Call of Mountain: Self Revelation at Smokies

                    The slowly rising sun on wind shield of car, increasing reading on speedometer and decreasing miles to destination on GPS is all what a traveler seeks. After arduous class hour, work and research this was much needed break for me. To be out in sun and feel cool breeze on face. The trip to Gatlinburg, where mighty Smokey’s mountains was one of the much-awaited trip for me. By the way who does not love nature and mountain. 

                            The smokies mountains are the best place to visit in spring months. The hike trails, biking, fishing are few things you can do on lot more things. I strongly suggest to try Ole smoky whisky a.k.a moonshine and sugar land whisky. The best about the drinks are they are locally brewed and tastes so smooth. It was hell of an experience for me.

Picture speaks thousands words.

Water Mill cum Hydro Electric

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Lima Mill used for grinding 

                                                                                                                     Photo Source:angelfire.com

                                                Water mill is one of the traditional kind of grinding wheel that uses wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process for various end use such as flour grinding,lumber or textile production.This type of technology is applicable in hill areas where there is enough head for running turbine. The water diverted from river or canal provides enough kinetic energy to drive wheel or turbine via head race channel or pipe.The force of the water’s movement drives the blades of a wheel or turbine, which in turn rotates an axle that drives the mill’s other machinery.

                                          Water leaving the wheel or turbine is drained through a tail race, but this channel may also be the head race of yet another wheel, turbine or mill.This kinda of water mill is suitable in hilly and Himalayan region of Nepal where enough head is available.Not only for milling but it can generate electricity which can empower local community which can contribute for decreasing load on central load distribution.

Water Mill cum Micro hydro in Aghakhola, Palpa

                           This is good example of use of appropriate technology helping people to live under light. The micro-hydro generates electricity to operate mill services for customer and provides power in night to local resident in vicinity. 

Reflecting Back to Mentorship: Six months under Guidance

 

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                                The world is changing relatively faster than expected. The growing market of job is competitive and full of talent, where failing once means losing your job. The professional life is tough already, and its graph is increasing day by day. There are hundreds of professional coming out yearly with honed skills, talents and world life exposure. You cannot be left behind bewildering other progress.

                          Traditionally, the best way to learn was to find better master and be his/her apprentice. The evolving education system changed everything developing systematic progress of student to professional life. That does not mean need of mentorship/apprenticeship is bygone things. Still mentorship is considered best way to sharpening skills before you fail or simply learning by others failure. Your life is too short to fail on every step and learn from failure.

                           I got chance to be part of WWF Nepal The Generation Green Mentorship Program Batch 2 under mentor Anil Chitrakar (Social Entrepreneur). Along with me six others participated on this journey of six months. The main idea was to work one various creative project related to environment conservation, renewable energy use, 3R principle, wildlife conservation, and other several creative solutions. As we came from different background of study, it was hard for us to manage time for meeting and finalize our idea.

                    We were lacking confidence even we had ideas in mind, that’s where mentor guided us. He showed us light beyond tunnel and believed in our ideas. Every idea will work if you have courage to pursue them. These words still echo my ear and motivate me daily. Instead of focusing on single idea we tried cluster of idea as we had limited time of 6 months, so our ending point of idea would be starting point for upcoming groups.

                                 The main objective of our project was to establish a culture with a system of recycling, reusing and reducing of waste (food, plastic, paper, rubber & water). The basic task was to help in the conversion of low – end input waste into high value output. We helped to facilitate and bridge gap between waste utilizing institutions by innovative alternatives to appropriate potential market by designing ergonomically viable products as such:

1. Reusing Rubber Tire by Giving Aesthetic Values for Parks, Schools and Communal area.

                       The tire has been real issue as it cannot be recycled (economically at low scale in country like Nepal) or reduced but can only be re-used. We had re-used tire by integrating them into environment. They were used as flower pots for large plants, swings in garden or home, decoration by giving colors. We identified certain schools formed Eco-Clubs or youth clubs with whom we worked so that the sustainability of the project will not be an issue if local young people will take care of it.

Figure. Tire Gardening at Shree Janajyoti Secondary School, Banepa 

Figure. Tire Gardening and Orientation at Sainik School, Pokhara 

Figure.  Tire Gardening and Orientation at Ratna Rajya School, Kathmandu

2. Advocated use of recycled Plastic Bags into Ropes or Fibers for Agricultural Support:

                        We helped to recycle/reuse plastic bags as rope and it was provided as sample to farmers. This was done through the re-use of plastic bags by making ropes or fibers from them. The ropes can be used for making various green house, support for vegetable growth, building birdcage, temporary shelter and even making fences. The high strength plastic rope and fibers will come in handy for farmers for daily use.

3. Encouraging institutions for Creative use of Paper:

                     Paper is widely used for various purposes like printing records, brochures and leaflets. Reduce use of paper, printing on both sides of paper and promotion of e-communication was encouraged. On joint collaboration with Women’s Dream Multipurpose Ltd we made pencil out of sample old newspaper and encouraged such initiatives from other organizations.

Figure. Training and Sample Old Newspaper Pencil, Kathmandu

 4. Rain Water Harvesting

                         Due to ongoing water crisis and larger number of family residing in small houses, it was very difficult to fulfill the water need in household use. So, being a researcher in watershed management, Mr. Laxman Shrestha had constructed a very simple yet a very effective way to use the rainwater. We conducted interview to share his noble idea for public use.

Figure. Mentees interviewing Mr. Laxman Shrestha about Rain Water Harvesting 

THE LESSONS

                         Indeed six months mentorship has been great journey of my life. We were able to work on ideas generated by us. We could see transformation on ourselves as well as we felt that our activities made some level of contribution and influence on society. We were lucky enough to travel various parts of Nepal. We made lifetime friends and created memory. Plus we learnt about professionalism, discipline, time management and respect of fellow team member.

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Figure. The TEAM (YOUTH FOR CHANGE NEPAL)

                  I would like to provide note of thanks for Mr. Anil Chitrakar (Mentor), Ms. Shikha Gurung (WWF Nepal) and Mr. Dipesh Gurung (ECCA Nepal). It was pleasure to work with you guys: Anisha Adhikari (MBA), Bina Kharel (MBA), Nabina Gurung (Developmental Study), Senha Shakya (Engineer + MBA), Subina Shrestha (Developmental Study) and Sunwi Maskey (Environmental Study). Cheers!!!

Figure. Team Member Briefing About Project Impacts and Progress

Figure. Closing of Program. Team Member with Amrit Gurung 

Media Coverage: We are glad our work was shared on online (Glocal Khabar) and print (MyRepublica) media. Please follow link for more information.

Glocal Khabar: Old Tire Gardening By Youth For Change Nepal 

My Republica:The Generation Green: Teaching youth about nature, conservation and more

A walk to Remember: Journey to Listhikot VDC (Chang Ching Village)

                     Travel is one of best way to learn things and explore beyond comfort zone. The less travelled road, after major Earthquake Nepal 2015, left Araniko Highway connecting Kodari to Kathmandu sees fewer commuters. After postponing my trip to Listhikot VDC for several times due to roadblock, it was finally decided to pack bag and hit the highway. After 5 hours of bus ride from Old bus park of Kathmandu we reached Barabise around 5:30pm in evening. As heavy and daily rainfall had brought several landslides blocking road access to Listhikot. So we decided to pursue journey following day hoping roadblock will be clear next day.

                  Ironically there was heavy downpour last night, which completely ruined our plan to travel by bus. We planned to go via any vehicle to Nayapool and then hitchhike uphill to Chang Ching (a village among several village of Listhikot VDC). It was early morning so there was less chance of getting any vehicle, as vehicle plying had reduced significantly after closure of Lasha border. We asked lift for every passing vehicle finally our luck turned out, we got lift from a truck-carrying quarry for ongoing hydropower project at Chaku. (Middle Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project) After an hour journey we reached at Nayapool at 7:00 am. We passed through Nayapool, a spot for bungee jumping and other various adventurous activities hosted by The Last Resort.

                       The uphill journey through fallen houses, temporary shelter of people and terrible sheds for animal brought chill on us. It felt like no presence of any authority or government in vicinity. The uphill walk made us so exhausted we had to make several stops and we ran out of water, which made journey more arduous. The steep hill, heat of sun and lack of water made walk difficult. After 3 hours of walk we reached first house of uphill village. We asked for water, owner of house very generously provided clean water (filtered water) for drinking. He expressed his grievances after earthquake, the losses and tragedies he had to go through.

                 Personally I found him quite traumatic and his odd behavior expressed those fear and anxiety. He said still he couldn’t sleep inside his house at night so generally he prefers sleeping in open space at smooth surface in uphill area. There have been repeated landslides, fracturing of land mass and majority of water sprouts around village area have been dried up. We could witness his saying when we roamed around village.

                     After few minutes walk from his house we reached our final destination Chang Ching village. The main aim was to inspect community kitchen made in Buddhist Gumba for approval of budget from government as fellow traveller was appointed as Civil Engineer in charge for re construction and rehabilitation in Listhi VDC. The journey provided very insightful things, difficulties at grass root level and presence of resentment about state. It came to light people are affected more as there is no income as Lasha border is closed as working as seller or vendor and purchasing daily goods for livelihood. Now they do not have proper shelter to live in, jobs to work and are purchasing Indian goods at higher rate.

                   This journey made me realized ground reality of many Nepalese life from ground zero up.

Small World : Big Dream

                         Have you ever felt so lonely and desperate you forgot your own existence. You are over drive of your consciousness. You are blind on broad day light. Your face is sadden, engulfed with past memory and fear of future. Your foots are numb, soul has departed body only remains of physical meat that resembles nothing but void inside void. The person who you cared seems distant apart, only closely tied manacles hold your hands and legs tied so much you cannot escape your past and anxiety of future brings you goosebumps.

                Life has not been so hard for you but it is now. Out of sudden your hope which guided you throughout life seems distance far above horizon. There you are in midst of winter bare, desolate, naked in icy cold evening but you do not feel a thing. You are burned inside out. Your hopes could not shape into reality, your dreams just were good enough to be dream, love even you could not get near to it, only gloomy thoughts and fear of loneliness hurts you. You are so afraid of being abused you stop being you. You are afraid people will use you, exploit when they need and trash you to rotten land where none believes and respect you. Look what you have made of yourself where is your dignity, where is your individuality. You are running away from yourself, when you will understand you need to fight for what you believe. Every thing is temporary when you will understand this, once you used to believe in self, you are the person who taught and talked with us about “ Hope”, today you are one who needs it much then entire world. Leave it if entire world is burning today, but don’t let external fire destroy you.

              The fire inside you is burning with greater flame then outside. Do not dare to extinguish it, give direction, give wings to your dream. You are one who’s dream makes this world smaller, you are one whose thoughts does time travel. Do not let inner vibes to get eroded. Life ain’t sunshine always, you need to go on other side of world face challenges, learn things, let go of people who drag you. Believe it or not those person who were not with you in hard times do not deserve to be with you in your good times. Be right, do not stay back let whole world know you are determined and motivated enough even odds are against you, you need to pull all your strength and hit it hard. This is called living. To tell story you should be good enough to make a one.

                                       Cheers. Live and Let other do the same.

War of Words : A Fire within

                           Not everything is supposed to become beautiful and long-lasting. When things go wrong and when people turn against you and walk away without any reason, it has nothing to do with you. It is because they have already served their purpose in your life, they’ll only hinder you in your next level. Not everyone is going to stay forever in your life. So, thank them for what they have given you, let them go and keep moving. Greater things are yet to come.

                         Now, I know everything in life happens for a reason. I try to help everyone around me and care about them. I help them without any strings attached. I help because I know what it feels like without getting help. I know how it feels like to speak and not be heard. I know the value of everything in life. Everything surely happens for a reason. You might not realize it today, but you’ll surely understand it one day. Just wait for that day and keep moving.

                             Some take me as granted, some fake to make things but I help them tirelessly. Not expecting rewards or recognition but feeling sense of joy bringing happiness on them. I feel being used but I prefer to take it in other way being useful standing out for them in the crowds. Holding them when world betrayed and left in desolation. I often wonder if there is someone behind me who cares me, wonders what make this person happy. I can just speculate.

Date: 22/03/2016

Swarga Dwari: The place where Spirituality Meets Technology

                      Nepal, country of mountains and holy places, boast on natural beauty and wilderness. The holy shrine of Swarga Dwari lies in western Nepal of Pyuthan district. It is one of popular destination for hindu devotees as one can feel in temple premises. Hindu devotees flung as far as from India to get blessing from shrine.

                 The holiness of temple traces back to discovery of ancient hawan area and related puja materials. The young shepherd traveling from far western part happens to be resting on bajh(a 100 year old tree located nearby) saw a vision that place is blessed by gods and once was place for worship of god. He asked fellow herders to dig around premises to discover ancient leftovers of hawans, vessels and other holy materials. It is believed he had supernatural power of healing, spent most of time in meditation, started school for teaching holy scripts, procured land for cultivation so temple attendees and follower will never be in scarcity for food. He is regarded as very holy person, you can see his statue inside temple.

                         The other story is: this was last place visited by Pandavas from Mahabharat before moving to heaven. The Pandavas were thirsty and Arjuna took a bow, aimed in ground to withdraw sprout of water to quench thirst. Still the sprout known as Kunda is visible downhill from temple. As Pandavas spend one night here before departing to Heaven (Swarga), often devotees spend one night here.

                          The Swarga Dwari Trust arranges food and residence for devotees in various Dharmashala in periphery of temple. The per bed cost is Rs. 30 and per plate food is Rs.100. The residence hall are primitive Nepalese mud house but decent one with mattress, blankets. It is wise to carry your own bedsheets. The food is normal vegetarian which includes rice, lentil and vegetables popularly know as “gods food”.

Major Attraction

Hawan Area with Eternal Lamp

              There is 24 hours, 365 days continuous hawan. The nearby was eternal lamp, I could not see lamp but was given through instruction how it was brought by pathak (priest are called so here). It is scared place where you give ghee, rice, oil and charu (mix of various grains especially made for hawan). No photos allowed here.

Main Temple

                This is place where you worship lord Shiva which is built upon grave of guru, founder of temple. The initial worship on this temple follows with multiple temple presence on the premises.

Bajh Tree

              The tree is supposed to be more than 100 years old. The importance, holiness trace back to resting place of guru who discovered this area so holds greater significance as you can see vermillion smeared all around.

Cowshed

              There are more than 250 cows reared in cowshed. The cows are supposed to be very holy and devotees throng to feed them flours (especially Satu) and salt. The excessive feeding of salt caused death of many cow so its forbidden to give salts these day. You can just deposit it in near by specified place.

Cave (Gufa)

            The cave is place where guru use to mediate. Supposedly it was place where Pandavas took shelter before going to heaven. It is naturally built place around 20 mintues walk around the hill.

School (Pathsala for holy teachings)

             The pathsala teaches student holy scriptures for continuity of tradition. The young boys keep chanting mantras, sloks, hyms, vajans from early morning. Usually they teach 3-4 years for student with compulsory 1 year practice as priest in temple.

Water Sprouts (Kunda)

          The Kunda lies 15minutes downhill walk. The water (jal) is brought from kunda for offering to god by pathak on barefeet without being touched by anyone. The water sprouts is believed to come into existence by piercing of arrow via bow by Arjuna from Mahabharat.

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Bhairavi Temple

          The 10 minutes uphill walk will lead to Bhairavi temple. From here you can have great view of surrounding area.

Technology

         The temple houses large solar power station providing and supplementing electricity for temple premises. The solar street lamp provides durable light throughout night. The solar lightening has been helping to keep life in night as main stream supply is so infrequent. The night life felt so lively with flashing white light around premises.

             There is large bio-gas plant which provides cooking fuel for people’s kitchen. The cow poop is used for making bio-gas which is very helpful for conservation of local forest and keeping far from LPGs. The bio-gas is enough sometime supplemented by firewoods for cooking.

            The temple is located in top of hill. It is quite challenging to fetch water for people. Although pumping is done by electric motor from downhill. We can still see rain water harvesting done around top of official building of temple.

        This is great gesture of adaption of technology for facilitating devotees. Thus Swarga Dwari is holy place with blend of spirituality with technology. This can be benchmark for other holy shrines to replicate in them.

MYTH’s

  1. It is believed once temple ran out of ghee for hawan. The guru asked his follower to go to ganga (Madi River) and burrow few tin cans of ghee. The follower being surprised went to river, drew few tin can of water and came to temple. The guru asked them to pour them hawan. The follower despite being reluctant to pour, poured on gurus command, to surprise it turned to be ghee. Again after couple of months when temple had surplus ghee, guru asked them to pay back ghee to ganga. When followers poured back ghee in ganga to their surprise it turned to be water.

  2. The guru was having discussion with his follower. The very eccentric bird yellow in color came from Northern side, guru spoke in birds language with birds. The bird flew back, curiously follower asked what he had spoken with bird. The guru said that his time on earth has come to end, the bird came to notify him. After few days guru became sick, called his follower gave them all responsibilities. There was some bright yellow spark glowing out of guru which rose high above temple, and rushed into northern himalayas. The guru was found to be dead by then.

  3. There was hunter who injured deer. The deer entered temple for sanctuary. The hunter asked guru to return back deer to him. The guru said “ I cannot offer you deer as it came for sanctuary in my asharm, ask anything other I will give you”. The hunter being adamant on his claim of deer and misbehaving, manhandling guru. The furious guru gave curse(srap) for hunter that he has to die of some disease. As matter of fact that happened.

About Guru

                       The couple in some far western Nepal did not have any son or daughter. They worshipped god and were believed to be blessed by god. That they will have son who will be actual incarnation of God. The mother gave birth to son, who was glowing with light since childhood. On 6th day when mother ate meat, son refused to suck milk from mother. Since child guru was supposed to be holy. Even it is believed that we could see universe inside the mouth of Guru.