Friday, November 1, 2013

O My Dog !

Today, dogs are being honored all over the country for their sincere service to mankind. They are seen strutting on the street with tika, vermilion powder, on their forehead and flower garland on their neck, and the belly, that was empty previous day, now full of delicacies. Dogs might have wondering 'what went wrong with Nepalis that their heart suddenly filled with love and respect for us?'

Tihar, the festival of lights, is celebrated in Nepal for five days worshipping not only human and the Gods, but also animals like crow, dog and cow. Each day has its significance as the first day, also known as 'Kag Tihar', is observed by worshipping crows and offering them delicious meals. Crows are considered as the messenger of the Yama, Lord of Death. It is believed that their cawing would bring sadness and grief to the family. So they are worshipped to keep the sadness at bay.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bird Festive Season

Season means many different things to many people. Some prefer monsoon for their crops to grow, while others look for summer for their business to flourish. And there are people waiting for a new season to welcome visiting birds. In fact, the avian visitors remind people of beginning of a new season.

The migratory birds’ spectacular flight reminds farmers to plant new crops in their field. Thus the saying in Nepali: "Karyang kurung aayo, kakro pharsi ropa" or, Here come cranes, plant cucumber and pumpkin in your nursery-lane.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Failed Project

During early 2011, the coffee project was initiated with a dream of producing organic coffee in Chitwan hills and improving the lives of local people. In less than 3 years, we see our dream falling apart as young coffee plants that we planted, die one after other in the climate that, we thought, should be suitable for coffee plantation. It is indeed disappointing to share our unsuccessful stories, but this also provides an opportunity to find the way for the future initiatives by assessing our failed efforts.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jungle Guide Meet Fatal Incident

Death is inevitable. However, it is painful to face the reality when a life is lost prematurely. Bharat Pandey, 42, an assistant guide, lost his life in a rhino attack, in Chitwan National Park while he was guiding six foreign visitors along with his fellow guides, Sukram Mahato (guide) and Prem Kumal (assistant guide). The fatal incident took place on September 13 near the Bhalu Khola on their way towards Crocodile Breeding Center, located at Kasara, the park's headquarters. Two rhinos (female rhino with her adult baby) emerged from bush and attacked the team, but Bharat happened to receive the blow and got knocked down.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cute Cutia

Cutia, Cutia nipalensis, a beautiful bird, that inhabits the broadleaved forest in the mid-hills of Nepal Himalaya is scarce and local resident. This stunning species is only one of its kind in Nepal, that its gracious presence makes the place special for bird lovers.

Among those few places where Cutia sighted regularly is Upardang Gadi which is already renowned for presence of Spiny Babbler, the only endemic bird of Nepal. Phulchoki in the Kathmandu Valley is other hotspot for Cutia and Spiny Babbler.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Asar 15

Today is 15th day of Asar (June-July), the third Nepali month, the special day that signifies the busiest day of the year for farmers who actively involve in planting rice.

Rice plantation begins from first week of Asar, or even earlier, depending upon the weather condition in various parts of the country. Eastern part sees the monsoon early so their begins the plantation earlier than the west. Asar 15 is generally regarded as the peak day and celebrated as a special occasion.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Old Glory

Some three decades ago Tandi, my hometown, was a small settlement with rows of houses and shops along either side of dirt-road that still runs as east-west highway. The settlement gradually turned into a common market place for the people of surrounding villages. Fringed by meadows, fruit groves and forests, the town had flourished at the bank of stream, Budikhola, much wider then, where we used to swim and fish. Not very far from the town in the west is the Barandhabar Forest, a wildlife corridor that stretches up to mid hills in the north and the Rapti River in the south; and across the river is huge tropical swathe of Chitwan National Park. Being surrounded by dense meadows and forests, people often witnessed the wild beasts in the town in the past. One fine morning I saw people succumbed with panic as the mammoth rhino appeared at their doorstep. Traffic was halted for some two hours creating havoc for people and bewilderment for the animal. Rhino found the way north-west of the highway to escape towards Barandabhar forest.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Dance In Trance

Ghatu Nach, a typical Gurung dance, is popular in the remote Gurung communities of Nepal. It is performed not only for fun and entertainment, but also for the charm and mysticism that is associated with this unique cultural show.The ghatusari’, the dancers, bodily gesture is predominant in the dance. The dancers move their body and hands gracefully in complete trance for a whole day with their eyes closed following the songs sung by guruaama, the lady teacher.

Ghatu is organized every year on Chandi Purnima, the full moon day which falls on the last week of May, in many parts of Chitwan district where Gurung community is predominant. Among them, Chandibhanjyang, some 5 hours uphill walk from the Prithvi Highway (either from Kalikhola or Jalbire), is a typical Gurung village where Ghatu is organized in full swing that attracts numerous spectators from nearby villages.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Damaha House

Kathmandu was known as city of temples. It is said that there used to be more temples than houses. But story is different now: modern houses have outnumbered and dwarfed not only proverbial temples but also traditional houses. However, splendor of medieval art and architecture is still sparkling in every corner.

Temple is to install the gods and goddesses but it is also built for different religious purposes. Dyochhe (a Newari term) looks like normal house with a pinnacle and a toran, where all the things necessary for festivals and jatra (religious and cultural procession), like chariot and rope are kept and priests also live there. Soldiers used to keep their weapons in certain temple with belief that weapons would acquire the divine power.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spiritual Guard

Under the fading light of solar lamp, Chepang jhankri (shaman) was beating the dhyangro (drum) and uttering mantra. Sitting by the side of the fire and being surrounded by family members and onlookers, jhankri first muttered few words with slow beat of drum that gained the momentum gradually culminating in violent shaking of his body and again slowing down the pace.

Rhythmic sound of drum and the small bells, attached at the circular rim of drum, was so resounding that people from afar knew that jhankri was flexing his muscles against the evil spirits to drive them away from the house. Family offered him rice grains and money on the plate. He put the string of beads upon the plate. The family members were busy preparing the essentials: pieces of stone, wooden pegs and thread needed for the rituals.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Harvesting Wheat

Wheat is ready for harvest but, sadly, field mice are the ones which harvested the crop first. I had been delighted to see the good crop but thorough inspection revealed the empty patches at the center of the field with numerous burrows surrounded by stiff stubbles. I was obviously disappointed to notice hard grown grains being looted by marauders.

After the rice season, there were two options, wheat or mustard to grow in my land. I preferred wheat for two reasons. Mustard had been marred by severe weather last season. Accordingly many farmers, especially ones who grew mustard, suffered heavy loss. Unlike wheat, mustard does not prefer much rain. The other reason is scarcity of wheat, one of the ingredients to make satu (food for school children supplied by Books for Nepal), last year. I thought of easy accessibility of wheat to make satu when I grow it in my land.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Everything is quiet. Leaves on trees are all motionless. We hear shuffling of the dead leaves as we are walking on a narrow trail through the forest. The other faint sound is a call of Collared Owlet from the distant. As the morning sunlight penetrates the mist between trees, series of light and dark patterns are shooting down like arrows. I am suffocating. Dark jumper on my shoulder not much of a help to keep me warm from the cold. The fraying edge of black coat-sleeves of Som Bahadur is moving like dragonfly. We are walking down-hill to town to find the work to sustain our family.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Peace Unearthed

As we were descending down from the Kathmandu to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, trailing the cloud of mist through rolling hills along the river valley and then plain of Terai, I was thinking of the spiritual journey to calm my body and soul.

Last year filled with trauma and turmoil. I was affected more by news of violence perpetuated by humans upon humanity; atrocity on innocent children, especially, was shocking. I was happy that the new year began with this promising journey for seeking peace and equanimity.