Anniversary at Kalapathar with ‘Nepal is safe’ message

How do you celebrate marriage anniversary ?

Decorate your bedrooms, blow up balloons, cut cakes, go on a breakfast, lunch or dinner date, wear your favorite dress, throw party, plan traveling to different places and take pictures for memories. These are all what we do. But for David Richardson and Jessica Richardson who are based in California, United States and are currently working at Mauritius, planning for making their anniversary unique is a tough task.

PS0232

As people say that marriages are made in heaven, this couple wants to do something different, unique and heavenly as each year passes. They decided to come to Nepal in November back in January to celebrate our fifth anniversary as this is the best time to visit Nepal though our anniversary in on September 18. They planned to celebrate their anniversary at Kalapathar (5644m), feel the Everest (which they say is a part of heaven) and at all the UNESCO listed heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley as far as possible.

“Yes! What we dream has been materialized. Despite of the earthquake in April and the problems caused due to economic blockade, our dream came true and we didn’t find any difficulties celebrating our anniversary,” said Jessica after accomplishing their dream anniversary and having a photo shoot on their bridal wears at all the places.

Jessica added the only problem to them was fitting on the same bridal attire for the last 5 years. “It was indeed a challenge for us,” added David.

The couple said that they are highly inspired by the incredible warmth of the people here, their patience shown at the gasoline lines, their resilience and friendly behavior and then they fell in love with the mountains.

This couple who celebrated their first to fifth anniversary in Salzburg, Brussels, Rome Mauritius and Kathamndu Valley and Kalapathar respectively said that now it’s hard for them to beat their unique, memorable and most expensive anniversary in Nepal.

PS0093

“We were googling if anybody has celebrated their anniversary on bridal attire at Kalapathar but we failed to find out and hence we also feel that we have set a record on this,” David and Jessica said in a common voice.

“We are going back today, with a message that Nepal is safe, secure and beautiful as before despite of all the problems it is facing. Hey, travelers do visit this beautiful country now as there are less tourist in many mountains and you can enjoy a lot”, said David and Jessica.

Source: Myrepublica

Follow and share our more detail from our social media : Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

PS0119 PS0147 PS0378 PS9551

Kalapatthar-4

Finnish Rock Band, Sign Language Rapper Perform Near Everest

Finnish rock band Ancara and sign language rapper Sign mark performed in the foothills of Mount Everest over the weekend to raise funds for a music school for children with hearing disabilities.

Finnish Rock Band near everest

In this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 photo, Signmark, whose real name is Marko Vuo, in red jacket, who was born deaf, along with Olli Pekka, in blue jacket, performs with the Finnish rock band Ancara at Dingboche, a village at an altitude of 4,550 meters (14,900 feet) and a popular stop for trekkers and mountaineers heading to Everest and other peaks, Nepal. Ancara and the sign-language rapper performed in the foothills of Mount Everest over the weekend to raise funds for a music school for children with hearing disabilities. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)

Dozens of music lovers cheered the musicians at Dingboche, a village at an altitude of 4,550 meters (14,900 feet) and a popular stop for trekkers and mountaineers heading to Everest and other peaks.

The performers flew to Lukla, the only airstrip in the Everest region, on Nov. 3 and trekked to the village, stopping along the way to acclimatize to the altitude.

They had hoped to perform at Everest base camp, where climbers prepare for summit attempts, but Nepalese authorities said concert permits could only be issued for areas with settlements.

Signmark, whose real name is Marko Vuo and who was born deaf, performs his raps in sign language, sometimes with others speaking the lyrics. He has performed in dozens of countries.

Funds raised by the performances will support a music school in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

Follow and share our more detail from our social media : Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

Source: abcnews.go.com

Is it time to go back to Nepal?

On 25 April and 12 May 2015, deadly earthquakes struck central Nepal, causing catastrophic damage to Kathmandu and the surrounding valleys. Harrowing pictures of magnificent temples turned to rubble and concrete hotels collapsed on their foundations were beamed around the world. Five months on from the disaster, Nepal has declared itself open for tourism, but is now the right time to come back to Nepal, and what exactly will you find when you get here?

ADB photo

Image by Asian Development Bank

Assessing the damage
Media images at the time of the earthquakes made it look as though Nepal was completely destroyed, with its astonishing cultural heritage in ruins. The truth makes for less sensational headlines: while 130 historic temples collapsed across the country, only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts suffered damage, and many of Nepal’s most famous sights escaped completely unscathed.

Even at the height of the disaster, travellers were relaxing in the resort town of Pokhara, unaware of the destruction to towns just 50km away. In Kathmandu, the vast majority of hotels reopened within days of the earthquakes, with just a handful of historic heritage hotels remaining closed for repairs.

This is not the first time Nepal has faced an earthquake of this scale, and as in 1934, Nepalis have stepped in to save what can be saved, and are now rebuilding for the future. How quickly this can happen will depend to a large degree on how quickly tourists return to the country and invest in the local economy.

Here is an overview of how different parts of Nepal are recovering after the disaster.

Kathmandu suffered the full force of the earthquakes, and damage was extensive, but localised to specific parts of the city. Four of the iconic temples in the UNESCO-listed Durbar Square collapsed completely including the multi-tiered Maju Deval Temple, one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks but the majority of temples still stand and the square is once again open to sightseers.

The royal palace of Hanuman Dhoka remains closed due to structural damage to the southern courtyards, but work is underway to reopen the museum and palace chambers. Perhaps the most photographed casualty of the earthquake was the Bhimsen Tower, which collapsed completely for the second time in its history (it was also destroyed in the 1934 earthquake). Today, it stands as a ruined plinth, but developers have pledged to rebuild it.

Other major World Heritage Sites such as the magnificent Buddhist stupas at Swayambhunath and Bodhnath were only mildly affected; restoration work has repaired the most obvious damage and the most tangible evidence for the disaster is some lingering scaffolding. The sacred Hindu pilgrimage site of Pashupatinath saw a terrible tide of funeral cremations following the earthquake but the site itself was mostly undamaged.

Patan krishna Mandir

Image by Rene C. Nielsen

Patan, Bhaktapur & the Kathmandu Valley

Despite the loss of some landmark monuments, including the famous Char Narayan and Hari Shankar temples, Patan’s Durbar Square and its stunning Patan Museum are open as normal. The quakes took a heavy toll on the traditional brick buildings of Bhaktapur, but here too, most of the medieval temples are still standing, including Nepal’s tallest, the five-storey Nyatapola Temple.

Elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley, the damage was patchy. Some places escaped with minor cracks, while towns like Sankhu and Bungamati saw temple after temple crumble to rubble. While the valley is definitely open to travellers, it’s worth checking with locals before heading off from Kathmandu to be clear on which areas are still off-limits due to reconstruction following the disaster.

pokhra-nepal

Image by Mike Behnken

Across the country

Looking beyond the Kathmandu Valley, the historic towns of Nuwakot and Gorkha and their fortress-palaces were particularly badly affected due to their proximity to the epicenters of the two tremors, and the quakes caused extensive damage to the road to the Tibetan border and the Langtang Valley. However, away from the center of the country, there are few signs that the earthquake ever happened.

The east and west of the country were not seriously affected by the disaster, and most damage is restricted to trekking routes in remote areas. The tourist and trekking hub of Pokhara was effectively untouched and the trekking routes around it have been surveyed and declared safe. Despite damage to some villages along the trails, trekking in the Everest region has also been declared safe.

In the lowlands, the towns and national parks of the Terai were almost entirely unaffected. Wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park continue as normal and the number of tigers in Nepal is actually on the rise, bucking the regional trend. The birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini – an increasingly popular stop on the overland route between India and Nepal – also escaped unharmed.

lukla-airport

Image by Chris Marquardt

Travelling to Nepal after the earthquake

The key thing to note is that infrastructure for tourists was remarkably unaffected by the disaster. Airports are operating as normal and almost all of Kathmandu’s tourist hotels and restaurants remain open, or will reopen for the winter tourist season, though business is currently slim. Kathmandu’s traveller district of Thamel is much as it was before the disaster, and transportation around the city, the Kathmandu Valley and the country continues as normal.

The main roads across Nepal are open to traffic (or as open as they ever were!), and the Arniko Hwy/Friendship Hwy to Tibet and Everest’s North Base Camp (in Tibet) is due to reopen for the 2015 winter season. However, roads are still cut off in some rural areas, where earthquake damage has been worsened by monsoon landslides. This situation is likely to persist for some time, so it pays to confirm that roads are clear and that accommodation will be available before leaving Kathmandu.

local

Image by Wonderlane

So should I go ?
In August, the US and UK lifted their country-wide travel advisories against travel to Nepal, meaning that travellers and companies can once again get travel insurance for upcoming trips. Most western travel companies plan to run trekking trips as normal for the 2015/16 winter and spring seasons and some companies are even offering special reconstruction treks, though it’s now more important than ever to do some research and partner with a reliable NGO that has long-established links with the country.

Of course, Nepal still has its problems – including a fuel shortage caused by a political stand-off with India over the new Nepali constitution – but these kinds of issues are part of the landscape when travelling in the subcontinent. Despite these problems, in many ways now is a great time to visit Nepal.

The infrastructure that travellers need is in place, but tourism is down by over 50%, which means fewer crowds on the popular trekking routes and discounts for hotels and airfares. More importantly, the money you spend when hiring a guide or porter, staying in a lodge or hotel, or eating in a restaurant will directly help local people. Given that 500,000 Nepalis work directly in tourism, the country needs travellers more than ever to rebuild its economy and bounce back stronger for the future.

Follow and share our more detail from our social media ; Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Source: www.lonelyplanet.com

Most villages on Everest trail unaffected by quake: Report

A report prepared on the basis of structural, geotechnical earthquake damage and trekking safety assessment has concluded that most of the villages on the Everest Base Camp trail do not appear to have been affected by landslide hazards. The assessment entitled ‘Damage Assessment of Everest Region’ was conducted between June 27 and July 2 by Miyamoto International, a global engineering, construction management and project management company with funding from the International Finance Corporation.

everest_base_camp

“As there is no major damage, it is possible to begin trekking in the region. We have received the draft report and we have yet to get the final report,” said Tulsi Gautam, director general of the Department of Tourism, adding that the department will launch the report next week after getting full report.

According to the report, none of the nine suspension bridges assessed by Miyamoto engineers appear to have been affected by new geotechnical hazards. Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls, both above and below the trails, are undamaged as per the report. However, the engineers observed very little foundation damage to the buildings.

“As most of the trails and bridges are safe, we can resume trek from September after monsoon ends,” said Sagar Pandey, general secretary of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).

TAAN expects that trekking business will revive by 25 percent from August and more than 60 percent by autumn next year.

The report, however, notes that a number of villages like Phakding and Jorsale have significant existing rockfall hazard while Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore have been affected by very serious geotechnical hazards.

According to the report, the damage in the lower valley, below Namche Bazaar, is greater than in the upper valley as the slopes are generally steeper in the lower valley.

“In the lower valley, the damage tends to be concentrated on the true right side of the river. This is likely because the dominant defect orientations within the rock are dipping out of slope on the true right and into slope on the true left. This means that there are more kinematically feasible failure mechanisms on the right side of the river,” the report said.

The report further said that there may also be a seismic directivity effect since the true right of the river may have been shaken in a different manner from the true left as the United States Geological Society (USGS) modeling shows clear propagation of energy toward the east.

To manage risks associated with the hazards identified by the study, the team has recommended completing a detailed risk assessment study, including assessment of likelihood of failure, occupancy of specific areas of trail and villages, and combining these with hazard to assess the risk.

The team comprised of a structural engineer, a geotechnical engineer, a professional mountain guide, a project coordinator and an operations manager. It assessed 15 villages, 710 buildings and nine suspension bridges.

As per the report, out of approximately 710 buildings, earthquake damage of structural concern was observed in 120 buildings i.e. 17 percent, 83 percent of buildings can be given a green tag per Applied Technology Council-20/ Department of Urban Development and Building Construction guidelines.

The good thing, according to the report, is that most of the buildings that were damaged can feasibly be repaired and building owners have started reconstructing damaged buildings.

“The major concern is accommodation and the trails. As the trails are safe and the buildings, most of which are lodges under reconstruction, we can disseminate the message that trekking can resume in the region very soon,” said Pandey.

However, to provide training and guidelines during these critical months of reconstruction would greatly improve the overall built environment of accommodation structures on the trail, the report said.

“The owners also are facing severe shortages of cement, rebar and labor. Supply chains needs to be facilitated to ensure that these materials are readily available and that the quality of repair works will not be comprised due to these shortages,” the report stated.

Report highlights:

  • Many villages on the Everest Base Camp trail namely Lukla, Namche, Khumjung, Tengboche, and all villages above Dingboche do not appear to have been affected by landslide hazards.
  • Villages like Phakding and Jorsale have significant existing rockfall hazard while Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore have been affected by very serious geotechnical hazards.
  • None of the nine suspension bridges assessed by Miyamoto engineers appear to have been affected by new geotechnical hazards.
  • Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls, both above and below the trails, are undamaged.
  • Of approximately 710 buildings, earthquake damage of structural concern was observed in 120 buildings i.e. 17 percent and 83 percent of buildings can be given a green tag.
  • The damaged buildings can be repaired and building owners have started reconstruction.

Follow and share our more detail from our social media ; Facebook Pinterest and Twitter.

Nepal tourism appoints son of Edmund Hillary to promote Everest mission

After the Earthquake Nepal’s Everest missions has taken a back seat as people are weary to scale the peaks in fear of avalanches. The Nepal government on May 28, 2015 observed the international Everest Day marking the conquest of the world’s highest peak by Edmund Hillary and Tanzing Norgey Sherpa 62 years ago. The day was observed with intentions of reviving tourism in the country.

Peter-Hillary-son-of-Edmund-Hillary

In a bid to call back tourists the Nepalese Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa appealed to international tourists to visit the country. He assured them that there are still many safe and beautiful places which include heritage and cultural sites along with trekking trails that have remained intact despite the devastating earthquakes.

The minister looked for support from the private sector. He felt that together the public and private sector can rebuild the losses that Nepal has met with.

The mountaineering sector was suffering losses since 2013 when 16 mountain guides were killed in April 18. But the Earthquake in central and North-West Nepal was hit by the devastating earthquakes. The avalanche from the quake killed 18 people which had 5 foreigners and all expeditions had to be brought to a halt.The area is under grave threat owing to melting glaciers and continued avalanches. The country needs faith and support from international tourists and climbers to get things back in tempo.

Before the quakes thousands of climbers trekked the Everest each year providing employment to the Sherpas and bringing millions of dollars for the Government. If Everest mission should stop it would amount to grave losses for the government. So the government has appointed 19 goodwill ambassadors which include Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary, Jamling Tenzing, son of Tenzing Sherpa, Junko Tabei, the first women Everest Summiteer from Japan and Reinhold Mesner, Italy, who climbed the Everest without oxygen for the first time. They will help promote tourism in Nepal.

Source: Travel And Tour World

Sagarmatha National Park’s entry fee Increased

The Sagarmatha National Park entry fee has been increased by 13%  effective from Monday, 16th March 2015. According to the office of Sagarmatha National Park at Jorosalle, the increment was done based on the Financial law of Nepal 2071. Although the new rate was  restructured  from 1st March,  the new  increment  has been implemented  only from 15th March in the Khumbu area.

Everest-KalaPatthar

With the increment, the entry fee for visitors from SAARC countries  will be  Rs.1615 whereas the visitors from the third country need to pay  Rs. 3390 and for Helicopter landing , it will charge Rs. 2260 . However,  the entry fee for porter will remain the same. According to the office, the entry fee for porters was increased last year only.