1 We departed JFK in New York on our long journey to Nepal, which took a total of 19 hours!
2 My last visit was in 2010, so it was wonderful to see my mom (in the middle) after 4 years!
3 It was also great to see my in-laws and cousins. That's me in the black vest. My relatives are wearing traditional Sherpa clothing.
4 We decided to have our family reunion at the annual picnic held in Kathmandu. This is a random shot of a street lined with shops in the town.
5 We arrived at the picnic grounds and we were welcomed by these very friendly greeters.
6 We enjoyed live entertainment. These girls are doing a cultural Nepalese dance.
7 After the picnic we walked around town to various shops. These basket makers create custom baskets based on customer specifications, while they wait.
8 This shop makes, paints, and sells cultural Buddhist tables, all completely made by hand.
9 You can see this artisan carving beautiful designs onto the panels.
10 This is a photo of my wife and me in front of the very famous Hindu Pashupatinath holy temple.
11 This is the main entrance gate to the famous Buddhist temple, Boudhanath stupa.
12 You can see the Boudhanath stupa in the background. This is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, Nepal.
13 Inside, many people offer prayers at this huge handmade brass incense burner.
14 On the Boudhanath grounds there are various statues and mound-like sculptures which Buddhist call stupas.
15 As the day came to a close I saw this beautiful sunset that I really wanted to share.
16 The next day we set out to celebrate our New Year's celebration called Sherpa Loshar at Namo Bhudha, which is a famous Buddhist destination. Losar is the most important holiday in Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan.
17 A very important tradition of our New Year's celebration is the praying for peace and prosperity, as these lamas are doing.
18 Another Losar tradition is the posting of colorful flags with written prayers for peace on them.
19 Thousands of these prayer flags are offered and suspended from trees to nearby buildings.
20 Another Losar tradition is the throwing of flour into the air after the countdown. Doing this symbolizes prosperity and peace for all.
21 These are the organizers of the event.
22 I took part in another celebration that day called Holi, an ancient Hindu festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia. Also known as the festival of colors, everyone applies various paints to their faces.
23 This little town is all contained within the gates of the Boudhanath Stupa. The people are all walking in the same direction around the Stupa, visiting the shops.
24 Our next stop was the Narayanhity Royal Palace where the infamous Nepalese royal massacre took place on June 1st of 2001. It has since been turned into a museum.
25 This is another town called Assan Chok, which is known for its wholesale shops.
26 The next day we visited the famous Sitapaila Buddhist monastery.
27 A family portrait in front of the monastery
28 A portrait with my wife
29 We then took a 45 minute helicopter ride from Kathmandu to Khoriya Solukhumbu, the town where I grew up. The most common ways to reach the Khoriya village from Kathmandu are by flying to Phaplu and a 2-hour walk, taking a bus to Jiri and 3-days walk, taking a jeep direct from Kathmandu to Salleri and 1-hour walk, or by flying to Lukla and a 3-day walk.
30 This is remote Khoriya Solukhumbu. My home is the yellow one right in the middle.
31 It was wonderful to be home! I was so happy to be with family members whom I haven't seen in years.
32 The orange building to the left of my home is a monastery that my great, great grandfather constructed some 200 years ago.
33 The closest town is a 2 hour walk away on very tough terrain.
34 Happily, the government recently approved a road construction. Here you see hired hands building a barrier wall for the road.
35 These men are breaking up and removing large stones and debris from the planned pathway.
36 On our last day we made that 2-hour journey on foot to get to our rental car. We stopped to take a photo by the Salleri Chalsa electric hydro power dam, which generates electricity for all the neighboring towns.
37 My wife and me.
38 The mountain scenery is truly breathtaking! You can see Mount Everest in this photo.
39 We arrived at our rental car and decided to go to a very popular attraction.
40 Elephant rides at the Chitawan National Park Jungle Safari!
41 Each elephant can carry 4 passengers plus the driver. This one carried my mom, sisters, and niece.
42 We had a lot of fun riding these huge, graceful animals over all kinds of tough terrain.
43 This is an 11-month-old baby elephant and his mom.
44 We spotted these buffalo wading.
45 After riding the elephants, we took a relaxing canoe ride.
46 These waters are home to many alligators, but this activity has a very good safety record.
47 The last attraction was a cable car ride to the Manakamana temple in Manakamana.
48 The view at 4,272 feet is breathtaking!
49 Our tour was done and we had a final farewell meal as a family.
50 Getting ready to board the plane back to the States
51 This is a view of Turkey from the air.
52 And almost 20 hours later, our plane prepared for landing at JFK in New York. We had such a wonderful time and looking forward to visiting again.