It is amazing if you think what big changes time can bring. Three years ago when I announced to my parents that I want to come and study and live in Nepal, they were absolutely negative. Or the word that would describe them better is, TERRIFIED.
So now, three years later, not only have they come for holidays in Nepal but they actually admitted that it was the best trip of their lives, and that even in the next 20 years they would have never experienced back in our country what they experienced here in Nepal!
With the opportunity of the one week break in the middle of the semester, they came to meet me in Nepal, see how my life is here and enjoy unique sightseeing and activities that only Nepal can offer.
We spent most of the time out of Kathmandu city in Chitwan jungle park and Pokhara. Living in Kathmandu I have the opportunity to study the Dharma and be close to Lamas and Teachers, but to be honest, Kathmandu city is so polluted that some times living in this city can be a bit frustrating and hectic. It was a wonderful chance for me also to go outside of this city and see what the nature of Nepal looks like.
Pokhara is really beautiful, with Phewa Tall lake as the main focus of attention. Lovely restaurants and resorts are next to each other across the side of the lake, fresh air, boating or paddling in the lake, cycling around the lake up to the Devi water falls are few of the things that one can enjoy in Pokhara. And oh my God, Pokhara is so amazingly clean! You couldn’t even see a single piece of garbage on the street! On the top of a hill next to the lake, there is the world peace pagoda that one can get an amazing view of the lake and the mountains if there is a clear sky. There is no car access of course, so one has to walk a long way up the hill. We reached by riding ponies!
On our last day in Pokhara, my father and I decided to go paragliding and jump down Sarangot hill with a parachute! What a unique experience! One would expect that it would be frightening but actually because the parachute keeps lifting you up, you don’t have a sense of falling so it is not scary. The view from up there in the sky is amazing, eagles are flying next to you, a small visit up the clouds and some exciting swirling tricks above the lake before you land make it a fascinating experience! But be careful… don’t eat a big breakfast before you fly….oops!
It was a lovely coincidence that during our staying in Pokhara a big Hindu festival was held. With the opportunity of Shiva Ratri, all day long songs were sounded and at night fires were lit, were the custom is big sugar canes are heated in a bon fire and then struck on the ground to make a big bang noise. After heating the sugarcane, people were eating it. I still remember vividly a sweet scent that was dominant in the air the whole night, from the burning sugarcane in the fire.
But undoubtedly the most amazing thing was our visit in the Chitwan jungle right after rafting down the Trisuli River. The beauty of the nature out there takes your breath away. And the most interesting thing to see is the animals. It is very different from seeing animals caged in zoos because they are actaully loose and in their natural environment. On the top of the back of a beautiful elephant named Ama Kali (Black Mother), we went inside the jungle and had the opportunity to see the wonders of the jungle ecosystem, monkeys, mangoes, beautiful kingfishers, peacocks, deer, rhinos, wild boars and crocodiles and many others. Watching baby elephants 9 days old playing, canoeing down the river while we are passing by crocodiles 3 meters away from us in the shore, feeding elephants and bathing with the elephants in the river, while we are on the back on the elephant and splashing us water from his trunk are some of the most exciting experiences that I’ll never forget!
Overall, it was a rich full visit for my parents, since those experiences changed their opinions about Nepal in a beneficial way. They have been opening their mind not only to the Nepal experience but also slowly changing their minds about the Dharma. It was a nice surprise to see them to want to take home a Buddha statue as they were leaving Nepal.
As for me, it was a nice opportunity to get out of this hustle and bustle of Katmandu city and escape in the beauty of the nature of Nepal. It made me see Nepal through a different perspective and now I have a different, better appreciation of Nepal.
Love and bliss to all sentient beings,
~Zeta Karma Yeshe Wangmo, from Greece