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Get a taste of man’s original dwelling grounds.


Take yourself back to the wild.

TSUM VALLEY
A slice of Nepal’s
‘wild’ Terai

bardia
on Travelogue
ANGKOR
WAT
on Global
Treasure
gadhi
mai mela
on Festival Watch

28 58 88
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10 | editorial www.nextyatra.com

Editorial
Dear Readers, Also for this issue, we have for you,
exclusive coverage of the Gadhi Mai Mela
Here it is finally - our Jungle Safari Special
from Bara district in the Tarai region of the
issue! And the timing could not be more
country. Although infamous for its animal
right. As the weather in the capital city and
sacrifices, it also makes for an intriguing
in the hills in general remains as whimsical
travel story. Travel Times has chosen to
as ever, the Tarai region is blessed with
focus on that aspect of the centuries-old
plentiful sunshine this time of the year.
festival.
While the mornings and the evenings are
foggy and cool, the weather is great during But Kathmandu’s winters are not without
the day. And what better way to spend time their charms too. There’s many a thing to
Travel Times Media Pvt. Ltd.
Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal
in the Tarai than to be surrounded by nature do and sights to see in the foggy streets of
P.O. Box 24206, Kathmandu, Nepal at its best – in the wild. So for this issue’s this fantastic city. But to appreciate the cold
CDO Regd No : 63/065/66
Tel.: +977 1 553 6733 /209 3290 cover feature, we take you into Sauraha’s of the city, you’d need to be warm yourself
Fax: +977 1 553 6733
E-mail: info@traveltimes-mag.com lush forests. Elephant rides, a terrific safari and nothing puts the chills of the season
URL: www.traveltimes-mag.com
package, canoe rides, elephant bathing, at bay than the many clothing accessories
editorial team bird watching… the list goes on! A jungle made out Pashmina. Prasanna Pandey
Chairman Deepak Bhatta safari has to be one of the best ways to writes about this time tested popular fabric
Managing Director / Editor A. R. Tandukar
Associate Editor Shambhu Tandukar
spend a holiday ever. and why it is suitable for travelers.
Creative Head Mahesh Tandukar
Director Sales & Marketing Tilak Khatri
Also on offer are stories from other amazing So settle in comfortably and read on. And
Copy Editor Utsav Shakya safari destination. A regular at Travel Times, when you are done, make plans and hit the
Inhouse Writer Prita Malla
Dr. Ravi Shankar writes about his safari in road!
Photographer Suresh Maharjan
Bardia’s forests. First time contributor Fran
Happy Travelling.
Advisors Littmann takes us to the jungles of Thailand
A. Das gupta
Sushil Bhatta for a personal account of a Thai safari! And
Upendra Hirawat you can’t possibly avoid talk of the elusive The Editorial Team
Abhishek Anand
Deepak Jain
Royal Bengal tiger when talking of safaris in
Nepal. Read on about this amazing creature Please do send us your valuable comments and suggestions
Partners at feedback@traveltimes-mag.com
China Southern Airlines
in our Nature and Wildlife section.
Gorkha Travels
Craft Garden
Dakshinkali Hill Resort
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Contributors
Color Separation: CTP Nepal Pvt. Ltd
Hattiban, 5250466, 5250468
Printing: Jagadamba Press, Hattiban, 5250017
distribution: R. B. Newspapers - traders
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Ltd. All rights reserved in respect of articles, illustrations,
photographs, etc. published in Travel Times magazine.
The 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 and the publisher
cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.
We welcome your feedback. Please send us comments,
suggestions or ideas for improvements at
feedback@traveltimes-mag.com
Ravi Shanker Francesca Littmann
Writers are encouraged to be part of Travel Times by Dr. Ravi Shankar is a Aspiring to live a life less
sending their stories along with relevant pictures and medical doctor and clinical ordinary, former UK singing
contact address at
articles@traveltimes-mag.com
pharmacologist at KIST Medical teacher Fran is always on the
College, Lalitpur. He has traveled lookout for the next adventure,
Advertisers are requested to enquire through
marketing@traveltimes-mag.com widely throughout Nepal and has from sharing coffee and
Travel and tourism related organizations are requested to
been involved in research about conversation with locals in
send their news and events at staying well at altitude. He is Jerusalem one day, to taking
news@traveltimes-mag.com keenly interested in rational use a leap of faith for charity off a
** Acceptance of submissions at publisher’s discretion of medicines and in empowering bungee bridge near the Tibetan
Reserve your subscription today. Contact at common people about health, border the next.
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12 | contents www.nextyatra.com

Contents
Cover Story
Jungle Safari
Get a taste of man’s original dwelling grounds. Take yourself back to the
wild.
FOODRINK
On a Korean Cuisine
adventure
First time contributor Looza
Mahazu writes about finding
bliss and devouring it in his

74 Korean cuisine craving.

Travelogue
A slice of Nepal’s ‘wild’
Terai, BARDIYA
Our resident doctor writes about
being stranded on a safari in the
32 forests of Bardia National Park.
28
Global Adventures in the
Treasure Northern Thai
ANGKOR WAT Jungle
So good it continually One of our new contributors, Fran Littmann
creates controversy writes about being thrown up on by an elephant
about its date of
construction, Angkor
and more on her Thailand safari travelogue. 52
Wat is definitely a
58 global treasure. 68 Nature and
People & Wildlife
Festival Culture
Protecting the
Predator: The Royal
Watch Re-introducing the Bengal Tiger
GadhI MaI MEla THARU “God made the cat so that man
A Journey of hope. Tharus are married at birth! might have the pleasure of
Read on about the amazing caressing the tiger.”
88 culture and lifestyle of the
Tharu community.
80

Starttraveling....withTravelTimes
84 Perfect Takeaways 26 Travel Gallery
Pashmina - Perennially In Vogue Featuring a chosen image sent in by For subscription
What better gift for a loved one, intended to
spread warmth than a pashmina throw that
travelers.
( 01 5536733
literally warms the body. 72 Recommended or log on to www.traveltimes-mag.com

Restaurants
12 Travel News A guide to the most happening want to write for
Get with the latest news and events in Nepal restaurants in town.
and around the globe. travel times?
Send us your travel articles or ideas
at articles@traveltimes-mag.com

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14 Travelnews NATIONAL www.nextyatra.com

Nepal Tourism Year 2011 Under the program, a peace torch will be political parties to develop a peaceful en-
carried from Lumbini to Kathmandu and vironment.
Secretariat outlines plan the NTY 2011 secretariat head will pass the
The Nepal Tour- torch to a high-profile personality while pa- During the briefing, Ministry of Tourism
ism Year (NTY) rades from six different places in the valley and Civil Aviation Joint Secretary Laxman
2011 secretariat will be held. Bhattarai said, “There is full commitment
unveiled its pro- from the government’s side to make NTY
grams during a Speaking during the program, Federation 2011 a grand success.” Bhattarai also urged
briefing on the of- of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and to keep tourism year as top priority allocate
ficial launch of NTY 2011 that is scheduled Industry (FNCCI) Vice-President Suraj and adequate budget for infrastructure de-
for February 26 at the Tundikhel grounds. Vaidya called for commitment from all velopment in the tourism industry.

Elephant cooperative boosts safari tourism in Chitwan New International Air


Route in operation
ment Company, involved in elephant sa-
faris a year ago, while the mobilization of
elephants for safaris has become easier and
dependence on the Chitwan National Park Mahendranagar

(CNP) for elephants also has gone down. Surkhet

Palpa

“The cooperative has set an example,” said Chitwan


Kathmandu

Purna Man Shrestha, Founder President of


the Elephant Management Cooperative.

Now, elephant safaris have become one


of the most attractive aspects of tourism The government has assigned a new air
Entrepreneurs involved with elephant sa- in Sauraha. The cooperative is earning route for flights to India, the Middle East
fari had a hard time a few years ago. But Rs. 400,000 annually excluding the cost of and Europe through airspace over far west-
with the formation of the Elephant Man- feeding 35 elephants which the cooperative ern Nepal.
agement Cooperative, a merger of two owns. The cooperative charges Rs. 700 for
companies, United Elephant Management foreigners, Rs. 500 for Indians and Rs. 350 The new route known as Lima 626 links
Company and Unique Elephant Manage- per person for Nepalis for elephant safaris. New Delhi, the Middle East and European
destinations with Kathmandu through the
flight path passing over Chitwan, Palpa,
Flydubai starts its flights TAAN and MeDEP organize Surkhet and Mahendranagar.
in Nepal trekking guide training “The Indian government approved the new
Trekking Agencies’ air route in November as per the air ser-
Association of Nepal vice agreement (ASA) signed between the
(TAAN), with the two countries in September,” said Laxman
financial support of Bhattarai, spokesperson at the Ministry of
ta a n GoN/UNDP-Micro Tourism and Civil Aviation. “Now, aircraft
bound for international destinations will re-
Enterprises Devel-
opment Programme main in Nepal’s skies for 52 minutes by fly-
(MEDEP), orga- ing the new route,” he added.
nized a two-week
Currently, Nepal Airlines, Qatar airlines, Jet
Flydubai, a budget airline from Dubai, trekking guide training at Chautara, Sind-
Airlines and other 13 other international air-
started its scheduled flights to Kathmandu hupalchwok.
lines are operating their flights via the new
from December 15th. The new airline will
route. Around 90 to 100 international flights
fly four times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, District Development Committee,
use the route every week. The new route
Fridays and Sundays). The airline is offer- Sindhupalchowk and Sindhupalchowk-
will also help India to reduce congestion in
ing limited seats for one-way trip at as low Panchpokhari Tourism Management and
its airspace.
as just $175, which includes air fare, tax and Development Committee were the local
other charges and hand luggage of up to 10 partners of the training, while Nepal Acad-
kg. Passengers, however, will need to pay emy of Tourism and Hotel Management ism & Tourism Management, Trekking &
for extra food and luggage. (NATHM) provided technical support. Mountaineering Management; Mountain
Sickness and HIV/AIDS, Health& Hy-
Flydubai has a fleet of six Boeing 737-800 A total of 69 participants from Kavre, Ra- giene and First Aid, Food & Beverage and
aircraft. The airline was established in mechhap, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Hospitality Management, Eco-Tourism,
March 2008 and launched its first flight in Nuwakot and Rasuwa attended the train- Protected areas and Conservation, Geogra-
June, 2008. The airline has appointed Uni- ing. Classes were conducted on History, phy, Map Reading and Flora & Fauna and
versal Tours and Travel as its sales agent. Culture, People & Religion, Basic Tour- Communicative English Language.

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Nepal focuses on sexual Lonely Planet Names Nepal as one of 2010’s Top 10
minorities for tourism Countries
the best places to go and the best things to
Almost three years after the Supreme Court do around the world for the year ahead.
established gay rights in Nepal; the country
is waiting to host “one of the most extrava- Other destinations to make Lonely Planet’s
gant groups of tourists in the world” — the Top 10 Countries 2010 list are El Salvador,
sexual minorities consisting of lesbians, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Morocco,
gays, bi-sexuals and transgenders (LGBTs). New Zealand, Portugal, Suriname and the
USA.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) officials hope
that LGBT – that make up about 10 per- Lonely Planet has chosen Nepal as one of Drawing on the knowledge and passion of
cent of the world population - arrivals will the world’s Top 10 Countries for 2010 in Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and commu-
contribute to the governmentsaim of bring- LONELY PLANET’S BEST IN TRAVEL nity, BEST IN TRAVEL 2010 showcases a
ing in a million foreign tourists in the Ne- 2010, published this week. year’s worth of inspiration to take travellers
pal Tourism Year 2011. out of the ordinary and into some unforget-
BEST IN TRAVEL 2010 is Lonely Planet’s table experiences.
LGBT activists say they prefer destinations fifth eagerly-awaited annual collection of
like Nepal, which is rich in culture, art, ar-
chitecture, cuisine and music. Nepal has
both natural beauty and the goodwill of the NATTA’s New Executive Board
LGBT community worldwide to emerge
as one of the world’s top destinations for NATTA 46th AGM and ing public from exploitation by unreliable
sexual minorities. Election Program were agents. The newly elected board is led by Mr.
held on 8th January 2010 Arjun Prasad Sharma, current President.
As part of the first promotional activity, Ne- at Hotel Everest.
pal is hosting a historic international con- The number of the association’s members
ference in February, which is expected to The primary purpose of has been increased considerably since its
bring together the world’s top tour opera- NATTA is to protect the establishment. Today, there are 365 active
tors, airlines and agencies selling adventure interests of those engaged in the travel trade members and 14 Allied Members in NATTA.
tourism to Kathmandu to explore opportu- business, to promote its orderly growth and NATTA also offers provisional membership.
nities for gay tourism in Nepal. developement and to safeguard the travel-

NTB names new destinations Internal tourists arrival


The Nepal Tourism Board According to him, last year, the government up in Sauraha
(NTB) has identified more of Nepal initiated a pilot programme from
than 10 new destinations Khaptad to Ilam to discover new potential
suitable for rural tourism. destination.
These scenic spots are ex-
pected to add an impor- According to the NTB, villages like
tant dimension to the upcoming Nepal Sirubari, Ghalegaon, Nar Phu, Lumbini,
Tourism Year 2011 (NTY 2011) which aims Chepang, Pasgaon, Dhading, Sailung,
to bring one million tourists. Siklish, Siurung, Balanthali, Sivapuri,
Bhujung, Gorkha, Ganga Jamuna and
Lila Baniya, manager, Sustainable Tourism Nagarkot have already gained popularity With the beginning of the tourist season,
Development, NTB, said that the move to for village tourism. It said that a number of internal tourists have started thronging
diversify tourist destinations was aimed at travel and trade enterprises have tour pack- Sauraha of Chitwan district. The open
enticing 40 percent of the visitors expected ages for some of these destinations. national park in Chitwan, the third tourist
during NTY 2011 to visit rural destinations. destination after Kathmandu and Pokhara,
is the main attraction for them.
2010 to be observed as Year of Tiger Jungle safari, pony-riding and sight-seek-
Global Tiger Workshop, the first ever tiger anti-poaching secretariat in Nepal and bring ing are major attractions here. According
workshop that concluded in Kathmandu, has all TAR countries in a common forum. to tourists, lush green swaths of land and
decided to observe 2010 as the Year of Tiger. Some 250 scientists, tiger experts, policy mak- community forests of Sauraha, Kasara and
ers, conservationists and government officials Bagmara add zing to their excursion. After
China, one of the participants of the work- from 20 countries, including India, Bangla- the rise in tourists’ arrival during the festive
shop, had objected to the idea saying 2010 is desh, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, China, par- seasons, entrepreneurs have demanded
already the year of the tiger according to the ticipated in the workshop. that the area should be developed as ‘Pay
Chinese calendar and that observing it world- Holiday’ site. More than 90 percent of the
wide would affect their cultural sensitivity. tourists who come to Sauraha usually want
To enlist your news send us the details at
news@traveltimes-mag.com
to go either for sight-seeing on elephant
The workshop also decided to establish an back or pony-riding.

TIMES JAN - FEB 2010


16 Travelnews NATIONAL www.nextyatra.com

43rd UFTAA WORLD CONGRESS


at the Foot of the Himalayas
The United Federation of opportunities for travel agents
Travel Agents’ Association to position themselves more
(UFTAA) congress was or- advantageously in a rapidly
ganized for the first time in changing market place.
Nepal from November 20th
to the 24th with the theme The determination of the
‘Sustainability, Networking federation’s members to take
and Profitability’. The UFTAA firmer control over their affairs,
General Assembly and Annual with a view to strengthening the
World Congress is a yearly congrega- position of travel agents was of partic-
tion of the organization’s members which ular significance. A three year plan is being
is attended by officials, guests and invited developed by a group of members, for the
speakers. The prestigious event consisted board’s consideration and approval that will
of the board meeting, the Association Lead- bring out more services to be made avail-
er’s Meeting, the General Assembly, and able to member associations. It will seek to
the business sessions aimed at resolving stabilize the federation’s financial platform
pertinent issues to develop the travel indus- by making it progressively less dependent
try. The 43rd UFTAA congress was able to on third party support.

draw UFTAA representatives, 80 national In a wide ranging debate about the di-
and multinational travel agent associations rection in which the travel agent sec-
spanning the globe. This year, Nepal Asso- tor should be moving, it was the
ciation of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) consensus that now is the time for
won the honor of hosting the 43rd UFTAA UFTAA to assert a more independent
World Congress in Kathmandu (Nepal). stance for its members. At the conclusion
This gala event was held with the joint ef- of the business agenda, UFTAA President,
forts of Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal William TAN of NATAS (Singapore) ob-
Airlines Corporation. served that this congress marked a signifi-
cant and promising change in UFTAA’s
The three days devoted to business issues direction. He looked forward to leading a
covered a wide spectrum of topics of con- more proactive federation but stressed that
cern to the world’s travel agents. Several change can be achieved by the hard work
informative presentations were made by of those who had undertaken the reforms
OFFICIAL MAGAZINE of the Congress
members to illustrate how the imagina- that the congress needed.
tive application of new technologies offer
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3rd NATTA Himalayan Int’l


3rd NATTA Himalayan
International Travel Mart 2009

23-25th November 2009,


Travel Mart
Kathmandu, Nepal

The organizing of an Internation- Now the third time around, NATTA Hima- Under the theme Sustainability, Network-
al Travel Mart of such great magnitude in layan International Travel Mart carries with ing and Profitability, the co- organizers,
Nepal was initiated by Nepal Association of it global brand value. This tourism mart is composed of the Nepal Tourism Board
Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) in 2005 a momentous international biennial event (NTB) and Nepal Airlines Corporation
followed by a second time in 2007 in close in Nepal for buyers as well as sellers from have spared no efforts in making this Inter-
conjunction with Nepal Tourism Board various part of the world. The 3rd NATTA national Travel Mart successful and enjoy-
and Nepal Airlines Corporation. Himalayan International Travel Mart 2009 able for all delegates.
held in capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu
The first NATTA Himalayan International from 23-25 November 2009 provided a won-

Travel Mart was organized by NATTA in derful opportunity for the tourism fraternity
2005, under the theme ‘Streaming Efforts to assemble together under a common roof
of Promoting Inter-Regional Tourism’. and interact to spread their business net- NHITM Coordinator
The Chief Guest at the event was the then work further. There were a total of 24 stalls Mr. Shambhu
Crown Prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah. with 54 local and foreign exhibitors. Pathak’s Message
There were more than 150 foreign partici-
pants including exhibitors from 18 coun- Beside the official gathering, the B2B ses-
tries and more than 400 local participants at sion at Gokarna Forest Resort and social It is a matter of great please and happiness
the Mart. The first travel mart was a grand functions, city and shopping tours as well for me to state that the 3rd NATTA Himalayan
success and widely covered by national and as the customary day long excursion set Int’l Travel Mart (23 - 25 Nov 2009) was a huge
international media. in the Shangri-La ambience of the city of success.
Kathmandu was arranged for the partici- Needless to say, tourism has today become an
Following the success of the first NATTA pants. This time along with the local sell- important global economic activity and this mart
Himalayan International Travel Mart, ers there were representatives from Bhu- has brought people together from all around
NATTA organized the second Himalayan tan, Thailand and Malaysia with their out the world. We have to thank Nepal Tourism
International Travel Mart in 2007 with the Board (NTB) and Nepal Airlines Corporation
bound tours. There were 41 international along with HAN, TAAN, NMA, TURGAN and other
theme ‘Tourism: Prosperity for Posterity’. buyers and tour operators and 24 members organization for the historic success of 3rd
The Chief Guest at the event was Honor- from the International Media. NATTA Himalayan Int’l Travel Mart.
able Minister for Culture, Tourism & Civil
Aviation, Mr. Prithivi Raj Subba. There
ORGANIZER: CO-ORGANIZER: OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
were more than 200 foreign participants
from 20 different countries and more than
400 local participants. There were altogeth-
er 35 stalls from entire tourism fraternity.
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China Southern THE JAPANESE GEISHA TO REVIVE TOURISM


launches new Australia
Japanese culture The number of visitors has increased sig-
connection service has always at- nificantly, as everyone is keen to take a look
tracted a lot of at- at these beautiful entertainers and admire
tention. It almost their elaborate kimonos and artistic perfor-
seems out of this mance. The maiko follow a very rigorous
world – the long and long training before they deserve to
lost samurai, the becomes geisha. Their artistic talent and
cuisine, complete- power of performance bewitches all specta-
ly different rules tors. The services of such skilled perform-
of social conduct ers does not come cheap; usually ranging
and of course, the geisha. Many tourists between $500 and $600. There seems to be
are drawn by the mysterious appearance of slight confusion among many Western visi-
China Southern Airlines, the newest mem-
these professional entertainers. As part of a tors as to what range of services the geisha
ber of SkyTeam and the largest airline in
new initiative, which aims to lure more for- provide. They are not courtesans, as many
the People’s Republic of China will be roll-
eign visitors, Kyoto has launched a weekly mistakenly believe.
ing out a brand new Australia connection
performance by Maiko, the apprentice gei-
service with special offers and an optimized
sha, at the Museum of Traditional Crafts.
connection route by which 34 domestic cit-
ies in China are now connected with Syd-
ney and Melbourne via China Southern’s Travelport seals full Shangri-La Hotels and
Guangzhou hub.
content agreement with Resorts amongst the top
The 34 cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Gulf Air 50 hotels in the world
Fuzhou, Kunming, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Fourteen Shangri-
Zhanjiang, Sanya, Shenyang, Wenzhou, La hotels and resorts
Hangzhou, Hefei, Yiwu, Wuhan, Ningbo, were voted by read-
Taiyuan, Nanning, Nanjing, Nanchang, ers of Travel & Lei-
Xiamen, Jinan, Tianjin, Guiyang, Changc- sure onto the 2010
hun, Harbin, Xi’an, Chengdu, Urumqi, Travelport, one of the world’s leading T&L 500 and Island
Haikou and Chongqing. global distribution system (GDS) provid- Shangri-La, Hong
ers, and Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kong and Pudong
China Southern Airlines connects more Shangri-La, Shanghai
Kingdom of Bahrain, have announced de-
than 80 cities around the globe. Major were placed amongst
tails of a new global full content agreement
business and vacation destinations served the top 50 hotels in
that will give all Galileo and Worldspan-
in China include Beijing, Chengdu, the world. Readers of
connected travel agents worldwide access Conde Nast Traveler U.S. edition voted five
Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kun- to the airline’s full range of published fares
ming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan Shangri-La luxury hotels onto the 2010 Gold
and inventory. List. Both lists were published in the January
and as well as International service, includ-
2010 issues.
ing: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Ha- The new multi-year agreement marks the
noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala continuation of a long-standing relation- The T+L 500 includes the 500 best hotels in
Lumpur, Jakarta, Lagos, Los Angeles, Ma- ship between the leading GDS provider the world as determined by a survey of the
nila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, and the pioneering airline, known for its magazine’s readers. Shangri-La was awarded
Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, traditional Arabian hospitality and award- the number one spot in Hong Kong, Shang-
Sydney and Tokyo. winning in-flight products and services. hai, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Global passenger traffic up by 4%


ACI’s monthly PaxFlash and Freight Flash Dubai +13%).
reports show strong positive growth in
both passenger numbers and freight ton- Freight traffic surged during the month,
nage in November. November is the first in part a result of the comparison with low
month since March 2008 during which all results from 2008, but equally due to new
regions registered positive passenger traffic growth and firming in several markets. Out-
growth. China, India and Brazil continue standing results from several key hubs (An-
to lead domestic passenger traffic recov- chorage +50%, Shanghai Pudong + 31%,
ery, but Europe and North America have Los Angeles +23%, Incheon +22%, Dubai
also shown moderate domestic growth for +21%, Hong Kong +16%, Memphis +5%).
the first time in 2009. International traffic International growth outpaced domestic
growth was dominated by the Middle East growth for the first time in over a year, and
and Asia-Pacific regions (Singapore +10%, airports can expect the same trend in pas-
Kuala Lumpur +21%, Bangkok +35%, senger traffic soon.

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RUSSIA READY TO DEVELOP INDUSTRIAL TOURISM


The origin of industrial tourism can be tours is immense. Most of the tour opera-
traced to American companies. When in tors who have been offering various types
1866 the Jack Daniel’s distillery was estab- of sightseeing around industrial complexes
lished, the company also opened its doors simply added these kinds of trips to their
to tourists. Today, there are only few com- usual tours. However, thanks to their popu-
panies in the U.S. that do not organize larity several travel companies started spe-
tours around their premises. cializing only in industrial tours. Most of
the offered trips lead tourists through the
In Russia, only a few dozen companies are region around Moscow but tours around
aware of the advantages industrial tourists large industrial complexes in Ural and Si-
represent as reported by Russian portal beria are currently negotiated too.
Travel.ru. However the demand for such

DUBAI ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR Singapore’s first integrated resort opens from 20 Jan 2010
TOURISM PROJECTS IN 2010 We have been single-minded about this –
no distractions or excuses - and today, we
are happy to say we have marked the first
milestone towards delivering on that prom-
ise.’’

Resorts World Sentosa began operations


at two of its four hotels, celebrating with
a lion dance and ribbon-cutting by the
wives of Genting Group’s late founder and
its current chairman, Puan Sri Lim Goh
Singapore’s first IR, Resorts World Sentosa, Tong and Puan Sri Cecilia Lim respec-
announced that it will start its phased open- tively. Employees and their families were
ing from 20 Jan 2010, beginning with its the Resort’s main guests before the hotels’
four hotels opening on the same red-letter public opening.
day. Chairman of the Genting Group and
Resorts World Sentosa Tan Sri Lim Kok Resorts World Sentosa is working closely
Thay said: “When the Genting Group won with the authorities to obtain approvals for
Although harshly hit by the recent financial the bid to build Resorts World Sentosa in Universal Studios Singapore, which will
problems Dubai’s authorities keep their op- December 2006, we promised Singapore open next. The opening date for the casino
timism announcing Dubai’s tourism plans that we would deliver a true IR that will will be announced when it gets notice of its
for 2010. One of the much awaited proj- make Singapore and Singaporeans proud. casino licence.
ects is Burj Dubai – the tallest man-made
structure ever built (818 m; 2,684 ft). The
tower includes several luxurious hotels and PERSPECTIVES & RESPONSES FOR STIMULATING RECOVERY TO
should be opened in January 2010.
BE DISCUSSED AT FITUR 2010
Several new hotels will also open their gates
during 2010 – e.g. the Palazzo Versace Re-
sort. Golf lovers are also expected to head
to the region in greater numbers. New
courses are to be opened – Jumeirah Golf
Estate and Al Ruwaya which was designed
by Tiger Woods. In 2010 the world’s richest
horse race – the Dubai World Cup – will Following last year’s successful seminar on the first panel will give their perspectives
take place in a new hippodrome Meydan responding to the new challenges in the on ‘How to understand the market and
Racecourse. global economy, on 21 January 2010, the respond rapidly’ in the most effective way.
UNWTO Affiliate Members Secretariat Following this, another panel will debate
In addition, in the second half of 2010 a will bring together a diverse representation the best way forward for the industry in
Green Line of the Dubai driverless, fully of the global tourism sector to examine and the near future by generating responses for
automated metro network will be opened debate solutions for two of the principal stimulating recovery.
as well as additional 19 stations of the cur- recommendations in the Roadmap for Re-
rently operating Red Line. When the Green covery. The Affiliate Members International Semi-
Line is operationa,l the Metro will become nar has become a popular and highly pro-
the longest automated metro network in The experts will be divided into two panels ductive event in Fitur’s programme which
the world surpassing Vancouver Skytrain to debate two of the principal recommen- last year brought together over 200 industry
by 3 km. Every day the Dubai Metro trains dations from the UNWTO’s ‘Roadmap for representatives from over 30 countries.
carry about 57 thousand passengers. Recovery’. As detailed in the programme,

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24 newintown www.nextyatra.com

9 Rent-A-Car, Nepal’s first car KFC and Pizza Hut in Town Consumers in Nepal are ready for international
rental company, starts its eating out experience at its two outlets at
operation Durbar Marg, Kathmandu. KFC is world famous
for its Original Recipe fried chicken -- made
Nine Nepal Pvt.
with the same secret blend of 11 herbs and
Ltd. has launched
spices Colonel Harland Sanders perfected more
a car rental service
than half a century ago.
named 9 Rent-a-Car.
Established by nine KFC’s signature dishes are the finger-licking
entrepreneurs, 9 Rent- Zinger Burger and the all-time favourite
a-Car has targeted the Chicken Bucket. The inimitable taste of their
tourism sector, Nepali products comes from a well-guarded secret
corporate houses, recipe. Also gaining popularity is KFC Krushers,
diplomatic and donor The long wait is finally over as Devyani their exciting new line of beverages.
agencies, INGOs and International, under RJ Corp has opened Pizza
expats. Hut & KFC restaurants to Kathmandu, the first NMB Bank Limited is the financial partner with
multinational chain of restaurants in Nepal from Devyani International for bringing Pizza Hut &
“We aim to provide specialised service in the 25th of November. KFC to Nepal.
city and outbound tours to those who seek
personalised service,” said Santoo Shrestha,
Managing Director of Nine Nepal.
Mahindra Two Wheelers unveils two new Power Scooters
Nepal has purchased 15 Suzuki Dzire cars to
launch the business. The company aims to
provide state-of-the-art car rental and leasing
service to the tourism sector with personalized
service. Apart from this, other sectors like
corporate, financial institutes, diplomatic and
donor agencies and INGOs can also avail of
the service. The company is offering chauffer-
driven as well as self-driven service with cars of
all makes in Nepal from super luxury segments
like Nissan Cefiro, BMW 7 Series; all model
of Sedans, Hatch back, SUVs/MUVs, Smaller
segment car and coaches. Customers can just
call 2199999 or 4466655 to rent a vehicle of
their choice in the Kathmandu Valley.

Children Festival in Gokarna


Mahindra Two Wheelers, the two wheeler Mahindra Rodeo offers the ultimate in comfort,
arm of the US $ 6.3 billion Mahindra Group, convenience and safety. A specially designed
unveiled two new Power Scooters - the petrol tank inlet in front allows the driver
Mahindra Rodeo and the Mahindra Duro in to refuel without having to alight from the
Nepal. With their contemporary styling and scooter. This peppy two wheeler also boasts
attractive features, these Power Scooters come of the largest illuminated storage space in its
packed with a host of features which make category.
riding a sheer pleasure.
From 16th of January 2010 Saturday onwards With its stylish good looks and powerful 125 cc
Gokarna Forest Resort will be hosting Mahindra Two Wheelers official dealer M/S engine, the Mahindra Duro not only caters to
Children’s festival, for the next 4 consecutive Shrestha International Trading Concern proudly the transportation needs of the entire family
Saturdays. The festival will include all you announced the launch of both scooters in but is also the best value for money product in
can eat children’s buffet, magic shows and air Nepal. its category as it provides the customer with
castles with swimming in the indoor heated the highest value per unit of engine cc.
The perfect choice for the young urban male,
pool.
the Mahindra Rodeo is a high performance, This two wheeler boasts of the most powerful
This is the first time Gokarna Forest Resort has feature-packed scooter with a distinctly macho battery in the segment, ensuring longer
arranged a children’s festival which will begin demeanour. working of key electricals. Wide brakes ensure
from noon to 3 p.m. in the evening. effective braking making the Duro a safe
A robust 125 cc engine offers 8.0 bhp of scooter. The Duro also has the largest fuel tank
Cost for adults will be Rs. 1500 and Children Rs. power, making it one of the most powerful in the scooter segment, the widest wheelbase
750. There are other games and activities as vehicles in its class. Excellent pick up and for better stability and a generous storage
well for which there will be a nominal charge. smooth acceleration ensures agility even in space to carry your world with you.
dense traffic and low maintenance costs. The

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26 | www.nextyatra.com

Sanjay
Pandit
Running after Dreams
At a young age when most of us have
just emerged bewildered from the
awkwardness and uncertainties of
adolescence, and have no clue what to do
with life, or our career, here is a fresh face
intent on and already making an indelible
mark in the field of Nepali athletics.

Text by Prita Malla

JAN - FEB 2010 TIMES


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Sanjay Pandit, a student pursuing a BBA degree at Kantipur Valley College, is a long dis-
tance marathon runner who came into fame after completing the 127 km marathon from
Lalitpur to Maitripul in Tatopani in a record 11 hours and 20 minutes. Today, having already
proved himself and his abilities in the Nepali athletics arena, he aims even higher for rec-
ognition at the international level. Travel Times caught up with Sanjay who was gracious
enough to receive us in spite of his tight schedule of rigorous training for an upcoming
marathon. Excerpts from the mind of one of the youngest and most inspiring stars of Nepal
today:

What inspired you to become a marathon fession no doubt, but the satisfaction and Unfortunately, even though I sought sup-
runner? sense of victory I get when I finally cross port from various organizations and offices
My father was always strict about our daily the red ribbon after a long and tiring mara- for my marathon, I only got a few flimsy
exercise schedule. I used to practice with thon is well worth it. promises. I even went to the Nepal Olym-
him since I was a child. However there was pic Committee, National Sports Council
one instance that specifically inspired me Tell us about your achievements. and the Sports Ministry but sadly it was only
to be a marathon runner. I was returning One of my proudest moments would have limited to talk. Mr. Jeetendra Man Amatya,
from college when I saw the grand wel- to be the morning of January 23 2009 (Mar- Co-ordinator of Kantipur Valley College
come athlete Rajendra Bhandari received tyr’s Day) when I completed the 127 km is the one who has always supported and
from the Nepalese Government and the marathon from Kantipur Valley College encouraged me. It is very tough to balance
Nepalese people after returning home vic- to Maitripul in Tatopani in 11 hours and 20 studies and training for such strenuous
torious with a South Asian Games Gold minutes setting a new record. I also com- events, but with the support of my college,
medal. pleted the run from Swargadwari Pyuthan I have come this far and hope to carry on.
to Khula Mancha in Kathmandu on Feb-
ruary 11 2009, a distance of around 339 km So what do you have in mind for the
in 47 hours, 20 minutes and 6 seconds. I future? Will you continue with the sport or
The marathon is being have also participated in various marathons concentrate more on your studies?
organized in the valley to mark various oc- I am very passionate about this sport but I
organized for the main casions. have to be realistic as well. Making a liv-
objective of making people ing out of athletics is very difficult in Nepal
What are your future plans? so I intend to complete my BBA and then
aware about the climate One of the projects I am training for right pursue higher education to become a CA.
now is the marathon on January 15 2010, This doesn’t mean that I will give up on
change and global warming. starting from the base of Mt. Gaurishankar sports. I will keep running. I aim to take
in Dolkha to Dasarath Rangashala, Kath- athletics and academics together.
mandu. This run is nearly 185 km long and
I intend to finish it in around 23 hours. The
I wanted that glory, that sense of accom- marathon is being organized for the main Any words for our readers?
plishment of making one’s country proud. objective of making people aware about the I believe that if you set your mind to it, you
From then on, I had only one goal in my climate change and global warming. The can do anything. One thing I have learnt
mind; I wanted to win the hearts of people. run intends to spread the hopeful message from rigorous marathons is that to be good
I’d always been a fairly athletic person but of peace everywhere, to rekindle Nepali at something, you have to train yourself
I knew even then that I had a long way to pride, to guide today’s belligerent and igno- to become better. I was just an ordinary
go before I could prove myself as a long rant youth to truth. student with a small dream, but with dili-
distance marathon runner. I trained my- gence and determination, I was able to go
self rigorously for hours every day, making After the completion of this marathon, places, and even get to be interviewed for
multiple rounds in Dasarath Rangashala I plan to run the whole of Nepal starting magazines! (laughs) I would like to say that
and Tundikhel. I embarked on a dedicated from Mechi in the East to Mahakali in the you should never give up hope and always
and strict lifestyle with a very controlled west, a total distance of 1050 km. I believe chase – run - after your dreams.
diet while I trained for marathons. During that this would be the perfect opportunity
winters, I used to get frostbite and my fin- for me to visit all parts of our beautiful
gers and toes would swell from running so country. Besides, the media coverage dur-
hard in the early mornings. My whole body ing the event will be sure to give exposure
would turn sore and it was all excruciating- to the beautiful landscapes and people of
ly painful. Nowadays, the training sessions remote parts of the country and promote
are more intricate and strenuous. Today I Nepal’s tourism. I personally look forward
run around the Ring Road on a daily basis to the trip.
to maintain my stamina. It is a tiring pro-

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TIMES
TRAVELGALLERY

IMAGE OF THE MONTH


By Abishesh Joshi Shot at Dhukhur Pokhari, Manang, during Annapurna Circuit Trek D80, Focal length: 16mm / Ex Time 1/80
www.nextyatra.com

To publish your photographs in this section, submit to info@traveltimes-mag.com with photo and camera details.
www.nextyatra.com | 29

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30 | www.nextyatra.com
TRAVELOGUE

a slice of Nepal’s ‘wild’ terai

Bardia

We were in trouble! Our grey raft ing were of white water madness,
Our resident doctor writes about was leaking badly. Water was al- churning rapids and excited ad-
being stranded on a safari in the ready lapping at our ankles inside venturers hanging on for life to the
the boat. Our guides rowed the raft raft. The placid Karnali in the flat
forests of Bardia National Park. to the river bank and decided to plains of the terai quickly disposed
transfer us all into a blue raft. With any such notions.
the addition of ten new passengers
however, the raft sank deeper into Reaching Bardia
the murky grey waters of the Kar- We were a group of twenty peo-
nali River. ple from Pokhara. We had hired
a mini bus for the journey. The
The Karnali drains a huge area in initial drive was along the twist-
mid western and far western Nepal ing, vertigo inducing Siddhartha
and eventually joins the holy Gan- Rajmarga (highway) to Butwal.
Text and photos by Dr. Ravi Shankar ges. We were rafting on the mighty The February morning was chilly
Karnali in the Bardia National Park but clear and we had spectacular
near Nepalgunj in mid western views of the Annapurnas. From
Nepal. Conditioned by adventure Butwal we took the Mahendra
magazines, my visions of raft- Rajmarga, the major east-west

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www.nextyatra.com travelogue | 31

highway which bisects the terai.

We stopped for a tasty lunch of


dal, bhaat, tarkari and kukhura
ko maasu (lentils, rice, vegetables
and chicken curry) at a small eat-
ery in Lamahi, Dang. We were
soon at Ambassa, the turn off
to the park from the Mahendra
Highway. It took us another thirty us that half of our group was stay-
minutes bumpy ride along a dirt ing in a lodge some distance away
road to get to the park headquar- near the bank of a river. I had an
ters at Thakurdwara. We were eerie feeling about walking in the
staying at the Forest Hideaway, a dark night with our guide but we
budget lodge near Thakurdwara. soon reached our accommoda-
tions - a charming collection of
Forest Hideaway lodge bamboo and mud huts. Inside
That evening, the dinner com- the walls had traditional Tharu
prised of rice and chapattis with designs. The huts did not have
various accompaniments. The electricity and the candles and
lodge is said to have the best food lanterns that lit the rooms added
in the park and I fully concur. a quaint touch. Earlier that day, evening. The drivers had a tough Upon reaching there, we helped
The lodge had arranged a camp we had visited the park headquar- time starting the engines because inflate our rafts and we floated
fire and a cultural programme ters and had seen an elephant of the cold. They succeeded soon away on the Karnali. The river
after dinner. Soon a blazing fire and her baby. The baby’s playful and the engines snarled into life was deep and wide and the cur-
chased away the chill of the night. antics had amused us all greatly. like angry tigers, shattering the rent took us downstream gently.
The Tharu dancers (original The plan was to have an early calm of the surroundings. We We were distributed in two rafts
inhabitants of the terai region) breakfast the next day and then then drove through the bridge with two guides in each. Soon
gradually picked up the tempo. spend the entire day rafting on over the Karnali, reputed to be we espied a ‘mugger’ crocodile
The lyrics were simple, the the Karnali. the longest single span bridge in sunning itself on the warm white
rhythm was catchy and soon all the world. The straight lines and sands. Disturbed during its sun
of us had joined in. The campfire Rafting down the Karnali modern design of the massive bath, the mugger slithered away
took on a magical quality. It was The lodge’s jeeps took us to the bridge seemed incongruous in into the water. Our guide de-
after nine when we stopped danc- starting point of our rafting trip these timeless surroundings. scribed the two species of croco-
ing. The lodge owner informed and would pick us up later in the diles found in the river, the mug-

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ger and the gharial. The mugger


is a ‘mugger’ in the true sense of
the term. It attacks by stealth. Its
powerful jaws can close with a
bone crunching snap. The gha-
rial is slender snouted and feeds
mainly on fish. Bird life was
plentiful too here with herons,
pelicans, Brahminy ducks and
swallows. We also sighted a huge
troop of langurs frolicking in the
lush canopy. Our guide showed it wary of man. The next morning we went on a Soon it was time to say good bye.
us fleeting glimpses of swamp jungle walk. Bird life was plenti- After an early breakfast we started
deer. Our jeeps were waiting for us at ful and our guides showed us bear back. The simal tree in bloom
the drop off point. The setting foot (paw) prints and scat. Sud- added a lively touch to the land-
The sun was becoming stron- sun painted the sky and the river denly our guides told us to freeze scape.
ger and it was time for lunch. with rich shades of crimson. Wild and showed a rhino foraging in
We were having a packed pic- pigs and Nilgais scampering into the far distance. In the afternoon One horned rhinos were relocat-
nic lunch on the shore among the darkness. Suddenly one of we visited a Tharu village. The ed to Bardia from Chitwan and
the trees and birds. Our guides the jeeps stopped. Despite the Tharus build their houses of lo- have multiplied in the sylvan sur-
showed us the pugmarks of a tiger best efforts of the driver the en- cally available material, mud, roundings. Many conservationists
on the wet soil near the river. The gine died on us. We decided to thatch, bamboo and reeds. The regard the park as a success story.
tiger had come to the river two or send the ladies to the lodge in the entire extended family stays to- A visit to this jungle paradise to
three days ago to drink. functioning jeep and waited in gether. The long house is strange partake in the heart warming suc-
the jungle for the jeep to return. in that there are no internal walls. cess story of conservation efforts
After a short rest, it was a lazy In the dark, the jungle’s sounds The living and sleeping areas in Nepal is indeed worth the trip.
cruise along the sluggish river. took on a weird quality. We were are partitioned off using huge Seeing the plains of the terai as
Soon it was late evening and we on an elephant travel corridor! A earthern jars. The Tharu bread they were at the beginning of the
were all in the blue raft as the grey stillness blanketed all and we were treated to was delicious. twentieth century, lush green and
grey one had developed a leak. the minutes dragged along slow- The art work of the women added teeming with wildlife with man as
We were slowly cruising through ly. After over eighty minutes the a simple gaiety to the houses. but an occasional, timid intruder
Tharu villages when our guides headlights of the returning jeep is a revelation.
alerted us to the presence of a finally cut through the darkness.
Gangetic dolphin ahead! This We gave a loud cheer of deliver- Bardia National Park spans habitats from thick riverine forests and sal stands
fresh water dolphin is nearly ance. to Phanta (isolated stretches of Savannah) and dry upland slopes. The park is
blind and depends on sound for located northwest of mid-western Nepal’s main town, Nepalgunj (about thirty
Jungle walk and village minutes drive) and consists of forests and hills along the Karnali, Babai and
navigation and locating food. A
Geruwa rivers. Lesser number of tourists visit the park.
long history of hunting has made tour

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34 | COVERSTORY www.nextyatra.com

Text by Utsav Shakya


Photo by Suresh Maharjan (Travel Times) & Sudhir Bhandari

JAN - FEB 2010 TIMES


www.nextyatra.com JUNGLESAFARI | 35

Welcome to the Jungle


The winter season of Nepal from late October to
February is the best window of time to explore
and experience the southern forests of the
country. The region is rich in various flora and
fauna, but a jungle safari in these deep forests
will help you reconnect with nature at its left-
alone best.
A little boy and his father cycle down a small nothing but spending entire days in a pool and
path between rice fields. The bumps on the path sipping on chilled cocktails. But the resort we
rattle their city bones and they stop clumsily to stayed at did not have a pool and I was too
ask for directions to the bazaar from women small to appreciate a cocktail. So a large part of
working in the field. They point in the direction my memories involve images of taking multiple
the father and son came from. So the two turn showers under a shower head that was so
their cycles and start peddling back in the far up on the wall that it felt like taking a bath
direction they had come from, the southern sun under a waterfall. But this is not - quite happily
beating down harshly on their backs. The plan - all that I remember. The best part of the trip
had been to take a leisurely ride. After a hot was the jungle safari into lush green forests,
hour cycling under the sun, they had decided inhabited by the roaring, trumpeting wild, a trip
to go back to the resort but had lost their way that is capable of arousing the child within any
in the deep forested area. Finally, after trying to one. From atop a magnificent Asian elephant
remember trees they thought they had passed, ridden by a mahutey – traditional elephant rider,
they finally reached their resort and collapsed in the forests looked so much more inviting in
the comfort of cool, tall rooms. comparison to being lost on a cycle and feeling
like there were feline eyes staring at us from
I am that little boy and it was my father who had
behind every bush.
planned on a summer trip - the off season - to
Sauraha in the South of the country popular The amazing jungle safari is reason enough to
for the forested parks where a variety of birds plan a trip to the south itself. But it’s not the only
and animals can be sighted on any given day. reason. There’are a lot of things to indulge in
Needless to say, it wasn’t the smartest of plans. once you’re there to make it a wholesome safari
Summers in Nepal’s Tarai, which the southern trip.
belt is known as are unbearably warm, fit for

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significant value to the world. It con-


tains the Churiya hills, ox-bow lakes
and flood plains of the Rapti, Reu
and Narayani Rivers. Approximately
70% of the park vegetation is sal for-
est. The remaining vegetation types
include grassland (20%), riverine for-
ests (7%), and sal with chirpine (3%),
the latter common at the top of the
Churiya range. The riverine forests
consist mainly of khair, sissoo and
simal. The grassland forms a diverse
and complex community with over
The primeval man hunted for food an amazing experience. fifty species. The Saccharun species,
every day, lived in caves and got by also known as elephant grass can grow
with resources found in the jungle to Amongst the many places you can go up to 8 meters in height. Shorter grass
take care of whatever life brought to for a jungle safari such as Bardiya kinds such as Imperata, also common
along. Necessity bred invention National Park, Koshi Tappu Wild- within the park are used by locals to
and mankind moved out of the life Reserve, Shuklaphanta Wildlife make thatched roofs. Such houses
jungle. But these ancient habits Reserve, Sauraha’s jungle which bor- line some of the outskirts of the jun-
of hunting and being surrounded ders and at times overlaps the world gle.
by nature proved to be a hard one renowned Chitwan National Park’s
to quit. This necessity bred another immense forests is arguably the most This ecologically diverse area is the
invention or perhaps an excuse to popular choice for most wildlife en- last remaining home in Nepal for
get back into the wild – hunting for thusiasts. For one, there is no dearth more than 300 of the endangered
game. Former royalty in Nepal, in of resorts and lodges to cater to tour- Asian one-horned rhinoceros and har-
order to impress visiting dignitar- ists. Sauraha makes for a terrific mi- bors one of the largest populations of
ies, allowed game hunting to heart’s crocosm of Chitwan National Park the elusive and rare Royal Bengal Ti-
content in Nepal’s expansive forests. with a rich variety of wildlife and all ger. There are more than 43 species of
Records mention how the abundant major safari attractions. mammals in the park of which rhinos
numbers of tigers, rhinos and other and deer are the most visible ones.
wildlife in these forests became easy Nepal’s first and most famous nation- The area is especially renowned for
targets. Feeding this most primal of al park is situated in the lowlands of the endangered one-horned rhinocer-
man’s habits gave rise to the first sa- the inner Terai. The park itself cov- os, the tiger and the gharial crocodile
faris here in Nepal. But with time ers a pristine 932 square kilometers along with many other more common
jungle safaris became popular for with a unique ecosystem which is of species such as gaur, wild elephant,
something more worthwhile than
hunting – as a recreational trip into Sauraha makes for a terrific microcosm
the jungle, observing the lifestyle
man was once a part of. Perhaps of Chitwan National Park with a rich
this is one of the reasons why go- variety of wildlife and all major safari
ing back into the jungle even for
an hour or two on a safari is such attractions.

Getting to Sauraha
The park is accessible by car or bus on the Kathmandu -Mugling-Narayanghat
Highway or via the Mahendra Rajmarg Highway from Hetauda. It is about a six
hour drive from Kathmandu to Narayanghat. Local buses are available to Tandi
Bazar, which is about an hour’s drive from Narayanghat. A 6km. walk or bullock-cart
ride brings visitors to Sauraha, the park entrance. Air-services from Kathmandu to
Meghauli and Bharatpur air field are also available. Local buses are available from
Narayanghat to Park HQ at Kasara.

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The Royal Bengal Tiger


The Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a subspecies of the tiger primarily found in
Bangladesh. According to recent surveys, their number in Nepal’s forests today is 150. The Royal
Bengal Tiger is also found in parts of Bhutan, Myanmar, India and southern Tibet. It is the most
numerous of the tiger sub-species. According to WWF, there are about 2,000 Royal Bengal tigers
in the wild today, including 1,411 in India, 450 in Bangladesh, 100 in Bhutan, as well as some in
Myanmar and China. The Bengal tiger is historically regarded as the second largest subspecies
after the Siberian tiger.

The total length for the male is of 270-310 cm meanwhile that of the female is of 240–265 cm.
The tail measures 85–110 cm and the height at the shoulders is 90–110 cm. Its average weight
is 221.2 kg (487.7 lb) for the male and 139.7 kg (308 lb) for the female. The rich coat ranges
from yellow to light orange in color while the stripes might be dark brown or black. Its belly is
white, and its tail is white with black rings. It is said that the Bengal tiger’s roar can be heard
up to three kilometers (almost two miles) away.

four-horned antelope, striped hyena, in the park include the peafowl, red On a recent safari, as a group of
pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, moni- jungle fowl, and different species of excited Taiwanese tourists tried in
tor lizard and python. Other animals egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatch- vain to get the mahutey to turn the
found in the park include the sambar, ers and woodpeckers. The best time elephant around to get some better
chital, hog deer, barking deer, sloth for bird watching is March and De- photos, I reveled in the simple life of
bear, palm civet, langur and rhesus cember. Besides this, more than 45 the jungle. This was how it was back
monkey. To sight them all is however species of amphibians and reptiles are in the day, I thought to myself. Black
quite impossible with most animals found in the park, some of which are topped roads, houses, cars – all of
preferring to be left alone and re- the marsh crocodile, cobra, green pit these came so much later in time –
maining out of sight, camouflaged viper and various species of frogs and borne out of necessity. Here amidst
wonderfully by the many colors of the tortoises. tall trees and basking in the golden
jungle. But keep your eyes open and afternoon sun, the elephants, wild
your ears on alert and you might just A safari trip can be organized for you boars, rhinos and spotted deer, all
sight something rare. by your lodge throughout the day, of them seemed at ease, without the
providing the light is still good. Morn- necessities that mankind deemed
There are over 450 species of birds ing, noon and afternoon safaris all crucial for its survival. There is food
in the park, many of whom migrate have their advantages. Because safa- to be discovered and then devoured,
from as far away as Siberia and come ris are usually planned in the winter, shelter to seek in caves and in the
into Nepal from its eastern corri- in the morning and at noon, a lot of shade of trees and as for clothing,
dor such as Illam. Using Nepal as a animals such as deer and rhinos like well that’s debatable!
warm, friendly passage, the birds then to come out of their cooler comfort
fly to Africa. Among the endangered zones to bask in the warm Tarai sun.
birds are the Bengal florican, giant These timings are excellent for easy
hornbill, lesser florican, black stork sightings and for photography.
and white stork. Common birds seen

One Horned Rhino


There are 2500 one horned rhinos left in the wild. The overall population has slowly
increased from as few as 200 at the beginning of the 20th century. The captive
population in zoos is now stable and viable as an insurance policy in case of extinction of
its wild population. Greater One-Horned rhino have the most folded skin of the five rhino
species. Instead of using their horn to fight, the males use their long, sharp lower teeth.
The Moghul emperors used the rhino in staged fights against elephant with the rhinoceros
often winning the battle. Happily this is no longer practiced. They are very good swimmers
although many drown each year in the annual floods and they spend up to 60% of the day
wallowing. They have a folding upper lip that can grasp leaves and twigs but can fold it
away to graze on the tall grass of the terrain.

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animals have eaten and later gotten various


diseases from. The number of resorts and
the amount of noise they make in the tour-
ist season is another of his concerns. “Ani-
mals hearing is so sharp. The loud music
drives them deeper into the forests, making
it harder for tourists to sight them every
time,” he adds. Giri links the troubles of
the forests easily with issues of global warm-
ing. Bird migration patterns have changed
with the increase of temperature. A lot of
Veteran safari guide Yum Nath Giri has quiet conservationist besides just an edu- the small natural watering holes that drew
strolled, run and really sprinted through cated guide. He leads these kinds of tourists the animals out of the forest and into the
these forests for thirty years now. He knows deep into the jungle, showing them how he sight of safari groups have dried up mak-
the jungle like it’s his own backyard and in
some ways it is. He was born in Sauraha
and has lived here all his life. In the early
If we controlled the noise level, the animals
eighties he attended a fair number of sa- would come out of the forest to bask in the sun
fari workshops here and then proceeded to
study more on his own. Today Giri is one
just across the river. What a sight that would
of the most sought after guides for his ex- be to watch.
perience and expertise regarding Sauraha’s
wildlife. tracks animals by expertly looking for foot- ing the animals look elsewhere, mostly
prints and analysing fresh animal scat. Just in the opposite direction, to find water.
“Most foreigners are very interested in is- by poking into pellet-like deer scat, he is “Small things would make a difference,”
sues such as wildlife conservation and the able to tell amazed tourists about what kind says Giri adding, “We can easily make wa-
lifestyle of the animals while some just want of a deer it is, what it ate and how healthy it tering holes on the side of the forest that is
is. “Spotted deer,” he says simply when he more tourist-friendly. If we controlled the
comes across some fresh deer scat on the noise level, the animals would come out of
jungle floor. Going macro on this particu- the forest to bask in the sun just across the
lar specimen, he dishes out information river. What a sight that would be to watch.”
as if he were interviewing the deer itself. Nature’s been very kind to Nepal for sure.
Some careful planning and implementa-
While on these natural walks, Giri likes tion would do much good.
to point out what they are doing right and
what needs more work. While the group of On an afternoon safari, the sounds of the
to take pictures,” says Taiwanese he was guiding take a break, jungle are muted, the silence broken only
Giri as he looks back at the forests behind he voices a few environmental concerns. by the tread of animals. In the evenings
him. The tourists who are interested spend There have been instances where tourists however, the jungle comes alive with a
a lot of time with Giri, finding in him a have left behind plastics in the forest, which constant buzz of insects.

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Elephant rides are perhaps the most sought after safari


activity not only in Sauraha but at any other safari
destination around the world. From atop these gentle
giants, you can choose how deep you travel into the
forest and for how long depending on your interests.
Standard rides last for around forty minutes which is
a perfect amount of time – long enough to sight some
wildlife and enjoy the splendor of the forest but not too
long so that you don’t get motion sickness from the
elephant’s slow, rocking motion.

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Sitting comfortably on your ride, there are ample


opportunities for wildlife sightings.

On our safari, within the


first ten minutes we had seen
rhinos, spotted deer and then
wild boars up close.
While the deer darted away and the boars trotted
back into the jungle upon seeing us, the rhinos
could not be bothered to move. They chewed on
grass and appeared quite at ease as the clicking
sounds of the camera and the oohs and aahs of
the tourists filled the silence.

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Stepping over branches and crossing small


rivers on the elephant’s back, an elephant
ride is a great way to look at the forest. For
one, the elevation helps you see far and
beyond what you normally would from
the ground. The bigger picture in this case
quite literally, is a better picture. There is
also a fun elephant bathing session at the
end of most rides.

Grownups turn into chil-


dren as they help bathe
the elephants on the
banks of the Rapti River
that snakes its way in and
around the forest.
Tourists get to scrub at the elephant’s back
as it showers them with water it’s sucked
through its trunk. Much to the joy and
sometimes dismay of the tourists, the
elephant is made to suddenly lie on its
back, making the people on top plunge
into the cool waters along with it. Overall,
a good time!

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Lined up before the Safari Guests getting on their rides carefully

Into the wild!

Crossing a river takes a new meaning Rhino sighting

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Lush fields of the Tarai region

Sambar deer Restaurants by the Buri Rapti River

Spotted deer

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Elephant bathing is one of the major activities on the safari.

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Another star attraction in Sauraha is the canoe ride


down the Buri Rapti River. On narrow wooden ca-
noes, the ride takes you through the heart of the jun-
gle. Before you carefully sit down on small wooden
seats on the canoe, you’re asked to not make any un-
necessary movements on the ride to avoid falling in
and fair game for the many crocodiles that live in
these waters.

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On the banks of this river on most winter days,


some of these fine reptiles are seen taking in some
sun. Leave them to themselves and you shall be
left alone too. When the crocodile we saw did
not bother putting up a show for us, a Taiwanese
woman on another canoe, complained to no one
in particular that the crocodile was “a lazy bum”.
“You don’t want to move about right now. This is
the deepest part of the river. There are lots of croc-
A crocodile slips back into the river
odiles here,” said our guide casually as we glided
through some calm waters. We literally froze until
the guide told us we were on shallower, safer wa-
ters.

While seemingly gliding on these calm waters, you


will see a lot of birds resting on solitary branches.
Most visible were different species of kingfishers,
their brilliant colors in stark contrast to the dull
green of the river.

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Sunset on the banks of the Buri Rapti

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With fourteen fe- mated with a female elephant there. The


male elephants mother whose child it had killed was preg-
giving company nant. That year, the woman and the female
to one lucky elephant both gave birth to twins.
male elephant, it
is quite a breed- In addition to getting up close with these
ing center. The huge mammals, visitors can also feed the
adorable small elephants at the center. The mahuteys that
elephants are at- run this place have some stories of their
tention grabbers own too. There are instances where new
here. November mahuteys have been trampled to death by
of 2009 was a special month for the center elephants. Before switching mahuteys, the
here. The center celebrated the first birth- new mahutey usually accompanies the old
day of the second known case of elephant one for at least eight months in order for
twins here amidst a lot of fanfare. There is the elephant to get familiar with its new
quite an interesting story behind the birth mahutey. The elephants get very attached
of these twins. A wild elephant had crushed to their drivers and failure to familiarize
a child to death in a nearby village. After oneself with the elephant has resulted in a
this, the same elephant somehow got into few unfortunate accidents.
the fenced area of the breeding center and

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A safari is a fantastic way to soak in


nature’s splendor - to get in touch with
the harmony that somehow escaped us
somewhere along the line. There is no
going back to such a lifestyle, but the
sights, sounds and smells of the jungle are
worth a safari by itself - to reminisce, to
wonder and to capture in your minds the
essence of the wild.

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TRAVELOGUE

ventures
Ad h ern
ort
in the N gle
J u n
Thai
By Fran cesca Littman n

Although I'm not adverse to the beauties of the great outdoors, I've certainly never been one to
jump at an opportunity for physical exertion. So when I signed up for a 2-day, 1-night trek in
the humid northern Thai jungle, I surprised myself the most. The trek started with a three-hour
climb up a steep hillside. I found myself struggling to keep up and had little time to take in the
surrounding scenery, so intent was I on measuring every footstep to prevent myself from rolling
back downhill. Our guide Tee however, seemed to have no such problem, as he rocketed uphill at
lightening-speed in his flimsy flip-flops.

Finally, my body aching from the use of long-forgotten muscles, the hilltop Karen village came into
sight with its raised bamboo huts and chickens scratching about in the dirt. The villagers were
going about their daily chores, undisturbed by our arrival. Once we reached the hut where we
would be staying, we put down our bags and had a drink, before claiming our beds - consisting
of thin foam mattresses on an uneven bamboo floor, covered by holey mosquito nets. My fellow
trekkers and I soon wandered about the village. The views from both sides were
breathtaking; on one side we could see the city of Chiang
Mai in the distance and on the other was
an abundance of hills and vibrant green
vegetation.

Afterwards, chatting between ourselves,


we waited for our supper. Women from the
village came to sell us their produce of
necklaces and bracelets, as their children
watched us curiously. At first from a
distance and then closer, they ran up and
down the platform of our hut and climbed
nearby trees.

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As the evening began to draw in, accompanied by the


incessant buzz of mosquitoes, a monsoon storm broke out in
spectacular fashion. During an interlude between showers,
we gathered under the shelter outside the hut, around a
campfire, chatting and singing as Tee played his guitar.
An overwhelming sense of euphoria crept into me at the
thought of this unspoken bond I had formed with these
people I had met just hours before.

When the rain came back again, we made a hasty


retreat from the leaking cracks in the roof to the
relative shelter of our sleeping quarters. As the night
drew on and conversation dried up, one-by-one we finally retreated to
our beds in order to revitalize both body and mind for the adventures that lay ahead of us
the following day.

Early next morning I awoke to a strange itch in my ear. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light of the
room, I realised the itching was the result of numerous jumbo-sized ants crawling all over my pillow.
This was enough to get me out of bed despite the sight of my fellow adventurers fast asleep. After a
particularly tasty breakfast of Thai-style scrambled eggs, toast, exotic fruits and tea and coffee,
we gathered up our belongings and bid farewell to the village as we set off on our journey. Though the
walk uphill had been physically challenging, going down was harder. I was already feeling the effects
of yesterday's muscle-challenge and was not at my best due to minimal sleep. On top of this, a dense
mist reduced our visibilities and the ground underfoot was slippery from the previous night's rain. As
we slowly made our descent, Tee hacked at bamboo canes to support us. Though I appreciated the use
of it, I couldn’t help but wonder at the impact this has on the environment, particularly as our trek was
one of many happening daily in this small part of the world.

However, our downhill jaunt was more eventful as we encountered local wildlife. At one point Tee
brought the group to a halt, telling us he was going to introduce us to ‘Mr Jonny’. He began poking
a stick into a hole on the raised edge of the track. I immediately envisioned him awakening some sort
of venomous snake from it’s slumber. Moments later as he slowly edged the stick back out, a very big,
very black and very hairy eight-legged creature appeared. It’s probably just as well the other female
members of the group were too far behind to see it, because a later discussion regarding Mr Jonny
revealed that they were scared of spiders and therefore most likely would have screamed the jungle
down. Mr Jonny had clearly felt the same
way about humans, and no sooner had he been
removed that he made a prompt withdrawal
back into the hole.

Having spent the morning trekking through the


humid jungle with sweat seeping from every pore,
the promise of a dip in a waterfall proved to be
irresistible. Its deafening roar could be heard
long before it came into view and by the time we
reached it nothing was going to hold me back
from its inexorable flow. Considering the heat
and humidity of the jungle, it was surprisingly

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very cold and it wasn’t long before I was feeling


substantially cooler. Body refreshed again,
there was just enough time to dry off before we
continued on our way.

After another forty minutes of walking, we finally


came to the part of the trip that had been the
reason for me to traipse through this jungle in the
first place - elephant riding. Ever since I was a
small child, I have been absolutely fascinated by
these magnificent creatures. The endangered Asian
elephant, unlike its larger, more dangerous relative the
African elephant, is a docile creature, and thus has been used for centuries
as a means of transporting goods and people in Thailand. These days, as in Nepal, the Thai
tourist industry takes full advantage of the fact that tourists are keen and willing to spend their
cash on encounters with these gentle giants.

We had a brief interlude for lunch at the elephant camp before making our way to the platform
from which we would mount the solid wooden seats on the elephants’ backs. Despite being at
approximately the same level as the seat, this was still a tricky manoeuvre, as all of us clambered
‘onboard’. Once my riding partner and I were (relatively) comfortably seated, the elephant
began its slow, methodical plod that would constitute the forty-minute round-trip alongside the
river. After having felt the need to watch where I was going whilst walking through the jungle, it
was both a relief and a pleasure to now be observing the beautiful scenery on all sides from this
elevated viewpoint.

Judging by the height and size of his tusks, it seemed that the elephant I was riding was the
bull. When the guide suggested I remove myself from the safety of my seat to sit across its neck,
I was a little hesitant. After a few precarious moments as I balanced between the elephant and
the ropes that attached the seat however, I was glad I had met the challenge. To sit in direct
physical contact with one of the world’s largest land mammals, and to be able to touch its prickly-
haired skin whilst feeling the cool breeze created by the flapping of its enormous ears, was a
deeply moving experience for me; one that I shall remember for a lifetime.

Along our trek we were able to purchase bananas to feed the elephants. It brought me great
pleasure to observe his eating habits, as he raised his trunk, sniffed around and then vacuumed
the banana in with his large nostrils as soon as it came into striking distance. Needless to say the
bananas didn’t last long, and our elephant became
somewhat disgruntled when he returned his trunk
to find no further snack. He decided to voice his
disgust at the lack of food provisions by exhaling
a trunk-full of muddy elephant snot, of which I
was in the direct firing line. After a brief moment
of shock at his audacity, I found myself laughing
heartily as I attempted to wipe away the slimy
brown goo that covered me from head to toe.

A particularly memorable moment for me was riding

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along the riverside. The ground was steep and I was


sitting with my legs clenching the elephant’s massive
neck. I had a good view of the uneven ground below,
and could feel the mechanics of his body as he
made his slow descent. I was on a sensory overload,
the sound of flowing water and the sounds of the
jungle ringing in my ears. The view was spectacular;
the hills of the valley lay spread before me in a lush
green expanse of tropical trees and plants as the
sunlight glinted off the murky river.

All too soon we were back at the elephant camp,


but not for long. We would be white water rafting
next. I had never done this before, and after a minute and a half of safety briefing instructions
communicated in broken English, I found myself along three rafting companions and the
instructor, careering down the river at great speed, adrenalin pumping through my body at a rate
of knots. I barely had time to think as the rubber dingy was pulled along by the current, narrowly
escaping the outcrop of rocks in our path as we paddled for life.

Hearts still pounding from the thrill of the rapids, we arrived at the spot in the river where
we traded in our dingy and lifejackets for the bamboo raft that would take us to our pick-up
point downstream. When I had heard about bamboo rafting before coming on the trek, I had
found the concept of gently floating down the river on bound-bamboo to be a somewhat romantic
notion. Although it was a fairly relaxing experience and allowed a final opportunity to take in the
beautiful scenery, compared to the adrenalin-rush of the previous ten minutes, it didn’t quite live
up to my expectations. This could also be owed to the fact that I had not foreseen the discomfort
of sitting on uneven bamboo canes whilst being partially submerged in muddy water!

Twenty minutes later, our bamboo raft reached its final destination, where we abandoned our
floating carriage for the more solid foothold of terra firma. A few drinks and several pictures
later, we bid farewell to Tee and found ourselves packed tightly into a tuk-tuk. As we headed
back towards the city, the general mood became subdued as fatigue began to seep in, combined
with the realisation that our adventure
was drawing to a close. I looked out
from the back of the vehicle as the leafy
greenery of one jungle got gradually
replaced by the grey concrete of another.
One by one, our numbers dwindled as
we were dropped off at our various
guesthouses. Finally my turn came. As I
descended the tuk-tuk, I uttered good
wishes to my remaining fellow trekkers,
and then turned to walk, exhausted but
happy, towards the familiar steps of my
hotel.

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globaltreasure

ANGKOR WAT

Angkor Wat is on everyone’s must-see list, but venturing beyond the fray to
the area’s more remote temples can yield the experience of a lifetime.

Text by Darshan Shakya


Photo Courtesy Dennis G. Jarvis

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A structure that could not have been built in the era that it really
was built during. A design intended to reflect the home of the Gods.
A blueprint that mirrors the stars of 10,500 BC. Decoration that
encloses the Mahabharat and the Ramayana. A temple complex
dedicated to the heavens.
That is Angkor Wat. Located 5.5 kilometers north of the modern town of Siem Reap (the capital of Siem Reap
Province, Cambodia) this temple complex is the highlight of a trip to Cambodia, and one of the major highlights
of a trip to South East Asia. For those interested in archaeology, the place is a spectacular piece of history; the
crown jewel of the Khmer Civilization. For us lay tourists, this architectural wonder is one of the most visually
rewarding ones we could ever come across.

history
The blueprinting of this wonder-of-the-world nom- occasionally came upon the amazing ruins. Rec-
Laos
inee began in the 12th century, during the reign of ognizing the sacred nature of the temples but igno- Thailand

Suryavarman II. Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built rant of their origins, they invented fables about the
Angkor Wat
as the king’s state temple and capital city. 27 years mysterious sanctuaries, saying they had been built
Cambodia
later, the Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the by the gods in an ancient time. Centuries passed,
traditional enemies of the Khmer. Thereafter the these fables became legends, and pilgrims from the Phnom Penh

empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman distant reaches of Asia sought out the mystic city of Vietnam

VII, who established a new capital and state temple the gods. The temple complex itself was rumored
(Angkor Thom and the Bayon respectively) a few to be nothing but a legend, until western explorers
kilometers to the north. In the late 13th century, finally uncovered it.
the Hindu King Jayavarman VIII was deposed by
his son in law, Srindravarman. Srindravarman had The temple was popularized in the w est only in
spent the previous 10 years in Sri Lanka becom- the mid-19th century in Henri Mouhot’s travel
ing ordained as a Buddhist monk. Hence, the new notes. Mouhot, like other early Western visitors,
king decided to convert the official religion of the was unable to believe that the Khmers could have
empire from Hinduism to Buddhism and conse- built the temple, and mistakenly dated it to around
quently, Angkor Wat was converted from Hindu to the same era as Rome. It was that good.
Theravada Buddhist use.
Angkor Wat underwent considerable restoration in
During the half-millennia of Khmer occupation, the 20th century, with the removal of accumulated
the city of Angkor became a pilgrimage destination earth and vegetation. Its abandonment had taken a
of importance throughout Southeast Asia. Sacked toll on the structure, but because of the moat that
by the Thais in 1431 and abandoned in 1432, Angkor surrounds it, nature’s encroachment was curbed to
was forgotten for a few centuries. Wandering Bud- a certain degree.
dhist monks, passing through the dense jungles,

1. The aerial view of Angkor Wat


2. Carvings of Apsara (a female
spirit of the clouds and waters
in Buddhist mythology) on the
1 2 walls

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Angkor Wat Today


Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has seen continued
conservation efforts and a massive increase in
tourism. The temple is part of the Angkor World
Heritage Site, established in 1992. It has become a
Government major tourist destination. In 2004 and 2005, govern-
ment figures suggest that, respectively, 561,000 and
figures suggest 677,000 foreign visitors arrived in Siem Reap prov-
ince, approximately 50% of all foreign tourists in
that, respectively, Cambodia for both years. The temple has become
a symbol for Cambodia, and is a source of great na-
561,000 and tional pride. In fact, in January 2003, when a false
rumor had a Thai soap opera actress claiming that
677,000 foreign Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand, riots broke out
in Cambodia’s capital. The temple has also been
visitors arrived on the Cambodian flag ever since the flag’s exis-
in Siem Reap tence.

province, 1
What does Angkor Wat Offer?
approximately Angkor Wat itself is a very vast temple; you can easily of the thousand Buddhas is exactly as it sounds like.
get lost here. Still, the Wat’s features will draw you It used to have hundreds of Buddha images, but to-
50% of all in and have you marveling at the sight and the very day we can see only remnants, for some were stolen
foreign tourists thought of its construction. The moat that guards and some destroyed. The still functional Buddhist
the temple will catch your eye first. The entrance shrines also attract tourists, but mostly draw devo-
in Cambodia for too is a feast for the eyes; one begins to wonder tees. Angkor Wat’s Central Towers are up next; situ-
about the symmetry of the temple - it’s one of the ated at the second level of the temple, these make
both years. reasons why the Wat is so appealing. The famous up the most magnificent sight of the temple. We
reflecting pools are sure to drop jaws and have pho- highly recommend anyone intending to visit the
tographers drooling over the perfect mirror images. Wat to spend most of their time here, strolling in
This effect is perfect in the rainy season; the pools the area and taking in the view. Here’s also where
might not be full during the dry ones. The gallery we issue a warning: anyone who dares to go further

2 3

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It is no wonder
that this temple
5 was nominated
7 to be one of the
seven wonders
of the world; its
more of a wonder
that it didn’t make
it to the final
seven.
4

up should go at their own risk. The stairs to the writings describe the Mahabharat and the Rama-
third level of the temple are steep for a purpose. yana. The eight depicted scenes comprise of the
They represent the extreme difficulty of reaching battle of Kurukshetra, the army of Suryavarman II,
the heavens. Still, the steep stairs to the next level Heaven and Hell, Churning of the ocean of milk,
also are a major attraction. If you can’t make it, Vishnu conquering the Asuras, Krishna and Bana
though, don’t feel bad. There have been casualties (the demon king), the battle of the Gods and De- 1. The steep stairs at Angkor Wat
before on these steps, so the Apsara authority has mons and finally, the Battle of Lanka. 2. An enormous Sculpture
placed some metal stairs with railings on the other 3. 190 meter wide moat at Angkor
side of the courtyard. Once you’re up in the third If you’re going on a South East Asia trip, Angkor Wat
Wat is one architectural wonder you don’t want to 4. North wall of the monument,
and final level, there are numerous spots to enjoy
one part of the longest bias
the bird’s eye view of the ground structures. miss out on. It is no wonder that this temple was relief carving in the world
nominated to be one of the Seven Wonders of the 5. Carvings depicting the battle of
There’s one final thing about the Wat that grabs at- World; it’s quite a wonder that it didn’t make it to Lanka
tention: The Angkor Wat temple Bas Reliefs. These the final seven. A temple complex like no other, 6. Carvings above the doors going
to the uppermost terrace of the
are inscriptions carved on all four sides of the outer Angkor Wat is definitely one of the world’s Global
temple.
walls of the temple. In amazing detail and surpris- Treasures. 7. Mighty wall of the main area of
ingly not deteriorated by time, these drawings and Angkor Wat

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heal hy
S ta y in g

on a SAFARI

In the days of yore, people convicted of crimes against


the state were banished to the lowland terai region of
Nepal. They quickly succumbed to the deadly ‘awal’
fever at its height during the summer months. Over
time, the Tharus - original inhabitants of the terai have
developed varying degrees of immunity to malaria.
With the control of malaria in the 1960s the terai region
was opened up for development. Jungles were cleared
and the plains soon became the bread basket of Nepal.
To protect the wildlife here, sanctuaries were set up;
the Chitwan National park being the most popular.
Most tourists visit the park and the one at Bardia during
the cool winter months from October to February. In
this article we look at how to stay healthy while on a
‘safari’ in the national parks of the terai.

By Dr. Ravi Shankar

Short Profile of Dr. Ravi Shankar

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Diarrheal diseases ter returning from the area. This drug has most dangerous.
Most areas of the ‘third world’ have prob- to be chewed thoroughly and is effective
lems of hygiene and sanitation. This is also against many types of worms. Boiling wa- Chemoprophylaxis or taking a drug for pre-
true of the terai. In Sauraha, the tourist cen- ter and cooking food thoroughly are other vention of the disease can be considered by
ter of Chitwan National Park many lodges precautions. travelers going to the terai. Chloroquine,
have been built in the last two decades cre- proguanil and mefloquine are commonly
ating problems of waste disposal. The best used. Chloroquine and mefloquine (taken
way to stay healthy is to drink only boiled Malaria once weekly) are started one week before
water. Chemically treating the water could Malaria made a comeback in going to an area and continued for at least a
also be an option but remember the organic Nepal and other coun- month after leaving. Proguanil (taken daily)
content of the water may be high requiring tries in the 1970s is started 2-3 days before travel and contin-
higher doses of chemicals. Iodine and mainly because of ued for a week after returning. The choice
chlorine solutions are most commonly resistance of mos- of drug depends on the resistance pattern
used to chemically purify water. Most lodg- quitoes (which act of the parasites in the area. Travelers can
es get their water supply from rivers and as a carrier for the contact physicians in their host country for
unfortunately by the time they reach malarial parasite) to the prophylaxis information. If you succumb
the terai, rivers are polluted after flowing insecticide DDT and of the parasites to to malaria, chloroquine is the mainstay of
through densely populated towns and vil- commonly used drugs. In 2003 there were treatment if the parasite is sensitive. Chlo-
lages. Especially during the summer, food a total of 9394 reported malaria cases and roquine resistance is unfortunately becom-
spoils quickly making food poisoning a pos- around 57000 probable or clinically diag- ing common. Mefloquine and a number of
sibility. Flies are common in summer and nosed malaria cases in Nepal. With increas- newly developed drugs are also available.
can spread many diseases. Do not eat from ing temperatures as a result of global warm-
road side stalls and check the fly protection ing, the disease is likely to spread to new Keep in mind the possibility of malaria
measures in your lodge kitchen and dining areas and populations. Malaria is caused if you develop a fever during your safari.
area. Salads and other raw foods can be a by a tiny parasite called plasmodium with a Paracetamol (acetaminophen) every 6 to
health hazard if not prepared properly. Eat complex life cycle. It invades the liver and 8 hours can help to bring down the fever.
them only if you are sure about your lodge’s red blood cells (RBCs) in humans. Fever Tepid sponging (wiping the body using a
food preparation methods and standards of results when the parasites are released from cloth/sponge soaked in lukewarm water) is
hygiene. I remained healthy during my vis- the ruptured RBCs. There are four types of helpful too. Evaporation of water absorbs
its to Bardia and Chitwan and was pleased malaria with Falciparum malaria being the heat from the body bringing down the fe-
to note that lodges paid particular attention ver. Visit a doctor if your fever does not
to food preparation. come down in a day. Many lodges have
doctors on call.
Worm infestations
Parasitic worm infestations, especially Heat illnesses
round worm can be problematic. Open air Heat illness can be a problem in the terai
defecation has reduced steadily with con- especially during the summer when mid-
struction of latrines so hook worms may no day temperatures can be around 40˚ C.
longer be a major problem. You can have Increased muscular activity, other illness
a single tablet of Albendazole 400 mg af- and old age are risk factors. Heat cramps

Insect bites
Insect bites can prove to be a threat too with insects such as, mosquitoes and
bed bugs. Mosquito nets are commonly provided in lodges or are fixed to
doors and windows. Unplastered homes of the eastern terai harbor sand flies
which can transmit a disease called Kala azar (black disease). This disease is
unlikely to affect tourists unless they stay for a long time in such dwellings. An
antihistamine taken orally will reduce the itching, pain and swelling of the
insect bite. A pain killer (analgesic) can also be taken.
Insect bites can also cause a severe reaction called an anaphylactic reaction.
This may occur with bee or wasp stings. Histamine (a chemical) is liberated
which causes dilation of blood vessels and makes them leaky. Swelling, redness,
itching, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure are the features. The
narrowest part of the airway in the larynx (sound box) can be blocked, literally
choking the person to death. Injections of adrenaline, antihistamines and
corticosteroids can be life saving.

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are painful muscle contractions caused by


profuse sweating and depletion of body so-
In the jungle
dium. Drinking plain water without salts
White cotton clothes reflect sunlight ultraviolet protection. Apply a sun
can worsen the condition. Oral rehydra-
helping to reduce body temperature. screen with a high sun protection fac-
tion salts (ORS) can both prevent and treat
Loose clothes improve ventilation. tor (SPF) of around 40 on all exposed
the condition. Heat exhaustion can occur
Full sleeve clothes and gum boots areas. Some travelers also apply insect
with prolonged exertion in hot and humid
are useful for jungle walks. Synthetic repellent cream on exposed areas.
weather, profuse sweating and inadequate
brightly colored clothing is better When walking on foot through the
fluid and salt replacement. Tepid sponging
avoided. Pants or kurta suruwals may jungle follow the instructions of your
to bring down the temperature and fluid re-
be apt clothing for ladies as it enables guide. Lodges inform walkers of the
placement using ORS are recommended.
you to sit more easily on the elephant requirements and precautions for
Heat strokes occur when the core body
back during safaris. A loose floppy hat jungle walks. Be sure your guide is
temperature rises above 40˚ C. Headache,
with an elastic strap is necessary. Keep adequately trained. Avoid loud noises
nausea and vomiting, muscle tremor, con-
a flask/bottle with ORS handy. and abrupt movements in the jungle.
fusion and loss of consciousness can occur.
Wait for the elephant to kneel before
This is a medical emergency which should
The bright sunlight and dust can dismounting. Ensure you land on both
be treated in a hospital. Carry sachets of
irritate the eyes. Use sun glasses with feet while dismounting.
ORS (Jeevan Jal, Jeevan Bal, Nava Jeevan
are common Nepalese brands) and dissolve
each sachet in a liter of boiled and cooled
water.

The rivers of the terai


Many lodges include rafting trips in their
program. Certain rivers are deep with large
water volume making drowning a possibil-
ity. A person who is rescued from the river
should be placed semi prone with the head
end lower. The lower back should be pe-
riodically compressed to expel out the in-
gested water. Cardiopulmonary resuscita-
tion may be needed. Poisonous snakes and
crocodiles could be other dangers. About 24 more scared of us and made itself scarce.
districts in the lowlands of Nepal are at risk A long and tiring search proved unsuccess- travel essentials
of snakebite. Various snakes with venom ful. The power failed at the critical instant White floppy hat (with elastic band), sunscreen
toxic to the blood and the nervous system and my companion, Chandra was insistent with high SPF, Insect repellent cream, rulers
are found in Nepal. Application of a firm that we change rooms as the snake could (for use as rough splints), elastocrepe bandage,
not be traced. ORS, sunglasses with ultraviolet protection,
bandage to occlude lymphatic drainage is iodine or chlorine to purify water (if needed),
recommended but the use of tourniquets is paracetamol tablets, albendazole tablets,
no longer in favor. Identifying the snake, Following these ‘common sense’ precau- ibuprofen or another painkiller, antihistamine
calming the victim, immobilizing the af- tions can increase your chances of staying tablets, medicines for malaria prophylaxis (if
healthy in the jungle and enjoying the rich required). Check with your lodge about the
fected part and timely transport to a hospi- first aid box they carry while in the jungle and
tal to receive antivenom is recommended. wildlife of the Nepalese terai –once the whether your guides are trained in first aid.
I remember the time when we espied a playground of Kings and nobles, today en-
small green snake in our room while stay- joyed by tourists from all over the world.
ing at Chitwan. The snake was probably

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70 | PEOPLE&CULTURE www.nextyatra.com

Tharu
Re-Introducing the

Tharus are married at birth! Not to take anything away from the history themselves. Problems arise when the part-
and culture of the Tharu community - some- ners they choose are unavailable because
Read on about the amazing
thing that dates back several centuries - but they too are bound into marriages right from
culture and lifestyle of the sometimes the quirkiest things affix them- birth!
Tharu community. selves in a writer’s mind. When I sat down
to write about the way of the Tharus, their I first heard about such a practice years ago,
culture, their lifestyle and their beliefs, it is while growing up in a hostel, through a Tharu
their peculiar marriage practice that crept friend. At the age of thirteen, he would brag
into my mind first. Traditionally, Tharu mar- about already having a wife in his village. It
riages are arranged during the pregnancy of is another matter that the guy is still single,
Text by Utsav Shakya two women. If the two women give birth but his stories caught my imagination, along
to babies of opposite sexes, the marriage of with that of all the other guys that shared our
these infants is fixed informally. In a lot of dormitory. Dark skinned, with jet black hair
cases, these children grow up as friends and and telling his stories in a heavy accent, he
hence ease into a marriage more times than painted quite an exotic picture of the Tharu
not. This is much appreciated by the older community, never leading on to the fact that
folks in the community. But in a lot of cases, his community suffered from severe issues of
increasingly more so now, youth eligible for marginalization and were amongst the back-
marriage have ventured away from this age ward communities of the country.
old tradition, choosing to find their partners

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The History of the Tharus

A series of invasions by people of other as servants.


races, from North India across the border
as well as from hills and mountains of Before such a
Nepal, eroded the influence of the indig- codification hap-
enous Tharus. In 1854 A.D., Jung Bahadur, pened and even
the first Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, after, Tharu people
developed the Muluki Ain, a codification mainly occupied
of Nepal’s indigenous legal system which areas in Surkhet,
divided society into a system of castes. The Chitwan, Dang,
Tharus were placed next to the bottom of Deukhuri, Sindhuli
the social hierarchy, the lowest in a list of and Udyapur in the
people who were considered touch-able. inner Terai valleys
Their land was taken away, disrupting their of Nepal and the
community and displacing many people. In Terai plains on the
the 1950s, the World Health Organization India-Nepal border.
initiated a program that aided the Nepalese Of the total Nep-
government in eradicating malaria in the alese population, The Tharu people make up the largest and
Terai region, the southern plains of the Tharus make up more than 6.6%. A smaller oldest ethnic group of the Terai region, liv-
country. This resulted in immigration of a lot number of Tharus also live in India, mostly ing in villages near dense malaria-infested
of people from other areas to claim the fer- in Champaran district of Bihar and in Naini- jungles in regions that were isolated over
tile land, making many Tharus virtual slaves tal district of Uttarakhand. Today, Tharus the millennia, allowing them to develop a
of the new landowners. This practice even- are recognized as an official nationality of unique culture. Living near such swampy
tually gave way to developing the Kamaiya the Nepal plains by the government and the areas for ages, medical evidence supports
system of bonding generations of Tharu Kamaiya system has been outlawed as of beliefs that Tharus have developed an in-
families to harsh, manual labor in fields and July of 2000. nate resistance to malaria.

Lifestyle
Most Tharus live in longhouses made out decorating their walls, rice containers and
of mud, which may hold up to 15 people. other objects in their environment with
Their principal crops are barley, wheat, Tharu women transforming outer walls
maize, and rice, and many also raise poultry and verandahs into colorful paintings using
and farm animals such as chickens, ducks, bare hands. These paintings are said to be
pigs, and goats. Quite a number of them dedicated to Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of
are known to be engaged in fishing for a liv- prosperity and fertility.
ing in huge rivers that run near their settle-
ments. As a result of their isolated lifestyle The Tharu people do not have a well de-
in malarial swamps until the recent use fined Tharu language that unifies their
of DDT, they developed a unique style of communities in different parts of Nepal

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1 3

1. Tharu headgear 4
2. Body art signifies coming of age in the Tharu
community
3. Traditional utensils and tools of the Tharu people
4. Tharu women celebrating a festival in traditional
attire and accessories

Tharu men and women love to adorn their to appease gods is a popular practice.
Tharu men and women bodies with art. Using the soot of a particu- Milk and silk cloth are also used in most
love to adorn their bodies lar type of wild grass and mixing in a little rituals. They also use the blood of one of
with art. Most Tharus have bit of their own mother’s milk into it, they the male members in the family for such
dip needles into this solution and tattoo rituals. Such rituals are conducted through
their hands, legs and backs themselves with it. Most Tharus have their ceremonies, and superficial cuts are made
covered with intricate body hands, legs and backs covered with intri- on the forehead, arms, throat, legs and
cate body art. Women are deemed eligible chest. Such practices however are less pro-
art. for marriage only after this ceremony. The nounced today.
and India. Instead, they speak variants of traditional Tharu marriage happens twice,
Urdu and Awadhi in Western Nepal and once when they are infants and then when Tharu deities are believed to have the abil-
in adjacent parts of India, variants of the they are teenagers. Such a practice became ity to heal diseases and sickness. Accord-
Bhojpuri language in and near central Ne- popular because for most parents getting ing to traditional legends, gods are given
pal, and a variant of the Maithili language their daughters married is a huge responsi- a bhakal, a promise of an offering of some
in and near Eastern Nepal. More standard bility and the earlier it happened, the easier form, on the condition that the sickness is
versions of these dialects are widely spoken it was for the parents. cured, or in events of misfortune, plagues
by non-Tharu neighbors in the same areas, and nightmares. Upon the fulfillment of
eroding away linguistic barriers between Tharus are adherents of Hinduism, but such conditions, animal sacrifices are held
Tharus and their neighbors. However, a also follow Islamic, Animist and Buddhist or elaborate ceremonies are organized
different kind of linguistic barrier between beliefs. Small numbers have converted to to thank the deity. A relative’s death is an
these dialects stands in the way of com- Buddhism in recent years. Such syncretism event of great significance among Tharus
munication amongst Tharus from different has led these people to practice folk Hindu- and rituals conducted vary in accordance
regions. Hindi has been largely proposed as ism. With more religious freedom, many to the regions. They approach shamans as
a lingua franca for communication across have also converted to Christianity and doctors, known as Guruba. Such shamans
the Terai. Tharu people are also notorious there are a variety of congregations active use Buddhist medicine to cure illnesses.
in their casual use of foul language amongst in the various districts that have large Tharu Tharus believe sickness comes when the
family members, specially in the villagers. populations. Traditionally, Tharus worship gods are displeased and the demons are
various gods in the form of animals such as at work so shamans will try to appease the
The aforementioned genetic resistance to dogs, crows and cows, a practice similar to gods through incantations, beating drums
malaria suggests that Tharus were already those followed by Hindus. Every village has and offering sacrifices.
living in the Terai before Indo-Europeans their own deity, commonly known as Bhu-
arrived, which gives rise to the question of inyar. Tharus in East Nepal call their de- As with many other backward communi-
which language they had been speaking at ity Gor-raja. They celebrate Fagu Purnima ties around the world and not just in Ne-
the time. Nevertheless if any linguistic fea- and Dashain as their main festivals. pal, Tharus too are slowly letting go of a lot
tures survive from that era, they have not of their practices to adapt to modern life.
been well documented. Most of their households have a statue of With increasing prices of livelihood and
a traditional god and sacrificing animals lifestyles, they have no alternative to this.

JAN - FEB 2010 TIMES


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74 | Recommended restaurants&Bars www.nextyatra.com

365 Restaurant with Hookah Bar Cafereena Dhaba Restaurant & Bar Green Organic Café & Salad Bar
Pulchowk, Lalitpur Sherpa Mall, Kathmandu Thapathali, Kathmandu Thamel, Kathmandu
Tel: 2110800 Tel: 4231313 Tel: 4100510 Tel: 4215726
Speciality: Arabian Speciality: Thai, Multi Speciality: Indian Speciality: Nepali, Continental

Baryo Fiesta Café de Patan Factory Himalayan Java Coffee Lounge


Naxal, Kathmandu Patan Durbar Square, Lalitpur Thamel Thamel
Tel: 4414395 Tel: 5537599 Tel:4701185 Tel:4422519
Speciality: Tandoori, Taas Speciality: Newari Foods Speciality: Multi Speciality: Multi

Bhojan Griha Pvt.Ltd Cherry Lounge & Bar Fire And Ice Hot Breads
Dillibazar Lazimpat, Opp. Shangrila Hotel Thamel New Road, Kathmandu
Tel:4411603 Mob: 9741 115143 Tel:4250210 Tel: 4429031
Speciality: Nepali Speciality: Cherry flavour drinks Speciality: Italian Speciality: Confectionery

Bhumi The Restro Lounge Chopstick Restaurant & Bar Flavour’s Café & Restaurant Holiday Karaoke Restaurant & Bar
Lazimpat, Kathmandu Buddhabari, Teku, Kathmandu Bouddha, Kathmandu Pani Pokhari, Kathmandu
Tel: 4412193 Tel: 4104503 Tel: 2140277 Tel: 4445731
Speciality: Newari Speciality: Chinese Cuisine Speciality: Chinese Speciality: South, East, Asian

Boddhi Garden Vegetarian Chez Caroline Ghangri’s Sumai Restaurat Kausi Kitchen Restaurant and Bar
Restaurant Babarmahal, Kathmandu Teku Woodland Complex
Maharajgunj, Kathmandu Tel: 4263070 Tel:4260630 Tel:4227288
Tel: 4721939 Speciality: French Speciality: Multi Speciality: Multi
Speciality: Various Veg Tastes
Delicatessen Center & Cafe Green Olive Restaurant & Khing Thai
Bourbon Room Durbar marg Shisha Bar Jp Road, Chaksibari Marg
Narayanhiti Marg, Kathmandu Tel:4221331 Chhetrapati Tel:4244378
Tel: 4441703 Speciality: Multi Tel:4212730 Speciality: Thai
Speciality: Continental, Italian, Speciality: Italian/Indian
Oriental

TIMES 09

authentic flavour from china

Tian Rui Chinese Restaurant & Bar Pvt. Ltd. 10% discount for clients of Himalayan Bank Ltd.
Thapathali, Kathmandu, Phone: 4243078,  Fax: 4249162 card holders and ACE Development Bank Ltd.
Email - tianruiktm@yahoo.com ‘Ace Nari Bachatt’ card holders

JAN - FEB 2010 TIMES


www.nextyatra.com | 75

Koto Restaurant Matsuri Pizza Express


Durbar Marg, Kathmandu Sherpa Mall, Kathmandu Lazimpat
Tel: 4226025 Tel: 4229032 Tel:2161212
Speciality: Japanese Cuisine Speciality: Chinese, Japanese Speciality: Pizza
Rice & Bowl Restaurant
K-Too Bear & Steak House Mike’s Breakfast Tripureshwor
Paryatan Marg, Kathmandu Naxal, Kathmandu Tel:4260677
Tel: 4700043 Tel: 4781104 Speciality: Chinese
Speciality: Thai Speciality: American. Mexican,
Italian Road House Cafe
La Dolce Vita Pulchowk, Lalitpur
Thamel Moods Studio Lounge Tel: 5520524
Tel:4700612 Blue Bird Mall Speciality: Italian
Speciality: Italian Tel:4215740
Speciality: Multi Cuisine Red Dingo
Lakhe Restaurant & Bar Jawalakhel, Lalitpur
Durbar Marg, Kathmandu Nepali Chulo Restaurant Tel: 01-6914930
Tel: 4256606 Durbar Marg Speciality: Australian
Speciality: Lebanese, French, Tel:4220475
Italian Speciality: Nepali Fixed Dinner Royal Saino Restaurant & Bar
Durbar Marg, Kathmandu
Layaku Restaurant Nhuchhe’s Organic Bistro Tel: 01-230890
Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Baluwatar, Kathmandu Speciality: Indian, Continental
Tel: 4781104 Tel: 4414383
Speciality: Multi Speciality: Organic Foods Royal Thai Restaurant
New Baneshwor, Kathmandu
Mama Mia Italia Restaurant OR2K Tel: 4781104
Thamel Thamel, Kathmandu Speciality: Thai
Tel:2191729 Tel: 4422097
Speciality: Italian Speciality: Israeli, Arabian

The Ambiance
Restaurant & Bar
Mangal Bazar, Lalitpur
Tel: 5538980
Speciality: Multi

La Rotisserie Grilled Chicken & Walter


Sandwich & Ice Cream Parlor
Restaurant
Jawalakhel, Lalitpur Tel:
& Bar
5530823 Please
Contact for
Latest
Mouth
Watering
&
Selection...
It is an European style of cooking system, which
stops the spit for a period of 20 seconds in front
of heating element every 180 degrees. It allows
meat to constantly baste itself, sealing in natural
juices while letting fat drip off. The Rotisserie offer Baber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu,
delicious, low-cholesterol, healthy grilled chicken
and many more to all of valued customers... Phone: + 977 (1) 425 3337
walters.restaurant.nepal@gmail.com

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76 | FOOdRINK www.nextyatra.com

On a
Korean cuisine
adventure
First time contributor Looza Mahazu writes about finding bliss
and devouring it in his Korean cuisine craving.

Text by Looza Mahaju

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The table was festooned


with lots of dishes, different
varieties of sauce and
greens.

You’ve been to Thamel, right? Good. so I settled with Korean soaps, their cook- “We serve authentic fare here,” explained
It won’t be hard to find this place then. ery show and everything else that gets a Gurung, “We get all of our stuff, the season-
Take the lane that leads you to the Road channel running. Like they say, if you keep ings, the ingredients and the raw materials
House Café. Head straight and stop by its watching anything, something interesting straight from Korea. Our taste is not much
entrance, then turn left. Notice the small will pop up sooner or later. Something did different from what you’d get in Korea. It’s
brightly lit alley that slowly calls to you? come up. that similar.”
Onwards, my friend. A few steps past the
street-side shops that bloom every morning A family of four was busy preparing their Along with Sam Gyeop Sal, we ordered
in Thamel, you’ll notice a small board, to dinner; nothing surprising about that. The some Kimchi Jigae, Bibimbap and Kimbab.
your left. The board says, Korean restau- table was festooned with lots of dishes, dif- It went down well with the main course.
rant. Fear not, don’t let the name intimi- ferent varieties of sauce and greens. Pop! Kimbab, or sushi, can be served as both,
date you; go in and savor the homely ambi- The family produces a flaming stove, rest- starters or along with the main course. I was
ence of the place. If you’d rather prefer an ing it in the middle of the table and starts rather apprehensive at first: my first taste
outdoor setting, march on. See that door frying pork on it. I was flabbergasted! And I of sushi over at a Japanese place had not
in front of you? Yes, the same one from did not understand this strange custom un- gone well. The aroma of the dish did it for
where the sweet aroma is coming from. til I saw it being done for myself. me; it was just too strong for my taste. The
Kimbab I had in Hankook Sarang, howev-
I know you are mesmerized. I too had not “Ah, you must be talking about Sam Gyeop er, had a rather pleasing aroma, made even
expected such a grand sitting arrangement Sal,” says Namgya Wangdi Gurung, owner better when dipped in the soy sauce.
in the garden. This has got to be the way to of the fine Korean restaurant, Hankook Sa-
experience the culinary delights of this in- rang. “It’s a popular dish here in our restau- As in Japanese cuisine, tea plays an im-
teresting Korean eatery that goes by Han- rant too. You get to cook it as you go along.” portant part in Korean meals as well. It is
kook Sarang. The idea as it turns out is to let it cook over served as a welcoming drink and is served
a slow fire, allowing the slow heat to bring as soon as the guest has taken their seat.
My fascination with Korea and all things out the flavor of the meat. The soybean “Notice that subtle flavor?” commented a
Korean started when my television set re- paste and the Banchan that accompanies friend. “It’s supposed to get your appetite
fused to broadcast nothing but Arrirang the dish further enhance the flavor. It tastes going.”
TV one day. I had nothing to do, no books just like a regular pickle, made spicier with
to read and since it was raining all day, an extra bit of grounded black pepper, but And whet our appetites it did. We passed
leaving the house was not an option. And somehow different. It tasted ‘native’. around the Banchan, which there was al-

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ways more of, tried our hands at cooking than have one taste push aside another, “The food here reminds me of home.”But
(on the dining table), tried eating rice with the different tastes fused together into a of course, this is what we liked and hence,
chopsticks (not mandatory) and tried to beautiful culinary amalgamation. recommend. We strongly suggest you to
place the distinct taste and pinpoint the not limit yourself with these dishes and
ingredients used. All in all, we had a great And if you can read Korean, somewhere in urge you to choose some interesting com-
time by a warm bonfire, eating under the the last section of the menu, in the com- binations yourself. The staff at the Hank-
stars. The best part of the meal, at least for ment section is a comment written by a ook Sarang is extremely friendly and will
me, was the subtlety of the dishes, of how Korean individual. It reads, “I love coming help you to choose that perfect dish for
the flavors melted into each other. Rather here whenever I am in Nepal,” it reads, your next culinary adventure.

Bibimbap
(Sticky Rice Mixed with Vegetables)

Bibimbap is a dish made by mixing rice with various


other cooked vegetables. The various assortments of
vegetables gives the rice its distinct flavor and is full of
nutrients. And, like with the chopsuey, it sits atop the
dish, like a king, an egg, sunny side up.

Kimchi jigae

If you are a connoisseur of soup, then this one


comes highly recommended. As the name suggests,
the taste of this soup is attributed by the ubiquitous
kimchi. And that takes us to include the following.

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Kimchi

Think Korean and this name will come up sooner or later.


Kimchi is a ubiquitous Korean dish. This dish is primarily
served as a side dish, but demands as much respect as
the main course. As Suraj Shrestha, a regular to the place
puts it, “Kimchi is cabbage with extra make up. There is
something appealing about its taste that makes me want to
ask for refills, time and again.”

Banchan

Just in case, if you are wondering about the array of


side dishes that populate your table, it’s called Banchan.
Banchan refers to side dishes that accompany the
main meal. Yes, you guessed right - Kimchi is the most
famous of them all. They are generally served in small
portions and are meant to be finished at each meal.

Sam Gyeop Sal

If you like fried pork and are a hands-on food aficionado, this
is the dish for you. The best thing about Sam Gyeop Sal is
the soybean paste that accompanies it. It gives a whole new
taste to the dish.

But of course, this is what we liked and hence,


recommend. We strongly suggest you to not
limit yourself with these dishes and urge you
to choose some interesting combinations
yourself. The staff at the Hankook Sarang
is extremely friendly and will help you to
choose that perfect dish for your next culinary
adventure.

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NATURE&WILDLIFE

Protecting the Predator:

The Royal
Bengal Tiger
“God made the cat so that man might have the pleasure of
caressing the tiger.”

Text by Prita Malla


Photo Courtesy: WWF

Viewed with awe and fear because of its kg, the female, about 135-185 kg. Its coat
massive power and admired for its fiery is yellow to light orange, and the stripes
beauty, the shadowed presence of the ma- range from dark brown to black; the belly is
jestic feline permeates the forests where white, and the tail is white with black rings.
it still endures, and echoes hauntingly in The distinct markings are unique to each
those forests from which it has gone ex- individual tiger.
tinct.
The tiger is however a solitary animal. It’s
The largest of the cats and the ultimate most frequent social interactions are be-
predator on land, tigers have existed on the tween the female and her cubs. An adult
Asian sub-continent since prehistoric times, male and female are associated briefly, for
both enthralling and terrifying mankind. two to three days for the purpose of mat-
These are evident from various records and ing. This can take place all year round
descriptions in centuries-old literature and with most tigers preferring the days after
monuments, in the philosophies of Sana- the rainy season. After a gestation period of
tan Hinduism and Buddhism. approximately103 days, two to five cubs are
born to the female. Newborn cubs weigh
The majestic tiger is a fascinating specimen around a kilogram (2.2 lbs) and are blind at
to study. It is capable of killing animals sev- birth. A female with small cubs keeps a low
eral times its own size. The average size of a profile. The cubs depend on the mother
male Bengal tiger is slightly less than three for the first 18 months and then they start
meters; that of a female is about 2.5 m. The hunting on their own. The female tiger
average weight of a male tiger is 180-230 can have cubs as early as at the age of three

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years; males reach maturity by the time side or rear and kills its prey with a bite to
they are four. In prime habitat, a tigress the neck or the back of the head.
Tigers gorge themselves
may give birth to cubs every two years, until often consuming 18–20
she is ten years old. The average reproduc- The tiger is the top predator in the food pyr-
tive life of a female is just about six years; amid of a forest ecosystem and consumes a
kg of meat at one time as
whereas, that of the male is less than three variety of animals and as such, it is also an they may not be successful
years. The life span of a tiger in the wild is indicator of the health of that ecosystem.
estimated to be less than twenty years. Bengal tigers are classified as obligate car-
hunting again for several
nivores, meaning that they have a strict diet days.
Tigers are very territorial. They occupy of meat. The tiger is also an opportunistic
relatively large habitats: the size usually hunter, preying upon animals of all sizes, mestic livestock are also preyed upon, if
depends on the prey density of the area. ranging from the adult Gaur, to the Langur found near its habitat. A normal tiger al-
They mark their territories with urine on and birds. The nature of the tiger’s hunt- ways avoids contact with human beings.
trees and bushes and by marking their trav- ing method and prey availability results in a Hunger though, is the most likely factor
eling route by scraping the ground. Its ideal ‘feast or famine’ feeding style. Tigers gorge that overrides the tiger’s aversion to man.
habitat includes forests with tall alluvial themselves often consuming 18–20 kg of The incidence of man-eating cases has
grasslands that have water. Such habitat meat at one time as they may not be hunt- however been associated with a number of
provides sufficient cover for concealment, ing again for several days. reasons: an incapacitated tiger, the escala-
for stalking its prey, and for hiding its kills. tion of competition among males, distur-
Tigers have dens in caves, tree hollows and In Nepal, specifically, the tiger preys upon bances in the natural predator-prey bal-
dense vegetation. Dependent on sight and a wide variety of prey species, including the ance, due to increased human interference
hearing rather than smell, the tiger stalks its Sambar deer, swamp deer, spotted deer, in and around its habitat and the tigers be-
prey and once it is close, attacks from the hog deer, barking deer, and wild pig. Do- ing pushed to a marginal habitat.

Looking for tigers has to be one of the great-


est and often most exciting wildlife experi-
ences. Not only do they hold a particular
mythical hold on us as apex predators, but
they are also very elusive and really well
camouflaged.

The national parks of Nepal are open on


daily basis. From October to January, veg-
etation is green and lush after the mon-
soons, and it’s harder to see tigers because
of the tall grasses and heavy foliage. How-
ever, from February to May, temperatures
rise, the grass wilt and die, landscapes turn
to dust and water dries up, making it a good

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and sambar would burst at the seams. This


A normal tiger always over-population problem would then total- Fast Facts
avoids contact with human ly ravage its food source - vegetation. If the • Type: Mammal
plants in the jungles were to be finished,
beings. what would refurbish the soil? If the soil
• Diet: Carnivore
• Size: Head and body, 1.5 to 1.8 m; tail, 0.6 to
time to see and photograph wildlife. Tigers was no longer fertile, new plants would not 0.9 m
in the national parks can be viewed either grow. Over the years, this would mean thin- • Weight: 109 to 227 kg
from open vehicles on game drives or from ning jungles and then the end of jungles as • Protection status: Endangered
the back of elephants. Increasingly parks we see them now. • Did you know?
have or are considering locating machans
• A group of tigers is called a streak
or wildlife hides to enhance viewing oppor- An end to jungles also means the disap-
• A tiger’s roar can be heard as far as 3 km away.
tunities and experiences. pearance of the biggest suppliers of oxygen.
• Most tigers have more than 100 stripes, and no
This is a very simple description of what
two tigers have identical stripes.
Sadly, the tenuous relationship between the result of tiger extinction could mean to
• If you were to shave the fur from a tiger it would
tigers and humans has pushed this mag- our own survival. The challenge of saving still have stripes.
nificent creature to the brink of extinction. the tiger is what lies at the heart of its con-
• It is believed that the two white dots on the
Poised at the top of the ecosystem, the en- servation. A world without tigers is a world back of a tiger’s ears are designed to act as a
dangered tiger is an indicator of an ecosys- without hope—like a clear night’s sky with- visual beacon to enable the cubs to follow their
tem that is in crisis. People continue to kill out stars. A world without tigers would be parent.
tigers and to overwhelm landscapes where a terrible loss, symbolizing a morbid disre- • All tigers have a similar marking on their
tigers once roamed freely. gard for nature and our heritage. It is not forehead, which resembles the Chinese symbol
necessary for every one of us to take world- Wang, meaning King.
There are very few people who understand awakening steps. All we have to really do is • It is estimated that Bengal tigers are still being
the true importance of protecting the tiger. influence those that are a part of our lives. killed by poachers and villagers at the rate of
one per day.
Most people think of it as saving a magnifi- Obviously, anyone wanting to do more
cent looking animal. This is but a small than that is more than welcome to lend a • We could lose the wild tiger in as little as five
yrs time.
fraction of why we need to save this incred- hand in the movement. Look at saving the
ible feline. If the tiger became extinct, the • The tiger has only one predator...MAN!
tiger as a test: if we pass, we get to keep the
population of prey species like spotted deer planet.

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perfecttaKeAWAYS

pashmina Perennially In Vogue

What better gift for a loved one, intended to spread warmth


than a pashmina throw that literally warms the body.
Text by Prasanna Pandey

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can hardly be supplanted by any other type


of fine wool fabric. In fact, warmth and tex- From a distance a shawl
ture are the sole indicators of the quality of
a pashmina product.
made of pashmina looks
The origins of this fabric can be attributed
like any ordinary shawl
to the primeval human desire for warmth
in the inhospitable wintry chill. Seeking
made of fine wool. If
inspiration from Mother Nature, they in- you brush up against it
vented an ingenious method of acquiring
hairs from whatever goats they had grazing you may mistake it for a
around and weaving them into a fabric to
insulate themselves. To their astonishment cashmere shawl.
they discovered that the fabric they had
created was a sublime gift that exceeded
their expectations. The art of creating such
a fabric would be passed down through
generations within closed family circles
that would keep their art-form intact. As
the fame of pashmina grew and expanded
Each springtime the farmers native to the
beyond the family circles, introduction of
mountainous slope of this beautiful country
newer methodologies and technologies fur-
climb up its slopes to comb delicate woolen
ther enhanced the end product. Through
undercoat from the neck and chest of the
centuries of further experimentation
Himalayan Mountain goat, locally known
and refinement, pashmina evolved
as Chayangra (Capra Hircus). This rare
into a fabric cherished for its
breed of goat is generally found between
warmth and feel and in
altitudes of twelve thousand to fourteen
to the form familiar
thousand feet above sea level. To insulate
to us today.
them from the harsh Himalayan winters
these special goats develop a thin inner
coat which they shed during spring. Each
hair thus obtained is twelve to fourteen mi-
crons thick which is about one-sixth of the
human hair. This unique inner coat of
hair serves as the raw material; the end
product of which is a fabric popular-
ly known as pashmina. Pashmina is
a word derived from Persian ‘Pa-
shm’ which means finest wool
fiber.

From a distance a shawl


made of pashmina looks
like any ordinary shawl
made of fine wool. If
you brush up against it
you may mistake it for
a cashmere shawl. Only
when you drape it across
your shoulders will you
know how a pashmina shawl
is different from other fab-
rics. It has an exquisite, almost
inexplicably fine texture and neg-
ligible weight. The warmth it provides

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horizontally in a beam according to the


width of the fabric that is to be made. In
a shawl of width 90 cm there are typically
about 3800 yarn threads. After this process
the silk is inserted into a nylon net-
ting to give it patterns by a process
called ‘drafting’. After drafting the silk
thread, the spun yarn of pashmina is
used as a filling to weave the patterns
onto the shawl using a handloom. It is
then removed from the netting. It takes
about three hours to weave a shawl but
it has to undergo further processing before
it becomes ready for the market.

After the shawl is woven it is checked for


imperfections such as missing or extra
threads. If the threads are missing they are
Pashmina seems to be almost as old as the patched using needlework. Excessive pash-
culture that invented it. It was considered as mina or silk threads are either removed or
a status symbol since the days of its incep- tied into knots. The shawls are then gener-
tion. Prosperous families often gave it away ally subjected to a crushing force for ten to
as dowry to accompany their daughters in fifteen minutes which enhances their soft-
marriage. It adorned the walls of temples ness. Once the shawls are crushed briefly,
and monasteries during festivities. Leaders they are washed to prevent further shrink-
of a tribe or a village would be covered with age, remove odor and eliminate any stains
pashmina during such special ceremonies. and dirt that might have accumulated dur-
A parallel culture that evolved in the Kash-
mir valley also used similar hair and weav- Pure pashmina is much
ing methods to create a fabric that was not
very different from the fabric under discus-
warmer than the silk/
employ Tibetan artists especially for the
sion here. As far as quality is concerned, it is
a debatable fact as of which fabric is better.
pashmina blend and the dyeing process as it involves a very delicate
and intricate routine.
Kashmiri pashmina or ‘cashmere’ is docu- difference in warmth
mented to have originated in the 15th cen-
A typical silk/pashmina blend of fiber con-
tury and it received an unending patronage depends on the percent- sists of 70% pashmina and 30% silk. The
from the Mughal emperors that improved
the local cottage industries and the liveli- age of silk content in the distinction between a silk/pashmina blend
and 100% pure pashmina is the lustrous
hood of people living in that area for a few
centuries. Pashmina remained largely un- item. sheen obvious in the silk/pashmina blend
which is desirable on some occasions such
known to the world until the 19th century
as weddings and other formal events, where
when Napoleon Bonaparte gifted an ex- ing and after the weaving process. the dresses often are made of materials that
otic pashmina shawl to Empress Josephine
also have sheen, such as silk or satin. Pure
whereupon it became a craze in France. It The final process in pashmina manufac- pashmina is much warmer than the silk/pa-
is also said to have adorned the courts of ture is the process of dyeing the fabric. A shmina blend and the difference in warmth
Caesar and Mary Antoinette. Pashmina has huge container is maintained at a tem- depends on the percentage of silk content
held its own special place in history as the perature of 100 degrees Celsius throughout in the item.
fabric of choice of royaltiy and dignitaries the dyeing process where the fabric has to
around the world ever since. be continuously stirred to ensure the uni- The versatility of a Pashmina product in
formity of color. Some firms are known to the form of stoles, scarves, sweaters, muf-
Most of the commercially available pash-
flers and a host of other accessories is sure
mina is woven by hand in local handlooms.
to bring a touch of decadence to your ward-
The raw hair obtained from the chyangra
robe. This versatility coupled with its high
is stretched and cleaned by soaking it in
end fashion appeal make every pashmina
a mixture of rice and water for a few days.
product a unique masterpiece. Moreover,
This also makes the hair softer. Then the
if you plan on traveling light, an addition
hair is dried and woven on a spinning
of a pashmina accessory would not signifi-
wheel or charkha. The spinning process is
cantly add to your overall load. Since most
a performance that demands exceptional
of these products are exported abroad, why
levels of patience and dexterity and makes
not get a genuine pashmina product when
for a great viewing. If the pashmina is to be
you are in the area?
mixed with silk, the silk thread is wrapped

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festivalwatch

Gadhi Mai
Mela
A Journey of Hope

Text by Utsav Shakya


Photos by Rocky Prajapati

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A holy pond by the Gadhi Mai Temple

Every five years, the people of Bariyarpur ing two Hindu festivals while in Nepal, the yapur from Birgunj rendered most visitors
in Bara district ready themselves to witness thousands of Indian devotees had made speechless. The sheer number of people
one of the most popular Hindu festivals in their way to Bariyarpur via Birgunj. who had decided on taking this journey
the country – the Gadhi Mai Mela (festi- seemed to have brought with them an al-
val). Goddess Gadhi Mai’s modest temple The scene in Birgunj was no less busy than most tangible energy and sense of faith and
resides in this dusty little town, an hour and it surely was in Bariyarpur. The industrial joy. The air seemed charged with positive
a half’s drive away from the industrial town town is no tourist haven and hotels, lodges vibes. Men, women, children, the elderly
of Birgunj, in Parsa district of southern Ne- and restaurants there cater mostly to visit- had all crowded into trucks, buses and auto
pal. During the festival, devotees throng ing businessmen and locals. Never before rickshaws to get here. An old tractor strug-
this small village to pay their respects to had hotels and lodges in Birgunj been so gled with pulling along two trailers packed
Goddess Gadhi Mai. This year visitors jam packed as during the festival. Restau- beyond capacity with devotees of all ages,
came from as far away as Bihar in India as rants and shops teemed with the unfamil- their beddings as well as the animals they
well as neighboring towns, often crowding iar faces of tourists. Whereas traffic usually had brought along to sacrifice here. Aston-
already narrow roads. A lot of Indian devo- dies down by eight in the evening there, ishing numbers of people walked all the
tees had come to Janakpur, east of Birgunj, this time around, auto-rickshaws and trac- way to the festival, some of them doing so
for another huge Hindu festival - Bibaha tors carried devotees from across the border for more than a week. A lot of them had
Panchami, the marriage of Ram and Sita, towards Bariyarpur well past midnight. chosen to walk barefoot. They considered
characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana. the whole trail to the temple to be holy
Not being able to resist the lure of attend- The festive atmosphere on the way to Bari- ground. “There is no way we would walk
in with impure chappals,” said one woman,
The festive atmosphere on the way to Bariyapur her face partially veiled with one end of her
from Birgunj rendered most visitors speechless. sari.

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And when they got to Bariyarpur, it was


nothing less of chaotic, but in a very good
way. The contradiction was stark but in
strange ways, it seemed to work. The chaos
was beautiful. Around the temple grounds,
people had set up temporary shelters for
themselves - under parked trucks and trac-
tors, in the shade of huge trees, inside hired
buses that stood there in the warm sun wit-
nessing this amazing journey and festival.
The dry plains in the backdrop seemingly
stretched on forever. Children played in
these temporary settlements, hopping off
happily into adjacent fields, pleased with
their expansive, new playground. Women
chopped vegetables, cooked on wood 1
fires and called out to their children and
2 3

4
Astonishing numbers of people
walked all the way to the
festival, some of them doing so
for more than a week.
1. Devotees of all ages made it to the Gadhi
Mai Mela
2. The crowds at the Mela
3. A carnival in full swing behind the temple
premises
4. The sun sets on the fields surrounding the
temple

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husbands. The elderly played cards and


reminisced about times gone by as vehicles
carrying thousands moved slowly on the
single lane road. The line stretched back to
back all the way to Birgunj.

At the center of all this commotion is Ga-


dhi Mai, a goddess who reportedly helped a
man flee from prison to have her own stone
image moved to a new location. According
to mythology, the man - happy to be on the
other side of the bars - sacrificed an animal
for Gadhi Mai. She apparently asked for
more. As a poor man, he could only do this
every five years, said the man and so it be-
1 came. And so it is today. Every five years,

2 3

The air seemed charged with


positive vibes. Men, women,
children, the elderly had all
crowded into trucks, buses and
auto rickshaws to get here.
1. Devotees took what they could find to get
the temple
2. Vehicles were jam packed to capacity
3. The majority of the devotees walked to the
temple site
4. The line of the vehicles from Birgunj to
Bariyarpur

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1. The sight of the festival was anything but


boring
2. Most of the locals who offered sacrifices
took home the meat
3. The amazing number of the people who
turned up for the festival rendered many
speechless

2 The huge number of


devotees who came
on this pilgrimage to
Bariyarpur’s Gadhi Mai
temple were not there for
just the animal sacrifices.
This was but a small
part of the festival. The
festival is more about
hope, about optimism
and about the beliefs of
so many people pinned
on this one deity.
3

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1. Sweet shop and others small businesses


did well during the festival
2. Smaller, private sacrifices were happening
everywhere

animals and birds are sacrificed at the al-


most month long festival. In November of
1 2009, because the number of devotees who
literally swarmed the temple grounds every
day for the entire duration of the festival
2
was in the millions, the animal sacrifices
too increased exponentially.

On one of the main days this time around,


more than twenty thousand buffaloes were
beheaded as offerings to Gadhi Mai. The
total count of animal sacrifices this year, ac-
cording to some figures was 350,000. When
this news got international media coverage,
everyone from a French actress to a highly
placed Indian politician, also an ani mal
rights activist opposed the centuries-long
Hindu festival strongly. Letters were sent
to the Prime Minister and protest programs
were organized in the capital city to put
pressure on the government to stop the ani-
mal sacrifices from going ahead. Ironically,
a significant part of the funds for the festival
comes from India. In the end, the festival
went ahead as planned. The meat was sold
off to contractors in Kathmandu and the
local Chamar community took the hide,
which they use to make leather products.
The heads were buried in land specially al-
located for it.

But the huge number of devotees who


came on this pilgrimage to Bariyarpur’s Ga-
dhi Mai temple were not there for just the
animal sacrifices. This was but a small part
of the festival. The festival is more about
hope, about optimism and about the beliefs
of so many people pinned on this one de-
ity. Near the temple, a carnival was in full
swing, complete with food stalls and Ferris
wheels where young and old alike had a gala
time. As the sun went down, crowds left for
their homes. Tents were pulled down and
stalls were closed. Engines were revved to
start on the journey back. Bariyarpur would
have to wait another five years before the
Gadhi Mai Mela happened again.

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