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Holi Festival in Kathmandu and Terai

Festival Tours in Nepal

Tour Information

Holi is a very colourful and playful festival. It is celebrated in Kathmandu and the hill regions of Nepal on one day, and in the Terai on the next. People smear coloured powders on their friends, relatives and family members, and throw coloured water and water balloons. It’s important not to take any valuables out with you on this day, unless they are sealed in a plastic bag!

In Kathmandu, the festival begins with the raising of the ceremonial pole at Basantapur Durbar Square (Kathmandu Durbar Square). It’s topped with colorful cloth strips, and stands there until the end of the festival. Lighted oil wicks are placed on a cow dung base at the bottom of the pole by devotees, who also tie ceremonial threads around the pole. Thus begin the celebrations. 

Celebrating Holi in the Terai is slightly different from doing so in Kathmandu. People invite their friends over to eat the special delicacies on the day. This is one of the more ‘civil’ parts of the festival, but you can expect to encounter some rough fun too!

Fixed Departure

Itinerary Overview

DaysActivity
Day 1 26th FEBRUARY 2018: Welcome to Kathmandu!
Day 2 27th FEBRUARY 2018: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day 3 28th FEBRUARY 2018: Visit Panauti and Bhaktapur
Day 4 1st March 2018: Celebrate Holi in Kathmandu
Day 5 2nd March 2018: Celebrate Holi in the Terai
Day 6 3rd March 2018: Jungle activities in Chitwan National Park
Day 7 4th March 2018: Depart Barauli
Day 8 5th March 2018: Departure

Information

What's Included?
  • All land transportation by private AC vehicle as per group size
  • Necessary Entrance Fee while doing sightseeing tour in Kathmandu & Panauti
  • Accommodation in Hotel Traditional Comfort on twin sharing basis with breakfast
  • Flight ticket from Kathmandu to Bharatpur Airport
  • 02 Night and 03 Days package program at Barauli Community Homestay includes – accommodation on twin sharing basis, meals as mentioned, jungle activities such as jeep safari, cycling tour to Narayani River, village cycling and walking tour, cooking course at local home and family
What's Excluded?
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa and passport fees
  • International
  • Tips and gratuities

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About Us

Royal Mountain Travel is a community for Adventure & Local Experience offering the best indigenous and community-oriented tours and treks in Nepal. Experience the authentic lifestyles of Himalayan civilizations and trek in some of the most unique landscapes on Earth with us.
1

Day 1

26th FEBRUARY 2018: Welcome to Kathmandu!

As you exit baggage claim/customs on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, your airport representative will be waiting to greet you and transfer you to your hotel. Please look for your name sign. The airport is close to the city centre (about half an hour’s drive), but traffic can make the journey a little slow, especially during peak hours.

O/N Hotel Traditional Comfort BB

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Day 2

27th FEBRUARY 2018: Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Start at Boudhanath Stupa, one of the holiest sites in Nepal, and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist site outside of Tibet. It commands admiration not only from Buddhists but also Hindus, who can also be seen paying their respects at this holy site. The stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of peace and love. It used to be a resting point for Tibetan merchants travelling to Nepal and India. Tibetans and other Buddhists from around the world consider this a sacred destination.

Next, visit Pashupatinath Temple, which is dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction and Lord of Animals. This temple is a final destination for Hindu devotees from all around the world, as many people come to die here and to have their ashes scattered. Built in around 400 A.D, the temple is located beside the holy river Bagmati, and is decorated with ancient arts and crafts. Four of the main gates of the temple are made of silver.

Pashupatinath Temple is also home to many Hindu sadhus. They can be spotted around the temple: they are the men with long dreadlocks who meditate by the banks of the Bagmati River. They can sometimes be seen smoking marijuana, as it is believed that Lord Shiva was fond of smoking marijuana at his adobe, Mount Kailash—so the sadhus at Pashupatinath impersonate him!

Later on, visit the old town of Patan. This is one of the Kathmandu Valley’s World Heritage Sites, and well worth a visit. Its origins are mysterious, but it has a long Buddhist history. It claims to have been the capital of the mythical Kiranti Dynasty, and is associated with the great Indian emperor, Ashoka, who is credited with the building of the four grass-covered stupas surrounding the city in around 250 BCE. For many centuries, Patan’s importance eclipsed Kathmandu’s, and by the 7th century it was a major Buddhist centre of Asia, attracting pilgrims, scholars and monks from India, Tibet and China. Medieval Patan was the largest and most prosperous of the three kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley. The town was ruled by noblemen until the Mallas of Kathmandu took control of the city in 1597, for a while unifying the Kathmandu Valley. Most of Patan’s magnificent architecture dates to the late Malla era (16th-18th centuries).

O/N Hotel Traditional Comfort BB

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Day 3

28th FEBRUARY 2018: Visit Panauti and Bhaktapur

Following the Araniko Highway out of Kathmandu, climb up and out of the valley to the village of Panauti, set at the confluence of sacred rivers (35km, 1-2 hrs).

Many families in Panauti village have come together to establish a homestay program. They provide comfortable rooms for guests in their own homes, as well as cultural programmes and sightseeing activities. Eat lunch with a local family in their homestay, a unique and memorable experience.

Next, drive to Bhaktapur for sightseeing. Bhaktapur is an important and fascinating World Heritage Site. It’s comprised of three large squares filled with shrines, temples and activity, and a typical Newari city (the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley) with some of the finest architecture in Nepal. In its heyday (14th-16th centuries), Bhaktapur was the most powerful of the Kathmandu Valley kingdoms, and its capital for 300 years.

Despite earthquakes and frequent rebuilding, Bhaktapur today retains a medieval feel. Its neighbourhoods are still caste-oriented and centred around the old ponds or tanks (built to store water for drinking, washing and religious ceremonies), and which continue to be a social focal point. Local people here are predominantly farmers or engaged in the traditional crafts of pottery, metalwork, art and woodwork, which continue today and have supported the city since its establishment in the 12th century to service the trade route between Tibet and India. It’s a fascinating place to explore.

In the evening, return to Kathmandu.

O/N Hotel Traditional Comfort BB

4

Day 4

1st March 2018: Celebrate Holi in Kathmandu

Holi is a very colourful and playful festival. It is celebrated in Kathmandu and the hill regions of Nepal on one day, and in the Terai on the next. People smear coloured powders on their friends, relatives and family members, and throw coloured water and water balloons. It’s important not to take any valuables out with you on this day unless they are sealed in a plastic bag!

In Kathmandu, the festival begins with the raising of the ceremonial pole at Basantapur Durbar Square (Kathmandu Durbar Square). It’s topped with colourful cloth strips and stands there until the end of the festival. Lighted oil wicks are placed on a cow dung base at the bottom of the pole by devotees, who also tie ceremonial threads around the pole. Thus begin the celebrations. 

The end of Holi is signalled by the lowering of the pole.  Once it is lowered, the cloth pieces become targets of the waiting crowd, who rush forward to grab a piece as they are considered amulets against evil spirits. The pole is dragged to the Tundikhel ground where it is burned, resulting in a huge bonfire into which women throw coconut shells. Glowing coals and ash are taken by devotees to purify their homes.  

O/N Hotel Traditional Comfort BB

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOLI, PLEASE CLICK: https://goo.gl/xiN4yc

TO SEE VIDEO ABOUT HOLI, PLEASE CLICK: https://goo.gl/WAbRrb

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Day 5

2nd March 2018: Celebrate Holi in the Terai

It takes just 25 minutes to reach Bharatpur from the domestic airport in Kathmandu. From Bharatpur, you will be picked up and transferred to the Barauli Community Homestay.

Accommodation is provided in twelve little cottages that have been built by the village. All are simply furnished, but offer you everything you need for a comfortable stay. Each cottage has a modern attached bathroom and comfortable beds. The accommodation is basic, but rooms are attractive and clean. The village women live close by, and take care of their guests like they were staying in their own homes. While you might not be staying in the families’ homes themselves, you will be staying very close by. The houses of the Tharu villagers are very small and not well-equipped for guests, but in the Community Homestay cottages, guests have the opportunity to get a close-up experience of typical village life.

The purpose of the Barauli Community Homestay is to provide a way for the local Tharu people (an indigenous group of Nepal) to generate extra income from their very own houses. For many centuries, the Tharu have been a very shy tribe and are mainly agriculturalists. So, this project was designed to boost their confidence in the modern economy while protecting their culture and traditional values.

Celebrating Holi in the Terai is slightly different from doing so in Kathmandu. People invite their friends over to eat the special delicacies on the day. This is one of the more ‘civil’ parts of the festival, but you can expect to encounter some rough fun too!

After arrival at the homestay, you’ll receive welcome tea/coffee.

In the late afternoon, once the weather has cooled slightly, cycle into the village and to the banks of the Narayani River to watch the sunset. If you would prefer not to cycle, you can be picked up by jeep.

In the evening, be treated to a cultural dance performance by the local people.

Enjoy traditional Nepali food (dal bhat, veg/non-veg curry and dessert) for dinner, served by your hosts.

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Day 6

3rd March 2018: Jungle activities in Chitwan National Park

The Barauli Community Homestay is located right next to the spectacular Chitwan National Park, so on this day you’ll get the chance to enjoy some jungle activities.

In the morning, take a guided walk around Barauli village to get to learn about local life, including visiting a school (if open). The programme takes around 2 hours.

In the afternoon, go on a jeep safari (roughly 3 hours). You’ll likely see rhinoceros, gharial crocodiles, an abundance of bird life…and maybe even a tiger!

In the evening, try to make your own Nepali food with a cooking class with local women! And then eat the results.

7

Day 7

4th March 2018: Depart Barauli

After breakfast, depart Barauli/Chitwan. You will leave the lowlands, climbing into the Central Hills to join the Prithvi Highway at Mugling. It is then a slow but very scenic journey east along Nepal’s busiest highway, to Kathmandu. The steep rice terraces make a dramatic backdrop to the river, funeral pyres, suspension bridges and villages.

O/N Hotel Traditional Comfort BB

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Day 8

5th March 2018: Departure

Today, we bid you farewell at Kathmandu airport. Or, arrange transfers for onward travel in Nepal.

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