Kathmandu based foreign diplomats spent a few days rafting and trekking in the nearby hills

June 2, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 06 No. -23 May 31- 2013 (Jestha 17, 2070)

Giving the diplomats a break from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Kathmandu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nepal Tourism Board organized a family trip for them recently. Participated in by 18 Kathmandu based diplomats and their spouses, the three-day trip named Wet, Sweat and Refresh along two districts, Kavrepalanchowk and Sindhupalchowk, was full of fun and adventure.

Along with rafting and trekking, the inhaling and exhaling of the fresh air at the top of the hill also gave a chance for them to release tension and work pressure. The natural beauty, ethnic and geographical diversity and glimpses of development in a short distance from the capital was another important part of the trip.

“Nepal Tourism Board had organized similar trips in the past. Last year, NTB took diplomats to Rara in the mid-western region,” said Aditya Baral, director of Nepal Tourism Board.

Five joint secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an undersecretary and senior director of Nepal Tourism Board, joined in the hectic rafting, trekking and refreshing trip. Instead of organizing the trip in the commercial route, the organizer, Himland Adventure Treks, chose a virgin steep slope of a hill of Kavre district for trekking.

“I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nepal Tourism Board for organizing such an important trip close to Kathmandu,” said Swiss Ambassador Thomas Grass. “In such a close distance, we saw all kinds of diversity of Nepal.”

Although all diplomats attending the trip enjoyed the rafting and camping, some avoided trekking.  Despite willingness of so many diplomats, the midday sun forced them to abandon trekking. The FAM Trip started from a night stay at Dhulikhel. The rafting from Sukute, Sindhupalchowk district, a river bank of Sunkoshi to Lamabagar river bank at Kavreplanchwok district took almost three hours.

“The Ministry will organize this kind of trip in the future too,” said Dr. Niranjan Man Basnyat, chief of protocol.

Another, almost six hours long, trekking began from Lamabagar, 660 meters, and completed at Maule Chaur, 1620 meters, for a tented camp. The trekking trail passed Bhotetar to Pande Danda and Sikar Kateri (980 m). Dominated by ethnic Tamang community, the trekking trail covered Merpharangar village and Lama Gaun.

The next trek commenced from Maule Chaur and concluded at the Kot Temal and up to Yangbel Village at a height of 1915 meters. Here one can see Hindu and Buddhist temples symbolizing the centuries’ old religious harmony that existed in Nepal. In the Yangbel, there is the oldest Narayanthan Temple, a Hindu temple at the top of the mountain and Buddhist Stupas of Boudha, and Swayambhu from Kathmandu and Namobuddha from Kavre. There is also a statue of Padmasamvab, a great Buddhist master also known as Guru Rimpoche. The trekking came to an end after reaching Mangaltar (780m) at the bank of Roshi River.  

The diplomats represented the countries, from mountainous Switzerland in Europe to island nations Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Ambassador from Switzerland Thomass Grass and his wife, Ambassador from Israel Hanan Goder-Goldberger and Janmoller Hansen, and deputy chief of the mission of Danish Embassy showed the strength and skill to climb the steep mountain. Ibrahim Zuhuree, director of Maldives to SAARC, completed whole trip with refreshment at Dhulikhel resort.

Similarly, ambassador of European Union Dr. Alexander Spachis and his spouse Eleni Spachis and newly arrived  Australian Ambassador Glenn White and his wife Marie White LA, Ambassador of Thailand Kanthong Unakul , Sri Lankan ambassador Wijekoon Mudiyanselage and deputy chief of Mission of Bangladesh Embassy Mohammad B. Islam and his wife Tansura Z. Khan put their best effort by reaching the top of the hill.

US Ambassador Peter W. Bodde and his wife Tanya Lee Will Bodde joined the FAM trip up to Dhulikhel and ICIMOD’s director Dr. David Molden and his wife Karen Lynn Conniff returned after completing the rafting.   

From foreign ministry, chief of protocol Dr. Niranjan Man Basnyat, joint secretary Kali Prasad Pokharel, Yagya Bahadur Hamal, Krishna Dhakal and under-secretary Narayan Mainali completed the Trip. Joint secretary Ambika Devi Luitel also completed the rafting. Along with handling relations of the countries, diplomacy is also enhancing the cultural understanding.

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