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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Pokhara Street Festival concludes
Tamu Lhosar celebrated
CAN Info-Tech begins
Govt to remove 16 peaks from list of peaks opened for mountaineering

Pokhara Street Festival concludes

The 15th Pokhara Street Festival concluded recently at Lakeside, Pokhara by bidding farewell to the year gone by. Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN) has been organizing the street festival in Pokhara every year with the aim of attracting domestic as well as foreign tourists.

Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala inaugurated the festival that ended on January 1. Tourism entrepreneurs said the festival has become very good medium to promote Pokhara as a tourist destination.

Festival coordinator Balaram Pahari told that the festival has contributed a lot to promoting tourism in Pokhara. “The festival has helped growth of tourism in Pokhara. Lakeside which wears a deserted look during the off-season turns into a happening place due to the street festival,” he said.

Pokhara Tourism Council Chairman Suryabahadur Bhujel said that that such festivals help prolong the stay of tourists in Pokhara during off-season. Stating that the tourism sector has been facing a lot of problem s, Bhujel also urged the government to resolve them.

A large number of domestic and international tourists visited Pokhara to enjoy this festival. Streets of Lakeside were decorated with stalls, and traditional dances were performed to enthrall the tourists.

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Tamu Lhosar celebrated

Alongside the Gregorian New Year and Maghi, now comes  the vibrant series of Lhosar celebrations.

Celebrated by the Mongolian Buddhist communities of Nepal and the Himalaya, Lhosar has its own unique flavors of New Year celebrations. In addition to the regular rituals and revelries of a festive occasion, Lhosar (or Lochhar in the case of Gurungs/Tamus) is also a crucial event in terms of establishing a cultural identity in a milieu of Nepal’s caste and indigenous ethnic diversity and cultural multiplicity.

Professor Jag Man Gurung takes the transformation of the natural phenomena as the reason behind celebrating Tamu Lochhar in the middle of Paush which falls in the last week of December or the first week of January. This is the time when the days begin to get longer and the nights start getting shorter. And since a New Year is always a beginning of new rays of hope and light, this seems to be a perfect day to celebrate it.

“‘Tamu’ means Gurung, ‘Lo’ means year and ‘chhar’ means new. We’ve been celebrating this festival since times immemorial, based on the twelve symbols of Tibetan astrology,” informs Gurung.

According to the Tibetan calendar, the Year of the Water Snake is coming to an end and the Year of the Horse is about to begin.

Anita Gurung, a media person, considers the occasion an important one since it is the day when a priest is called over to perform certain puja based on the symbol of the year and the kind of effect it is going to have on the individual based on his/her astrological chart.

“We tie threads dipped in turmeric on our necks to ward off evil omens and take blessings from our elders. We eat sel-roti, meat, alcohol and beans. We sing, dance and basically have a lot of fun on that day,” she says.

Ajit Man Tamang, a culture expert, claims that the elemental astronomy which is based on symbols represent the five different elements of fire, water, iron, earth, and wood. They can be categorized as positive and negative, male and female, or more specifically, ying and yang.

Sonam Lhosar is celebrated by all those communities who follow the Tibetan civilization in Nepal. They are Tamang, Yolmo, Dura, the Thakalis of Mustang, the Dolpalis, and the Sinsas from Sankhuwasabha. In fact, 16 different countries in the world celebrate it on the same day, making it the most celebrated one out of all four Lhosars.

“It’s observed on the first day after the full moon in the Nepali month of Magh, which is somewhere around the end of January and the beginning of February,” says Tamang.

In addition to the two, there is the third kind of Lhosar called Gyalpo Lhosar which falls in Falgun, corresponding to the second or third week of February. It used to be the New Year of the royalties. It is also known as King’s (gyalpo) Lhosar. It is celebrated by the Lamas, the Sherpas of Nepal, and those living in Lhasa and Eastern Tibet.

Norbu Sherpa, a student, loves celebrating this Lhosar because it is a time for homemade delicacies like thukpa, khapse and gutuk. It is the day when members of the Sherpa community perform the traditional “Shepru” dance, by holding hands and moving together in a line.

“It’s our biggest festival when we meet our relatives and visit our elders. They put white flour on our shoulders as a token of love and blessings,” Sherpa informs.

Slightly in contrast to these Lhosars there remains The Tola Lhosar which, according to Professor Gurung, is slowly reaching the point of extinction. It is celebrated on the first day after the full moon in Paush which in the first week of January in Bhutan, Humla, Manang, and in the Mansarovar area of Western Tibet.

“Unlike Gyalpo Lhosar which was celebrated by the kings, and Sonam Lhosar which was celebrated by the priests of Mongol emperors like Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan, Tamu Losar is losing its essence due to the lack of proper attention by the state and community,” he says.

Regardless of the variations in the celebrators and the way of celebrating it, Lhosar/Lochhar is an integral part of our national identity. It binds together those who follow a certain culture and calendar irrespective of their religious orientation. Lhosar, with its cheerfulness and warmth, brings the diverse Mongolian family under the same umbrella and gives the country another reason to celebrate, at times in sync with many other countries of the world.

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CAN Info-Tech begins

Vice-president Parmananda Jha inaugurated CAN Info-Tech 2014 on January 2, 2014.

“Adoption of technology by the public and private sectors has made it easier for service delivery in a transparent way and helped to maintain good governance,” Jha said.

Organised by the Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) at Bhrikuti Mandap, the six-day annual IT event showcases new and existing products and services available in the market.

The fair has become one of the biggest crowd pullers in recent years due to the tremendous influence of IT on the younger generation.  

“The main focus of this annual show is to help reduce the digital divide by making people aware about what is happening in the sector,” said CAN President Binod Dhakal.

He complained that even though IT has much importance in the country’s development, the government has not given adequate priority to creating a conductive environment and helping to retain IT human resources in the country.

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Govt to remove 16 peaks from list of peaks opened for mountaineering

A technical team formed under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has recommended to the government to remove 16 mountain peaks from the list of 326 peaks opened for mountaineering.

Of the 16 peaks, 11 peaks have two different names, five are just viewpoints and one peak doesn´t exist at all.

The technical team led by Ang Tshering Sherpa, immediate past president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, has already submitted its report to the government.

According to Sherpa, the team has asked the government to remove Gyaj Kang, Hongde, Lahung Kang, Lanpo Peak, Lumba Sumba, Kyashar, Pokharkan, Ramtang, Peak 38, Dhampus and Anidesh Chuli from the list as the peaks are either repeated or named differently.

Similarly, the team has recommended removing Gokyo Ri, Ramchaur, Ramdrong and Roma from the list saying that they are just viewpoints. It has also recommended to the government to remove Nagpai Gosum III from the list saying that it is not a peak but just a ridge.

“We, however, have recommended to the government to recognize both names for Peak 43 (Kyashar), Shanti Shikhar (Peak 38) and Thapa Peak (Dhampus),” he added.

A senior official at MoCTCA confirmed that preparations are underway to remove 16 peaks from the list of 326 peaks opened for mountaineering. “The technical committee has recommended to us to remove the peaks after conducting thorough study,” the official said, adding, “Though we are removing 16 peaks from the list, the list will still have 326 peaks as we are opening 16 new peaks for mountaineering.”

Sherpa said the team recommended to the government to remove four peaks from the list as they are just viewpoints. “Mountains which can be climbed only with the help of climbing equipment are defined as peaks.

But the four peaks, including one which is just 4,500-meter high, are so easy to climb that even yaks can reach to the top,” added Sherpa who is also the honorary member of World Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA).

Earlier in November, the committee had suggested that the government open 166 new peaks for commercial expedition. It had also suggested to the government to recognize five new peaks above 8,000 meters -- Kanchanjunga Central (8,473m), Kanchanjunga South (8,476m), Lhotse Middle (8,413m) Lhotse Shar (8,400m) and Yalung Khang (8,505m).

“We have recommended to the government to open 32 peaks immediately in the first phase. Remaining peaks can be opened in a phase-wise basis in 6 to 7 months,” added Sherpa.
( News courtesy: The Republica)

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Photo of the week
Elephants displaying their running spirit at Elephant race held in Sauraha, Chitwan from December 26 to 30, 2013.

Upcoming Events

Maghi Parva/ Maghe Sankranti

Date: Jan 15, 2014
Venue: All Over Nepal



Photo Feature

Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve- Paradise for Wildlife.
Photos/Susheel Shrestha

Editor: Sarad Pradhan
Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi
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Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has sought to ensure that the contents of this newsletter are accurate at the time of transmission. NTB does not accept responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or inconvenience arising in connection with the contents of this newsletter. Nepal Tourism Board wishes to thank all stakeholders for their wonderful support and assistance for promoting Nepal as a happening destination. We request all tourism industry stakeholders to send us news and articles at mediacenter@ntb.org.np , ssubedi@ntb.org.np or ntbmediacenter@gmail.com to include them in the weekly E-newsletters.