Category Archives: Kathmandu

A heartfelt plea from my friend

As most of you are aware a major earthquake struck eastern Nepal, the second one in two weeks. Over a hundred people were killed and more than 2,500 injured.

AS and I are lucky that all our close relatives survived the quake but not every family was so lucky. Here I am sharing the story the family of my friend’s first cousin. The family lost everything in the earthquake, their house, their business which was their only source of income, and above all their father.

“The earthquake that struck Nepal on 25th April claimed my father’s life. I still regret that I wasn’t home that day. My sisters were able to pull my mother out of the house and all my sisters managed to get out alive but my dad couldn’t.” – Sujan Malla (My friend’s cousin)

I know most of you have already donated to one cause or another to help Nepal but today I am requesting you to donate $5 if not more to this family and help my friend build a house for a family who have lost everything. I know skipping coffee for a day is not a lot to ask for.

I promise I will keep you posted how we go with the fundraising and once the house is built; I will definitely share the good news.

Here are some words from my friend.

My uncle’s family was a normal and simple Nepali family with a father, mother and kids. They were leading a simple joyous life running a family business “Newa Bamboo Kitchen”. Despite the mother’s poor health, the family was happy and always there for each other.

Suddenly the earthquake changed everything. The family lost the father, their only house and their business in one day. Now they are living in a tent with no source of income and an uncertain future.

When I saw the posting about the quake in the social media, I was worried about my uncle as he was already old and sick too. I tried to get in touch with the family but had no luck. After three days, I got in touch with my cousin and the news devastated me. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to lose a family member and to lose the house and the property that generated the only income to sustain the family.

There isn’t much I could do other than being sad and feeling sorry. I had few sleepless nights wondering how they must be bearing the pain. I couldn’t really be at ease and determined to try and raise some fund to give them a little relief from their burden.

So here I am requesting all of you to help this family. I know, you must have donated some way or another but I still request you to kindly spare 5 dollars for this family. Maybe we can cut back on some of the stuff that we don’t need right away. Monsoon is coming to Nepal soon and it is heart wrenching to even imagine how they will survive without help. Government help is slow to arrive and hard to get so we are the only hope they have.

Please click here and donate whatever you can.

I would like to thank you for reading this plea. Please help me share this link to spread the word amongst your friends and family.

Thank you,

Sunanda Dongol

Please HELP and PRAY for Nepal and its people

First of all thank you everyone who contacted me with concern about my loved ones in Nepal. My and AS immediate families are safe but there thousands out there who need our help.

I am sure most of you are aware that Nepal has been hit by 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015 and there is widespread devastation across the country. The death toll, approaching 2,000, continues to rise as search and rescue efforts are underway in Kathmandu and across the country. People are still trapped under collapsed buildings in Kathmandu, and there is no way to accurately guess how many are in need throughout the other cities and thousands of villages at this time.

The Kathmandu as I knew has changed forever as hundreds of buildings have collapsed including many homes and many of Nepal’s ancient and iconic temples and monuments.

The immediate need on the ground is for medical support, search and rescue, emergency shelters and food and water among many other things. As the days, weeks and months go by and after the humanitarian needs are addressed, Nepal will need to begin the healing and rebuilding process.

Countries like Australia, England, India, China, America, Canada, Israel, Germany, Japan and many others have sent  search and rescue teams as well as much needed aid. But people of Nepal need every possible help to recover and rebuild so I am requesting each of you to please donate generously and spread the word.

Please click the link below and give whatever you can. I know every dollar will count and people of Nepal will forever be grateful for the help .

Thank you all for your support. Please keep Nepal and the people from Nepal in your prayers. Though shattered and shocked may God give the people of Nepal all the strength and courage to get through this most difficult of times.

P.S.: Please be careful when you donate and make sure every dollar you donate is going to the right place. Beware of deceptive people/organisation who may be taking advantage of the situations.

Dakshinkali Temple

Dakshinkali Temple is located 22 kilometres outside Kathmandu and the last time when I was in Nepal, I went there with my parents.

Dakshinkali Temple is one of the most famous and popular Hindu shrines dedicated to Goddess Kali, “The Black One”. Scowling and emaciated, with protruding tongue and red eyes, decked with a necklace of skulls, Kali is just another form of the great goddess Durga. Kali is believed to be extremely powerful and accomplished. In Hindus holy Vedas and Purans, it is written that she has a blue body with three eyes, each eye is made up of the Sun, the Moon and fire respectively.

The drive from our place to the temple was very scenic once we crossed the ring road area. The roads were windy but I loved the view of old houses and wide green fields.

Legend has it that Daksinkali came into existence after goddess Kali herself appeared in the dream of a Malla king, the ruler of 14th century Nepal. Goddess Kali then commanded the king to build a temple dedicated to her in a very unknown and strange place. As the command was about to be followed, a person said that he already had a stone image of the goddess kali in the same place where the goddess  commanded the king to build the temple. The idol was then left open to the elements as she had commanded and over her head a gilded canopy was erected with four golden serpents. Also images of lord Ganesh, seven Asthamatrikas and a stone Bhairav were erected near her image.

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Dakshinkali temple is of great importance among those who need her blessing and also among the blessed ones. There is a strong belief in the ability of the goddess to make wishes come true.

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To satisfy the blood-lust of the goddess, pilgrims take a menagerie of chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs and even the occasional buffalo up the path to the temple to be beheaded and transformed into cuts of meat by the temple priests, who are also skilled butchers.

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We went there on the weekdays so it was not busy. It took us 10 minutes for our puja and from there we went to another temple on the top of the hill which is called the Mata temple.

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After puja, we went to one of the local restaurants and had tea and freshly prepared sel, jeri, and malpuwa. Just writing about it, I am salivating as it was really good.

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After that my mum did a quick shopping at the local market there as they were selling gundruk, kafal and other items.

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On the way back home, we also stopped at the Sheka Narayan.

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There is temple on the top and a pond filled with crystal clear water. The pond has different types of fishes swimming around. There was a guy selling a bag of bread to feed the fish. It was a really nice and quiet place compared to Dakshinkali Temple.

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Every time I visit places like this, I feel really happy to see all the old Nepali architecture and idols of god which has been preserved from ages past. If you are in Kathmandu, it is a nice place to go for a day trip.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Nepal is a poor country with rich people

Every time I visit Nepal, I feel that Kathmandu is so expensive and wonder how people who live there manage.

For a country, which is listed as one of the poorest in the world with Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at just $743 you don’t get that feeling when you walk around the city.

If you look around, everyone has a new mobile phone, the latest iPads, fancy new clothes and a feast for every festival. It always makes me wonder how they manage to live like that when I know that the average salary in Nepal is NRS 10,000 ($100) per month.

Every time I go back, I can see that prices of things have doubled from last time and the quality has gone down. Having been to places like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, definitely the quality of things sold is Kathmandu is not very good.

I believe that I am among the average income family for Australia but still after paying mortgage and bills, there is not much left to play around so we have to plan well for any holidays and other luxuries in life but in Kathmandu people seem to be living a real luxury life. I know most of my friends/family in Kathmandu have one things sorted easily, they don’t need to worry about buying/building their own house with their salary. Either they have their family home or have some sort of inheritance sorted to build their home. I think that make them really rich because I know, most of our salary go towards the mortgage.

I went shopping with a few of my friends and cousins who live in Kathmandu and the way they shop is so different from the way I do. The things I felt were expensive, they thought were normal and just bought them. Seriously I can’t justify paying between NPR 30,000 – NPR 1,00,000 ($300-$1000) for a lehengha or sari which is to be worn once a year. I also can’t justify a new mobile/tablet every year just to look cool and I definitely can’t justify paying NPR 400 ($4.00) for a hot water with honey and lemon. A lemon in Nepal is NPR 10 and one spoon of honey is NPR 50 max so it sounds ridiculous that people are paying so much for it in a restaurant. They are paying NPR 2500 for a foundation and NPR 1500 for a lip gloss, seriously. Just a reminder again, average salary in Nepal is NPR 10,000 a month. I know it sounds OK in terms of dollar here but not in Nepal for sure.

I could go on and on but people in Nepal are happily paying this price. They say it is expensive but still pay for these luxuries without blinking hence my conclusion that Nepal is a poor country with rich people.

Do you feel the same? If you live in Kathmandu, how do you manage?

Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ Nepal

I am sure you have heard the ‘Happy’ song by Pharell Williams and the video clip which features happy people doing happy things which has been really popular.

Since its original video has been out, people all over the word have been doing their own versions of the song and I am sharing the Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ Nepal version here. I liked it as it shows different places in Kathmandu and people of all ages.

Enjoy!

While we are talking about Nepal, let me also share another great video that will make you want to drop everything and go to Nepal . If you have not already, hope after watching this video, you will.

Shopping from Nepal

How can I go on a holiday especially to Nepal and not have a post on shopping, so here I am writing about my experience and showing off things I got in Nepal.

Firstly, I have to say that shopping is Nepal is not at all cheap like it used to be 10 years ago. Every time I go back, the price seems to have doubled but the quality seems to have gone down at the same time.

During most of the shopping I went with someone who lived there and I am so glad I did. Otherwise I would have paid almost double for everything as I am not so good at bargaining. Here is a simple example of bargaining in Nepal.

Customer: Looking at the Rs 3000 price tag, how much can I get it for?

Shopkeeper: There is 20% discount now, so it will be Rs 2400.

Customer: Rs 2400 is too expensive for this shoe. I know it can be better. What about Rs1500.

Shopkeeper: Really sorry but Rs 1500 is too low. Since you like it so much I will give you a further discount. Ok it is Rs2200 just for you, I have never sold it in that price for anyone else. (Of course not telling the truth)

Customer: Come on I am not asking for too much discount, OK since I like it I will give you a few hundred more.

Shopkeeper: Sorry, I can’t do that price. OK my last best price is Rs 2000.

Customer: Come on dai (brother), I am sure you can do better.

Shopkeeper: The price is already cheap. Look at the quality and the stuff.

Customer: Ok, my last price Rs 1800. I don’t have more than that.

Shopkeeper: Ok only for you am I agreeing at this price. I promise you will never find this price anywhere else. Please do come again and shop here.

It was like you needed to have patience to bargain otherwise you’d end up paying higher price for everything. I am glad to say that I have learn the skill after a few shopping trips I still always questioned myself when the shopkeeper gave an item easily at the price I wanted :). I guess unless I live in Nepal for long time I will not master the skill.

Despite all this and the fact that I was so busy, I still managed to buy a few things for myself. Of course, that list included shoes. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I am addictive to shoes and to everyone who reads my blog regularly it should come as no surprise. AS has made me promise that I will throw out old pairs of shoes when I come back if I was going to buy so many pairs in Nepal and I agreed.

I think there are only a few shops in Kathmandu selling good quality shoes and I am lucky to have found some such shops this time. I was actually looking for winter shoes when I was there but as it was the end of winter there, It was hard for me to find what I was looking for. I still managed to buy some boots, not exactly what I looking for but close enough to spend my money on. I also bought a few high heels, wedges, flats and scandals.

Here is the entire collection from this trip. Now I have to make room for them in my shoe rack. I’m just waiting for an opportunity to wear them soon.

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Apart from shoes, I really didn’t buy anything else for myself. I got a few saris from my MIL and mum so I didn’t have to spend any money on them. In addition, I have so many saris here that I decided it will be wise this time to invest my money on things I need for home.

Thus we spent lots buying carpets, decorative handicrafts and a painting. I am so happy with the end result.

Like every time, AS didn’t buy much either as he prefers cloths from here. Moreover, according to him I have converted him to be like me that he has too many jackets, pants, t-shirts and shoes that he doesn’t have to worry for a few years.

Hope you liked my new shoes collection. Till next post, take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

12 Reasons Nepal Should Go On Your Vacation Bucket List

I just read this great article from buzzfeed. Sharing it with you all so you could add Nepal on your vacation bucket list 🙂

1. The Annapurna Region

Nepal is home to the Annapurna Region which is known for having some of the world’s best trekking routes. There’s also the lake city of Pokhara and shorter treks. The Annapurna Region compiles the wettest, driest, and windiest places in Nepal.

2. The High Peaks

Seven of the world’s highest peaks are situated within Nepal. All of the peaks reach over 20,000 ft. You may not actually be on top of the world, but it will sure feel like you are.

 The High Peaks

3. The Bird Watching

With over 856 known species, Nepal is a bird watcher’s paradise. That’s almost 10% of the world’s total bird population. Chances are you’ll see several birds during your stay.

The Bird Watching

4. The Multitude Of Adventures

Nepal is the perfect destination for adventure seekers. They have mountaineering, trekking, rafting, wildlife safaris, hot air balloons, paragliding, bungee jumping, ultralights, and more. Good luck choosing.

The Multitude Of Adventures

5. World Heritage Sites

Nepal is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites which further adds to the cultural charm. Make sure to check out the various temples, monasteries, inns, and more to experience Old World culture.

World Heritage Sites

6. Value For Money

Nepal is surprisingly affordable. This is particularly true if you compare Nepal’s hiking trails to others such as Kilimanjaro or the Inca Trail. With the food pricing, you could live off of about $10 a day. And you can find a decent, clean hotel room for about $18.50.

Value For Money

7. The Lakes

The various lakes of Nepal are known not only for their outstanding beauty but also for their spiritual importance. There are over 200 lakes in Nepal with glacier origin. Who needs the sea when you have all these lakes?

The Lakes

8. The Elevation Change

Nepal is the only country in the world where the elevation will change from 60 meters to over 8,000 meters above sea level. It’s quite the experience.

The Elevation Change

9. Diverse Cultures

Over 35 different ethnic groups call Nepal home. This means there are multiple religions, languages, musical influence, and foods. Nepal is a wonderful place to immerse yourself into different cultures and leave your comfort zone. And Nepal is the only place in the world where people worship the living goddess, Kumari.

Diverse Cultures

10. Nepalese Food

Although Nepalase dishes do result from heavy South Asian influences like China and India, the food is usually healthier with more lean meats and veggies. Other common ingredients include lentils, tomatoes, cumin, potatoes, yogurt, and garlic. And you can eat overlooking views like this!

Nepalese Food

11. Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley

The Kathmandu Valley is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and is composed of seven different “Monument Zones.” These zones include urban centers with palaces, temples, and the oldest known Buddhist monument thought to be built in the third century B.C.

Nepal's Kathmandu Valley

12. The Serenity

Nepal has been regarded as a sacred place for hundreds of years. The tranquillity of the area will have a positive effect on anyone that is able to experience it. The people, the buildings, and the land are all symbols of serenity. In Nepal, you can truly escape.

The Serenity