Kiran Chitrakar is a cameraman for Nepal State Television and his father and grandfather were court photographers. Kiran has inherited their vast photographic archive, all on large glass negative slides, which he keeps at home. A visit to Kiran is not only a fascinating experience, but it is also the chance to peruse the photographs as high-quality black and white prints, and to purchase some as a really original, reasonably-priced holiday souvenir. There are photographs of 1950s (and earlier) Nepali life as well as well-known monuments such as Bouddhanath before tourism changed Nepal.
Kiran's mobile number is 00977 9851 061961. Arrange to meet him so that he can take you to his house. He lives in Bhimsensthan, near Kathmandu's Durbar Square.
Google map: bit.ly/gb8uPX
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is one of the outstanding "must do" adventure trips for all keen walkers and hikers. It's a tough trip, taking about 18 days all in but it's totally rewarding and the views are simply majestic. It takes a few days to adjust to the altitude when you arrive - you can't go straight from Kathmandu - but that gives you plenty of time to soak up the beauty of this amazing country.
I normally do not write reviews of trips I have taken, but my recent trip to Nepal with my daughter for her college graduation was so superior to any other that I had to put it into words. I do my diligence when booking trips and I was struck by the variety and diversity of trips offered by Above the Himalaya Trekking (P) Ltd. and by its managing director, Puru Timalsena. I started corresponding with him almost a year in advance of my May-June 2010 trip. He was always very responsive to my many emails and always offered good, sound suggestions for a successful trip. We had limited time – 9 days – which is very short for a country like Nepal. I had traveled to Nepal three times before in the 90s for business so I basically knew what I did and didn’t want to see. It was my daughter’s first trip there, so I really wanted it to be special. We were professionally met on time at the airport by Puru along with traditional Marigold traveler garlands. We stayed in a five star hotel while in Kathmandu. We were able to tour the whole Kathmandu valley with all of its temple sites with a wonderful tour guide, Koumara, who was well spoken in English and a wealth of knowledge about the Buddhist and Hindu cultures and religion. We also toured the walled city of Bhatkapur. We then flew on the Mountain flight past Everest and the rest of the Himalayan range. Then, a quick flight off to Pokhara, again all connections were met on time by representatives of the company. Due to the heat of the season and my health, we opted last minute, to change our trekking plans and remain in Pokhara. Puru completely altered our itinerary and within 1 hour our plans were changed to accommodate our new schedule. New tours were added and all worked seamlessly. All for only a nominal charge since we were adding nights in a good hotel and not staying in tea houses as originally planned. My daughter then flew on a Micro light aircraft into the Annapurna range, truly a once in a lifetime experience! We toured the Pokhara valley and explored around Fewa Lake, truly a beautiful calming place after the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. We then again were met by our driver for our drive to Chitwan Park. While en route we had a wonderful white water rafting experience on the Trisulli River (Class 3). We saw the diversity of the countryside and the way of life of the people of the region, everything was so GREEN! After the raft ride we drove on to Chitwan Park. We stayed in a brand new hotel with beautiful grounds, rode camels and then elephants! We then saw an excellent cultural show of the Taru people, half dance and half martial arts! The next day our elephant safari was terrific, although no tigers were spotted, we saw Asian Rhino’s and spotted deer and a multitude of birds. My daughter then went for an Elephant Bath, where you ride an elephant bareback into the river and you get the full elephant trunk shower experience! She then rode her elephant back into town. After a wonderful meal prepared by our hotel staff, we packed for our flight back to Kathmandu for our last evening in Nepal, again staying in a five star hotel. We woke already packed and did a final walking tour of the city to Durbar square and some last minute shopping. Again we were met on time and whisked off to the airport for our trip home to NYC. As a parting gift we were each given a silk scarf as a token of friendship and safe travel. I would recommend Above the Himalaya Trekking to anyone wishing to go to Nepal. The itineraries can be combined or custom designed by Puru and fit into any travel schedule. They also have well designed preplanned treks throughout the region. They are a responsible, professional, honest, safety conscious organisation, which you can rely on when booking from continents away. His prices are extremely competitive and a great value. I have visited over 52 countries and have never had better service!
This is an entirely Nepali run and based volunteer placement agency that ensures your pennies and helping hands go to those that most need them. Volunteer Society Nepal offers a huge range of volunteering placements from teaching monks English in the remote corners of the Himalayas to setting up teacher training programs in bustling Kathmandu. The placements all involve living with the local people, language lessons and cultural inductions whilst visiting some of the many world heritage sites in Kathmandu. If you fancy experiencing the wonders of Nepal, living with the locals and lending a hand to one of the poorest countries in the world then get involved.
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