Hey, my name is Connor and this is my blog post about one of the weeks spent at the at the homestay. we went paragliding, ran into some trouble with the law as a group and saw Dashain festivities full of dancing and sacrifices.
On the morning of October 1st, we had a long hike up to Babu’s paragliding school. Babu is a Nepal legend, he was the first person to ever paraglide off of Mt.Everest, and won the National Geographic adventurer of the year in 2012. For most of us, it was our first time paragliding and to be paragliding with someone as talented as he is. At that stunning of a location, you couldn’t have asked for a more amazing experience. Not a single person who went didn’t land with the biggest smile on their face. It’s one of those experiences that words can’t do it justice, that feeling of flying through the air like a bird with no sound of any engine, just feeling like your floating through the air with mountains all around. It is a memory that I will have for the rest of my life.
On the morning of our hike up to the Kali temple to watch the Dashain festivities. As our whole group walked through town with Mr Kim and Saroj, 2 guys hopped out of the car down one of the side streets and started showing press badge, talking angrily to Saroj and Mr Khem. We were confused at first and had no idea what was going on, just witnessing a lot of angry talking with our guides keeping their calm and composure. A whole crowd started to form and we all were still very confused wondering if it was something one of us had done. Saroj explained to us that these guys were from the press and wanted to do an interview with us but Saroj was not interested. The guys were suspicious of him for not wanting to do the interview and wanted to see all our documents to make sure we had no bad intentions. Police arrived and had some discussions with the press guys, it was clear the police were friends with them. The police officers asked us all to hop in the back of their big truck to take us to the police station for further questioning. It surprised us all as we were still not sure what was going on, but we all went along with it and were not to concerned. We knew that we had not done anything wrong and had only refused to be interviewed. We arrived at the police station and all sat in the pavilion in the grounds.
The police talked to us for a bit and were friendly, they said we were all fine and had nothing to worry about but they just needed to talk to Saroj to make sure his intentions were good. The police soon realized that we were all here for good reasons and not trying to convert people to Christianity or any other “illegal” activity in Nepal. The cops were very welcoming and nice throughout the whole experience. The head of the police station even wanted to get a group photo with us in the end. We all were in good spirits except a bit annoyed at the couple hours that were wasted of our day. We all joked that now we can say we had been detained in a foreign country and were apart of a Pacific Discovery first(!!) I definitely give credit to Saroj for how he handled the whole situation as he never got angry and stayed calm the whole time, we couldn’t have asked for a better guide and a better person to be with during the whole ordeal. I tried my best to summarize that whole event, but there was so many details I couldn’t fit in, so i definitely would say to talk to your son/daughter about it because it was for sure an experience unlike any other we will have on this trip and makes for an interesting story!
After the police station visit we continued on with our original plan of hiking up the mountain to the Kali temple. After a few hour steep hike all the way to the top, we had finally made it, even after all our setbacks from that day! We walked around the temple and there were people everywhere, we were the only non Nepalis there and got a lot of stares but everyone was so interested and loved how we were there to experience their festival. After dancing for a while me and some of the group who wanted to see the sacrifices and fully experience the festival went down the hill a bit to this temple like structure. Don’t worry I won’t get too detailed but because the sacrifices are to give the blood to the Gods, there was a lot of blood everywhere. It looked like paint.
They sacrificed 4 types of animals, mainly goats; sheep, water buffalo and ducks. Every family brings their own animal or a few if it’s a big family. It’s about good luck for the upcoming year and if the head gets chopped off in one chop then there wishes will come true. Every animal is blessed by the priests before being sacrificed to the Gods. First the animals have red powder all in them, the same red powder used for the Tikah. The priests threw rice on them and splash water on all of them. Then one by one their lives come to end. After they take the bodies and drag it around the temple clockwise. The bodies and heads are then used for meat for the families. Although it was a very intense process to watch and very surreal. Knowing that it’s for what they believe in and they bless all the animals and they use all the meat after. It makes it seem a little less gruesome. Especially when you realize how the meat gets on to our dinner table back home and how it’s not much different except that this is for religious purposes. It was a crazy experience to watch but with how happy the festival was and everyone dancing and it being a whole family event. It is very contrasting to all the blood everywhere and severed heads. It overall was a very fascinating experience and definitely was eye opening for sure about other countries crazy different cultures and religious celebrations.