When visiting the Chitwan National Park, you stay in nice yet simple accommodation. Shoestring uses various (small-scale) accommodations in this area. These include the 'Tharu Community Homestay', the 'Barauli Community Homestay' or a hotel in the village of Sauraha. The size of the group will determine which accommodation is used.Travellers who book alone will share a room with another traveller. Of course when we arrange this, we take into consideration that those sharing should be of the same sex.
MAHA SHIVARATRI FESTIVAL
This is a Hindu festival in honour of the god Shiva. The day is spent in meditation to Shiva. Some believers sit around a sacred fire and throw offerings of cereal grains into the flames while chanting for Shiva. After a full day of fasting and meditating, they keep a vigil through prayer and further meditation up until sunrise.
HOLI PHAGUA - WHOLE OF INDIA AND NEPAL
The Holi feast of Phagwa or Holi is a colourful Hindu festival that is celebrated annually throughout India (and Nepal). This spring festival is the sign of the beginning of a new season and is known also as the harvest festival. It is also considered a victory party: the victory of good over evil.
The old Hindu story around the festival is about Narasimha, an incarnation of the great Vishnu killing Hiranyakashipu, the great demon king. On the eve of the Holi the scene of burning Holika is re-enacted all over India. Wood fires are lit and a living object such as a plant is given up. Rice is thrown into the fire, which is considered a symbolic expulsion of evil. The ceremony also includes prayer, music and singing.
The next day Hindus return to the scene of their fire and smear themselves with the ash. Then in the afternoon they sprinkle one another with scents, perfumes and dyes with different colours having different significances.
During these holidays there is an atmosphere of freedom and happiness. Make sure you bring some old clothes, because most likely you will not be spared and you too will end up buried under coloured powders!
This journey is classified as Category B
The difficulty of our trips varies greatly. Added to this is the fact that travel difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular journey, we have developed a classification system.
Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.
The Nepal trip falls in the category B. The journey is not very heavy. There are some long travel days but overall it's doable. Accommodation en route is simple but good middle class hotels by Nepalese standards. In Chitwan we sleep in a basic lodge on the edge of the park. Please remember that you are travelling in a developing country with much lower living standards than you are used to at home. Hotel rooms can be less comfortable, the electricity can sometimes fail and it could be that you suddenly have a shortage of hot water whilst taking a shower. Also, roads may be temporarily blocked because of the weather or owing to their state of repair, in which case a detour is unavoidable. A flexible and positive attitude is just as important as a good physical condition.
We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible.Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here
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