Thursday, 26 March 2015


While staying in one of the hilltop villages when working in the rural school there, my host Khambi decided to remove the honey from one of her hives.  It was early in the morning, 7am, well before she left for the school where she teaches.
The sun was just coming up over the surrounding hills and the light was beautiful. The smoke she used to subdue the bees glowed in the sunlight, and I watched entranced, as she worked. The honey dripping and oozing from the frame, was really golden with the sun streaming through it. Magical!

Later, when I returned from visiting the early morning coaching class, I was presented with a saucer of fresh honey to taste, straight from the hive.  What a privilege!


A sunny weekend spent with friends from Devon at Bandipur, a small hill town sited high above the main road between Pokhora and Kathmandu. We stayed at The Old Inn, a traditional house restored in Newari style and turned into a lovely hotel. The building is full of beautiful carved wood and interesting artifacts.  Lovely food and good service too. It was nice to be spoilt for the weekend!

My room has a low ceiling and dark stained woodwork.  There is a balcony from which I can look out down the valley.

The library has comfy chairs and interesting fittings.

When it is clear there are wonderful mountain views, but sadly this weekend it has been too hazy, so have had to be satisfied with the nearby hills.  Outside on the terrace there are tables and chairs for visitors to use. We ate breakfast there each morning and we spent several hours there, sitting in the sun reading our books on Saturday afternoon.

Gateway to the lower garden.

Decorated door

Bandipur is a pedestrianised town, with no motorised traffic, making it peaceful, tranquil and very relaxing.  The Main Street is paved in stone and there are stone paths and steps leading down the hillsides between the houses. Visitors stroll around or stop for refreshments at the cafes.

There are numerous small temples to find and beautiful flowers everywhere.

A good place for a weekend away, if you live in Nepal!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Getting married

It was exciting to be invited to a Nepali wedding that was taking place in a village not far from Besisahar.  Manzu, one of the young women I work with, invited us to the marriage of her cousin, Sunita, although we had never met her.  We were told to come early so that we could see the preparations and watch what took place.  Everyone was very kind and welcoming and we were treated as honoured guests. 
 This was an arranged marriage as is frequent in Nepal. After the ceremony the bride will leave her family home, to live with her new husbands family, about 10 miles away. The bride was dressed in a beautiful red sari decorated with gold embroidery, red is the traditional colour for weddings and for married women.  Her hands were decorated with intricate patterns.  She looked beautiful, but very subdued and sad and maybe a little scared. 
Puja in the courtyard

In the centre of the courtyard outside her home, a small temporary mandir had been created; the upright corners of small trees supporting strings of decorations between them.  A fire had been lit in the centre and offerings had been placed on mats on the floor around it.  The bride did ‘puja’ (prayers) there just after we arrived.  

Shortly after this we were each given a tikka of rice and crimson powder and a flower placed in our hair.

The grooms party climbing the hill.

The village where the wedding was taking place is about 30 minutes walk from the road.  The groom, his family and friends came in two buses and then had to climb up the hill. They were led by a band and we could hear them coming, especially the Nepali drums and horns, well before they came into view. 

The first part of the ceremony was very short. The couple sat together by the Mandir and prayers were said with the man who seemed to be officiating. 

During the morning, one of the terraces below the house was taken over for cooking food, on fires burning in pits dug for that purpose.  Huge pans of rice and different curries were being prepared.  A long trestle table was set up on the terrace for serving the meal and red plastic garden chairs were scattered around under the trees. 

When the time came to eat the men ate first while the women all sat around the house and waited for their turn. Once all the men had eaten their fill then came the turn of the women.

The band played .........

The band played and to start with only the young men danced, and some sang.  Much later a few women were encouraged to dance.  Nepali dancing for women is all about moving the arms and hands, in a very expressive way. People brought chairs to surround the dancing area and watch the dancers.

and everyone enjoyed the dancing.

While the dancing was going on, the family and friends paid their respects to the new couple.  People gradually took turns to wash the feet of the couple and to place tikka on their foreheads, whilst giving them money and presents. 

I wish the couple long life and much happiness. Many thanks for inviting us to join your special day.