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No Place Like HomeRTÉ One, Friday, 7.30pm

Nepal

Hiralal and Ramji Gaine

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In the first episode of No Place Like Home Bob Kelly travels to Nepal to the remote Lamjung province, a six hour journey west of Kathmandu to visit the home place of the Gaine brothers.

Musicians Hiralal and Ramji Gaine ended up in the Banner County by pure chance. In 1998, Clareman Peter Curtin took a trip to Nepal with six of his musician friends. In Kathmandu they met the Gaines playing music on the street. The brothers struck up a friendship with the men from Clare and spent the rest of the holiday trekking and playing music with them.

Back in Ireland, Peter and his friends got some money together for Hiralal and Ramje to come over to Ireland. Dire economic circumstances and political tension in Nepal brought the two brothers back to Ireland in 2000. They are still here on musician's visas and live and play music in Peter Curtin's Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna.

Bob joins the brothers at a music session in The Roadside Tavern and then travels back to Nepal with a message for their wives and children.

Bob retraces the brothers' steps from Kathmandu back to their isolated village in Targhugat. Here Bob is welcomed with stories and songs by the entire village and meets Hiralal and Ramje's brother and sister, who are itinerant musicians. Bob then travels back to Kathmandu to meet Hiralal and Ramje's wives and children, whose lives are being helped by the few bob the brothers can send home.

Bob's highlights in Nepal

  • The crew slept on a balcony and woke up every morning with the entire village standing there, watching them.

  • They were in the foothills of the Anapurna range, where there are no tourists, and therefore no Sherpas. They had to carry their gear for a 4 hour trek up a mountain...

  • There are villages for each caste: a musician's village, a sherpa village etc. They wondered if there might be an Accountant's Village, or a TV Presenter's village...

  • They set off for the village with hiking boots, thermals, and all weather gear. Their guide Raj just wore a pair of slacks and his sunday best shoes - it made them look a little over-dressed.

  • The local alcoholic hooch is called Roxy - made from rice, like a bitter Sake. It helped Bob dance.

Population:

An estimated 28.2 million

Language:

Nepali 58%; Tibetan languages in the hill areas and Indian languages in areas bordering India.

Geography:

Nepal has 3 geographic regions; the mountainous Himalayan belt (including 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world), the hill region and the plains region. Nepal contains the greatest altitude variation on earth, from the lowland Teral, at almost sea level to Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) at 8848 metres.

Climate:

In Nepal there is a range of climatic conditions from tropical forest or jungle to the permanent snowfields and glaciers of the Himalayas.. The main rainy season in Nepal is from late June to September. During the rest of the year the weather is much more settled and pleasant.

Economy:

Nepal has a per capita income of US $ 260 and 31% of the country is estimated to be living below the poverty line. The economy is largely based on agriculture.

Religion:

Officially 90 percent Hindu, 8 percent Buddhist and 2 percent Islam, However, Hinduism and Buddism overlap considerably in Tibet.

Did you know?
Nepal is said to be the home of the Abominable, or Yeti - a large hairy creature that lives in the Himalayan mountains.

Famous Nepalese:

Tenzing Norgay, one of the first two people to first climb Mount Everest.

Bob in a Nepalese mountain village with local story teller and musician Sitaram Gaine - brother of Ramji and Hiralal
Bob in a Nepalese mountain village with local story teller and musician Sitaram Gaine - brother of Ramji and Hiralal
Bob on a bus
Bob on a bus in Nepal
Bob in Kathmandu
Bob in Kathmandu
Bob in Nepal
Bob in Nepal
Bob Kelly on the streets of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal
Bob Kelly on the streets of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal
Bob Kelly trekking in Nepal, on his way to the home village of Ramje & Hiralal Gandharba
Bob Kelly trekking in Nepal, on his way to the home village of Ramje & Hiralal Gandharba