Happy New Year’s!!!

Celebrating multiple New Years in Nepal.

Nepal is a country of diversity. There are more than 90 ethnic groups of people in this tiny country thanks to its as diverse geography. Each ethnic group has their own culture and many of them follow their own calendars and celebrate New Year’s accordingly. Let’s look at some of the more popular New Year’s celebrated in Nepal.

  1. Nepali New Year: Bikram Sambat

It is the year 2071 in Bikram Sambat now. This is the official calendar of Nepal administration and the government of Nepal follows it for all its activities. The New Year starts on Baisakh 1st which lies in mid-April. People celebrate New Year with family gatherings, picnics and visiting temples, etc.


  1. Newari New Year: Nepal Sambat

mha puja

The New year is celebrated by the Newar people, the original habitants of Kathmandu Valley. They follow the Lunar calender and the New year lies around October to November a day after the no moon day. It is celebrated by worshipping oneself wishing for good health and prosperity for the coming year.


  1. Gyalpo Loshar:

loshar khapselosar-tibetGyalpo Loshar is the Tibetan New Year. It is celebrated by the Tibetan origin people of the high mountains like the Sherpas. Every year they have an animal representing the year. They also follow the Lunar Calender but the New Year’s Day lies in February or March. This year it is on February 18th. Gyalpo Loshar is celebrated by offering various types of Tibetan homemade breads to the Buddhist deities and rimpoches. It is first offered to the elders of the family and enjoyed by the rest of the family.


  1. Tamu Loshar:

gurunggurung men

The Tamu Loshar is the new year of the Gurung community of Nepal hailing from the mid-western part of Nepal. It is celebrated towards the end of December. The New Year indicates the end of winter and start of spring. There is a lot of rejoice with gatherings in the villages with lots of dancing, singing and feasting.


  1. Sonam Loshar:

tamang_mantamang women

Sonam Loshar is the New Year of the Tamang people of Nepal. They are an indeginious community hailing from the hills around Kathmandu Valley. Their New Year lies in January or February, the day after the no moon day. They prepare for the New Year on the last month of the year by cleaning and decorating their houses. They wear new clothes and go to monasteries, and Chaityas to offer prayers and get blessings from elder monks. Then later they gather for Dancing, singing and feasting with their families.



  1. Maghi festival:


Maghi festival lies on the Magh 1st of the Bikram Sambat Calendar, which lies around mid-January. The Maghi festival is celebrated as the New Year’s day by the Tharu Community, the indeginious group of the Terai region. They celebrate the New Year as the end of Winter and beginning of Spring. They select a new judge, medicine man and guard on this day. The person is responsible to handle is post for the next year. They also clean their houses and make plans for the year ahead. The family members are also assigned their responsibilities on this day. They also celebrate the New Year with some dancing, singing and a huge feast with the whole village attending.


  1. And of course we also celebrate the international new year of the Gregorian Calendar in Nepal with enthusiasm. It has become more popular these days with young people going out to clubs with friends to celebrate the New Year. There is a major three day street festival in Pokhara for the New Year where many locals and tourists go to welcome the New Year.

With this here is to a great New Year 2015 to all.


Winter: 5 things to do in Nepal!!!

Winter has started in Nepal and the chilly mornings and cold windy evenings are here. Thinking about things to do here in Nepal, I have come up with 5 things to experience in winter while you are in Nepal. So come along with me as I tell you what you should do and where you should go to experience winter in Nepal.

1. Visit Lumbini:


Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha is a must see destination with its ancient monuments and recently built monasteries. In summer the temperatures may up to 40 degrees making it impossible to go out during the day. But, the weather in Lumbini is pleasant enough for you to go walking to different monastic zones even during the day. So, if you are not a winter person and want to get away to a warmer place and relax, Lumbini might be the place for you.

2. Go to Bardia National Park:


Bardia National Park is located in the south western part of Nepal. It is the place where you have the best chance of seeing a wild Bengal tiger and other exotic animals. Like in Lumbini, it gets very hot and humid in summer and there is also a risk of contracting diseases like dengue because it is infested by mosquitoes. So, the best time to visit it is now when the mosquitoes are gone and the weather is pleasant even in the jungle. It also increases the chances of seeing the tiger as the water is scarce in winter and there are only few spots where the tiger comes for a drink. If you linger long enough in the towers near the water holes, you might just see one coming out for a drink.

3. Go Trekking:


Although it would sound not so appealing to go to the mountains, the routes will show you a different scene in winter. The routes covered in snow, the cold wind and the lifestyle of people in winter will awe you.  Shorter and easier treks like the Poonhill- Ghorepani Trek or the Ghandruk Trek is more popular in winter. The thrill of walking on the snow and satisfaction of reaching the tea house at the end of the day will be priceless. It will also give you a chance to appreciate the warm hospitality of the mountain people (and their warm food!) even more.

4. Go on a foodie adventure:


I don’t know if it is just me, but I enjoy food more in winter. I always appreciate a warm meal on cold days. There are many winter delicacies in Nepal that can be a little adventurous as they are not prepared using normal ingredients. The ‘Thakha’ and ‘Sanyakhuna’ are basically meat jellies made in every Newari household during winter. It need cold weather for it to be properly prepared. It is enjoyed the most with beaten rice and a little Newari liquor (aila). Another food to try out in winter is the Tibetan butter tea, this salty – buttery tea might taste funny at first but you will take a liking for it after couple of cups! Also don’t miss the chance to try out delicious winter food of Nepal like spicy soup momo, yomari, til ko laddu, dhedo with lots of ghee, and more.

5. Party all night in Pokhara:


Pokhara is the most happening city in Nepal during the New Year’s Eve. They have a street festival in Lake side Pokhara for three days! There is food, drinks and dancing right on the streets as it is the biggest new year’s party in Nepal. You can enjoy sitting by a fireplace and listening to live music in one of the numerous restaurants in Pokhara as well. So, forget the cold and get your party shoes on and head to Pokhara to welcome the new year.

So put on those boots and warm jackets and head out for a winter adventure in Nepal!

Want to know more about Nepal and the things to do in Nepal? Email me at nepalmandalatravels@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

Indra Jatra

Now that Autumn has started in Nepal and the weather is beautiful, the season of festivities has begun in Nepal. Kathmandu Valley with its rich heritage is the best place to experience the festivals of the country.

Starting next week from 6th September this year, one of the liveliest religious street festivals in Kathmandu Valley begins – the Indra Jatra festival. Also known as Yenya Punhi, which means full moon day festival of Kathmandu in Newari Language. Indra Jatra is a week long festival with numerous events happening everyday. It is mainly celebrated in Basantapur Durbar Square, however all three major cities of Kathmandu Valley celebrate it.

sawa bhakku dance group

sawa bhakku dance group

Traditional music played during Indra Jatra

Traditional music played during Indra Jatra

Displaying a huge heap of samye baji

Displaying a huge heap of samye baji

Kumari - the living goddess


Swet Bhairav of Kathmandu

Swet Bhairav of Kathmandu

Indra Jatra is a reenactment of the capturing of Lord Indra, who had come to Kathmandu as a farmer to find the night jasmine flowers for his mother. A tantrik priest recognized him and captured him using his powers.

Later that same night, Indra’s mother herself came down to earth in search of her son. She finds him captured by the priest and she negotiates his release. After the tantrik priest releases Indra, the mother in return blesses Kathmandu Valley with enough dew throughout winter to ensure good harvest of winter crops.

The festival is highlighted by the reenactment of these various events. During the festival a person dressed as the mother of Indra goes around town with a band of musicians. There is also another event where people dressed up as Indra’s vehicle, a white elephant, locally known as pulu kisi goes around town looking for his master. These events are performed on the  streets as onlookers enjoy the retelling of the story.

pulu kisi going around Basantapur Durbar Square during Indra Jatra

pulu kisi going around Basantapur Durbar Square during Indra Jatra

Indra Jatra is also celebrated in remembrance of relatives that have passed away during the past year. It is believed that family members of the deceased walk the same path the mother of Indra walked in hopes of seeing their deceased relatives in heaven. These days people light oil lamps along the way while holding incense sticks. this event happens after dark so it is beautiful to see the lamps lights along the path.

Indra Jatra is also the time when people worship Lord Bhairava. the wrathful representation of Lord Shiva. Different manifestation of Lord Bhairava is displayed all over Basantapur area as well as in other cities of Kathmandu Valley. The large mask of Swet Bhairava is revealed to the public only during the Indra Jatra festival. A pipe coming out of the mouth of Bhairava dispenses traditional nepali liquor (aila) and rice beer (thon).

akash bhairav of Kathmandu

akash bhairav of Kathmandu

Numerous dance groups perform during the Indra Jatra festival accompanied by traditional Newari music. The most famous one is the Lakhe dance, dance of the demon, it is believed that the demon followed goddess Kumari to Kathmandu when she agreed to reside in Kathmandu as the protector of the country. Another popular dance is the Sawa Bhakku group which consist of a blue figure representing Bhairav and two red figures representing his assistants. Other dances include the Devi Dance and Khya dance where many figures representing different deities perform.

Lakhe dance - Dance of the demon

Lakhe dance – Dance of the demon

The Kumari Jatra also happens during the Indra Jatra festival. A chariot of Living Goddess Kumari is pulled through different parts of the old settlements of Kathmandu for three days. Along with Kumari’s chariot, The chariots of living representation of Bhairava and Ganesha are also pulled through the city for three days. There is a huge crowd of people during this festival and even the president of Nepal (historically the king) is present to receive blessings from the living goddess.

Living Goddess Kumari in her chariot during Indra Jatra

Living Goddess Kumari in her chariot during Indra Jatra

The locals of the valley celebrate this festival by inviting their relatives to a feast of traditional Newari dish the Samay Baji. It includes beaten rice with assortment of side dishes including black eyed beans, meat, potatoes, fish, full boiled egg, greens, pieces of ginger, soybeans, bara (bean pattie) including others served with a small bowl of aila. There is also a tradition of giving away a mixture of these dishes to the locals. Heaps of Samay Baji is displayed in front of temples and in neighborhoods to give away to people as blessing from Gods. Therefore, children go to different neighborhoods singing “la chaku weka samay baji, wola wola pulu kisi” (“we want samay baji with a piece of meat, look the pulu kisi is already here”).

Samay baji set

Samay baji set

Indra Jatra is celebrated with much enthusiasm and enjoyment as it is the first big festival that arrives after the long monsoon months. Many people from all walks of life are present in Basantapur Durbar Square during this festival and it is enjoyed by all. If you are interested in being part of a festival in Nepal, you can contact us for suggestions on dates and events that you would enjoy!






Monsoon trip to Pokhara

Pokhara is probably the most popular destination in Nepal. It is rightfully THE tourist town of Nepal, with its lakes, mountain views, numerous adventure activities and large choice of restaurants and places to stay. It seems that Pokhara doesn’t need to be described to travelers to Nepal anymore. However, when Nepal Mandala team made yet another trip to Pokhara this July, it was a whole new experience! There are just as much new things to do there as the first time we went. The mountains aren’t the main attraction during monsoon but Pokhara is still attractive and serene. It is definitely a place to that NEEDS to be visited again and again.


We have come up with a list of things to do, whether you are there for the first time or visiting again!

1. Walk along the Lake:

pkr monsoon

It might sound like a cliche thing to do in the Lake City, but i bet nobody has  gone for a walk through the whole stretch in a single visit. It took me 3 visits to make the whole stretch. i.e. until the path ends. I am sure you can still walk along the unpaved path all the way towards North-west where the lake ends. Look for restaurants along the way, there is bound to be one that you will fancy. One restaurant the caught our eye is the Pokhara Beach Club. It is all the way near the Waterfront Resort. It is located right at the lake with a great view and great people.

2. Try Yoga:


Yoga is becoming popular by the day in Nepal. If you are into yoga, Pokhara is one of the best places to practice it. There are quite a few yoga centers and instructors in Pokhara. If you are looking to try yoga for the first time, Jiva cafe offers classes for a few hours, there are many other such places where a yoga teacher will teach you the basics. If you are more hardcore yoga enthusiast then, Sadhana Yoga Retreat Center is the place to be. Their place is located on the hill towards the north east of the Fewa Lake. It is a hard place to get to and that is exactly why it is the best place for practicing yoga. Besides staying at one place, there are also special programs like yoga treks, where you go on a trek and practice yoga at various places along the way.

3. Try out the Restaurants:


The Lakeside in Pokhara has a wide variety of restaurants. Choose from local Thakali cuisine or cuisines from all over the world. Each restaurant on the Lakeside has their own personality and no two are the same.Therefore, you benefit the most by trying as many restaurants as you can. Do try Thakali food while you are in Pokhara, if you are into Steaks and Pizzas , Pokhara has the best of those in all of Nepal. The whole of Lakeside comes alive in the evening with live music and excellent food.

4. Go to the Mountain Museum:

mtn museum

The mountain museum is a must see places in Pokhara. It is a place to explore the many mountain cultures, lifestyles, biodiversity and other interesting things about the mountains of Nepal and beyond. Monsoon is a good time to go to the museum as it takes a long time to look at all the displays.

5. Visit the OTHER Lakes:


One should visit the other lakes of Pokhara at least once in their lives. They are not as popular as Fewa lake but they are cleaner and more isolated. It is a great place to visit for people who like isolation and peace. Swimming in the lake, fishing or just relaxing by the shore is the thing to do in Begnas lake. The best place to rest and eat is Prakash’s place, it is not a fancy place like the restaurants in the lakeside and they have a limited menu. But, they make the best garlic stuffed grilled tilapia fish in town. They even cook you the fish you caught from the lake.

6. Working in the Field:


Monsoon is rice plantation season in Nepal. All over Nepal, farmers wait for the rain to plant rice saplings, this is a grand project where all members of family, friends and relatives help out. So, you are more than welcome to participate. Asar 15 is celebrated as the rice plantation day in Nepal. This day, people sing, dance and enjoy the mud splashing game during plantation. The day ends with a hearty meal of beaten rice and yogurt. If you are in Pokhara during this time, go to the fields near Waterfront Resort to enjoy plantation Nepali style.

Leave a message below or contact us at info@nepalmandalatravels.com if you want us to plan your monsoon trip to Pokhara, or if you have any queries about traveling to Nepal.


World Cup Madness!!!

Four years have passed since the biggest football festival of the world, and now new excitement has already begun for the 2014 FIFA world cup in Brazil. The beauty of this game is that it is enjoyed by all. Whether your country is playing in the world cup or not.


Last World Cup was enjoyed by all here in Nepal! Mainly because the time difference from South Africa was better for us here in the eastern side of the world. This time, there are quite a few factors that might make the world cup not as fun as the last time. Here are a list of few. Keep scrolling to find out how you can make it better.

Reasons why World Cup may not be so fun this year! Mapase__20121021094129

1. Time difference = late night games.

The time zone is completely opposite from Nepal time zone. most of the games are starting after midnight. Yay for people with insomnia! but for the rest of us, it would mean losing sleep everyday for games.

2. (ma pa se): no drinking and driving!

There is no fun in enjoying good games without some booze! The strict drunk driving laws of Nepal take all that fun away, at least for the person driving! To make it worse, restaurants have to close before 11pm.

3. Loadshedding!

What would you do if the electricity gets cut off just as a player of your team is about to kick a penalty shot? You curse the electricity authority, may be call them and complain! but you already missed the biggest shot of the game!

The Solution:


Nepal Mandala Travels has come up with the perfect package for an amazing world cup experience here in Nepal! We have partnered up with a number of hotels in and outside the valley to help you enjoy the world cup with no loadshedding, no spending the night in jail, and providing the perfect atmosphere to just enjoy the games. With our partnered hotels you can rely on generators to beat loadshedding, not have to worry about enjoying a drink or two as you can spend the night after celebrating your teams win. Why not beat the heat with a rooftop swimming and air conditioned rooms as well.


We have 2 to 3 day attractive packages including one welcome drink, food, transport and hotel stay for the world cup.

Make the World Cup memorable this year by choosing one of our packages in Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, or even Pokhara.Simply contact us at info@nepalmandalatravels.com with your dates, group size and desired location. We will prepare you the perfect package for the WORLD CUP MADNESS!!!


For more information visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/nepalmandalatravels or our website: http://www.nepalmandalatravels.com

Summer time! Top 5 things to do in Nepal!

It is the peak of Summer in Nepal right now, and you must have been thinking of COOL things to do to escape the scorching heat and enjoy the good weather. So, here is a list of 5 things to do in Nepal this summer. So get off the couch and out of the house, after-all summer is about having fun!

1. Cooling off in a raging river!


Rafting in the many raging rivers of Nepal is the best way to cool off in the scorching summer. Prepare for a fun filled exciting adventure while cooling off. A day trip or a 2/3 day trip will give you something to remember in the future summers to come. The most accessible river for rafting (specially for beginners) is the Trishuli River that flows along the Prithivi highway. You can finish off by camping on the riverside or one of the beach resorts along the river.

2. Going to the Himalayas!


There is probably no other way to escape the heat than going to the Himalayas (or higher altitudes) . The air is cooler there and cleaner. If you want to escape the heat entirely then take a longer trip and spend sometime in the mountains, it is probably better than roasting in the cities. You will also enjoy the trails for yourself. Most popular destinations for summer trekking are Langtang National Park, Panchpokhari – Gosainkunda Trail, Ghandruk – Ghorepani Trail. Also Jomsom and Annapurna region trekking are good summer trails because of less rain.

3. Relaxing on a River Beach!


Nepal is a land-locked country, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy some sand and sun. So, grab your shorts and some sunscreen lotion for a memorable day at the beach! The river beaches of Nepal are the places to spend some time relaxing and swimming in the River. Riverside spring resort and Sukute Beach resorts are the most popular beach resorts in Nepal. They are also popular for spending a relaxing evening after a day of rafting.

4. Fishing in the Lake in Pokhara!


No not Fewa Lake! Begnas Tal is a lesser known lake in Pokhara which is away from the crowds of tourists. It is a great destination for a day trip and picnics. Also popular are fishing tours on the lake. Summer is a good time to be around the water and relaxing with a fishing-rod.

5. Elephant bathing in Chitwan!

ele bath

A memorable way to cool off, would be bathing with the elephants in the river in Chitwan. Even elephants need to cool down after working hard all day. They are brought to the river ever evening to bathe. They sometimes people get sprayed on by elephants but I’m sure nobody would mind a cold spray of water.

Happy Summer! Enjoy!

Contact us for more details on the activities, or any other travel services. Remember us for individualized tours for your individual needs. We will be happy to help!

info@nepalmandalatravels.com, nepalmandalatravels@gmail.com


The Nepal Mandala Valley Trek – Short and Sweet

Trekking has been the most sought after activity in Nepal. Most travelers come to Nepal to trek to be close to the mountains and enjoy the natural beauty of Nepal. However, most treks take at least a week to complete and go to places completely out of touch from civilization. But if you want to trek in Nepal but do not have time to spend weeks in the middle of nowhere than the Nepal Mandala Trek is for you. It goes through thick forests, top of some of the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley, gives you great views of the Himalayas and do it in two days. There are different versions of the Nepal Mandala Valley trek that starts from different places, all going to the top of hills surrounding the Valley.

Perhaps the most popular one is the Sundarijal-Chisapani-Nagarkot trek. Just two days long, it will take you through the Shivapuri National Park through some local Tamang Villages and thick forested areas. It is a great trail to try for travelers as well as the dwellers of Kathmandu. The Nepal Mandala Travels team also just went on this trek for the Nepali New Year and we want to share our wonderful experience with you.

Day 1: Sundarijal to Chisapani

The trial to Chisopani is literally an up and down path. It starts with a steep climb along the huge water supply pipes going into the city. After going through a small forested area, we reached a clearing and had to go downhill towards a small stream, after crossing it, it was uphill again. It was our first encounter with ‘wild’ animals! The monkeys, they did not seem very happy to see us though! After a steady uphill walk, we came to the ticket counter to enter into the Shivapuri National Park. After we got our tickets the trails went on steadily uphill until we got to a lunch spot at Mulkarka Village. It was a clearing on the side of a hill with views of the forests below and on adjacent hills. You could also see the views of the city from certain parts of the city. After looking around we chose a place for our lunch and rest. Food always tastes great when you are trekking but the environment and interaction with the owners of the place made it even better. We had traditional Nepalese Dal Bhat with very tasty Chicken curry.

After resting for a while we started our accent again. We had to climb long stairs through a Tamang Village towards the top of the Shivapuri hill! May be because of our full stomachs, it was much difficult for us to finish that final climb. But it was very rewarding when we found a wonderful meadow after passing the village. There were goats grazing, children playing and napping in the meadow. It seemed almost magical as we sat down and enjoyed the warm sun and cool breeze among the goats and nature. It was difficult for us to leave the magical meadow and go on to our destination to Chisopani.

The trail after the meadow was straight with occasional ups and downs. We went through a walled path that almost looked like a passage way to an ancient civilization. It was quite amazing to be the only people inside this long narrow road walled on both sides. We walked through it for a good hour until we reached a open area with a resting area. Then the next stage was again another stretch of uphill stairs, luckily it was just a short one. We realized that we are on the top of the hill now and are looking towards the other side. t was getting cloudy and we could hear the thunder getting closer and closer as we reached the top of the stretch. Now we had some initiative to walk faster and try not to make it to Chisapani without getting wet. Then we saw the stairs again! But this time it was going downhill, Thank goodness! After zooming down the stairs for more than an hour, and some magnificent views of the sunset through the clouds and the green hills in layers, we finally reached Chisapani. We stayed in the first hotel/guesthouse we saw getting into this small tourist town of Chisapani. We ordered some hot tea and snacks and were waiting for the thunder storm to start but it decided to not show up after chasing us for the last hour. The family who run the guest house were very friendly and the dinner was really good and the rooms were decent and we fell asleep as soon as we hit the beds.

Day 2: Chisapani to Nagarkot

An early rise to view the sunrise and the Himalayas but it was smoggy. However, the views of the Himalayas from Chisapani is supposed to be magnificent and you could even see Mt. Everest on clear days, but sadly for us it wasn’t one of those days. After a quick walk around the town, we had our huge breakfast of Tibetan breads and Omelettes and set out for Day 2. The trail was fairly straight and more scenic than yesterdays, there was more sun and shade and when around the side of the hill. It was actually a jeep trail and you would meet some vehicles once in a while. But after walking on the trail for a while we found a lake hidden away behind the thick bushes. The water was so still and the reflections were amazing. We found another magical place in on our short two day trek. After spending a few minutes taking in the wonderful views, we went on towards our destination, Nagarkot. We had to walk longer on the second day, but most of the trail was flat and easy.

After we left the jeep trail, we went through a thick part of the forest. It was a small walking path with thick forest on both sides. If you looked into the tree all you could see is more trees, bushes and darkness. There was a nervous feeling of being in the middle of forest and anticipating a leopard jumping out in front of us! I was planning all sorts of escape and combat plans in my head through out my walk through the forest. We did not encounter any leopard, however we were accompanied by less dangerous creatures of the forest like the butterflies and birds. After walking for almost 2 hours in the jungle, we finally came to an open area. We had to walk down a steep path along the fence of the army camp to get to a small village called Jhule.  It was the lunch spot for us today.

After lunch and a long rest, we started the second half of our journey to Nagarkot. We again joined a jeep trail along a spread out village, until we came to a main road, and started walking towards a small town. We finally left the blacktopped hot road to walk on the shaded hiking trail. The views of a small agricultural valley was amazing from this trail. We realized we were climbing the hill slowly and seeing the valley from a higher point as we were walking. The view got more and more amazing as we passed villages after villages. We enjoyed the views until we reached another small town at the base of a hill. When we asked locals they said we only had to walk for 45 minutes. We were all really exited to get to Nagarkot, and kept walking until we realized we had to climb a small hill to the top and go past it to another hill top. But we finally made it. It was Nepali New Years Eve and Nagarkot was crowded.

Day 3: Nagarkot – Kathmandu

Despite the tiring 2 day walk, everybody woke up early to view the first sunrise of the New Year. The cool thing about Nagarkot sunrise is that it rises from behind the Himalayas. The spectacular view and anticipation of the sun rising is no doubt an amazing ending for a two day hike around a part of the rim of Kathmandu Valley. After the sunrise and breakfast watching the mountains, we hopped on the jeep and went back to Kathmandu.

Check out our Website: http://www.nepalmandalatravels.com for other treks. And email us at info@nepalmandalatravels.com if you want us to include the Nepal Mandala Valley Hike in your trip to Nepal.