Holi: The Most Fun Day of the Year

Nepal’s celebration of Holi is a colorful festival that is open to all, locals and visitors alike. The revered Hindu holiday, which dates back to the fourth century and signifies the arrival of spring, has gained attention in the U.S. in recent years and a number of travelers feel called to participate in the joyful revelry. A care-free celebration with people of all ages smearing each other with colored powders and drenching each other with water in the streets seems like the perfect excuse for a vacation, right?

Photo source: Inside Himalayas

While Holi truly begins with the installation of a ceremonial pole in Kathmandu Durbar Square almost a week earlier and religious ritual and prayer around a bonfire the night before, the free-for-all of color is found all around the square, the city streets, temples, parks and into the hill region on the day immediately following the full moon in March. The second day of festivities continues in the Terai with celebrations and feasts in area homes.

Often called the festival of colors or the festival of love, Holi’s lighthearted antics have serious cultural ties. It’s rooted in two legends about the Hindu god Krishna, always depicted with blue skin. One tells the tale of Krishna falling in love with Radha, who allows him to paint her skin with color to eliminate their differences. The other shows the mischievous side of Krishna as he seduces all of the local girls, and then teases them by dousing them in colored water as they bathe in the river. He continues to tease them as he hangs their clothes in a tree (represented by the ceremonial pole installed at the beginning of the festival).

The festival also takes its major theme — the triumph of good over evil — from a sacred Hindu story about a king, Hiranyakashyap, who tries to kill his son Phralad in a fire for worshipping Vishnu and not him. In the end, the king’s sister, Holika, is killed in the fire and the boy is saved by Vishnu.

Travelers who understand the deeper meaning of Holi will get even more out of the celebration. We designed the perfect travel itinerary around Holi to immerse travelers in the cultural and physical landscape of Nepal at this time, the spring awakening. We encourage travel agents, operators and travelers to ask us more about how we can help them experience this joyous festival.

A few tips for travelers attending Holi:

  1. Protect your camera and/or phone in a waterproof bag.
  2. Wear white clothes that you don’t mind being stained with color. They’ll become a beautiful souvenir of the trip.
  3. Buy or make colored powders from natural ingredients, like turmeric, marigold, pomegranate, beetroot, and henna.
  4. The steps of the temples around Durbar Square offer some of the best vantage points to take photos.
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Fourth Week in Kathmnadu – by Juho Paukku

Royal Mountain Corporate Building

Royal Mountain Travel Corporate Building

Another week in Kathmandu & in office. I have learned about more of the activities of the company and the company’s internal affairs. They actually gave me some more responsibilities.

This week has been Nepali New Year, don’t ask me why but we celebrated the fact that we entered the year 2072. They are way ahead of us 🙂  Continue reading

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10 Tips for staying in Home Stays

Tips to Stay in HomestayStaying in the homes of local people rather than with other travelers can provide a much more authentic cultural experience. Staying in a family home stay can present a chance to experience everyday life in the new place. Hosts will invariable cook you local meals and you will have an insider’s invitation to events or places that other visitors would never see.   Continue reading

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The Festival of the Horses— Ghode Jatra

Ghode JatraOn March 27, 2017 (Friday), the army grounds aligning Tundikhel in central Kathmandu will reverberate under the thundering hooves of many magnificent horses. Seated on the pavilion will be the President and Prime Minister of Nepal along with cabinet ministers, foreign envoys, and other dignitaries. Continue reading

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Christmas in Kathmandu

christmas-in-kathmanduSome years ago,around early November, I was invited to participate in a ‘Christmas Cake-mixing Ceremony’ at a five star hotel. A dozen or so bakers and chefs stood around a large table on which stood large glass bowls containing many different kinds of ingredients, along with some bottles of wine. Continue reading

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Tharu – An Ancient Tattoo Artist

Sudeep-Tharu-Tattoo

From the medieval period to this Facebook world, tattoo has always been linked into the human skin. Indigenous of New Zealand used shark teeth, whereas natives from other continents would use sharp bones to penetrate the ink inside the body. This indicates two things: Tattooing is as old as paintings and it is a painful process, yet many people do volunteer for it. Several motives might be the encouragement to the practice of tattoo, such as attraction, to enhance the beauty, sign of identification, hidden messages, or to scare off the evil spirits. Continue reading

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Vivaha Panchami

Ram Janaki Temple

Janaki Temple in Janakpurdham of Dhanusa District in central Nepal was built in 1911 and it is one of Nepal’s unique monuments. This stems not only from the fact that it is the birthplace of Goddess Sita, wife of Lord Ram, one of the most heroic gods in the Hindu pantheon, but also because of its interesting architecture. Continue reading

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Panch Pokhari Path – A New Nepal Trek

 The Panch Pokhari (Five Ponds) Path is a new trekking area in Nepal. Panch Pokhari (4,100 m) is located northeast of Kathmandu at the base of the Jugal Himal. The period from March to May is the best time for trek to Panch Pokhari. This place has cultural, religious, and ecological importance. An important festival, the Janai Purnima festival, is held here every year in August, when Brahmin castes come here for the ritual changing of the sacred thread (janai) they wear around their bodies. Thus, the five ponds (Panch Pokhari) are regarded as sacred ponds. Situated as they are at the base of the Jugal Himal, the ecology is pretty diverse and of considerable interest. The trek takes you through Sherpa and Tamang villages, so it’s something of a Nepal cultural trek, as well.

PanchPokhariGenerally, it’s a 10-day trek, the starting point being Chautara (1,200 m) to the northeast of, and about a five-hour drive by bus from, Kathmandu. To make it clearer, you’ll be going towards the Tibetan border. The region you’ll be trekking through is rich in scenery, second to none other trekking routes of Nepal. You’ll start experiencing a different kind of lifestyle immediately, that of the Sherpas and Tamangs, thus the Panch Pokhari trek is often said to be a Nepal cultural trek. After a night halt at Chautara, the next morning, you trek to Phusre (2,045 m), where you spend another night, and imbibe more of the local culture. Continue reading

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On the Kangchenjunga Trail

Tent

Most visitors on a Nepal tour limit their stay to Kathmandu and Pokhara. However, there’s a lot of adventure in other parts of the country, too. East Nepal may be a bit far from the capital, but it has some amazing culture that sets it apart, and yes, it has Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak at 8.586 meters. The Kangchenjunga trek would be the ideal way to experience all this.

It takes part, on the most part, within the environs of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA, est.1997) in Tapeljung district, which spreads out over about 2,035 square kilometers. Plenty of space, but it’s pretty sparsely inhabited; with Sherpas, Limbus, and Rais being in the majority their distinct culture and lifestyle could add to the charms of your Nepal tour.. Compared to the popular Everest and Annapurna regions, which tens of thousands of tourists visit every year, even a thousand going to KCA is a big deal, which means that you get to be an explorer. Besides Kangchenjunga, you’ll also see 10 other mountains that are more than 7,000 m tall. Wildlife includes red panda, grey wolf, snow leopard, blue sheep, musk deer, and Himalayan black bear, along with a variety of birds. The flora is diverse and includes some 20 species of rhododendrons.

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