Nepali Sherpa Guide Reaches Summit Of Mount Everest For 23rd Time

Nepali Sherpa Guide Reaches Summit Of Mount Everest For 23rd Time

Kami Rita, a Sherpa guide from Nepal, has broken his own world record this week by reaching the summit of Mount Everest for the 23rd time.

49 year-old Mr Rita made the ascent from the Nepali side of the 8,848 metre high mountain. Mount Everest straddles the border of Nepal and Tibet, the autonomous region of China, and is the highest mountain in the world.

A mountain-climber since 1994, Mr Rita had heard stories of how well regarded the Sherpas are and had wanted to become a guide and summit Everest. In a statement reported by Online Khabar, Mr Rita said “Initially I had nothing on my mind apart from climbing Everest. That’s all I wanted to do which is why I started to make myself fit and went trekking as a porter around the Everest region.”

The word Sherpa is actually the name of the indigenous people of the Himalayas who are very experienced navigators and climbers. However, with the emergence of non-native people and sportsman wanting to make the summit, the name is now used to describe a person who is paid to navigate the mountain, to lay the ropes and to carry the kit on the expedition.

Sherpas in the past have been known to comment on how it is not them who receive recognition for the climb despite often making it multiple times in a lifetime, and so Mr Rita’s record-breaking ascent is a great source of national pride and flies the flag for all other Sherpas.

Mr Rita plans to make the trip another two times, which if successful will total 25 times where he reaches the summit. The climb is known for its danger and dependence on fair weather, and so Mr Rita is always wary of the potential for things to go wrong before he sets off. Having now navigated the climb 23 times, he is definitely best placed to identify the most perilous spots and deal with them accordingly.

We salute you, Mr Rita!

Why not download or purchase our Globetrekker – Nepal DVD?

Also, don’t miss our Trekking in Nepal – Climbing Mount Everest segment on YouTube!!

 

Main image: Nick, Everest, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sofi Pickering

Japan Welcomes New Emperor and New Era

Japan Welcomes New Emperor and New Era

Wednesday morning, upon accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne and following his father’s abdication, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has pledged to “stand with the nation and maintain the unity of Japan” whilst embarking on a devoted path of self-improvement in a new era which is to become known as the Reiwa Era. His father, Emperor Akihito’s abdication comes after 30 years on the throne and in light of old-age and ill-health.

Emperor Akihito’s reign is synonymous with a period of stable society in Japan despite economic turmoil and natural disasters, and he is known for his closeness to the public. In the 85-year-old’s short statement to the people on Tuesday, Akihito thanked the people and prayed for the peace and happiness of all Japan.

“Today, I am concluding my duties as the Emperor.

I would like to offer my deep gratitude to the words just spoken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on behalf of the people of Japan.

Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the Emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so. I sincerely thank the people who accepted and supported me in my role as the symbol of the State.

I sincerely wish, together with the Empress, that the Reiwa era, which begins tomorrow, will be a stable and fruitful one, and I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world.”

Outside of Japan, it is common to refer to the Japanese Emperor by their given name, however in Japanese culture it is considered impolite to refer to His Imperial Majesty by his given name until such a time where he is no longer a ruling emperor. Emperor Akihito will now be known as His Majesty Emperor Emeritus, which is a name that signifies retirement before the posthumous name can be given. Akihito’s is the first abdication of a Japanese Emperor in over 200 years, and most accessions to the throne occur due to the passing of the incumbent. Japan’s post-war constitution states that an emperor must ‘serve for life’, and so his abdication was no small feat – sources claim he’d been trying to pass on the duties to his son for 9 years. Traditionally, the posthumous name given to the Emperor is the name given to the Era in which he ruled – in Akihito’s case, Heisei, which means “achieving peace”.

Yesterday, in a separate address to the people, Naruhito, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor vowed to continue the duties of Emperor in earnest, and to reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, and of emperors before him.

“When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity.

Looking back, His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, since acceding to the Throne, performed each of his duties in earnest for more than 30 years, while praying for world peace and the happiness of the people, and at all times sharing in the joys and sorrows of the people. He showed profound compassion through his own bearing. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan.

In acceding to the Throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement. I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them. I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world.”

Emperor Akihito’s ability to connect with the people of Japan in times of disaster will surely be one carried forward by his son. A pacifist, Akihito has spent the last several years quietly questioning Japan’s increasing nationalist conservative movements and maintaining his ideals of post-war peace and individual choice. The role of Emperor is mostly symbolic, however in the case of Akihito, these characteristics earned him much respect from the people of Japan and strengthened the image of the Imperial Family at a time where Royal families across the world are becoming more and more separated from the democratic processes and citizens of their nations.

The Oxford educated Naruhito has throughout his time as Imperial Crown Prince contributed to the efforts of the World Water Council and the United Nations, giving keynote speeches at many of their annual events. His work surrounds the issues of disaster management and water infrastructure for development. Japan has long had universal water supply and sanitation, something that many of it’s neighbours in South East Asia have not yet achieved. Japan also lies at one of the most volatile points of the earth, where the North American, Pacific, Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates come together creating many problems over the centuries with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

Naruhito takes the throne at a time where Japan is the third largest economy in the world. International relations are central to their trading relationships with other large economies, in particular the USA and China. The Emperor plays an important diplomatic role, and he intends to continue his ambassadorial duties in maintaining and forging peaceful relations. He also intends to continue his work in striving to provide global universal clean water and to promote diversity within Japan.

Japan has the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world, dating back to 660BC. To learn more about Japan’s Imperial Family, download and watch our episode of Empire Builders: Japan, or buy the DVD here!

Main image: Natalie Maguire, Imperial Palace, Flickr Creative Commons

10-year anniversary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway

10-year anniversary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of UNESCO adding the Kalka–Shimla railway to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site. In this anniversary year, the narrow-gauge railway located in North India – which traverses a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to the former British Raj hill station of Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) – is in the spotlight as one of the worlds’ ‘must travel aboard’ heritage lines.

Throughout the 1900’s Shimla, former headquarters for the British Army, established itself as the popular summer capital for English gentry escaping the hot weather of the plains. The journey along the 59-mile railroad, completed in 1903, is as spectacular to travel today as it was in the early years.

With 107 tunnels, 864 bridges and 919 curves the journey begins at 656 metres climbing to peak elevation of 2,076 metres at a gradient of 1:33 (3%). Emerging from the longest tunnel on the line, the Barog Tunnel (no.33) at 1,144m, Shimla-bound adventurers are treated to the magnificent views of the Himalayan mountains. The tunnel is also acclaimed to the be the straightest in the world.

More Information

Great Rail Journeys
Great Rail Journeys Ltd. has an unrivalled knowledge and understanding of holidays by rail, with more than 40 years of experience in organising them. The company uses more than 300 highly experienced Tour Managers to lead 1,100 group departures a year to destinations worldwide.

main image: courtesy of Three Little Birds PR

Want more? Join Zay Harding as he takes on an epic journey across one of the world’s biggest railway networks in our episode ‘Tough Trucks: India’s Independence Railroads’.

Must-do Asia travel in the second half of 2017

Must-do Asia travel in the second half of 2017

Dreaming on an Asian adventure? From flying above ancient ruins in Myanmar to blessings by monks in Cambodia, this travel guide reveals where to be in Asia over the next five months.

AsiaSeptember – Light a Lantern in Hoi An

Much ritual revolves around the full moon in Asia. Each month in Hoi An, when the moon reaches this pivotal phase the Old Town transforms under the glow of thousands of lanterns. The main river that snakes through the UNESCO World Heritage site becomes awash with flickering lights and sampans that ferry tourists and locals alongside the lights. In September the event is set for the 4th and starts at dusk.

AsiaOctober – Honour a Guru in Bhutan

Crisp clear days and the celebration of Thimphu Tshechu, one of Bhutan’s most majestic festivals, make a trip to the country’s capital a must in October. Monks donning elaborate masks and vivid, colourful garb perform traditional dances in honour of Guru Rinpoche, a Buddhist master who brought the religion to Bhutan in the 8th century. From 30th September to 2nd October throngs of locals and travellers descend on the city’s numerous dzong (fortresses) to watch the captivating performances.

November – Bag a Balloon over Bagan

Over 2000 temples, stupas and pagodas stud the ancient plains of Bagan. For the best vantage point take to the sky and gently float above the otherworldly landscape in a hot air balloon.

BhutanThe season runs from October through April, with the busiest time (and priciest) over the Christmas holidays, making November the sweet spot for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

December – Solicit a Monk’s blessing in Cambodia

With the weather cooling and the rains now halted, December is the prime time to visit Cambodia. Angkor Wat tops many bucket lists but there’s more to do in Siem Reap beyond the ancient ruins. decVisit a local pagoda to take part in a Buddhist ceremony where you’ll receive a blessing from a monk for safe travel, luck, and a long and happy life. What better way to get a head start on 2018.

To find out more visit Exotic Voyages.

 

 

 

Move over Burj, the Sky Mile Tower is coming to Tokyo

Move over Burj, the Sky Mile Tower is coming to Tokyo

Renderings have been released showing the 5,577 feet-high Sky Mile Tower which will stand in Tokyo Bay with a cluster of islands at its feet, dwarfing everything on the city’s already soaring skyline.

The Sky Mile Tower will be surrounded by an archipelago of islands, forming part of Next Tokyo, a “high density eco-district” designed to “adapt to climate change”. The hexagonallyshaped islands are designed to protect the city from flooding and other waterborne risks including “rising sea levels, seismic and increased typhoon risk”.

It will offer multi-level open-air sky decks at every 320 metres and shared public facilities including shops, restaurants, hotels, libraries, gyms and health clinics.

If the proposed plans are approved, the Sky Mile Tower is expected to be to completed by 2045 and will surpass not only Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, but also  Saudia Arabia’s 3,280 ft-high Jeddah Tower, which is slated for completion in 2020.

 

 

main image: A rendering of the Sky Mile Tower in Tokyo Bay Photo: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

This year’s Glastonbury Festival is welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday 28 June to give a talk to festival goers in the Green Fields area of Glastonbury site on Sunday, before travelling to Aldershot in Hampshire, where he will open a Buddhist community centre.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is a guest of the Festival as part of a four day UK visit. The key themes throughout the visit will be the promotion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity.

The visit is not however, without controversy.

China have expressed disapproval and Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a daily news briefing that he was not aware of the details of what the Dalai Lama was doing at the festival. He said, however, that “China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities.”

Tibetan-exile media reported on Friday that China has arrested a Tibetan man for sharing a picture of the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag on the messaging app WeChat.

Since the 1950’s China has been engaged in what they call ‘incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China, the process by which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) gained control of the area comprising the present-day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

In 1959, the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans fled Tibet and both he and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17 Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government.

India designated land for the refugees in the mountainous region of Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are now based.

The visit will also be marked by protests by the International Shugden Community (ISC), which claims the Dalai Lama is involved in the persecution of Shugden Buddhists in Tibetan exile.

Shugden Buddhists say they have been mistreated in Tibetan exile communities because the Dalai Lama has banned them from worshipping the fierce spirit known as Dolgyal or Shugden and claim that he has had escaped media scrutiny because of his “cult celebrity status.”

Dare to bare?

Dare to bare?

When travelling there is always a fine balance to be found between respecting local customs and living out acts of self expression. A perfect instance of this is the act of posing in the nude at famous sites around the world – the latest travel trend to hit the headlines. The hottest spots for the act of exposure are Machu Picchu in Peru and at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

But this bare skinned affair has become a controversial one after the stunt caused quite a hoopla in Sabah in the northern half of the island of Borneo, part of Malaysia. Photographs of ten backpackers posing in the buff on Mount Kinabulu, including a 33 year old Canadian known as the ‘notorious nudist’ were posted across social media sites angering and upsetting local authorities who accused the group of indecent exposure and indecency.

The mountain has specific holy significance to the indigenious Kadazan and Dusun tribes of the area and feelings of ill-will towards the group quickly spread around the local community. Subsequently five out of the accused ten have been arrested by Malaysian authorities and if found guilty, could face three months in jail.
The British press have, true to their usual fashion, sensationalized the story further by claiming the authorities are charging the group with angering the mountain and thereby causing an earthquake that took place on the mountain last Friday. However, this claim made by the British press is unsubstantiated. Earthquakes in this part of Borneo are rare and tragically twenty-four people lost their lives when the quake sent massive boulders tumbling down the 13,435 ft high mountain.

Photo taken from mynakedtrip.com