The year in review

Features Issue 149 Apr, 2014

As we welcome the new year, let us take time to rewind the year 2070 and celebrate it for the discoveries made, achievements reached and the events that positively affected life in Nepal. Let bygones be bygones but let the good things remain and carry on to another year. In the spirit of celebration, we bring to you a list of happenings that made 2070 memorable.

Travel & Tourism
Kathmandu on Trip Advisor’s list
Kathmandu bagged the third position after Havana (Cuba) and La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica) in the Rising Destinations listing of Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Award 2013 list. At the same time, the capital was also in the pole position for Asia in the Destinations On the Rise category. Trip Advisor, one of the world’s most trusted travel websites, described Kathmandu as a “mystical and magical place, a trove of ancient structures that are enveloped in folklore.” The site further stated that the ancient Durbar Square is a “UNESCO World Heritage Site and the heart of the city, home to the legendary Kasthamandap temple, courtyards, fountains and the old royal palace. Kathmandu is a terrific base for various Nepalese adventures and Himalayan treks. For a more spiritual journey, visit a peaceful yoga or meditation centre or enroll in a course at a Buddhist monastery.”

ACAP tracking trekkers
For the safety of trekkers traversing the Annapurna Circuit, the Tourist Tracking System (TTS), a tiny device that looks like a pen drive, has been developed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The device, aptly named Entity Tag (E-Tag), monitors the trekkers and automatically updates their details onto a computer system administered by the ACAP. Friends and family members, whether in Nepal or abroad, can also log on to the system to see where the trekkers are, provided they have the code numbers of the E-Tags concerned.


Changes on Everest
Climbing Mount Everest will now be a different experience thanks to new rules and regulations. First, is the price. After much thought, deliberation and planning, the fee for scaling the highest peak in the world has been lowered to $11,000 for each climber. Earlier, it was $25,000 for individuals and $70,000 for groups of seven. Additionally, in a move to clean up the Everest region, the government has decided to create a new rule that makes it mandatory for expedition teams to return with at least eight kilos of garbage besides their own trash.

Music, Art & Photography
The Nepali music, art and photography scene keeps getting better each year. Of the many exhibitions, concerts and art events in 2070, these were the ones that created a significant buzz.

The four-month long Climate+Change exhibition at Nepal Art Council in Babar Mahal has seen students, teachers, journalists, environmental scientists, and artists come together to understand and share their knowledge on climate change and its effects in Nepal. It is one of the largest photography exhibitions dedicated to the climate change issue to have taken place in the country. Since starting in December 2013, the exhibition has provided a platform for people of different walks of life to learn, share and grow. Various talk programs related to the issue, as well as presentations, screenings, tours, workshops and a mela have also taken place as part of the event. The Climate+Change exhibition, organized by ICIMOD and Glacier Works, will end on April 15.

Steve McCurry in Nepal
Internationally renowned photographer Steve McCurry’s visit to Nepal was an opportunity for photography enthusiasts and appreciators of his work to meet him in person. At a presentation organized by, in collaboration with Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, McCurry showed the audience his photographs from around the world, including the iconic Afghan-girl image as well as ones he captured in Nepal. The interaction, although brief, was encouraging for the local photography community.

Nepathya at Wembley Arena
In August, Nepal’s very own folk-rock band, Nepathya, performed at Wembley Arena in London in front of an audience of around 8,000. With that, they became the first Nepali band to perform at the legendary venue. The concert was jointly presented by Parcha Productions and Subsonic Routes.

Pundit Hari Prasad Chaurasia in Nepal
India’s internationally acclaimed flautist Pundit Hari Prasad Chaurasia arrived in Nepal for what was his second performance in the country. His first had taken place a decade ago. In a program organized by Jayshree Music Society, Pandit Chaurasia thanked the audience and expressed his support towards music students for need-based scholarships. Chaurasia performed onstage with Debopriya Chatterjie (flute), maestro Rabin Lal Shrestha (tabala) and other local musicians.

Opening of The City Museum, Kathmandu
The City Museum  Kathmandu (CMK), opened its doors this year. Situated at Durbar Marg, CMK is home to the archives of three prominent families in photography – the Shresthas, the Chitrakars and the Thapas. With their brick-paved floors, the museum pays homage to the older Kathmandu, one with narrow dark gallies and bahals. The City Museum also has a gallery, a shop and a café.

Street art hub
2070 saw Kathmandu’s drab walls turn into a brilliant canvas, transforming the capital into a vibrant and colorful city. From street art movements like Kolor Kathmandu to artists such as Imagine and the Art Lab collective, art has come alive in public spaces.

Culture and History Indra Jatra
This year, Indra Jatra, for the first time in history, saw active female participants. On the last day of the festival, the chariots of Kumari, Ganesh, and Bhairab were pulled by female members belonging to various toles. Traditionally, females have not been allowed to participate in the jatra’s chariot pulling. In another break with tradition, women were also allowed to consume prasad from the Swet Bhairab’s mouth in Basantapur.

Gaan Pyakhan
Gaan Pyakhan made a comeback this year after being on hold for half a decade. The traditional dance ceremony (also known as the Dance of Astamatrika) started on Ghatasthapana, the beginning of Dashain, at Nakabahil in Patan and carried on for the next nine days. All the dances were performed at night except on the seventh day, i.e Phoolpati. On the last day, the dancers were offered various delicacies after a big puja.

Dipankha Yatra
Dipankha Yatra usually occurs when five auspicious astronomical and astrological features coincide on one day. Over 65,000 devotees walked across 131 religious sites of the valley in the walkathon. The 66.5 km long journey started at Naagbahal in Lalitpur and ended at Mahalaxmisthan in the same district, after traversing through Kathmandu and Lalitpur. The pilgrimage had last taken place in 2005, following a gap of 38 years.

Discovery in Lumbini and Tilaurakot
In December, an archaeological excavation in Lumbini uncovered the evidence of a structure dating back to the sixth century B.C. Pioneering excavations within the sacred Maya Devi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site long identified as the birthplace of the Buddha, exposed the remains of a previously unknown timber structure under a series of brick temples. Laid out in the same design as those above it, the structure contains an open space in the center that ties-up with the nativity story of the Buddha himself. Similarly, an excavation in Tilaurakot, the capital of the Shakya Kingdom, found the remains of huge structures dating back to the Kushand era. The relics were found 10 to 30 centimeters below the surface. Likewise, the team also found the walls of square-shaped pools one to two meters below the surface. Both the projects were initiated by UNESCO and funded by the Japan government in partnership with the Nepal government, along with Durham and Stirling Universities, and the Global Exploration Fund under the National Geographic Society.

Everyday Life
In 2070, a number of occurrences, big and small, impacted daily life in various ways.

Constituent Assembly election:
November 19 saw citizens from all over the country come out to vote for the second Constituent Assembly elections, with Bhaktapur district seeing the highest voter turn-out. The results this time drastically differed from the previous polls. Nepali Congress turned out to be the most popular party, followed by the Communist Party of Nepal (UML). The big winners of the 2008 election, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), were a distant third. The new Constituent Assembly now has the responsibility of drafting the constitution of Nepal and working towards the development of the country.

Restarting of Sajha Yatayat
After a gap spanning several years, Sajha Yatayat returned to service on the first day of 2070. The popular public transport service was launched in 2019 B.S. (1962 A.D.) and had 200 buses in service around the valley. Today, that number has come down to 16. Sajha Yatayat has two routes – one from Tribhuwan International Airport to Kalanki and another from Langankhel to Naya Buspark via Maharajgunj.

Google translates in Nepali
It was good news for Nepali internet users this year when Google Translate started translating in the Nepali language. Earlier, websites in Nepali were confused with Hindi due to the common Devanagari script, which was frustrating for Nepali users.

Nepal has very rarely made a mark in international sports but this year our athletes and teams took a huge step forward.

Nepali Cricket Team’s stellar performance at Twenty 20 World Cup
The Nepali Cricket team won many hearts, not just in Nepal but all over the world. The team was able to win two matches against Hong Kong and Afghanistan in the ICC Twenty 20 World Cup that was held in Bangladesh from mid-March to early-April.

Dawachhiri in Sochi
Dawachirri Sherpa was the sole Nepali participant in the Winter Olympics that took place in Sochi, Russia. Sherpa competed in the Cross Country Skiing category in what was his third Winter Olympics. He was accompanied by a delegation of seven officials and a coach.

FIFA Trophy in Nepal
In December, the FIFA World Cup Trophy landed in Nepal for the first time. It was brought to Nepal from Bhutan by a special jet. President Ram Baran Yadav unveiled football’s most coveted prize, made of 5 kg of 18 carat gold, at Dasharath Stadium, amidst high security. The trophy, which was given VVIP status, was brought to Nepal as part of the global FIFA World Cup Trophy tour, coinciding with celebrations of Coca Cola’s 40 years in Nepal. Coca Cola has been the official partner of the FIFA World Cup since 1950.

Paying homage to THOSE WHO LEFT
Many well known personalities who contributed to the sector of literature, arts, music and science passed away in 2070. Here are but a few of the many who departed leaving behind grand legacies.

Phatteman Rajbhandari
Phatteman Rajbhandari was a legendary name in the Nepali music industry. In September, when the accomplished classical singer passed away at the age of 77, thousands of fans and music lovers were left to mourn. The musician had been diagnosed with lung cancer a week before he died. Rajbhandari composed music and lent his voice to more than 400 songs.

Dayananda Bajracharya
Veteran scientist and educator Dayananda Bajracharya was involved with the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology from its initiation, and was one of the first 15 academicians to be associated with the institution. He was also the professor of Botany at Tribhuwan University (TU). Bajracharya passed away at the age of 69 in November after suffering from respiratory ailments.
Hutta Ram Baidya
Hutta Ram Baidya, or “Bagmati Baa” as he was fondly known as, was the patron of the Save the Bagmati campaign. He was the first agro-engineer of Nepal and had spent most of his life campaigning for the preservation of the Bagmati river. The term Bagmati Civilization was coined by Baidya himself. Bagmati Baa was 94 years old when he passed away in December.

Jagdish Ghimirey 
Writer Jagadish Ghimire passed away in August this year at the age of 68. He had been receiving treatment for multiple myeloma, a bone marrow tumor. Ghimire was a very popular writer and development worker. Some of his works include Antarmanko Yatraa, Sakas, Lilam, and Bardi.

Junga Bahadur Gandarva
Popularly known as “Sarangi Samrat,” Junga Bahadur Gandarva passed away in November this year at the age of 64. According to his family, Gandarva played the sarangi in more than 2000 songs. Along with fans and politicians, many popular singers and musicians were present at his funeral.

Marich Man Singh
Former Prime Minister of Nepal, Marich Man Singh, breathed his last at the Thapathali based Norvic Hospital in August. He served as Prime Minister of Nepal from June 15 1986 to April 6 1990 during the Panchayat regime. Many politicians hail him as a nationalist leader. In the course of his tenure as Prime Minister, Marich Man Singh braved the sixteen month long economic blockade imposed on Nepal by India. Singh was 71 years old when he passed away.