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Nepal

The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal cannot be described in just a few words. A popular destination of hundreds and thousands of people from around the world every year, it has a different significance to everyone. The Kingdom of Nepal offers an incomparable blend of high mountains and rich cultures. Nepal embraces the Central Himalaya including eight of the worlds 10 highest peaks, rushing rivers and rolling terraced hills; lush, steamy tropics and high altitude plains. Nepal's unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism is endlessly fascinating, as is its rich ethnic mosaic of diverse people. There are few places as strange and beautiful, and few people as friendly as people of Nepal.

History
Nepal-a country with a long historic tradition is an amalgamation of a number of medieval principalities. Before the campaign of national integration launched by King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Kathmandu Valley was ruled by the Malla Kings, whose contributions to art and culture are indeed great and unique. In 1768 AD the Shah dynasty ascended the throne of the unified kingdom. His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, is tenth King in the Shah dynasty. The new democratic constitution of the kingdom was promulgated on November 9, 1990. Nepal is one of the founder members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC of which the third summit was held in Kathmandu in November 1987.
Geography
In two of the three dimensions, length and breadth, Nepal is just another small country. In the third, height, it's number one in the world. Nepal starches from north-west to south-east about 800 km and varies in width from around 90 km to 230 km. This gives it a total area of just 147,181 sq. km according to the official figures.
Within that small area, however, is the greatest range of altitude to be seen on this earth - starting with the Terai, only 100m or so above sea level, and finishing at the top of Mt. Everest (8848m), the highest point on earth.
Often a visitor's overriding goal is to see the mountains, especially Everest and Annapurna. However, to exclude the people, flowers, birds and wildlife from the experience is to miss the essence of the country regions, or natural zones: the plains in the south, four mountain ranges, and the valley lying between them. The lowlands with their fertile soils, and the southern slopes of the mountains with sunny exposures, allow for cultivation and are the main inhabited regions.

Climate
Nepal has four climatic seasons
(a) Spring : March-May
(b) Summer : June-August
(c) Autumn : September-November
(d) Winter : December-February.
The average temperature and rainfall records in Kathmandu are presented hereunder
Month (C)Month Min (C) Max (C) Rainfall
January 2.7 17.5 47
February 2.2 21.6 11
March 6.9 25.5 15
April 8.6 30.0 5
May 15.6 29.7 146
June 18.9 29.4 135
July 19.5 28.1 327
August 19.2 29.5 206
September 18.6 28.6 199
October 13.3 28.6 42
November 6.0 23.7 0
December 1.9 20.7 1

Population Nepal's population currently stands at around 23 million (1998 estimate). Every year population increases by nearly 600,000. The largest city is Kathmandu, the capital, with more than 700,000 people. In the mountains the rate of increase is lower than in Terai, but this is because many people are migrating in search of land and work. Despite extremely high rates of infant morality, the life expectancy is only a horrifying 54 years, the overall annual rate of population increase is a rapid 2.6%. Family planning is primary importance, but most people continue to regard children as a blessing. A child is seen as a vital and fulfilling part of the parents' life, an extra worker and someone to care for them in old age, not just an extra stomach. Women have an average of more than four children each.
People Like the geography, the population of Nepal extremely diverse and highly complex. Simplistically, Nepal is the meeting point for the Indo-Aryan people of Indian with the Tibeto-Burman of the Himalaya, but this gives little hint of the dynamic ethnic mosaic that has developed and continues to change to this day. In a south-north direction, as you move from the plains to the mountains, the ethnic map can be roughly divided into layers: the Terai, the midlands or Pahad zone, and the Himalaya. Each zone is dominated by characteristic ethnic groups whose agriculture and lifestyles are adapted to suit the physical constraints of their environment. In the Himalayan zone, the people are Monologian of Tibetan descent. They are know as bhote in Nepali. In the east of the midlands zone, one find Kirati people known as Rai, Limbu groups. They speak Tibeto-Burman Language. In the Terai zone, after the eradication of malaria in the 1950s the only people to live in the valley were Tharus of Hindu overtones.
Anthropologists divide the people of Nepal into about 50 ethnic groups or castes with their own culture and traditions. Everyone is proud of their heritage. Many people use the name of their ethnic group, caste or clan as their surname. The caste system has many occupational castes such as Brahmins (Hindu Priests), Chhetris (farmers in the hills and soldiers), Newars (the original inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley), Thakalis, Gurungs, Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Magars, Potters, butchers, blacksmiths, cobblers, goldsmiths, clothes washers, etc.
Religion and Culture Hinduism and Buddhism constitute two major religions of Nepal. A remarkable feature of Nepal is the religious homogeneity what exists, particularly between the Hindu and Buddhist Communities. Apart from the Hindus and Buddhists, Muslim from the third largest religious group. The exquisite medieval Art & Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley vividly reflect the artistic ingenuity and the religious tradition of the people.
Visiting a Temple Always walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas, chortens or mani walls. Always remove your shoes before entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple or sanctuary. You may also have to remove any items made from leather, such as belts and bags. Many Hindu temples do not permit westerners to enter.
Language It's quite easy to get by with English in Nepal; most of the visitors will have to deal with in the Kathmandu valley and in Pokhara will speak good English. Along the main trekking trails, particularly the Annapurna Circuit, English is widely understood. However, it's interesting to learn at least a little Nepali and it's quite an easy language to pick up. Nepali is closely related to Hindi and, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-European group of languages. Although Nepali is the national language of Nepal and is the linking language between all the country's ethnic groups there are many other languages spoken. The Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, for example, speak Newari and there are other languages spoken by the Tamangs, Sherpas, Rais, Limbus, Magars, Gurungs and other groups. In the Terai, bordering India, Hindi and Maithali, another Indian language of their region, are often spoken. Even if you can learn no other Nepali, there is one word every visitor soon picks up - Namaste. Strictly translated it means I salute the god in you, but it is used as an everyday greeting encompassing everything from Hello to How are you? and even 'see you again soon'. Properly used it should be accompanied with the hands held in a prayer like position, the Nepali gesture which is the equivalent of westerners shaking hands.
Customs When you depart from Kathmandu, you may be searched very thoroughly. In addition to drugs, customs is concerned with the illegal export of antiques. Visitors are allowed to bring only few items from the duty free shop for their personal use only.
Visiting a Nepali Home In a Nepali home the kitchen is off limits to guests. Avoid polluting food by inadvertently touching it or bringing it into contact with a used plate or utensil. Using you own fork or spoon to serve out more food will do this. Putting your used plate on a buffet table risks making the food still on the table jutho or polluted. Notice how Nepalese drink from cup or water vessel without letting it touch their lips.
Photography Do not intrude with a camera, unless it is clearly OK with the people you are photographing. Ask before a temple compound whether it is permissible to enter and take photographs. Do not exchange addresses or offer copies of photos unless you definitely intend to follow it up later.
Post The postal service to and from Nepal is sometime slow otherwise it take only a week. Make sure that you write down the name in bold and underline it and also do not forget to write the post box number of the hotel that you are staying . E-mail & fax services are available in most of the hotels and communication boots. There are few communication booths in Pokhara for e-mail as well.
Money Transfer You need to follow the right steps to transfer money from overseas. You have to select the bank which is the branch of International Bank and make sure that you transfer by fax as mail can take forever. Before you transfer your money, make sure that they have you name, bank name & address exactly right. Do not forget to inform the bank in Kathmandu about your transfer in advance.
Airport Security All luggage is X-rayed at Kathmandu airport on the way in and the way out of the country. Films are supposed to be safe in X-ray machines but, if you are really concern about your exposed films, please get them inspected manually.
Security Nepal is generally very safe with one of the lowest crime rates of all countries. Travel with children in Nepal, yet with a bit of planning it is remarkably hassle free. There is no fear of special threats, but it is always wise to keep an eye on one's luggage in busy areas. Pick-pockets are a world phenomenon.
International Calls International calls can be made from any hotel telephone booth. The access code is "00" followed by country code and so on (e.g. 00-81 for Japan). Most of the public shops also have telephones, but international calls are usually not accessible. However, there are plenty of private telephone booths around the streets of Kathmandu.
Tipping In our Nepali custom, tipping is not a big issue. People do not expect anything as a tip from you in Nepal. Even in big hotels, they do not levy service charge. However, if you feel like tipping, it's all up to you. Generally Rs. 50 - Rs. 100 is quite sufficient. Taxi drivers don't expect to be tipped.


General Information for Nepal Trekking:

Fitness: Obviously the fitter you are before embarking on trekking holiday the more enjoyment you are going to get out of it. Anyone in a robust state of health should have few problems. Basically you should be in condition for the activity you are going to do – a lot of walking but remember you will only be carrying a lightday sac. There will be some steep uphill and downhill climbs but taken slowly they shouldn't be too much of a problem. It is preferable that you have previous camping and hill walking experience but not essential. Once you decide you are going on a trek then it is wise to begin a fitness programme. The best way to prepare yourself is to take a lot of walks, particularly up and down hills. Jogging, swimming and cycling will also help. It is important to check with your doctor that you are fit to trek to altitude in excess of 15,000 ft. When you book we will advise you on the recommended vaccinations and on what drugs to bring along. We will carry a coprehensive medical kit and your trek leader will be a competent first aider though we cannot assume any liability regarding provision of medical care.

Acclimatisation: Proper acclimatization is very important as ascending too high, too quickly above 3,500 mt. 10,000 ft,will increase the likelihood of developing altitude problem and our routes are planned specifically to allow a gradual gain in altitude. By slowly gaining height we reap the benefits of a gradual gain in fitness and acclimatization. It is understandable that anyone trekking in the Himalaya for the first time should be a little concerned about acclimatization, but with the sensible approach we take on all of our treks, anyone who is fit and healthy should have few problems.

Trek Grades: In order to help you in selecting a trek we have given each trek a grade though this is only a simple guide. If you need help in deciding which trek is suitable, please contact to the office.
Grade I. These are our easiest treks involving 4 to 6 hours of walking a day, on good trails with plenty of time for sightseeing. Altitudes generally do not exceed 3,500/11,500 ft. Any active person in good physical condition should easily cope with these treks.
Grade II.Involve walking for 5 to 8 hours a day in more remote country, reaching altitudes of around 4,580 mt/ 15000 ft. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
Grade III. These are harder treks, though still within the capabilities of most people, but you must become quite fit before departure. These treks are generally more demanding and may involve 7 or 8 hour days with altitudes up to 5,500 mt/ 18000 ft.
Grade IV. These are more difficult treks which may take us through rugged country and to areas far from modern communications and transportation. A high level of fitness is required. These treks within the capabilities of most people providing sufficient preparation has been undertaken beforehand. Some days may total 10 hours when crossing passes, which may involve using ropes and mountaineering techniques with altitudes up to 5,500 mt/ 18000 ft.

Equipment We provide roomy two man tents, foam mattress, toilet tent, table and chair. Well fitting, comfortable boots are to be preferred over training shoes for the actual trekking and clothing will be required for both extremes of climate, from hot sun when trekking through the lower foothills to freezing temperatures at night when camping in the high valleys (generally above 3,665 mt/ 12,000 ft). Shorts, skirt or lightweight trousers are ideal in the heat of the day along with T-shirts, long sleeved cotton shirts and sun hat. During the evening and at the higher altitudes warmer clothing will be needed, breeches, track suit bottoms, thermal underwear, fleece or wool jumper, wool hat & mitts etc. You will find a down or synthetic filled jacket very useful at higher altitudes. For trek dossier which is provided on booking, inlcudes a very comprehensive clothing and equipment list.

A Typical Day Our day begins soon after dawn with bed tea followed by a bowl of water for washing. After packing kit bags breakfast will be ready, perhaps porridge, eggs, bread or chappatis, jam, tea and coffee. The morning walk usually takes 3 to 4 hours and you are free to wander along at your own pace, exploring village and admiring the scenery before stopping for lunch. Lunch always starts with fruit juice followed by rice or potatoes, vegetables, tinned fish or meat and perhaps chappatis and cheese, then fresh or tinned fruit. After lunch we walk for 2 or 3 hours to arrive in camp by 3 or 4 pm. Now there is time to relax, write diaries or have a game of frizbee with the trekking crew. The three course evening meal is served in the mess tent at around 6 pm followed by hot chocolate, tea and coffee. Generally we are in our sleeping bags by 8 or 9 pm. dreaming of our days experience and looking forward to a new adventure tomorrow.

Weather Most trekking in the Nepal Himalaya takes place between the beginning of October and the end of May to avoid the summer monsoon. An exception to the rule are the regions of Dolpo and Mustang, two areas which are shielded from the monsoon rains by the main Himalayan peaks to the south and east. For the rest of Nepal, mid October through November and early December tend to be the most settled months, where snow capped peaks stand sharp against brilliant blue skies. Generelly the days are warm, particularly so in the lowlands, while the nights can be cool and at higher altitudes (over 3,655 mt/ 12,000 ft) are very cold. In the spring the climate is much warmer and the days are longer. At lower altitudes the days may be hot and hazy but one soon reaches the higher, cooler air. April and May are the best months to see the alpine flowers and the spectacular rhododendron forests are in full bloom, painting whole hillsides deep red and pink.

How to book Complete the booking form and send it to our address with the stated deposit. We will then confirm your place on the trek and send you a trek dossier which includes and extended itinerary and route map, reading list, visa application forms, equipment check list, details of recommended vaccinations, what to include in a personal first aid kit and our recommended insurance application form. Your final balance is due 10 weeks prior to departure.
Group Size All of our trekking holidays are based on a minimum group size of 7 people. Our maximum group size is 12 Pax. We have excellent representatives and guides who have been highly trained and are experienced to handle individual needs. Some of our treks will be lead by our excellent local leaders. All speak good English and are highly competent, their knowledge of the customs and cultures will enhance your experience immeasurably. Treks that include a climb are always escorted on a minimum group size of 10 people with two western climbing guides.


TERMS & CONDITIONS

01. Application must be submitted at least 60 days before the provisional date of departure. Gorkha Treks will confirm. Your booking will made within 15 days of your application.

02. Upon the confirmation 50% deposit is required and the final balance must be paid before commencement of the tour.

03. In case of any difference/disputes during the tour, the decision of Gorkha Treks (P) Ltd. will be final and binding.

04. Gorkha Treks Pvt. Ltd. reserves the rights to change or alter the itinerary or days & dates as per the local situation of the destinations.

05. Gorkha Treks Pvt. Ltd. or any of its associates or employees shall not be responsible for any change or problem arising due to political unrest/V.I.P. visit or any situation that is beyond the human control.

06. Initial booking amount will INR 5000/US 100 should be made in the Name of Gorkha Treks (P) Ltd. by Cheque or cash.

07. 50% cancellation charge will be applicable of the total tour package amount if the clients cancel the tour between 7 to 20 days before commencing the actual date of tour.

08. Darchen to Diraphuk 8 4890mt.): This is first day of the Kailash Parikarma (Kora). Starts after breakfast as earlier as possible. This day we have to walk about 7 hours at all. Yak will carry our all essential equipments. Overnight stay at Diraphuk at mud house or tent on the basis of availability.

09. Full refund will be made if this company cancels a trip for any reason. Which has been described in our Assumption of risks, release and guarantee but 10% will be charged total tour cost if the tour is cancelled for service charges.

10. In the event of death or accident on any journey Gorkha Treks Pvt. Ltd. or their Associates or employees shall not be responsible and no compensation will be made to the affected party or spouse/relatives.

11. During the tours, all clients will travel entirely and at their own risk at all times and although Gorkha Treks Pvt. Ltd. And their employees and associates shall provided service to minimize risks and danger it shall not be responsible for any casualty or mishap.

12. Gorkha Treks Pvt. Ltd. shall, in no circumstances whatsoever be liable to the clients or any person traveling with him for:
  a) Any death, personal injury, sickness, accident, loss, delay, increased expenses, consequential loss and or damage or any misadventure howsoever caused.
 b) Any act, omission, default of any independent Contractor or other person or by any servant or agent employed by them who may be engaged or concerned in the provision of accommodation, refreshment, carriage facility or service for any person traveling with him however caused.

 


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