My name is Junu Shrestha, your online host in Bhaktapur! I have been working for 3 years in tourism. My passion drove me to study tourism as an academic and here I am as a licensed tour guide after a series of training.In addition to being a guide, I am also studying for my Master’s degree in history, culture, and archaeology of Nepal.
I was born in a Newari family at Bhaktapur. The landmark which is also known as the “city of Devotee” where there are more temples of god and goddess than houses. It is an ancient city where the history from the 12th century has been preserved and protected by the local Newars.
During this lockdown period, since the 24th of March, I have been very busy with developing myself. As I am doing my master, I have lots of projects and assignments to complete in a given deadline. I am also learning some basic yoga and meditation. I like to promote yoga tourism when the tourists are welcome in Nepal again after COVID 19. At the same time, I’m learning French, which I had joined classes some months ago. I love cooking and sometimes I try to learn to make new dishes from Youtube.
I was very much excited when I heard about the virtual tour options that were offered by the platform Nepal.online. After the pandemic, I was free and looking for something I can explore and be involved in. The concept of a virtual tour was completely new to me and was a new experience of working. I have been conducting many tours and treks all over Nepal but have never done it online live. So I thought it was a great opportunity to learn, meet travelers online, and show my country and provide travelers with a virtual experience.
The online tour I’m conducting is about exploring the Newari Cuisine in Bhaktapur. On this tour, I will take you to the different Newari food joints located in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square area and explore food from here showing the streets of Bhaktapur and telling stories and the cultural importance of food here. In general, I love to eat but I have never explained while eating and I’m not sure if others would be interested to see me gobble the food while listening to the stories behind them.
So I was excited to do the test tour. Before my first tour, I went to the venue and explored many local restaurants, made plans, made some sample videos for the tour, and was just getting ready for the final live when we had a complete lockdown in the Kathmandu Valley again and we had to postpone the program. Now I’m waiting that COVID-19 restrictions in Kathmandu valley will be lifted and the number of cases decreases. So I hope to start the virtual tour soon and meet travelers online and share my knowledge about food.
My favorite food here at Nepal is Newari Khaja Set and Momos and also I absolutely love Chicken Dal Bhat. I never get tired of eating these foods no matter how many times I eat. Khaja set are Newari dish which consists of beaten rice, lentils, aalu taama(potato & bamboo shoots), alu kerau (potato & pea), tomato pickle, bhuttan (fried intestine), and chicken choila or buff choila. Similarly, Momos are also called dumpling and very popular snacks in Nepal, almost every restaurant serves this dish in Nepal. Chicken Dal Bhat is a combination of Chicken, rice, and lentils along with pickles and ghee which is the food eaten on daily basis in Nepal.
In Nepal, Upper Mustang is my favorite Place. The traveling along with the destination was amazing and full of surprises. You don’t know where you should go and had to find your own way and did not know what to expect during the travel and that was what is amazing to me. One of my favorite activity in my country is Trekking and Hiking during my free time.
What is one piece of advice that you would give travelers about traveling to your country?
I would like them to respect our culture, religion, and people. People in Nepal have a lot of faith in our gods and traditions and I would like to ask them to respect those trusts.
What is the best thing about your country?
The best thing about my country is the mountains and the people living here. The people are very loving, caring, and hospitable which makes the tourists want to visit again and again.
See you on the Virtual Tour!!