2015 will go down as one of the most challenging if not the most disastrous year ever for Nepal. From the worst earthquakes in over 80 years to a fuel crisis that literally turned the country upside down with line-ups at the pump that lasted for days to a lack of basic cooking and heating fuel for the majority of the population.
I visited the country twice in 2015. The first time was just after the devastating earthquakes and tremors that started April 25th. My flight was actually denied clearance for landing for over 90 minutes on May 12 while crews checked the runway for safety after the second biggest earthquake struck the country that day.
My second visit was in October and November when I returned to trek the Annapurna Circuit and check up on the conditions of recovery from the earthquakes.
As I had heard reports before I arrived that virtually no reconstruction had begun I was not shocked to see things, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, had not changed other then some rubble had been cleared away.
The fuel crisis had created food shortages and delayed plans for rebuilding. From a tourist’s point of view this could be easily seen by shortened menus in popular restaurants to some establishments even closing their doors frustrated by the lack of ingredients available and the extreme costs and shortages of cooking fuel. As well as some landmarks and monument still noticeably in need of repair or reconstruction.
Nepalis were frustrated with their festival plans either from the lack of reliable transportation getting to a from their home village to the shortage of special food for celebrations cooking fuel.
Still despite the politics that created the fuel crisis, an unofficial Indian embargo as a result from a new constitution which did not favour ethnic groups in the south, Nepalis seemed to carry on as they usually do through adversity.
After spending a few days in Pokhara following my trek of the Annapurna Circuit I returned to Nepal in time for the Tihar Festival, otherwise called “the festival of lights”. In other South Asian countries and communities around the world it’s known as Diwali.
It’s one of the most exciting times to visit Kathmandu. Marigold garlands are available everywhere to help celebrate the festival and everyone is in a joyous mood.
It’s also a unique introduction for many into the Hindu religion and culture. To see the various days celebrated in the festival including Kukhar Tihar, the day of the dog, when dogs are decorated with garlands and tikas is enlightening. It’s part of the lead up to the most important day of the festival Lakshmi Puja.
Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity and it’s believed she will visit your home or business on this night and you will be blessed with a prosperous year-if it’s cleaned and decorated with flowers, lights, and rangoli art, the street or courtyard designs made of colored sand, flower petals and dry flour.
I hope you enjoy the latest episode of Far East Adventure Travel “Live” Best of Nepal 2015 and the exciting days of Kathmandu’s Tihar Festival.
I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.
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