Local Life Trail
Close to life in Nepal’s mysterious south
Our Local Life Trails take you off the beaten paths and into the real Nepal: close to the life of its diverse ethnic groups, which are spread across the Himalayan state like multifaceted mosaics. This very special Local Life Trail winds its way along the historic Salt Route through the mysterious south of Nepal. Past the remote villages of the semi-nomadic Chepang people in the rugged mountains of the pre-Himalayas to the Tharu fishing people in the jungles of the lowlands. Our adventure tours are accompanied by the well-known environmental activist and food blogger Prashant Khanal, with whom you will immerse yourself deeply into the lives of the people. You will eat and sleep in selected homestays, directly with host families, and also share their daily work routine with them. A journey that truly changes, because Fair Trails also specifically supports the improvement of people’s living conditions along the Local Life Trail. PS: The grand finale is the jungle safari with the team of the world famous Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge, a true pioneer for responsible tourism in Asia.
01 — THE MYTH
of the Himalayas
In terms of territory, Nepal is actually quite a small country. With its 147,000 square kilometers, it is roughly the size of Austria and Switzerland combined. However, its very special location between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan highlands and its downright dramatic landscape have influenced the country’s settlement history for thousands of years. Today, more than 150 different ethnic groups are spread throughout the country. They live from the lowest point, at 70 meters above sea level in the steaming jungle of the lowlands, to the highest settlements in the world, at about 4500 meters above sea level, at the foot of ice-clad Mt. Everest. A landscape that leaves its mark.
“It often seems to me that landscapes affect the way of thinking, change the forms of thoughts, influence the course of ideas. So that in the end it seems: one thinks and feels differently in every region”.,
as the Bachmann Literature Prize winner Valerie Fritsch has so eloquently put it on paper. The unique diversity of Nepal’s geography has had a decisive influence on the traditions, the food and the culture of its ethnic groups. From the Indo-Aryan people groups in the lowlands of the south to the Tibeto-Burman people, such as the famous Sherpas, in the rugged Himalayan mountains in the north. In a relatively small area, the maximum north-south extension of the country is just 241km, fascinatingly large differences are apparent from one community to the next. A multicolored and multifaceted mosaic, which has remained unnoticed until today far away from the well-known trekking routes, but which constitutes the real character of the country.
With all the diversity, one thing is common to the peoples of Nepal: they are called the “Guardians of the Himalayas”. Because without the people, their cultures, traditions, practices and ways of life, even the highest mountains in the world are just dead, lifeless rocks. The Local Life Trails are therefore dedicated to these guardians and their diversity. To their traditions, their lives and their challenges in a world in upheaval. This very special first Local Life Trail starts in the center of Kathmandu, the capital of the country, and then moves on to the mysterious south. Our Local Life Trail experience focuses on the lives of the Newar, Chepang, Gurung and Tharu people, all of whom live along the ancient salt routes. They used to connect China with India, thus passing through Nepal and promoting a prolific cultural exchange through trade.
Centuries-old cultures meet a world in transition. What does the future hold for this little girl at the Local Life Trail? @Trail Angels
02 — THE EXPERIENCE
the guardians of the Himalayas
The rest of the trip benefits from several transfers to reach the two highlights of the Local Life Trail in the Terai lowlands in a time-saving way: The Tharu village of Meghauli at the confluence of the two great rivers Narayani and Rapti and the famous Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge in Chitwan National Park, where a memorable jungle safari experience is yet to come. The tour then concludes with the final transfer to Kathmandu.
So he couldn’t be better qualified as a Fair Trails expert, especially for the Local Life Trails. He has the passion and the professional expertise, has traveled extensively, and has a broad knowledge of how local foods can evolve and change around the world. Combine that with his excellent command of English, his thoughtful and pleasant nature, and his desire to promote Nepalese cuisine around the world, and he makes the perfect Fair Trails expert.
The program highlights of the Fair Trails® Experience at a glance:
- Kathmandu Food Trail
- Himalica Camp at the Trishuli river
- Trekking through the Mahabharat Mountains
- Overnight stay in homestays with a host familyn
- In-depth insights from Fair Trails expert Prashanta Khanal
- Handover of water filters in the project villages
- Fishing in the jungle river with the Tharu fishing people
- Jungle safaris with the team of the world famous Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
THE FAIR TRAILS® PROJECT
Smart Paani’s portable water filters make a valuable contribution to a safe drinking water supply in the remote regions of Nepal. ©Smart Paani
In the course of the Fair Trails Experiences, we always support a specific project that serves nature protection, the preservation of cultural heritage or social development. The selection of the projects is done in close cooperation with our Fair Trails experts and selected local partner organizations to guarantee efficient and unbureaucratic help. At Local Life Trail, we partner with SmartPaani, an innovative Nepalese company that develops environmentally friendly and economically sustainable water management solutions. We plan to use proceeds from the Fair Trails Experiences to fund portable water filters for the remote Chepang village of Jhandala, an overnight stop on the Local Life Trail. Thanks to these water filters with silver nano-technology and 4 filtration levels, purification of drinking water can be done easily and directly on site. Without the need for boiling, which saves costs and, most importantly, valuable firewood. As there is a shortage of clean drinking water in this region, our project helps to provide local communities with clean drinking water, thus ensuring a healthier life and also preventing deforestation of monsoon forests.
It is planned to hand over one water filter per Fair Trails Experience directly to the village community of Jhandala. In this way, you too will become an active contributor to this very important project in the Mahabharat Mountains.
In austrian hotels this would probably be called “Show Cooking”. The traditional cuisine along the Local Life Trail tastes excellent: Preparing dinner at the Upardhandagi ©Trail Angels
The magic of the Local Life Trail: Close to the life of the people in Nepal! A warm farewell to a Fair Trails Experience group after a day of work together in one of the project villages. ©Trail Angels
Protected by elephants you are safe: The “Elephant Walks” of Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge are unique and offer breathtaking encounters with the fascinating inhabitants of Chitwan National Park. @Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge – the stylish finale of an memorable trip. The world-famous lodge on the edge of Chitwan National Park is characterized by a dedicated conservation concept and a very special charm ©Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
03 — THE OFFER
The Fair Trails® Experiences
Local Life Trail/Snow Leopard Trail:
Media Explorer Tour
Guided trekking with media production
Start date: 27 March 2022
Duration: 17 days
Price: € 2.318,- p.P.
Nepal’s mysterious south
Guided trekking tour
Start date: October 2022
Duration: 15 days
Price: from € 2.980,- p.P.
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