In November I had the privilege of visiting Nepal and meeting our ground team who run our operations on the ground.
To be honest, before joining Adventure International I only knew a few things about Nepal, mainly being boasting Everest. My experience exceeded expectations and only sparked my curiosity on the country further.
The love and commitment to travel doesn’t come easy as most flights take about 30 hours to arrive into Kathmandu, the capital, but is it worth it. Kathmandu is a city that is filled with color and cultural. Nepal is predominantly made up of Hindus and Buddhists so there are beautiful temples rich with history everywhere. I visited four temples on my trip and each was as spectacular as the next. The traditions of the Nepalese is fascinating and you can learn something new on almost every street corner.
After the 2015 earthquake which was a 7.8, many of these beautiful temples were damaged and as they are Unesco World heritage sites, they must be repaired by hand not machine.
One of the most memorable experiences was my visit to the Kumari, also known as the Living Goddess. This is a little girl that is chosen at the age of 3 years out of thousands to be a living manifestation of the divine female energy and believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju. The girl is housed in a palace in the city center of Kathmandu but is well known and recognized throughout the country. Once the girl goes through puberty, it is believed that the goddess leaves her body and then a new Kumari is chosen.
I entered into a humble apartment where I met the Kumari, now 7 years old. She was carried into the room where she sat on a throne type chair on the ground, said a blessing and place the red paint, vermilion, on my forehead. These are the majority of her interactions as she is not able to play outside with other children and in the case she leaves the home, she is carried in a carriage through the streets.
My amazing guide, Paul who also leads our expeditions to Everest, took me to the Buddhist temple of Boudhanath Stupa. This giant temple feature two large Buddha eyes and hundreds of colorful flags. It’s a magical place to visit and observe worshippers and monks.
After Kathmandu, I ventured to Sikles, the largest Gurung village in Nepal north of Kathmandu with gorgeous views of the Annapurnas. Sikles gets its name after doctors visited the town to study illnesses in the small community but found the village to be sick less, dubbing the village Sikles.
Here we stayed in the local village with a couple, Kansa and Dede. The pride in each household, is the kitchen which exhibits a stove in the ground and is incredibly organized with local kitchenware and what’s needed for the meal. Keep in mind that this area is about the size of a one car garage and is where each family sleeps as well.
When guests come, it’s a sign of respect to serve food on bronze plates with the option of cutlery. The meals consist of a meat, in our case chicken but goat is common, lentils, rice, greens and a soup. Hands down this was the best meal of the trip and seconds were graciously offered.
The next morning, we had an early start to hike up above the village and catch a stunning view of the Annapurna mountain range.
From here, we headed to Pokhara, a town on a lake and known to have more of a ‘hippie’ vibe among tourists. A common attraction here is paddle boating in the lake and is frequented by local school groups.
Back in Kathmandu, the monkey temple is something my six year old self would have imagined only existed in the ‘Jungle Book.’ The temple is incredibly colorful with flags lining treetops and the 1,000 step entry way. Monkeys are considered sacred so run wild through the temple with a sense of entitlement.
Although this trip was short, it was incredibly sweet and gave me a taste of the magic Nepal holds. Whether you are venturing to Everest or not, it’s a truly special place worth a visit.