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Maha Shivaratri celebration 2019

Maha Shivaratri is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal, and the name literally means the night of Shiva. It is celebrated throughout Nepal and India for 24 hours where people generally smoke a lot of mariujaha to honor the Hindu god. It is believed that the stars in the Northern Hemisphere are positioned optimally for raising peoples spiritual energy.

It is said that up to a million people would visit the Pashupatinath temple on this day. There were thousands of people queuing outside the temple, but foreigners were let past the queues, which is not fair considering how much more important this celebration is to devoted hindus but I didnt complain. The Pashupatinath temple is considered one of the holiest temples in hinduism and the Guardian and protector of the Kathmandu Valley and Nepal.

Sadhu babas meditate, some of them naked, and most of them smoking weed from their chillum pipes. People chant together with them mantras such as “om namah Shivay” and “mahamritunjaya” all night as a way to pray that the light will conquer the darkness.

One thing that was special with this was that children were making “toll roads” literally everywhere raising ropes across the streets and demanding small change from the bypassers. Also smoking cannabis is seen as holy on this day and people were cooking up “bang lassi” (Milk boiled with mariujana) and smoking everywhere. An ancient tradition from thousands of years back that still is practiced widely today by tourists and locals alike.

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Hiking the Gorepani Poon Hill Trek

Early morning we set off with the local bus heading up towards the trails leading to Annapurna Base Camp which we had decided that we wanted to walk to.

The roads took us almost the whole way to the new bridge, where we just had to walk a couple of hours until we reached village where we had decided to spend out first night. We were then told that the Annapurna Base Camp trail had been closed due to fatal avalanches, so we just chilled out by the hot springs for a day and decided to do the Gorepani Poon Hill trek instead.

Each day of trekking brought new and better views of the 8000meter tall mountain range and every day we did a casual 4-5 hour hike stopping for tee and food on the way.

My favorite part of the trail was the sunrise at Tadapani, where we were standing at almost 3000meters elevation watching the sun come up behind the so called fish tail mountain.

The whole way was scenic and peaceful. The lodges usually cost just a dollar or two as they wanted to compete of who would get the few tourists who chosing to trek in the low season.

We reached the top of our hike at the Deurali pass which had an altitude of around 3200meters. From there it was just a short walk to Gorepani, and the short poon hill trek to get a 360 degree panorama view of the mountains.

On top of Poon Hill it was very snowy and cloudy so we didnt get the best views, but going back down we got some good views from inside the valley and finished off with another steaming hot natural spring bath in Tatopani before hitchhiking our way down from the mountain.