Dashain the Festival is an Opportunity to Travel

This post contains related links to the articles that have been mentioned or referred to in my article published in today’s Hello Shukrabar, (त्यो दसै‌मा) the youth supplement of Kantipur.

Nepal’s Polyandry Tradition: Young Men Don’t Want to Share Their Wife With Brothers in Kimathanka

Polyandry family of Kimathanka, Nepal
A polyandry family of Kimathanka, Nepal

In the polyandry culture the older brother is the head of the family. He is also the official father of the kids even if their biological father is his brother. For example, in the citizenship, the ‘father’ of the shared wife’s children is the older brother. House and land are registered in his name. Kami Nawa, Chairman, Ward No. 6., of the VDC said: “The mother decides which children belongs to which husbands if the brothers wanted to separate.”

A question related to this made the otherwise cool Sherpeni, Rishe who was had decorated her hair with a jasmine flower, somewhat agitated. “We are living now in harmony, there is no necessity of separation,” she said curtly.

“Why do you want to know about this? Who do you think you are to ask such question?”

Dadeldhura: after 12 years

Dadeldhura hill
Dadeldhura district headquarter
Rockstars of Dadeldhura
Rockstars of Dadeldhura

This Dadeldhura looks more beautiful than the one I had seen in my first visit mote than a decade ago. The sight of dense jungle just below Tuphan Danda together with a glimpse of snow-capped mountain is inviting. And there are so many hills that are experiencing the last rays of the sun for the day as I am typing this. Times have changed. There was no mobile phone network here let alone the GPRS connection (which is frustratingly slow btw). The town, at this time of the day, was dusty as part of the road wasn’t blacktopped.

a beedi smoking woman of far west nepal
a beedi smoking woman of far west nepal

There are a few people in bazaar now as the town is in festive mood and peaceful. Many hotels are closed, luckily this one let me in though the guy apologized to tell me that they will not be serving food. The room is nice- attached bath, TV, two beds with large quilts AND great view. I think I’ll stay here tomorrow as well as buses won’t be plying on the day of Tika to take me to my next destination.

The Hills of Gangtok, Sikkim and The Earthquake that Rocked Us [भैंचालो जसले हामीलाई हल्लायो]

Monks of Sikkim
Monks of Sikkim

The scary thing (or good, depending upon how you see things) is that the epicenter of the 6.8 earthquake that rocked Kathmandu and eastern Nepal this evening was, according to the US Geological Survey, 272 kilometers away (east) from Kathmandu. (68 km north west of Gangtok, Sikkim, India). It was so terrifying. (Personally speaking, the Quake Moment was the most scariest I have experienced in a looong time.) Imagine the situation if Kathmandu WERE the epicenter! And think about the people living in mud-and-stone homes in the hills of eastern Nepal that is close to the epicenter. [Three people have died in Kathmandu, and two in Dharan, after the British Embassy compound wall collapsed. Many people have injured themselves as they tried to ran out of buildings.]

India Diary: from Kanyakumari to Rameswaram, Bangalore and Goa

kids of kanyakumari
A boy swims in the waters of Indian Ocean (and Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal)

Somewhere in Tamilnadu, a man came to my compartment (now I was all alone, the family and others had already gotten off). He spoke English and was a former Railway employee. So I bombarded him with questions about the Indian Railway system that had come in my mind since my journey began. He answered many of them. On his part, he was also full of questions. How was the…what do you say…that Maoist leader doing up in the land of Everest? So you are a republic, now what? What’s the strength of Nepal (he meant population)?

Again, on the third day, the young Gurkha soldier from Syanjha was with me…almost the entire day. We again talked a lot. He had lost money in Gorakhpur and I exchanged his Nepali currency….about NRs. 80. I know there are a lot of details I am missing out on but what can I do… I am in a very congested cyber cafe near Tribendram Central and this computer must be the slowest in the world. Anyway… I just finished downloading the photos…(from: Passage To India)

Lovebirds of Mumbai, Marine Drive
Lovebirds of Marine Drive, Mumbai

Bombay!: I arrived in Bombay yesterday morning…got off at Mumbai CST (railway terminal) at around 6 am. I saw a news kiosk that and bought almost all English language newspapers (and a Marathi one: Apala Mahanagar). I quickly found a guest house that was cheap. I threw my backpack, tried to sleep for an hour or so, took shower and got out on the streets of Bombay that were slowly becoming crowded. In the beginning, as I headed unknowingly towards Bombay Stock Exchange tower, I was kind of intimidated by the cityscape. It felt grand. The old colonial styled buildings were impressive I remembered walking on the streets of New York. The streets are wide and clean: I had expected the opposite. I walked around for about two hours…but the place started getting hotter. Soon I found myself inside a travel agency office that offered the tour of the city for Indian Rs 120.

A girl with carries things in a doko.
A girl with carries things in a doko.

Helambu Trek 21 October [Tarke Gyang]: We started late, walked really slow and it took us an era to arrive at Tarke Gyang: more than eight hours for a distance that generally takes about four hours to normal trekkers. That was in part, because, we were not sure about going to Tarke Gyang. Sometime I wanted to return while at others Suraj wanted to get back to Timbu. He had a solid reason. He was flirting with a woman (who I can’t identify here for privacy reasons) in Timbu and my impression was that she liked him!

पदयात्राका पात्रहरू र A Hindu Festival in a Buddhist Monastery

A Hindu Festival in a Buddhist Monastery
A Hindu Festival in a Buddhist Monastery

काङमाङलाई भविष्यमा यात्रा सफलताको शुभकामना दिएपछि विजया दशमीको दिन उकालो लागेका संवादाताहरू साँझमा ‘तार्के घ्याङ’ गाउँ पुगे जहाँ बौद्ध मार्गीहरू गुम्बामा दसैं मनाइरहेका थिए । ‘यो हाम्रो दसैं,’ समारोह सञ्चालन गरिरहेका मुख्य लामाले संवादाताहरू हिन्दु भएको अनुमानमा भने– ‘तपाईंहरूको भन्दा अलि फरक । (अस्टमी र नवमीमा) हामी केही नखाई गुम्बामा व्रत बस्छौं– बलिदिइएका जनावरहरूको आत्माको शान्तिका लागि ।’ दशमीको साँझ ती लामाका हातबाट भक्तले टीका ग्रहण गर्छन् । वर्षमा एकैपटक त्यही दिन गुम्बा भित्रको बुद्धको ‘पेमासम्भव’ मूर्ति बाहिर निकालिन्छ र आगनमा भक्तालुहरूले ढोग गर्छन् । सदियौंदेखि नेपाली समाजमा हिन्दु बुद्ध धर्म नङ मासुझै मिलेर बसेको एउटा उदाहरण थियो, त्यो दसै समारोह जसलाई मनिछ्योर्पा पूजा भनिने लामाले बताए । ‘पहिले यस्तो पूजामा यो आगनभरि मान्छे हुन्थ्ये,’ एकजना तन्नेरीले भने– ‘अचेल धेरै मान्छे गाउँमा बस्दैनन् ।’

The Karnali Express: Bumping on for 52 Hours (Jumla to Surkhet) या कर्णाली एक्स्प्रेस ५२ घन्टा उफ्रिदै मच्चिदै

भरतबहादुर शाही
मान्म गाविस, कालिकोटका पसले भरतबहादुर शाही । उनले भने- ‘जव हाम्रो घरदैलोमा गाडी गुड्यो, तव हाम्रो चावी खुल्यो ।’

खाजा किन्ने उद्देश्यले पैदल निस्केका हामी ४१ बर्षो भरतबहादुर शाहीको पसलमा पुग्यौं जहाँ मान्म गाविसको एउटा सूचना टासिएको थियो जसमा स्थानीयहरुलाई अभिभावक र बच्चाहरुलाई बीच सडकमा पानीको मुहान नछाड्न, ढुंगा राखेर बाटो अबरुद्ध नगर्न, गाडीमा ढुंगा हान्न, दौडिएको गाडी पछाडी नकुद्न र गाडीमा नझुन्डिन आग्रह गरिएको थियो । गत चैतमा सडक खुलेलगत्तै सामानले भरिएका ट्र्याक्टरले आफूहरुलाई पनि बोक्नुपर्ने भन्दै केही ठाउमा स्थानीय र चालकहरुबीच झगडा परेपछि प्रशासन, गाविस र माओवादीको सहमतीमा बैशाखमा सूचना टास्नुका साथै चेतना फैलाउन माईकिङ् गरिएको थियो । ‘जव हाम्रो घरदैलोमा गाडी गुड्यो, तव हाम्रो चावी खुल्यो,’ सडकका फाइदा’bout घन्टौसम्म कुरा गर्न तयार भरतबहादुरले हसिलो अनुहार पार्दै भने- ‘हजुर हाम्रो परिचय भयो- सडकले गर्दा । कपडा खाना सस्तोमा पाइएको छ । अब विजुली आउदैछ, सबैराम्रो हुदैछ यहाँ । परिश्रम त गर्नेपर्यो, सुतेर हुदैन ।’

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