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Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days

  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • Limbu Cultural Heritage – 14 Days
  • The region east of Arun River is known as the biggest geological mysteries on earth used to be called Limbuwan or Pallo Kirat; it is retained by Limbus as an autonomous kingdom within Nepal. The mongoloid feature Kiratis established Kirateshwor Dynasty in the 7th century BC in Kathmandu and ruled for 1000 years. Their language is Tibeto-Burma and worships ancestors, nature-earth, river and mountain. Their main deity Yuma-sam and Theba-sam are the common ancestors of all the Limbus; Yuma-sam is the original grandmother, and her spirit is the most powerful and Theba-sam is the original grandfather. Every Limbu household has their ancestor-God called Mangena.

    We travel to Biratnagar, Dhankuta, Basantapur and then to Therathum to personally meet and interact with the community. All along with your travel, you get a good view of the eastern Himalayan range on the ridge and lots of rhododendron flower; in the spring it blooms on Milke danda (hill) ridge that flows down to Basantapur. Their ancestors migrated from Burma through Assam (India)corridor to Nepal and in several generations, they assimilated with Kiranti to become a larger group of ethnic known now as Mongol-Kiranti. The process of conversion to the Hindu religion and culture started from the time the Lichivi dynasty started adopting the Hindu religion. Lichhavi dynasty (originated from Vaishali of modern Bihar of India) ruled what is the Kathmandu Valley in modern-day Nepal after the Kirat monarchical dynasty. Their unique culture and tradition have been preserved in their ancestral land known as Kipat. They are the only ethnic group that has its own script known as Shrijunga. We sample their favoured beverage Tongba and typical food. we may have the opportunity to participate in the religious and social performance of their priests "Phedangma" using and reciting their religious text called "Mundhum". Participate in their traditional cultural dance is known as Dhan-nach and Chebrung (drum) dance.

    For More Information about Limbu Culture
    About Limbu Kirant culture:

    According to the renowned Nepalese Historian Babu Ram Acharya the original inhabitants of Nepal were Kiranti. They are from the Astro-Asian group. They established their kingdom around the 2nd century BC. It has been established that about 4 to 5 thousands years ago Tibeto-Burman, a stream of Astro-Asian stream, migrated from Burma through Assam (India) corridor to Nepal and in several generations they assimilated with Kiranti to become a larger group of ethnic known now as Mongol-Kirant. The natural traits of the people presently living in Assam are similar to the original inhabitants of Nepal, especially the ethnic people living in East Nepal.

    The diverse ethnicity of people of Nepal extending from east to the mid-west, both in the middle hill and Terai regions, has distinct languages and cultures. This is evidently seen and experience when one travels to Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Solu-Khumbu and Kanchanjunga regions. The prominent nationalities are Rai and Limbu in East Nepal, Tamang in the Central, Gurung and Magar in West Nepal and Tharu in the Southern plain. Closer to Kathmandu in the vicinity of Sun Koshi river and Ramechap district Sunar are the original inhabitants.

    In Nepal the remnant of Kirati culture remained dominant in East of Banepa (Bhaktapur) for centuries until the Gorkha used the same ethnic group to defeat the Kiranti in 1774. After the advent of the extension of Gorkha expansion to the east the Kiranti/Mongol ethnic composition went into further fragmentation and most of them lost their root. Actually, the decline of Kiranti culture started after Lichivi people migrated from India overran the Kiranti principalities in 236 BC in Kathmandu valley. The process of conversion to Hindu religion and culture started from the time Lichivi started adopting Hindu religion which was later propagated by the subsequent ruler that continued to infringe the original Kiranti and Mongolian cultural mix until this day. So, further east and west of Kathmandu the original culture went to drastic changes even though they still retain their originality in several aspects of their culture.

    Hence the original Kiranti culture still remained intact to a greater extent in eastern Nepal. This culture is located in between Dudkoshi and Kanchanjunga Himalayan range. The region between Dudkoshi to the west of Arun river used to be known as Khumbuwan and the region east of Arun river is known as Limbuwan. This region is inhabited by Rai and Limbu respectively. The area east of Arun especially Chainpur, Therathum and Taplejung villages provides the experience of meeting people with a unique culture. The ethnic diversity of Nepal with almost 102 spoken dialects and 70 different identified ethnic groups within a small Himalayan kingdom is its strength in tourism potential. Thus the vanishing culture needs to be resurrected through tourism in a time when dominant international western culture, technology, road and development is pushing the originality of the unique race to oblivion at a faster rate than Hindunization of original culture institutionalized systematically throughout the past centuries.

    The Land of the Limbu (Kirati):

    The land of the Limbus known as Limbuwan consists of Sankhuwasabha, Dhankutta, Therathum, Taplejung, and Panchthar. Beyond the boundary of Nepal, they are in Sikkim and part of Bhutan. Their settlements are in elevation of around 2000 to 5000 meter. They live in their ancestral land known as Kipat. They retained their tax-free land after a negotiated settlement with the invading Gorkha to form a confederation against the war against Sikkim. It is the only autonomous region in Nepal, though at present time the meaning and usefulness of Kipat or autonomous have been eroded.

    Houses are painted with red and white earth colour; it is usually one storey with attic. Most of the villages are located on the high slopes of Tamur-river. Houses are clean and orderly. Lands are neatly cultivated. The culinary cultures of the people are varied. Some of the items are similar to the food enjoyed by the Koreans and Japanese, especially food that is fermented. A recent survey of food items they prepare listed about 55 varieties. It surpassed the number Newar of Kathmandu boast of their preparation. Foods are prepared from a range of meat, like pork, mutton, buffalo, and chicken, and several kinds of vegetable grown in their land. As for the alcoholic beverage Tongba, a millet brew is popular. It is usually served in a large jug made of bamboo with a bamboo straw now replaced by other materials. This beverage is served on all occasions.

    Natures of the Limbus are similar to other ethnic groups who are considered as descendent of Mongol and Kiranti. They like merry-making and fun. They take pride in their heritage and are sensitive. They are fierce, brave and combative. They do not keep grudge; even serious problems are solved with a bottle of homemade spirit. If they fight they fight to the end. They are loyal and submit totally when they do submit. Perhaps this is the region why the British have recruited them in their armed force. They have fought as a British force since the first world war.

    Profession:

    Apart from agriculture they are employed in British and Indian army. The British considered them the best soldiers ever since they had a problem controlling their empire in India. They have proved the proficiency in numerous battles fought in the first and second world war, either near the home front or far away in Europe, in jungle or desert warfare. They are also considered a good business-people, but unlike Newars their business is regionally centred. The Limbu women are expert in making carpet, and knitting colourful local cloth (Dhaka) with an intricate design for clothing. They are also expert in bamboo work.

    Custom and Tradition:

    Their society is free of any conservative tradition. Their conjugal family and social life are based on mutual respect. They are open and flexible in their tradition. Compared to other non-Kirati and Mongoloid nationality their social and personal lifestyle is simple and systematic. Young boys and girls are allowed to meet freely during the market days, marriage ceremony, and community gathering. They have the freedom to choose a partner. Women have an unlimited right. Even after marriage and children, they retain their right to surrender their personality and property. Until a ceremony called “Saimundri” is performed the women have all the right in their paternal home. For marriage, it is the groom who has to offer all necessary goodwill things to the bride family. Though marriage is done through arrangement yet the traditional way ‘capture of the lady or elopement’ are commonly accepted. Limbu marriage does not have elaborate formalities; it is quite straightforward. The priest of the Limbu called ‘Phedangma’ performs the ceremony by reciting their religious text called ‘Mundhum’ throughout the night during which the bride and groom are not allowed to sleep. The ceremony is held in the groom’s house. Regarding crop cultivation, they perform a simple ceremony called Nwagi. In this ceremony, the first cultivated crop is offered first to the deity and then only it is available to the household.

    Cultural dance:

    Dhan-nach and Chebrung are their traditional group dance. Dhan-nach is performed in a group. Young boys and girls exchange their questions and answers through a song called Palam, which they sing in unison. The dance can continue for hours until the wee hour. The dancers line up in a single row with girls and boys in an alternative position. They join hand and make forwards and backward steps in uniform rhythm and slowly go around in a circle. Chembrung is the name of a big drum. All the drummers are male. They form a single line, held the drum with a string around their neck and bit the drum with their hand in a rhythm. They dance with the drum moving forward and backwards and sideways in synchronized form beating the drum in unison. This dance is usually performed during the marriage ceremony and festival only.

    Religion:

    Like all Tibeto-Burman group Limbus has their own natural deities. Every Limbu household has its ancestor-god called Mangena. Their main deity is in the form of Yuma-sam and Theba-sam. Yuma-sam is the original grandmother. Her spirit is the most powerful in every household. Theba-sam is the original grandfather. They are the common ancestors of all the Limbus. Beside them, Limbus worships nature-earth, river, and mountain. This worship is done in the ceremony called Udhauli-Ubhauli. Specially flavoured rice is served at this ceremony. Their priests are called Phedangma and shamba. Phedengma is generally used for birth and marriage and Shamba are used in death ceremony. Though both perform similar function however shamba is considered more proficient in their job. During the special ceremony, the priests wear a special white dress with feathers, bells, and beaded necklace etc. and use religious text to prepare and perform the ceremony. In such a ceremony, they beat metal plates to make rhythmic noise in unison when invoking their ancestors and natural gods. All these are performed according to the strict text in their textbook-Mundum. Limbus buries their dead. A ceremony known as Tongshim is performed for the welfare of the dead.

    Limbu Script:

    Script is the indicator of their civilization. The only ethnic group that enables to preserve their communication skill in the Himalayan Kingdom is the script of Limbu. This script was almost lost had it not been researched and re-established by an imminent Limbu scholar Iman Sing Chemgong. The script is known as Shrijunga. It is introduced by a Shrijunga Hang (880-915 A.D), a powerful Limbu chief who had his fort at Phedap and Chainpur; he is said to have brought the script from a cave in one of the Kanchanjung peak (Dr Harka Gurung in Vignettes of Nepal page 345).

  • Day 1.Fly to Biratnagar. Drive - Dhankutta-Hile – Basantapur:

    Fly to Biratnagar on a regular scheduled flight that leaves in the morning about 9am. Arrive Biratnagar at 9.35 am. Meet trek guide and staffs upon arrival at Biratnagar. Travel by jeep or bus to Dhankutta. The drive is about 3 hours. Continue the drive to Basantapur.

    The highway from Biratnagar turns north at Itahari –a small cross- road town – to Dharan and Dhankutta. Dharan lies at the foothill where Terai (plain) starts. The road from this bustling city gradually climbs to Dhankutta. As you leave the hot plain the drive to this hill station is pleasant. The distance from Itahari to Dhankutta is 75 km. There are good view of the eastern Himalayan range from the ridge and lots of rhododendron flower in spring on Milke danda on way to Basantapur. Basantapur is 25km from Dhankutta.. The area is well known for recruiting of Gorkha soldiers from Rai and Limbu ethnic people. This area used to be an important place east of Arun river known is Limbuan or Pallo (other side) Kirat, originally carved out as an autonomous kingdom within Nepal. They establish the Kirateshor dynasty in the 7th century BC in Kathmandu and ruled for 1000 years. Their language is Tibeto-Burma and worships ancestors. They have Mongoloid features. Fly to Biratnagar. Biratnagar to Itahari – 25km/ Itahari to Dharan – 20km/ Dharan to Dhankutta – 30 km (Total 75km) / Dhankutta to Hille – 20km/ Hille to Basantapur – 30km/ Biratnagar to Basantapur- Total 125 km

    Day 2. Chowki (2750 m):

    The trail is moderate uphill walking for 2 hour to Milke Danda ridge through dense forest of rhododendron and coniferous trees, mostly covered with hanging moss. There is beautiful view of terraced hills rolling down the valley far below. The hills are dotted with villages. The route continuous along the ridge and then descends for 2 hours to Chowki where distant views of Kanchenjunga and other high peaks could be visible.

    Day 3. Gupha Pokhari (2980m):

    It is relatively easy walk about 4 hour along the ridge from Chowki through enchanting forest of fir, rhododendron and bamboo. The trail passes through small ponds and scattered houses to reach the village of Gupha Pokhari. There are small stone houses at the Pokhari and Tibetan prayer flag flirting with the wind. Villages of ethnic people of this region- Limbu and Rai – dots this area.

    Day 4. Gurje Gaon (2000m):

    The trail is up and down the hill for about 2 hours until the top of the ridge (2957m) is reached in about 3 hours. The steep walk to the ridge becomes quite tough at times. From the ridge, you get a nice view of Tamur river way down and the surrounding area. From the ridge, you descend for another 3 hours through rich terraced hillside and beautiful pastured land to the village of Gurja – gaon. The house at Gurja-gaon has thatched roofs.

    Day 5. Above Dhoban (750m):

    Continue to make steep descent from Gurja gaon (village). It is steep 3 hour walk through terraced hill, scattered bushes and tall bamboo trees to Dhoban – confluence of rivers. It situated near Tamur river. Cross the bridge to reach the campsite near the river.

    Day 6. Taplejung (1798m):

    Leave behind Tamur-river at Dhoban (confluence). Take the long trail through terraced rice field and forest that wind up with steep climb to Taplejung. Local people use this trail very often. Taplejung is the center for the people of far east Nepal that link northern most places like Walanchunggola. It is a big Limbu village. Airfield is further up on the top of the ridge about 2 and half-hour. The trail to the ridge top is steep. ( The distance from Taplejung to Phidim – 40km/ Phidim to Ilam – 50km/ Ilam to Phikel – 20km/ Pikel to Bhadrapur – 40 km / Total from Taplejung to Bhadrapur – 150km

    Day 7. Tambawa (2000m):
    Climb gradually to Suketar and descend to Lalikharka and to Tambawa. It is a pleasant walk on the ridge.
    Day 8. Khesewa (2100m):

    Interesting day with several up and down the hill walking through forest, rice fields and villages. Great view of all the major peaks of Kanchanjunga from the pass before you descend to Khesewa (2100m).

    Day 9. Mamankhe (1900m):

    Another day of several ups and down the hill through gradual path. Cross terraced rice fields, villages, and suspension bridge to reach Mamankhe.

    Day 10. Tellok (2000m):
    Descend to Kabeli Khola (river) and make gradual ascend to Pedang and to Tellok
    Day 11. Sikaicha (2100m):
    Make gradual ascend to the ridge that you had crossed earlier and descend to Sikaicha. Or to the south to Sinam.
    Day 12. Lalikharka or Tambawa:
    Descend to Phawa Khola (river) and make gradual ascend to Lalikharka. Or to the south to Tharpu
    Day 13 Taplejung:
    Easy and gradual descend to Taplejung at Suketar. Free day in the afternoon. Or to Gopetar and drive to Ilam. / Ghopetar to Ilam – 20km
    Day 14. Fly to Biratnagar and to Kathmandu:
    Easy and gradual descend to Taplejung at Suketar. Free day in the afternoon. Or to Gopetar and drive to Ilam. / Ghopetar to Ilam – 20km
    Note:
    The trek schedule shown above is a planned night stop. It is subject to change because of logistics reason and conditions that are beyond our control. The flight from Taplejung can be delayed because of technical and weather condition.
  • Trip Cost per person - Private Departure (Based on group size)

    • 2      pax US$2220
    • 3-5    pax US$1915
    • 6-9    pax US$1535
    • 10 + pax US$1425
    • SGL Supplement: US$ 150

    Cost Includes:
    • All meals and accommodation in tent during the trek
    • Cooking and eating utensils
    • Service of sardar (guide), cook, kithcen and sherpa assistants
    • Porters to carry personal baggage (14 kg per person), food and camping equipments
    • Accident insurance for staffs and porters
    • Transport and airfare as shown in the program
    • Lodge accommodation in Ilam
    • National park entrance permit and trekking permit (TIMS)
    • All arrival and departure transfers

    Cost Excludes:
    • Personal clothing and sleeping bag
    • Personal accident and health insurance
    • Emergency evacuation and medical expense
    • Alcoholic and bottled beverage, mineral water, laundry, and tips
    • Use of unscheduled flight, helicopter (sharing US$340 per person) and rescue flights
    • Hotel accommodation, sightseeing and meals in Kathmandu
    • Airfare and transportation that are not specifically mentioned in the program
    • Any other services and expenses that are not specifically mentioned in the program
    • Expenses due to the flight delay, sickness other contingencies
    • Excess baggage and personal porter

    *Government fees and airfares are subject to change without prior notice.

    Departures: Anytime as per your choice of date

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