8 Days of Guided Tour Packed with Cultural High, Scenic Mountains and Touch of Luxury
Inspired by the feedback from Australian Travel Photographer of the year Cameron Cope, and from a coverage on 'GET LOST' travel magazine, we have designed this rare opportunity to experience NEPAL's most cultural city and colourful festival, which not many tourists know about.
Bisket Festival tour provides the perfect package for the culture and tradition enthusiast. In offering you an exceptional opportunity to observe an indigenous religious festival – a ritual observed since medieval times – this tour provides a unique insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture as well a chance to interact with locals in joint celebration, making for an authentic and enjoyable personal journey which will leave you with a string of lifelong memories.
Nepal, Bisket Festival and Bhaktapur city
Nepal is home to a vibrant, sophisticated culture in an incredible environment. The people are hospitable, friendly and enthusiastic about having their picture taken.
Bisket Jatra is an under-the-radar but world-class event that sees few foreign tourists and is actually a festival of festivals that marks Nepali New Year. Each celebration is completely different from the next and all are full of mind-boggling spectacle, wild at times, serene at others, colourful, meaningful, and packed with photographic opportunities that are ideal for practicing photography.
Bhaktapur, where the festival takes place, is a charming cultural jewel, a medieval city brimming with UNESCO World Heritage listed temples, history and tradition (a real highlight of Nepal even outside of festival time).
Nepalese people value and appreciate non-climbing based tourism that often sees porters and Shherpas employed in dangerious conditions.
This package offers a unique and authentic way of experiencing Nepal – its culture, people and spirituality – whilst allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable scenic tour of Kathmandu Valley in addition to magnificent dawn and dusk views of the Himalayas.
1 The Erection and Grounding of the Yoshin
These two highly symbolic events separately mark the end of the year and herald the new Bikram era. The Sky is said to make love to the Earth via a 30-metre long ‘Yoshin’ (a ‘pole of love’) that represents fertility.
2 The Clashing of the Chariots
There are so many chariot and palanquin-bearing events at Bisket Jatra that some call it the ‘Festival of Chariots’. We will experience several, but the most impressive involves a huge, lumbering, sacred vehicle with multi-tonne, wooden wheels, a swaying, elaborately carved carriage and a prominent phallus, mounted with a sacred metallic icon of Bhairab, the wrathful incarnation of Shiva (and patron deity for Bhaktapur).
3 Vermillion Powder Festival
Known locally as Sindoor Jatra, the Vermillion Powder Festival is the most colourful event on the itinerary. It is also a new year’s celebration, but one that places special emphasis on experiencing joy. Beginning with bubbling pilgrimage the crowd soon hits fever pitch as a surging, dancing, singing, drumming, cymbal-clashing crowd of men convert the atmosphere into an ecstatic moshpit. Explosions of vermillion catch the sunlight as thousands of fistfuls of orange powder rain on as many beaming smiles and wiggly dance moves. Wave after wave of palanquin bearers then charge into Thimi square marking Sindoor Jatra’s morning climax with a visit from Ganesh.
4 Tongue Piercing Event
Straight off the back of the Vermillion Powder Festival, a tongue piercing ceremony takes place with a volunteer from the Shrestha family. He will get his tongue pierced in a spiritual trance with an iron spike and proceed through the city shouldering a bamboo rack and flaming torches.
5 Torch-Bearing Eve of Brahmayani
One of several torch-bearing events, the eve of Brahmayani is a gentle contrast to the fervour of other days during Bisket Jatra. It’s a calming flame-lit procession through one of Bhaktapur’s most charming old quarters.
6 Taa Din
An event that sees all the city’s idols taken from their temples around Bhaktapur for worship. From daybreak Newari women take a prominent lead, filling the streets in elegant, flowing saris called ‘haku patasi’ and traditional shirts called ‘Thana tagu kapoya lan’. Their traditional role is to make puja (a Hindu prayer ritual) to the gods, but many also prove their musical talent as flutists in roving street ensembles.
1. Cameron Cope, Australian travel writer and photo journalist -
"I booked my trip with Pramod Khatiwada from Sherpa Tours who used his local knowledge and contacts to enhance my personal experience in my photography tour of Bisket Festival, a captivating, world-class event. I saw only 10 to 15 foreign tourists among the tens of thousands of locals celebrating the festival. Clearly the world is yet to discover the cultural heights that rise here in Bhaktapur, Nepal."
2. 'GET LOST' travel magazine, Oct '14 issue, Australia -
The magazine has covered Bisket Festival 2014 in detail and suggests Sherpa Tours as a tour operator for a tour to the festival in Nepal.
For more information or to book the tour
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(Please note that festival events and days are tentative. Sequence of events may take place slightly differently than mentioned below). Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel (overnight in hotel). A tour briefing will be followed by welcome dinner at a Nepali restaurant.
After breakfast, transfer to hotel in Bhaktapur. Sightseeing of this cultural city in the afternoon.
Observe activities of New year eve.
Welcome the Nepali new year by observing grounding of the pole / wheel chariot clash & tug of war.
Observe Sindur Jatra, Tongue Piercing, and Palanquin Chariot clash.
After breakfast, enjoy an interactive home-visit to ethnic Newari family for about couple of hours. After lunch, transfer to Nagarkot hill top resort. Enjoy sunset over the Himalayas.
Enjoy sunrise over the Himalayas. After breakfast, return to Kathmandu. After lunch, sightseeing in Kathmandu.
- Information like altitude, total walking times and distance in the day to day itinerary are approxmate only.
- the itinerary should be regarded as an outline only. The routes may have to be changed due to weather and other unpredictable conditions.
all mentioned sightseeings (covering entrance fees) with a licenced and experienced English speaking tour guide;
English speaking local expert to guide you in the festival each day;
all accomodations on bed and breakfast basis;
all land transfers including airport pick up and drop off are in a private vehicle;
all entrance permits.
Accommodation in Kathmandu is in a 5 star hotel. Accommodation in Bhaktapur is in a boutique hotel equivalen to 4 star. Accommodation in Nagarkot is in a 5 star resort.
Welcome and farewell dinners included. All accommodations are on bed & breakfast basis.
All land transfers are in a private vehicle.
A welcome & farewell dinners.
International flights, airport departure taxes, visas, insurance, meals not listed, any optional tours and activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, personal medical supplies, drinking water, bar bills, laundry, tips or gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Any extra costs incurred due to 'Nepal band' (strikes and closures), natural calamities, flight delays etc. Cancellation of flight etc due to unforeseen uncertainties beyond our representatives and agents control.