AARYA VILLAGE TRAVEL RETREAT 2020
Aarya Village Travel Retreat to Rainaskot Village
Ever since the early days of its establishment, Aarya Village Travel Pvt. Ltd. has been organizing yearly retreat program for its staff members, suppliers, guides and partner organizations.
Here at Aarya we are a big family and this yearly tradition is a time for all of us have an enjoyable experience outside our offices and professional lives.
Every year we choose a destination where we can help local communities by helping them with very basic requirements such as garbage collection, tree planting, or on a larger scale, provide assistance where we change the lives of the community members by elevating their circumstances and providing long term support.
The retreat provides R&R with team building activities after a year of hard work and dedication. Outdoor activities as such would not just allow the team members to enjoy the off-day relaxations but also help them recollect all the positive motivations required at the workplace along with the positive mindset and great appreciation towards the organization and its policies. At the same time, it also provided team members with the opportunity to socialize with each other that shall further contribute to help build a strong bond among them which is very much required for any organization to succeed.
RAINSKOT – A HISTORIC VILLAGE
Rainaskot with a backdrop of the majestic Himalayas
This year we chose the historic village of Rainaskot.
Rainaskot lies at 5700 ft above the sea level, located at Lampung district, its inhabitants are from the proud and friendly Gurung tribe. It is named after the historic Rainaskot Doodh Pokhari (Milk Pond) which was the major strategic fort of the then powerful Lamjung State which was surrounded by Chepey river on east side and Marsyandi river on south side.
Nepal was divided into 22/24 state, Yashubrahma shah was the king of Llamjung and Drabya shah younger son of king won the Gorkha after winning the ligligkot lay the foundation of unification of Nation Nepal. Hence it is called the historic village.
LIFE AFTER THE DEVASTATING APRIL 2015 EARTHQUAKE –
A HOMESTAY VILLAGE
Pea fields with pink pea-flowers
After devastating earthquake of April 2015, Rainaskot was rebuilt as by the community with the help of NGO’s. Now it is a quiet village that offers homestay services to guest who want an authentic Traditional Gorkhali village life.
In addition to the traditionally built homes the villagers offer dishes prepared from organic vegetables and food grain grown in the village itself. The menu includes different variety of delicacies such as selroti cooked from millet flour, soup of various beans and pickles from various fruit. They also farm livestock which consist of country chickens, goats which provide meat and milk. One must try out locally brewed millet liquor whilst the community puts on a show of traditional dance and folk songs. You can also don traditional attire whilst you do your daily chores during your stay which might include, farming, cooking, and similar activities.
And of course, a visitor can enjoy mesmerizing views of the different Himalayan ranges including Manaslu, Annapurna, lamjung, machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri from rainaskot.
Together with the community Aarya Village Travel celebrates the commitment and bravery of the community on their Retreat 2020 and have teamed up with the community to promote and offer Rainaskot as a Homestay Destination.
As scheduled, the entire Aarya team left for Rainaskot, a beautiful hillside village in Lamjung district on 7th of February 2020, last Friday. Apart from the collective organizational goal, the proposed visit was also intended towards promoting the Rainaskot.
The team left for Rainaskot at 7:00 am in the morning from the office premises. We stopped for breakfast at Hamlet restaurant at Baireni, Dhading near Malekhu at about 10:30 am followed by the lunch at Rupsy Bhojanalaya, Mugling at 02:00 pm in the afternoon. Then we continued our journey nonstop until we reached at the base of Rainaskot at about 04:00 pm in the late afternoon. From there, we decided to take a short hike up hill so that we could catch some fresh air and at the same time explore green landscapes throughout. By the time we reached up to the top, it was 05:00 in the evening and thus, we decided to go to our respective community homes.
A SHORT HIKE
We decided to take a short hike to take in the fresh mountain air
A PICTURESQUE VILLAGE
Tiny Homes with Big hearts
After getting refreshed, we were welcomed by a hot cup of tea and typical Nepali popcorn. The only disappointment was the weather was foggy and we were deprived of witnessing the magnificent view of the majestic mountain range towards the north. Other than that, the overall experience throughout the journey has been overwhelming.
A WARM WELCOME
Ladies of the Community welcome us with a traditional tikka and flowers.
We had our diner by 07:30 in the evening and right after diner we all gathered at the courtyard of House no. 5. That particular house had the biggest courtyard among the all. Hence, we all gathered there where we were briefed about the schedules for the next two day’s tasks along with our designated responsibilities. The briefing lasted for about an hour and from there we all decided to leave for the bed as we were tired already after a daylong journey.
Welcoming everyone and preparing for the events
DAY – 2
We woke up early at about 6:00 am and hence, decided to have a look around the village. This day was no exception as the surrounding was still foggy. But walking through the village made me feel really good as I could observe the traditional homes of Gurungs, the locals there, their thriving traditional culture and ways of living to some extent. Beautiful Rainaskot village after all, has been named the # 1 home stay destination by the Nepal Tourism board in 2019 and has been welcoming significant number of guests since 2017.
REBUILDING HER LIFE - A warm cozy dwelling
We were able to have breakfast at our respective community home at 7:30 am in the morning and right after the breakfast, we hiked up the hill towards the open ground on top where were to have a picnic as scheduled the day before.
A TRADITIONAL CULTURAL SHOW
Ladies perform a dance while community members behind provide songs and support
As soon as we reached, we started making preparations for the Newari cuisine where the villagers were making preparations of their own. The sole intention of the picnic program was for the sake of cultural exchange between us and the villagers there.
A TRADITIONAL FEAST
Rainaskot community enjoying a Traditional Newari meal prepared by Aarya Team.
After lunch we took a time to explore the historical fort dating back to the earliest Shah rulers. The village itself is the most important place in the Nepalese history as the unification campaign of the Nepalese territory initially started from the very place.
After some time of exploration, the entire Aarya team got engaged in a cleaning campaign. We divided ourselves into 5 to 6 groups and headed towards the different sections of the hilltop respectively. The campaign lasted for about 1 and 1/2 hours and we were able to collect the significant amount of solid wastes such as plastics, bottles, wrappers etc. which we very wisely managed by the team at the corner of hill.
Garbage collection – A massive amount of garbage was collected from the locality.
Signs were posted in the village to remind visitors to collect and dispose of garbage at designated locations
Right after that we did some tree plantations at the different sections where as we also handed some of the bay leaf saplings to the community people. Our ultimate goal was to convince the community people that they, themselves were responsible and accountable for keeping their surroundings clean and greener. Furthermore, planting more and more trees would always help them tackle environmental pollution to great extent and at the same time make the surroundings look cleaner, greener and healthier for every living being.
PLANTING TREES – GROWING RELATIONSHIPS
Planting trees and nurturing relationships
Different games have been conducted with local community like thug of war, football and other activities. The main objective was to build the bond and teamwork between the local people.
TUG OF WAR
Tug-of-war. Coming together with some healthy competition
All smiles – Sharing an enjoyable moment.
By the time we were done, it was 05:00 pm in the evening. Hence, we decided to get back to our community home. Just as we returned and after getting refreshed, we gathered at the house no. 5 where the community people helped set up a fire for us so that we all could socialize further. As we sat by the fire, few of us started singing while the others were playing madal and damphus which contributed towards a pleasing delightful environment. It was evident that we all had a great deal of enjoyment and it continued until we were called for diner from our respective community home. After diner we decided to go for a bed.
The next day when we woke up, the weather was pretty clear and we were able to observe 180 degree wide angle view of the mesmerizing mountain range which included Manaslu, Lamjung, Annapurna, Machchhapuchchhre and Dhaulagiri etc. towards the north. It was indeed, a divine and overwhelming experience witnessing the beautiful mountain ranges from such a close distance. This particular day was the day we’d return back, thus, after breakfast at 7:30 am we were heading towards our respective vehicle and that was when we were greeted by the group of community people. Before we left, they conducted a goodbye ceremony in traditional Gurung culture which was again overwhelming and delightful. After that we had short photograph sessions with our happiest faces and with wonderful experiences so far. Finally, we graciously parted ways with our utterly hospitable hosts with some unforgettable memories along with a sense of regret of leaving them all behind.
A TRADITIONAL FAREWELL
Farewells are brief – but friendships last forever
We continued to drive on our way back until we reached Paudhi, Lamjung and that’s where we stopped and visited a sustainable old-aged home. We had cent percent organic vegetarian delicious meal as a lunch and after lunch we were briefed by the president there, about what the particular firm was all about and the sustainable practices they had adopted so as to be independently capable and self-sustain. Out of a good heart we all decided to donate some amount with whatever we could afford to. We then, waved goodbye with some warm greetings exchanged and parted ways on our way back.
We further continued to drive on our way back non-stop. However, we stopped at Hamlet for a short tea break. After some refreshments, we headed back to Kathmandu and finally reached our respective home by 10:30 in the evening. By the time we reached home we were all dead tired. I personally, could not stop reminiscing of what I had encountered in this past three days; the flash back of which splashes in my head every now and then.
In a nutshell, it has been extremely overwhelming, gracious, productive and an insightful experience encountering indigenous Gurung community at Rainaskot with some unforgettable experience of their traditional lifestyle, taste of their typical local cuisines along with their thriving traditional culture.