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Friday, January 30, 2009

The International Mountain Museum

The International Mountain Museum (IMM) is a one of a kind museum, which is located at the gateway of mountain range in Ratna Paira, Gairi Patan Pokhara. It is spread in an area of 100 Ropanies (5.10 Hectares, 12.58 Acres) where collection, documentation and display of the natural history and culture of the Himalayas and the world mountains are orchestrated in a pristine way.
Currently, it is run under the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) with the theme to raise awareness about mountains and its overall habitat.

The museum was first opened in May 29, 2002 by the famous climbers Junko Tabei and Appa Sherpa, graced by the then Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bal Bahadur K.C. where as the Grand Opening was done in February 05, 2004 by the present Prime Minister of the time Surya Bahadur Thapa.

Basically, the museum is categorized in four sections.

1. Mountain People Gallery: This gallery gives brief introduction of the customs, traditions, heritage, culture and life style of mountain people. It is divided into two sub sections Mountain people of Nepal and Mountain People of the world. A. The mountain people of Nepal section: This segment focuses on the customs, traditions and cultures of the mountain people of Nepal. Similarly, it’s also focuses on their dresses, ornaments, musical instruments, household utilities and other cultural activities.
B: The Mountain people of the world section: This segment focuses on the cultural and traditional aspect of people living in countries like Taiwan, Slovenia, and Japan. Moreover, this section also exhibits photographs of people living in the Alpine Mountains of Europe from the past 50yrs.

2. World Mountain Gallery: This gallery holds the geological facts about the origin of world mountain system, highest summits, geological information, flora and fauna of the Himalayan region, research on mountain etc. This section is also divided into fours sub section like Mountain section, Geological section, Flora and fauna section and Corner of dedication
3. Mountain Activities Gallery: This section is dedicated to mountaineers as it holds the presences of equipment of different world famous mountaineers, their cloths and photographs of the different expedition at different intervals of times. It also displays the development of the climbing gears and required equipments for mountaineering, climbing and other mountain activities.
4. Associates' Gallery: Focusing developments of the different local NGOS and INGOS at the Himalayan region, this section focuses on the development work performed by different agencies like ACAP, ICIMOD, IUCN, WWF etc.

The museum is equipped with various amenities of modern day technology in facilitating the need of the work group; like such it encompasses a conference hall with a capacity of 150 people, an Audio Visual hall, mountain viewing platform, ramps and other necessary equipments.
The IMM is an educational center for research on anthropology, sociology, mountaineers, ecology for the researchers, tourists, students and general public which serves in giving knowledge for people where it gives a new perspective to see the growing trend of mountaineering and the civilization.

Compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Dwarika's Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort, Dhulikhel

Excluded and serrated in the explicit natural vegetation of abstract scenic views, the Dwarika's Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort is an enduring hotel property that resides within 30KM from the valley at 1700m height in Dhulikhel. The hotel property is distributed among the rough terrain of 68 ropnies, which marvel nature from every point. Located in the distinct location facing north to the Mahabharat range, the scenic views of the valley and the different mountain range assumes as an illusion captured in a pictorial canvas which can be viewed from most of the rooms. Perhaps the delighting factor about Dwarika’s can be seen through its sense of architectural essence of authentic Nepali culture and tradition which is incorporated with in its vicinity.

From the entrance, with passage passing through the steps in the pristine forest of Pine and Rhododendron simulates it as a natural amphitheater. Similarly, the running water brooks, cascade pool and a host of species of birds, butterflies and animals sanctifies your vision. Apart from the scenic views, focusing more toward the traditional building style, currently the resort has thirty six rooms with all modern amenities of which sixteen rooms are housed in four traditional Newari architectural style units and five units built in traditional Gurung architectural style. Perhaps, the pathways wind up between the bushes and trees that lead to the various types of accommodations. The rooms are uncluttered and stylish with traditional soft furnishings and decorative items; wooden flooring with throw rugs on the floors and each room has its own garden space with hammocks and lounge chairs. The bathrooms offer bathtubs replacing it with an outdoor feeling shower stall and with the large windows offer fantastic views. Each room has tea/coffee making facilities with a choice of normal and herbal teas and coffee. The identifying charter in the basic design of the rooms is that the living space is differentiated according to the need of the customer. Hence, the accommodation stresses on the theme “ones own outside space”.

The north niches upon which most of the rooms are faced gives enthralling and breathtaking views of mountain range that seems like a timeless illusion through the screen window from the dawn till the dusk.

The property also includes recess points like:
The Himalayan restaurant located in the central block is open all day and offers multi cuisine as well as specialized set of menus and is facilitated by a fireplace and terrace where occasional BBQ's in wild are catered seasonally.
Shangri-La Bar, Lounge & Library also located in the central block below the restaurant opens mid-morning and offers a full service bar with a very wide choice of cocktails, hard / soft beverages including its own wine cellar and has two fireplaces. Specialized BBQ’S every day during winter months with bon fires in the terrace is a schedule program. Perhaps, the live traditional folk music and “Himalayan Happy Hour” offers the customer to enjoy the stay.
Conference and Meetings
Located above the restaurant can capacitate 60 guests and is equipped with a wide range of modern conference aids.

Moreover, the personalized check-in and escort to rooms welcome drink, masseurs and cold/hot towels on arrival are some of the fast points of the resort which certainly helps a customer relate him/her to the service provided.

Likewise, a host of activities is on offer like hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting and kayaking in the Bhote Koshi, bungy jumps, bird watching trips and visits to the old Newari town of Dhulikhel and religious centers in and around according to the choices and interest of the arrivals. The sunrise and sunset view point is located within the Village Resort and is just a short walk from the guest accommodations which stand live for its experience. Seeking interest of the guest, the resort adapts to the needs of arrivals in accordance to their feasibility. The destination has lucrative packages understanding the needs of the customers where they can stay for an extended period and maintain their health regimen while enjoying the diversity offered through resort activity programs.

The Dwarika’s Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort provides vast arrays of services and amenities for entire families, groups, and singles couples with varying tastes.

Though modern but static the Dwarika’s Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort stands as a craftsmanship of relaxation and rejuvenation within the vivid natural habitat highlighting the cultural heritage of describing Dwarika’s as a heritage hotel property.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Fulbari Resort & Spa- A Brilliant Destination

The Fulbari Resort & Spa is situated within the lap of mystic hills of Pokhara acclimatizing the traditional decor of Newari architecture in an enthralling way. It offers an unparallel panoramic view of Fishtail and Annapurna mountain range to the north and the breathtaking Seti River Gorges to the South creating an exhilaration of nature at its best.

Traditional but complementing the Newari architecture of Nepal’s golden age stands live as a testament of the beauty and richness of Newari culture promoted by ancient Newari kings of Kathmandu Valley.

Spread out in 100 acres of land, the Fulbari is an unparalleled and most explicit Hotel property in Nepal. Being the biggest and largest hospitality service provider, it replete with various befitting facilities, utilities and outlets thorough its well-trained and friendly professionals.

Currently there are seven different wining and dining outlets where Masala Bazaar offers spicy Asian cuisine against musical backdrop, Komagane is a gourmet’s delight for authentic Japanese teppenyaki food. Perhaps other unique style of service can be experienced at Hanging Garden, Gurkha Bar, Base Camp Discotheque, Café Fulbari & Rainbow Lounge.

Another attraction is the Yeti’s Golf Course, it is a 9 Hole Executive Golf Course designed to be Nepal’s most iconic and unique course that challenges not only amateurs but also pros.

Moreover, the Casino and a full-fledged Spa adds flavor to the taste of luxury.
Additional recreation activities in both onsite and offsite are available. Onsite Recreational Activities: Outdoor ozonated and heated swimming pool with attached Jacuzzi and swim-up bar, Children’s splash pool and playground, Pony ride trail, Shopping Arcades, Jogging trail, Tennis court, clay and grass, Traditional Dances, Snooker, Table Tennis and Meditation/Yoga (by request) where as Offsite Recreational Activities: Day hikes around the several hills surrounding Pokhara valley, Gorge-walk, explore the gorges that surround the Fulbari, white-water rafting/kayaking, Canyoning and Fresh-water fishing.

Different packages like School Excursion Package, Honeymoon Package, Casino Package, Summer Package, Golfing Package and Recreation Package are available for both domestic and foreign tourist.

Perhaps, the 165 exquisitely appointed super deluxe accommodations are the primary equipped with exuberant views, each north-facing niche offers panoramic views of the mighty Annapurna Range, dominated in the middle by the "Fish Tail" peak of Mount Machhapuchhre. The southern enclaves open up to the grand vista of the Green Canyon and the Seti Gorge. The other 151 deluxe rooms are configured into single, double, King- and Queen-sized niches, all luxuriously appointed with all amenities and facilities in place.

The Fulbari offers nine landmark suites, each named after the ethnically and culturally diverse districts of Nepal. The Kantipur, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur suites represents the Newar civilization of Kathmandu Valley where as the Helumbu and Namche suites reflect the Northeast Sherpa Region, Jomsom represents the Northwestern Nepalese-Tibetan region, similarly, The Palpa suite reflects western Nepal, while the Dhankuta and Ilam suites reflects the near-eastern and far-eastern portions of Nepal. In addition to the royal amenities listed above, the landmark suites offer much larger rooms with wider views of the surrounding gardens/landscapes and all suites are luxuriously appointed with all amenities and facilities in place. Moreover it also offers 4 junior suites, each named after legendary universal beauties Nepal’s Rajamati, India’s Mumtaj, Greece's Helen, and Egypt's Cleopatra.

The rooms offer incomparable style and elegance, decorated with traditional Hindu and Buddhist artworks. All rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies to allow breathtaking views of the resort’s landscaped gardens and the Himalayas.
Each room has a private bath, hairdryer, mini-bar, cable T.V., international telephones, air-conditioning, and fire protection systems.

Likewise the facility of Meeting / Banquet Hall is also available with a capacity of 200 people to conduct a small meeting or conference.

Moreover, it is an ideal location for vacation, conclusive conferencing or relaxation for any type of business, leisure and pleasure. The exclusive traditional decor with perfect natural ambience rejuvenates and gives the essence of beauty and relaxation. In fact, it can be categorized as an ideal place free from city hustle with the main mantra of rejuvenation and discovering the diverse aspect of nature and beauty.

As said beauty lies in the eyes of beholder like such Fulbari Resort & SPA is a brilliant destination created with human wonder acclimatizing the modernity and cultural ethnicity in the most profound way.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thamel congestion eased :Thanks to the traffic volunteers

Due to lack of proper management, Thamel suffered the consequences of being a tourist hub with in its petite streets and corners where tourists are bound to face the risk of noise pollution, traffic congestion and other irregularities.

Like such, one of the impeding problems in Thamel is vehicle congestion which to an some extent seems to have been managed. Though, the past Vehicle Regulated Zone seemed as a better option, due to lack of funds its existence took its toll. Now talking about the recent activities Thamel these days is pretty much well managed with in the coordinated effort of Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC), Community Police and Community Service Society (CSS). The new traffic system was inaugurated by Hisila Yami, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation on the World Tourism Day, 27 September 2008.

Jaya Prakash Shrestha, Executive Member and a volunteer of the Community Service Society said, “This is just an effort where we have tried to use the local source. When we started, we had to face a lot of problems where we lacked various resources but now looking at those days seems like a dream. These days it’s much easier to do the job as the people and taxi drivers, they obey us. Basically, the problem is the numbers of Vehicles are growing but the roads are limited where they have less scope or no scope of expansion but still if they can be managed with alternative routes then the traffic problem could be solved. If only the divers and motorcyclists could be in discipline then the congestion problem could be sorted out.”

“The best option for Thamel traffic management is VRZ which has shown its result but due to lack of funds it died out so now the question here is about making Thamel a better place where we all should do an effort from our side.”

Currently there are eight volunteers who are working to manage the traffic in peak hours. These volunteers are trained by the traffic police and are instructed to manage the traffic with in the stipulated time. Adapting the need of the time the Himalayan Bank Ltd has extended financial support for the cause.

Ramesh Giri, Head Constable at the Community Police said, “We have tried to manage the traffic of Thamel and surely TTDC and Himalayan bank have certainly played a crucial role in today’s improving traffic management in the area.
From the last one year, we have tried to regulate the traffic and today to some extent we are able to control it. The first thing that we need to understand is traffic congestion can be controlled by trained personnel so traffic authorities should increase the number of traffic police.”

“Perhaps for the sustainable management, all the stake holders should work together where the locals and the clubs in house should further put their effort. Currently, we lack resources and if the related organization could financial support us, then we could further work in giving prominent results,” added he

Though, the new traffic system seems to have well addressed the traffic congestion problem for the time being but a relative question has been raised by experts that even the well managed system like VRZ could not acclimatized Thamel so this new system is not a better option where the authorities should further labor to find a permanent solution for Thamel and its congestion.

Surrendra Kumar Shrestha, President of TTDC said, “TTDC has been working for the betterment of Thamel and it is due to our efforts that Thamel is current more managed. We are further planning to make a separate taxi stand where it would be managed by iron railing. Further more, we have also devised a controlling mechanism to counter other problems of Thamel integrating different stake holders and we are further moving to make Thamel a better tourist hub where a tourist could feel safe. We are further planning to make information centers and properly channelize tourist police in Thamel where necessary works are being done.”

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

NTB completes 10 th year

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) celebrated its 10th anniversary on November 18, 2008 at its abode at Brikutimandap. NTB was established under the Public Private Partnership in 1998 seeking the opportunity and scope to promote and establish Nepal as a prominent tourist destination worldwide by maintaining, improving and diversifying the available tourism products and services.

With the different tourism campaigns like Destination Nepal Campaign, Festival of Life, Naturally Nepal Brand Campaign, Regional Tourism Campaign, Visit Pokhara Year 2007 and Send Home a friend campaign bagged under its belt, it is moving towards future achievement showing the commitments and efforts.

The Chief Geust, Hisila Yami, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) inaugurated the program.

Speaking at the program Minister Yami said, “NTB is a Successful example of the Public Private Partnership with a concerted effort of Promoting Nepal as a popular tourist destination in the global travel market. Operating with various constraints from financial to human resource is obvious an arduous and challenging work which NTB has been undertaking over this decade. But every challenge has opportunity which this institution has to further explore and expand. The present favorable situation in the country’s politics is the strongest base for the development of tourism industry of Nepal. In addition, government of Nepal has placed tourism in the priority list of the national income resource. It has already taken initiative by declaring this year, the year of infrastructure development and 2011 as the Nepal Tourism Year. Moreover, we have already committed to build second international airport, two regional airports, upgrading and expanding other domestic airport and development of Nepal’s tourism industry.”
“Improving the management of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) into fully equipped airport are further in pipeline which show the government‘s sincere policy and action towards the development. Likewise, we are also working in improving the management of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and starting the process of purchasing at least two wide body aircraft articulate government’s policy and action towards the development of Nepal’s tourism industry,” Minister Yami added.

The minister unveiled the new ‘In Focus 2008’ the publication of NTB, where she also felicitated the different NTB employees and distributed awards to the winners of the sports activities of the organization. Moreover, this year the best employee award was awarded to Raj Bhandari where as the support staff was given to Gautam Lal Darshandhari. Similarly, National Forum of Photo Journalists (NFPJ) was awarded the award for Partnership in tourism promotion.

Ranan Lurie, an international painter presented his presentation on Uniting painting.

During the program the Sadhana Kala Kendra performed different ethnic dances where Megh Ale, President of the Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT) presented concept paper of tourism for peace and prosperity 2008 to the minister.

Prachanda Man Shrestha, Chief Executive Officer of NTB said, “Personally, I have a strong emotional attachment with this institution. I have seen this organization grow and mature every year with greater responsibility. This decade of NTB has been the decade of hardship and challenges. It has witnessed both international and national upheavals, uncertainties and condition which obviously have had detrimental impact on industry. Therefore NTB has to continuously strive for the overall tourism promotion of Nepal to enhance its image as a safe, secure and pleasant holiday destination for the tourist in various segments from all over the world. But now we feel like a day break in Nepal’s tourism industry due to the improving political stability, peace and aspirations of the stake holders in this field. Government is fully committed to build infrastructure and to encourage investment and private sector is all set and energized to take up the enterprise with vigor and confidence. NTB as a promotional body of Nepalese tourism is fully aware of the upcoming opportunities and is vigilant of the possible challenges in its future course of action.”

Ram Chandra Man Singh, General Secretary at the MoCTCA said, “NTB from its past has been a pillar of support to the tourism industry. Its role and effort during the conflicting situation is highly appreciable to manage the countries tourism. NTB is a spirit of public private partnership which was established to promote tourism and it should work in that spirit adapting all the stakeholders’ aspirations.”

Apart from all the celebration, the tourism journalists’ fraternity expressed their discontinuation of journalist award and for not recognizing their contribution by NTB despite immense role in helping NTB’s tourism promotion campaign both nationally and internationally.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Nepalese Tourism finally revived

The numbers of arrivals during September and October 2008, have certainly brought smiles to tourism entrepreneurs where their expectations are met with good tourist turnouts.
Ram Shrestha, a tourism entrepreneur in Thamel said, “Thamel certainly looks crowded these days. Perhaps, the authorities should focus on regulating Thamel in a more systematic and coordinated way where Vehicle regulated Zone should come in effect. The priority today is to establish information centers in Thamel where tourists can access quality information. We need to create better environment where they can feel at home”

Currently the tourist hubs like Thamel, Chitwan , Pokhara, Sauraha etc are fully booked, the situation have crossed the limits where the hotels are charging high prices to the arrivals due to the congestion.

Likewise, Yaubraj Basnet, Manager at the Candle Inn, Pokhara said, “In comparison to last year, this year the tourist turnout certainly look promising. The current on going peace process has certainly benefited the flow, though we are fully booked for the month of December but still the recent untoward incidents in the capital certainly have created a stir, we don’t know the future but we expect it to be better. Moreover, the government should react to such happening and should create a mechanism to deal with the situation.”

Pravesh Lamichhane, Trekking Manager at the Tenzing Asian Holidays said, “The numbers of arrivals in the October was good where the Free Individual Tourist (FIT) had surely increased but now the numbers have dropped but in comparison to last years data its surely good. First thing what we need to understand is Nepal’s tourism is based on repetitive and individual marketing where the role of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is very much limited.”

“We just need to give better services and the numbers would soar. Perhaps if the current government could focus on easy VISA procedures and could give better facilities to the arrivals then we can certainly expect more. As currently from the time they enter Nepal they face problem right from TIA.”

Adapting the government declaration to celebrate the year 2011 as the “Nepal Tourism Year” experts have already predicated it to be more ambitious and impractical as in current scenario when we are not been able to cater the normal growth then talking about the 1 million tourists seems unpractical in situation where we lack proper infrastructures and airseats to meet the rising demand.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Feel free with Linen

Feeling free with comfort is the real expression which defines Linen. Tagged with high prices and luxury and adapting the commercial market, Linen defines its value with in the comfort of its customers.
Linen is a natural fabric produced from fibers of the flax plant which is highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat. Linen fabric feels cool to the touch and is 2 to 3 times stronger than cotton.

Whether its casual, leisure wear, party wear or corporate formals, Linen Fabrics have always been preferred by the trend setters for creating a difference.
Linen fabrics have a high natural luster; their natural color ranges between shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or grey. Pure white Linen is created by heavy bleaching where the linen softens on further wash. Typically, Linen has a thick and thin character with a crisp and textured feel to it but it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth. When properly prepared, Linen fabric has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.

The plant of Linen is sown in April where it produces blur flowers in June and is harvested in August. After pulling, the crop is laid out in the fields to ret, a process where the woody bark of the plant is naturally rotted so that the fibers come loose from the main stem and then it’s further processed to turn it into a cloth.

Looking back to the history, Ancient Egyptians believed that linen was a gift of the God and regarded it as sacred. Linen was used in holy ceremonies and it was the only fabric which leaders of worship were allowed to wear as it symbolized cleanliness and purity. It was also used extensively in the mummifying process, beside gold, as it helped to preserve the dead body, thus ensuring that the deceased’s remains remained immortal.
Legend has it that queen Cleopatra, after her daily aromatic bath would rest in a bed full of Linen pillows filled with flaxseed. Since, it would not aggravate her delicate, alabaster-like skin and body.

The production of linen continued through the middle ages, but it was not until the 17th century that the industry started to develop in structured way, initially under the guidance of Earl Stafford and the Duke of Ormond.

In 1949, Jaya Shree Textiles, a unit of Indian Rayon and Industries Ltd., and Aditya Birla Group Company took the first initiative to bring this nature’s gift of spinning into a world class weaving and finishing plant. The yarn is spun, woven and processed by importing French and Belgian flax fiber. The plant is still the only facility for Linen spinning in the sub-continent with state-of-art-technology.

Compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Wedding to remember

Adapting the rich culture and tradition of Nepal, Kate Wharton a British citizen and Alexandre Wahart a French citizen tied knots of marriage in a traditional Nepalese style here at the Thamel House Restaurant on November 20, 2008. The duo got their paper certification of marriage a few weeks ago from France and came to Nepal to make their wedding more special by tying knot in authentic Nepalese style.
Making a round trip of Thamel, the duo enjoyed their marriage procession moving with the Panche baja towards the marriage venue on a rickshaw. The duo came here under a group of 16 member dental doctors team where they conducted dental camps at different parts of the country like Pharping, Bungamati, Jawalakhel Refugee camp and Tahachal from November 9 to 16. Dressed up in the traditional attire, the groom was suited in Daura Surwal where as the bridge was in a beautiful Banarasi sari. After reaching the venue, the priest conducted various rituals and karmas of the traditional marriage.
According to the bridge and groom, “Nepalese culture is very rich that stands firm for its high values and traditions. Since, we visited the country and worked with Nepalese so we wanted to feel the culture and tradition from inside where marriage gave us a chance to know and be a part of Nepal and Nepalese society."
"The experience was beautiful and we will cherish this for our whole lives,” added the couple.

Sunil Joshi, Manager of the Himalayan Dolpo Natural Trekking (P) Ltd said, “This is our first experience of conducting foreign marriage in Nepalese style. We have tried our level best to put this marriage as rich and cultural as any Nepalese wedding could possibly happen. Today the cultural tourism is booming where tourists want to feel the real culture and tradition of the foreign land. Moreover, this kind of events certainly helps them to feel and remember Nepal in a new and a different way.”

The marriage lauded the message of traditional and eco-friendly concept where the duo idealized the use of rickshaw and traditional Panche Baja. Moreover, adapting the trend Anne Lelong, Director of the Himalayan Dolpo Natural Trekking (P) Ltd said, “It’s just the new way of celebration where the couple, they wanted it to be memorable for their lifetime. They are basically volunteers and living with the Nepalese community, where they wanted to feel and experience the real taste of culture, so they tied knots in a traditional Nepali style.”

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

The Royal Orchid Holidays : A unique set of holiday package of Thai Airlines

The Royal Orchid Holidays (ROH) is a brand holiday package managed by the Thai airways world wide facilitating travelers and tourists in indulging themselves with the best travel services available. Currently, the ROH is following different tourists’ destination like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Greece, Bhutan, Lijiang, Maldives, India, Sweden and South Africa among others.

The packages focus on different quality services like sightseeing, golf package, spa treatment etc commemorating the amenities available according to the will and interest of the travelers and tourists. Moreover, the ROH packages adapt quality of standards where they have linked themselves to a chain of hotels with the status of their quality and reputation around the world.

In Nepal the ROH is managed by Yeti Travels Pvt Ltd where the agency is well known for its operation and standards.
According to Uttam Karki, Dy. Manager-Travel at the Yeti Travel, “ROH are the best holiday packages, which guarantees the benefit of quality services and standards. It’s a broad concept of qualitative service that comforts you in indulging to the best travel services of what are available in the following destinations. You just choose the package and everything is set in and every penny is worth spending. When you take the package, you don’t need to worry about anything it’s us the partner agencies who take care of everything including from airport pick up to accommodation.”

“Currently, we are selling packages for Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia where the services and facilities are based according to the places and customer’s pocket size,” added Karki.

The quoted tour price includes transportation, transfers, accommodation, some meals, service charge, government tax, tours etc, as outlined in each tour description. Tour price is based on a minimum participation of two members. For one person traveling alone a surcharge as detailed in the price list will be levied.
Expenses other than those specified in each tour itinerary e.g. airport taxes, meals, sightseeing, cost of passport, visas or other documentation, laundry, liquor, excess baggage charges, tips, personal or baggage insurance, cable, telephone or communications charges, or any items of a personal nature are not included in the price quoted. In the accommodation, the standards are maintained according to the choices made in by the customers. Accommodation is in a shared twin-bedded room, with a supplementary charge for single occupancy. For a third occupant sharing the same room, a roll-away bed will be provided.

In larger cities and major beach resorts the quality of every aspect of highest international standards, are met, but in more remote locations and adventure destinations first class hotels are provided with moderate facilities. In these situations, Royal Orchid Holidays will arrange the best standards of accommodation available in each category. All ROH include American breakfast. Some itineraries also include other meals, as shown in each description. Meals are indicated in the text by: B-breakfast, L-lunch and D-dinner.

Private cars, microbuses or motor coaches are used for passengers awaiting commencement of the tours and transfers depending on number of participants traveling on the same day. In all major destinations tours and transfers are on a seat-in-coach/car basis. The ROH are pre-arranged packages and no individual program changes or modifications can be made. THAI reserves the right to rearrange the order of any tour itinerary, to cancel or to substitute elements of any plan without notice when local conditions force such changes.

ROH are not usually accompanied by a tour escort. All sightseeing tours and most transfers are operated on a seat-in-coach basis, including the services of a local English-speaking guide.

For further information click on to www.royalorchidholidays.com
(Compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thamel transcending to a Red Light Area

Today, Thamel has developed itself as an epicenter of entertainment and glamour. From its origin, it was established with the theme to satisfy the needs of tourists in every desired way, in-fact it caters all sort of entertainment from visual to physical to mental giving the stance of it being a hub. Likewise, today it has transcended itself to a new hub of glitter and glamour where it wakes-up in the night showcasing a new exhilaration and excitement in satisfying sexual needs and wants.

To be precise the growing numbers of Massage Centers and Cabin Restaurants in the periphery have created an attraction for young men and teenagers from around the valley in habituating a craze of sexual activities in its abode.
Namgyal Lama, President of Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC) said, “Thamel is a tourist hub, the way it is expanding and exploited with such social hazard activities has been a question to all. It has become a red light zone acclimatizing all its sexual activities in name of commercialization.”

Currently, there are more than 30 Dance Restaurants and 200 Massage Centers in Thamel where majority of such involve in sexual activities highlighting and giving stance to its audacity. On one hand it is against the law to sell or buy sexual activities whereas on the other it is directly creating a social menace.

In same view Lama stated that the issue is very sensitive and outsiders cannot help it, in-fact the Thamel residences should initiate an effort, which would be worth and effective. “In a tourist hub like Thamel where more than 2400 businessmen pay taxes, the government should give priority and security”, he added. We have formed a committee named Thamel Reform Committee (TRC) to channel the local bodies to clean such harzards. We are in the process of action.

He suggested, “Firstly, the activities of massage center and dance restaurants should be limited to professional level having no alternative for sexual activities and secondly there is no scope of dance restaurants in Thamel, as it does not interest the tourists and foreigners so it should be controlled. Moreover, the people of Thamel should be aware that just by paying an extra buck they should not rent their houses to such dance restaurants and massage centers.”

In today’s context when the sexual activities are openly run in such hub, the social scientists have already predicted a dramatic impact in the socio culture status of the society. In view of Tapan Kumar Dahal, Inspector of Sorkhutta Police Station said, “We are very trapped in situation of dilemma as when we raid on Massage Centers and Dance Restaurants the pressure groups like NGOs, INGOs and other women oriented organization gives us pressure and when we don’t take action, the public blame us saying we are working in hand with such group.”

Just few days back, during a raid in 8 major massage centers at Thamel, 26 girls and 9 guys were caught red handed in sexual activities. The girls caught aged from 18 to 35 where on investigation they reasoned poverty, lack of employment and illiteracy as their prime reason for involvement, according to Dahal. “This is just a beginning as we have initiated a full house operation where we do detail investigation,” he said.

Focusing on the professional ethics, he said that it is the duty of the Police to clean out such social menace and we are fulfilling it with a proactive and progressive approach. Moreover the public and police department should work together in such issues, which directly affects the societal values, norms and law.

From few days the Massage Center and Dance Restaurant issue have been raised, creating a media sensation of sex tourism and it effect but still the question of its legalization and implication lies hidden and un-addressed.

Similarly, Prof. Dr Rudra Pd. Updhayay, Central Dept of Economic and rural Development T.U Kirtipur said, “Sex tourism is a part of tourism which cannot be denied but sex industry is such controversial issue that it cannot be bypassed. From it origin sex industry has coherently adapted the culture and society. So the question of totally eradicating is impossible rather it can be controlled and regulated in a specified form.”

“The increase in sexual activities in Thamel and other hubs are the direct effect of inflation, violence and displaced situation. Moreover, women and sex industry is a sensitive issue which needs to be addressed with higher priority where women exploitation should be well address,” said Dr Updhayay.

Though Thamel has totally adapted the modern theme of tourism and entertainment, it lacks effective measures of monitoring and controlling which has resulted in such social deteriorating state. Perhaps the question of sex and sex tourism in tourism industry stands as a question seeking an answer.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Festivals after festivals: Effective or vain

Celebration is the part of life and showcasing it in the form of festivals is a way of promotion. But here we are not talking about the festivals like Dashain or Indra Jatra but the unending festivals that Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has been promoting over the years. In the recent years, NTB is more seen busy in endorsing such festivals and promoting local villages for tourism activities. The year round festival of NTB doesn’t seem to stop and every year this trend is only soaring higher and higher. As per the statistics NTB hosted around 40 events and festival celebrations in 2007 alone in different parts of Nepal. Now the question remains, how effective these festivals have been to promote tourism in real sense? Does it really help?

Mani Raj Lamichhane, Manager at the Tourism Product & Development NTB said, “We are the facilitator as the locals, they come up with the proposals and we evaluate their proposals and support them with necessary resources that are available.”

“Currently there is a whim of festival celebration going on where there is a misconception in public that we finance the project but in reality, we don’t. We support and coordinate with all our resources. In-fact, we do not support them with cash rather we support them with kind and before supporting any project; we do look at future prospect and do a full evaluation of the project’s sustainability and prospects,” added he

He asserted, “Celebrating festivals are not just the means to promote a destination perhaps, it’s a spectrum which gives a wide opportunity from exploring to awareness to promoting local industry.”

Highlighting the current status, the Annual operational Plan 2007/08 of NTB shows an expense of around NRs 4.5 Million (063/64) under the category of domestic tourism festival & events where as it shows NRs 61 Million (064/65) for tourism promotion in International front.

Surdarshan Pradhan, a leading festival organizer said, “Festival celebration is an essential part of promoting rural tourism. Today the western world is moving towards eco and sustainable tourism where the concept of home stay is developing rapidly. So adapting that we are more focused towards celebrating festival in rural parts where the arrivals can get the real taste of Nepal.”

“We generally host around 30 festivals in a year in rural parts of Tanahu and Lamjung district where NTB has supported us. Looking at the real prospects and capacity of NTB and its involvement is very limited. It’s a hub organization which annually receives NRs 250 to 300 Million where only 10 % is used in promotion of rural tourism. Reality is around 80% to 90 % of the budget is wasted in the name of foreign promotion where the staff enjoy visiting the foreign countries. Besides, if the right amount of money could be spent here then effective results could be achieved,” added he.

However, looking at the prospect of Nepal, currently there are hundreds of festivals and events celebrated around the country where the monitoring, evaluation and sustainability of the festivals are just limited with in papers.

Dr Rudra Prasad Upadhaya, academician and rural tourism expert said, “The trend of celebrating festivals and events has emerged as a whim where festivals and events are done on daily basis. This needs to be controlled and systematized by the related authorities in a channelized way. In-fact the NTB should develop a proper mechanism to counter such acts where it needs to engage itself in proper research focusing on prominent destinations.”

He suggested, “Understanding the voices, the trend of celebration shows an effort from the people to develop their place and land but on contrary they prioritize their trade where in major cases the destination lacks behind. People just do it in the trend of doing where the sustainability is a question which lies unanswered. To be specific, Nepal needs rural, village and community tourism where we lack effective promotion and development.”

“NTB is a hub organization which is not interested in domestic tourism where most of its efforts are prioritized to international promotion. The institution needs to integrate all the stake holders towards driving the industry for better development and prospects,” added he.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi


Sky Dive World Record Set in Nepal

The world record in Sky diving has been set recently by the aesthetic and world champion sky divers in Nepal’s most enchanting tourism destination, Everest region. A total of 76 jumps were carried out of which were 41 solo and 41 tandems at an attitude from 18,000ft to 29,500ft where the single engine Plane was flown in from Switzerland. Nima Tamang and Maya Gurung were the first Nepalese to perform the sky dives at such height. The group included 15 different national from various countries.

Speaking at the closing ceremony held in NTB premises on October 14 Windy Smith a Pro Sky diver and Ariel Cinematographer said, “The feeling of sky dive is an awesome experience. This is the most secured sport with minimum risk possibilities. Everything is calculated before conducting diving process. We use various equipment like GPS, attitude meter etc. to measure and trace the possible threats in order to minimize mishaps. The only unavoidable hazard for diving from such a height is high altitude sickness.”

Suman Pandey, President of the Explore Himalaya, the main organizing agency in Nepal said, “At first when I was approached by the concept of Sky diving I was confused regarding the technicalities and security issues but today after completion of the jumps, I am thankful to all the foreigners who opened our eyes and introduced ourselves to a completely new adventure sport for Nepal. Hopefully this will be our regular event from this year onwards. Most probably this is the second most covered event after the celebration golden jubilee of Mt. Everest, giving a wide publicity to Nepal as an ultimate adventure destination.”
At the closing ceremony were present Prachanda Man Shrestha , CEO at NTB and Subash Nirola, Director, NTB, TPRD. Prachanda Man Shrestha giving a remark said that a new adventure sport has entered the list of activities that can be carried out in Nepal. Shrestha also gave away token of appreciation to all the participant divers. Similarly, Subash Nirola expressed satisfaction over the success of the event and congratulated the organizers for attempting such a daring job and opening a new chapter in the realms of the country’s adventure sport.

Similarly, a documentary about sky diving was also displayed during the program.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Education via Radio: The new way of educating people

Charles Malcolm-Brown is a well-known name in Nepalese social sector; his contribution and voluntary assistance in supporting and coordinating different voluntary activities are well testimony to his name and fame.
Whether it’s about renovating a school in remote location or constructing toilets in schools or collecting fund for operating a brain tumor patient, Charles indeed is a person making difference in people’s lives. Currently he is working as the Chairman for the famous Mountain Trust (MT) where his creativity and genuine attitude has certainly helped in giving the MT a new vision and opportunities.

Recently, on his initiation the MT launched a new radio education program, which has significantly made prominent results. Few months back, they started a pilot project in collaboration with Annapurna FM in Pokhara. The project was based on the ideology of educating the unreachable with the best available. At first they prepared good lesson plan with standard materials and broadcasted the lesson from the radio, half an hour on daily basis. The result showered in when the SLC result was out, significantly a rise 17% was seen then the past record. The effective medium of entertainment was significantly approaching the youth as a prospect of redefining the barriers where listeners were being addressed to what they need in an effective way.

The idea is simple, he says, “It’s a simple form where you can address a mass through minimum resource, synchronizing the effective use of radio to reach the mass. The program was instant hit as students followed the lessons from their home and since the lessons were prepared in standard format of easy learning so the output was tremendous.”

“Previously, education had barriers like need of good teachers, time, location, climate conditions, infrastructure etc now it’s just limited to radio which can address a mass on the comfortability of their homes where they can easily utilize the opportunity. This doesn’t mean, we want to discourage the teachers or schooling prospect but looking at Nepal’s geography and availability of teachers, it certainly addresses the issue and assures prominent result which is crystal clear.”

Focusing on the concept he said, “This type of program is first of its kind so Nepal can further develop new techniques and use it as a role model where the under developing nations can idealize it.”

Moreover looking at the current development, he is planning to shoot 2 documentaries with his friends. The first documentary would address the MT’s working scenario in Nepal where as the second documentary would focus on the effectiveness and operation of radio broadcasting which would be presented to the policymakers and leaders of Nepal and abroad.

Charles is the person who believes in creativity and doing things differently, he is the person who definitely sees Nepal moving towards a new ideology for betterment where his positivity and endurance show the strength of his struggle in Nepal from past few years.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Noise pollution an ill factor for Thamel Tourism

Entertainment is an essential part of tourism and as the tourism industry is grasping an inclining prospect. It is also materializing its own buzz emphasizing the new trend and concept for the industry. Like such these days, when the trend of discos and pubs, live music restaurants, karaoke restaurants, dance bars and restaurants etc are getting in high demand. Perhaps, Thamel is occupied with various entertainment resources, making available the needs and wants by ability to pay. Although, opened for the feasibility of tourists but today they act as a means of nuisance for the accommodation spot (hotels and lodges) located in the periphery. Nevertheless, the problem is seen as an inevitable in most of the accommodations located near such spots where guests are avoiding staying due to high noise pollution.

John William, a British tourist staying in Thamel said, "It’s a tourist hub so a bit of excitement is the need but the way entertainment centers have been manipulating the sound as a marketing tool is not good. Perhaps, they should be equipped with sound absorbers to sooth the effect which seems lacking. One really gets mixed up with the cocktail of music ringing in ears coming from different direction. I have been in Thamel from past few days and it is really hard to sleep at night.”

However, the entertainment centers are not only expanding but they are also adapting more open approach where locals have been questioning on the intention and prospect of such centers.

Similarly, Shyam Shrestha, a local resident said, "The entertainment centers like dance restaurants and bars always invites crowd where generally you can see people having fights. Perhaps the sound does not disturb you that much in comparison to the scene created by intoxicated people and hooligans. We certainly have complained this to different authority but at the end of the day, no action is taken. Personally, I do not really know who is to blame for this, but somebody has to held responsibilities, in order to regulate and monitor such acts."

He suggested, "We need an effective mechanism which would not only regulate such acts but in return would monitor and in time would take action against them. The concern authorities need to focus on such issues as they directly affect the society."
On contrary Namgyal Lama, President of Thamel Tourism Development Board (TTDB) said, "Thamel is a happening place where people come to enjoy and this is a fact which needs to be understood. Currently there are more than 15 live music restaurants and 23 dance bar operating in the vicinity. We have tried to incorporate all the entertainment centers under a common understanding where every body would feel feasible to operate. Apart from that, we had recently formed a monitoring committee, to evaluate the scenario in Thamel. According to them, most of the tourists they like live music and enjoy it. Highlighting their recommendations, we have already regulated an effective planned schedule for controlling the noise pollution in Thamel for e.g. live restaurants are directed to play till 10:30 PM thrice in a week including Friday.
The main problem is, we had advised the entertainment centers to sound proof their place but the entrepreneurs voiced out that they have to pay a subsequent high amount of money as house rent, pointing it to the owners"

Adding more he said, "We have institution like tourist police to look after the issues but they are silent and most probably can two tourist police handle the whole Thamel is question which needs a proper answer."

When asked question regarding the role of TTDC, he asserted, "TTDC is highly operational but our main weakness is we lack fund and the organization like NTB who have fund, they are silent. If they cannot work then they should forward it to us with the resources and we would work on it. We lack a proper coordination mechanism, which is manipulated by the limited organization in creating the harsh aspect which needs to be understood and worked on."

Moreover, the issue of noise pollution is a condition, which is rising due to the lack of proper monitoring. Though voices are raised out regarding the issues but a relative answer lies hidden with in authorities till the time they take proper action.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

10% service charge: A Motivation or Burden

After ending two-decade, long dispute in-between the hotel entrepreneurs and the related trade unions on a 20 point joint agreement on the December 31, 2006. The associations agreed to implement 10% service charge on food and beverages on every hotel bills effective from January 1, 2007. The provision then encompassed all the member hotel of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), starting from a non-star to five star categories, which would then distribute the collected amount among the management and workers in ratio of 32:68. The settlement of the agreement has already crossed its first stage of six-month, where the effectiveness and application of these rules seems to be scattered among the different groups and entrepreneurs.

Prasiddha Panday, 1st Vice President of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) said, "It is an experimentation which we tried where both the side management and workers have a win-win situation. This initiation was initiated to provide relieve to the workers. With this agreement, both the management and the worker have promise that from their side, they would perform better and be in discipline. If they are thinking that after getting the benefit, they would be in-discipline and have a push kind of attitude then they would certainly need to change. As due to these, kind of service charges the destination is certainly getting expensive so the only thing we could do is we need to develop better packages. We should communicate well and coordinate to provide better service creating new scope and role."

"This initiation is for the worker and by worker as it's all about earning your own salary so you need to perform effectively and efficiently. If they do not then there are no hard or fast rules and in different countries where it has been adapted, there are live examples where the rule has been cut off due to its lack of effectiveness. We have formed a joint action committee with the HAN and different trade unions to monitor and regulate rules and regulation of the service charge and it related issues," added he.

At times the HAN has been issuing notice condemning the act and behaviors displayed by the workers and unions against hotel entrepreneurs in performing their duties and responsibilities. The acts performed by some of the unions and workers in the premises of different hotels are against the rules and clause of the agreement, which the HAN condemns and should be stopped at once.

In same view, Bishnu Lamshal, President of Nepal Independent Hotel Worker's Union said, "This agreement is the result of more than 20 years of conflict. It is the hope and future of workers who work through their life and it is their right. Currently in major five, star hotels the benefit has been adapted according to the agreement but in major hotels, restaurants and bar both inside and outside the valley have not distributed the workers share, upon which the workers have their right. We are currently trying to deal the situation with holding talks but if the institutions are not flexible enough to share the worker's right then we would be bound to go on streets."

"Perhaps, it’s a motivational and hope factor for workers who perform better for this. It certainly gives them hope to stay in their country and work hard. At the end of the day when the main motivational factor for which they had worked hard is taken away, then it really becomes unfair towards them," added he.
He opined, "The 10% service charge is an effective system because it gives motivation for the workers to work more efficiently, 32% of the amount goes to the management so it is good for them as well and lastly government collects tax from the 10% service charge. So as a whole it is an effective system which benefits everyone."

Similarly, analyzing from a worker’s perspective Ram Bahadur Karki, a restaurant worker said, "We lower crew people don’t have any facility like such and we are just exploited by the management in every aspect. They do not provide us with any facility and the money which is being raised in our name is withheld by the management. So what are we supposed to do except to plea. Even then our demands are not met, we would go on strike. The 10% service tax was created to relieve the lower workers so that at least we could have something upon which we could see our future."

Though the 10% service charge has a limited approach within the major hotels and restaurants, a relative need of overall adaptation of the rule is in demand. Workers of the Casino's are also demanding for the implementation of the service charge on their services. Likewise, a contradiction of the adaptation of rule is laying hanging in-between the government registered and unregistered hotels and restaurants where the entrepreneurs and hoteliers are manipulating with the worker's right.

On contrary, Laxmi Bahadur Bhattarai, President of Regional Hotel Association of Pokhara (RHAP) said, "The current 10% service charge seems to create a negative impact upon the tourists and other visitors. As from the time, they enter the country, we charge them with different taxes and it seems as if they come here to pay the different taxes. Though it sound rude to the workers but reality is after providing them with services, we generally get our share of money and to charge them more is totally irrelevant. Looking at it from a long-term strategy, these sorts of taxes and additional charges are making our destination expensive. Rather than charging such taxes, we should provide with better services where they could be comfortable and feasible enough during their stay in Nepal."

Apart from that, according to the agreement, the service charge will expand its periphery from the limited items of food and beverages to the entire product from January 1, 2008. In today's context when only a handful number of hotels have distributed the service charge then the question of further implementation lays questionable against the agreement and its monitoring body.

Netra Bikram Thapa, President of Nepal Tourism Hotel Worker Union (NTHWU) said, "The 10% service charge is a system which is currently in use and adapted in most of the tourist destinations like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand etc. We have just brought the concept to provide relieve to the worker. This is not a new system, as in a tea state, a worker gets a certain level of tea, and Nepal Telecommunication Corporation has provided its workers with telephone and Internet facility. Just like that this system relives a worker upon the right that he deserves."

"If we look from a worker's perspective then in the city, the normal life standard of a person is very high or expensive. It is very hard to afford the rent, schooling and other daily utilities of a worker. The service charge gives them a backup support to meet the daily need of life. Apart from that when a worker is financially strong, its certain that he would perform better," said he.

Looking at the context of destination getting expensive he said, "If the service charge becomes an unfavorable factor for the destination, we are ready to sort out or reduce the amount by holding talks with the affiliates."

However, the rule of 10% service charge seems to be well acquainted for the workers but reality is, if the tourists are ready to pay the money and if the workers are ready to provide better services, Then the question of objection seems vain. Nevertheless, the manipulation by the hoteliers and lack of supervision shown by the related hub organizations seems to raise question upon the service charge being a burden or motivational factor.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yeti: Myth or Reality

Myth or reality!!! Yeti is a mystery which lies hidden in the depth of time, amortizing modern technology in its legacy of stories and lore’s. Moreover, with the propagandas surrounding its presence of a furred humanoid image, the yeti still excites people in luring them to the far ends of the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. The existence of this nature’s illusion has been controversial as well as mysterious where it has established itself as a popular icon. The controversies over existence of Yeti are warming the industry with various vague encounters and evidences brought back from the sites of remote alpine villages.

Recently, on October 20, 2008, a team of seven Japanese adventurers photographed footprints of Yeti. Yoshiteru Takahashi, the team leader of the expedition and the Yeti Project Japan, said, “ The footprints were about 20 centimeters (eight inches) long and looked like human’s foot print. We are convinced; it was real, as we saw it walking on two legs like a human and was about 150 centimeters tall.” Takahashi claims to have observed Yeti on a 2003 expedition and is determined to capture the creature on film.

Following the trend, in early November 2007, Joshua Gates an American television presenter and his team reported finding a series of footprints in the Everest region of Nepal claming it to be of Yeti. The footprints measured 33 cm (13 in) in length with five toes that measured a total of 25 cm (9.8 in) across. Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, of Idaho State University examined the footprints who asserted it to be morphologically accurate to be fake or man made. Meldrum also stated that they were very similar to a pair of Bigfoot foot prints that were found in another area.

In the year 1986 renowned mountaineer Reinhold Messner claimed to have a face-to-face encounter with a Yeti and in his book “My Quest for the Yeti” have actually claimed to kill one. According to Messner, the Yeti is actually an endangered Himalayan Brown Bear that can walk upright.

Similarly, in 1984, famous mountaineer David P. Sheppard of Hoboken, New Jersey, claimed to have been followed by a large furry man over the course of several days while he was near the southern Col of Everest. His Sherpas, however, say they saw no such thing. Sheppard claims to have taken a photograph of the creature, but a later study of it proved inconclusive.

Don Whillans a British mountaineer also claimed to have witnessed a creature while scaling Annapurna in 1970. He had seen a dark shaped creature moving near his camp and the next day, he observed a few human-like footprints in the snow. On the same evening, he had also viewed a bipedal, ape-like creature from his binoculars at a distance.

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reported seeing large footprints while scaling Mount Everest where Tenzing has mentioned about the encounter of yeti in his first autobiography.

In 1925, N. A. Tombazi, a photographer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, encountered yeti near Zemu Glacier. Tombazi later wrote that he observed the creature from about 180 to 270 M while descended the mountain and saw the creature’s foot prints. He described it as similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide.

Analyzing the series, the 1889 foot print discovery is one of the oldest link in the trail of yeti encounter. L. A. Waddell reported his guide's describing a large ape like creature moving in the dark where its existence remains hidden and controversial.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, President of UAAA said, “Yeti is a mysterious creature which has kept its existence hidden for years. To be precise the word Yeti comes from the word meti which means human eating creature. Though, it is believed to be a mystery but in reality for people who live in the region, they have reasons to believe of its existence. When we were young, we use to hear a lot of lore’s and stories of yeti. It’s true that there is an unknown creature hidden in the laps of the Himalayan where it’s completely mysterious and may be that is the reason why its so popular around the world.”

“It can be capitalized in a proper way to benefit the industry and country where it has not been channelized. At first we need to conduct a thorough research about its existence. It’s both cultural as well as scientifically important where it can have a huge financial and scientific benefit for the country,” added he.

He further suggested, “If we could use yeti as the brand for the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 then it would have immense result as yeti is world known and capitalizing its popularity can benefit the country and campaign.”

Contemplating the image, the ethnic Tibetans fear and worship bear as a supernatural being where its lore’s and myth acclimatized the local in developing yeti as a cultural Icon. Whether you call it Bigfoot or yeti or Abominable Snowman, the yeti endures an image of enigma which isolates itself in the hidden valleys with in legacy of its mystery.

Jyoti Adhikari, President of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) said, “Yeti is a mystery which lies hidden in the depth of remote areas where its existence survives in just lore’s and stories. Every year numerous propagandas are created with yeti but it’s very controversial to predict its existence as still today we lack proper evidence. On contrary, if it’s true then it should be left alone. Furthermore, it should not be bothered as it’s a creature of its kind where leaving it in isolation seems wise. Besides, Nepal is known in the world for Mountain Everest not yeti. There are only handful number of people who come in quest of yeti so intruding such a mythical creature can bring difficult situation which needs to be understood.”

Yeti has evolved itself as a new marketing and promotion tool which has been drawing scientists, researchers, adventure enthusiasts etc to Nepal.

Yadav Khanal, General Secretary of Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) said, “Yeti is a mystery which lies hidden in the laps of Himalaya where its existence is unknown and mysterious. The government certainly needs to put an effort to know more about its existence where a definite research needs to be done at a professional level.
Today’s marketing is about good promotion and if we could use Yeti as an effective means then we can certainly attract more tourists.”

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Tourists being charged up to USD 20 for trolleys at TIA

With the news of high fraud cases happening at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), a new issue has emerged enforcing a forceful payment of up to USD 20 by the porters for the use of trolleys for tourists at international section of TIA. Lighting the issue, people are bound to pay the money for the use of trolley where the so-called trolleys are made available by TIA management for free but the porters are misusing the trolleys forcing and illegally collecting money for the use of trolleys. The issue has popped in when many tourism associations such as NATTA, TAAN and HAN has been raising questions of the conditions of trolleys at TIA, saying that most of them are out or order and needed immediate replacements. These associations are also soon to donate some trolleys to TIA as a part of their social corporate responsibility. On contrary, Tek Chandra Pokheral, Chairman of Shangrila Tours and Travel said, “Recently, the Japanese ambassador was charged US $ 20 for using the trolley. The question here is not about paying the money; the question here is about legality and the carelessness of the management. It’s the worst case scenario as a lot of our customers have complained about the problem. It might seem as a small problem but in our scenario where individual marketing stands potent, it is going to impact our tourism very negatively. Moreover, looking at the present situation, it seems the security personnel and staff members are also involved with the group because this cannot happen unknowingly in a prioritized place of such importance. Though we have been raising our voice but till date it hasn’t been heard.” “To curb the problem, TIA management should restrict such people and monitor its area providing better service to the arrivals,” added he. Ram Kaji Koney, President of Nepal Association of Travel Agents Nepal Association of Tour and Travel (NATTA) said, “TIA is an essential part of our tourism as it the place where tourists get the first impression of our country. If people are illegally charging money for the use of free trolleys at TIA, it is very unfortunate for every one of us and a shameful act that one can ever imagine to happen at TIA. NATTA strongly condemns such act of indecency. It is totally wrong and the TIA authority should take strict action against such extorters.” He further added, “We have already allotted the budget for the 20 trolleys which in near future would be handed over to TIA but we expect them to be used properly.” Likewise, looking at the availability of police and management staff, the current happenings at the international section seems more complex and complicated issue where tourism experts and entrepreneurs are blaming the carelessness of the TIA Management. T. R. Manandhar, General Manager at TIA, Civil Aviation Office said, “We are the coordinating body where we have our priorities and we follow accordingly. We have always focused on rendering high services and facilities to the arrivals but at time the irregularities impedes us where we are doing necessary exercise to correct it.” “Looking at the shortage of trolley, we have already called for tenders in the Rising Nepal for additional 500 trolleys. Though the different associations have committed to donate trolleys, we have not received them yet. We need to improve the image of TIA where all the stakeholders should coordinate including security forces in order to overcome all our difficulties,” added he.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Publication: Nepal Traveller Publication
Magzine: Nepal Travel Trade Reporter
Date of issue: November 15-30, 2008
Issue no: 3
Page no: 1

Jatayu Restaurant

Jatayu Restaurant (JR), the name might give you an eccentric feeling of curiosity and oddness but reality is, it’s not a conventional restaurant that address the apatite, perhaps its bizarre of its kind. To be specific, it is a conservational site, established with the theme to conserve the decreasing population of two rare species of vultures’ namely White-rumped Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed Gyps tenuirostris. Practically settling down from its name and visualizing its periphery is yet another amazement. The restaurant not only evades the bad image of the natural scavengers but provides an overwhelming platform to learn and to observe the behavioral aspect of this king of birds. Nevertheless, synchronizing the graphic and bloody scene might be an interest for researchers but for lighthearted people, it’s just a scene of a horror which explicates an open fest of bloody and fleshy carcass where hundreds of birds line up for their meal. The restaurant also houses a hide for the visitors to watch the fest where interested bird enthusiasts can learn more about the bird species. The restaurant is famous among travelers, tourists and bird enthusiasts as a wonder land where as for the locals, it’s a new concept of conservation adapting the ecological demand. In the year 2006, when the number of Vulture population plumed down, a situation of ecological turmoil ruled in. Suddenly attention was diverted towards the reasons behind the turmoil where researchers came to know about implication of the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Diclofenac on the bird species. Highlighting the need of time, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) played a crucial role in raising awareness about the issue. As the number of vulture population decreased, the dead carcasses were left aside to decay, spreading diseases and threatening the environment. The cause behind was the bird feasted on the contaminated dead animal carcass treated with Diclofenac, which was toxic to the bird species. In addition, the consumption of the medicine from the death carcass resulted in the death of the bird which slacked the vulture population. On the result of that the BCN established a community-run sanctuary named Jatayu (Vulture) Restaurant at Pithauli, Nawalparasi District which catered the extinct species with the fresh carcass uncontaminated with Diclofenac. They first setup a community shed where cows and buffalos outgrown their productive age are sheltered and after their death. They would be skinned out and fed at the JR to the birds. Additionally, adapting the trend the community shelter pays NRs 200 per animal to the donors which were previously exported to India. The community shed currently is running under the financial support of United Nation Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility and Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB). The entire management of this restaurant is managed under the local community with technical support from BCN. Likewise, a study of Nepal’s 75 districts by BCN finds that the use of Diclofenac has dropped by 90 percent since 2006, thanks to work of BCN and its partners like Nepalese government (Department of Drug Administrative and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation) the numbers are growing creating and alerting people about their ecological importance and conservation of these nature scavengers. Currently at its 2nd year the habitat has certainly double the birds’ number giving them a new hope for future where JR has established itself as a unique and model sanctuary managed under public partnership.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi


Born in the stativity of coldness and hard climate, the Yarshagumba is a wonder of nature which not only amortizes science but also proves to be a boon for the needy. With its Latin name Cordyceps Sinensis(CS), it is believed to be effcetive cure for sexual impotency and considered as a Himalayan Herbal Viagra. Literally, meaning summer plant and winter insect in Tibetan language, the Yarshagumba is only found at an altitude above 4000 Meters in the highlands of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan where it drives people to its existence in far remote corners prioritizing its image with the new passion of gold rush. Like such, it is prized as an aphrodisiac (sex stimulant) and tonic. In Chinese medicine, it is used in treatments of ailments from fatigue to cancer. Especially in countries like China, Thailand, Korea and Japan, the demand of Yarshagumba is swelling up giving the existence of this species to quantify the findings of science and technology. Getting back to the technical aspect, Yarshagumba is a type of fungus which grows on Thitarodes caterpillar larva that feeds underground on the roots of trees and shrubs. Once infected, the body cavity of the larva fills with fungal mycelia and grows out killing the host. With in days, a finger-like mushroom grows out from the larva above the ground during the spring and summer. This fungus- caterpillar organism is called Yarshagumba which is then collected during the time. Normally, it is found as 2500 plants per hectare with in the balanced PH soil level of 7-7.5. The Yarshagumba is mainly found in plants of Rhododendron, Anemone sp, Anaphalis sp, Carese sp, etc. where the germination time starts from April , June/July and is collected from May ,June/July. Moreover on average it is found in 0.3 to 0.5gm per plant. Looking back to its export data, the trade of Yarshagumba has increased so much that it has been regarded as an expensive exportable herb. Likewise, rumors has it that it is exported through different channels to various European countries where it is used as an essential ingredient for sex enhancement drug like Viagra. Every year during May and June season, thousands of villagers from remote areas and across boarder from India come to this region for collecting Yarshagumba risking their lives. It is estimated that one collector can earn up to Nrs. 2,500 approximately to $35 a day just by collecting Yarshagumba. Moreover, Almost 50% of the annual supply of Yarshagumba comes from Dolpa alone. Dolpa is a remote district in western Nepal with high steep valleys and dry climate. During the rush not only adults but school goers also take unofficial holidays in search of Yarshagumba. Looking back to its legal status, collection of Yarshagumba was illegal until 2001. Following its popularity and lobbying, the Government lifted the ban but imposed a royalty rate of Rs. 20,000 (US$ 280) per kilogram (2.2lbs). One Kilo of Yarshagumba that costs around Nrs. 315 (US$ 5/6) in 1992 increased to Nrs. 105,000 (US$ 1,435) by the year 2002 and the price had shooted up, as the international interest increases on the Yarshagumba. However, the enforcement of the royalty fee proved ineffective as the trade went up shooting the bars. The market price of the fungus currently stands at US$3,000 per kg for the lowest quality to over US$15,000 for the biggest and highest quality larva synchronizing the demand to its existence.

BY Shreedeep Rayamajhi

A Canyoning experience

Canyoning, the new adventure sport is famous among foreigners for its vertex image of drop off and maneuvering techniques of climbing. Perhaps, looking at pragmatic ground, it endows the sport from the exhilaration to the thrill, outreaching the human boundary of courage and strength. Moreover, defining it technically, Canyoning is an adventure activity that consists of walking or trekking up the head of canyon and abseiling down the canyon with the help of a rope. The fascinating aspect of this sport highlights passing along the torrent stream by stepping across the canyon’s blocks sliding or diving into the pool or swimming using equipments such as harness, jumper, carbineer, figure 8 etc. There are basically two aspect of the sport, one is experiencing it and the other is just the spectators’ watch. Like such, devoured with the excitement to see the canyoneers jumping off the 45 meters Hadi Khola currently known as the Jumbo Canyon was a spectacular view. The experience was so overwhelming that seeing such a deed one could be tainted with the adrenal rush. I was invited to report on the workshop and demonstration of Canyoning organized by the Nepal Canyoning Association (NCA) on February 2, 2008. The canyon is located around 100 KM from the Kathmandu situated in the extreme rouged terrain at the Bhote Koshi Valley. After the demonstration and pick up note, my enthusiasm grew its toll, till the time the organizers announced a trial Canyoning experience to the guests in a small feasible canyon. Soon catching the words, it naturally grasped me and I immediately raised my hand to get the taste of the wild sport. Like such, waiting in the queue to face the angst, I had a chance to change my words with one of the French Canyoneers about the sport and when asked about the thrill. He replied me in bold words, “The sport Canyoning is all about freedom that creates enthusiasm to feel the nature as well as to see the scenic views from the top angle but it also challenge you through its drops and slippery rough edges. Once you do this sport there is nothing like such.” Though, I had doubts about my senses of excitement but to some extent, his word literally motivated me to seek a new horizon. I picked up my fear and embraced it to enroll myself in the safety harness, which was strapped below my abdomen. Briefing me, one of the guides told me that the safety harnesses for the first time users makes it feel uneasy but there is nothing to worry, as the rope would certainly hold up. Highlighting more, he stated the rope and other accessory like dry suit, shoe and helmet used in the sport are made from a high density material which can stand violent situation. After the last check up, I was hooked in a safety harness line. Before jumping down, I remembered it was the sense of excitement that forwarded me but at the same time on the back of my mind thinking about the inevitable, I was hesitant. However, putting an end to my fear and dodging it, I jumped in the air. The feeling or the excitement to feel the thin air was awesome and as guided. I reclined on the wall of the canyon forcing my back in the empty air to support my legs on an up right position standing on the wall and the experience was simply enthralling. While descending down, I controlled my speed by the help of the figure eight equipment which hovered my speed where loosing the rope from one side controlled my pace. At that moment, one could really feel the adrenal rush mounting up where on contrary the cold breeze hitting on the face made me feel tempted to drive my enthusiasm to newer heights. It was going perfect when suddenly; I faced a break on the wall which pulled me to the safety rope. Then, I circled in the empty air hanging no where. For a second I got stilled in the air which increased my anxiety. Subsequently, I realized and let the figure eight go and the rope literally slide me down with comfort. Thus, by my experience of the demo and trail, I can beat that Canyoning is a wild product of tourism which is not only safe and sound, if proper measure are taken in but at the same time its fun and exciting. It is the combination of trekking, rafting and mountaineering that gives a chilling feeling of exhilaration, which would not only gives you the taste of an adrenal rush but at the same hand gives you a different angle to see the landscape from the top angel.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recalling Bhotekoshi River

The word Rafting and Kayaking gives out a very enthralling and adrenaline feeling defining exuberance and exhilaration to the level. Every year thousands of adventure tourists visit our country in search of wilderness in a profound way. Though, being very popular and highly appreciated sports for Nepal’s rivers, the sports of rafting and kayaking are still struggling to establish its scope and prospect in Nepal. Like such, being a reporter and prioritizing such a profession of journalism, I had never thought of experiencing it to the level of my wildest dream. The job preference of reporting that I was addressed marked it to be my life’s most memorable moment framed in endless seconds of my memory. I was invited by Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) to cover the 6th White Water Challenge held from Novembers 17-19, 2007, at the Bhote Koshi River. The event was exclusive as it invited international level kayakers and rafting teams to compete against the local counter parts. Bhote Koshi is a beautiful mountain river originated from Bhote which in native language is known as “River from Tibet”. The river is divided into three sections upon its complex drops and rapids namely upper, middle and lowers. The journey started from sorahhakhutte from where we took a bus ride to the venue of Sukute. The bus was packed with foreigners with a limited number of native people who were spared to stand. Although, the roads were malfunctioning but the journey seemed extravagant through villages and cliffs. Additionally, if your luck favors you with an appropriate climate, you can see the fabulous mountain range of Pabil, Langtang and Gauri Shanker. The journey was about 5 hrs, after which we reached the Sukute resort. The resort totally frightened me as I had never camped outside in wilderness on a beach. The resort was fully accommodated with modern facilities, from a restaurant to a play house and other necessaries of daily amenities. At first, I hesitated but the essence of nature magnetized me to its sandy and stony bank to camp outside. Possibly, being in a creative field, the Bhote Koshi caught my eyes with its first glance. Its deep green watery color magnetized me with a timeless essence of mystical and magical wonderland. It was just timeless captivating people’s attention by its bliss of everlasting flow and synchronizing to voice out music to the ears. Simplifying my thinking, the waves made me think the river as a lady with its waves forming twist and curve on the rapid who welcomed everyone with its abstract language. For people who were devoured with its magic speechlessly watched it pass by thinking it as an audacious and vibrant color of nature. On the first day of the challenge, the organizers took us to a further place where civilization was far bordered on cliffs and hills. The race started with the enthusiasm among the player to inspire and attract the judges for scoring more points. After seeking the kayaker’s twists and turns, it literally made me feel the rush of the sport. Moreover the spectators watch was more discrete to feel the adrenalin rush mounting upon the river bed standing more than 2 stores high and witnessing the watch staking a fall. The Boulder gardens, small waterfalls, steep chutes and vertical bends were just some of the obstacles to be overcome. The first and second day was a bit eccentric and absurd but the night party literally grasped the rhythm with its pace of dancing numbers. On the last day, we were granted permission of wearing the rafting cap and life jacket. Audaciously thinking bitter of the incident of people falling and breaking their nose and teeth, just roomed in blocking the vision creating a confusion of ideology and reality. At a point the exhilaration kicked in and we all set off to face the nature’s wilderness impression of engulfing pitch. We had a group of more than 20 people from media who were then divide into three groups and were allocated in the three rafts. The only thing we were advice was to listen to the main rafter’s command. We were then explained of time, situation and reaction in case of a fall in the plumping water pool. After the briefing of safety measures and commands, we set out to concur our fears. At first, the raft just stilled with no point of movement, then the main rafter shouted and we started paddling. Within second, we were facing the nature’s sharpest edge where the human brain rushes to give an additional feeling of exhilaration and adrenaline. The sense of spectra then clicked me when I wobbled with a hard hitting wave which splashed me with its cold blow of freshness. Moreover, passing by the big rapids and facing waves arouse the sense of emancipation where fear and excitement melted to the sound of the main rafter’s command. After a long series of small rapid, we came across the grade III rapid, which is considered to be one of the skillful creations of nature’s magnificence. We assorted to face the challenge with a strong determination roaring out but in reality when we came across the rapid, we all grouped and pulled it to form a ball escaping the huge ball of icy cold water which attacked us. From there, then came a long technical rapid which settled down for about twenty feet forming a soup following a long series of rapid and drops which lead us to a nifty little rapid. The remaining river was a nonstop series of small drops of short pools. Shivering and complaining, your body makes you feel why did you even though about this? But the excitement of achievement focuses toward highlighting your drive to do more and to seek more. Nevertheless, the river flows through a beautiful narrow canyons with lush green vegetation and waterfalls coming in from the steep stone walls giving no word to describe the beauty and for an instance it made me think the reality of foreigners coming to Nepal and spending thousands of dollars. At the end of the session there came a point where the water flows within the safe zone where the rafter asked us for a dip and immediately I raised my hand, as the excitement to feel the Bhote Koshi was overwhelming. The experience was simply chilling, as when I dived in, it was okay but when they pulled me in the raft. I could feel the nature running through my spine and over my body amortizing me with a new energy After completing the track, we settling in the bank of the Sukute resort where we dragged the raft which further exhausted us. Practically talking real about rafting, it is a sport of exhilaration which required immense courage and energy. The only thing that I would advise you is please listen to the main rafter and leave the rest to your energy to paddle along the rhythm following the flow of water and you would then feel the reality. No matter what the thrills are? To seek beyond once fear is something which amortizes the reality showcasing a new sense of nirvana. Rafting in Bhote Koshi was an experience of life time and perhaps a different angle to enjoy the beauty of nature at its widest form.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

The Nepalese Traditional Medicine Practitioners

With the aroma and packs of spices and herbs hanging on the ceiling, the traditional medicine practitioners could be found in the old cities petite streets, manifesting their centuries old techniques of traditional medicine. Every morning, one can see people flocking in their shops for medicines holding their quest in finding a remedy for their unknown problem. Within second the practitioners checks the eyes, tongue and other vital status and then forward his statement in related with the treatment. Looking at it from the technical side, the practitioner’s first studies the feasibility of the patient’s body enclosing the symptoms creating a scenario of diagnosis stage, as in Ayurved, disease is regarded as a symptom of imbalance where disease is treated for symptom not for the disease. Then after evaluating the status, the practitioner forwards medicines of mixed herbs with aromatic spices. These doses of spices are supposed to be taken at specific time with maintaining strict diets. Although, for a normal person it’s hard to stand the smell or taste but one cannot quantify the reality of these medicines being free from side effects and on the same hand the relatively low prices have certainly increased its popularity among local’s specially old aged people. The basic ingredients of these medicines are composed of fine herbs and spices that the Ayurvedic researchers gather from the forest and other markets in India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar where the exotic and indigenous herbs are evolving as a good import and export business. In our country, from the ancient time civilization has been adjusted in the cast and creed system where each of the cast has been endowed with specific work for e.g. Chhetri are entrusted as warrior clan, Bahuns are entrusted with religious activities, Baidhayas are entrusted with the medical line etc. The practice of this systematic civilization has not only helped the people to develop specific skills and techniques but on the other hand has given an edge to relate the people to their work class or group. Perfecting their skills to sharpen their knowledge, the generations of practicing and passing have resulted in better opportunity of growth and development in the transcending process. Moreover, practically ruling the formulas of centaury old recipes of herbs and spices, these practitioners learn their skills by working and learning method where generations of cumulative study and detailed research have honed the disease diagnosis process. According to the ancient text and script, Ayurved is considered as "Knowledge of life" where the Mind Body and Soul have been differentiated in the proper form linking it with the nature and stressing nature as the supreme healer. Basically in Ayurved, body is divided into there important forces within the body. The first one is known as Pitta (the force of the sun) which is hot and rules the digestive processes and metabolism. Similarly, the second one is Kapha (likened to the moon, the creator of tides and rhythms) which has a cooling effect and governs the body's organs, fluids and lubricants; and the third one is the Vata (wind) which relates to movement and the nervous system. The adequate balanced of the three is considered to be healthy where as dis-balance in any of the component is considered to bring metabolic changes which triggers in as a symptom of a disease. Though, modernization has exploited the medical industry in gaining a fast reputation but still in the close competition of the faster growing allopathic medicine, the Ayurvedic industry have acclimatizing people consoling the world with the theme of being natural and living naturally. Still today, the Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners survive with the stand of curing diseases like Jaundice, Gastric, Diabetes Mellitus, various types of arthritis and bronchial asthma, aches and other disease where patients are tired to the level of testing allopathic medicine and find traditional herbs and spices more irrefutable. Furthermore, it is believed among the locals that allopathic medicines are quick in action but in long run, the medicine fails to tackle the problem while on the other hand the Ayurvedic medicines take times but cures the disease from root level and it is due to such believe that the traditional medicine practitioner survive with a quest. Growing to the aspect of giving the Ayurved as a status, the Nepal government has escalated to stand the Ayurved Campus for Ayurvedic education in Nepal as in the form of Naradevi Ayurveda Hospital located in Naradevi, which has been catering the needs of the people. It is said that nature holds the power of healing and acclimatizing the nature’s power, the traditional medicine practitioners have prolonged their glorious tradition of serving people in the name of practicing this art of nature to the ultimate level of finding a new existence and survival. By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

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