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Kathmandu to Varanasi direct flight "Buddha Air"

Buddha Air has scheduled flights from Kathmandu – Varanasi – Kathmandu two times a week from the end of June 2018. Airline has started preparation to commence the flight and has planned to start commercially from June 29, 2018 to connect two holy cities twice a week. The airline has announced to provide the exclusive discounts offers to the holy passengers from Nepal and India traveling to the destination. Varanasi being the holy city lies in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is regarded by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. "The objective of connecting Varanasi is the route's prospects as it is a pilgrimage site and there are also businesses and education opportunities," Buddha Air which is the only airline to connect between the two cities in the south east Asia will be offering various packages.

International flights from Nepalgaunj to New Delhi

The leading domestic carrier Buddha Air plans to start international flights from Nepalgunj to New Delhi with ATR 72-212A aircraft. The company will soon file the necessary documents by the end of this month for this new sector. The flight time for Nepalgunj-New Delhi is approximately around an hour which is analogous to the flight time from Kathmandu-Nepalgunj. Buddha Air has been focusing the Nepalgunj-Delhi flights due to the increasing number of tourists for the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage site. Kaliash Mansarover is considered most auspicious to make a religious pilgrimage around its fifty-three kilometers circuit (32 miles). Mount Kailash is highly revered for the being the abode of Lord Shiva. Every year, hundreds of devotees embark on the treacherous journey to this peak for seeking the blessings of the Lord and take a dip in the holy Mansarover Lake.

Nepal to reach 1 million tourists very positive this year

In January-April period tourist arrivals has reached 386,030, an increase of 13 percent over the same period in 2017. The healthy tourist arrivals figure indicates that Nepal is likely to reach 1 million tourists this year. Tourist arrivals to Nepal hit a new record in 2017 but remained short of target 1 million individuals. Visitor arrivals from China continue to soar, growing by 45.9 percent in April. Arrivals from Asia (other than Saarc) have also recorded growth of 28.1 percent. As far as European source markets are concerned, overall growth of 5.1 percent, France gained 28.8 percent while arrivals from the UK and Germany declined by 7.4 percent and 12.2 percent respectively. Tourist arrivals from Australia and New Zealand have also increased by 2.5 percent and 18.9 percent respectively. Visitors from the US and Canada has also grown by 7.9 percent and 8.1 percent respectively. The sustained growth in international arrivals to Nepal in 2018 is a continuation of the positive trend that started in 2016, Nepal Tourism Board, the country's tourism promotional body said.

On top of the world – 346 climbers scale Mt. Everest

As many as 346 climbers of 38 groups have taken permission to climb the Mount Everest. Among the 38 groups, four groups are of Nepalese. Earlier, a Chinese mountaineer who lost both legs to frostbite while attempting to climb Everest four decades ago fulfilled his dream. Xia Boyu, 70, reached the top of the world's highest peak at 8:40 am, becoming the first double leg amputee to accomplish the feat from the Nepal side.

"Kailash Manasarovar Tour" to touch record numbers

Pilgrims visiting Kailash Manasarovar in China by way of Nepalgunj and Simikot this season is likely to be high in numbers. Last year, 12,900 Indian pilgrims visited the sacred place over the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route in far western Nepal. The season for the holy journey, popularly known as Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, normally begins in May and lasts till September. Tour operators have also launched the Kathmandu-Surkhet-Humla route, a new pilgrimage itinerary with an eye on mass travellers. Tour operators said that 20,000 pilgrims had booked trips to the sacred mountain and lake as of mid-May.

Trashigang Dzong conservation works to complete this month

After more than four years of conservation works, the Trashigang Dzong has been restored to its former glory. The conservation works on the four-century-old Dzong began in 2014.

As the deadline of the project inches closers, over 92 percent of the structure has been complete. Installation of fire hydrant and construction of entrance gate have also been complete.

The remaining works include masonry works at the courtyard, which is in front of the dzong, and some carpentry and painting works of the Utse. The deadline for the project is in June this year and project officials said they will not miss the deadline. The new facilities include toilet and water supply inside the dzong. In-built restroom in modern design.

Despite undergoing major facelift, the dzong's architectural design has remained intact.The conservation of dzong began after it suffered damages due to earthquake in 2009 and 2011.

Overlooking Drangme Chhu, Trashigang Dzong is built on a majestic site in 1659 by third Desi Chogyal Minjur Tempa.

Bhutan declared as SAARC Cultural Capital for 2018

Bhutan has been pronounced as the SAARC Cultural Capital for this year. The inauguration ceremony for the second series of SAARC Cultural Capital and handicraft exhibition was held in Thimphu . The first series was hosted by Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in 2015.

The ceremony featured cultural programmes and exhibition of handicrafts of the SAARC member countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The declaration of SAARC Cultural Capital provides platform for SAARC member countries to exchange their diverse culture to promote regional unity and generate income for the communities.

"The initiative is to give opportunity to member state to showcase their cultural aspect and other cultural related features. As the SAARC Cultural Capital, Bhutan will host various festivals and cultural programmes throughout the year."We will organise festival and exhibitions that are very much relevant to SAARC countries," shares Karma Weezir, Director General of Department of Culture. Every year, an archeologically and culturally rich city in the one of the eight SAARC countries is declared as the cultural capital for a year.

Bhutanese temple to be built in Rajgir, India

Bhutanese temple and a guest house will be constructed for Bhutanese pilgrims in Rajgir, a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. This is to mark the golden jubilee for the establishment of bilateral ties between Bhutan and India.

His Holiness the Jekhenpo awarded the seed money for the project to Chairperson of Steering Committee, the Former Chief Justice, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, yesterday.

The project is expected to start from November this year. Rajgir is the most visited pilgrimage destination by Bhutanese people.

Menchari villagers trained to preserve art of pottery

Mencheri in Samdrup Jongkhar will now play its part in preserving the traditional art of pottery. A few of its villagers are undergoing pottery training.

The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative is conducting the training to support emerging women and youth entrepreneurs. Four youth and six women of Mencheri in Orong Gewog are attending the month-long course.

A potter from Gangzur in Lhuentse is training the participants. Among the participants is Pema Yangki. She devotes her time to learning the art although it is challenging to do so with her seven-month old baby on her back.

Pema says after the training, she will focus on making pottery and added: "We can sell the pots to earn income. I will also teach interested villagers to make traditional pots." Like Pema, other participants are also looking forward to a better prospect after the training.

The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative- a civil society organisation will also construct a pottery studio in the village and help with the marketing.

EU-Bhutan project to boost Bhutan's horticulture and textile handicrafts exports

Bhutanese producers of horticulture and textile handicrafts would soon make their way to markets in Europe. This will be made possible by the newly launched EU-Bhutan Trade Support Project. The project, which will be implemented over a 40-month period, will help goods from Bhutan enjoy better competitiveness in foreign markets.

The EU-Bhutan Trade Support Project is expected to boost Bhutanese exports by building trade and market linkages.

The Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Arancha Gonzalez, who came for the launch of the project, said the project will focus on connecting horticulture and textile handicraft to markets other than India.

The launch of the project was attended by Ambassadors of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Germany, Lithuania, and Denmark.