Being treated differently in Nepal & being refused from Hindu temples

I thought I would share some of the negative experiences I had as a foreigner while travelling throughout Nepal last year.

I feel sharing my experiences may help other foreigners to understand certain behaviours before they travel to Nepal.

Even though  it’s common for many tourists to be overcharged and ripped off whilst travelling through Asia, I must admit it was pretty ludicrous in Nepal.

It first started on one of my first shopping trips to a scarf shop in Thamel.

The price the man gave me for a handmade shawl was around $30 AUD. I left the shop and told Rabindra the price outside.

Two minutes later Rabindra went in and the salesman offered it to Rabindra for $6 AUD. So I figured this is how it was going to roll in Nepal…but that wasn’t so bad.

This was virtually repeated during most of my 6-week trip to Nepal. I don’t mind paying extra to support small shop owners -and let’s face it our dollar is worth much more than the Nepali dollar- but it riled me up when I would have to wait and hide around a corner and get Rabindra to do the shopping for the stuff I wanted to buy.

It was also pretty ridiculous having to hide in a nearby shop or street when Rabindra or his brother were negotiating our taxi fare rate across Kathmandu. It seemed every single time they saw me the price would magically increase so to get a fair price I would have to hide somewhere away from the taxi, it was pretty stupid!

Another thing that annoyed me was the fact that entry prices to museums, parks etc had two prices- a local price and a foreigner price (which was usually 500% more than the local price).

Because I was travelling with locals, it was a bit different than if I was travelling with other tourists. We could go and pay the entry fee and it would end in a big argument with the guards because Rabindra tried to argue I was a local- even with my red hair and fair skin obvious to everyone!

The arguing was not all about money. It was a matter of principle. In fact, it was about equality.

Rabindra would say: “mero budi nepali ho,” “wahaako nepali passport ho” roughly translated to “my wife is a nepali”, “she has a nepali passport.”

The guard would look at us and refuse and more arguing would ensue (even one time we got pulled into a special room – gasp-). Eventually they would let me in on the cheaper price, mostly because of Rabindra being so tall and towering over the top of them!

The common situation was us rocking up together with mummy, dad, rabindra, rabindra’s  bhai, didi, aunty and cousins all in tow and being told “that’s 50 rupees each – but hey—whose this foreigner? Let’s charge her 500 rupees!”

It’s pretty degrading to be singled out every single time and I got sick of preparing myself for another long argument of Rabindra v The Entry Guard at every new place we went.

It happened at the museum in Pokhara, the Mankanama Temple cable car, the elephant breeding park at Chitwan, the main entry of the Pashupatinath temple and a couple of other times.

But the next examples are even worse.

One day we went to Bhakatpur, and for those not familiar with Kathmandu- Bhakatpur is a public space in an outdoor area.

Yes, the area is heritage listed but it’s still a public place which has shops, temples and normal buildings around it.

To me, it was any normal, outdoor public place in Nepal. As we approached the entry in our vehicle, the guard saw everyone in our Jeep and thinking they were all Nepali, he started to wave us through without having to paying anything. But then he saw me in the back of the Jeep and asked the driver to stop.

He then told the driver it was free for all 7 Nepali people in our car but I would have to pay $30USD to enter a public place.

By this time, I’d really had enough. It was bad enough having to pay a different “foreigner” price at private companies but this was a public place and there was no cost for Nepalis.

For about 20 minutes my Nepali uncle (who is actually my friend’s father-in-law) argued with the guard about how discriminatory it was before I finally got let in at no charge.

He has travelled throughout Australia and other countries and said it was a disgrace that that happened to me.

But more discrimination was yet to come.

While I was in Nepal I rolled my ankle and had to get x-rays. Our friend went to a doctor’s practice in Pokhara and asked how much it was for an ankle x-ray to see if my foot was broken.

Our friend returned and told us the price and that he had booked an appointment for me in the afternoon.

When we went back that afternoon, the receptionist told me that an x-ray on my foot would be almost four times the price my friend was originally quoted.

Straight away we knew it was because they saw me and thought they would jack up the prices.

My friend had a boisterous argument with staff at the practice and roughly translated he said something like “She doesn’t have a f***** iron leg mate”!

Suffice to say it was a bit of a drama.

But actually my most negative experience that really made me upset was when I was refused from every Hindu temple I tried to enter.

It happened on three occasions- twice in Kathmandu and also in a very remote region of the Himalayas.

Before entering these temples, it never once crossed my mind or Rabindra’s mind, that I would not be allowed in.

When I went to enter the guard would tell us it was not their policy to allow foreigners (read: white people) inside temples.

I guess it’s because most of us ‘white’ people eat beef and cows are the Gods of Hindus. It may also be because many believe you are not a true Hindu unless you are born a Hindu, and you can’t convert to Hinduism.

It made me think about the many cross-cultural relationships in the world where one partner really respects and begins to follow their partner’s religion/culture. If you were serious about the religion and this happened to you, it could cause problems in your relationship.

It also made me think about the genuine ‘white’ Hindus who have converted to Hinduism and may practice the religion much stronger than other ‘brown-looking’ Nepalis.

What about if we have kids and they have white skin but they have been brought up as Hindu? I wonder what the guards would do then.

Anyway, the first time we went we didn’t want to make a scene so I just waited outside by myself while Rabindra and everyone else went inside. I wasn’t that affected by it.

The second time I could tell it really upset Rabindra. I was also sad and he only went inside for a minute or two before leaving and coming outside.

Rabindra confronted the guards on the second two times and made a very important point.

He said to the guards:  “look at my face. How do you know I am not a Nepali Christian or a Muslim. You can’t tell by the look of my face just like you can’t tell by the look of her face what she is. How do you know I don’t eat beef?”

I was really proud of Rabindra for sticking up for me and he made a really strong point to both guards.

Yes, they don’t accept foreigners but why? Is it because we eat beef? Or is it because we have white skin even though Hinduism may be all we’ve ever followed.

The policy of rejecting foreigners is extremely flawed in Nepal. While I can understand them not wanting non-believers in their temples, people who ‘eat’ their Gods, their policy is blatantly racist as you can’t tell by the look of someone if they are of one religious persuasion or another. For all they knew, Rabindra could have been a beef-eating Christian!

The funny thing is that as a result of all that rejection in Hindu temples, I was whole-heartily welcomed in every Buddhist temple. Rabindra now jokes he is a Buddhist not a Hindu as it is a much more accepting religion, and I have to agree.

So, there you go, I experienced plenty of discrimination whilst in Nepal.

I made some poignant points to Rabindra and my other Nepali friends which I hope is shared amongst other Nepalis in the world.

  • In Australia, Asians or other “foreigners” would never be singled out and expected to pay a separate, inflated price simply because of the colour of their skin. In Australia this would be called blatant racism.
  • Public places in Australia (except for events that are held in public places) do not have a guard at the front picking and choosing who looks “Australian” and who does not. I have never ever heard of someone letting in Aussies for free and charging a price for different looking “Asians” , once again a case of racism.
  • In Australia, whilst shopping in most stores, tourists will generally pay the exact same price as a local. No bargaining over here.
  • And lastly, even whilst I am certainly not a religious Catholic by any means, no Catholic church would ever refuse any man or woman from entering their church (unless they were dangerous, drunk, violent etc)- no matter whether their skin was black, white, blue or green.

No double standards in that regard.

Can anyone related to my experiences?

Did you experience discrimination in Nepal, India or another country?

Do you think I’m overreacting to my experiences or should all tourists expect this when they travel through Asia?

Please share your thoughts here.

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148 Responses to Being treated differently in Nepal & being refused from Hindu temples

  1. meromusings says:

    Although me and my husband both are Nepali, the pujari at Krishna mandir thought we were foreigners and didn’t allow us to enter initially until my husband started speaking in Nepali. I’m not sure either why the hindu temples does not allow non-hindu “looking” person to enter the temples. But what I can say is the system is flawed and not fair to some people as you mentioned.

    And about the entry charges, we live in Bangkok and its the same here. If you’re a foreigner/tourist you’re charged 5 times the price to enter almost any place. But my husband gets away at times since he can speak Thai. I think it makes sense for this one as the economy of many Asian countries rely on tourism including Nepal.

    • Yeh i agree with you about paying extra when you are in a country where the dollar is very low and where country relies on tourism. I guess my experiences were spoilt in nepal because i couldn’t go shopping by myself otherwise I would be ripped off….

      • Katman says:

        I agree 100% with you. I am over six feet and blond hair and I’m harassed every day in Kathmandu and my friend who is 5.5 and darker skin (french) never gets harassed. When we go to restaurants, were given different menus, mine is more expensive. (were both male).

        “I think it makes sense for this one as the economy of many Asian countries rely on tourism including Nepal.” That’s a racist comment. I agree in Europe, Canada, US and Australia everyone is created equally (and white people are supposed to be racist), but not is Asia. It’s sad really.

    • santosh says:

      well being a Nepali i am truly sorry to hear for the unfair treatment…. but the situation has been slowly getting better……once an Indian tourist was traveling via a public bus and he was charged more money.. but the local citizen made sure that she had to pay the fair price and made the ticket collector apologize…….
      and about the temples there is still some rule not letting foreigner….mostly Jews, Christians well who normally looks like them as in guards imagination…. enter the temples. but it is mostly done in some temples that are thought to be holy like pashupatinath temple and few others….and i still can’t find a reason who not to let them in..
      as in case for extra money for cab, well goverment can’t help much or won’t care. but my advise would be to take a cab from where there are more nepaki people around so you could ask them the fair infront of them…. taking their cab number is good idea so you can report traffick police near by for their over charge……

    • devindersingh says:

      Its same like madina.but not that hard rule in Hinduism. Only 2or 3 temple where u can’t go others wise you are welcome.but plz its not like madina or macca.

  2. Beatrix says:

    Hah!
    I’ve lived in Nepal for 11 yrs, the ‘white/foreigner tax’ has definitely increased since the Maoists took power (or sort of took power.)
    You should see when some of the local Maoist cadres come into my gallery & demand a ‘donation’ or else they’ll start pulling stuff off the walls & throwing it into the street OR threaten to burn the place down.
    Usually the reason white people get refused entry into Hindu temples is because they weren’t ‘born’ a Hindu I am told. At least that is what the former Nepali Queen Aishwarya told Sonia Gandhi when she was refused entry to Pashupatinath.
    Funny about the ‘beef’ eating thing, you see beef on the menu at many tourist places in Nepal (even though beef is supposedly illegal in Nepal.) I just saw jars of ‘Bolognese’ sauce at Saleways which definitely contains beef also.
    Bhaktapur is kind of hit or miss, I’ve randomly been asked by various ‘officials’ while strolling about the ‘heritage listed’ area for 30-40$. I always ask for a receipt, if they aren’t willing to give me a receipt I refuse- and get yelled at & the serious ‘stinkeye’. Otherwise without a receipt to show the all the other ‘officials’- you could be paying fees/bribes all day!
    Still Nepal is much more accommodating to foreign tourists than India!

    • Thanks Beatrix! I’m glad you raised the example of Sonia Gandhi. I think the reasoning about being born a Hindu is also flawed. Who says my child will not be a HIndu even if he/she has white skin

    • Utsav says:

      U r totally right about the maost thing since they took power its worse than the king’s regime n the maost cadres asking for money they r hoodlums n now they r soo nuch beaten by the locals that they outlawed them nt a big threat cuz people have lost their trust on the party n its evident that cming election maost wnt get any votes thats the reason why they r postponig the election over shitty natters n about the cow thing its made legal to eat cow in nepal now as their r other religions in nepal too n the national animal has been changed to rhino

    • Ajit Joshi says:

      India is not tourist friendly place period. It is not about to foreigner or Indian.

  3. Louise says:

    In India, I remember that the entry to the Taj is something like 10-20 times more than it is for Indians. My irony is that while white, I grew up in India – so when we went to visit, I spoke in Hindi (and no, I do not have a “foreign accent”) insisting I be allowed the local price (we WERE locals, after all) and eventually we were let in. A few years later – a different guard would not let us in for the local price. So we just didn’t visit.

    • hi louise, yes we had the same experience at the Taj. I had to pay the foreign rate. But your situation is a perfect example about what I am trying to illustrate here- while you don’t look Indian- you grew up there, speak Hindi etc and yet you are treated as a foreigner

      • mandeep singh says:

        you guys have looted these aisan nations for ages. Now its payback time baby ..and wats wrong. The people in these countries are poor and can afford to see at less prices. you guys want to see taj in 50 cents ??

      • Katman says:

        When did I, a Ukrainian every loot an Asian country like Nepal?

    • Vinodh says:

      It’s not about bribe and other non sense why whites are denied entry in Indian temples. The definition of cleanliness is different among Indians and westerners. Bathing is a necessity in India and is part of a religious culture, but unlike in France its difficult to see people bathing on a regular basis. So even when I see western people inside a Indian temple, I find it a bit when they touch me especially while worship. I was also surprised when I read in an article which says French people don’t shower regularly.

      Thanks

      • Katman says:

        Because all white people are french?

      • I know this is an old post, but I am just now happening upon it. I agree and it’s not just the french, it is indeed a cultural thing. I know many americans the same. Which hand do you use when you wipe, what hand do you use when you eat and give offerings. Also, women should not got to mandir while menstruating. Nobody should go to temple when they’ve eaten non-veg and the list goes on and on. Not just physical cleanliness, but also spiritual cleanliness – not to think certain thoughts, especially while in temple.

        As a (white American) Hindu, I bathe 2 times a day or more. I always bathe and change into freshly laundered clothing prior to entering temple.

        Many do not understand the level of cleanliness, many don’t care. And lastly, you can thank the foreigners that have gone into temple and not behaved appropriately. It is the bad behaviors of the few that ruin it for the all. So before you take offense, please step back from ego and realize this is their sacred space and they are trying to keep it that way. You may not disrespect it, but there are many who will and it’s easier just to allow no foreigners to enter than try to discern who is fit and who is not.

        If I am refused entry at any temples when I visit Rishikesh, so be it. I will pay obeisances from outside and will be completely satisfied with the Ganga – total bliss!! Bhagavan is everywhere!

        Om Namah Shivay!

  4. Shailesh says:

    The reason for the inflated prices is simple economics. It’s hard for me to get upset by that to be frank with you. My wife usually shops with my mom when in Nepal and they drive some hard bargains. Its frustrating, but its the way life is, so she doesn’t get too bothered by it for the most part.

    Hinduism is a very discriminatory religion unfortunately. It is insular in its execution and very ethno-centric as a philosophy. Many millions live under its soul crushing system. For many Americans at least its presented as a feel good open minded religion, but it the actual practice if far from it. Many adherents never ask questions (like the one you’re asking) and follow it without ever giving it much thought. For many there is no choice and their lives are miserable because of it.

    All your concerns are valid and you raise very good questions.

    • Good points Shaliesh. I am also not that bothered by being ripped off. It’s more the fact that If I went alone, I would be ripped off even if I bargained and Rabindra and his family/friends would kind of laugh about how bad I got ripped off then I feel embarrassed! When you say some Americans follow it as they don’t have a choice and some of their lives are miserable, what do you mean by that? Do you mean, the religion is very restrictive and they end up feeling frustrated with the customs/traditions they have to follow?

      • Shailesh says:

        Sorry that is confusing. What I meant is that to Americans the religion is presented as a feel good all inclusive open minded religion. But that is not the case. Those living under it in Nepal and India (the lower caste for instance) would say its a lot worse than Apartheid in South Africa or Jim Crow Laws in the American South.

  5. Anupe says:

    Two things, economic poverty and cultural poverty.

    We are poor, literally, with every economic indicators. We know we are poor and those Americans (every white guys are Americans, and blacks are always Africans, for us) are really certainly definitely inadvertently super rich. So that gives us an eternal right to loot every white guy, or else why would they even bother to come to the poorest place on earth, if they don’t have all those dollars to blow away? This is typical Nepali mindset, and is clearly evident in all the state policies to local business policies. So nevermind those poor local guards, they are just doing their jobs. Felt bad? Wait for our cultural poverty that governs our economic poverty.

    We are culturally poor, because we are morally corrupt, and vice-versa. We are poorly educated. We don’t read much. We have nothing to be proud of. We cannot give anything to the world in terms of enriching its cultural heritage. We use things and gadgets made with European and American technology, we watch Hollywood, we follow English and French trends, we dream of white stars, and we are so proud of the white players and their (ours) teams. We will never admit it because of some masochistic ego, but this gives rise to some inferiority complex, being of an inferior race and watching all those white guys have all the fun. So we overcharge all those white species, whenever they happen to be in our country to show them who is the boss around here. This gives a sense of explicit superiority for us. Kind of a payback, you see.

    So, as long as you white people happen to be rich and travelling we won’t bother not overcharging you, and who knows, some of the extra dollars you pay might as well go into the hands that really need some of them. So, until Nepalis’ get a little more culturally civilized, brace yourself to pay a little more every time. I know you guys won’t mind, you guys are nice.

    And for that temple thing, you don’t need to worry, you haven’t missed anything substantial. There is nothing much in those temples anyway. The real wisdom and salvation is in our scriptures and holy books, if you’re looking for them. I am not the perfect guy to comment on the religion thing because I probably hate them all, but Hinduism, as often as not, do stupid things. Forget about you, they ask even Hindus to do stupid things. Buddhism is fundamentally different. You don’t need to be a Buddhist to practice Buddhism. But as a non-born Hindu, I doubt if you can ever practice Hinduism. They won’t let you.

    Happy travelling

    P.S I am a born-Hindu
    P.S.S I am a Nepali
    P.S.S.S Personal view, Hinduism is probably the most liberal of religions, after Christianity

    • unilove3 says:

      Dude agreed! I can understand what people are saying but while there is a huge in-equity within the human world, it’s kinda justified (I say, a little cringingly)… the way I see it, there’s a certain amount of wealth (food, support…) in the world and it needs to be shared out evenly, at the moment it’s not, at the moment western countries are so overly abundant and greedy, they aren’t even greatful for the abundance of food and wealth they do have, and don’t realize how much others need it!! So dude, completely 100% agreed…

    • Hi anupe, you write really well 🙂 i do feel a bit bad though that you don’t think nepal has nothing to be proud of and that it has not contributed to cultural heritage. i disagree- nepalis are really beautiful people, despite their customs being so out-of-touch with the modern world which sometimes cause some of our “intercultural fights”. thanks for your wonderful insight

      • unilove3 says:

        And agreed about the cultural heritage, Nepal is also full of beautiful people… Nepal has something much more special to offer the world then gadgets and money… unfortunatly at the moment all systems and governments can not be, and should not be relyed on, we need to start relying on ourselves and changing things from the people, from all of us together :)… this is a really good discussion going here, on ya mate :p for starting it up!

    • Nikhil says:

      Let me just preface it by saying that this dude doesn’t represent the true Nepal. What he represents is the corrupt commercial part of the country, which exists in every nation in the world.
      Tourism is a major industry and the country is poor. Many people who depend upon tourism have cut-throat competition and many times they adopt unethical means. But this happens in almost every under developed or developing country. I don’t want to take names but I have been treated 10 times worse in some of the countries (in Asia) than I see foreigners being treated in Nepal. It’s not an excuse, just pointing a fact. Now, this portion of the country is not the whole Nepal.
      Get out of the touristy places and experience a real Nepal. Experience how people share whatever they have and how they might gather up to just stare at you, but not with discrimation in mind but rather curiosity. Ask for their help and they will either help or just shy away humbly.
      You can still walk in Nepal safely, you can’t say that about many other countries, trust me. Not everyone out there is out to get you. You will see lots of pushing and shovings but that’s not because they don’t respect you; that’s how they are brought up.

      As for the discrimination in temple, I don’t agree with it but that’s what has been preached for years. You aren’t discriminated because of your skin, bur your skin color identifies you as belonging to a group that completely goes against hindu preaching hence you are not allowed in the premise where hinduism is revered. Do I agree with it? No, not many of us do. But how do you logic with religion? Am I going to say Mecca should allow both men and women in the same crowd? I hope the new generation will reject this superficial bias, give us more time.

  6. Roshan says:

    Once a guard at Durbar Square tried to stop & asked visitor charge thinking I was some foreigner (may be it’s my 50% white hair or shorts). But that felt weird and good in sense as I think now that there was some sense of ‘not all foreigners are white’ which might lead to vice versa – ‘not all white are foreigners’. Having worked with some travel field people, I come across foreigners or different skinned people who are well, I’d say more Nepali than I am based on their stay & knowledge here.

    As for paying extra charge, it is customary to charge extra for visitors than locals – as an attempt to maintain/develop the place. There are national, regional (SAARC) and rest of the world charge in most popular attractions. We were once insulted for acting as being from Indian local to save higher SAARC region price to enter Taj Mahal.

    Bargain is part of the most Asian shopping culture I believe. Once we adapt, it’s part of the fun to get things at much lower price than it seems (even as a guy I say that!). Overcharging for foreigners? It happens for foreigners for gift items esp. at tourist areas such as Thamel and comes under bargain section. However, overcharging on normal things used by everybody should be discouraged. Case mentioned such as in X-Ray overprice should be complained.

    One other part I don’t like here against foreigners is the harassment & nagging from street kids & street vendors. I’d like to see those gone.

    As for the tricky part called religion, I feel bad for you. As a born Hindu, I feel it is a more hypocritical religion including never-ending caste systems and traditional dogmas. More so in a country that was supposedly only Hindu nation for centuries. Moreover, I heard rather than being Hindu or Non-Hindu, entry permission was based on God believer or non-believer. Good luck getting that figured out with people going in temples!

  7. makejoytd says:

    I myself am Nepali. My friends and I were all taken to a hindu village for a survey we had to do for class. We were all given a parter and were sent to interview the people but since I come from a buddhist background no one would even talk to me or even let me stay outside their door steps. That was the first time I realized that we were all “different.”

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, I had no idea that some Nepali Buddists has this experience

    • Binay Kc says:

      I think you are wrong my friend. I am nepali I have lot of buddhist friend they never experience this. I will agree with experience of author.

      • makejoytd says:

        Well you might have “friends” who YOU treat well but I personally went through it. So… I guess we can agree to disagree. And I too have friends from other religions who treat me equally but I was talking about the treatment I got in a village outside Kathmandu.

  8. Idolator says:

    I feel you pain sister but let me put the other side of the story. I am a Nepali, I moved to Cyprus(EU) in 2008, to discover that I was absolutely not wanted there. You can literally see, STAFFS WANTED–EUROPEANS ONLY on the bars-restaurants there. I have been refused to enter clubs because of my race and many times I had to show my wallet( show money just to enter in). The college fees I paid was 3 times higher than the locals and we used to be called mabre(the black ones). Many of my friends have been beaten by locals for no apparent reasons. We even went to police station to report and we were told 2 things–you don’t have rights here and take photographs when you get beaten to prove it. After getting ripped off for 2 years I moved to Canada and because of my looks probably I used to get checked from head to toe at the airports.
    About religion– I am a Hindu and I have no idea why they didn’t let you in . Probably a lesson from what the early evangelists did in South America. Hinduism is basically a Pagan religious, Pagans are considered satans by both muslims and christians. The pictures of people putting tika in the idols or bowing down before them have been greatly used by the missionaries in past to define us as having a satanic veil of blindness. That can be the only reason otherwise I cant see in any Hindu text to not letting a white person enter a mandir. And I have been atleast visited a hundred times since I left my country by people wanting to convert me to Christianity, I swear.
    Fees—- I myself have to pay more when the taxi driver knows that I am returning from Europe or North America. Its pretty sad. However, the fees foreigners have to pay while entering some sites is something like Rs.250 -Rs.500. The avg. Nepali can eat 4-5 meals in that price and will rather not visit the site. While that’s a price you tip a waiter for your lunch in a rich country like Australia.
    I admit, my country is pathetically poor which has given rise to corruptions but you should have tried to put or at least tried to mention some reasons behind it(sociological, scientific)

    • Hi idolator. i feel really bad for you. your experience in cyrpus has been terrible. i know literally hundreds of nepalis in australia and none have ever told me they have been treated like this. mind you, australians are pretty friendly (even though there are some racists out there). some nepalis over here get underpaid and this is completely racist and unfair but this is just some individual businesspeople who are migrants themselves. If you read my other blog posts you will see I have covered topic of castes, religion, culture in nepal. as an australian woman who has been in a relationship with a Nepali man for nearly 5 years, a girl who feels nepali at heart by wearing tikka, speaking nepali, cooking nepali food, wearing nepali dress, these are just my experiences. i want to feel more part of the culture but i ahve been rejected by nepali society in some regards.

      • anuj says:

        australians are quite racist,there are lot of instances when they have beaten indians at university
        indian hindu in india

    • Rajeev says:

      Oh what a insight,discrimination and racism is more in Europe and western world and you don’t have to prove it,its ovious just go through daily news ,you will see the truth….but if you still feel you are only one (whitegirlinsari)…we are sorry we will try to be better with time…

    • santosh says:

      well totally agree with you..

  9. I’m embarrassed that this actually happened to you. It’s been going on in here since, like forever. And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like things around here. It’s a country where culture and religion dominates common sense. Like, did you know that few days back the government passed a law that basically dictated that the cops can arrest anybody with long hair and tattoos without any question and the sad part about it that they arrested more than 1700 youths in just 3 days and that was just from Kathmandu. That was just plain dumb. But after several protests, the law was taken back.

    Anyways, my point is, people don’t think before acting, not even the government.
    Regarding such experiences, I’ll share with you some experiences from last year. My girlfriend was French and she came to visit me in Kathmandu last year. We didn’t have problems with the restaurants but with shops around Thamel, I always had to bargain with them (well, not much as you had to and she didn’t have to hide either). Same with other random stuffs. We would laugh about it later though as to how people used to raise prices just after they see her.
    And yes, about the Bhaktapur thing, it was my first time to Bhaktapur as well (I don’t like to travel much, so this was my first time in my 22 years of life). We went there with my sisters and brother-in-laws. Everyone was allowed to enter for free except my girl. My brother-in-law tried to talk to them but they didn’t agree. So finally, I had to pay for the entrance. This happened in several places, like museums and Basantapur. It was more than just about the money. It was having to feel that discrimination, which even I felt bad about. And I remember the temple incident from Bhaktapur as well. Well, I was born in a religious hindu family, but somehow I don’t believe in religion (basically coz of all these dumb logics but I do respect people who do though). They didn’t let her enter inside, so I stayed outside with her.

    All-in-all, it is quite unfair for tourists around here!

    • thanks sushant. i did hear about the banning of long-hair, tattooed guys- complete discrimination and such a backward society. no freedom here. as an australian woman who has been in a relationship with a Nepali man for nearly 5 years, a girl who feels nepali at heart by wearing tikka, speaking nepali, cooking nepali food, wearing nepali dress, these are just my experiences. the thing about my x-ray on foot, i couldn’t believe either. i want to feel more part of the culture but i have been rejected by nepali society in some regards.

    • Utsav says:

      Haha the banning of hair,tatoos n even earing was a publicity stunt by a newly appointed SP for kathmandu n he did dat bcuz the previuos guy introduced drunk driving checkin n brought tons of breathalizers n the gud thing if u were caught u just couldnt bribe the police u were fined per law n the people applauded so the new guy seeing this tried to b a hero but insulted hinself in the process I myself had long hair n I was stopped just once n I thrashed the police preety well n he didnt bother me n other times they didnt care I dnt know why must b bcuz they thought I was frm a high family didnt or cuz I carried myself preety well

    • Pratik Poudyal says:

      I also don’t understand arresting people bearing long hair or a tattoo ( May be it was a government tact to control hooliganism and drug abuse for security reason as most Nepalese “Gunda” have long hair and tattoos 😀 and are usually involved in buying and selling drugs in Bhaktapur area specially to the hippies from Europe which is illegal) but again this is so stereotypical and may be it didn’t work for the Government so they took it back.

      The reason the government charges foreigners is because they are entering a Heritage Site and I think all the country across the globe have policy to charge to enter a heritage site. Bhaktapur area might look like just a public place with shops around but it is a Heritage site and foreigners must pay. But what foreigners must do is to ask for a receipt or a bill. This will ensure that you will never be cheated when guards ask money in a place that doesn’t require entry fees and the money you pay goes where it needs to and not the guards pocket.

      The same thing goes when you enter a Disco or a club across any part of the world, Europe, America, Australia etc. In some clubs the entry is free but you pay for the drinks or service inside. But other clubs charge some crazy amount just to enter and then later pay more for the drinks. And usually the drinks or food are much more expensive than that you would purchase it from a general store. But still people pay crazy amount just to enter the club, pay 4 times more for the drink and food and still come back home happy and drunk. You can’t argue in that case can you? It just the law and policy of the place or country you’re visiting.

      • The point I am making is that they don’t separate people based on the colour of their skin i.e ur nepali, brown you are not allowed in but you are white you can, it doesn’t happen. And, no, you don’t have a defence for that

  10. Avish says:

    Like someone previously said, it IS economics. But not so simple. In fact, this (esp the religious issue) is a matter I’ve discussed with my friends and family several times; and, believe me, trying to find moral and ethical grounds as in write vs wrong is very difficult unless you arduously scrutinize every detail.

    1. The economics of price differentiation, a.k.a. why are you asked to pay $30 what a local like me could get for $6 or even less?

    The bus fare you pay in Australia or Canada is roughly equivalent to the taxi fare in Kathmandu. The taxi fare you pay there should get you a taxi and a fine dinner. Tourism in Nepal is a lot of people’s bread and butter. Thamel is full of the junk (what you call souvenirs) what we wouldn’t pay to have but you people are ready to spend on. But you, the buyers are always right and we have set up a market to cater to your demands. What $6 we pay for a Pashmina shawl in Thamel, you pay $30 whether you buy it here or it gets exported to you! Because if there weren’t buyers ready to pay this much money many of the sellers wouldn’t be encouraged to sell the goods and many manufacturers wouldn’t be encouraged to make them. Maybe we wouldn’t have pashmina anymore! We wouldn’t have Thankas any more!

    The taxi drivers charge you more because they think whatever rate they charge will not be expensive for you people. And they are partly right (and wrong). And this is the common problem in atleast all of Asia, and the third world. Everyone wants to make an extra amount of money when they see a gullible helpless traveller (not just a foreigner). Oh! Pray do travel to India! I have been “cheated” countless times though I easily look like an Indian. I stayed in Delhi and at the end of the four years I stayed there, I go shopping and I still get cheated! We Nepalese get “cheated” in Nepal, even inside Kathmandu. It is the simple reality that has been followed down the ages. In latin, they have a phrase – Caveat emptor “Let the Buyers beware”!

    That doesn’t happen in Australia? Well, what they already charge is pretty expensive for us. If they start charging more, we wouldn’t go! 😉

    So, unless you ask around, talk with people and bargain, I am afraid, you get differently priced. And don’t feel cheated. If you willingly paid what you believe was the right price, just be satisfied!

    2. “Only Hindus allowed” a.k.a Bad Marketing

    I’d love to say this is the worst part of Hinduism but I’m afraid there are pretty much worse issues. All religions are basically crap but this “only hindus allowed” theory shows how stupid we are. Christianity and Islam easily convert people into their religion. They have no clauses. If you’re poor, OK! If you’re of lower caste, Fine! But for religion, the doors are closed. You have no entry into this religion unless you’re born with Hinduism stamped inside your forehead.

    This is bad for presenting our culture to the world. And they could do with some dollars in their “donation boxes” had they allowed you guys to enter.

    All I can say is find solace in the fact that the places you aren’t allowed to enter are the least godly of places.

    3. Paying to go inside Bhaktapur Durbar Square with the cafes and shops inside. Ridiculous huh? Well, Yes! But then it IS a World Heritage Site. And you pay some money = they get to preserve the site so your grandchildren get to see it. And why should you pay? Shouldn’t the government be preserving this? Isn’t it their duty? They should, but they don’t. We are a poor country with a poorer government, remember?

    P.S. I’m just trying to provide an alternative outlook. Please take no offence. Money aside, we Nepalese are very warm, cordial and good people which I needn’t explain since you’re Nepali buhari. 😉

    • most nepalis are amazingly friendly and i loved that about nepal. if you read my other blog posts you will see how much i loved it there. it is my second home. and paying more for good and services didn’t bother me that much. it was more the fact that i was treated differently everywhere i went and expected to pay more and that doesn’t happen in australia. rabindra pays the same price as wheereever we go- no double standards. as an australian woman who has been in a relationship with a Nepali man for nearly 5 years, a girl who feels nepali at heart by wearing tikka, speaking nepali, cooking nepali food, wearing nepali dress, these are just my experiences. i want to feel more part of the culture but i ahve been rejected by nepali society in some regards.

    • Ajit Joshi says:

      Pashmina shawl in 6$ it must be some fake else I want to start business of importing it from Nepal and selling in Mumbai

  11. Nima Sherpa says:

    First I would like to apologise you felt singled out because of your skin color and I hope people doesn’t think Nepal as a racist country after reading your blog when stats shows us among the most welcoming country in the world.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2013/03/openness2.jpg
    Incidence of price jacking doesn’t happen to white people only, I am buddhist and from Northern part of Nepal where price of goods are 5 times the price in KTM so when we come to KTM we feel things are cheaper. So whenever my mom(she wears traditional sherpa dress so one can identify where is she from) goes for shopping shopkeeper will mark the price very high and she has to bargain more than other people from kathmandu and when taking taxi also the price will go up as they will refuse to go on meter. Same thing goes when going to government office so it’s more of economic opportunity as mentioned by few above than racism although there is racism in nepal not towards foreigners but among ourselves. Nepal doesn’t have fixed price on anything you(Nepali) might have paid 100 rs for one item which you(Nepali) can get in rs 10 in next shop.

    To my understanding there is racism in every society and country in the world it’s just a matter of less or more. You mentioned how everyone has to pay same fee in Australia but I have to disagree with you coming to Australia as International student I had to pay 5 times the fee than the local student and I wasn’t getting student benefits like discounted prices on transports or whatever Aussie student gets and the exploitation of my working right while working in restaurant owned by Italian Australian and later in restaurant owned by Greek Australian. I don’t even want to mention incident of my friends(overseas students) getting robbed and bashed as the comments is already getting too long.
    Even though I went through all these experience I don’t term ALL Australians as a racist or Australia as a racist country even though many people will disagree on that as I met wonderful Australians along the way that those negative moments does not become my understanding of Australian people.
    In the end, I would like your husband to translate this Nepali quote to you” AFNO GHAR KO VAISI NADEKHNE ARKAKO TAUKOKO JUMRA DEKHNE”, I hope as an Australian you have bit of sense of humour and won’t take this quote in an offensive manner.
    I hope after reading this you will hug your husband and be proud of his heritage and have different view about Nepal where people of different religion has coexisted and his brave ancestors who stopped Jap army from advancing from Burma towards OZ, liberated towns from occupation in Italy and gave a breakthrough in Gallipolli where thousands of ANZAC had to sacrifice their life result of mismanaged campaign(https://whitegirlinasari.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/being-treated-differently-in-nepal-being-refused-from-hindu-temples) and were humble enough to not ask for any recognition although it wasn’t their war.

  12. Dolma says:

    In all society there are some people bad in a seance lack of awareness but not all people are same in all place and situation neither Hindus nor Buddhist . our country Nepal today stands at the start of a journey towards. So many mountains and hills remain to be climbed, chasms to be bridged, obstacles to be breached. But i had never experienced about it even though i m buddhist living in hindu community anyway we nepali those who comment here should take it as a feedback and should find out the alternatives to reduce such problems rather than explaining more about religion religion, criticizing each others so on and so forth. thanks ..

  13. anil says:

    why are non-hindus restricted from hindu temples?

    because a temple is not a place for tourists. hindus have been fighting this image of exotism where people from non-hindu background come to these temples for non-religious purposes.

    a normal nepali buddhist, christian or muslim doesnt normally visit a hindu temple so that suspesion is very low. there might be some but not enough to implement an identity search policy at all temples.

    white people are singled out because it is easy to catch them. the policy itself is to discourage them from visiting but there are still many foreigners who do not respect the peoples concern. they raise loud protests of discrimination to fulfill their thurst of exotism. they believe it is their right.

    • “they raise loud protests of discrimination to fulfill their thurst of exotism. they believe it is their right.” i think you are a little bit on your high horse, mate. you fail to see the other side.

      • anil says:

        Hinduism is not interested in any converts. Don’t you get it? The concept itself is absent. Hinduism caters to hindu’s only. It is not into any competition with christians or the muslims. The west is made up of christians, jews and muslims; the hindus have no problem with it. The far east is made up of buddhists and christians, no problem with them either.

        If hindus start converting non-hindus to hindus, the west will take offence and they’ll do the same here. Hindus cannot compete with the wests money power so it chooses to remain neutral. Your hippy neighbours are only inviting trouble to hinduism.

  14. Anonymous says:

    1. I , for one find Hinduism to be an excellent tradition to be born into. It is liberal and allows for hundreds of Gods, and freedom to practise whatever one wants. It is a highly personal and family oriented religion, and there are no overseers who lay claim to controlling access to it.
    Therefore, if one wants to convert to Hinduism, one can go ahead, and simply start calling himself a Hindu. Do (or not, as you wish) a simple ceremony and off you go Mr. Hindu.

    So lets disabuse ourselves of the beliefs that allow the Jim Crow laws and Apartheid being equated with the caste system. If at all, the caste system resembles the profession based orders present in Europe , which continue their traditions. Ask yourself a question:- Why are so many supercar companies located in Modena, Italy? Why do the Swiss have a large ecosystem of watch makers, all concentrated in the country? Belgian cholocate?
    This concentration of people following a similar profession, the knowledge of which is passed on from father to son, concentrated in a geographical area, leads to a caste like system being formed all over the world.

    Macaulayites have used the term caste system to shame India for a while. I disagree. It is what it is, and its far better than the hard forms of discrimination that are practised in other countries.

    I’ll give you examples. The US is an excellent place, which has had great success in making things equal for immigrants and locals alike, professionally. There is little discrimination there.

    But there is no way a non-christian could be elected to high office in the US, in the fashion that India has elected lots of non-Hindus to high office. Bobby Jindal and Nikka Haley have both converted to Christianity and downplay their Indian roots to a very great extent.

    India does so regularly. And this is due to the constitution of India and , drum roll, Hinduism.
    There are a lot of countries from India to Turkey, which follow a religion that claims to be peaceful, but is anything but peaceful. It has institutionalized discrimination and violently removes non-believers from its fold.

    In Pakistan, which is an Indic country, the people of which are from the same stock as Indians, have the same gene pool as Indians do, many of the same habits as Indians do, there is a very strong tendency to genocide the non-believing groups.

    So, its not the genes only. It is a combination of genes + religious beliefs+ how much stock you place in the religious beliefs.

    And yes, net-net. Hinduism rocks.

    2. All of the above does not justify the discrimination that the author of the blog faces in Nepal on a daily basis. India is a very discriminatory place, and it will take time for it to be wealthy enough, educated enough to understand how being liberal will be of greater economic benefit than being parochial.
    A few decades. Even then, I do not see it being the beacon of equality (and transaction orientedness) and fairness and lack of focus on culture, that the US has. It will more resemble Europe, and in particular , Southern Europe.

  15. Arushi says:

    Hello there, I just came across your blog and have read a few posts. This one particularly caught my attention and I just had to comment. I am an architect from India and I’m into heritage conservation. The difference in entry fees has nothing to do with discrimination or the assumption that all foreigners are rich and its an excuse to loot them. The Archaeological Survey of India (the regulatory body of all monuments and heritage sites) believes that heritage is collective property of the nation and nobody should have to pay to go see it. However, there are other issues such as maintenance and in light of recent events, security measures. So the Indian government subsidizes the cost for Indian citizens, and foreigners are charged the actual price so that even the poorest of Indians can enter by paying a nominal amount. So in this case, the price is not increased for foreigners, but simply decreased for Indians.

    And Hinduism is not a religion. Its a way of life. Hence, it is not possible to ‘convert into’ it. There are no conversion rituals simply because it is not a ‘religion’. A Nepali Hindu has a completely different way of practicing it than an Indian. Even in India every state has their own traditions and rituals so it is incorrect to club everything under the category of ‘Hindu religion’. Coming to the temple issue, yes some temples have their rules about admitting people based on their definition of what is ‘pure’ and what is not. A few Nepali temples and the Jagannath temple at Puri, Bhuvaneshwar don’t allow foreigners. The Sabarimala temple in Kerala doesn’t allow women. But these are exceptions rather than the norm. Apart from these few, anyone is welcome into any temple they want to go as long as they are respectful of the traditions. I am not justifying the selective entry or saying it is right but I don’t think it is that big a deal and calling Hinduism as a discriminatory, non inclusive religion is a little harsh.

    Just my two cents. Cheers!

    • I like the theory that heritage is the collective property of the nation and foreigners are charged a price to access this and support this. I am not sure that’s the case in the examples I have given in Nepal though. I think if this was explained to us, more foreigners would be happy to pay (I know I would be because it’s a good cause). Instead I am pretty sure it goes in the pockets of the guard…

      • Rita says:

        Of course it is, more so in Nepal, poorer but richer by heritage. Corruption is everywhere. But your contributions are mainly for preservation.

        Comfort? Civilization? Well that aside, Nepal is a beautiful place to live in.

      • Agreed. A very beautiful place to live

  16. Kay in India says:

    They tried making my family pay extra in bhaktapur because I ‘looked’ like a foreigner. I had to show them my ID for them to let me through without paying an extra fee. I don’t think the ‘extra fees’ are discriminatory–however, they have to have a standard rate for all non-citizens (regardless of whether they are of Nepalese origin or not). Right now, I think they have a different rate for Indian and other South Asian tourists.

    The Hindu temple rule of not allowing in non-Hindus is ridiculous. I didn’t visit any of the temples in my 2007 visit (I’m uninterested,and temple areas are usually full of garbage, monkeys, and rats), but I’m sure I would have had to show them my ID before going in. I eat beef and I consider myself an agnostic teetering on the brink of atheism, but they’ll just care about the fact that I have a Hindu name.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Kay, Hope you are well, x

    • Rita says:

      They say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Some have faith, see gods. Others don’t, see the architecture, few see the mystique, few are happy to get a peek into the oldest of religions and cultures, few find the prospect of getting to taste Nepali cuisine, learn the way of life…more enthralling.

      And you see rats.

  17. Dolma says:

    I think not allowing to enter in Hindu temple is ridiculous but charging extra for tourist is natural and every nation follows this policy. however discrimination exist everywhere ; you cannot see and feel discrimination when you are in majority but you can see it when you are in minority position.

  18. CNC says:

    I have to say, since I’ve been living in India for almost 4 years and counting now…this still happens to me quite frequently. I try to ask people who should know the prices what should be the price (for something I’ve not purchased before) before I go out. Like sometimes I buy hair clips (the claw type ones…) and normally it should be Rs 5 for the small ones (same price for most hair scrunchies too) and Rs 10 for the big ones…sometimes people try to tell me twice the price and I just don’t buy…or I tell them I can get it somewhere else for Rs 5 (in bengali of course) and normally they give it to me for the normal price.

    I’ve quite a few stores I frequent (road side ones) where they know me and don’t cheat me…but other’s try to…

    Also, I always get the “madam please come here” all the time…hate it, I make a point not to shop in these stores!!!

  19. Evan says:

    I can relate from an experience here in the UK I wanted to go into a small local Hindu Temple to genuinely pray and be in a proper hindu spiritual environment and the priest met me at the door and told me I was not aloud to come in. This truly upset me.

  20. annesquared says:

    I had quite an experience – adopting a baby. Try traveling the country and navigating the laws and customs, local, regional and national being a “white” woman with a “brown” baby. That was a crowd-gathering, picture-taking, document inspecting adventure.

  21. Diana says:

    Many good points were raised here already. The specifics of Hindu religion, economic differences, corruption, etc… And hospitals in Nepal are a topic of its own. Denying you being treated equally, despite the fact that you even have a Nepali passport, is simple racist dickheadism, indeed.
    I have been subjected to this only once during my many Nepal trips, when I was in a similar situation as you, but the relationship did not survive family pressure, ‘ijjat’, prejudice and bigotry about white women (like despising ‘moral looseness’ of Western women and secretly enjoying Western porn). It was like hitting a wall at high speed, a nice reality check for me back then. To be honest, women can be even meaner when they feel threatened by Western women or by modern Nepali women. But guess what, after this rather traumatic experience, and some true Nepali friends catching me in my fall, my connection to Nepal only grew stronger.

    Of course it is a humiliating experience to be discriminated. It is not always easy to be a foreigner or a minority, no matter where you go. I would like to point out that foreigners are massively discriminated also in Western countries, though at different levels than entrance fees in a museum; thus, your comparison here does not work for me. And there is a huge difference between a rich and a poor person being discriminated. One of them can just shrug and get back to his/her life in a privileged place, the other one cannot. I am by no means excusing bad behavior here, I am just trying to distinguish between your experience and the experience of someone from Mali in a European refugee camp.

    As for Nepal, I found out that once I improved my language skills, so much love came back to me from almost everyone I talked to, just for making the effort. I was startled by how much this changed everything, even the bargaining. It is part of how it is done over there, learn it, participate in it, try to enjoy it. 😉 Furthermore, exchanging taxi by city bus is recommendable, I was never overcharged in a bus. People really appreciate if you try to blend in, you will have noticed this yourself, I am sure. I guess, partly because of the above mentioned minority complex. If a white, ‘rich’ person takes their language and culture serious, beyond using their country as a trekking and spiritual fun park, it cannot be so bad after all! And no matter what economic problems we have at home, we are rich just by the fact that we can travel there and most Nepalis will never ever be able to travel to our place. The huge economic difference also justifies different prices, IMHO. We have similar things in touristic places in Germany, any non-local (also Germans) pays a tax when entering, it is used for the costs of cleaning up beaches etc… The problem is that in Nepal, as you said, most of it will probably never reach its original purpose, i.e. the protection of culture and nature. I guess the same is true for the fees in trekking areas (I heard such comments from lodge owners there)… And I agree with you, recently they tend to overdo it (I paid 700 npr in Bhaktapur in 2009, and now it is 30 usd?? What the heck?).

    So far, I never had to pay any bribe in Nepal (except for one stupid event at the domestic airport, where they overcharged us and the Nepalis in the group). I do not know whether I have simply been lucky in the past 7 years or whether this is indeed because of trying to understand how this place works. I learned to bargain basically because my friends would always ask me how much I paid, and then click their tongue in disapproval when it was too high in their opinion. I did not want to be idiot goreni all the time, so I tried to adapt. Of course one cannot learn the language of each country one is travelling to. But I have seen so many travellers without the slightest consciousness about the kind of country they are travelling in, not willing to learn, not willing at least to try to understand a different culture: women wearing hot pants, men without shirts, trekkers arguing with lodge owners in the remotest places about hot showers, waving their money and taking all that pizza and pasta and cappuchino stuff for granted… I have seen so much arrogance that I am embarressed of my white skin sometimes. I have been carried away a little, sorry. No offense, and I am certainly not implying that you belong to this group!! (of course not)

    I am not advocating uncritical assimilation here, as it seems to be expected of many foreigners in Germany, for instance. There will always be areas where a foreigner remains a foreigner. And this is OK; I have learned to embrace my European identity while living in Asia, actually. It never occurred to me to be offended by the fact that some people would deny me entrance into their kitchen. Well, it is just their religion, not weirder to me than catholic homophobia, for instance. And even these religious restrictions tend to soften, given that one stays long enough and develops deeper relationships. There are many aspects of South Asian life I will never feel comfortable with, e.g. arranged marriages. But a Nepali coming to a Western place for the first time will find as many things irritating there, to put it mildly. And now I just noticed that your next post is precisely about this topic, ha 🙂

    Holy crackers, this became a looong comment… Maybe not 100% relevant to your post, but this came up in my mind when I thought about what you wrote and what people commented so far.

  22. Diana says:

    Oh, one more thing: Anupe above said, Nepal is culturally poor. I do not agree. There are more than 100 ethnic groups and languages (no, not dialects…), each of them a treasure trove of undiscovered ecological and cultural knowledge, disappearing faster and faster in these days. People do not consider this kind of knowledge worthy any more, but it will soon be gone and one day they will regret it.

    • So true! Castes have their own language which is slowly dying in Nepal

      • Diana says:

        The tragic thing is that the very word ‘caste’ already implies a Hindu world view, which is not theirs, mostly. More than 200 years of Hindu rule have had a destructive impact on the ethnic diversity in Nepal.

      • santosh says:

        well about this, may be you donot know this but youngsters here now tend to be proud of their religion and celebrate their festivals like a part of their life..its like they have competition between different caste’s youth to save their culture… and they seem to be proud of it… i can say this because i am a nepali and belong to “shrestha” ir “newar” caste and have friends of almost all caste and we tend to be active in all culture of ours and even be part of friends culture….

  23. So sorry to hear of your experience in Nepal and that you were turned away traveling with R’s family. Having just come back from India, and being a foreigner myself, I saw lots of other white foreigners in local temples and mosques. My OH’s family is Brahmin so they love visiting temples!

  24. Utsav says:

    U r definetly nt over reacting all these activities in nepal due to illetracy n ignorance I have some foriegn freinds in who have lived in nepal long enough to obtain a citizenship have converted to hinduism n have the same problem as well the shops n taxi problem could just b solved by u speaking in nepali a lil bit n u could act likd u lived in nepal long enough to know the price but yeah foriengers r pretty much ripped of n its just nt white preety much everyone who doesnt speak nepali is ripped off n about bhaktapur,patan,bhaktapur n hindu temple its all associated with outwright corruption if u even had bribed the guards of temples or simple solution wear a kurta suruwal or sari n its nt that u cnt change into hinduism in nepal religion changing is preety much okay in nepal the illetrate just think that since forirgners r mostly frm developed countries money just grows in trees for them its hilarious actually n I always say this to everyone even though the people r corrupted n ignorant nepal us damn beautiful we just need a gud leader in our country n the country is nt corrupted people will learn slowly but surely m sry about ur experience though n sm people just need a gud thrashing its gud that ur husband thrashed the pashupatinath guards I’ve done the same in many occasions n used the sane words ur husband used 🙂

  25. MrsNeupane says:

    I was with my Nepali husband in KTM & Pokhara for 2 months in 2011-2012 and didn’t really get the hassle you describe. I did wear Kurta-Surwal-Pachaura daily however, as I love them, and when in Nepal I also wear the sindhur and a tika most days. I have basic Nepali language – enough to explain I’m not a tourist & my husband in Nepali.

    We even had our Hindu short wedding at Bindabasini temple in Pokhara – although I must say we were a sideshow for the Hindu pilgrims visiting there (lots of photos taken of the Gorey woman marrying the Nepali man!)

    When visiting KTM my husband politely told the gatekeepers etc that I was his wife and we also kept our Nepali wedding certificate handy in case, so I went in free to Durbar Square, Swaymbunath Monkey temple etc. The only place I could not enter was the inner house of Kumari Devi but my husband & friends did do this to make a donation and ask her to appear so I could see her.

    I wasn’t stopped from entering temples – I think people weren’t sure if I was a Hindu or not (I’m not) and didn’t want to ask!

    Some people did *try* to take advantage but what was lovely is that other (Nepali) customers would often intervene before I could say ‘that’s too expensive’ and tell them off!

    When I was ill I did have to pay literally double at the hospital (‘Foreigner’ rates) as well as when flying internally.

    [Loving your blog – if you’d like to connect on FB just email me – we have lots in common and it’s good to talk about it with someone who knows how it feels!]

    • Yeh i think it will be difficult when we are married. we can take our marriage certificate, hopefully i will have picked up more of the language by then and i might start wearing the traditional clothes more. it would be nice to keep in touch 🙂 ill email u

  26. Jb says:

    First of all, no exaggeration on your experience in Nepal as a white girl. It is unfortunate that Nepal does not understand how to attract more tourist. tourism is one of the industries that Nepal is blessed with for its revenue.
    I like to comment on all off them in comparison to my experience in the US, but I may loose my temper and I might through inappropriate words out there. So, I will limit to two issues:-1) the beef &2) the bargain market.
    My job posted me in a place where our cooks and servers are Nepali and Indians. They are hired by a contracting company to support our mission. I chit chat with them in their language. They recognize my Nepali name on my right chest. On the days we get served steaks for dinner- I go for it!!! The server quips something and mumbles and often hesitate to serve me the steaks. One night I requested ” may I please get two steaks. They are delicious. You should try them before leaving the country!” The guy turned red, as I was watching his fore head started to ooze sweats as if new spring season has arrived. I don’t practice a religion. This way I don t have to go to bed on empty stomach no matter were I am!
    My counterparts and I went to see a bargain market there(I am not putting the name of that place on purpose). The local shopkeepers (not in Nepal, and not a Nepali) single out me and flat out said, ” I have no business with you Philloppino.” I nicely indicated to him, “you got that wrong!” he was indicating that i would not be fooled for the right price. None of us purchased his goods that day. I hope he learned something that day from his misjudgment.so, it could be true that the thought of making money quickly out off rich people, mostly the whites in the world, evolves from the greed and lack of integrity in the third world countries. This could also be true because those countries lack check and balance for anything and the government is too corrupt to enforce and implement any kind of check and balance system.

  27. Prakriti aka Alex says:

    I think its so weird you where not allowed in the temples. My cousin (white American) lived in Nepal with Her Nepalese Boyfriend for a year and was not refused from anywhere although she always had trouble getting a taxi/rickshaw She has many drivers even refuse to take her. Or if they did Price jacking was a major issue unless her b/f was with her.
    I still hope we go soon. His brothers and sisters ask when we are coming to visit all the time. Then I will get to experience all Nepal has to offer us White tourist types myself 🙂

  28. Lilavati says:

    just came across your blog, this thread is a little old but thought i would share – i am Australian and white but i was raised in the Vaisnava tradition – to Australians the Hare Krishna movement. I lived 2 years in India and grew up with Hindu customs. i spent 5 months in Nepal and i was never refused entry to a temple. I did meet a lot of other tourists in nepal who were. Nepali people seem to be able to tell just from the way you approach a temple whether it is part of your spirituality or not. I also don’t really want people who regularly eat beef coming into my home temple and touching the deities however i also accept that it needs to happen sometimes for those people to be able to explore their own spirituality and vedic spirituality.

  29. jlpandit says:

    Thank you for your blog. I just want to say that I can relate 110%. I am an American girl with a Nepalese husband and after my husband and I began seeing each other, I became Hindu. I fast at the appropriate times, I do not eat cow or even allow it in my house, I touch my husband’s feet on a regular basis. When I went to Nepal all I wanted to do was go to temple with him. There were a few temples that I went into okay (Barahi Temple in Pokhara and the Bhairab Temple in Nuwakot Durbar) but Pashupatinath Temple was a WHOLLLE different story. I went to temple with my sister in law and her daughter. Far from a camera toting tourist, I just wanted to worship. We stood in line for a long time together, but just as we got close to entering, a guard came up and told my sister in law, in Nepali, that I was not welcome. She began to fight with the guard saying that I was Nepali, that I was married to a Nepali man, blah blah blah. He did not care. He wanted me gone. She didn’t want to fight so we left. I understand not wanting tourists into the temple, but there has to be some way differentiate the difference between a white Hindu and a tourist of any color. I’d even go as far as take a written test on the Mahabharata.

  30. Sawal says:

    Hello Whitegirlinasari

    I was just trolling around the internet and i saw your post.

    Nice to see that you are adjusting BTW.

    But i just want to clear one thing that You not being allowed to Enter temples has NOTHING to do you being Catholic or eating beef.Let me explain

    When Our King Prithivi Narayan Shah saw how quickly the British were conquering India,he jump-started the Nepalese unification process..According to contemporary historians he saw a common pattern:

    1.The Brits would start a trading post
    2.They would send Missionaries to convert the locals.
    3.The would covertly start rebellions and made neighbouring kingdoms fight each other.
    4.They would conquer and annex those kingdoms in the name of the East India Company.

    Seeing the pattern, the Gorkha kingdoms made a de-facto policy of being distrustful of the “White man”.This culminated in the expulsion of every Missionary and convert to India from conquered states.

    There was resistance to this policy within the Royals themselves.But some one(I don’t know exatly) said “If you give the white man so much as a helping finger,he will swallow the whole hand”.

    Their fears were justified when the Anglo-Nepal war broke out in 1814.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Nepalese_War

    After this defeat Nepal Adopted a policy of Isolationism,Cutting off contact with the world.With it came humiliation,paranoia and a regressive dictatorship and a mindset that has been the bane of Nepalese progress ever since.

    What you are experiencing is a clingy mistrust from the colonial times which has manifested itself as law through ignorance.

    I didn’t mean for the history lesson,but just wanted to let you know that the people who made those laws didn’t know any better.

    As far as the ridiculous fees are concerned ,the Nepalese tourism industry thrives on ripping whitey off.Most Nepalese have this misconception that as long as you are white you have lots of money.

    I as a Nepali,want to apologise for the trouble you went through.We are not snobs.

    • dan says:

      Well, your point might be correct but will you explain why “Dalits” considered as untouchables are still not allowed to enter many hindu temples? I assume they have no relations with whites at all !! 🙂

  31. Gaye says:

    After recently visting Nepal ,my husbands birthplace for the fourth time and in our twentieth year of marriage. I felt some sadness in not being able at times to visit public places and mandirs with our teenage son and our extended family. I accept this though as I have learnt to accept and appreciate our differences and sameness over the years.
    Funny but my husband was always claiming our son was our marriage certificate to guards. To stay within our family budget,he often had to do the shopping.
    Although i think maybe not now but 20 years ago in Australia there definately still was has religious discrimination between different christian religions.

  32. Chris Pollard says:

    Following Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj’s teachings I became aware of his only Nepalese pracharak a little while after he took sanyas in 2008 and his ashram ‘Shyama Shyam Dham’ Thimi in Kathmandu began using the internet with verve. Their Youtube postings every 3 to 4 days has provided me with a very good internal connection to our spiritual master. As a result I feel indebted to Swami Shri Haridas Ji who is ever so busy spreading Maharaj Ji’s philosopy; last year in the U.S. and this year at the moment in the U.K. and Ireland. He has had talks with the latest Police Chief (a photo shows the latter with arms crossed and a frown, but he was listening) and gave discourses to the police and the previous chief last year. He has started a movement for Nepalese youth – ‘Divine Youth Club’ and apart from spiritual retreats, each group has been doing a lot of cleaning up in temples, rivers, weedy public areas etc. viz. KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful, now an Australia-wide annual event).
    And so of course I have visually taken in quite a lot of Nepal having known not much about the country at all. Great, but of course you can see the difficulties of material existence there that we in Oz don’t see now. Although travelling from Brisbane in the 1950’s northwards when I was young revealed many sites that indicated poverty in rural areas but of course there they were isolated homes and farmhouses – such is the space here!
    But why I have revealed myself as a follower of a Hindu spiritual Master was that I came across your blog searching to see if any Nepalese in Australia are following Swami Haridas Ji and knowing that for some of your respondents the philosophy speaks to some of the pain that some of you have expressed. Shri Maharaj Ji cuts through confusions around Hinduism for outsiders and by the sounds of it for many ‘insiders’. He talks about our suffering here in the world. But he also says ‘That the mind alone is the cause of bondage or liberation.’ He cuts away at the incessant mind movies that plague us as we try to make sense of this world that we find ourselves in. I wonder if any of your respondents might be interested? If maybe, here are some

    Facebook pages of interest. I’ve forgotten how to hypertext them, my apologies:
    Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat – Official
    JKP Ashrams & Centres
    Swami Govindananda
    Swami Mukundananda
    Swami Shree Haridas Ji
    Divine Youth Club
    and there are many other pages mentioned on these public access pages.
    There are many Youtube accounts as well such as:
    JKP Nepal
    JKP Radha Madhav Dham
    Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

  33. nepalidawg@gmail.com says:

    I don’t sanction any of the acts of discrimination you have listed above. I actually feel sorry that the color of the skin is how they distinguish foreigners from Nepalese- which is flawed in itself. But I hate when Christian missionaries go all over Nepal or any other poor country buying poor people into religion. If I could I would stop these missionaries from entering the country. I am not even a religious person. Maybe and just maybe that was the reason why this rule of not letting Christians into Hindu temple was first put into place which of course is obsolete on this day.

    • nepalidawg@gmail.com says:

      I think they should look at one’s passport or other identification to distinguish nepali and foreigners. Difference in fees is quite reasonable though. Like someone said somewhere, I have to pay higher fees to attend your universities than the locals in Australia. Also, visa fees for nepal are cheaper compared to that of Australia.

    • I agree with you on that point. It’s not acceptable to ‘buy’ vulnerable people into a religion

  34. Raj says:

    Hi White girl in sar;
    I am sorry you didn’t have pleasant experience. Your post has been broadcasted in sajha.com (a fairly famous website for (US) Nepali diaspora. You may be interested to look at the viewpoints.

    http://sajha.com/sajha/html/index.cfm?threadid=106617

  35. Raju Nepal says:

    I live in the US and my wife is white too. I’ve taught her all the bad and good things of Nepali cultures. When we went there, she was prepared to face the reality and boy, it was. I literally went to all the temples where there were sighs of not allowing non-hindus. She took many pictures, she was not surprised cause I’ve prepared her. Often we were stopped and she had to pay (which means I did) extra to get in places. We knew in many places it was a rip-off/extortion type of scenario, but we payed it anyway.
    Why did I do it ? cause she is an ultra liberal person who cannot accept the reality that all cultures have flaws, not just the USA. After our first visit, it just opened her eyes.. She has a whole new appreciation of America and her own culture.
    I wish more nepali interracial couples will dare to show the reality of each culture and not just go treakking and ignore important social issues when they are back in Nepal.

  36. Nepali Laurey says:

    First of all, I would like to extend my best wishes for happy and prosperous conjugal life for you two. Marriage in itself is an enormous step and marrying across the ocean and cultures is no simple undertaking. Apart from language and climate comes the very hard part of cultural pollination. Nepal is very different from individualistic Australian society. It is just my thought that you are trying to see Nepal with your Australian lenses.
    An Australian can justify why a south-Asian will be charged more for their education and will be denied certain perks of being a student. But he/ she can in no way justify why a foreigner will be charged more in Nepal. An Australian can justify why a South-Asian has to really prove he has his wallet loaded to get into a country club but similar level of scrutiny at Hindu worship place will be termed discriminatory. But shortly after bunch of English people were shipped to Australia, it was ok to kill THE NATIVE AUSTRALIANS because they were barbaric. Why is it that white face is the calibration of civilization? What I’m trying to say is that civilization and what it entails is always at tug of war and it is very fluid and dynamic concept that is in most part enforced by who controls the media, Hollywood and businesses. Sadly for people of color, the situation looks bleak. Their way of life will be exterminated if not labeled barbaric, discriminatory and uncivilized.
    Being a white, you are given a preferential treatment in Nepal (aside from temple). Do you want to maintain this white privilege? There are more white supremacist in Nepal than in Australia. But that supremacy comes with a price, call it a rip off or discrimination. I know you are not a tourist and you don’t go to Nepal to see and enjoy HOW BARBARIC AND UNCIVILIZED we Nepali still are. And the concern you raise are genuine, why won’t you be let into temples when you have married a HINDU. Why would the guards even stop you? That’s because they haven’t seen any white colored Hindu or they think that a person becomes white by eating their god. Temple is not a place for Art lovers, it is a place for believers. You can may be put on SINDOOR and try to enter Temple. See the point is you don’t fight with every traditions, you try to assimilate although assimilation might be equivalent to giving up some of your individuality.I’m a Hindu and I don’t justify why a non-believer wouldn’t be let in. Hinduism is a way of life and you don’t need to go to temple to show your devotion. You can be an atheist and still be a Hindu. But girl I’m sure that Nepal will be a hell for you to live in unless you shed your individualistic attitude. Saree is very hard to wear and hard to run with it on. It takes a lot of hustle to adjust to it.
    Please do not take me wrong. My idea of civilization was passed down to me through western texts.
    Aside from that, I wish that you will find the courage to stand up against your own basic instincts and assimilate in a different train of thought. May you be happy forever.
    Love:)

  37. D.C. says:

    Hi Casey. I stumbled on your blog. I’m also a ‘white girl in a sari’ i guess. I’m white American and my husband is Nepali. First of all want to say I was happy to find your blog because it’s nice to find someone else in a similar situation.

    Anyway, here’s my thought about being overcharged: Initially, the idea of it was frustrating. I wasn’t some rich tourist going there for fun. If it weren’t for my husband, I probably wouldn’t have ended up going there. However, once I thought about it, it kind of made sense. Charging foreigners more allows them to benefit from tourism without making things too expensive for local people. All things being equal, it would not be fair. But given the economic reality there vs. the West, I can’t really stay mad about it. That’s my take on it. But I can understand why it would be frustrating for you. I admire you going into the shops and talking to people – I was too chicken to do that.

    As for the temple issue….I agree its not fair. But I think it’s one of those things we just have to deal with. I think Hinduism tends to be pretty tolerant overall, except when it comes to stuff like this. All traditional organized religions have aspects of prejudice…..it just takes different forms. It can also depend on the temple. There are some temples that don’t have that restriction.

    Try not to let these things bother you too much. I wish you and your husband best of luck.

  38. Raj says:

    1) One of my friend visited Australia. He got sick and got billed thousands. When aussie gets sick, they pay zero (medicare).
    2) When I visited Australia, I spoke in English to them. All over, I spoke in English. When white people visit Nepal/India, we still have to speak in English to you guys. Do we complain?.
    3)White people eat beef. Cow is sacred to Hindus, so that is why you cannot enter out main temple areas.
    4)As people get familiar to you, they will accept you as you are. Give them some time. Rest assured we will not tell you to go back to your country. Even with out flaws, we are still loving and friendly people.
    5)There is very much less racism/discrimination here than in the West.

    • I have actually found caste discrimination in Nepal is probably the most overt discrimination i have ever seen. it’s so widespread too

      • santosh says:

        well this is true and is done by older citizens here…. but we youths as being one do not care about the caste or what so ever and this caste discrimination will be vanished soon mainly in cities areas….but i don’t know about rural villages, it will take time there but to lack of proper education. and i don’t mean the education as in schools and collage but education on caste discrimination and how it is wrong.

  39. Gyanu Shahi says:

    honey..
    am from nepal too currently living in US, so tell all your friends NOT to visit Nepal until they fix that Price thing.. am very well aware of this gouching… I feel for you that you had to go thru this crap..
    Nepal is ruled by Bahun & Chetri.. most corrupt people you can find.. so you get to taste bit what we went through our entire life…
    Again.. Tell all your mates/sheila to boycott NEPAL, better alternate is India…

    • Pratik Poudyal says:

      Nepal is ruled by Brahmins and Chettris? And for past 200 years by whom? You know the answer.

    • santosh says:

      really. you saying not to visit nepal and to choose india can easily say that you are an indian. and your comment saying bahun and chettri’s being most corrupt it’s just crap. well bahun and chettries used to think they were superior caus eof their caste… but its past it happend 60 years ago….so plz shut up

    • Sneha Pandey says:

      “Nepal is ruled by Bahun and Chetri…the most corrupt people you can find.”

      Be a part of the solution, right now u r a part of the problem.

  40. Bheeshma says:

    You are born not converted, Unless you are brown, u will never be accepted, that is the harsh fact of life, You may argue with me and all your argument may be correct and i may sound like a racist dick, but what i say is the truth

  41. Caro Caracalla says:

    Funny post! I started dating a local myself and can relate to everything you wrote. Fortunately, I look confusing and similar to a local because of my Tibetan ancestry, my cover gets blown when I open my mouth since I can’t speak the language. Good luck, I find the experience frustrating and worry that my boyfriend won’t be able to adapt to American culture, we shall see. I am following and wish you all the best!

  42. nepalilovestory says:

    Wow, such a fascinating post. I was worried about this happening for me in Nepal. Let’s hope things start to change!

  43. Pingback: Hi all, how do Hindu's view caucasian members? - Page 3 - Religious Education Forum

  44. Bikram says:

    Hello …were you on Government benefits when you travel to Nepal. umm poor things you got ripped off $30 .? If not guys think seriously how much money you would spent going out on Friday night trying picking a man in club in America or wherever ? And if you still not happy I will send to you from account…we got a kind heart..

  45. Amit malla says:

    Mam ! your blog jst attract me n i like that u share ur experienced among us. i wanna truely appologise for ur harsh experience in nepal. n i knw u r not a single person who face this in nepal. but im not here to disparage my country n im also not here to talk about economic problm of our country. my country is beautiful n very well cultural for me. im proud myslf about hindu. hindu religion is one of the oldest nd holy religion in this world. i wanna say to you jst forget it n thought it was jst one of the exprnce about apart of ur life. it gonna happens with u n that’s it. im saying this because all this coversation is useless n u knw it very well. i like u are following nepali culture n i appreciate it for that. u sayin in ur blog u like to cook nepali food, wear dress n many other things bt nepali people didn’t accpt u as a nepali. how could they accpt u, u tell me ? for them u re jst a foreigner like others. for been in nepali people’s heart, first u have to be like a nepali n this thing only can happen when u settle in nepal. u are from one of the well developed country mam n u knw how nepal is ? our tradition, cultures, n thinking way cannot be same. so u have to respect my country n my culture. you people said we desceiminate u guys, bt i suggest u first go n ask to any nepali people who experienced abroad, that guy will tell u about real meaning of descriminate. im not sayin whole nepali were descriminate bt im dammn sure most of the nepali were desciminate in abroad. so once again srry by saying dont hate us, welcome any time in nepal n feel my motherland. foh me my country is pearl of this earth…..!!!!!

  46. ashie says:

    “Suck it up princess” heard many times since landed in Australia 6 years ago from Kathmandu , Nepal 😏

  47. Binay Kc says:

    Ya these are 100% true but we want to improve. We don’t want to be racist and unequal to people. I want to say we are changing but change is slow. Article like this really help to us. But there is also funny part of this and some of your story is even faced by nepali people, like bargaining: my mom can buy same goods at 10-20% cheap then me. And taxi or cab has over charged me many times. But public buses do not usually charge more money. I have seen foreigner paying same fare as nepali many times in public buses. But again they are so crowded. I will assure you if you happen to visit after few years you will experience some positive changes. Keep writing.

  48. Thiago Albuquerque says:

    As long as my knowledge of hinduismo goes, the answer to the question of the temple is a question “ritual purity” or saucham in sanskrit. You are almost right when you cite the question of eating beef as a cause. Hindu themselves become polluted in many situations, even daily, such as evacuation or a close relative death. In the case of death, they avoid visiting temples etc. “Impure” castes once had enter banned in most hindu temples, this changed only with the law, but is still followed in the deep countryside of most hindu countries. So Non-hindus may not follow hindu rules of purity and cleaness related to “pure” eating habits, “proper” bathing and etc. The guruvayoor temple in kerala and jagannath puri, conducts rituals of purification by the priests when they know a non-hindu has entered the temple premises. And a good way to judge our hinduness is by your birth or racial look.

  49. Sammy says:

    Its not actually just about being a hindu.
    This religion is also called sanatan dharma. Sanatan dharma means a religion that has been practiced since ages.
    So your ancestors should also be hindu accordingly. I am really against this thing to say the truth. It feels racist in a way. If a person is trying to reach out to a religion, he/she should be allowed to.
    Once when I went to a temple, the priest thought that I was indian. My cousins who are american think i am greek. I even asked my mother what if the guard/ temple person does not recognize a person? My mom replied that the person would be decieving god. I felt really bad. And I feel bad when I see tourists returning from the temple door.

    • Yes it’s true Sammy. How can we tell by how someone looks what religion they are. Maybe next time I should dress like Nepali girl in sari and see if I get in even though I have red hair and am so white lol

  50. shurp says:

    This is outrageous that a foreigner is not allowed to walk in a hundu temple. I live in Kathmandu and i have never once felt discriminated even though i look more east asian. i have been to hindu and buddhist many times ( Mostly to just loiter around). I was raised in a boarding school and no one really gives much thought to religion. We just do it to make our parent happy. i am really angry that they would do such a thing to someone who is interested in our culture. I live in USA, WA and i am studying to get my bachelor degree.

    Beside the issue about hindu temple, the overpriced goods could be bargened to reduce the price. It is pretty common in nepal to sell overpriced goods to foreigner eventhough they are really cheap. We have a common idion in Nepal, Words speak louder than Action. Even if you only speak English, you can still bargain because most Nepali do understand English. Hope you have a wonderful time when you plan on going to Nepal again.

    • Thanks for your comments Shurp. Yeh I don’t mind paying more as a foreigner. I will be more confident to bargain on my next trip to Nepal 🙂 The main reason I wrote this is to just share my experiences of being refused to enter a hindu temple in a country I love and am apart of (by marriage). Thanks

      • MrsPradhan says:

        Not all temples in India and Nepal automatically consider non-desis as non-Hindu. Generally any Ganesh temple will be welcoming as Ganesh is the most welcoming of Gods and does not care about anyone’s caste or color. He is even worshipped by Buddhists in Thailand(which used to be Hindu) and Tibet. When I am visiting KTM I like to go to the Ganesh temple in Chabahil, there is no guard with a lathi forbidding anyone from entering and when I do my puja with everyone else hardly anyone bats an eye. Surya Vinayaka near Bhakatapur is also worth a visit. I have found a lot of the Newari temples do not discriminate, such as Sankhu Vajrajogini or the temples of Seto and Rato Macchendranath. Indian temples tend to be less discriminating, especially newer North Indian temples in cities like Delhi. As far as the ‘gora tax’ goes nowadays I avoid places which charge it. Sometimes you can be clever for example at Boudha stupa if you enter from the left or the right of the main gate(entrance is not marked) you do not have to pay a charge. If you want to go for a boat ride on Fewa Tal in Pokhara there is one place which charges the same rate for everyone but again you have to hunt for it. As far as bargaining goes, people have made a lot of good suggestions, good if you can learn more Nepali especially numbers and don’t be afraid to walk away if you are being blatantly ripped off. I am an American married to a Nepali so I can relate to so many of your concerns, would love to have a chiyaa with you sometime!
        Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!

  51. puneet says:

    Not just sonia gandhi,rajiv gandhi too was a non hindu,in fact his father was a muslim named ‘firoz khan’ who got ‘ghandy’ from gandhi.it was the political need of that hour,a muslim couldn’t won election in india as it was muslims who broke thee country in first place.

  52. puneet says:

    And may be it was the earlier crime of pastor and maulvis which made hindus over protective of their faith,xian missionaries used to gather ppl and bash and abuse hinduism calling it evil although hindus never called another faiith false or evil and xians actually massacred and killed countless hindus in goa inquisition.even if its about racial freedom of west,condition in india,nepal is not that bad either.
    For instance even in 1950s of australia the enemies of world war 2 i.e. Italians could immigrate to australia but not their non white allies who laid their lives for no reason whatsoever.

  53. pk murthy says:

    I feel sorry for your experience, White girl in a Sari. You are totally right about rift getting created in personal relationships due to non- personal issues like discriminatory practices at temples and at all touristy spots. Religion starts out on the pure path and humans, over a period, contaminate it with such practices. It is sad to see such practices at temples in Nepal and India. Being a hindu, I hang my head down in shame.

    It would be ridiculous for anyone to protect Lord Pashupatinath from getting contaminated – just a mortal soul, protecting the sanctity of the Lord himself??how stupid!! It might be worth noting that such discriminatory practices and complicated rituals led to the birth of Buddhism and Jainism – to spread message of peace, love and nonviolence in a way that is simple and understood by all. Until the time they invent a “purity detector” for souls, this practice is likely to continue.

    As someone mentioned, there is a fundamental assumption that all foreigners are rich and can afford to pay. The truth is- bulk of the tourists to the subcontinent are lower and middle class Europeans. The 10 X price tag is not only deplorable for obvious discrimination reasons, but also does not make economic sense. A foreigner is likely to visit more places if they right-priced entrance fees and that would maximize tourist revenue.

    As far the bargaining, it does happen all over. I, as a South Indian, visiting North India, will have to pay higher prices as soon as they figure out I am not from North. Similar things happen to North Indians in the south. Essentially, you are just as good as your bargaining skills in most of Asia. I, personally, have done my bit to help foreigners get stuff at right price and have alerted them when they paid 5X. But the battle is still a few good people versus the system. Not easy, but I guess the situation is improving.

    All said, Lord Pashupatinath bless you and your family !! I am 100% sure he does not discriminate!!

  54. phenix1 says:

    been travelling between India and Nepal for a year…most Boudhist places are friendly and open…while Hindus are not…look how they treat women it is very close to Muslim standards…and they constantly harrassing us for money but would not allow us in their temples so i never give them a dime…for them we are just wallet with legs…

  55. Amy Devkota says:

    This was a great read… I’m Australian and my husband is Nepalese and we are always judged from Nepalese/indian ppl…I guess it isn’t just me they dislike!!!

  56. Hi Casey. I am a Hindu from India. I went to Nepal for the first time and was chocked to see that Notice Board saying “Entry Only for Hindus”. Hinduism has never taught me to do such things to other religion. It is illogical, foolish and nonsensical for a Temple to not allow Non Hindus inside the temple. As far as temples in India goes, out of the millions of Hindu Temples none of them would dis allow a Non Hindu inside. It is illegal to stop someone from entering a Hindu temple in India.

  57. Xj says:

    I am planning my Nepal trip and I found this blog.

    I am a Malaysian of Chinese descent. In some places in Malaysia like the island of Penang (and in other places), you can see Malaysians of Chinese descent praying in Hindu temples, and fervently joining some Hindu festivals with great devotion. There are statues of the Buddha, Chinese deities and Ganesh on our family altar, and I regularly go to Hindu temples for prayers despite I might not be too familiar with certain Hindu rites. I have never heard of any non-Hindus being barred from entering Hindu temples or shrines in Malaysia, and in fact I feel welcomed in the temples and sometimes the priests and devotees there happily give me prasadam without even being asked.

    It is really sad to know that some temples in Nepal do not really welcome foreigners. Are there any Hindu temples in Kathmandu that accept foreigners and/or foreign Hindus?

    • MrsPradhan says:

      As I stated above none of the Ganesh temples discriminate, also at the Barahi mandir at Fewa Tal in Pokhara you can do puja just like anyone else. I visited all of these temples just last week. Also the Newari temples which are visited by both Hindus and Buddhists do not discriminate, such as Sankhu Vajrayogini and both Macchendranath temples. After 9 visits to Nepal I have gotten pretty good at avoiding much of the BS by knowing where to go. I still have to pay more for taxis though, unless i take the ‘tuktuk’ or ‘micro’.

  58. Shreya says:

    White indignation has always been bitterly funny to me. After years of colinization and a supremecy which you still enjoy today, you cannot believe you are being refused or turned away from something for your skin color, this has always been the reality for colored people.

    Nepal’s economy is in shambles, after the UN ( read ” the white savior) facilitated approval and aknolwedgement of the Moaist army it has been impossible for local enterprises to do well; tourism is almost the last remaining industry; most locals are BELOW the poverty line or uneducated and you expect them to pay as much as you, you white woman who has the money to travel across the world to visit Nepal. Amazing the ignorance that comes with priveledge. I am sorry that you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly by my religion when white Christian missionaries have come in hoards, buying converts around the country; manipulating poor Hindus to trade religion for basic food and health care ” if you convert I will send your daughter to school.” Forgive us for trying to protect our religion, yes it must feel so awful being so white and turned away from an area: I would know since all the clubs in your countries do not let colored women and men in ” your not on the list”, because we get treated like shit in everyone else’s airport, sent to Guantanamo without trials, stopped frisked and BEATEN, and because the American embassy’s Club in Nepal does not let any Nepali people enter IN THIER OWN COUNTRY.
    How awful it must have been to pay a few hundred more rupees than the locals, to not go to pashupati, the most sacred religious site in the whole country,we should discard our beliefs and let everyone be a Hindu since this fits perfectly into the godly western conception of inclusion, colonize our culture, tell us what is right, you were wronged, you poor poor white girl, my heart goes out to you “White girl in a sari” you culturally appropriative, ignorant white woman.

  59. Nepali Kto says:

    I am a Nepalese and I get racist stares and comments almost everyday because of my white skin color and also because of my physical appearance which is like that of a westerner.

  60. Simone says:

    Well done for initiating a valuable platform for sharing global experiences of racism. It’s makes for very interesting reading. However, in my opinion the authors original comments seem a little naive. As a mixed race women born and raised in the UK, I would like to think that I recognise the subtle and varied forms that racism can take. It is an attitude, use of language and words, a sense of entitlement, a position of privilege and power that one group of people presumes to possess over another. The idea that ‘west is best’ sums this up perfectly. For me, power is key, racism in the UK prevents you getting the job you wanted, the house you want to rent, it limits your opportunities because of your surname, your race or legal status. There are huge disparities between communities, and to claim that racism does not play a role is at best misguided. I would like to highlight the treatment of the Aboriginal community in the context of Australia – it would be interesting if there social positioning could be explained without a consideration of racism. Racism in many other countries is absolutely present, it’s perhaps more sophisicated, hidden and as a result more justifiable to the wider public. My husband is a white Dutch male and he talks openly about not recognising and appreciating racism and its many forms as it has not been part of his personal experiences. I believe there can be discriminatory experiences in Nepal, where I now live, however in my opinion the impact of that discrimination on a white foreigner is fairly low. It is important to to remember that in Nepal, skin whitening is still promoted, highlighting the positive associations that many place on being white. I think it would be interesting to hear the contrast with how black people, particularly from Africa have experienced racism in Nepal. Having said all that, I think the racism and discrimination experienced by foreigners in Nepal provides a unique insight in to the realities for many people in Nepal, without the possibility of escape. Discrimination does hurt, it does have a negative effort, it affects whole communities but it is damaging to assume that certain countries are not very racist when we are not the marginalised, the minority or those likely to be discriminated against. Surely, we must speak with people who have first hand experiences to be able to provide a clearer and more accurate account of whether racism exists.

  61. devindersingh says:

    Its same like madina.but not that hard rule in Hinduism. Only 2or 3 temple where u can’t go others wise you are welcome.but plz its not like madina or macca.

  62. burque1990 says:

    Nepal is a corrupt country, politicians are corrupt and are not held accountable, caste and racial discrimination is rampant, small segments of ethic groups hold larger portion government jobs, unemployment and poverty is the norm. I see the discriminatory mentality even amongst Nepali communities in USA. Go to Nepali gatherings and see how people interact mostly along racial and caste lines. People will try inquire about your name, then of course caste, social status and education level. That’s why I avoid Nepali gatherings for the most part. I love Nepal but we Nepalis need to represent ourselves better in Nepal and all over the world. Then, it will truly be Never Ending Peace And Love.

  63. Bharat Thapa says:

    Hi, first of all I’d like to apologize for the bad experience that you had there in Nepal. I am a New Delhi born and raised Indo-Nepalese and I know it can feel embarrassing that didn’t let you in the pashupathinath temple. Now I would like to clarify some of the points here so you can understand Nepalese people better.
    Although I have never lived in Nepal, I know how things work there. Nepal’s a country where Hinduism is dominant (with a little bit of buddhism influence, not everywhere though)
    Hinduism and it’s rules are followed strictly in this country(People are trying to modernize rules but it’ll take some time for sure.)
    I’ve been to Nepal lots of time with my parents and friends and after some visits I analyzed people are friendly(except a few) and racism is almost non existent, casteism is too much though. It’s probably because in Nepal people are still following vedic Hinduism (old) unlike india. And it’s true Hinduism forbids cow meat(beef) consumption and this is applicable for even Nepalese. If the temple priests know that some random Nepalese guy who wishes to enter the temple eats beef(Not the buffalo meat) they would forbid that person as well from entering the temple premise. These are religious views and I respect them like I respect other religions(am partially atheist lol)

    It’s not racism it’s just their belief.
    Every religion has it’s pros and cons and Hinduism is also not untouched.

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