Explore the wonders of Nepal through the eyes of someone born and raised there
Nestled in between two world famous countries of China and India, is a smaller, yet priceless gem of its own, the country Nepal. Despite the heavy economic influences from both China and India, Nepal has never failed to preserve its unique identity and provide an excellent sense of adventure! With ancient architecture comprising majority of the premises and local handicrafts exemplifying the beauty of the streets, Nepal is sure to steal your heart! If the beautiful picture of the Himalayas itself has not done the trick yet, here are some more reasons to visit Nepal and make it your next adventure travel destination!
The first adjective I would use to describe Nepali people are that they are very welcoming. The Nepali culture and lifestyle is structured in a way to serve their guests and welcome them with every aspect of their being. Every corner you run into, you will feel welcomed and admired by the Nepalese. Nepalese people admire the desire travelers hold to visit and explore their small yet rich culture and lifestyle. After your warm welcome, every Nepali you make friends with is bound to invite you over for at least for a cup of tea (or chiya as they call it). Lots of guff-shuff (chit-chat) and laughter are shared during Chiya time and is a must have experience in Nepal- no matter what time of day or night! They love their chiya!
Although similar in lifestyle and values they follow, Nepalese people hold very culturally diverse backgrounds. Nepal constitutes a total of 75 districts, each of which holds its own culture, traditions, lifestyle, and different dialects. People in Nepal mostly speak Nepali but a hub of different languages that are unique only to Nepal are also spoken by select group of Nepalese. This mix of languages and culture can be eminently seen in the capital of the country, Kathmandu, where the true essence of Nepalese people glisters.
The Culture and the Festivals
Nepal is a poor, developing country but do not underestimate it for that because it is very rich in its culture and natural beauty. Because it is a poor country, it is very cheap to travel around and go on various excursions, and because it is rich in culture, you can experience a lot of festivals and traditions- all for FREE!! Its a gain-gain situation you cannot go wrong with.
Every other week or so there are festivals being celebrated in all parts of Nepal. The main festival for the Nepalese people comes around October- November and is divided into two parts, called Dashain and Tihar. The two festivals combined are celebrated for about a month.The main objective of the festival is to obtain blessings from the elders and celebrate life with family and friends. The main tradition is to put on “tika,” or as we like to call it, the red dot, on the forehead and receive lifelong blessings. A mix of kite flying culture, card games, swinging on high swings, and great food, makes this festival #1 celebration time in Nepal.
During March, there is another festival called Holi, that is widely celebrated and happens to be #1 on my personal list. It is the festival that celebrates the coming of spring with blooming flowers, crisp air, and bright colors! The festival is also commonly known as the festival of colors in India and is a day filled with colors and water fight shenanigans. It is typical to dress in white that day and have your clothes full of color by the end of the day to signify the colors, and the joy next spring/ year is to bring into your life.
Along with these festivals, there are week long weddings, Bartabandha, gunyo cholo, and many more celebrations that encompass Nepali culture that will fill up your weekends! These are only but a few of the festivals I’ve described but each festival or celebration holds a deeper meaning to life and the purpose of living. When you take the time to explore that, you will realize how beautiful, fragile, and precious life truly is.
The Sights- Oh My
From the snow topped Himalayan region to the warm flat lands of Terai, Nepal is filled with a diversity of natural flora, fauna, and breath taking sights. Along with Mount Everest, 8 of the top 10 tallest mountains in the world, reside in Nepal’s Himalayan range. Whether for trekking, hiking, or visiting the Everest base camp, many travelers find their way wondering through the beautiful ranges. The Himalayan beauty is observed from many different parts of Nepal, including the Kathmandu valley, which lies in the Hilly region of the country- so if you are just stopping by Kathmandu, you will still get a good glimpse of the mountain ranges.
The hilly region of Nepal is home to the hills and natural wildlife reserves. Many national parks and preservation sites are located in the hilly region to provide better home to the slimming wildlife of the world. If you want to ride elephants and explore the untouched jungles, then this is the place to be! Parks like the Chitwan National park are very popular and give you a jungle wild tour of a lifetime, all while riding on an elephant! Along with the hills are the many rivers that make Nepal the 2nd richest country in water resources! Various river sports like rafting, kayaking, fishing, and others like paragliding, zip lining, mountain bike trails are available along with the thrilling adrenaline rush of bungee jumping along the rivers that will get your blood pumping!
Finally, the Terai region is the warmer part of Nepal that borders India. It is filled with the agricultural and self sustaining aspects of the Nepali life. This region has a good mix of the Indian and Nepali culture and provides a lot of unique festivals and rituals to observe including some witchcraft! So if you are into these kinds of vodoo magic, Terai is an exciting place to venture on to!
Other must see places in Nepal are Lumbini (the birthplace of Gautam Buddha), Nagarkot, Pokhara, the lakes (beautiful ones spread out throughout Nepal), Barabise, Janakpur, and many more- the list just goes on! Depending on how long your visit is, you might have to pick and choose.
Food- Nom Nom Nom
Nepali people loveee food! They craft their meals like artists would with a wide variety in each. The cultural influence from India and China has given Nepal a great combination of additional dishes other than its own unique ones. The main course of food in every Nepali household is rice wth lentils, curry, and achar (chutney) all prepared in a variety of ways. Street corners are filled with local vendors selling all kinds of Nepali dishes! Some of which you must try are momo, sekuwa, choyla, sel, yomari, jeri swari, and woh. The list however, is never-ending and rather satisfying for your taste buds! However, if you are not into the spicy or traditional Nepali food items, have no worries- there are plenty of foreing cuisines available in the cities like pizza, pasta, burgers, your comfort food, you name it!
Visit Nepal to get lost and be found again! Visit Nepal to explore the beauty of life and nature! Visit Nepal and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed! Visit Nepal, and get those taste buds flowing and that adrenaline pumping!