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Journey to the nation of mountains in quest of making new friends – Part 1

Over the past few blogs our readers might have already got a detailed update about Project Mitratā, Rotaract Alumni Mora’s service Visit to Nepal. Allow me to take you through a different journey featuring the “Behind the scenes” of Project Mitrata.

Let’s start from how it all began,the project was initially planned in the month of March 2019, in the past Rotaract year. However due to the tragic circumstances the country went through we decided to postpone the trip. It was a sad time for all of us and we are ever so grateful for Rotaract Club of Kathmandu and Rotaract Club of Pokhara for their great corporation even when all projects were planned for our visit.

Let bygones be bygones, I would say this tragedy motivated us to achieve this dream once again! Thus started our quest to visit the Land of Mountains back again! First we had to find the partners in action and we made an open invitation for all club members to join the visit. Since I myself wanted so badly to make my first trip abroad I was the first one in, then came Rtr. PP. Himantha Alahakoon who was also a part since the March trip. Next up was our very supportive and enthusiast Mr. President Rtr. Hasitha Wellaboda. How can we forget the future bride of Rtr. PP. Himantha who joined us in the quest. Then Rtr. Dinushani Dinushani Wickramarachchi, one of the experienced active members of the club also came into the team, last but not least his thirst for travel lured Rtr. PP. Chamal Kuruppu in.

With the team ready we started planning our itinerary. Finally, we ended up with a 6-day travel itinerary to the Nepal covering Kathmandu and Pokhara. Our aim was to focus on learning the culture of Nepal,engaging in community service and interacting with locals and our friends in Rotaract. With the plans on paper, tickets in hand, dreams in heart we got into our flight on the 8th of November 2019. We had a layover in Delhi, lets just simply say we ran a marathon at sprinting pace to the departing terminal, if not for Rtr. Chamal and his surprising athleticism we might have missed the flight.

When we arrived in Kathmandu it was pretty late! The first impression I had when I set foot in Nepal was how soothing the environment was and how pure the air felt. Believe me, one draw of breath of the fresh air, I finally felt like living! Rtr. Lok and Rtr. Nisa from Rotaract Club of Kathmandu was there at the airport to greet us. Thank you Rotaractors for your warm welcome and sorry to have kept you all waiting!

Next we went to the Hostel at Thamel, the shopping district of Kathmandu, this was especially for the ladies who were keen on doing (quite) a bit of mandatory shopping. Since it was pretty late we only had time for dinner. We made sure to have an authentic Nepalese dinner and to our surprise we had our tummies full for a very affordable value. This was noticeable all around Nepal where the food was delicious yet inexpensive! Rtr. PP. Chamal would agree to this since he was my partner in eating our way through Nepalese cuisine.

Then on the 2nd day, Rtr. PP. Hiamatha who was always the early bird woke us up to start our travel diaries in Kathmandu. That morning while shivering in the cold we watched the iconic sunrise at the Nagarkot mountain. We climbed the observation podium and watched the rising sun, awestruck! We heard from one of the onlookers that it was his 10th time at Nagarkot and this was the best view he had ever seen. In other words, we were so lucky! After a much needed warm breakfast we headed off to the Durbar Square, which is a world heritage site and a monument zone.

Next up was the Joint Community Service project with Rotaract Club of Kathmandu at the Srijanshil Children’s Welfare in Kageshowari, Kathmandu. We met the members of Rotaract Club of Kathmandu and had a joint meeting together followed by a scrumptious Nepalese lunch kindly offered to us by the club members. We made sure to grasp this chance to bond over food and shared many things including common words in Nepalese and Sinhalease. We were surprised to learn how closely the languages related to each other.

Late that night we paid a visit to Hanuman-dhoka Durbar Square where our guide was a feisty gentleman who knew head to toe about the place! Among the many places we went, I was amazed by the “Temple of the Living Goddess” and was equally amazed to see the living goddess with my own eyes. Next up was everyone’s favourite. Which happened to be the Erotic Temple! Yes, you heard it right! The Erotic Temple it was! I will stop the description right here for decency sake, however do have a read about this expedition in Rtr. Pabodha’s article.

Our next stop was the Boudhanath Temple, Rtr. Chamal, Rtr. Pabodha and Rtr. Dinushani tried their luck in turning the money wheels at the temple but alas to the disappointment of our crew we found out later that they were not money wheels but resonating buddhist chants. Sadly, they lost the chance to get rich! Few of our  friends in Rotaract clubs of Sukedhara and Kathmandu North contacted us and met us at the temple, with whom we bonded over a delicious cup of tea. Thank you Rotaractors for your awesome travel advice and kindness. After we said goodbye to them, the shopaholics in us were in full action that night, we shopped away until the shops of Themel Square closed for the day. Rtr. Dinushani was our bargaining queen and we were her fellow disciples.

That marks the end of the behind the scenes of our Kathmandu adventures, tune in with the blog article here to read what happened to the 6 of us in Pokahara. (continued…)

 Rtr. Shenali Welikala

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