YPT is known to like a bit of specialist communist ideology, and it doesn’t get more specialist than this!
From 1996 to 2006 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) fought a ten-year People’s War against the King and, for the most part, the parliamentary parties. They created communist base areas and fought on the basis of surrounding the cities from the countryside, using Chairman Mao’s theories as their guide.
In 2006 the war ended, the Maoist’s came above ground, won the first elections held after the war and told King Gyanendra to vacate the palace, making Nepal the first country to depose the monarchy and change to a republic since Iran in 1979.
For this tour, YPT will take you deep into the Maoist heartlands of Rolpa and Rukum, seeing the communes and Maoist offices, police outposts destroyed during the war and we will even talk to Maoist ex-soldiers and commanders about their experiences during and after the war.
We will of course also see Nepal’s two main cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara, and sample a variety of the local food and drink. This tour is not for the fainthearted; expect an experience of rural Nepal far, far away from the beaten path on an adventure into 21st century Maoism.
Meet up with your YPT guide and fellow travellers for a day of exploration at 9am in our centrally located hotel
Unfortunately Kathmandu’s main Durbar Square was almost totally destroyed during the recent earthquake, but we will head across the river to Patan – or Lalitpur – to check out the Durbar Square there. Many buildings were also destroyed during the earthquake but a lot are still standing and it’s a great place to wander around the temples, pillars and stupas of old Nepal
Traditional Nepalese lunch
In the early afternoon we visit the Narayanhity Palace. This palace was the home of the Nepalese royal family until in 2007 the Maoist leader and new Prime Minister Prachanda gave King Gyanendra 15 days to leave. It was turned into a ‘People’s Palace’ and is now a museum where we can check out throne room, banquet halls and bedrooms of the old royal members, and of course the place where most of the royal family was massacred by Prince Dipendra in 2001. Particular highlights are looking for the photos of the royal family with Tito and Ceausescu.
Grab dinner back in Thamel, one of Kathmandu’s most bustling areas, and enjoy a few evening beers
Overnight in Kathmandu
Thursday 18th October
After a quick breakfast, we will leave early for the drive from Kathmandu to Liwang, the district headquarters of Rolpa District, and Nepali Maoism’s Yan’an!
The drive is around 10 hours but we will stop for numerous rest breaks. It also gives us a great view of the Kathmandu Valley before we start to ascend Nepal’s mid-range mountains into the old Maoist heartland of Rolpa. The town of Liwang sits in a valley that we can see as we cross the mountain range above it, an iconic outpost of 21st century Maoism.
Early evening arrival, dinner and relaxation helped by the local Nepalese spirit raksi, distilled from rice or millet
Overnight in Liwang
Friday 19th October
After breakfast we will explore Liwang, including the Maoist party headquarters and the newly created Maoist school
Lunch of dal bhat, the traditional rice and lentil dhal eaten in these parts
After lunch we will check the road situation and either drive on in our bus or change to private jeep into the Maoist heartland, heading to Thawang via Gharti Gaon. Thawang is the spiritual home and original ‘base area’ of the Maoist People’s War and the place where we get really down and dirty in Maoism
We’ll stop off at various Maoist bunkers and destroyed police outposts, relics of the People’s War
We meet former-soldiers from the Maoist People’s Army and section commanders to talk to them about their experiences during and after the People’s War.
Dinner and overnight in Thawang
Saturday 20th October
After breakfast we will start a day of exploration in Thawang.
Visit Rachibang Commune, one of the four original communes developed specifically to reject ‘capitalist individualism’. These communes were originally developed to house people who had lost relatives during the People’s War and developed from there
Lunch in the commune
Drive by jeep to Mahat to explore the Maoist bunker
Continue to Rukumkot, a famous fort where one of the main battles between the Maoist and government forces took place
Drive to Musikot, the district headquarters of Rukum District, entering truly rural Nepal where there are not even proper roads – our jeep takes us on an off road route!
Dinner and overnight in Musikot
Sunday 21st October
After breakfast we will explore Musikot, visit the Maoist offices and talk to more Maoist former soldiers about their experience of People’s War and the post-war situation
Lunch in Musikot
Bus to Butwal (6 hours, a major road junction joining the Mahendra and Siddhartha highways
Stop off at the Jitgadhi Fortress, a key location in the Anglo-Nepal War. The British were never able to turn Nepal into a colony but they were able to gain ceded territory and the treaty at the end of the war included the righ of the British to recruit Gurkha soldiers into their army
Visit Butwal Hill Park, a spiritual home for the ethnic Gurung population
Dinner and overnight in Butwal
Monday 22nd October
Up nice and early for a quick breakfast and then the bus to Pokhar (6 hours), one of the most beautiful cities in Nepal
After lunch we’ll check out the Gurkha Museum, featuring an extensive history of the Gurkhas
Climb Sarangkot hill for a view of the city, Phewa Lake, and the Himalayas in the background
After dinner we’ll stroll around the Bindhyabasini Temple area, because we can’t come to Pokhara and avoid temples altogether…beers and more raksi will help us enjoy the evening!
Overnight in Pokhara
Tuesday 23rd October
Breakfast and free morning in Pokhara to do a bit of shopping in the local markets, enjoy more of the scenery or get a well deserved lie in!
Bus to Kathmandu (6 hours)
For the last night of the tour we’ll celebrate Kathmandu style with dinner and then a pub crawl through Thamel, almost definitely going Cuban style and sampling the local Khukri Rum
– All transport in Nepal
– Accommodation in mainly twin sharing rooms (3* in cities, local homes in the countryside)
– All entrance fees, guide fees and permits
– Breakfasts and lunches (and dinners when we’re in the countryside)