Only a couple of hours from Kathmandu, but a world apart, we arrive in the little known ‘kingdom’of Panauti. Set with a mountainous backdrop, I feel like we have stepped back in time. Full of magnificent temples and funeral ghats set along the river banks, it is a magical and sacred place where pilgrims come once a year to bathe and cleanse their mind, body and soul. Suresh meets us and takes us to his home where we will be spending the night. Proud of his home and Nawari culture we wander through the streets at dusk as he tells us legends of gods and goddesses that once visited this magical place. We cook a traditional dinner using rudimentary methods- crushing spices and tomatoes with a stone and cutting potatoes with something that resembled a medieval torture device (Aaron was a pro at that one). Early morning we head out to the look-out point as the town wakes up. Harvest season means people are sifting and drying rice. We stop at the local dairy where people are coming to fill their stainless steel containers with fresh milk. They are curious and greet us with their hands together and a ‘Namaste’. The people here are warm, authentic and open. They are going along their daily routines and are simply curious as to what has brought us to their humble town. Suresh is like local celebrity here as he is known for trying to do good things for the community and help to preserve the rich culture and traditions of their home. We meet Monju and her friend, two young social workers on their way to a local meeting which helps to raise awareness of HIV. There is a true sense of community here and a desire to sustain their heritage and people. Shadowed by the great mountains, this jewel shines brightly.
The home-stay program is designed to provide local people with a sustainable income and at the same time let travellers experience a day in the life of this unique culture. Original Trails is proud to incorporate this experience in our new Nepal, trip Wild & Natural Nepal, and help to create positive changes in these people’s lives.