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  • The Kathmandu Valley Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    February celebrated at Boudha with processions horn blowing and tsampa throwing on the big third day Shiva Raatri On the full moon of Phaagun the Pashupatinath mela fair attracts tens of thousands of ganja smoking pilgrims and holy men while children everywhere collect money for bonfires on Shiva s Night Chait March April Balaju Jaatra Ritual bathing at the Balaju Water Garden on the day of the full moon Baisaakh April May Bisket Bhaktapur s celebration of Nepali New Year April 13 or 14 Thimi and Bode have their own idiosyncratic festivities Buddha Jayanti The anniversary of the Buddha s birth enlightenment and death celebrated at Boudha Asaar June July Dalai Lama s Birthday Observed informally at Boudha July 6 Saaun July Aug Janai Purnima The annual changing of the sacred thread worn by high caste Hindu men involving bathing and splashing at Patan s Kumbeshwar Mahadev on the day of the full moon Bhadau Aug Sept Krishna Jayanti Krishna s birthday marked by an all night vigil at Patan s Krishna Mandir on the seventh day after the full moon Gokarna Aunsi Nepali Father s Day observed at Gokarneswar with bathing and offerings on the day of the new moon Tij A day of ritual bathing for women on the third day after the new moon mainly at Pashupatinath Kaattik Oct Nov Haribondhini Ekadashi Bathing and puja on the eleventh day after the new moon The main action takes place at the Vishnu sites of Budhanilkantha Sesh Narayan Bishanku Narayan and Changu Narayan Mangsir Nov Dec Indrayani Jaatra Deities are paraded through Kirtipur on palanquins on the day of the new moon Bala Chaturdashi All night vigil at Pashupatinath on the night of the new moon involving candles and ritual seed offerings to dead relatives Agriculture in the Kathmandu Valley Agriculture in the Kathmandu Valley Even as the capital s swelling population threatens to fill the Kathmandu Valley in lot after lot of detached blockhouse commuter concrete the Jyapus indigenous Newari farmers continue to live in huddled up brick built towns digging their fields by hand in the time honoured fashion with a distinctive two handed spade called kodaalo ku in Newari The valley s soil repays such labour intensive care it is endowed with a fertile black clay called kalimati a by product of sediment from the prehistoric lake and is low enough in elevation to support two or even three main crops a year Rice is seeded in special irrigated beds shortly before the first monsoon rains in June and seedlings are transplanted into flooded terraces no later than the end of July Normally women do this job using their toes to bed each shoot in the mud The stalks grow green and bushy during the summer turning a golden brown and producing mature grain by October At harvest time sheaves are spread out on paved roads for cars to loosen the kernels and then run through portable hand cranked threshers or bashed against rocks The grain

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/the-kathmandu-valley/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Central Hills Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    extraordinary the Kathmandu Valley is surrounded by a 700km band of jumbled foothills that offer barely enough flat land to build a volleyball court Only half a dozen roads fight their way out of the valley but they are enough to make the Central Hills the most accessible area in the largely roadless hill country though not necessarily the most travelled To the northeast the Arniko Highway follows the old Kathmandu Lhasa trade route through broad valleys and misty gorges to the Tibet border northwestwards the Trisuli road snakes its way down into a subtropical valley nearly 1000m lower than Kathmandu while west and then south the Tribhuwan Rajpath Nepal s first highway takes a wildly tortuous route on its way to the Terai The scenery in this area is a shade less dramatic than you ll encounter further west but the land is nonetheless varied rugged and only partially tamed by defiant terraces The majority of places in this chapter are easy overnights from anywhere in the Kathmandu Valley The most popular are those that involve mountain views Nagarkot and Dhulikhel with well developed lodgings are both acknowledged classics while the former has slightly better vistas the latter boasts some interesting Newari architecture The village of Daman has the most comprehensive views but requires a little more effort to reach These vantage points can t compare with what you ll see on a trek but they do provide a taste of the Himalayas and can also serve as springboards for hiking and mountain biking trips The Tibet border area meanwhile has big appeal for adventure sports enthusiasts a trio of resorts in this area offer a wide range of activities including canyoning whitewater rafting kayaking and one of the world s highest bungee jumps Although cultural attractions are relatively

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/the-central-hills/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Western Hills Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    Magars and Gurungs the most visible ethnic groups live in their own villages or side by side with Tamangs caste Hindus Newari merchants and Tibetans Life is traditional and close to the land but relatively prosperous houses are tidy and spacious and hill women are festooned with the family gold The chief destination of the Western Hills is the laidback lakeside resort of Pokhara Nepal s major hub for trekking the Annapurna range lies immediately to the north plus paragliding yoga and almost everything else Many visitors are understandably intent on heading straight for Pokhara but it s well worth sidestepping from the road to visit a trio of hilltop sights the historic fortress of Gorkha the pilgrimage site of Manakamana and the lofty old bazaar of Bandipur Continuing on to Pokhara from all of these by public bus along the Prithvi Highway is an experience in itself and easily bearable given the short distances involved Beyond Pokhara on the magnificent Siddhartha Highway to the Indian border the charming town of Tansen lies at the southern edge of the hills All of these make excellent bases for day hikes Confusingly enough the Western Hills are actually in the geographic centre of Nepal these hills are only western in relation to Kathmandu The relatively remote and poor mid western and far western regions are covered in Trekking Read More More about Nepal Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The Western Terai Book a hostel in Nepal Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Along the Prithvi Highway to Pokhara Pokhara The Pokhara Valley Tansen Around Tansen Find out more Gurungs and Magars Gurungs and Magars Once active trans Himalayan traders the Chinese occupation of Tibet put paid to that Gurungs are a common sight around Gorkha and Pokhara

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/the-western-hills/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Western Terai Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    route between Kathmandu and Varanasi and fits in well with visits to Lumbini and Chitwan Sonauli is the most heavily used Less popular are the crossing points south of Nepalgunj or Dhangadhi Alternatively on the far western frontier is Mahendra Nagar only around twelve hours from Delhi but an arduous journey to Kathmandu The weather in the Terai is at its best from October to January the days are pleasantly milder during the latter half of this period though the nights and mornings can be surprisingly chilly and damp However wildlife viewing gets much better after the thatch has been cut from late January by which time the temperatures are starting to warm up again It gets really hot in April May and June From July to September the monsoon brings mosquitoes malaria and leeches and makes a lot of the more minor unpaved roads very muddy and difficult to pass and some rivers burst their banks Read More More about Nepal Itineraries Features Where Next Check out Mountain biking Book a hostel in Nepal Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Chitwan Lumbini Terai The far west Find out more The Tharus The Tharus Two great mysteries surround the Terai dwelling Tharus Nepal s second largest ethnic group where they came from and how they became resistant to malaria Some anthropologists speculate that they originally migrated from India s eastern hills which would account for their Hindu animist beliefs but doesn t fully explain the radically differing dialects dress and customs of different Tharu groups Isolated by malarial jungle for thousands of years bands of migrants certainly could have developed their own cultures but then why would the name Tharu survive with such consistency Further confusing the issue are the Rana Tharus of the far west who claim to be descended from high caste Rajput women sent north by their husbands during the Muslim invasions the husbands never came for them so they ended up marrying their servants There is some circumstantial evidence for this Rana Tharu women are given extraordinary autonomy in marriage and household affairs In terms of the malarial resistance red blood cells seem to play a part the fact that Tharus are prone to sickle cell anaemia may be significant but little research has been done At least as significant Tharus boost their immunity by common sense precautions such as building houses with tiny windows to keep smoke in and mosquitoes and ghosts out Skilled hunter gatherers Tharus have in modern times become farmers and livestock raisers fishing rivers clearing patches in the forest and warding off wild animals Their famed whirling stick dance evokes their uneasy but respectful relationship with the forest spirits Their homes are made of mud and dung plastered over wood and reed frames giving them a distinctive ribbed effect In the west half a dozen families or more often still live in the traditional communal longhouses The Tharus have fared poorly in recent years largely reduced to

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/the-western-terai/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Eastern Terai and hills Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    Guide to Beijing View Guide Kansai Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Yellow River Rough Guides Snapshot China View Guide The Rough Guide to Tokyo View Guide Lusher and more tropical than the west the Eastern Terai the southern flatlands east of Chitwan are also more populous more industrial and more Indian Although the foothills are usually within sight the main east west highway sticks to the plains where the way of life is essentially identical to that of Bihar and West Bengal just across the border in many parts of this region Nepali is the second or even third language after Maithili Bhojpuri and other North Indian dialects Most travellers only flit through on their way to the border crossings of Birgunj for Patna and Kakarbhitta for Darjeeling outside these places there s little tourist hype The cities are generally unappealing with one outstanding exception Janakpur a famous Hindu pilgrimage centre Birdwatchers meanwhile can check out Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve straddling the alluvial plain of the mighty Sapt Koshi River While the few visitors that reach the eastern hills tend to be trekkers bound for the Everest or Kanchenjunga massifs or rafters running the Sun Koshi the area also offers great day hiking It s served by just two all weather roads one climbs to the lovely Newari town of Dhankuta and rowdier Hile the other crawls up to Ilam Nepal s tea growing capital Buses make good time through the Eastern Terai on the Mahendra Highway and the almost completed Dhulikhel Sindhuli Highways will make getting to the east even easier However most places described in this chapter are located on side roads and require various degrees of extra toil to reach Tourist facilities are minimal but the haat bazaars weekly markets are well worth looking out

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/the-eastern-terai-and-hills/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Trekking Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    use water as Nepalis do Use phosphate free soap and shampoo and don t rinse directly in streams Deposit litter in designated rubbish bins where they exist Elsewhere carry back all non burnable litter tins plastic bottles and especially batteries Trekking with children Trekking with children The potential problems when considering whether to go trekking with children are obvious will they walk Will they let a porter carry them What if they get sick What if the weather is bad Yet trekking with kids may be one of the best things you or they ever do especially if there are lots of children together Delights lie round every corner chickens goats jingling donkey trains frogs bugs waterfalls caves temples prayer wheels all that plus being the centre of attention everywhere they go Routes Stick to easy ones and don t take a young child above 3500m due to the risks of AMS The standard treks generally offer more comforts and easier access to emergency services although a good agency can help you take children off the beaten track Pace depends on the age and sportiness of your youngest Plan on modest days stopping by mid afternoon That said many children are up for much longer walks than they might be willing to try at home Health and safety Trekking has most of the same hazards as a weekend camping trip The extra concern is tummy bugs teach kids to drink only boiled or purified water keep hands and foreign objects out of mouths and wash hands frequently sanitary wipes come in handy Establish clear ground rules about not wandering off not running not venturing close to drop offs and staying clear of animals Bathroom arrangements in the more primitive trekking inns may put children off Food and drink Some kids love daal bhaat they can eat it with their fingers but of course many turn up their noses Familiar Western dishes are found on the main trails A water purifying travel cup is a handy device or consider bringing neutralizing powder to remove the taste of iodine from purified water Transportation Spending hours on winding mountain roads is a recipe for car sickness and misery If possible rent a more comfortable vehicle or fly Porters Consider a porter for each child Almost all porters are great playmates babysitters despite the language barrier and they can carry the child for all or part of the trek in a customized doko Make sure any porter you hire is agile conscientious and sober and treat him or her well What to bring Bring the same range of clothes for your child as for yourself only more and warmer and don t rely on renting locally Bring a few lightweight games or toys crayons are ideal You probably won t need as many books as you might think as bedtime comes early Treks at a glance Treks at a glance This list omits treks that require agency or extensive porter support Note that the

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/trekking/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Rafting and kayaking Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    of hydroelectric dams and diversions are either proposed or under construction this may eventually shorten or eliminate some popular routes and put more pressure on the remaining ones Roads on the other hand which are often built to access new dams can open up previously un rafted river sections by creating new put in and take out points The descriptions that follow in this chapter are given roughly in order of popularity Note that the stated grades are only a guideline and river levels and difficulties therefore can fluctuate dramatically at any time of year Read More More about Nepal Itineraries Features Where Next Check out Mountain biking Book a hostel in Nepal Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore When to go Information books and maps Rafting operators and agents Costs and red tape Equipment Safety and responsibility The Trisuli The Upper Kali Gandaki The Seti The Upper Seti The Bhote Koshi Upper Sun Koshi Lower Bhote Koshi The Marsyangdi The Sun Koshi The Karnali The Tamur The Bheri The Lower Kali Gandaki Find out more River classifications River classifications Below is a summary of the international classification system of rafting river difficulty Class 1 Easy Moving water with occasional small rapids Few or no obstacles Class 2 Moderate Small rapids with regular waves Some manoeuvring required but easy to navigate Class 3 Difficult Rapids with irregular waves and hazards that need avoiding More difficult manoeuvring required but routes are normally obvious Scouting from the shore is occasionally necessary Class 4 Very difficult Large rapids that require careful manoeuvring Dangerous hazards Scouting from the shore is often necessary and rescue is usually difficult Kayakers should be able to roll Turbulent water and large irregular waves may flip rafts In the event of a mishap there is significant risk of loss damage and or injury Class 5 Extremely difficult Long and very violent rapids with severe hazards Continuous powerful confused water makes route finding difficult and scouting from the shore is essential Precise manoeuvring is critical and for kayakers rolling ability needs to be 100 percent Rescue is very difficult or impossible and in the event of a mishap there is a significant hazard to life Class 6 Nearly impossible Might possibly but not probably be run by a team of experts at the right water level in the right conditions with all possible safety precautions but still with considerable hazard to life Kayaking Kayaking Nepal has taken off as one of the world s leading destinations for recreational kayaking and is recognized as one of the best countries for whitewater multi day trips There are rivers for all abilities including beginners Most visiting kayakers start by booking on a rafting trip for a warm up often on the Sun Koshi or Kali Gandaki rivers If you book on as a kayaker the rafting company will normally provide you free use of a kayak as part of the deal or give you a discount of around 10

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/rafting-and-kayaking/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Mountain biking Guide | Nepal Travel | Rough Guides
    Guide to Southeast Asia On A Budget View Guide The best way to see Nepal it has long been said is to walk Nowadays however mountain biking is a serious alternative Decent mountain bikes are available to rent in Kathmandu and Pokhara where you ll also find good route information and well organized tours Even if you re not planning an extreme off road Himalayan MTB adventure renting a bike is worth considering bikes provide a more intimate experience than a speeding jeep or bus and they get you to places at a more exciting pace than trekking Despite Nepal s Himalayan mystique it s not all steep the Kathmandu Valley s slopes are generally easy and the Terai is just plain flat The longer and more scenic routes do tend to require a high level of fitness and there are monster ascents and descents for those who relish that sort of thing but there are also plenty of relaxed village to village rambles and downhill rides Mountain bikes are pretty much the only option even major roads where you could otherwise get away with a hybrid or robust tourer have frequent potholes and damaged sections The itineraries here are grouped as being out of either Kathmandu or Pokhara since those are the only places where you can rent a decent mountain bike They also offer many of the best routes as tour operators and bike shop gurus are continually pioneering new off road rides On the downside traffic is becoming a serious problem near cities In the Kathmandu Valley especially what was once a pleasant ride may now be choked and frightening It s always best to seek the latest information locally from someone in the know The pace of road construction meanwhile is producing an exponential increase in the possibilities Many roads are no longer the one way spurs they have been until very recently making it possible to create exciting long loops or find enticing back routes between say Kathmandu and Pokhara or Trisuli and Gorkha It would also be quite possible to devise some incredible long distance itineraries within Nepal exploring well beyond the bounds of this chapter If riding further afield than the Pokhara or Kathmandu valleys seek expert advice ask in a bike shop find the most up to date map possible and even then treat any map with a degree of scepticism Rough roads become paved trails turn into rough roads and roads get longer or shorter after a bad monsoon every season Read More More about Nepal Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The Kathmandu Valley Book a hostel in Nepal Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore When to go Information books and maps Tours and cycling independently Equipment Route finding and timing Rides in the Kathmandu Valley Rides around Pokhara Find out more Cycling to Everest Cycling to Everest Although Sagarmatha National Park itself continues to ban mountain bikes it ll be possible one day perhaps very

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/nepal/mountain-biking/ (2016-02-16)
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