Indra Jatra festival in Nepal

Indra Jatra festival in Nepal

Indra is Lord of Rain and the king of Heaven. Jatra is procession. Indra Jatra is celebration of God Indra’s Day.  Indra Jatra is festival of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.  Some believes Indra Jatra is thanking day to lord Indra for the rain. According to others, the festival is celebrated in the honor of Bahirab, who is Shiva’s manifestation and is believed to destroy evil.

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Indra Jatra begins every year from the day of the Bhadra Dwadasi to Ashwin Krishna Chaturdasi. It is an eight day long festival.

The festival begins with the carnival-like erection of The Linga (Yasingh), a ceremonial pole, accompanied by the rare display of the deity Akash Bhairab, represented by a massive mask spouting Jaad and raksi (Nepali local liquors). Households throughout Kathmandu (especially Newars) display images and sculptures of Indra and Bhairab at this time of year. This thirty-six feet long wooden pole (The Linga (Yasingh)) is chosen with great care from the Nala forest in Kavre district east of Kathmandu.

Indra Jatra Festival

According to traditional beliefs, Indra had received this flag from Lord Vishnu for protection.

Finally, the Kumari (living goddess), leaves the seclusion of her temple in a palanquin and leads a procession through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Indra the rain god. The main attraction of the festival is the procession of chariots and masked dancers representing deities and demons. Indra is called Yanya in Newari. Jaad (Nepali local liquor) flows from the Bahirab statue, which is remarkable to look at in Hanuman Dhoka.

Indra Jatra Festival
The procession consists of:
•    Majipa Lakhey
•    Pulukishi
•    Sawan Bhaku
•    Ganesh (Chariot)
•    Kumar (Chariot)
•    Kumari (Chariot)

Besides these, there are various dances held on the open stages of the city called dabu. There is display of Swet Bhairava as well as various deities of the city.

Holi The Festival of Colours

Holi The Festival of Colours

Holi-Festival-Celebration

Holi is festival of color. This festival is also farewell of winter and welcoming of summer in Southern Asia. Holi is celebrated in full moon day in Phalgun . Hence, Holi is also called Fagu Purnima. Holi is called Dhuli in Sanskrit.

Holi is welcoming of spring and summer. It is also observed to get blessing of God for coming harvests and fertility of the land. This festival is celebrated in most of South Asian counties. Actually Holi is the night of Falgun Krishna Chaturdasi but celebration starts from the very next day on Purnima. Holi is the festival of color, friendships and love.

The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated. The festival is of a week. However, it’s only the last day that is observed by all with colours. The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated.

© Quamrul Abedin | www.quamrulabedin.com | 2014

The festival is of a week. However it’s only the last day that is observed by all with colours. Phagu is another name for Holi where Phagu means the sacred red powder and Pune is the full moon day, on which the festival ends. People can be seen wandering through the streets either on foot or on some vehicle, with a variety of colours smeared over them. Families and friends get together and celebrate the occasion with a lot of merry making. This spring time celebration is also an outburst of youthful exuberance in which throwing colours and water bolloons (lolas) on passer- by is acceptable. But, the Indian community, that is, the Marwari class who has settled down in Nepal for centuries and the people of Terai celebrate it a day later with more pomp and ceremony.

Happy-Holi

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Despite concerns about safety and infrastructure following the earthquakes earlier this year, Nepal has gotten the all-clear for tourism, including on Mt. Everest.

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Following devastating earthquakes this spring, Nepal has officially been cleared to welcome tourists again, just in time for peak hiking season. Miyamoto, a structural engineering firm, oversaw a survey of Nepal’s infrastructure that was paid for by the British government. They determined that the country—as well as Annapurna, Mt. Everest, and other places favored by international tourists—is safe to visit. While the Nepalese government, which counts on tourism money to help boost its economy, is happy about the news, not everyone feels the same way.

“Travel insurance is the major problem for us right now,” Shiva Dhakal, the owner of the Royal Mountain Travel tour company, told The Guardian. “Travelers from the U.K. are scared.” The survey’s methods also drew concern, as it was pulled together in a short amount of time, leading some critics to argue that it wasn’t entirely thorough.

But not everyone is put off. Tauck, a U.S.-based tour operator, has announced that its previously scheduled Nepal visits this fall will go on as scheduled. The 17-day itinerary is primarily across India but includes three days in Kathmandu. Tauck corporate communications manager Tom Armstrong told Condé Nast Traveler that he felt confident sending travelers back to Nepal after his own partners there had okayed the venues they would be visiting, including the famed Dwarika’s Hotel.”We’ve been in consultation with all of our partners in Nepal since the earthquake,” he said. “We sent one of our employees, who has been to Nepal many times, in [early] July to go visit all the places our guests visit on our tour. He inspected them and found that, much to his surprise, it was better than anticipated. Based on the media coverage, there were a lot of areas that were better than he expected them to be.”

Nepal Reopens Earthquake-Damaged UNESCO Sites

The Tauck itinerary in Kathmandu includes a flight seeing trip through the Himalayas, a Q&A with a Sherpa, and a visit to the historic village of Bhaktapur. It doesn’t involve any mountain climbing, one of Nepal’s riskiest outings. The only change to the itinerary, Armstrong reports, was a planned visit to Durbar Square, one of the UNESCO sites in Kathmandu that was seriously damaged during the quakes. It has been replaced with a visit to a similar monument in less-precarious condition. “It’s definitely not intended to be an adventure itinerary,” Armstrong added. “The Nepal component is much more about history and culture. Typically, this [tour] appeals to a seasoned traveler who is culturally curious, who has traveled extensively.” He believes that people who want to help Nepal’s recovery efforts should do so by going there and spending money, as tourism is such a key part of the country’s economy.

A second Miyamoto report, this one funded by the World Bank, is due this week. It’s also expected to say that Nepal is ready to welcome back tourists.

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Source: www.cntraveler.com

Nepal strives to get tourism back on track

with tourism in Nepal having taken a body blow in the wake of the devastating earthquake in April, the country is making efforts to revive the footfalls for the “high season” starting late September through promotions and ease of travel advisories by foreign countries.

Kathmandu-durbar-square

A Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) official said that there has been only a trickle of tourists from India in May and June – the months that see large numbers visiting the Himalayan nation due to school vacations in India. About a fourth of foreign tourists in Nepal come from India.

“We have lost the regular Indian season for May and June. However, we look forward to welcoming Indian tourists during the Dussehra holidays (in October),” NTB senior manager Ujjwala Dali said.

She said a “plan for tourism recovery” has been prepared by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the NTB would start promotional activities to get arrivals from countries such as Britain, the US, Japan and Australia, apart from the European Union, for the high season.

“We hope to get Nepal back on the tourism map when the tourism high season begins,” Dali said.

She said that trekking tracks are opened in September and October and weather conditions are also considered pleasant by the visitors through September-November and February-April.

“In December and January there are holidays in many parts of the world and tourists come here,” she said.

Tourism is Nepal’s second-highest foreign exchange earner and is estimated to contribute about 12 percent to the country’s GDP through direct and indirect employment.

People associated with Nepal’s tourism industry said that some key heritage sites and trekking routes had been damaged in the powerful earthquake on April 25 but there still was a lot for tourists to see and savour across the country.

“Some of the media reports about damage to infrastructure were exaggerated. The epicentre of earthquake was not Kathmandu. If you go across the city, you will see that most of the new buildings do not appear to have suffered real damage. Nepal is back and we are on our feet,” Amir K. Pradhananga, resident manager at Grand Hotel here, said.

“Life is normal (now),” he added.

Over 8,500 people were killed in Nepal due to the powerful earthquake in April and another strong quake in May. As for the repeated aftershocks, Pradhananga said the locals were taking these in their stride and there was no panic.

NTB Administrative Officer Ramesh Kumar Adhikari said the projections were that Nepal will get 40 percent fewer tourists this year and 20 percent in 2016.

“We want that the numbers of visitors to be as close to last year as is possible and we are taking several measures in that direction, including promotions,” Adhikari said.

Officials said about 60 percent of those who visit Nepal come for sight-seeing and cultural tourism while about 40 percent come for adventure-related activities. The pattern was unlikely to change after the earthquake.

Dali said that Nepal was urging foreign countries to ease their travel advisories issued after the April earthquake. She said Nepalese missions abroad were also issuing updated information.

“We will also focus more on the travel trade fairs in the coming months. There are already familiarisation visits by the media and tour operators,” she said.

She said that there were many places for tourists to visit Nepal including the “golden triangle of Pokhara, Chitwan and Kathmandu“.

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Source: thestatesman.com

Nepal ready to welcome tourists, says envoy

Nepal ready to welcome tourists, says envoy

Ambassador of Nepal in India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya today said that Nepal was completely safe and ready to welcome tourists. The Himalayan kingdom is looking forward to having visitors from India.

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Upadhyaya was speaking at a seminar “Nepal: Tourist Destination” organized here today by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the Embassy of Nepal, here today.

“Open border between the two countries has ensured an uninterrupted flow of people and in 2013 a total of 1.80 lakh Indians visited Nepal,” he said. Upadhyaya said Indian visitors constituted 23 per cent of the total tourists visiting Nepal. “All Himalayan states, including India and Nepal, must jointly promote spiritual tourism as there is vast potential and joint marketing will help all the countries reap the benefits and beckon international tourists,” he said.

Vice-chairman of the state tourism development board suggested that all Himalayan states in India must join hands to form National Regional Hill Development Authority of which Nepal and Bhutan can also be members.

This would not only help strengthen relations between the neighboring countries but also help in reconstruction of severely damaged Kathmandu through tourism, power besides many other areas of mutual cooperation.

Mani Raj Lamichhane, Head of Department of Tourism Products and Resources Development, Nepal Tourism Board, gave a detailed presentation, highlighting tourism opportunities in Nepal and prospects and benefits of developing mutla packages for visitors from both countries.

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Source: www.tribuneindia.com

An opportunity for all: Nepal is open to visitors

An opportunity for all: Nepal is open to visitors

To create a unique and award winning experience for tourists

Kathmandu-durbar-square1

Restoring damaged UNESCO heritage structures is estimated to cost $18 million. While restoring the combined 743 damaged monuments can cost $117m. The restoring and rebuilding of all these cultural sites will take years. However, tourists can be offered new experiences to attract them to the cultural heritage sites.

With loss of our heritage assets, the challenge is how to keep tourists in Kathmandu for longer. Exhibitions or murals in front of heritage sites showing before and after images could help attract more tourists to the heritage sites.

Unesco-heritage-sites

An augmented reality application could also allow smart phone users to see pictures of what the square would have looked liked before the earthquake when the camera is at a certain space or area. There could also be narration by famous actors, information and interactive tools to create a world class and award winning multi-media experience that is promoted in Nepal and abroad. The disaster could be a new beginning.

Training

During the off season to deliver better services

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Comprehensive retraining of staff laid off and unemployed at this time (porters, waiters, hoteliers, managers, etc.) could be the ideal next step for the tourism sector to bounce back. In many ways it could be the perfect time. After good management training programs, staff and laid off employees will be ready to provide better services when the tourist season starts again after the monsoon.

Training programs will have to focus on helping entrepreneurs and employees provide newer services/products and identifying newer markets. Programs could focus on management, marketing, hygiene, customer care, etc. They could be delivered directly to affected workers as part of a revival package.

Ninety percent of the tour guides are unemployed, they have no work, they are jobless. There is insecurity among the tour guides [about] what to do. I have [asked] my colleagues, just wait for one year.

Hare Ram Baral, head of the Tourist Guide Association of Nepal

Safe Trekking Systems

To inspire confidence

safe-trekking-system

Design idea for a Himalayan mountain hut/Safe Trekking System courtesy of HMMD architecture competition initiated by Samarth-NMDP.

 As Nepal seeks assurances from international geologists and consultants on its popular trekking routes, especially the Everest and Annapurna regions that attract around 70 per cent of trekkers, the PDNA suggests creating a Safe Trekking System with standards and regulations for the quality of the product and how to manage it. Classifying trails will go a long way in enabling visitors and the industry to assess the risks associated with certain treks and areas based on altitude, length, facilities, location etc.

A Safe Trekking System requires a product that allows good communication along the trail, a monitoring system that tracks the location of visitors & staff during the trek, a responsive rescue system, appropriate shelter along the way, enterprises that offer good basic services and quality infrastructure including bridges and drinking water provisions. The Safe Trekking System also requires an effective management system that looks after classification, promotion, maintenance & investment and staff skills. During the slow monsoon season, the Samarth-NMDP programme is taking the lead towards the establishment of the Sate Trekking System with funds from UK AID/DFID.

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Source: Nepalitimes