Latest Posts

Cho Oyu expedition. Photo: Dirk Groeger / Flickr
06 May 2018

On Mountain Climbing and the Himalayan Database

I spoke to Billi Bierling, German climber and major contributor to the Himalayan Database. The Database thoroughly chronicles those who have summited the Himalayan peaks from 1905-2018, utilizing details gathered from over 15,000 individual interviews. The creator of the database was the legendary Elizabeth Hawley, a close friend of Billi’s,

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On the Nepali Flag
03 May 2018

On the Nepali Flag

On August 23, 2014, almost 40,000 people congregated at the Tundikhel ground in Kathmandu to participate in a unique event. They were there at the call of an organization that hoped to create a new world record of sorts—making the largest national flag. Around 30,000 people in nearby Lahore, Pakistan

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Photo credit: Malmaison Hotels / Flickr
29 Apr 2018

The Top Spas in Kathmandu

After some extremely serious research over the past few years, I’ve compiled a list of the top contenders for the best massages, therapies and other treatments to keep the body and soul aglow through the ‘fairy dust’ that Kathmandu casts on her residents and visitors. Check ’em out! For a

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Help Clean Up Nepal: Take Out Your Trash
25 Apr 2018

Help Clean Up Nepal: Take Out Your Trash

As a child I often saw my mother pick up trash. It was a quiet action that showed me the importance of leaving a place better than I found it. I have picked up trash on beaches, mountains, and in cities for years, so I wasn’t surprised to see trash

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Snake ornamentation in a water tank. Photo: 
Peretz Partensky/Flickr
22 Apr 2018

Nag Panchami, When the Snakes Have Their Day

Nag Panchami (August 19) is a Hindu festival that worships Nag, the serpent king. Pictures of Nag are posted in doorways, and milk is the prime offering of the day. If you have a keen eye, you must have noticed that snakes are quite prevalent in many wood, metal, and

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The Rato Matsyendranath chariot. Photo: Elen Turner
18 Apr 2018

Patan’s Furious Sage: The Rato Matsyendranath Festival

There’s a festival held in Patan that goes on and on for one entire month–the Rato Mtsyendranath Festival. This year it will be held from May-June. It’s also a festival that has been the foreteller of some tragic events in the country’s history. The focal point of the festival is

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Dashain swing. Photo: socialtours nepal/Flickr
15 Apr 2018

Dashain, Nepal’s Biggest Festival

Dashain is the most important festival in Nepal. It is a celebration of good prevailing over evil. Families offer goats, ducks, chickens, eggs and coconuts to the goddess Durga. People return to their home villages to spend some or all of the fifteen-day festival with their families. Large swings are

Marianne 0
Photo: R4vi/Flickr
11 Apr 2018

The Janai Purnima Festival, or Rakshya Bandhan

The Hindu, Buddhist and Jain festival of Janai Purnima (also known as Rakhsya Bandhan) takes place on the full moon day of Shrawan. Janai refers to a sacred thread worn by men as they come of age, and purnima means the full moon. During this festival, Buddhists bathe in sacred

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Photo: socialtours nepal/Flickr
08 Apr 2018

The Story of the Gai Jatra Festival

Going by just the name, you might think that Gai Jatra (or the festival of the cows) it’s something like the ‘running of the bulls’ festival in Pamplona. Well, that is really far from the mark. Gai Jatra, held on August 27 this year, is actually an occasion to commemorate

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Around Dingboche. Photo: Paul/Flickr
05 Apr 2018

Living as an Honorary Sherpa in the Solukhumbu Region

Twenty years ago, my father made one last great trip before becoming a stay-at-home dad. I was then four years old and I don’t recall his absence. This final adventure was a hike to Gokyo Ri in the Everest region. Despite his determination, he got caught in a snow storm.

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Photo: Matt Zimmerman/Flickr
02 Apr 2018

Where to Take the Best Photos, Film & Selfies in Pokhara

The world is no stranger to Nepal’s natural beauty. Yet beyond stunning mountaintops and sweeping landscapes, Nepal’s urban centers bustle with markets, restaurants, music, and more. Perfect for idyllic photos and film backdrops. Once a quiet trekking town, Pokhara is now full of luxury hotels and trendy nightspots. Beyond the

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Mustang's Colourful Tiji Festival
30 Mar 2018

Mustang’s Colourful Tiji Festival

The Tiji Festival is the most auspicious festival in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal. Ancient mythology relates how the Tiji Festival was celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. It is believed that what is now the Mustang region was in trouble, and was being destroyed by

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Photo: Vrindavan Lila/Flickr
28 Mar 2018

Celebrating Krishna, Most Flamboyant of the Gods

If you are here on September 2nd this year, you must visit Patan Durbar Square, for that is where you will see long lines of both young and old devotees queuing up in front of the Krishna Temple to wish Lord Krishna a very happy birthday. Actually, there are two

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Running the Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail
25 Mar 2018

Running the Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail

On a weekend in mid-March, I accomplished something that I never thought I’d be able to do: I ran the full length of the Kathmandu Valley Rim Trail essentially without stopping. This amounted to roughly 170-180km distance, with nearly 12,000 meters of elevation gain in a period of 38 hours.

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To the Back of Beyond: The Chepang Hills Trek
22 Mar 2018

To the Back of Beyond: The Chepang Hills Trek

About half way between Kathmandu and Pokhara, we got off the tourist bus at Hugdi. Adjusting our backpacks, my friend, our guide and I set off from the roadside up a narrow track that was to take us up to Hattibang. After walking a few hours up the narrow track,

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Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival Part 2
19 Mar 2018

Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival Part 2

We told you the first part of the Ghode Jatra festival story the other day, in Part 1. Are you ready for the second half? This terrifying demon was the legendary Gurumapa, whose stories were often told by elders to their children all over the valley. Scared, Kesh Chandra remained

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Culture & Tradition

Guide to the Hemis Monastery Festival, Ladakh, 23-24 June 2018
04 Jun 2018

Guide to the Hemis Monastery Festival, Ladakh, 23-24 June 2018

The Hemis Monastery, 43 kilometres from Leh, is one of the richest and most important monasteries in Ladakh. It is also one of the few monasteries to hold its annual festival in the summer. Therefore, it’s very popular with tourists. If you’re lucky enough to be in Ladakh in June/July,

Elen Turner 0
Chortens at Swayambhunath. Photo credit: chripell / Flickr
27 May 2018

Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pictures

Nepal is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites. But, this number is actually misleading because one of these sites (the Kathmandu Valley) includes seven monument zones. Here are some images that reflect why these sites are considered so culturally and naturally important, not just to Nepal, but to the

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Mangal Dhun, the Music of Nepal
16 May 2018

Mangal Dhun, the Music of Nepal

Once, I received a curious query from someone I knew in America; he wanted to know about the origin of the mangal dhun, one of the most familiar tunes in Nepal. The name means “auspicious tune”, and is played during festive and celebratory occasions. It is the tune that announces

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Nature

Mountain Landscape in Himalaya. Piramid of stones. Annapurna South peak, Hiun Chuli, Nepal, Mardi Himal track.
25 Oct 2017

The Mardi Himal Trek

The Annapurna range in central Nepal is home to some of the world’s most iconic mountain landscapes and crisscrossed by some of the country’s most popular trekking routes. For those looking for a less-travelled and gentler glimpse of this spectacular terrain, the 4-5 day Mardi Himal trek is perfect. Slightly

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An Urban Retreat at the Godavari Botanical Gardens
25 Oct 2017

An Urban Retreat at the Godavari Botanical Gardens

I recently visited the Godavari Botanical Gardens, tucked away in the southern hills of Kathmandu. It took me less than an hour to get there, but it feels like a different world. The hustle and bustle of Kathmandu can be a little bit overwhelming, especially for people like me who

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The Spectacular Rara-Phoksundo Trek
24 Oct 2017

The Spectacular Rara-Phoksundo Trek

While it’s possible to do so many “commercial treks” in Nepal, with all basic and necessary amenities provided, I enjoyed a fascinating trek that doesn’t require too much preparation, strong physical abilities or a lot of money. I’m talking about the Rara-Phoksundo trek, which is an astonishing stroll through virgin

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