Tuesday, October 21, 2008

“Namaste” Nepal

Area: 147181 Sq Kms

Population: 24 million

8+k Peaks: Everest, Lothse, Makalu, Cho-yo, Dhaulagiri, Manasalu, Annapurna, Kunchanjunga just in the fag end into the Indian border

Activities: Trekking, Mountaineering, Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Mountain Biking, Sky diving, Paragliding etc

Namaste”, “ Tapaai Laai Kasto Chha?” “Mo Sanchai Chha” are the first few words one gets to start with. If any one says Namaste instead of Hello, it’s for sure that he/she is a Nepali or a Mountaineer or just returned from Nepal. One not only falls in love with the mountains but also its people, language, culture, and smell of a country that has embraced modernization on its own terms.

The “Himalayan country” eats, sleeps, breaths, drinks Himalayas. Every peak is a selling point, with almost 8 of the 14 8000 mts peaks in Nepal and several 6000-7000 mts peaks mountaineering /trekking is unlimited rather never ending in Nepal.

T-shirts, Mouse pads, Fridge Magnets, Caps, Bags, Posters, Calendars, Pin-up’s, Note pads, Paintings, Photos, Bands, Badges, Playing Cards, Mugs etc carry symbols of Nepal and the Himalayas, and are sold for NC 50 – 2000. One could confidently say that the brand equity of Himalayas is unmatched to any other brand in the world.

Nepal is a paradise for shopper, artifacts, Kukries (traditional Gurkha knife), ethnic stuff, hand made ornaments, mountain wear, paintings etc etc. It’s quite inexpensive and actually cheap if you are a qualified bargainer. One important fact is that every brand in the world that manufactures anything related to mountaineering or adventure can be seen in Nepal, you will find both the original make and the “Made in China” under the same brand name. So if you are looking for real stuff check the “Made in” tag, there are also few possibilities of “Export” quality made in China stuff and you can make out the difference most of the times.

You look around from Thamel Circle it feels like a mini-world, people from all nationalities walking around freely as if they have been there forever. Travel junkies, Nature admirers, Photographers, Travel Writers, Honeymooners, Holidayers, Pilgrims, Mountaineers, Trekking enthusiasts all at the same time and the same place is simply overwhelming. Each one has come with a different reason but will leave Nepal with once in a lifetime experience (Good one).

Some come back searching for more and more and keep following the old lanes that looks new always, that has not lost its past glory or the rustic looks. Nepal is a land where both the worlds meet without intimidating or challenging each other, the two worlds seem to have made peace forever and let the country flourish with a free mind, body and soul.

One would leave Nepal saying “ Dhanyabaad, Malaai Nepal man parchha….Pheri veethaula.”

- Kavitha Reddy, 3rd Oct 08