My first Christmas & New Year in Nepal

Well I knew Christmas in Nepal would be a little bit different, as a mostly Hindu, followed next by Buddhist country Christmas is not really celebrated. However, luckily for me a few year’s ago Christmas Day was designated as a public holiday as it’s the most important holiday of the Christian minority in Nepal. So, I had the day off work and headed back up to Godavari where Naomi and family were kindly accepting in lost souls to their English/Nepali combined Christmas festivities.

#1 We had a lovely day mostly just enjoying a busy kitchen with lots of communal cooking (I sliced the bread!?), afternoon walks in the sunshine and playing with the girls and their new Christmas toys plus a quick Skype with my own family back home just to view the mayhem from afar to round off the day. There were a few Christmas specialities prepared including the award for the best dressed Christmas cake ever I think you’ll agree;

1 christmas

#2 Then after heading back to work for a couple of days, I joined a group of friends and headed to Pokhara for the first time. Pokhara is another city in Nepal, located on the beautiful Phewa Lake with a backdrop of stunning Himalaya. So great to see such an expanse of water after 5 months in super landlocked Kathmandu;

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#3 Just generally a lovely place to wander, sit, enjoy and make the most of the New Year street festival which takes place at the Lakeside in Pokhara every New Year meaning the whole area is pedestrianised and stalls with food and handicraft and stages with live music line the street;

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#4 On New Year’s Eve we were blessed with spectacular weather and so we made the most of our first day in Pokhara with a stroll up to the peace pagoda located across the lake from the city. The views back across the lake and to the Annapurna range and Mount Machhapuchhre (the big pointy one in the middle!?) were sensational;

4 pagoda

#5 Beautiful, peaceful place to spend some time soaking in the views. Pokhara is also a little warmer than Kathmandu as you can tell by my clothing – even on December 31st;

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#6 After a wonderful few days of relaxing by the lake (spirits not dampened by the low clouds and rain that rolled in) Dianne a fellow VSO volunteer and I headed on to the hilltop town of Bandipur just off the highway (i.e. around 1000m above it) a couple of hours back towards Kathmandu. Though the low clouds and rain persisted this charming little place kept us entertained with the beautifully restored town centre and glimpses of the stunning scenery all around;

6 Bandipur

#7 On the final day of the trip we hiked up the nearby Gurungche Hill (to around 1500m) to the Thani Tai Temple to take in the 360 degree views. Here looking down on the town centre of Bandipur from above and looking south away from the Himalaya at the spectacular views over the hills and onto the plains beyond;7 Bandipur views

Then back to Kathmandu to tackle whatever 2015 has in store…

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