The world has become tiny now with Facebook and Twitter just a touch away. Just a few days ago, I was talking to one of my friends, Nuri, over Skype when he mentioned that he was coming back to Nepal on mid-August for his third visit.
Nuri Koç is a 20 year old Türk who happens to be the son of one of my father’s friends. As I was enjoying my summer vacations, I would often invite him to acompany me. We often had conversations while we were roaming around on the streets of Thamel. Despite most of the words losing meaning in translation, we could figure out each other’s statements.
“Kathmandu was not planned. It just happened.” Nuri explains on my inquiry about him coming to Nepal.
World is big; Nepal is tiny. Nuri reminded me that tiny place like ours can serve as an escapade from the exhaust given by this big world.
His decision to come back provoked me. When most of our generation are weaving dreams of foreign life, he, against all odds, wants to come here.
And I made a list with. A list that will make you think once about visiting this beautiful land. Here are the things that makes Nepal its own small world.
1. Momo, Churpi, Ju Ju Dhau and more
For those who might be wondering about these weird sounding names, these are some food items that are exclusively found in the land of Nepal. Ju Ju Dhau is a fluffy and creamy yogurt which is famous amongst every one in Nepal while Churpis are hard dried pieces of cow or yak cheese.
“Momo is one of those food items that you can’t have enough of. Even though it looks like a smaller version of dumplings, the taste is unlike what I have ever tasted,” says Farrukh Khamzaev, who visited Nepal from Tajikistan earlier this year. “Instead of trying the western influenced dishes, people should try authentic Nepali cuisine. I can’t wait to come back again and savour it again. Even the thought of it makes me drool.”
2. Water, water and more water!
Often the first thing people notice while spotting Nepal on a map is that it is a landlocked countries. We might not have beaches but that does not mean we don’t have sufficient water. Apart from majestic waterfalls and rivers, there are over 200 lakes in Nepal with glacial origin.
3. Not just Mount Everest
It has been said over and again. Nepal is the land where the tallest peak of the world, Mt. Everest, stands with pride. However, there are more mountains in store for the visitor. Seven of the world’s highest peaks ranging 20,000ft or above are situated in Nepal.
With over 102 caste groups, Nepal is called ‘Sayau Thunga Ful ko euta mala’ — a garland made up of hundreds of flowers. This unified group has diverse language, festivities, traditions, history and lifestyle. It is an amazing place to delve into different cultures and discover something new after every conversation. Diversity has brought beauty to Nepal. And it’s people, it’s beauty is what makes Nepal an ideal place for you to visit.
5. Rich biodiversity
Due to the elevation change, climate and geographical conditions vary from one region to the other giving us quite a rich biodiversity even in this small land. Abundant numbers of rare species like the Spiny Babbler, Red Pandas, One Horned Rhinos, Bengal Tigers, amongst others, share this land with us. With 856 of known bird species (ten percent of all the known bird species in the world!) Nepal is an absolute destination for everyone from animal lovers to adventure seekers.
6. Adrenaline rush
Blessed with natural spaces, Nepal is the absolute destination for adventure lovers. From paragliding over the beautiful valleys to rafting in the longest of rivers, Nepal has it all. I bet you will have a hard time to choose from all the options! (Zip lining, safaris, bungees, hot air balloons, canoeing, mountain climbing, skiing, sledding, mountain biking… the list goes on.)
7. Value of money
Travel carefree without emptying your pockets. After having lived in other places, you will surely find it quite affordable. A mere $10 can cover your whole day’s food, while a day of lodging wouldn’t exceed $20. This proves that nothing is too good to be true.
8. Religion, spirituality and heritage
With hundreds of institutions teaching and practising the art of meditation and spirituality, it is hard not to get tangled with Nepalese roots. Reminiscing on his previous visit to Lumbini, Haritha Thilakarantha says “Nepal is a land of religious harmony. With people following over four religions in the same place, it is quite commendable how they have managed to preserve the beauty of each religion. In Nepal, you can truly get lost, in a good way. Its serenity will fill you up with positive vibes.”
Nepal has a rich cultural history in itself which is now captured on the walls of various museums and structures. No less than ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located Nepal itself. To see all of them within the boundaries of a single country is an exciting thing.
9. Elevation alteration
Yes, it is as cool as the topic sounds. In an approximate four hours’ drive, you can experience three different ecological belts at varying altitudes. Nepal is the only country where elevation will change from 60 meters to over 8,000 meters above sea level. If that is not cool, I don’t know what is.
A list can’t entirely suffice everything that Nepal has to offer. So, come. Breathe our air. Absorb our beauty. Find yourself while being lost in Nepal.