Honey Hunting & The Full Moon Carnival

The Gurung tribesmen of Nepal are master honey hunters, risking their lives collecting honeycomb in the foothills of the Himalayas, using nothing more than handmade rope ladders and long sticks known as tangos. Most of the honey bees' nests are located on steep inaccessible, south-west facing cliffs to avoid predators and for increased exposure to direct sunlight.

A honey hunter clings precariously to a rope ladder while he waits for the rising smoke to drive thousands of angry Apis Laboriosa, the largest honey bee in the world, out of their nests. Despite this being a team effort – up to a dozen men are drafted in to support the hunter or ‘kuiche’ - there is silence, pressure and precision.

Engulfed by the thick, acrid smoke, the hunter jousts tentatively at a nest with a bamboo stick with a sickle or wooden plate at one end, cutting the exposed honeycomb away from the cliff face. Using another stick to guide the basket hanging beside him, he catches the honeycomb as it falls before the basket is then lowered to the ground.

Ghantu Dance ( The Full Moon Carnival) is performed on the full moon of April-May for a week. The word Ghantu is believed to derive from the Nepali word ‘ghat’ meaning ‘cremation ground’. The Ghantu dance and songs are folk-based and  follow the lyrics of the songs. These dances are not rehearsed but are completely spontaneous. It is believed that only a girl with a pure soul is given the opportunity to perform. The instruments used are folk instruments like madal and mujura. A special crown made of China berry or Persian bead flower, found abundantly during that period, is worn during the dance.

Itinerary

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Honey Hunting

Day 01 : Arrival
After arriving in Kathmandu, a representative from Himalayan Yogi will pick up from the airport and take to the hotel. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan in the authentic Nepalese Restaurant. Overnight at Truly Asia Boutique Hotel or similar

Included meals: Dinner

Day 02 : Kathmandu
After breakfast sightseeing in Bouddha, Pashupatinath, Swoyambhunath and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Overnight at Truly Asia Boutique Hotel or similar

Swoyambhunath :  A stupa on the top of the hill which is also known as monkey temple.
Bouddha : This is the largest stupa which is the holy stupa of  Tibetan Buddhist.

Kathmandu Durbar Square :
 In Kathmandu Durbar Square you will be visiting KalBhairav Temple, Kasthamandap Temple, Kings Palace, House of the living goddess Kumari.

Pashupatinath:
 Is a famous, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Pashupatinath and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu Valley in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital    of Nepal. This temple is considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith. 

Included meals: Breakfast

Day 03 : Kathmandu – Besisahar - Ghalegaun
After breakfast drive to Besisahar then to Ghalegaun, it takes about 7-8 hours drive to Ghalegaun. Overnight at Home stay

Ghalegaun is popular scenic tourist destination with an elevation of 2,100 metres above sea level in Lamjung District. The beautiful tourist village is surrounded by Annapurna Circuit. Ghalegaun is the Gurung village, Gurung are the ethnic group. They have their own culture, religion and custom.

Included meals: Breakfast  Dinner

Day 04: Ghalegaun – Bhujung
Visit around Ghaleguan, to experience the local culture, food, landscape and mountains range like Annapurna II, Lamjung himal, Machhapuchare, Manaslu, Nyagdi Chuli, Himalchuli and Bouddha himal. Then walk from Ghalegaun to Bhujung which is 2 hours walk. Overnight at home stay.

Bhujung is one of the biggest gurung village of Nepal, this village is located on the southern slope of the Annapurna range at 1690 meters above sea level, in the Lamjung district.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 05 / 06 : Bhujung ( The full Moon Carnival)
Visit around the village, we will enjoy Ghatu Dance ( The full moon Carnival ) which will be held in the middle of the village.

The word Ghantu is believed to derive from the Nepali word ‘ghat’ meaning ‘cremation ground’. The Ghantu dance and songs are folk-based and  follow the lyrics of the songs. These dances are not rehearsed but are completely spontaneous. It is believed that only a girl with a pure soul is given the opportunity to perform. The instruments used are folk instruments like madal and mujura. A special crown made of China berry or Persian bead flower, found abundantly during that period, is worn during the dance.

On the first day, the religious guru, who is also the singer, performs various rituals along with some women participants. During this process, only those girls whose souls are overpowered by the spirits of King Parasar and Queen Ambawati are chosen to dance. The girls are divided into two groups: those who are possessed by the king and those by the queen. The guru must then transfer the spirits into pieces of cloth with tantric chants. The cloths are then tied on the girls’ foreheads after which they begin to perform the Ghantu dance in a trancelike state. Some of their actions imitate the daily functions of King  Parasar and Queen Ambawati. At the end, the guru brings back the girls to their normal state. The first day ends. Another day, before performing the dance, the guru once again ties the cloth around the girls’ foreheads. And like the previous time, the spirits of the king and queen enter them and the dance begins. Each day, a version of the legend is performed. The last day of the dance is the most thrilling as it re-enacts the moment of Ambawati’s death; the dancers in the end suddenly seem to lose their breath and fall to the ground. This phase is known as Sati Ghantu. It is then up to the guru to revive them through his tantric powers. The guru then sings and performs farewell rituals requesting the souls of the king and queen to leave and come back again the following year. In this way, the nine-day long dance ends, and is followed by a grand feast.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 07 / 08: Honey Hunting
The Gurung tribesmen of Nepal are master honey hunters, risking their lives collecting honeycomb in the foothills of the Himalayas, using nothing more than handmade rope ladders and long sticks known as tangos. Most of the honey bees' nests are located on steep inaccessible, south-west facing cliffs to avoid predators and for increased exposure to direct sunlight.

A honey hunter clings precariously to a rope ladder while he waits for the rising smoke to drive thousands of angry Apis Laboriosa, the largest honey bee in the world, out of their nests. Despite this being a team effort – up to a dozen men are drafted in to support the hunter or ‘kuiche’ - there is silence, pressure and precision.

Engulfed by the thick, acrid smoke, the hunter jousts tentatively at a nest with a bamboo stick with a sickle or wooden plate at one end, cutting the exposed honeycomb away from the cliff face. Using another stick to guide the basket hanging beside him, he catches the honeycomb as it falls before the basket is then lowered to the ground.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 09 : Bhujung – Kathmandu
Drive from Bhujung to Kathmandu which is 8/9 hrs. drive. Overnight at Truly Asia Boutique Hotel or similar

Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10 : Departure

Includes

1.Transfer airport – hotel – airport
2. Welcome Dinner
3. All accommodation in hotel in Kathmandu in BB plan 
4. Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu  in private vehicle
5. English speaking guide during the trip
6. All temple and monasteries entrance fees
7. Annapurna Conservation Area Permit
8. Transport : Kathmandu – Besisahar –Ghalegaun- Bhujung - Kathmandu 
9. Meals : Breakfast, lunch and dinner (local organic food) in Ghalegaun and Bhujung and honey hunting
10. Tented camp during the honey hunting 
11. Royalty to the honey hunters and villagers
12. All Government taxes

Excludes

1.	International flights and Nepal Tourist Visa fee
2.	Personal equipment's
3.	All personal expenses such as bar bills, beverage, mineral water, snacks etc.
4.	Meals in Kathmandu 
5.	All cost arise due to flight cancellation, natural disaster, health issues and political disturbance
6.	Tips

Trip Highlights

Destination
Nepal
Season
April - May
Fitness Level
Active

- Ghantu Dance, Ethnic Gurung culture, local food and Honey Hunting

Trip Facts

 Group size:	1-15 people	 Max-Altitude: 2100m
 Destination:	Nepal	                Grade : Moderate
 Arrival on:	Kathmandu	        Departure from: Kathmandu
 Meals:	Breakfast in Kathmandu and  All meals during Ghalegaun and Bhujung 
 Accommodation:	 Hotels in Kathmandu and home stay during the trek

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