Monday, May 20, 2013

NEPAL, Shrines, Temples and Breathtaking Mountains: Guest Post by Owen Floody

Nepal. Machhapuchhare Sunset

In March, our friend Owen Floody went to Nepal.  We have known Owen ever since he and Art were graduate students at Rockefeller University in New York.  Owen recently retired from a career of teaching and research at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Here is a short reflection on his trip to Nepal and a few of his amazing photographs. 

Buddhist Stupa at Boudnath
Owen's post: I've been celebrating my recent retirement with a flurry of exotic trips.  On most, I've either assembled or joined a group of like-minded travelers, the latter by signing onto a trek advertised by a well-known specialist in all things outdoors.  Heading into one of these, one can worry about the group being too large and the experience too impersonal.  But is it possible to experience the opposite, to be overdosed with individual attention in an overly small group?
From L to R, Annapurna South, Annapurna Fang, Annapurna One
My most recent trip, an early-March camping trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary, in Nepal, certainly put this possibility to the test.  This was advertised as a group effort, but I was the only one to sign on and the outfitter generously elected to run it anyway.  So it was just me and my entourage of 7 (no sedan chair or gun bearer, but 1 guide, 1 cook, 2 kitchen boys, and 3 porters) hiking up and down the trails on the way to and from the Machhapuchhare (at an elevation of 3700m) and Annapurna (4100m) base camps.  Now there were advantages to this arrangement: If the pace or anything else wasn't to my liking, I had only myself to blame.  At the same time, I found it to be a peculiarly isolating experience and more than a bit anachronistic--not the happy medium that I will shoot for in the future.
Rhododendron of the season
The weather on my trek was a bit of a mix. It generally was clear in the mornings, so that it was then that I had my best mountain views.  On most days, it was cloudy much of the rest of the day and rained and/or hailed for at least part of the afternoon.  Not surprisingly, it was cold at the highest altitudes--39 and 34 degrees F at night, and that was inside of the "teahouse" rooms they put me in when snow at the base camps prevented camping.  The early spring weather also affected the rhododendron crop.  I had timed my trip partly to see these, but did not realize that the different colors bloom sequentially.  So rather than the array of different colors that I had hoped for, I saw pretty much only the deep red that is pictured.  It's great, to be sure, but perhaps not absolutely ideal for the color-vision-limited.

Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Of course the high point of this trip was the mountain views, especially of Machhapuchhare and several of the Annapurnas.  More of a surprise to me was my enjoyment of my walking tours, some guided and others self-guided, in Kathmandu and other former royal cities or attractions in the Kathmandu valley.  Each city's Durbar (royal) Square was chock-a-block with temples, as might be expected. 

Buddhist shrine encountered on walking tour of Kathmandu
But throughout at least the older parts of these cities, it seemed impossible to walk for more than a few yards without stumbling across a Buddhist or Hindu shrine or temple, all still in use, many very attractive, some also very old. If and when you visit Nepal, I'm sure that no one will have to tell you to seek out and enjoy the mountains.  But also spend some time walking the streets of old Kathmandu, and enjoying the shrines, temples and other buildings.

You can find out more about Owen's recent travels and see more of his amazing photos in his May 6, 2012 post about his trip to northern Tanzania.


Unknown said...

iebe Reisende,
Namaste und viele Grüße aus dem Himalayaland Nepal!

Mein Name ist Sanjib Adhikari. Ich bin ein selbständiger Treckingführer und Reiseleiter und Möchte mich Ihnen Gern Vorstellen.
Ich bin in Einem felsigen und entlegenen Bezirk des Zentralen Himalayagebietes Geboren und aufgewachsen. Ich Begann Meinen Beruf im Abenteuertourismus ALS ich sehr jung Krieg und nachdem ich meine High-School Beendet had. Ich arbeitete 8 Jahre für Verschiedene Treckingagenturen zuerst ALS Träger (Porter), Dann ALS Assistent für Höhle Treckingführer und jetzt arbeite ich ALS Unabhängigen Treckingführer. Ich Habe bereits Eine Lizenz ALS Treckingführer vom Ministerium für Tourismus der Nepalesischen regierung erworben.
ICH HABE VIELE Gruppen aus Europa, Den USA, Canada und Australien Durch Die nepalesischen Regionen des Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Mustang, Dolpo, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Manaslu, Ganesch Himalaya, Helambu und Durch Die tibetischen Gebiete des Mt. Kailash und Lhasa Sowie Durch Die Regionen Ladakh und Sikkim in Indien geführt. Bei Bau von mir organisierten Treckingtouren Habe ich VIELE Verschiedene erfahrungen Gemacht und mir Ein großes Wissen Über Geografie, Religion, Kultur, Flora und Fauna und Umweltbelange in Diesen Gebieten erworben. Meine erfahrungen aus Höhle Vielen Treckingtouren Haben mich zu Einem Experten für Organisation von einzigartigen Treckingzielen entsprechend Höhle Vorstellungen, Interessen und Dem. Budget meiner Klienten Gemacht.
Für diejenigen Internationalen Trecker, Die Hohe Passe und Berge besteigen möchten, Kann ich also available of this anspruchsvolle und lohnende Abenteuer Organisieren. Meine Eigenen erfahrungen im Abenteuertourismus umfassen Die Besteigung des Mera und Island Gipfel, des Kalapathar und Gokyo Gipfel, Sowie des Tseryo li Berges.
Es Sind VIELE Verschiedene ARTEN von Trecks in Nepal Möglich, angefangen vom Einfachen und erholsamen Treck, Auf dem Mann sterben nepalesische Kultur und Das Leben Auf den Dörfern Kennen lernen Kann mit Übernachtungen in örtlichen Lodges (Teehäusern) in bekannten Regionen bis hin zu entlegenen und eingeschränkten Gebieten mit abgelegenen WEGEN und seltenen Besuchen von Ausländern. Auf allen Trecks erlebt man Spektakuläre Szenen und macht gute erfahrungen mit der nepalesischen Kultur. WENN Jemand Éinen persönlich zugeschnittenen Treck wünscht, Kann ich Diesen requirements Gerecht Werden.
Von Zeit zu Zeit frische ich meine Fähigkeiten und mein Wissen auf, Kostenversi ich ein Kursen zur Sicherheit, Ersten Hilfe, Rettungsmaßnahmen, Hygiene und Kochen teilnehme. Ich spreche fließend Englisch und Chinesisch.
Meine Klienten Waren sehr zufrieden mit Meinem professionellen Service und wenn Kaufen möchten, Konnen Sie Gern your Kommentare auf meiner Webseite lesen.
Bitte nehmen Sie Kontakt mit mir Über meine oben angegebenen E-Mail-Adressen auf, wenn Kaufen irgendwelche Fragen Haben Oder mögliche Trecks in Nepal mit mir möchten Besprechen.
Ich Freue mich von ihnen zu hören.
Mobil ohne +9779841613822

Unknown said...

Dear travelers,
Namaste and warm Greetings from Himalayan Country Nepal!!
My name is Sanjib Adhikari. As an independent trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal, I would like to welcome everyone in my motherland country, Nepal. With the keen interest in the adventure tourism, I have been involved in this field at a very young age. Pursuing my career in different capacities as porter, assistant guide, I have developed myself as an independent trekking guide and leadership in various outdoor activities. Licensed and fully certified from the Government of Nepal, we plan and guide for exploration and adventure throughout Nepal.

A little history:
I myself have been over expeditions to Mera peak, Island peak, Kalapathar, Gokyo peak, Tseryo RI and across many high passes in Nepal, Larkye Pass, Ampulapcha Pass, Chola pass, Renjula pass, Tashilapcha pass, Ganjala pass,
Personalized service
I have guided many international groups especially from Europe, USA, Canada, Australia through the Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Mustang, Dolpo, Kanchanjunga, . Together with our highly friendly and experienced staffs as well your prior experience or interest, we can develop a personalized program of your interest..
Good food and comfortable accommodation
Trekking is the way of relating to the local community and practicing their life. One can enjoy an accommodation available according to the various regions. Accomodation varied from tea house in the local way and camping in the restricted and remote regions. For any kind of trekking, we make proper arrangement of hygienic food and safe and comfortable place to stay concerning the demand of our visitors. Along with that, we also make assure for maintaining your health condition with our full guidance.
Worry-free logistics and services
My first experience on many trekking routes has made me an expert on making unique trekking itineraries as per the tastes, interests and budget of the western clients. For those international trekkers who want to climb high mountain passes and peaks, I can also organize this challenging and rewarding adventure. We arrange all the necessary logistics necessities which include permit cards, pick up from the airport, national park fee, arrangement of porters and all other necessary requirements.
A Belief in environmental awareness and preservation
We have been organizing the trek in association with the local communities who are in true sense an ecologically aware. We are environmentally concerned with utilizing local resources which are beneficial for the local economy. As well as we sort out our own garbages and the waste disposal .Thus, making our trip fully environment friendly. Relating to the local ethnic communities and learning their unique way of living is also an important aspect of our trekking.

Assured safety and Financial Protection
From time to time I keep upgrading my skills and knowledge by taking refresher trainings on safety, sanitation, first–aid, emergency rescue, hygiene and cooking, safe accommodation. We follow all kinds of safety and precaution method .Though, we assure for making your trip fully secure and safe. We set out the itinerary budget in an economic way with an affordable accommodation and healthy food.
My clients have been very pleased with my professional guiding services, and you may read some of their comments on my website. We always strive in giving some more qualitative service indeed. My guiding service is dedicated to helping you enjoy your adventure travelling.
Please contact me at the email address listed below or contact me online if you have any questions or would like to discuss a possible trek in Nepal! I will look forward to hearing from you! Kathmandu Nepal

Unknown said...

holiday activity in the country. The two classic trekking routes either to Everest base camp or the Annapurna circuit are not easy and the challenge you'll face on either route will have a lasting effect. The Manaslu route trek around the world's eighth largest mountain is more remote but no less beautiful passing through stunning bamboo forests, villages filled with prayer flags and culminating with spectacular views from Larkya La. Mustang is an easier cultural trek, suitable for those with good general fitness but not necessarily any previous trekking experience. The language, culture and tradition of the Mustang region are still mostly Tibetan making this one of the most culturally interesting treks. There are shorter treks up the Langtang Valley and Helambu which are still hard work but also deeply rewarding. They generally begin in Kathmandu, leading through large grazing areas covered in flowers, dotted with stone huts used for butter making, Sherpa, Tamang villages and the homes of yak herders, right up to the Tibetan border.