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Shamanism in Nepal /Tours and Experience

Nepal is country with many ethnic groups, mixed religion and traditions ranging from northern Indian Hindu practices to Bon and Tibetan Practices that have existed in the land since time eternal. Among the many practices and rituals Shamanism has always been a matter of curiosity in the whole world. It is a healing method, a gateway to the spirit world and an integral part of the daily life. Adventure mission Nepal (www.himalayantrekkers.com ) has devoted time to discover the different practices related to different communities and we provide our valued guest an opportunity to experience some of the incredible practices in the Nepalese society. We have many trips to different places of Nepal in which you can meet the local shamans and see, experience and be a part of their practices of healing and interaction with the world of spirits.

People who practice shamanism try to reach the altered states of consciousness and they interact with the beings in the spirit world, which is a superstition for many in the normal world. The practicitioner of shamanism are believed to have access to, and influence in the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits.Shamnisnim in Nepal is practices with the following beliefs-

  • Spirits exist and have important roles to play in day to day human life.
  • The person practicing shamanism (a Shaman) has ability to interact and communicate with spirits.
  • Benevolent or malevolent are the two types of Sprits that exist.
  • Shamans can cure sickness or diseases caused by malevolent spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on vision quests.
  • The shaman's spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.

Shamanism in Nepal is practiced mostly by people who have association with the Tibetan culture but there are also pure Hindu practices prevalent in Nepal. This is also true today when most Tibetans are practicing Buddhists-- their Buddhism being a religious culture deriving from ancient and medieval India. In Tibet, however, this Indian Buddhism has been amalgamated with the ancient indigenous shamanism and pagan animism of that country, thus giving Tibetan Buddhism its unique and especially colorful character and influences of those practices in Tibet has been widely found in the northern Himalayan region of Nepal and the high hills. The function of Shamanism in the Nepalese society is to please the bad spirits and cure the ill effects caused on Humans or animals by such spirits. The therapeutic expert or professional in this regard was the Bonpo shaman-healer who treated and cured not only the diseases of the physical body, but more especially the illnesses of the soul, in order to bring the psyche of the afflicted individual back from fragmentation and alienation into wholeness and well-being. The shamans are primarily healers in the Nepalese society and in addition to that they also have gained popularity as the guide for journey beyond the present life through perilous Bardo until a human being reaches his/her next life. As believed the Shamans are the masters of alternate states of consciousness, there are many stories and folklores where shamans explore the landscapes of the mind, the collective unconscious psyche, and return thence with treasures of knowledge and power in order to benefit humanity.

According to the Shamans the physical and mental problems/disorders are the result of disharmony or break in the natural order and in the moral order of the world, as well as from an imbalance in and weakening of the personal energy field of the human individual. The shamans perform rituals to balance and bring the order into harmonious interaction. This balance and harmony existed primordially, from the time of the beginning, but has been interrupted and shattered by the thoughtless and sinful actions of mankind. To rediscover and re-establish this lost primordial harmony, all obsessive and negative thinking which serves to block the free flow of the energy within the individual must be dissolved. In this way, the individual can come into the realization of his full innate potentiality, manifesting his energy in the world about him without disrupting the natural order of things.

The Newari shamans (Jankri) say that "the way of the shaman is the way of love". They seek to bring love, harmony and peace to those who suffer from diseases of a spiritual nature since, like most shamans, they recognize that disease can be caused by other, more physical, mechanisms and leave such cases to medical doctors. As in other cultures, the shaman’s role is recognized by the community, not claimed by the individual: he is a Jankri only because others are healed by him, not because he says he can heal them.

The primary duties of a Kirat shaman (mangpa) are invoking spirits, remembering his own roots in nature, and putting his actions to the service of the good; this is mundum, the path of the shaman. Both groups believe that the Path of the Shaman was brought to the world by Shiva, and that people are called, rather than choose, to be shamans. The chosen person may try to avoid the call because he knows it will mean a difficult life; the Jankri have everyday occupations like everyone else, but must make themselves available for healing work at the "transition times" of the day: at daybreak, or just after sundown.

There are many tools and objects that the practitioners of Shaminism use in Nepal.Incense are an important part of every shamanic ritual, and there are many kinds in Nepal, each appropriate for a different purpose or healing. Jankri also use a wide variety of medicinal plants, such as wormwood, mugwort, cannabis, various datura species, ganoderma and other mushrooms. Interestingly, in the course of their work, they also consume alcoholic beverages (rakshi) without suffering the usual deleterious effects. Instead, the shamans neutralize the alcohol and transform it into nectar also known as amrit, the elixir of life, from which they receive their power (healing energy).

Besides the all-important Phurba, many other objects find their way into shamanic rituals such as: denguru (shamans drum); dhunga (stones & crystals); mala-bead necklaces (made from seeds, stones or bones); a chindo or calabash, a vessel made from a gourd; bones; feathers; and so on.

Thangka are beautiful, elaborate and sometimes frightening drawings or paintings depicting the gods, demons and spirits in the Other Realities. They are thought to have been inspired originally by shamans and their visions of the spirit worlds. Today the creation of Thangka is a highly sophisticated Nepalese art form not Tibetan, as is commonly thought.

These itineraries are only a guideline and we can customize it as per your request. You can add rest days in between, ask for an alternate route (if available) and add other destinations like Pokhara and Chitwan if you wish to visit any before or after the trek. We can arrange for trips to Bhutan, Tibet or India upon your request before you travel back to your home country. Practices of Shamanism are only done in the evening or in the midnight. Most of the Shamans can’t speak English fluently so the local trek guide will act as the interpreter.

Shamanism Tour in Nepal Dhading District 6 nights/7 days (1 week).

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Day 02: Explore the city and prepare for the trek.
Day 03: Drive from Kathmandu to Samari Bhanjyang (1500m.) via Trishuli Bazaar.
Day 04: Trek to Sele. (2000m.)
Day 05: Trek to Katunje Village (1760m)
Day 06: Trek to Khalchet (1200m)
Day 07: Trek to Dhading Besi (520m) and drive to Kathmandu.
Day 08: Depart Kathmandu to reach another destination or fly back home with memories of the trek.

Itineraty in details

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive at Kathmandu after a scenic flight over the mountains. Meet the representative of Adventure Mission Nepal Treks & Expedition (AMN) and transfer to Hotel.

Day 2: Explore the city and prepare for the trek.
You can spend this day exploring some of the World heritage sites in Kathmandu valley for some time and prepare for the trek in the afternoon.

Day 03:  Drive from Kathmandu to Samari Bhanjyang (1500m.) via Trishuli Bazaar.
After early morning breakfast we start driving towards Samari Bhanjyang, which is 6 hours drive from Kathmandu. We drive past the famous Trishuli Bazaar (70 Km), the gate way to Langtang. Samari Bhanjyang is a place with mixed culture ranging from Brahmin, Chhetris, Newars and Tamangs. The major attractions in this place include magnificent views of landscape, old traditional Nepalese houses, and panoramic view of Annapurna Himalaya ranges, Manaslu, Boudha Himal, Langtang and Ganesh Himal.

Day 04:  Trek to Sele. (2000m.)
after a warm breakfast at the camp/indigenous house we walk for about 6 hours to reach Sele. This is a village with the majority of people of Tibetan origin (Gurungs and Tamangs). There are a lots of people engaged in Shamanism practice but Som bahadur a.k.a Kale is the most renowned,  if he is in the village we will appoint him to show some of his expertise. You can be a part of the healing practice if you wish.

Day 05 : Trek to Katunje Village (1760m)
Katunje is a small village just about 2 hours of walk from the Sele Village. This village also has mixed culture and lot of things to see and experience including Shamanic practices. Katunje is a small town where villagers gather to buy and sell things of daily needs in the weekly Market called ‘Haat Bazaar’.

If you reach the village on the day when the daily market is placed you can see many Shamans/Jankri coming with their unique dress and the drum made up of goat skin. We will arrange for the rituals to be performed by shamans in the evening.

Day 06:  Trek to Khalchet (1200m)
We start moving after breakfast and today we walk only for 3 hours and reach the village of Khalchet for village. We will have lunch in the camp/indigenous house. Today we will visit the community of the Lower caste people so called untouchables, in the afternoon. After a short walk around the village we will observe the cultural program organized by the mothers group and the local community.

Day 07: Trek to Dhading Besi (520m) and drive to Kathmandu.
We start moving down the river basin and small settlements to reach Dhading Besi, the headquarter of the Dhading District. It is a walk of around 2 hours down the hill. Upon reaching Dhading Besi we will catch our jeep to drive to Kathmandu, which is a drive of about 3-4 hours.

Day 8: Depart Kathmandu to reach another destination or fly back home with memories of the trek.
You can depart from Kathmandu to your home country or extend the trip and head for another trip within or outside Nepal.

Plese contact us at info@himalayantrekkers.com for more details.

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