
ga, and west of Braga, towards only way to transport goods was
the Kali Gandaki, is Cikyab. It by pony, yak or dzo (yak-cow
is an active farming community. hybrids). Life is still peaceful and
serene here, and moves forward
The main hydrographic feature slowly like it has always done,
of this region is the Kali Gan- over the years.
daki. Routes around the treach-
erous terrain wind around the

100 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Photo story

Having been a restricted area for quite some time, the march of urbanization has been slow here, and ponies, yaks, and dzos (yak-cow hybrids) are still very much
used for transportation of goods.

Lying at the border with Tibet, the influence of Tibetan Buddhism is very strong in Mustang. Mustang’s culture is predominantly Tibetan, but the changes
accompanying the opening up of the region to the outside world is introducing other cultures and lifestyles, too.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 101



Life in Chusang has
remained unchanged,
for the most part, from
what it was centuries
ago. Its inhabitants
are deeply steeped in
religion, and one will
find many gompas,
mani walls, and
chortens everywhere.
102 ECS NEPAL | October 2016
Photo story

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 103



Several forts and monasteries, some
dating back to ancient times, endow
Mustang with a rich history, and added
to this is the splendid natural beauty
and cultural heritage, all of which has
contributed to making the region a very
popular trekking destination.

104 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 105
Churpi is one of the most
popular souvenirs to take
back home from Chusang,
Mustang. Pictured here
are threads of churpis
hung out in the sun to be
dried.

Mustang is a semi-arid
region, so locals are prone
to be pretty weather-
beaten more often than
not, which makes them
sturdy and resilient.

106 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 107
108 ECS NEPAL | October 2016
October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 109
Change is the only constant and we must take it in the spirit of the need
to make Nepal better for everyone.

Nepal can and Escape

Will, Still Change You


Anil Chitrakar

I
n the early days of the
Annapurna Conservation
Area Project, visitors could
purchase a T-shirt that had
a slogan, “Nepal is here to
change you...” There was and
still is a bit of magic in Nepal
and everything Nepali that is
still magical. Most of us believe
that all the political changes
and disruptions we have gone
through will make Nepal a better
place. It is also true that many
of the disruptive activities were
probably unnecessary and did
not contribute to making things
better for Nepalis nor for the
tourists. In the old Nepal, few
enjoyed the fruits of all economic
activities; today we have too
many trying to get a piece of the
pie. If the market does what it is
supposed to do, the ones who
serve will make Nepal a truly
magical place it was and still is.
Change is the only constant and
we must take it in the spirit of
the need to make Nepal better
for everyone

Means and an end


There are two very distinct con-
tributions that tourism makes to
Nepal that are attributable. One
is the fact that the tourist activ-
ity is a great way to distribute would never have taken up their paintings, Nepali Khukuri and
wealth, with almost no over- traditional occupations. The fact jewelry. Nepalis have been able
heads and no or few middlemen that tourists have helped spread to pay for education and health
(and women) being involved. Nepali art and craft all over the services from these incomes.
The second is that many natural world means there is a vibrant
resources and our built and cul- market and demand for small Quality, standards, pricing
tural heritage is today preserved and cottage industries all over Nepal has lost many opportuni-
due to the fact that tourist came Nepal to continue to produce. ties to get tourists to spend more
to appreciate them. If it was not These include previous metals, during their stay here simply
for tourism many young people wood, Pashmina, traditional because there are no assurances

110 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


In Nepal , a few days after
the massive earthquake the
message that went out was,
“The best way to help Nepal is
to go there.”

on the quality and standards of have to be maintained, quality


meat, water and sanitation facili- assurance is a non negotiable
ties in eating places, vegetables, and only then can we put the
fresh fruits, yogurt etc. All these appropriate price on the prod-
would have contributed even ucts and services we are offer-
more to the local economy. ing. Standards help us attain
Guides are often not sure if they an economy of scale. At 800
should recommend that tourists thousand tourists a year Nepal
eat or drink at various stops due can and should do much better.
to fear of indigestion and hence
delay and even having to cancel Tourism cares
the trip. Many settlements on Nepal has been hit by many
trek routes and in our cultural man-made and natural disasters
sites the sanitation infrastruc- that have negatively affected the
ture is bad. What we all need economy hard. These have af-
to understand is that standards fected tourist numbers over the

last decade in general but the


last year and half in particular.
History teaches us that all coun-
tries go through similar ups and
downs. Many cities around the
world are today falling victim to
terrorism and the message that
is put out is that if “you do not
come to our city, the terrorists
have won.” The same principle
applies to Nepal. The Seattle
based group called Tourism
Cares has got it right. When in
bad times and when in good
times, tourism cares. In Nepal
, a few days after the massive
earthquake the message that
went out was, “The best way
to help Nepal is to go there.”
Today Nepal can do a much bet-
ter job of communicating with
the market that, for example,
the Annapurna region, was least
affected by the earthquake. In
the Kathmandu valley the res-
toration work on the stupa at
Bouddha is a tourism product
in itself. Nepal is ready for busi-
ness and we need to shout, so
everyone can hear us.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 111


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The network of
extraordinary journeys

Gear up and start training for the Manaslu Mountain Trail


Race 2016. Unfolding in the lap of the world’s eighth
highest mountain, this multi-staged Himalayan adventure
is going to be a breathtaking (literally!) experience.

Share your journeys on the Great Himalaya Trails with #MyGHT


Photo courtesy: Richard Bull

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 113


Photo: Frank Tschope

Great Views on the Nepal is

Nepal GHT
famous for its
great natural
beauty that
trekkers can
enjoy when
trekking on
The Nepal GHT offers fantastic views, along with amazing bio- the GHT.
diversity.
Text: Amar B. Shrestha

G
reat Himalaya expect to see on the Nepal undisturbed by any cloud,
Trails (GHT), is GHT: while around April, the
a network of hills become red with the
extraordinary Red hills blossoming of the national
journeys that offers The Kanchenjunga flower, the rhododendron.
fantastic views of some of Conservation Area has Due to heavy monsoon
the highest peaks, along pristine forests, alpine rainfall, the area is rich in
with breathtaking scenery. meadows, and high-altitude flora that includes over
The trails go along wetlands. The majestic 2,000 plant species. The
the shadows of eight Kanchenjunga (8,586 m; trail begins in Tumlingtar,
massive 8,000-meter- ‘Five Treasures of Snow’), first going through Rai and
high mountains, ranging the third highest peak in Limbu villages, and then
from Makalu to Everest, the world is,doubtless, the through Sherpa, Tamang,
the highest mountain on highlight of this section. and Bhutia villages. The
Earth. Here are a few of Around November, the sky Milke Danda ridge, an
the great views you can is deep blue, completely area with many small lakes,

114 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


provides magnificent views turquoise lakes and exotic
of Kanchenjunga, Makalu, monasteries, and probably
and Everest. the best view of Everest
from the Renjo La. The trail
Amazing flora and fauna carries on to the Rolwaling
The Makalu Barun National valley through the
Park has amazing bio- TashiLabsta (5,760 m). On
diversity, because its the way, you’ll see mighty
forests extend through GauriShanker (7,121 m).
climatic zones ranging
from tropical to alpine. The Sacred valleys and holy
flora and fauna includes lakes
25 rhododendronand 47 The trek takes you to
orchidspecies, as well as Helambu, one of the 108
440 kinds of birds and 75 sacred valleys (beyul) of the
kinds of animals, the more Himalayas, whose Sherpa
exotic being the clouded inhabitants call themselves
leopard,Asian golden cat, Hyalmo. The trail reaches
andred panda. The trek LangtangNational
along this section goes Parkthroughthe Tilman
through some pretty high Pass (5,308 m), from
altitudes, and so, you’ll where the view of the
get awe-inspiring views vast Tibetan plateau is
of Everest, Lhotse, and simply spectacular. As you
Baruntse. descend, you pass through
a valley of glaciers and
Mighty peaks snowy peaks, including the
Apredominantly Sherpa imposing LangtangLirung
territory, this is where three (7,227 m). On the way, you’ll

Photo: Anton Jankovoy


of the world’s highest come across a number of
peaks, Everest, Lhotse, and holy lakes, among which
Cho Oyu, are to be found. Gosainkunda is the most
The trek will take you into famous. Thousands of
Sagarmatha National Park, devotees congregate here
the highest national park in once every year, during the
the world. It has beautiful full moon of August, to

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 115


welcoming; Tatopani (‘Hot
Water’) being famous for its
hot spring water gushing
out from stone spouts.
This is where you can
experience the culture and
lifestyle of the Tamangs.

Gompas and gorges


The Annapurna Circuit
is the most popular trek
after the Everest Base
Camp trek, not only due
to easy accessibility,
but equally due to the
stupendous views on the
route, including that of
Annapurna I, the world’s
10th highest mountain
(note: the Annapurnas
consist of six mountains, all
over 7,200 m, extending for
55 km). Large glaciers and
deep valleys are highlights
of the region, as is the
take a dip in its icy waters, up to TiruDanda ridge, mysterious kingdom of
after which they change you get fantastic views of Lo Manthang in Mustang.
their sacred janai thread. Annapurna, Manaslu, and The barren landscape is
Another well-known holy Ganesh Himal.Larkya La somewhat offset by lovely
lake here is PaanchPokhari (5,135 m) is the highest gompas and blooming
(Five Lakes). point of the trek. A side apple orchards. You are
trip on the routetakes certain to be mesmerized
Peaceful majesty you toTsum Valley, whose by the sight of Kali Gandaki
The mid-point of the Tsumba people follow a Valley, located between
Nepal GHT lies in Manaslu strict code of non-violence, the magnificent Annapurna
(‘Mountain of the Spirit’), and where no animals can and Dhaulagiri mountains,
the 8th highest peak in be killed. The villageson and said to be the deepest
the world. As you trek the trail are simple and gorge in the world.

116 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Adventure
GEARS l EXPERIENCE l Place l How to

When festivals are an adventure in itself,


why go on the lookout for anything more .

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 117


A Dashain Adventure
with my Cousins Experience
While most Dashain holidays were spent at home, in the midst of family
members, there was one Dashain I remember that veered from the usual.
That was the time I, two of my cousins, and two friends went on a trek up the
mountains.
Amar B. Shrestha

I
grew up with first cousins, three boys, seemed like, judging from the swiftness of
one elder to me, one around my age, its current. I don’t remember now, but even
and the third, two years younger. We back then, it somehow escaped logic why we
all studied in the same school; as it decided to cross the 20-meter-wide stretch
happened, in different classes. We got of churning water. Anyway, crossing it was
up at six, and would be trudging our way to the call of the day. So, my older cousin who
the bus stop by seven-thirty. The weather had quite a reputation for bravado, began to
was pretty cool most of the time, Darjeeling wade across, trailing along a rope as he went.
being a hill station (pretty famous, too!), and It wasn’t easy, he slipped a couple of
it was never easy getting up early. Then, times and pulled himself up with some
along with the arrival of the fall, our hearts trouble. By and by, he was standing on a
started to sing a different tune, one of joy big rock near the middle of the river, and
and expectation. Dashain was around the winding the rope tightly around it, signaled
corner! Ten days of feast, fun, and frolic. for us to start crossing. We did just that,
While most Dashain holidays were spent holding on to the rope tightly. In this way,
at home, in the midst of family members, we reached the opposite end, where a sandy
there was one Dashain I remember that beach awaited us. The sky was getting dark,
veered from the usual. That was the time I, and we decided to camp for the night. Then,
two of my cousins, and two friends went on as we were lighting a fire, after having set up
a trek up the mountains. Now, Darjeeling our one single tent, it started to rain.
is surrounded by dales and valleys, and the Man, did it rain? It came down in tor-
hills roll on, in the proverbial manner, to rents, and all of us were soaked to the bone.
distances far beyond the reach of the eyes. In Apart from the tent, there was no other
other words, it’s a nice place to go trekking. shelter on the small beach, and the tent was
One of the two friends had an aunt who far from waterproof. Well, we couldn’t light
lived high up yonder in the blue mountains, a fire, and a lot of sand somehow got mixed
growing her own food, raising chickens, pigs, up with the rice, and all in all, it promised
and cows, and making cheese. And having to be a miserable night. Cold, wet, and hun-
a helluva good time! Well, that’s where we gry. I still don’t remember who it was that
were going. The other friend’s dad was a instigated the river crossing; I swear, even
big shot at the Himalayan Mountaineering today, I can feel the misery of that night,
Institute (HMI), and we got all our stuff for and I would love to wring that foolhardy
the four-day trek at easy-on-the-pocket rates instigator’s neck.
from this famous institute’s ample stores. Anyway, morning brought hope of a
We started off with a spring to our steps, better day, the rain having stopped in the
and a song on our lips down to the village of middle of the long drawn out night full of
Bijanbari, from where we would head off on the sound of hunger pangs, empty bellies
seldom-trodden paths up into the mountains. growling in the darkness like a train speed-
We figured that we would be crossing two ing along on iron rails. However, the sun the
mountains, at least, before reaching our next morning was bright and welcoming.
destination. We put everything out to dry, and grabbed
The three-hour hike downhill to Bijanbari a few pieces of bread and some milk made
was a breeze, but after that, it was uphill all with powder. And, soon enough, we were on
the way. As we hiked along narrow trails, our way. We had to cross the river to get on
we could feel our rucksacks getting heavier the right track, can you believe that? Why
by the minute. Soon, we were at a rushing did we cross the river in the first place? Still
mountain river that packed some punch, it don’t know. The route went steeply uphill,

118 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


No sooner had we stopped for a break, and were
leaning against the hillside, when we saw dark
black leeches all over our ankles, as well as up
on the calves, sucking away to glory.
and we filed single line on the narrow trail, fell one by one, and I swear, they all looked
taking turns to carry the soggy, heavy tent. like they had had their fill, so fat and plump
Now, rain and forested mountains were they!
don’t really go together. No sooner had This was something that we would be
we stopped for a break, and were leaning plagued by all the way up to our destina-
against the hillside, when we saw dark tion—that promised land of roast chicken,
black leeches all over our ankles, as well steaming rice, double omelet, fresh vegeta-
The route went steeply
as up on the calves, sucking away to glory. ble curry, and so on and so forth. Oh, such
uphill, and we filed single
line on the narrow trail, As one, all of us stepped away from the thoughts actually plagued me more than
taking turns to carry the hillside with alacrity. We sprinkled hand- the plump red suckers’ shenanigans. For I
soggy, heavy tent. fuls of salt over the bloody suckers. They was as hungry as a horse after a mile-long

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 119


We stayed the night in a
big room in the cottage,
Then, my hands fell on something familiar. A
the day passing by swiftly,
eating, drinking, eating,
corn! Bush and all! Manna from heaven! Now,
drinking, eating
all of us started plucking any corn that our hands
landed on in the darkness.
sprint. Really, all that climbing up had taken in our sleeping bags, letting the luxurious
its toll, and we were running on empty tanks. feeling of sated lethargy wash over us.
We tried making some noodles, but the Early the next morning, we had a leisurely
damn fire refused to light (the forest was as breakfast (fried corn, of course) and started
wet as could be), and besides, the noodles off for our friend’s aunt’s cottage, which
was so sandy, it was practically inedible. wasn’t far off now. Soon enough we were at
On top of everything, we were pretty much its gates, and being welcomed into the house
in the midst of wilderness. So, all we could by the pleasant faced aunt. We were immedi-
do was carry on up, up, and up. Came the ately ushered into the dining room, where a
time when dusk began to fall, and we were sumptuous breakfast awaited us—everything
groping along on the increasingly dark path. farm fresh—from the still warm homemade
We were desperate to reach our destination, bread and peach jam and soft boiled eggs, to
where awaited warmth, comfort, food, and fresh greens, smoked ham, and roast chicken.
relaxation. But, it was also clear that we Well, we turned into wolves then, wolfing
wouldn’t be making it that night. down everything in sight with undisguised
So, we groped along, and soon were delight and ecstatic pleasure.
groping among tall stalks for balance. Then, We stayed the night in a big room in the
my hands fell on something familiar. A corn! cottage, the day passing by swiftly, eating,
Bush and all! Manna from heaven! Now, all drinking, eating, drinking, eating…you get the
of us started plucking any corn that our hands picture. The next morning, the friend’s aunt
landed on in the darkness. We decided to filled our rucksacks with guavas, apples, and
halt for the night, besides the corn field, on oranges, and we set off all fresh and invigo-
a narrow piece of terraced land. While two rated. The trek back till Bijanbari wasn’t so
of us pitched up the tent, the rest of us got bad, but then, in the rush to reach our homes
a fire going, and began frying the corn. I tell to enjoy what was left of Dashain, we didn’t
you, never in my life have I tasted anything think of stopping to have lunch in Bijanbari,
sweeter, never mind if the corn was only and thus the trek uphill, which took us five
half cooked. hours (compared to three hours downhill),
It rejuvenated us, I could actually feel my became a race against time and starvation.
blood coursing through my body, carrying Again, we were running on completely de-
protein-rich nourishment to millions of ex- pleted tanks, and I don’t need to tell you,
hausted cells on the brink of starvation. We the leftovers that we had on reaching home
gorged and gorged on all that delicious corn, was perhaps the sweetest food we had ever
too hungry to wait for it to be well cooked. eaten. Second, of course, to the corn that
Our bellies were finally full, and we lay out dark, dark, night.

120 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Free Fallin’
Amidst
the Mountains A first time bungee jumper relives the
experience for ECS Nepal
biplav shrestha Illustrated Ishan Maharjan

N
epal is widely known as one of been afraid of heights, the prospect of having
the best adventure destinations to jump off of a tower was a newly felt fear. As
in the world. It just takes a few my turn to jump came, the instructor asked me
hours’ drive from the capital to to stand on my heels at the edge of the platform
know exactly why. With soaring with my hands holding the side beams. He then
snowcapped mountains, raging white water Riv- started counting back from 10, and when the
ers, dense tropical forests and majestic wildlife, countdown reached 1, I had to jump!
Nepal is the perfect destination for free spirited The High Ground Bungee tower provides
adventure seekers. One of the biggest adventure you with a 70m vertical drop; which amounts
sports attractions in Nepal is Bungee/ Bungy to about a 3 – 4 second free fall. It might sound
jumping. like very little time, but for someone who’s jump-
The Hilly Region covers about 68% of the ing for the first time, a second almost feels like
total land area of the country and rises from a minute. The sudden surge of adrenaline, the
600m to 3600m. Hence, there is no dearth instant thrust of the wind hitting your face at
of high altitude bridges in the nation. Bungee full force and the tiny pool at the bottom start-
Jumping is described as “an activity that involves ing to grow in size almost feels other worldly.
jumping from a tall structure while connected to And just like that, before you can contemplate
a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a what just happened, it is over. You are pulled
fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane.” into a small boat and are relieved of your har-
The first time I tried bungee jumping was ness. The adrenalin high stays with you for as
during a 2014 trip to Pokhara. High Ground long as you let it and you are left with a sense of
Bungee is Nepal’s first and only tower bungee accomplishment.
platform. It takes you about a 20 minute drive High Ground Bungee is one of many bungee
from Lakeside to reach the venue. Feeling panic, jumping sites in Nepal. There is the “Ultimate
anxiety and excitement is normal before your Bungy” at The Last Resort that may be the most
first jump. Upon reaching the place, you are spectacular Bungee jumping sites on the planet.
given a short but detailed instruction on what The remarkable 160m drop into the Bhoti Kosi
you are supposed to do. Once every important River gorge on the Nepal/Tibet border is con-
detail is covered, you make your way towards the sidered the longest free-fall in the world. 
tower. I was second in the line of jumpers and So go ahead! Take your pick for an amazing
seeing my friend jump from the ledge was a very adventure where you experience what life truly
scary experience. For someone who has never is and discover who you really are inside.

122 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Soaring
Down the Slopes
shirish khatri

O
ur rugged country is home to the tall- the first Skiing and snowboarding school in Nepal which
est mountains, and possesses majestic also happens to be highest situated one in the world.
snowy eminence in abundance. Despite
that, when we think of winter sports Last February in Rolwaling, about 28 young Nepali
like skiing and snowboarding, rarely were standing for the very first time on skis, under
do we connect Nepal with these adventures. However, the guidance of five ski instructors from Germany,
Skiing and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal, against Austria and Switzerland. All the starting equipment
all odds, have brought skiing into Nepal, and it has were donated: pairs of 25 skiers and snowboards. Far
been an endearing and exciting journey along the way. away from snow cannons and cable cars, the kind often
made available to skiers, the group still maintained high
The Skiing and snowboarding Foundation (NFSS) was level of energy and excitement at 6000 feet and under
founded in 2015 by a motely group of nine enthusiasts. difficult weather conditions.
A never before heard concept in Nepal, a few years A year and a half later these skiers and many others
ago, it would seem crazy to mention a Skiing and are almost adept at gliding down the slopes. They may
Snowboarding school in even such a mountainous not look as graceful while descending as their instruc-
country such as ours. The existing Ski agencies and tors do, but their spirit towards the sport makes up for
trekking agencies in Nepal are mostly run by foreigners the lack. People from different backgrounds have come
who guide and provide skiing expeditions to foreign together to embrace the gifts of our mountains under
travelers to the country. NFSS wanted to change that. the guidance of talented instructors, and the initiative
They were determined to start adventure sports in of Nepali youth.
Nepal, which could also be sustainable. What Nepal The founders of the NFSS emphasized on the
needed was the ability to produce their own expertise importance of self-trust, focus, and friendship to make
on winter sports about their peaks. Therefore, persist- this dream a reality. Many Nepalese youth might be
ing through all the necessary paperwork and dealing interested in trying new ideas but shy away when it
with issues borne out of an absence of laws pertaining comes to taking those ideas to the next level. The ability
to skiing and snowboarding in Nepal, these young to channel these positive emotions are our best bet to
people at NFSS pulled it off and are now are leading bring positive changes to our country. Nepal has plenty
of inspiring natural beauty
and its potential only needs
to be unlocked. It is true that
doing so is a difficult bid, and
the key is to never lose focus.
more students, guides, and
“NFSS started when a group
climbers learning how to ski
of friends learning skiing had
and snowboard through the
a crazy idea to take things to
NFSS, they are the part of the
the next level”
dream the NFSS is approach-
NFSS further aims to
ing, of a full snow adventure
teach Nepalese youngsters
tourism filled Nepal. The
skiing, snowboarding, ski
process is fun, and exciting
touring, and rescue. With
and being patient for the end
the support of a consortium
product is not difficult at all.
of Austrian, German and
Nepal is home to inspirations
Swiss ski instructors, keen
plenty, and NFSS is a fine
on sharing their NFSS plans
example of how we can make
to run a dual track SC. They
the best of such inspiring gifts
also train mountain guides
our home country has given
and Climbing Sherpas on how
us. We just need to get out
to conduct skitours securely
there and dare to dream. “You
with tourists. Now a part
don’t have to be a fantastic
of the World snowboarding
hero to do certain things – to
federation, NFSS is looking
compete. You can be just an
forward to an establishment Pathak emphasized that self-trust, focus, and friendship were key to
ordinary chap, sufficiently mo-
of a permanent skiing school making this dream a reality. Many Nepalese youth may have the
tivated.” - Sir Edmund Hilary
in Mera Peak and Rolwaling. idea but may shy away when it came to taking those ideas to the next
They may not have the flashy level. The ability to channel these positive emotions are our best bet as
Go support NFSS at: indi- Nepalese youth to bring positive changes to our country.
infrastructure but that is not
egogo.com/projects/ski-for-
what it wishes to achieve.
nepal-school
In order for Ski and snow-
boarding tourism to flourish
in Nepal, it has to be run by
Nepali people in a sustainable
way. There are more and
Get going

The Valley on a Vespa


As told to Shreeya and Avilasha, Vespa Valley Crew provides further
information about the exhilarating experience.
Shreya gautam

I
f only there was a better and exciting form What is the main aim and objective of this ‘Vespa
of mobility!” We mutter to each other as Valley’?
we rode the risky, tedious journey that the The main objective is fun! We’re a group of Kath-
public transportation usually has to offer. mandu locals who work hard in a trekking company
The absence of congestion on two wheels, and wanted to have a simultaneous personal proj-
sun on your back, wind in your hair, experiencing ect, and so Vespa Valley was born to show people
the sights and smells up close and personal, listen- around to some of our favorite places in the city.
ing to the personal narratives of the local driver, There is so much to see here and so many dif-
series of aesthetic visuals of the deep nooks and ferent elements that make up the city, so our objec-
corners of Kathmandu as you travel-too good to be tive is to showcase the diversity that Kathmandu
true? The newly introduced project, Vespa Valley, has to offer. It’s not just a city of temples that are
has exactly what every tourist trying to explore the mentioned in the guide books. Around every corner
city, or in that case, any Nepali trying to immerse there’s something new, different and exciting that
themselves in the rich culture and sights of Nepal, makes Kathmandu unique and special.
needs. Information, more extensive and updated There is nothing like feeling connected to the
than a guide book, the experiences that the project place you’re in and the Vespas really give you the
offers is truly praiseworthy. Add Vespa Valley to feeling of being part of the streetscape. We’re all
your bucket list and give in to the experience like about ‘going local’ and for many Kathmandu resi-
never before. dents, that means getting around on 2 wheels, sun

126 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


on your back, wind in your hair,
experiencing the sights and smells
up close and personal. We think the
Vespa is a great way to do that as it is
a little quirky, not exactly what you
see everyday – just as Kathmandu
is quirky and different than every
other city around the world.

How did you come up with this idea


and when did it begin?
We started working on Vespa Valley
in 2014. We came up with several
ideas and while some of those ideas
never get off the ground, we all
thought this one was a great idea
and we were all excited to make it
happen! Gradually the team came
together, we started working on
the tours and routes, we collected
a fleet of vintage Vespas and here
we are today!

What are the routes and destina-


tions for this program?
We have around 10 tours at this
point and our most popular so far
have been “Villages of the Valley”,
which explores villages to the south
of Kathmandu. For visitors this is a
great way to experience life outside
the city that’s not on a trekking trail.
“Nepali Food Safari” has also been
popular, showcasing the variety of
food available in Kathmandu in loca-
tions that are well known for being
popular and top quality.
The routes are a big part of our
tours, it’s not just about the destina-
tions. We go through the back streets
and alleys, where ‘real life’ happens

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 127


Other Places in Jawalakhel (near the
around Central Zoo: Jawalakhel bus stop)
if you hope to explore must be your best
natural world of Nepal choice. This Zoo open
by riding elephants or at 10:00-17:00 from
watching wild animals, Sunday to Saturday.
then the Central Zoo

– the part of the city that many tourists never get to tour they like, but we thought things that would be
see. We go through local bazaars and temples that more interesting is our Custom Chauffeur Service
are not mentioned in the guide books and experi- where we can create a custom tour, help them make
ence the real Kathmandu. a special entrance to a party or just enjoy a fun way
of getting around with a group of friends.
Will the tours be shown through local perspective We’re also about to launch some new products
or guide book perspective? that will have wide appeal and not your ‘everyday’
Our tours are definitely a local’s perspective. Our Kathmandu experiences, even for locals. We’ll be
routes take the inside alleys and back streets and working with Circus Kathmandu and a Behind the
you won’t find our guides throwing a list of dates Scenes workshop where you get to meet the per-
and events at our guests. Our tours tell the personal formers, have them teach you a trick or two, put
stories of each place they visit. Anyone can read a on your own personal performance. And of course
guide book and get the facts, but it’s the personal transport is on the back of our classic Vespas.
anecdotes, memories and unique stories that create The other tour we’re launching for next season
connection and lasting impressions and ultimately, is in collaboration with Sattya Inc and it showcases
we believe that’s what our guests want. their project Kolor Kathmandu which is a collection
of 75 street murals around the city. Cruising the
Is this service only applicable for foreign tourists or streets, Sattya’s specialist guide will be telling the
domestic tourists are included as well? stories of the art and the artists.
We originally created Vespa Valley for foreign tour- With so much creativity around Kathmandu,
ists but have had such a warm welcome by domestic we’re excited to be partnering with these local
tourists and Kathmandu locals that we’ve created social enterprises.
products for them too. Of course they can do any

128 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


I
f you have been in and
around Kathmandu
Valley, you will most
definitely recognize
this place. This Cha-
itya is opposite a beautiful
pond in Patan and was
built in 1357 AD. However,
it’s not a commercial area
where you hope to find Java
and Wi-Fi services. It is still
a secluded area, away from
the hub dub of modernity.
During festivals like Bud-
dha Jayanti and Mataya this
place is as crowded as the
alleys of Patan.
This Chaitya is believed
to have been built by Em-
peror Ashok. And there are
four Chaityas surrounding
this central Chaitya. These
four Chaityas are represen-
tation of the four important
Stupas in Nepal: Boudha,
Swoyambhu, Namobud-
dha, and lastly, the stupa of
Badegaun. It is said that the
Indian Muslim Sultan Sam-
sudddin had once destroyed
this stupa to discourage the
outspread of Buddhism at
the time. However, it was
rebuilt again later.
On a nice warm day, you
should come here and read
books. It’s one of the best
local places for some ‘me
time.’ And if you are bored,
you should try the famous
chips that you find around
the corner on the way to
Mangalbazar.
My best spot in this place
is a traditional falcha which
stands diagonally to the

On Finding
chaitya. Mostly because I
can enjoy all my views from
here: like children rushing

Chaityas
for school, the ducks swim-
ming in the green pool,
the gardener nurturing his
plants, old men and women
Where am I ? enjoying idle chatters.
If you are feeling lone-
some, come and enjoy your
You will be amazed to find chaityas everywhere you go in solitude here.
Kathmandu Valley. And surely it will become the stories of (Hint: a place where you
your best discoveries in Nepal. will find a lot of Bahal and
Bahis.)
Lunibha shakya

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 129


Food

Going Vegan for a Day!


Are you the kind of person who cannot live without eating meat? Is meat
a part of your everyday diet?
numa shakya

I
f you ask the same to me, ing out the dishes at Bliss Raw with. Veganism of course is not a
I am quite neutral; I can Café, a vegan restaurant hidden bad lifestyle; in fact, it is a much
live without eating meat, behind the kora of Boudha. healthier choice.
but meat is a part of my ev- I ordered their popular bliss As I mulled over its meaning,
eryday diet, consequently, rice paper rolls, vegan sushi I began to realize that veganism
maybe, making me an anti-vegan roll, and bliss rainbow salad. I wasn’t a completely new idea for
person. I am not sure, because was a bit hesitant when Kathryn me. In some way, I could relate
I have never given it a thought. Sunantha, the owner of the to veganism, because we also cel-
Consuming meat products cafe, started explaining to me ebrate the holy month of Gunla
doesn’t make me guilty, thus what being a vegan meant, “No when we abstain from meat,
going vegan, consciously too, is dairy products, no meat, and no practicing ‘ahimsa’ ourselves.
out of the question. But a new butter.” Just like Bliss Raw Café,
taste now and then, even for a With the very essence of which too is inspired from the
‘chickiterian’ like me is always Newari cuisine ripped off; going idea of ahimsa, meaning to
interesting and impelling. So I vegan sounded like a foreign idea practice good virtue, ergo, good
thought, which led me to try- that I would never come to terms virtue starting from diet. The

130 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Ever since my brunch at Bliss Raw Café, the
question of my diet and conscience has been
tickling me. Kathryn Sunatha’s, “You are what
you eat” has been troubling me for good reasons.

food here tastes subtle; actually, same ingredients, sprouts and


it wouldn’t be wrong to say that organic green veggies, garnered
the food here tasted of kindness. with mango and avocado paste
and seasoned with sesame seeds,
Bliss Rice Paper Rolls is the taste is almost similar to the
stuffed with organic greens, paper rolls. But I would suggest
sprouts, and hummus paste, ordering this if you are here, be-
and is decorated beautifully with cause it is milder and yummier.
fruits and served with smooth The Bliss Rainbow Salad was
black lentil soup. It’s like dim another surprise. The combo of
sum, but with a healthier taste. cold noodle with green veggie
It’s fresh, and hence, crunchy. I salad, sauced in avocado and
liked the boiled mushrooms that mango sauce, tasted ripe.
came with the platter, which was And, for a sweet tooth like
seasoned with sprouts and sesa- me, nothing tasted better than
me seeds. It tasted like chicken. the café’s special, ‘Don’t worry
The vegan sushi roll is a must- be happy’, chocolate-smoothie
try. However, since it uses the grinded with banana, organic

cacao powder, maca powder,


and cashew milk. The smoothie
promises benefits such as healthy
bones and good energy, but it
won my heart because of its
rich taste.
Brunch at Bliss Raw Cafe defi-
nitely won’t be a wrong number.
But it certainly will surprise you at
a lot of levels, because veganism
underlines strictures like no dairy
products, no fried food, and no
food cooked over 48 degree Cel-
sius heat. And, it will surely leave
you to question your conscience
later, or thoughts of conscience to
curl upon on your bed.
Ever since my brunch at Bliss
Raw Café, the question of my diet
and conscience has been tickling
me. Kathryn Sunatha’s, “You are
what you eat” has been troubling
me for good reasons. Because
good food sometimes is hard to
take, and for a perplexed person
like me, blissful and kind things
do give me indigestion ;)
But, I am guessing, this could
be a start to going vegan some-
time in the future.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 131


TheBuzz Market Watch l Events l News

Quality in the Air Qatar Airways


Qatar Airways has been awarded operate the Airbus A350, enhancing
Best Up in the Air Experience at the its in-flight entertainment system
Future Travel Experience Awards with the launch of the award-
for the second consecutive year. The winning Oryx One, continuing to
Best Up in the Air Experience award roll out on-board Wi-Fi across its
commends leading airlines that are fleet, and investing in Cabin Crew
committed to continually advancing development, including Emotional
the passenger experience. The Intelligence training and Elite
award highlighted Qatar Airways Service training, tailored to the
becoming the first airline globally to needs of premium passengers.

The Taste of Heaven: Everest Glacier


September 8, Maan Nam Restaurant, Bhatbhateni
On September 8, the Everest glacier at their doorsteps. They
Dynamic Dream Group, (Qomolangma glacier) claim it as the best
in collaboration with that lies on the Tibetan drinking water available,
Freedom Export, side at a height of 8,844 and it seems that this
organized a launch meters. The marketing pure water from the
program of ‘Everest and distributing top of the world is here
Glacier Artesian company, Dynamic to stay. Expectedly,
Mineral Water.’ The Dream Tradelink, aims for such a premium
bottled water has been to provide the best product, the price is on
extracted directly from drinking water to people the higher side.

Witness the Himalayan Evolution


The book tells us the story of the evolution of mountains of Nepal. Perfectly highlighting
the impact of tourism over the years on the resilient inhabitants of the Himalayas. With
enthralling photographs by Sujoy Das and precise writing by Lisa Choegyal, the book is an
impeccable portrayal of life in Nepal’s mountains.
Captivating the changing lifestyles, and landscapes, the photographs in black and
white celebrate the dwellers of this blessed region. Further, the personal perspective the
writer brings to the narrative, adds context to the contribution of tourism, both physically
and spiritually in the region. This book is definitely going to resonate with the emotions of
anyone who loves the mountains of Nepal as much.

132 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


Button Mahal at Baber Mahal
2012, making updated crafts,
and in 2014, began producing
buttons, too. Success
Dhamala explained to me
how they use byproducts
from the meat industry that
would otherwise be wasted.
“In my father’s day, people
used to throw bones and
carcasses into the holy water
of the Bagmati River,” he
told me. “But, now what
On September 24 and 25, a button would have been thrown away
exhibition—Button Mahal—was held has commercial value. After we’re
in the courtyard of Baber Mahal finished using all that we can, what
Revisited. Organized by Shailee is left become fertilizer.”
Crafts, it showcased an original and It’s an excellent example of taking
artistic selection of buttons made something that is already there
of wood, buffalo horns, and bones. i n abu nd a nc e , a nd up d at i ng
Shailee Crafts is run by brothers traditional crafting methods to
Shailesh and Success Dhamala, turn it into something new of great
who first learned car ving and value and beauty.
crafting skills as children in their Yo u c a n c h e c k o ut s om e of
father’s workshop. He used horn the beautiful designs at www.
and bone, as well, but in those shaileecrafts .com. I couldn’t
days he mostly made hippy-type believe a simple button could be
crafts for the tourist industry. The so attractive.
brothers started Shailee Crafts in

Himalaya Airlines to Colombo

Himalayan Airlines, a Nepal-China a direct route from Kathmandu


Joint Venture airline announces their /Colombo/ Kathmandu was
much awaited second destination – required, as there were unnecessary
Colombo, the Sri-Lankan capital. transit times, and airfares in the
The airline will commence service mix between two countries with
from October 1st onwards, with very strong bilateral connections,
its flight numbered A320-214 politically and tourism wise. Adding
(configured with 8 business class to the opening of the Kathmandu/
and 150 economy class seats),on Colombo / Kathmandu route,
this new route. Three flights will fly the Airline has planned regular
every week on Tuesday, Thursday flights to Delhi, Yangon, Dammam,
and Friday as H9673. Beijing, Lhasa, Chengdu, Bangkok,
After holding observations for many Hong Kong and Dubai in the
prior years, it was concluded that near future.

October 2016 | ECS NEPAL 133


Tangalwood Music Festival
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g]kfnL r'nf]
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fnL
Internationally acclaimed rock super group Aristocrats headlined the Tangalwood Music
Festival this September. The band consists the trio of guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist
Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minneman, all renowned in their respective fields. While
the band put forward a blasting set list, Aristocrats grabbed and transfixed the audience

NEPALI CHULO
NEPALI
NEPALI CHULO
CHULO with wonderful stage presence, showmanship and interaction with crowd. Frequent instant
musical improvisations by the band also did its trick while everyone was left amazed
with the insane drum solo in between the set. This should be the only international grade

NEPALI CHULO
Cultural Program Nightly concert that happened after the last edition of Silence Festival.Held at the premises of

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Cultural
Cultural
Program
ProgramNightly
Nightly
Fine traditional Nepali & Newari Tangalwood, Naxal, this event also saw performances of Indian sitar player Rishab Seen.
Dining
Fine
Fine
traditional
traditional
Nepali
Nepali
& Newari
& NewariDining
Dining
Rishab is the first musician to bridge Indian classical music with Metal genre. Two Nepali
International
International
International Cuisine/American,
Cuisine/American,
Cuisine/American, Mexican,
Mexican,
Mexican,Indian
Indian &Continental
Indian
& Continental
&TheContinental
bands Act and Space opened for Aristocrats.
Lunch & Dinner
Lunch
Lunch
& Dinner
& Dinner

NEPALI CHULO
Party, Seminar and Banquet Facilities
Party,
Party,
Seminarof Faith
Seminar
andand
Banquet
Banquet Imprint
Facilities
Facilities
Tel: 01-4002009/01-4418206
Cultural Program Nightly
Tel:
Tel:
01-4002009/01-4418206
Lazimpat,
01-4002009/01-4418206
Lazimpat,
Lazimpat,
Kathmandu, Nepal “There are some people who are like
Kathmandu,
Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal candles—who burn themselves to give
Web: www.nepalichulo.com | email: info@nepalichulo.com.np
Web:
Web: Fine traditional Nepali
www.nepalichulo.com
www.nepalichulo.com | email:
| email: & Newari Dining
info@nepalichulo.com.np
info@nepalichulo.com.np
light to others—while there are some who
not only burn themselves, they also teach
ternational Cuisine/American, Mexican, Indian & Continental
others on how to light the lives of others,”
said Anil Shah, as he congratulated Sanjeet

Cultural Program Nightly Lunch & Dinner


Maharjan on his exhibition, ‘Astha, an Imprint
of Faith.’ Maharjan’s exhibition showcased
Fine traditional Nepali & Newari Dining a beautiful collection of bells and prayer

Party, Seminar and Banquet Facilities


International Cuisine/ Amerian, Maxican,
Indian & Continental
flags, representing our faith in religion and
gods and goddesses. His paintings portray
our faith in life, and artistically moves our
Lunch & Dinner unpronounced questions to the gods we
Tel: 01-4002009/01-4418206 heed. His paintings are embedded with
symbols and signs of permanence, and the
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal essence of faith that will still remain when we
eventually perish.

Web: www.nepalichulo.com | email: info@nepalichulo.com.np


PARTY, SEMINAR AND BANQUET Kasthamandap: On the path
FACILITIES to Recovery.
The Kasthamandap temple, famously Ratna Bajracharya from Shikhamu
said to have been made from wood Bahaa giving a brief introduction of
of only one tree, 881 years ago, was Kasthamandap. Dipesh Risal, a writer
the inspiration behind the name of the and history enthusiast who was also a
Kathmandu valley. The long standing former investigative journalist with Himal
heritage of the valley, held dear by Magazine in 1991, did an extensive
Nepali people succumbed to the April presentation about Kasthamandap.
earthquakes of 2015. As a part of Mr. Risal talked about the history of
the citizen led Campaign to Rebuild Kasthamandap, sharing two stories of
Kasthamandap, a program was organized its origin. The message from the petition
Tel: 01-4002009/ 01-4418206 on September 25th, called ‘Why was simple and moving. Kasthamandap
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal Kasthamandap Matters?’ The program
started with royal priest Manjushree
and other heritage sites deserve priority
from the government for reconstruction.
Web: www.nepalichulo.com.np
email: 134
info@nepalichulo.com.np
ECS NEPAL | October 2016
ECS
courses
In order to improve the skills and knowledge of your household staff, ECS offers the following courses this
month. Please let us know if you are interested in enrolling your staff for these courses.
Phone: 442.6439, 98510.07.900
Email: ecs@infoclub.com.np to book a place.

Employment Services Special Cooking


Many excellent staff are registered with us, including cooks, guards, gardeners, maids and drivers. for household staff
Our list is constantly updated. Interviews are carried at our office to help resolve language problems ECS cooking course is an opportunity for your maid
between our clients and the staff. If you are looking for efficient and reliable staff, please or cook to improve his/her cooking skills. At the
come and discuss your requirements with us and don’t forget to register your staff with us end of this course, participants will be able to work
before you leave. PLACEMENT FEE: Rs.5,000 as a cook independently and can even organize a
small party. The course content includes information

Basic English on different food items for practical cooking and


will also make them aware about kitchen hygiene.
language We teach them how to prepare Indian, Chinese
for household staff and continental items, as well as basic Western
Our English class for household staff enables cooking techniques like simmer, sauté, etc. We will
them to communicate with you in simple also discuss how to organize a kitchen, to prepare
English. Language structures are taught along menus, cutting techniques, steps for serving food
with vocabulary that is related to household during small and big parties. This course helps them
matters (for daily use). Oral communication improve their skills so your staff will not only serve
skills will be emphasized in this course rather you better while you are here, but they will find it
than reading and writing skills. easier to find a job when you leave.
Venue: Maharajgunj Fee: Rs.15,000
Nepali
Language
Class for Nepali language CD Vegetarian
The revised ECS Nepali language CD is now
Cooking Course
Foreigners available. It gives you the chance not only to
listen but also to practice your Nepali along
Participants will be able to cook the
ECS Services has been supporting following items :
with the CD. We feel that this improved CD
foreigners to learn the Nepali 1) Vegetable moussaka
will help you learn the Nepali language more
Language (speaking, reading and 2) Zucchini Patty
effectively. A booklet comes with the CD.
writing) for many years. If you would 3) Pan glaze tofu with orange juice warm
PRICE: Rs. 999 (including booklet)
like to learn or improve your Nepali spice
vocabulary, please call us. Group or 4) Mozzarella Aubergine Rolls
individual classes are available. 5) Mushroom Blintz
House keeping &
food handling Date: 23rd October 2016
Basic English for household staff
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Venue: Maharajgunj
Reading & Writing ECS is organizing food handling and hygiene
course for your household staff. If you are unsure
Fee: Rs. 1,500
for household staff
whether your staff is aware about hygiene then this
Our clients and their staff often face
is the ideal course. This hands-on class includes
problems when not communicating face
daily hygiene, importance of hand washing
Dinner Cooking Course
to face. If your staff could read and write Participants will be able to cook the
and preparation of fruits and vegetables. We
memos or notes, things could be easier for following items:
will teach them the proper way of cleaning -
you. We present this reading and writing 1. BBQ Chicken Burger
tables, windows, kitchen floor and bathroom.
course that will enable your household 2. Macaroni Cheese
We will also teach them how to take care of a
staff to read notes/memos, write simple 3. Mushroom Soup
refrigerator. We will discuss how illness is spread
sentences, and take telephone messages. 4. Apple Prist
and why the corner and behind the door is
This will also help your staff to get employed 5. Coleslaw
important to clean. We intend this course to help
after you leave.
your staff to clean the house properly.
Date: 27th November, 2016
Venue: Maharajgunj
Time: 1:00p.m-5:00p.m
Venue: Maharajgunj
Fee: Rs. 1,500

Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
Phone: 442.6439/98510.07.900 ECS Services offers staff employment services (cooks,
ecs@infoclub.com.np watchmen, gardeners, housemaids and drivers); courses
Office Hour: for household staff (cooking and health); Nepali language
11:00am to 3:00pm
for expatriates and English language for household staff.
(Monday through Friday)
We hope that these services provided by ECS help make
your life more comfortable.
chandraban@wlink.com.np
www.kathmanduecoresort.com

Chandra Ban Eco-Resort


Kathmandu, Nepal

Luxury lodge.
Beautiful, rural
home-stay.
Budanilkantha
under Shivapuri
forest.
35 minutes from
city centre.
Clean air.
Splendid views
over the valley.
Minimum 2
nights stay.
SPECIAL
RATES FOR
RESIDENTS.

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138 ECS NEPAL | October 2016


40 ECS NEPAL | September 2016

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