Community Treks in Nepal
Community treks are wonderful ways to explore some of Nepal’s most majestic landscapes while maintaining the mindset of sustainable tourism. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts come to Nepal every year to experience hiking and trekking in areas such as the Everest, Annapurna, Mustang, and Langtang region. There plenty of trekking companies offer trekking packages to these popular areas. However, there are plenty of areas in Nepal that are not being promoted as they are equally beautiful as popular trekking trails.
Instead of going to popular trekking trails and spending money on hotels and lodges, it is better to travel to rural areas of Nepal and stay with the host family. On that way the money you spend helps locals directly; their education, their livelihood, their well-being. Additionally, community treks allow travelers to have a more intimate trekking experience by learning local culture and by taking routes that are less traveled and therefore less affected by mainstream tourism. Hikers will have the opportunity to observe the local way of living, in a way that is impossible on the more popular trekking routes. During your stay, we would be happy to work with you to find community treks that suit your needs and interests.
Community Exposure Visits for NGO Workers
Geared especially toward NGO workers, community exposure visits aim to teach visitors about local customs and practices in different communities. For NGO workers, these visits are an opportunity to learn how to effectively approach humanitarian action in other cultures. Participants will learn about the practices adopted by local communities, in order to take that knowledge and put it to benevolent purposes later on.
Oftentimes, it is very difficult to know how to help a community with values and ways of life that differ from those in your home country. Exposure to the communities that are in need promotes the communication skills necessary to help those communities. Visitors will learn about agricultural, health, education, and daily community practices in Nepal, and will be able to assess what works and what doesn’t, while keeping in mind the needs and culture of the community.
Through agricultural and day to day community activities, NGO workers or those aspiring to work in the humanitarian field will gain hands-on knowledge about the various needs of local communities, while having fun and becoming and active part of a community.
Bird Watching in Community Forests
Wildlife enthusiasts will find their goldmine in Nepal, which holds nearly 10% of the world’s total species of birds thanks to its varied ecology. There are over 856 species living in the country, and most of the villages you will have the opportunity to live in have their own community forests where you can sit and watch many of these species fly by.
Imagine looking over valleys of rhododendrons, oaks, pines, or wetlands, spending the day looking up to the sky as babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, woodpeckers, and eagles fly by! If this peaks your interest, be sure not to forget your binoculars when you pack your bags for Nepal and be ready for an amazing bird watching experience!
Anthropological and Ethnic Study Tours
Those interested in learning about the History of the various ethnic groups in Nepal may consider an Anthropological Study Tour. The country comprises over 100 castes and ethnic groups. The main ethnicities are Khas, Mongoloid, and Mixed. The Khas people originate from the mountain dwellers of the Himalayas, and in Nepal the term describes people who are Bahun, Chhetri, Damai, and Kami. The term Mongoloid describes people who are Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, Thakali and Kirat. The Newar people are considered ‘mixed’ and are of Indo-Aryan descent.
In Nepal, 81% of the population is hindu, 9% is Buddhist, and 4.4% is Muslim. The Kathmandu valley alone has over 2700 religious shrines. Certain animist practices also survive, and most people celebrate holidays of both Hindu and Buddhist origins, and are free to practice a blend of the two traditions.
There are over 90 languages spoken in Nepal. Nepali is the most common language spoken as a mother tongue by 80% of the population. After Nepali, Tharu is mother tongue to 5% of the population, Tamang to 4%, Newari to 3%, and Gurung to 1.5%.
The caste system can also be studied in Nepal. Indigenous groups do not belong to this system, but those who belong to the core hindu societies do. The caste model consists of four social classes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra. Originally, Brahmin people were priests, educators, and scholars. Kshatriya were soldiers and administrators. Vaishya were merchants, farmers, and artisans, and Sudra people were labourers and service providers. Although the rules of interaction between the castes are not as rigid as they used to be, and although it has been illegal since 1962 to discriminate against the “untouchable” castes, discrimination still continues to this day.
Because of its wide variety of peoples, religions, and languages, especially for its size, Nepal is a wonderful place to conduct anthropological and ethnic studies. Especially in smaller villages and rural areas, some regional traditions have been passed on for hundreds of years, and can therefore be appreciated first hand by anthropologists and enthusiasts.