Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) launched a program to promote Nepal in Europe 2017 with the slogan “Visit Nepal-Europe Campaign 2017” which aims to uplift/increase the number of tourists from European counties by 30 to 40 percent as compare to 2016.
To make the campaign success, NTB will collaborated with Nepal missions in Europe, Nepali Diaspora and travel and tour operators in Europe. NTB has decided to promote the campaign “Visit Nepal-Europe Campaign 2017” in different European nation like Ireland, Belgium, Russia, Netherlands, Spain and Denmark. NTB has been planning to officially launch the campaign in London in March 2017.
NTB has designed some program under this campaign to promote Nepal tourism like photo exhibition, talk on mountaineering, “send a friend to Nepal” campaign, and tourism promotion by Nepali restaurants in Europe and training for Nepali Diaspora to promote Nepal’s tourism among others
Get up early and discover two jewels of the Karnali District in Farwest Nepal in one day.
Ghodaghodi Lake is only a one hour drive from Dhangadhi and a beautiful place to relax, trek and enjoy nature. A path leads around the lake and you can walk around the forests for hours – but don’t get lost! It is easy to forget the time in this beautiful jungle covered with huge, tall trees and bushes and diverse flora and fauna. If you look exactly, you can observe many different birds, some of them walking on the seagrass on the lakes so that it seems just like they are walking on the water. If you wander about the name, two tall horses at the entrance clarify the origin: Ghodaghodi is derived from the Nepali word for horse. According to legend, God Shiva and Goddess Parvati used to turn into horses and circle around the lake. Another mystical place in Farwest Nepal to have a look at…
One more hour to drive and you reach the giant Karnali River which gives the district its name. Feel the exciting shutter on the huge bridge when a truck or bus is crossing, and take some pictures of the wonderful surrounding: Flatland as far as you can see to the south merges promptly into steep, high hills, and the deep blue river is streaming out of the mountain regions. Go to the river bank for a toe-dip in the water, and relax afterwards with a nice milk tea in one of the many cafes in Chisapani.
TDS staff took a Saturday afternoon to explore Dhangadhi and its surrounding to discover what this charming corner in the Terai of Farwest Nepal has to offer.
First stop was the Tharu Homestay and Resort, a 10 minute motorbike or scooti ride south from Dhangadhi’s center, the main road. The Homestay opened just a few months ago, and we were friendly welcomed and invited inside by the owner, – NAME-. It lies beautifully embedded in rice and vegetable fields that go as far as one can see – up to the Indian border. Several comfortable rooms with double beds and attached bathrooms invite guests for a relaxing weekend within the beautiful nature of Nepal’s Terai, delicious Nepali and Tharu food and other cultural activities.
The next station was Jokhar Tal, or Jokhar Lake in the easter outskirts of Dhangadhi. Through a botanical garden (entrance is free), paths lead through a dense forest with all kinds of flora and fauna towards a picturesque, small lake. Even though the water does not invite for swimming, the surrounding is perfect for some deep and calming breaths in the clear and clean air. A path leads around the lake and passes several ideal places for a picnic, what so many Nepali families and friends love to do on Saturdays. A little further down the path, several treks lead into the forest where one can get even closer into the natural beauty of huge trees and verdant fauna.
The last attraction was awaiting us at the Western end of the city: Mohana Bird Watch. Following a wooden sign just off the Main Road, the two kilometer ride is already reviving. We passed a beautiful living area where houses mix with animal sheds and rice fields in between or to the back, when soon the houses get less and the fields widen and change their color from meter to meter. The path ends at a calm river, where you immediately feel the air getting cooler and fresher from the forest around it. Don’t forget your camera – here is a perfect spot to see some birds in their nests high above in the trees. This is the perfect place for a last break to watch the sunset over the river and let the day fade away.
Dadeldhura is a four hour bus or mini-van drive away from Dhangadhi and lays picturesque in the middle hills of Farwest Nepal. It is still hard to find information on the internet – but this should not hold you back to discover this inspiring place in the hilly area of Farwest Nepal!
The town in the middle hills of Farwest Nepal is not very big, colorful houses in every size spread over an area of hills in an elevation of about 1,300 meters. That means: fresh and clean air to breathe and clear your mind. Once you arrive at the bus park during the day, the first breathtaking view over the Western Himalayas will let you forget about the winding and adventurous bus drive. A number of hotels and guest houses await you with clean and comfortable rooms, delicious Nepali food as well as warm and welcoming smiles.
You will be drawn into the calm mountain life once you make your way out of your hotel in the morning. Try to get up before sunrise and catch a spot on one of the many roof terraces. When the sun rises in the east and the white Himalayan giants get more and more visible in the north, this is the moment to just breathe and be. Let the sunshine right inside your smile…
With a small backpack, carrying water and some snacks, you are all set for a reviving hike – for example down to Ajaymerukot, a “mystical place” as even the locals call it. From the very top and south end of Dadeldhura, you find a large and flat plateau where the trek starts into the valley to the north. Natural beauty will surround you for the next hours, starting in a high pine forest merging into a broadleaf and verdant vegetation and finally into golden brown banking. Crossing the suspension bridge down in the valley will let your heart beat higher and lead you to the small settlement Ajaymerukot – or to further hikes in the surrounding hills.
To satisfy the desire of getting closer and closer to the breathtaking peaks of the Western Himalayas, you can take a 1,5 hours bus ride to Khodpe the next day. Khodpe is a very small Bazaar and lies lovely imbedded on top of a mountain range north from Dadeldhura. Let your heart decide which place to go – you will find nice hiking trails all over the place and even more spots where you can enjoy the incredible view. You will become a witness of time passing even though you are doing nothing except staring to the north and being overwhelmed by the stupefying dimension of the mystical Himalayas. Try some Veg or Egg Pakoda or Samosa in one of the local shops before you return to your hotel in Dadeldhura and let the wonderful experiences and impressions fade on your balcony with a lemon tea.
Tharu Women Network: Monthly Meeting Conducted in Dhangadhi
Tourism Development Societyhad the chance to participate in a meeting of the Dhangadhi-based Tharu Women Network (TWN). The association was founded by a group of friends during the recession of 2008 and 2009, when times were tough and jobs hard to find. The idea behind the organization is to establish a network of financial and social security for its members and to generate new means of income through the production of traditional Nepali handicrafts in Farwest Nepal.
We spoke with Rajkumari Mahatau, Chair Woman of the organization.
TDS: Raj, thanks for this interview. First of all, why are you having these meetings?
R.M.: Basically, we meet to discuss the financials and the products of our network. But we also use this time to socialize and exchange ideas.
TDS: Could you briefly explain what you are discussing in such a meeting?
R.M.: Well, on the one hand, each member makes her monthly deposit in the network account and if one of the women needs a credit, she receives it out of that account at a minimal interest rate of 1%. On the other hand, we talk about our products, new designs, prepare our next trade fair in Kathmandu – the Fair trade Christmas Bazar - and so on.
TDS: How often do you conduct these meetings?
R.M.: Every month, on the first Saturday according to the Nepali Calendar.
TDS: And how many women usually participate in a monthly meeting?
R.M.: Well, this time some of our members are out of town, so we’re a little less than usual. I would say that in a regular meeting we are between 15 and 20 women.
TDS: And in total, how big is your network so far?
R.M.: We are 30 women at the moment, most of which are living in Dhangadhi. But we also have eight members that work and live outside of the city.
West Nepal is joining the Asian Ecotourism Network
ITB Berlin is the largest Travel Trade fair in the world. In this year’s ITB Berlin there were representatives of the biggest traders & tour operators of the industry present from all around the world. In 38 halls of the Messe Berlin exhibitors from nearly all the countries were promoting their tourism products. The trade fair ran for 5 days.
Farwest Nepal was represented by Tourism Development Society. A series of the meetings with existing and potential partners was scheduled. One of the important meetings was held with the Asian Ecotourism Network. Mr. Masaru Takayama, the chairman of the Asian Ecotourism Network shared: “An extremely promising and constructive meeting was held with Nepal Tourism Development Society”
This year Tourism Development Society has become the charter institutional member of the Asian Ecotourism Network aiming to contribute to its goals and objectives:
Connect AEN ecotourism stakeholders for knowledge transfer, and marketing and business opportunities (B2B and B2C)
Create new networking opportunities for AEN ecotourism stakeholders.
Provide AEN ecotourism stakeholders with modern eLearning tools, training opportunities, and market data.
Influence policy makers and emphasize the importance of embracing the international branding and certification.
At the same time, Tourism Development Society is trying to explore new opportunities for its members through the AEN. Tourism initiative from Farwest Nepal can take advantage of partnership-building, promotion and professional development opportunities for local to international, from grassroots to global. It is going to take advantage for promotion and professional development opportunities for the businesses from the region.
The first training for trekking guides and porters was organized and conducted in cooperation with the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) and Tourism Development Society (TDS) in Farwest Nepal. Two courses were held from February 23rd to March 9th 2016 for Trekking guides and from February 23rd to March 2nd for trekking porter guides. As a venue the Bhada Homestay Village of Kailali was chosen.
Both organizations NATHM and TDS have similar aim to develop skilled workforce required by hospitality and tourism industry in Nepal. In the newest destination of Nepal is a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity for the region.
All together 40 participants, 40 pioneers were striving to be certified by NATHM: 26 participants were registered for the trekking guide training, and 14 trainees attended trekking porter guide course. The participants were from 8 districts of Farwest region and 3 districts of mid-western region, which allowed information exchange between participants and established the network of trekking guides between 11 districts.
Shankar Baral, participant from Darchula shared with us: “The three-week training was intensive, but at the same time it was exciting and interesting learning experience. It was a great opportunity for us to get very practical knowledge from the experienced trainers. This spring a tourist group has booked their 11-day trekking tour for the Api Nampa Base Camp with one of the local tour operators. I am happy to assist them in conduction of this trip, were I can practice my knowledge!”
T.D.S. team has visited Maghi Village, which is located in neighborhood of the most important attraction in the Western Terai, Ghodaghodi Lake Area. This protected area is famous if its 13 large and shallow lakes and ponds like Nakhrodi Lake, associated marshes and meadows. Together, they form a wetland corridor connecting Royal Bardia Nationalpark with the Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.
The bird watchers, culture and nature lovers coming to visit the area were missing the places to stay. Today, 14 families in the village offer cozy and authentic homestays to their guests. The Maghi Homestay Village is the best example how sustainable conservation can be ensured with sustainable livelihood approach.
T.D.S. had a conversation with Mr. Sobha Ram Chaudhary from the Maghi Homestay Village Management Committee.
T.D.S.: How did this idea to establish homestay village come to you?
Mr. Chaudhary: For many years our village has have been involved in conservation activities organized by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) in our area. Some of us were involved in counting the bird species or organizing logistics for visitors and researchers. As you know, Ghoadaghodi Lakeis one of the most important areas for bird conservation in Nepal. 2014, our friends from BCN visited us and brought the idea of creation of homestays in our village. We were thinking: “Why not? We have already guests staying in the village, but we could do that in a more organized and better way.” In the initial stage we got technical support from both the Terai Arc Landscape Programme and BCN.
T.D.S.: How many families are involved in this initiative?
Mr. Chaudhary: Until now we have 14 families offering rooms for guests. All families are members in the management committee. We all together are discussing and deciding about how we can improve facilities in the houses, waste management in the village as well as questions like pricing and guest distribution. Each house has one or two rooms for guests.
T.D.S.: What kind of tourist activities can Maghi Village offer?
Mr. Chaudhary: Maghi village is a perfect combination of unique Tharu culture and natural experiences. The tourists are coming to see Ghodaghodi Lake in the Terai. We organize bird watching tours in cooperation with BCN. But our village is not far from the hills. There are various opportunities to go for short hikes in the hills we call Chure. Usually, we can organize 2-3 day-hikes with camping in the hills. In the village our guests are always welcome to participate in our festivals getting introduced to our culture.
T.D.S.: If someone is interested to make the reservation, what would be the best way?
Mr. Chaudhary: The guests are welcome to reach out to us by calling me, Shoba Ram (9749026283) or Man Bahadur (9749047801). Now the information about houses, rooms with pictures and rates could be found at www.farwestnepal.org
“We are thinking of diversifying the handicraft products to offer more variety in shape and size. Sometimes people, especially the foreigners, ask us about the dyes we use, and we want to try using natural dyes, actually exactly the way our mothers and grandmothers did. We want to preserve these traditions!” told us Shanti Chaudhary from the handicraft group Dhakiya Gori.
This Summer the new handicraft group Dhakiya Gori was established in Bangra Village (Dhangadhi Municipality of Kailali District) in the Western Terai of Nepal. Until now 15 women joined the group and represent the work of traditional Nepali handicraft. For centuries, Tharu women have been making traditional craft products, like their famous baskets made out of Elephant Grass which is also called Sikki. It is a type of grass of golden colour which is grown in the wet and marshy area around rivers and ponds in the Terai region of Far West Nepal.
After checking several trekking options I decided to go to Rara National Park in the Western Terai of Nepal which is famous for a habitat of red pandas and the spectacular nature with the beautiful Rara Lake located at the altitude of about 3000m. Our backpacks were ready for a 10 day journey. Early morning we headed to Nepalgunj to catch the flight to Jumla. Having left the flatland after nearly 40 minutes we were landing in the mountainous town of “blue roofed” Jumla. The local market was full of the hustle and bustle coming along with preparations going for the famous Dashain Festival. A lot of people coming from surrounding villages were buying new clothes and special food for the festive days. Dashain is celebrated by Hindu dwellers worshiping the Goddess of Power Durga Devi, and is the biggest festival of Nepal. From Jumla we went to the place called Naurighat. In the morning we walked through the blue pine forest with its gentle smells and soft carpet of pine needles. After a couple of hours we reached an open plateau with gazing horses not disturbed by anyone around. A small rest was needed before reaching a pass with a stunning view over the mountains and circling vultures over the ancient shrine, where you could leave a stone for a good luck. (more…)