Nepal celebrated its first big festival after the earthquake of 25 April 2015. On Sunday, 30 August, thousands of people across the country flung to the streets to celebrate the festival of Gai Jatra.
The story dates back to the mid-17th century, when Pratap Malla, the then King of Kathmandu thought of a way to console his grief stricken wife who was inconsolable at the death of her young son. To show the queen that she was not the only person to have lost a loved one, King Pratap Malla ordered everyone in his kingdom who had lost a loved one that year to bring out a procession for the queen. He also ordered them to dress in funny attire to make the queen laugh. Thus, started Gai Jatra, the unique festival of satire, death and rebirth.
This festival celebrated annually carried special significance this year since the earthquake killed over eight thousand people. Even though the festival commemorates death, it is filled with laugher, music and feasting as people participate in the procession dressed as gods and goddesses, animals etc. People carry the picture of their loved one in hand held chariots and dance and sing songs as they follow a route that leads them to different shrines and temples. People participating in this procession believe that by doing so, the dead will safely enter the gates of heaven.
Gai Jatra is a healing process and it gives people the strength to deal with death in the family and move on. It is a proof of perseverance and strength of the Nepalese. The original spirit of Gai Jatra allows us to deal with natural calamities. Joyously celebrating this festival is a way of showing that Nepal is getting back to normal.
Nepal was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April, 2015 and another 7.4 magnitude earthquake on 12 May, 2015 and subsequent aftershocks thereon that caused large scale damage across the Himalayan country.
After accessing the post-earthquake scenario in Nepal, Dharma Adventures has compiled some volunteer programs to help local communities bounce back, since the biggest challenge right now is to cope with the destruction. Our volunteer programs include rebuilding schools, community spaces, religious buildings, etc.
Dharma provides opportunities to volunteers who want to delegate their physical and technical skills depending on the projects. Participants do not need any particular skills or qualifications, only enthusiasm and patience.
Nepal needs all your support and assistance to move on from this ordeal.
Dharma Adventures’ social profit company, Dharma Karma Society has been funding education for children from low-income families and occasionally supporting the Bal Bhojan programs which provide free meals, value education and creative skill training to the street children of Kathmandu. Dharma furnishes monthly donations to Buddhist Child Home, an orphanage in Kathmandu that shelters about 45 children. Dharma also sponsors children from marginalized families who are infected or affected with HIV.
Pawan Tuladhar, President & CEO, Dharma Adventures, is a founding trustee of The Nepal Trust that is deeply rooted in Humla and is involved in various community development work such as health, electricity, water supply and education. Pawan is an active member of the Rotary Club of Kantipur. In 2011, Dharma partnered with One Hearth Worldwide, USA to provide neonatal care in the remote Himalayan region of Dolpo in Nepal.
Dharma Karma Society has been actively involved in providing relief to the 2015 earthquake victims. Since the earthquake, Dharma has provided tents, tarpaulin sheets, corrugated tin sheets, medicines, and water purifiers to the needy. Post earthquake, Pawan and the Dharma team has visited some of the hardest hit areas in the mountains. Food supplies and temporary shelters have been sent to these and more are being mobilized.
Some images from a relief mission to Ichok VDC in Sindhupalchok, one of the hardest hit areas from the April 2015 earthquake.
Nepal is now regaining momentum since the devastating earthquake on April 25th and the subsequent numerous aftershocks. While we are happy that all our Dharma Adventures’ staff members are safe, some members of our team have incurred structural damages to their personal properties. Dharma Adventures has since then provided tents, tarpaulin sheets, corrugated tin sheets, medicines, and water purifiers to our staff, their families and friends.
Dharma Adventures’ social profit organization Dharma Karma Society has been actively involved in providing relief to the earthquake victims. Pawan Tuladhar, President & CEO of Dharma Adventures, who is also a member of the Rotary Club of Kantipur has visited some of the hardest hit areas in the mountains. Food supplies and temporary shelters have been sent to these and more are being mobilized.
Volunteering programs are being developed to rebuild some of the schools and community areas in the various regions that were affected. If you wish to be a part of this effort and want more information on these volunteering opportunities, please let us know.
Our Kathmandu office has been in full operation since the beginning of May. Our offices in Bhutan and Tibet are operational as usual.
After evaluating the current situation of Nepal, the Tourism Recovery Committee (TRC) comprising of tourism associations, Nepal Tourism Board and the Department of Tourism has done numerous field visits in and outside the Kathmandu valley inspecting various affected sites. TRC has confirmed that from June 15th all UNESCO Heritage Sites will be open for tourists.
The tourist season in Nepal starts from September and Nepal will be ready to welcome tourists. As always, we at Dharma Adventures look forward to providing our guests visiting Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet a wonderful and memorable experience. Nepal needs all the support in these hard times and we are counting on you to send your clients to this beautiful country.