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FAQ

1. Where exactly will I be staying?

You will be staying in a village called Kuttal which is very near the town of Dhulikhel. Kuttal is a twenty minute walk along a gently descending unpaved road which forks off from the main highway opposite the Arniko Hotel. The Arniko Hotel is located about 0.5 km before the main Dhulikhel bus stop (in an outlying area of town called Basghari).  Accommodation is in a traditional style family house near the village primary school belonging to Dhol Bahadur and Asaji Maya Tamang, who are the parents of project manager Kul Bahadur Tamang. 

2. How do I get to Kuttal?

You have various options:

Either you can take a direct local bus from the Old Bus Park opposite Ratna Park in Kathmandu. Ask the bus boy to let you out in Basghari, a suburb about 0.5km before Dhulikhel. It would be best to arrange beforehand to meet project manager Kul Bahadur Tamang at the Basghari bus stop. From there he can walk with you to Kuttal or arrange motorbike transport. 

Or you can take a taxi directly from Kathmandu to Basghari. This should cost in the region of 1500NPR. The unpaved road is too rough for taxis so again it would be best to arrange to meet Kul Bahadur Tamang (09841290559) at the Basghari bus stop. If you would like help with arranging private transport please ask Kul Bahadur Tamang to assist you. 

3. What does 'Tamang' mean?

Tamang is the name of a tribal group of Tibetan ethnic origin who mainly live in the central hills of Nepal. The Tamangs are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nepal. Most Tamangs practice Buddhism and speak a Tibeto-Burmese dialect. The word Tamang is believed to be derived from the Tibetan Ta Maang which means both horse rider and horse owner. One legend tells of a group of  migrant cavalrymen belonging to the Tibetan king Sron Tsen Gampo who crossed the Himalayas and settled in the high hills of Nepal. The Tamangs of Kuttal, like other Tamangs in the area, have absorbed many traits of the prevailing Hindu culture of Nepal while at the same time retaining aspects of their Tibetan and Buddhist heritage, for example the practice of erecting prayer masts outside their homes and a fondness for 'chang' or homebrewed rice or millet beer. 

4. What is there to do in Kuttal?   

There are plenty of things to do in the village. Ask one of the many English speaking children or teenagers to guide you around the village or go on your own if you prefer. You will discover that the village is divided into two main parts, Upper Kuttal which is predominantly Tamang, and Lower Kuttal, which is predominantly Bahun (Brahmin), or high caste Hindu. There are also one or two Magar households dotted around the village. Magars are another tribal group of Tibetan ethnic origin, similar to the Tamangs, but with a different language and some slightly differing customs. If you're interested in sampling home made rice wine, called rakshi, ask to be taken to the house of Lakshmi's family (project manager  Kulbahadur's wife) where a large cauldron of rakshi is distilled almost every day in order to be sold later in the village and also in Dhulikhel. If you're interested in meeting the village jhankri or shaman, ask your hosts if he is amenable to a visit. If you are interested in visiting the mad yogi of Gosainkunda temple, an hour's walk above the village, again ask one of the children or teenagers to take you there. If you would like to muck in and work in the fields, ask your hosts. Teaching English to grades 1-5 in Shree Mandali Devi Government Primary, the village school, can easily be arranged at short notice during term time since your hosts are active members of the school board. 

5. What is there to do outside Kuttal? 

Guided or unguided day hikes to Panauti, Namobuddha, Panjkhal, and Nagarkot can be arranged upon request. If you would like to include one or more nights' accommodation as part of a hike or bicycle tour, perhaps setting out from Kathmandu (Sundarijal) or Nagarkot, there are many options which project manager Kul Bahadur Tamang would be more than happy to discuss with you. There are also a number of pleasant shorter walks to nearby villages as well as to Gosaikunda temple and viewpoint. Guided tours of Dhulikhel can also be arranged.

6. What will I get to eat?

The two main meals of the day, served at around 9.30am and 7.30pm will usually consist of dhaal bhat (rice and lentil sauce) which is the national dish of Nepal. Usually spinach and potatoes will also be available and sometimes chicken or buffalo meat in a curry sauce. On occasion deru and gandruk (polenta with mustard seed spinach), a Tamang delicacy, will also be available. Your hosts have a vegetable garden in which they grow their own buckwheat, rice, maize, onions, spring onions, mustard seed, tomatoes, oranges, guavas, coffee and even sometimes keep fish in a small pond. Though villagers themselves tend not to have breakfast (apart from tea) you will be able to order an omlette, pancakes or hard boiled eggs if you so wish. All the food, unless otherwise specified, is included in the daily rate. Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks (including mineral water) are not included in the daily rate. However, tea and boiled water is. Food is usually served traditional style on the floor around the family hearth.  

7. Amenities

Currently there are two bedrooms available to guests, each containing two beds, in the house of Dhol Bahadur and Asaji Maya Tamang. There is also a recently constructed attached bathroom and shower exclusively for the use of guests.

8. Prices

The charge for one full day's food and one night's lodging is 800NPR. If you are happy with your stay you may wish to leave a tip for certain individuals. If you hire someone's services for a longer tour (e.g. a walking tour to Namobuddha) you are encouraged to agree on a fixed price beforehand. If you're simply being shown around the village by youngsters or invited to into people's houses you are encouraged not to give any money as this would give the wrong impression. If you would like to make a donation for the good of the village it would be best to give to the school, in the headmaster's office. 

9. Vision

Homestay tourism is a new but growing phenomenon in Nepal. Many homestays in areas that have long been popular with tourists have received funding and support from NGOs and INGOs. In contrast, the Tamang Village Homestay in Kuttal is an entirely independent enterprise, receiving to date no support whatsoever from any outside organisation. It has been set up by the villagers of Kuttal for the villagers of Kuttal with no external mediation. It is for this reason that your homestay experience with us will be an entirely authentic one. While we are confident that you will enjoy the experience of visiting our friendly and welcoming village environment, we would be grateful for any constructive criticism which you might be able to give since no one involved in the enterprise has any prior experience of working in the tourist sector.

10. Testimonials

Don't just take our word for it, visit our testimonial page to see what other guests think!


Villagers

'Village tourism stresses the necessity of a linkage with the community, its economy, local resources, local produce and employment.'

(Action Aid Nepal)