Nepal boasts rich and diverse cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and welcoming people. The mountains of Eastern Nepal, where dZi Foundation works, are especially noteworthy for their vibrant and unique communities. These mountainous regions are home to some of the most spectacular and picturesque landscapes in the country. From terraced rice fields that cling to steep hillsides to the majestic Himalayan peaks that tower above them all, it’s a breathtaking panorama that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
These rural areas provide an authentic cultural experience. The communities that call these regions home are known for their warm hospitality, traditional way of life, and deeply-rooted cultural practices. Whether exploring local markets, observing the daily routine of farmers, or trekking through the mountains, dZi’s staff are fortunate to experience a unique part of the country.
As we celebrate Valentine's Day, Manjeeta Gurung, dZi's Communications Officer, has picked five reasons why you’ll fall in love with dZi’s partner communities:
Eastern Nepal is home to many ethnic groups – each with its own culture and traditions. From the Kirati people of the middle-hills to the Sherpa of the high Himalaya, the mix of identities creates incredibly diverse communities. People have a strong connection to nature, and their agrarian lifestyle heavily influences their culture. There are rich traditions of music and dance, and festivals such as Udhauli, Lhosar, Dashain, and Tihar that are celebrated throughout the year.
The eastern hills of Nepal are home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. The contrast of snow-capped Himalayan peaks with lush green valleys makes the region a paradise for nature lovers. Home to Mount Everest and some of the highest peaks in the world, our working area includes the Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Makalu Barun National Park. They are known for their diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered snow leopard and red panda.
The people of Eastern Nepal are known for their hospitality and friendliness. They are proud of their culture and traditions and are eager to share them with guests. When you visit a village in the eastern hills, you will likely be greeted with a flower garland and offered a cup of tea or locally brewed alcohol. Whether visiting a village or trekking through the mountains, you will surely be welcomed with open arms.
The eastern hills are home to some of the most unique and delicious cuisines in Nepal. Whether trying traditional Nepali Dal Bhat or spicy Sherpa Stew, the region will tantalize your taste buds. Some of the unique dishes and ingredients found in the local cuisine include Dhindo; a thick porridge-like dish made from millet or corn flour; Sel Roti, a traditional Nepali round and deep-fried sweet bread made from rice flour; Chhurpi, a type of hard cheese made from Yak milk; Wachipa, made with rice, minced chicken, and powder made out of burnt feathers of a chicken; and Raksi, local alcohol, made from fermented grains such as millet, rice, or barley.
Eastern Nepal is a paradise for adventure seekers. From trekking through the Himalayas to rafting down the rivers, the region is filled with exciting activities that will keep you busy for days. Most famous for the Everest Base Camp Trek, dZi’s working area also includes the recently opened Mudhum Trail that spans our partner communities in the Khotang and Bhojpur Districts. The word "Mundhum" refers to the religious scripture of the Kirati people, and the trail is considered a living museum of Kirat culture and tradition as it passes through villages, temples, and sacred sites.
The eastern hills of Nepal are a place unlike any other. The rich cultural heritage, abundance of natural beauty, and warmth of the local people make it an unforgettable experience. But the region is also in a time of dynamic transformation. As climate change impacts traditional weather patterns and traditional livelihoods struggle to keep up with the modern economy, communities are working with dZi to retain their heritage and adapt to their changing environment. By working with villages to identify needs, build local capacity, and grow sustainable incomes, communities are laying the foundation for a thriving, inclusive, and resilient future.