Chandragiri is a historical and a popular tourist destination located on the outskirts of Kathmandu city. Due to ease of access and natural riches, it makes a great day hike for the tourists and locals alike.
Chandragiri is a small hill located 7 km southwest of Kathmandu city. Measuring 2,551 meters above sea-level, it makes a great day hike. You can choose to the hike when you are at Kathmandu. It generally takes 7-8 hours at most to complete the entire trip. The temple of Bhaleshwor Mahadev atop the hill is a major tourist attraction.
The temple is accessible through cable car or hiking. A day hiking is enough to reach the top and come back down. Himalayas such as Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang Ranges, Gaurishankar and Everest are visible from the top. . The hill is filled with various kinds of flora and fauna. It becomes a delight for the hikers to witness natural riches at such close distance from Kathmandu.
The historians suggest that King Prithvi Narayan of the Shah dynasty worshiped at the temple before attacking and conquering the entire Kathmandu valley. It is here, he take a glance at Kathmandu and was mesmerized by its beauty. He then took oath to conquer the valley, which then was popularly known as “Nepal.”
The mausoleum of Kalu Pandey, the trusted General of King Prithvi N. Shah lies near the Chandragiri hills.
Annapurna III is a peak from Annapurna massif which measures over 7,000 meters. It was first climbed in 1961 by the Indian expedition through the Northeast face. It’s Southeast face has never been climbed.
Annapurna III is the 42nd highest mountain that is not the subsidiary of another peak. It measures 7,555 meters (24,787 ft). The prominence of the summit is 703 meters. Along with Annapurna I, II,IV and V, it forms the greater Annapurna massif.
Annapurna I remains the popular peak for climb among the all.
Hansjoerg Auer, Alex Bluemel and David Lama
The Northeast face of the peak was first summited by an Indian expedition led by Cap. Mohan Singh Kohli in 1961. It comprised of Cap. Mohan Singh, Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Girmi.
The Southeast fae has never been climbed before. The summit was attempted by a team, however, the entire team perished before they could make it to the top.
The latter summit was attempted by David Lama and the team in 2016 and 2017. However, they failed to successfully scale the peak.
Ghandruk is an ethnic village located in the Annapurna region of Nepal. A village predominantly inhabited by the Gurung and Magar tribes of Nepal, is also an important tourist destination of the country.
Ghandruk is the second largest village in the entire ACAP region, however, not more than 8,000 people reside in the village today. Due to its close proximity to the road and ease of access, the village is well equipped with many modern amenities, well-built houses and staircases.
Most of the houses are built out of stone, stone slabs and mud; well-resistant materials for the cold weather. Few houses in the region are found to be made out of concrete, cement and bricks too.
It connect the major roadways to many other important villages leading up to Annapurna Base Camp. Generally, people start trekking from Nayapul through Ghandruk, Chhomrong, Phedi, MBC and the Base Camp and back.
Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, Gangapurna and Himchuli peaks can be seen up-close from the village.
You can only get to Ghandruk on foot. Buses and jeeps move between Pokhara and Kimche, 1-2hrs walk from Ghandruk.
Ghandruk is preserved as the ethnic Gurung village. It lies inside the Annapurna Conservation Area, hence, the entire preservation of culture and geography is monitored by the ACAP community and local leaders.
Most people still use firewood for heat and cooking purposes. Mules are the common form of beast-of-burden in the area. Well placed stone slabs are found throughout the narrow alleys of the village. Most inhabitants are the adherents of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Lhosar along with other national festivals are celebrated with much awe. People prefer to keep the village clean and use plastic less. Most of the items are re-used or are sent for the recycling. Operating hotels, lodges, tending sheep and livestock is the major form of trade in the area.
Makalu Barun National Park is one of the Himalayan nature reserves of Nepal. It was established as the eastern extension of the Sagarmatha National Park but was later instated as the separate protected nature reserve.
Makalu Barun National Park was established in 1992. It is the only National park in the world with the elevation gain of 8,000 meters. One of the highest peaks in the world. Mt. Makalu, is located inside the park, along with other great mountain ranges, such as; Chamalang, Baruntse and Mera Peak.
Spanning across 1500 km2, the park touches both Solukhumbu (Khumbu) and Sankhuwasabha districts. In the north, the park shares the international border with Tibet. The park also comprises into the Sacred Himalayan Landscape.
During 1980s, personnel of The Mountain Institute (TMI) conducted surveys in the Barun Valley for studying the biological diversity of the region. The results of the survey led to the creation of an entirely new protected area. A respective proposal was formulated in 1985.
In 1988, the Makalu-Barun Conservation Area Project (MBNPCA) was started in the joint of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and TMI. It was gazetted in 1991.
The conservation area was to be regulated in joint effort of the locales and the respective department. In 1991, the conservation area converted into a buffer zone.
The Makalu Base Camp makes a wonderful trek for the outdoor lovers. More than 20,000 tourists visit the Makalu trail every year. The entire trek may last 16-17 days, and you must fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar to do the trekking.
The trail lies inside Makalu-Barun National Park, hence offering a rare glimpse of the Eastern Nepal’s rich biodiversity.
Kaziranga National Park located at North East India is one of the most popular ecological sites in the Indian subcontinent. The national park is popular for hosting the two-third population of the One-horned Rhinos in the world. Established during the British Raj in 1908, it boasts the most varied flora and fauna in the entire nation.
Kaziranga National Park 430 km2 is located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, India. The park is located on the edge of Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. Even though it was established in 1908, the park was added to the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO only on 1985.
The park is popular for hosting the largest amount of One-horned Rhinos along with Royal Bengal Tigers. Kaziranga is home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world, and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006.
The park experiences 3 different weathers; Summer, Monsoon and Winter. During Monsoon (Jul-August), most part of the park is submerged into water, due to rising level of water from rainfall and flooding.
The history of the national park dates back to 1904 when Mary Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston and the wife of the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon of Kedleston, visited the area. After failing to see a single rhinoceros, for which the area was renowned, she persuaded Lord Curzon to take immediate measure to protect the lessening Rhino species in the region.
On 1 June 1905, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 km2.
There are over 2,200 One-horned Rhinos in the Kaziranga area, approximately 2/3 of their entire population. One Horned Rhino is endemic to Indian subcontinent. Found mostly in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, they have been listed in the IUCN Red list for the most vulnerable animals, and only about 3,000 are left in the wild.
Rhinos are one of the most hunted and poached animals in the history. The passionate hunters from 20th Century reduced their numbers from thousands to mere few hundreds.
The activity of rampant poaching which started in the 1990s made them even more scarce. They were being mostly poached for their horns, which are believed to carry medicinal qualities. The local authorities and UNESCO helped prevent poaching in the Kaziranga park. Today, it boasts the most amount of Rhinos in the world.
These rhinos live in tall grasslands and riverine forests but due to habitat loss they have been forced into more cultivated land. They are mostly solitary creatures, with the exception of mothers and calves and breeding pairs, although they sometimes congregate at bathing areas.
Kaziranga contains significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species, of which 15 are threatened as per the IUCN Red List. It is also home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds.
Four main types of vegetation exist in this park. These are alluvial inundated grasslands, alluvial savanna woodlands, tropical moist mixed deciduous forests, and tropical semi-evergreen forests. The park is mostly an expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests.
The area is controlled by the Government of Assam. They receive financial aid from the state government and the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change of India.
One-horned Rhino at Kaziranga
Rhinos seen at Kajiranga National Park
Gallus Gallus at Kaziranga
Rhino fight at Baroda. rhinos were tussled in the ring for the entertainment during the times of Maharaja
One-horned Rhino habitat (Prehistoric range spanned from Afghanistan to Bhutan)
Machhapuchhre or the Fishtail is also known as the virgin peak because no human has ever conquered its summit. There are many stories and folklore in Nepal dedicated to the mountain, however, very few of them clarify why the peak has never been climbed.
Machhapuchhre standing at 6,993 meters is one of the small peaks of Nepal. It is popularly known for its majestic and unadulterated beauty, and the unique geography of its summit which gave its name ‘Fishtail’.
The peak lies just opposite the Annapurna massif and is closely connected to the Hindu God Shiva. It is believed among the Hindus that Shiva lives atop the mountain hence the peak is forbidden from climbing.
The trekkers doing the Annapurna Base Camp Trek must pass through the Machhapuchhre Base Camp. The peak from the base camp is up close. It is also seen from Pokhara, a tourist city located 23 km away from the mountain. The peak dominates almost every photo taken at the Pokhara due to its promising visibility.
It is generally believed that the peak hasn’t yet been climbed because it holds an important religious position among the Gurung inhabitants of the region.
One popular story goes as such;
In fact, it was a member of that expedition, one Wilfrid Noyce, who came the closest anybody ever has to the summit on a 1957 expedition. The king of Nepal had asked Noyce to respect Hindu religious customs and not set foot on the summit. He and his climbing companion, A.D.M. Cox, turned back 150 feet short of the summit. This expedition produced the only climbing record of this mountain, a very rare book called Climbing the Fish’s Tail.
However, the reason for not being able to scale the peak is more personal than religious. Col. Jim Roberts, a British Gurkha officer who led both the reconnaissance (1956) and expedition (1957) teams to the mountain, had to retreat just 45 meters short of the summit due to heavy snowfall.
Dr. Harka Gurung points out,
Col. Roberts happened to be Military Attache at the British Embassy in Kathmandu and it is not difficult to imagine that his sentimental advice to the Foreign Ministry (that handled expeditions) regarding Machhapuchhre’s sanctity influenced the fate of the mountain. ref
Dr. Harka, along with other stakeholders of tourism industry, believe that the mountain should be opened for the climbing, whilst more employment can be generated.
In his memoirs, Col. Roberts mentions,
So Machhapuchhre became for me the ideal mountain, a personal possession yet out of this world, unattainable but mine by illogic right, brooding over a country and a people which will shape the rest of my life.
Machhapuchhre seen from ABC
On the way to Choomrong, Machapuchare rises above the forested ridge.
Double-fluted peak of Machepuchare with the steep rock and snow flanks.
The High Passes trek is one of the most challenging treks available in Nepal. Located entirely at the Everest (Khumbu) region, you must cross three individual passes which are above 5,000 meters.
It is comparatively a lengthier trek compared to most other treks in the region. Kongma La 5,535 m, Renjo La 5,360 m and Cho La 5,368 m are classified as the 3 high passes.
The first leg of the trek begins at Lukla, a small airport town in Khumbu. The trail ascends up towards Renjo La and Gokyo valley.
The second leg of the trek passes through Cho La Pass, and towards the Everest Base Camp. You can hike up the Kala Patthar 5,643 meters as well.
The third leg takes you towards the Kongma La Pass, and concedes at Lukla.
Renjo La Pass
Renjo La is one of the high passes located in Everest region at an elevation of 5,360 m (17,585 ft). It is the first pass you reach, following the path leading to Gokyo.
The Renjo La trail is quite strenuous; snowfall during winter makes it difficult to attempt the pass. Renjo La and surrounding regions are culturally Tibetan and Sherpas are the indigenous tribesmen.
Renjo La Pass
Cho La Pass
Cho La at 5,420 m (17,782 ft) is another high pass located along Gokyo trail in Khumbu valley. It connects the village of Dzongla to the east and the village of Thagnak to the west.
One can cross Ngozumpa glacier on the way to Cho La. To the east the trail joins the classic Everest Base Camp route.
Crossing Cho La can be physically demanding. One can get best view of Lobuche peak from the top. Crampons come handy while crossing the snows.
Cho La Pass
Sunset at Cholatse, Gokyo
Kongma La Pass
Kongma La at 5,535 m (18,160 ft) is another high pass located between Chjukung village and Lobuche. it is the final pass located to the east of Everest Base Camp. It is also the highest pass among the three passes. The panorama of surrounding mountains is quite amazing when seen from Kongma La.
Kongma La Pass
Everest and Lhotse
Ama Dablam on the right, with Everest on the background
ACAP is one of the first conservation projects undertaken in Nepal to conserve, protect and decentralize the nature conservation attempts. It spans over 5 different districts and covers the entire Annapurna massif. It is also the largest conservation areas available in Nepal.
Annapurna Conservation Area or ACAP is located at the mid-western region of Nepal. It covers 7,629 sq.km and spans over 5 different districts, namely; Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi and Lamjung. The ACAP HQ is located at Ghorepani village, one of the most visited tourist places in Nepal.
The area has two distinctive climatic regions within a span of 120 km. The southern hills of ACAP region receive frequent rainfall, whereas, the northern most parts receive no or less rainfall, hence, the latter are known as rain-shadow areas.
The deepest gorge in the world – Kali Gandaki, and Annapurna I – Eight-Thousander, is located inside the ACAP.
Gurung and Magar are the predominant ethnic tribes in the lower ACAP regions, whereas Thakali, Manange and Loba are mostly found in the higher regions.
Tourism is undoubtedly one of the major benefactor of the ACAP project. The proceeds received from the permits are used for the local conservation programs.
Wildlife & Flora
ACAP is rich in biodiversity and is a haven for the 1,226 species of flowering plants, 102 mammals, 474 birds, 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians.
Sheep herding at Manang
ACAP was launched in 1986 with the initiation of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) to protect the environment with sustainable community development in Annapurna area by the local people without any intervention from the Nepalese Government and/or any other institutions.
It was gazetted in 1992 and is managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The main motto of the project is to conserve the resources, tourism management, community development, education and extension.
ACAP with the participation of the trekkers have been able to increase the standard of living of the local population, protect the environment and develop sustainable tourism.
Sunset at Annapurna
Annapurna I seen from te base camp
The pass to Manang
Poon Hill, Ghorepani
A trekker is required to obtain an ACAP permit before entering the region.
Samosa is probably the most favorite snack in the entire South Asia. It is part of a daily diet of the most people. However, there’s more to its history than just being a favorite snack. Samosa has its roots in the old Persian culture.
Samosa is a triangular shaped cuisine, filled with various ingredients and are generally fried before serving. It’s generally eaten hot and with assorted pickles. A famous snack of most people in South Asia, most sweet makers, diners and street vendors sell Samosas on a daily basis.
Its gastronomy is divided into two parts; Cone and fillers. Cone is generally made up of beaten flour; and the filler may vary according to geographic regions and cultures.
The Samosa filled with mashed potato and vegetables are the most famous kinds found in South Asia. Most Muslim households and northern regions of South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East add minced meat (Mutton, Chicken or Beef) with various spices or rich dry fruits and sweets such as Halwa as the filler.
Samosa is claimed to have originated in the Middle Eastern milieu before 10th Century. The word Samosa and the early ingredients has roots in Persian culture. It is believed to have been brought by the traders traveling from Central Asia to South and East Asia through the silk route.
It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent in 13th or 14th century by the traders. Since then, the locals have acquired the taste for it and have reintroduced their own samosa filled with vegetables which are commonly eaten today.
The chroniclers of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Dynasty have mentioned about Samosa which were mostly eaten by the royals during the meal and were generally filled with meat or fruits/sweets.
Despite the popular belief, a vegetable samosa has lesser calories, less than 300 cal, and are generally healthier meal option if cooked properly with right ingredients.
Vegetable samosas are the most common kind of Samosa eaten around the world. Its counterpart, Samosa with minced meat are generally eaten in certain geographic regions or cultures; Muslims, Turks, Persians, Middle-eastern tribes, Tibeto-Burmese and Northern Himalaya tribes.
Samosa can be eaten as it is or can be prepared into various other popular Indian cuisines, such as; Samosa chat, Samosa Chole, Samosa Paav etc.
The shape of Samosa resembles the Pyramids. The word Samsa was originally named after the Pyramids of Middle east.
Samosas were introduced in western societies through Indian cuisines which included vegetable samosas.
Kumari symbolizes a goddess like figure who is revered by the inhabitants of Kathmandu. Also known as the living goddess, a young girl is specially chosen through intricate customs and traditions to be declared a goddess for a certain period of time.
Kumari Jatra/festival celebrates the Kumari, a virgin deity. A custom started by King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu, offers tribute to the major goddess Taleju Bhawani. Kumari is popularly known to be the incarnation of Taleju Bhawanai.
The procession of Kumari, accompanied by the relics of Bhairava and Ganesha, is carried out in a chariot throughout Kathmandu city for 3 days following the Indra Jatra. The first day procession leads through downtown Kathmandu; the second leads through the uptown; and the final procession is carried out in the midtown.
The selection process of Kumari is an elaborate affair, headed by the Newar Buddhist priests. The operation is carried out in accord to the law dictated by Vajrayana Buddhism. The girls aged 4-7 are pre-screened and selected for a task involving meeting the deities in a dark room. The one who remains composed and calm throughout the process is declared the goddess. The locals believe that the spirit of Taleju Bhawani enters the body of the girl hence giving her the spiritual identity, and the term of being a goddess remains until her first menstruation.
Taleju Bhawani was the king’s political and social advisor and would give important tips to the king on good governance. However, during one of their meetings, the king, overwhelmed by desire, attempted to rape the goddess inside the Taleju Bhawani temple, prompting the goddess to disappear and vow never to appear before the king again. Worried by the goddess’ proclamation, the king begged her to reconsider her decision. Taking sympathy on the poor king, Taleju pledged to reside within the Kumari, a virgin girl from the city.
Jaya Prakash Malla identified the right Kumari and built a palace for her in the Hanumandhoka area. In honour of Taleju Bhawani and the Kumari, he began a separate procession called the Kumari Jatra, which happened to fall on the third day of Indra Jatra.
It is celebrated as a part of the greater festival Yenya Punhi or the Indra Jatra. The festival belongs to the Newar community of Kathmandu valley, the predominant inhabitants of the region. Celebrated as a street festival, it carries a historic and mythological significance to the bygone Malla Kingdom of Nepal.
Today, the festival is marked with grand processions and is observed by locals and tourists alike. It remains one of the major festivals of Nepal.
Kumari of Patan
Indrajatra secound day Living Lord Bhairab
Girls from Newar community
epa04247445 (14/24) Kumari Samita Bajracharya looks outside her window room at the Kumari Ghar residence in Patan, Nepal, 03 October 2012. After becoming a Kumari, Samita was restricted of going out from her residence appearing outside only during different jatras for nine times a year as a guest and banning her to go to school. EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA PLEASE REFER TO ADVISORY NOTICE (epa04247431) FOR FULL FEATURE TEXT
A young Nepalese girl revered as the living goddess “Kumari” is carried to the golden chariot on the main day of the Hindu Indra Jatra festival at Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu on September 29, 2012. The week-long festival celebrates ‘Indra’, the king of gods and the god of rains, when the Kumari living goddess is carried in a palanquin during a religious procession through parts of the Nepalese Capital. AFP PHOTO/ Prakash MATHEMAPRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/GettyImages ORG XMIT: