Inside Nepal

Imagine hiking along an ancient trade route then entering the winding cobbled lanes of a once thriving trade center; or witnessing blood sacrifices at a hilltop temple; or wandering through a Mithila village with mud walls decorated with wildly colorful paintings of people and animals; or staying at a Gurung village rodi overlooking the stunning Annapurna range; or meandering through the narrow back streets of a living museum, encountering the frenetic rhythms of the Navadurga dancers as they dance, possessed by spirits. This is the magic of Nepal.

“Inside Nepal” is an intimate, handcrafted photography tour/workshop that will take you into the heart of Nepal’s diverse landscape and culture. It’s an authentic journey where you, the photographer, will explore and intimately experience its culture and traditions that have survived for thousands of years. In addition to having a unique cultural experience, photographers will learn advanced photography techniques that will develop their photographic abilities and personal vision.

Key Information

  • Price $5380
  • Duration 6+ days
  • Group Size 5+
  • Date 26/09/2019 - 09/10/2019

Highlights

  • • Roam the meandering back alleys of Bhaktapur, discovering moments most tourists never see;
  • • Witness ancient Hindu rituals at Dakshinkali as pilgrims gather here & make sacrifices for their future;
  • • Photograph the predawn procession of Buddhist pilgrims bearing candles & incense as they circumambulate the Bodnath stupa, the largest in Asia;
  • • Stay at a “homestay” in the foothills of the Annapurna range, photographing village life as it has been lived for thousands of years;
  • • Receive expert, individual instruction for improving your photographic technique & personal vision from an awarding winning, internationally renowned photographer.
  • Immerse yourself in some of Nepal’s timeless cultural traditions & religious rituals;

Itinerary

Day 1 — Kathmandu, Nepal

Arrive in Kathmandu any time, transfer to our hotel in Bhaktapur (this will be our base-camp for the first week). In the evening, we will meet and get to know each other,. This ensuringes that the group will be together and ready to begin the following morning. 

Day 2 — Bhaktapur

We will spend the day exploring the ancient city of Bhaktapur (a UNESCO Universal Heritage site). The old city is mostly pedestrian with narrow, meandering alleys. This day coincides with the beginning of the Dasain Festival, a harvest festival dedicated to nine goddesses — the incarnations of the Hindu goddess, Parvati. In the morning & the evening there are colorful processions of people wearing their best clothes — accompanied by musicians — performing ritual baths and ceremonies at the Brahmani temples.

Day 3 — Dakshinkali

In the southern hills of the Kathmandu Valley, Dakshinkali is one of the most sacred sites for Hindu pilgrimages. The temple is dedicated to Parvati’s most bloodthirsty incarnation, Kali. As pilgrims bring goats, chickens, sheep and pigs to be sacrificed to the god, you will viscerally experience this visually exotic spiritual event. Dakshinkali reaches its climatic peak during the annual celebrations of the Dasain when it is flooded with a crimson tide of sacrificial blood. When a sacrifice is complete, the temple priests, who are also skilled butchers, prepare the carcass for the family to barbeque. The pilgrims, then spend the rest of the day in the forest barbequing and eating the feast, nothing is wasted.

Day 4 — Bodinath & Pashupati

At dawn, we will visit the Bodinath Stupa where devout Buddhist pilgrims bearing candles & incense circumambulate the sacred stupa in an holy pre-dawn procession. Surrounding Asia’s largest stupa are more than 50 Tibetan monasteries, supporting a large community of Tibetan Buddhists and making Bodinath the center of Tibetan culture in the Kathmandu Valley. The surrounding narrow streets are bustling with monks with shaved heads and long maroon robes.

Later, we will walk through the grounds of Pashupatinath, the most important sacred destination for Hindu pilgrims. Sadhus and Hindu devotees from all over Nepal and India gather here to pray and worship the god, Shiva. There’s a colorful mixture of Sadhus and ascetics within the enclave of temples along the Bagmati River, as well as ghats for cremation ceremonies. 

Day 5 & 6 — Bhaktapur

We will remain in Bhaktapur and participate in the main events of the Dasain Festival, including the Brahmani Temple rituals and the colorful processions of musicians and masked dancers retelling the battle and victory of Lord Rama over the evil demon-king, Ravana from the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana. During this time, 1 or 2 workshops will be conducted, depending on the group’s need or desire, using the festival as a subject for practicing the photography techniques learned in the workshops. Enjoy a dinner and a slideshow of the group’s best images for the week.

Day 7 & 8 — Pohkara

In the morning, we will travel to Pohkara along the Prithvi Highway where historic villages and ancient temples flank the valley road. Lunch will be provided either along the pristine, cascading water of the Trisuli River or in the ancient trade center of Bandipur (group members will decide).

That evening we will arrive at our hotel in Pohkara where you will be free to explore the lakeside at your leisure for the evening and the entire next day until we meet in that evening (Day 8) for dinner and an overview of the next part of the journey.

Day 9 thru 12 — Annapurna Foothills

Transfer to our “homestay” in a beautiful village in the foothills of the Annapurna range. For the next 5 days, you will be immersed in the timeless scenes of village life in the Himalayan foothills. You will witness firsthand the authentic lives and work of villagers from the many small villages surrounding Lumle. All meals will be prepared and provided by local residents. On one of the evenings, there will be a Nepali cultural performance that is typical of this region, and on another evening there will be a photography workshop that will teach you techniques/methods for producing memorable photographs of village life.

Day 13 — Pohkara

Spend the morning exploring the village, then after lunch we will return to Pohkara. You will have the remaining part of the day to explore the lakeside, then in the evening enjoy a “farewell” dinner and celebration.

Day 14 — Kathmandu

Return to Kathmandu and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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