Visit Nepal Year planned for 2020

Visit Nepal Year 2020

Visit Nepal Year 2020

As the government has set a target to bring in two million tourists each year by 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has planned to organise ‘Visit Nepal Year’ in 2020 to attract more tourists to the country. Unveiling the action plan of the ministry for the next two months, Tourism Minister Jitendra Narayan Dev said that the ministry will establish a secretariat for the Visit Nepal Year shortly to make necessary preparations.

Earlier, the MoCTCA had planned to celebrate Visit Nepal Year in 2018, which was put off due to the delay in construction of airports, heritage sites and roads. The 60-day action plan unveiled today has given due priority to the early completion of the construction and expansion of the international and domestic airports, heritage sites and other tourism infrastructure. The government has planned to complete the expansion of Tribhuvan International Airport and construction of Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa before the Visit Nepal Year. Likewise, the reconstruction of major heritage sites is expected to be completed before 2020.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

In its 60-day plan, MoCTCA has said that it will frame country-wise tourism promotion strategy and bring it into implementation. Country-wise tourism strategy will help the tourism promotion organisations to carry out promotionalactivities to tap potential outbound travellers of concerned countries. Currently, India, China, United States of America, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are the major source countries of tourists.

In the context of rising number of outbound travellers in India and China, the country wise tourism promotion strategy will help Nepal to tap the outbound travellers of the neighbouring nations. The country will identify the reasons behind low growth in tourist arrivals and take necessary measures to attract more tourists in the country, according to Minister Dev.

He further said that the air service agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and New Zealand will be finalised soon. The action plan also states that MoCTCA will review the air service agreements with Thailand, Japan, Egypt and China, among others.

The ministry will initiate the process to bring strategic partner for Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier — and also take forward NAC’s proposal to purchase two more narrow-body aircraft. The business plan submitted by NAC for the commercial operation of two wide-body aircraft that the corporation is in the process of purchasing and its plans regarding human resources will be finalised in the next two months.

The action plan also incorporates plans to amend the Tourism Act to make it more contextual and also plans to amend Casino Regulation, Travel and Trekking Regulation and Mountaineering Expedition Regulation.

chitwan-national-park

chitwan-national-park

Likewise, to bridge the gap in human resources in the tourism sector, which is expected to boom in the future along with the government and private sector’s initiative to achieve robust growth in this sector, Tourism Minister Dev has envisioned to upgrade Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management to a Tourism University. To establish the Tourism University, the MoCTCA will carry out the necessary groundwork like framing draft law and land acquisition for the university, among others in the next two months.

MoCTCA will also carry out a survey to expand the line agencies of the ministry and the departments to the provincial and local levels. Similarly, it will also frame a master plan for the preservation of tourist sites, as per the action plan unveiled today.

source: The Himalayan Times

Tourist inflow via air sees exponential growth

Visitors to Nepal

Visitors to Nepal

Tourist inflow to Nepal jumped by 46.8 per cent in the first six months of 2017, indicating signs of recovery in the tourism industry that was shattered by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 and the subsequent trade disruptions.

According to the Department of Immigration, the country received a total of 460,237 tourists in the first half of this year via air route, against 313,512 in the corresponding period of the previous year. Tourist arrivals in the first half of this year surpassed the figure of 2014, before the earthquake struck when country had received 412,461 tourists in the first six months.

Travel and tour entrepreneurs are upbeat about the revival of the tourism industry along with the increase in tourist arrivals.

“The earthquake and fuel crisis had adversely affected the flow of tourists in 2015 and 2016, but though the figure has increased this year, it is still a far cry from our target to bring in two million tourists by 2020,” said Madhusudan Acharya,president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Tourism entrepreneurs have cited weak infrastructure and high airfare as the major obstacles in tourist arrival growth.

“Nepal has been included among the top 10 travel destinations in 2017 by the Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide. Despite the positive message disseminated across the world, tourist flow is still tepid,” according to Binayak Shah, general secretary of Hotel Association Nepal.

Tourist arrival was at a record high in 2012, when the country had received 803,000 visitors by air. Entrepreneurs have said that the country is likely to receive even more number of tourists this year as the inflow of tourists is normally higher in the second half. The period between September and November is considered as the best tourist season in Nepal.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

HAN General Secretary Shah informed that along with the large number of international organisations working in Nepal for post-quake reconstruction activities, the flow of visitors also increased as the reconstruction works gathered momentum since the beginning of this year. He stressed on the need to expand the country’s only international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport — and improve road connectivity.

“Air traffic congestion, high airfare and bleak road conditions are the major bottlenecks to raise the number of tourists,” Shah asserted. He alleged that the government is not serious towards developing critical infrastructure even though the private sector has substantially increased investment in the sector.

Visitor in Nepal

Visitor in Nepal

Shah also pointed out the prospect of bringing in more tourists from neighbouring India and China as the number of outbound travellers has been growing in these countries. Though the number of outbound travellers has been rising in India and China, the country has failed to tap the potential due to high airfare, he stated. “The airfare to Kathmandu is relatively higher at $350 for a 30-minute flight.”

In the January to June period this year, the country received a high number of tourists from India with a total of 89,196 visitors from the southern neighbour followed by China with 52,084 travellers via air. The country had received 54,224 tourists from India and 33,991 tourists from China in the same period of the previous year.

Source: Thehimalayantimes

Janai Purnima Festival

Janai Purnima

A toddler gets her wrist colourful with doro (Hindu’s traditional threads of different colours) from a Pandit (Hindu Priest) celebrating Janai Poornima

The tagadharis or those who wear the ‘Janai’ (the sacred thread) around their bodies from the left shoulder change the sacred thread on Tuesday after having a haircut and a bath on the occasion of ‘Janai Purnima’, also known as ‘Rishi Tarpani’.

This festival observed by the Hindus, especially of the Shaiva sect, on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Saun is also popularly known as ‘Gunhu Punhi’ in the Newar community.

According to the time-honoured tradition, the people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread, which is tied around the wrist as an amulet. The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease. They also observe the occasion as ‘Kwanti Purnima’.

Kwanti Purnima

Kwanti a soup prepared from nine different beans, is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today.

The ‘Kulabarna Tantra’, a Tantrik scripture, says that the soup is highly nutritious and keeps diseases away.

In the Terai region, there is a tradition in which sisters tie an attractive ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of their brothers wishing them long life and prosperity.

Thousands of devotees worship lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and at Kumbheswor in Lalitpur and take holy dips in ponds and lakes.

Janai Purnima

People in Pashupatinath Area gather to get Raksha Bandhan tied around their wrists on the occasion of Janai Purnima.

Religious fairs are held at Gosaikunda, an alpine area in Rasuwa District, and at Dansanghu, Triveni in Jumla district to observe the festival with offerings of worship to Lord Shiva. A big religious fair takes place at the Gosaikunda Lake and pilgrims come from faraway places to take a holy dip in this lake and other lakes nearby.

Religious fairs take place today at Pashupati and Manichud of Kathmandu; Gosaikunda of Rasuwa; Kumbheshwar of Lalitpur; Panchpokhari of Sindhupalchowk; Janakpurdham, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar of Dhanusha; Dansanghu of Jumla and Trivenidham of Nawalparasi.

Janai Purnima

The Buddhists observe this day in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautama Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture ‘Lalitbistar’. A special fair takes place at Swayambhunath of Kathmandu today for this reason.

Source: Kathmandupost

Naag Panchami in Nepal

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami is the day of snakes. Nags are worshiped this day in Nepal. Nags are snakes and Panchami means the fifth day after no-moon day.

Nags are worshiped on the fifth day following the no-moon (aushi). Hence, the day is called Nag Panchami. Aushi means no-moon day in Nepali.

What is Nag?

Nags are deity snakes or special snakes. Those snakes have especial roles in Hindu Mythologies.

There are various mythological beliefs about Nagpanchami and its celebration.

Mahabharata tells that Lord Krishna conquered Nag Kalia and put an end to his evil deeds on the day of Shrawan Panchami. People believe that is the reason why people started celebrating this panchami as Nag Panchami.

Kathmandu valley used to be a big lake. Nags became very angry when human drained the lake to make it livable. To protect themselves against the anger of Nagas, people gave nags certain areas as pilgrimage destinations, and promise to worship them on the day, returning harmony in nature. That is continued till date.

Lord Bhrama’s son Kashyap rishi had thirteen wives namely Aditi, Dit, Kadru, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Sauravi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Ida, Khasa, and Muni. Aditi gave birth to Devta, Diti to Garud, Kadroo to Nags, Danu to Daitya.

Those Nags were the rulers of Patal lok.The great eight nags are Ananta, Vashuki, Padhmanavha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhartarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya. These Nags were very powerful and worshiped.

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

How is Nag Panchami celebrated in Nepal

In this day, Nepali traditionally post pictures of Nags above the doors of their homes to keep off evil spirits. They worship the nag by offering a symbol of milk (the white color liquid from the paste of rice). People keep milk for snakes near snake holes.

People make cottons garland, use cow dung and rice flour’s serpent’s from and worship it with cow’s milk, lava, barley, sesame, nuts and with some other religious items. It is believed that if Nag-Panchami is observed properly every year the Nags provide us good health wealth and blessing during our life. If Nags are angry they make us sick and no medicine can heal.

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Puran says the earth is lifted by Shesh Nag on his head. Lord Vishnu is sleeping on its coil inside the Ocean. Kali Nag, Bashuki Nag, Astha Nag, Padma Nag; and the Karkot Nags are the very powerful Nags.

Scripture explains that without Nags’ help there will be no rain.So people worship Nags for the cause of water, offer prayers to Nags, and place food items such as milk and honey in their fields for Nags.

Few men wearing demon masks dance in the streets as a part of a Nag Panchami ritual.

We have our own myths and legends surrounding Nags, which lead us to celebrate Nag Panchami on a large scale.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara) campaign holds interaction in Patna, India

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

A team of Nepal tourism entrepreneurs held an interaction with Indian tourism entrepreneurs and media-persons in Patna, the capital of India’s Bihar state today.

The team is there as part of a campaign to publicise Nepal’s tourist destinations and attract India tourists. The efforts are part of the campaign entitled ‘Chaliye Pokhara’ in Hindi language (Lets go to Pokhara in English) started six years ago by the Western Region Hotel Association, Pokhara in support of the Nepal Tourism Board.

The campaign that is held every year will conclude on July 4 for this year.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

The interaction focused on making Nepal’s tourist destinations known to Indian community and attracting the locals, said one of the participants of the team. The team includes 30 members from among tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara and Lumbini, officials of the NTB and media-persons.

Another interaction will be held in Lucknow later today, said the Association’s President Bikal Tulachan.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

The campaign is aimed at reviving and strengthening tourism that was affected badly by the April 2015 earthquake, the India-imposed economic blockade and Tarai-Madhes protests.

Under the campaign, Indian tourists will be invited to visit Pokhara with an offer of a special package, said the Association’s General Secretary Ganesh Raj Pahari.

Source: TOURISMMAIL

Nepali runners dominate Everest Marathon

Suman Kulung and Nirkala Rai have won the men’s and women’s category of Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon held in the Everest Region on Monday.

Kulung, who ferries loads of trekkers between Lukla and Everest Base Camp, completed the 42.195 kilometers race in 3:43:57 hours. The 26-year-old Kulung had secured third position in last year’s marathon. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Surendra Basnet and Bed Bahadur Sunuwar secured second and third positions, respectively, with the timing of 3:52:8 hours and 4:5:40 hours.

The highest marathon in the world begins from the Everest Base Camp (5,300 meters) and concludes at Namche Bazaar (3,450 meters).

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

The event is organized every year on May 29 to commemorate the first ascent of Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary back in 1953.

Similarly, Nirkala clinched the women’s title with the timing of 4:51:33 hours. Purnima Rai and Dawa Doma Sherpa finished in the second and third positions, respectively, completing the marathon in 5:07:26 hours and 5:37:43 hours. All the three ladies are from Solukhumbu district.

The top three finishers in both categories became richer by Rs 100,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively.

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

Pitor Hercog of Poland won the foreigner’s category with the timing of 4:38:22 hours. Robert Celinski, also from Poland, clocked 4:48:48 hours to secure second position, while French runner Fabrice Arman stood third with the timing of 5:28:30 hours.

Meanwhile, Nepal Army athletes clean swept the 60 km ultra-marathon. Tirtha Bahadur Tamang secured first position clocking 6:38:56 hours, while Mohan Dev Joshi (7:18:16 hours) and Purna Tamang (7:30:00 hours) secured second and third positions, respectively.

The top three finishers in the ultra and foreigner’s categories were given equal amount of Rs 100,000 Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000.

The event was organized by Himalayan Expeditions.

Source: Travelpress