I visited Nepal in November 2013. It's been a while since then, but I still consider Nepal as one of my favourite trips.
The first thing one would think of when Nepal is mentioned, is the Himalayan range. A grand collection of world's highest mountains. ... While my trip was too short to properly capture these magnificent landscapes, I can assure you there is nothing more magical than viewing a sunrise over these mountains.
The sleepiness is gone as soon as you step outside to be faced with the fresh and crisp morning air. You extend your view over the valley in front of you to see everything covered in thick fog. Followed by peaks as high as the sky. You can only imagine how high they would be if you were any closer to them. ... And then the sun starts to rise. First peeking shy behind the horizon. Then rising higher and higher until first rays start touching the mountain peaks. Until one by one all peaks are lighted with warm light.
What you don't see from afar, is that the magic of Nepal is actually largely created by the people who live there.
Their smile is what you notice first. Their welcome will follow soon after. And that is my favourite part of this trip.
Before Nepal I was not very good at approaching people to ask for their portraits. But Nepalese people were so inspiring that I was motivated to push my limits.
One of the first pictures I took was this lovely lady with her daughter. She didn't speak English, but my smile to her was returned with an equally bright one. Her daughter followed suit.
My second favourite shot is of an old gentleman. He was sitting quietly at Pashupatinath temple and observing a burning burial on the other shore of the river. Unlike the rest of the photographers who were clicking shots of the burial, I turned away from the action and approached this gentleman instead. I took his warm smile as an approval and took two quick shots of him and his stylish get up.
Once started, I continued on the same path and took many more pictures of Nepalese people in their element.
Monks, little children, old lady getting drinking water, artist painting extremely fine lines on traditional paintings.
During this trip I was also introduced to sadhu's. Holy people who have left behind their material lives and now focus on their own spiritual practice instead.
They have a certain feeling of magic about them. And they go about their lives silently as if they were ghosts moving around the temple grounds.
In the end I want to leave you with two of my favourite shots of this whole trip.
A cheeky monkey who was freely running around the temple only to stop for a moment to look into my eyes. I was quick to catch this shot.
And the last but not least ... A little girl to light up your day. Just look at that smile and innocence in her eyes.
This photo was taken on the grounds of the Shree Mahakali Secondary School in the village of Nagarkot.
During the visit to this school I learnt that public education in Nepal is very much underfunded. Children walk hours to reach the school, share a small classroom with 50 other pupils and lack even many basic supplies. Despite all these challenges on their way to education they do their best and they do it with a innocent untainted smile.
I often remember the charm and simplicity that captured me in Nepal. The set timings when hot water was available for shower, the open market that extends from a meat section street to school supplies' street, sitting on top of the high steps of a little temple and watching the life go by.
But above everything, I'll remember the people. Little girls who came up to me to ask my name, a jewellery shop owner who invited me for a dinner with the family and the neighbour who invited us for a barbecue.
All in all, it's a wonderful place to explore. And I cannot wait to go back.
See the full album of the trip here.