Young Buddhist Monks Pursue Happiness, Enlightenment, and Education

A young monk collects food from devout Buddhists early in the morning in a Chiang Mai market. This act, called “making merit,” is believed to bring happiness and peace to those who give. (photo by Victoria Nechodomu/Nechodomu Media)
February 17, 2015

The Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai is home to over 300 temples, scattered throughout the old city and surrounding forested hills. Among the more famous temples is Wat Chedi Luang, a 700-year-old temple whose age can be seen in its weathered, crumbled appearance. The temple is a busy location, attracting hundreds of daily worshipers and tourists. However, the temple also lies at the heart of the Mahamakut Buddhist University,…

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Survival of the Sacred: Monkeys and Cows Struggle in Urban India

Snakes, monkeys, and cows are three of the most sacred animals honored and respected by Hindus. (Photos: Victoria Nechodomu/Nechodomu Media)
January 12, 2015

Jaipur, the “pink city,” is the hustling capital of Rajasthan, the desert state of India known as the land of kings and gypsies, palaces, forts, and temples. With a population of 6.6 million, this city is a mix of old and new, the famed ancient terra cotta colored homes lying at the core of the city. The streets are in constant motion with cars, overcrowded city buses, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles, foot…

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Tibetans in Nepal Seek Economic and Cultural Stability

Prayer flags wave from a stupa near the monastery in Tashi Palkhiel, Nepal. (Photo: Victoria Nechodomu/Nechodomu Media)
December 15, 2014

Thousands of Tibetans have fled their homeland over the past several decades, and sought out life in settlements abroad. Of these 140,000  refugees, it is estimated that 20,000 currently live in Nepal, where they have limited legal status.  With no land to call home, Tibetans in Nepal struggle daily for economic stability, while still trying to maintain and preserve their cultural identities. Refugees in a Foreign Land In 1959, Tibetans began fleeing their…

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Temple Visitors fall Victim to Monkey Business

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December 8, 2014
Visitors to temples throughout Nepal may find themselves overwhelmed by dramatic, ancient architecture, drifting curls of incense, and the ticking of prayer wheels spinning. However, no Nepali temple experience would be complete without yet one more element: monkeys. Accustomed to free handouts from temple visitors, these monkeys have free reign of many temples throughout Nepal. Their role in ancient Hindu mythology has earned them the title of "holy," and therefore...
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Gadhimai Festival: Thousands of Animal Sacrifices Raise Concerns about Cultural Practices

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December 2, 2014
Hundreds of designated butchers work into the evening after a full day of buffalo sacrifices at the Gadhimai Festival on Friday, November 28, 2014. BARIYARPUR, NEPAL (NOV. 28, 2014) A crowd of 2.5 million assembled in the remote, bordertown of Bariyarpur, Nepal leading up to the sacrificial days of Gadhimai Festival on November 28. Known as the largest ritualistic sacrifice of animals in the world, Gadhimai has attracted a fair share of media attention, protest,...
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From Guns to Meditation: Retired Gurkha soldier reflects on his personal journey

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November 2, 2014

Deo Kumar Gurung, most often called by his ashram name, Jagannath, is a 66-year-old retired Gurkha soldier and security guard who now lives a life of meditation in the jungle-covered hills of Nagarjun, Nepal. The son of a Tibetan woman and a Nepali hill tribesman of Eastern Nepal, Gurung lied about his age to join the prestigious military group, The British Gorka Brigade, at the age of 17. According to the BBC,…

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A Nation Pauses to Celebrate with their Families and Honor the Mother Goddess

Shiva Phuyal celebrates the Dashain festival with his extended family in Dulakhel, Nepal. Photo by Victoria Nechodomu
October 10, 2014
Kites soar above the houses of the sprawling city of Kathmandu and its surrounding hillside villages.  Children form lines at the base of towering traditional bamboo swings. Local buses, bearing the weight of hundreds of passengers, baskets of produce, and live goats, run back and forth to local communities, brining families together. City market spaces and squares display hundreds of goats for sale, and butchers busily chop apart blocks of...
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