Bjayanagar is a small farming village of about 1,000 people in the Chitwan District, located about 150 km southwest of Kathamandu. The pace of life is very slow, with most locals making their living from agriculture. You’ll walk dirt roads every day, learning what life is like in rural Nepal.
This is the village where Cosmic Volunteer’s founder Scott Burke lived and volunteered for 3 months in 2000 on his first trip abroad. His trip was the foundation for his starting Cosmic Volunteers.
In Bijayanagar you will stay with a local Nepali family who speaks English and will provide you with your own room, all meals, include you in family activities. The living style is rustic: you’ll use an outhouse instead of an indoor toilet, there are no landline phones, and cable/satellite TV is a luxury.
Our local Nepali Coordinator will accompany you from the airport in Kathmandu to your host family and volunteer job in Bijayanagar. On a daily basis, you will either walk or ride a bike to school. There is no intra-village public transportation. When you want to sightsee on weekends, you can catch a “tuk-tuk” or buses which are all very inexpensive. We highly recommend that volunteers buy an inexpensive bicycle in the village which costs about $40.
Bijayanagar is very safe in terms of personal safety as well as health. The biggest problem faced by volunteers is usually an occasional upset stomach as their bodies adjust to the food and water. You cannot drink tap water;only drink bottled/boiled water. There are larger hospitals and medical clinics in Bharatpur and Ratnanagar.
Bijayanagar has distinct seasons, with night/day temperatures ranging from 2-18 C (35-65 F) in January to 23-32 C (73-90 F) in September. The monsoon season brings rains in July and August. The best weather months are October and November, with moderate temperatures and dry and clear skies which attract international travelers to trekking in the Himalayas.
The biggest tourist attraction is Chitwan National Park, located less than an hour from Bijayanagar. The Park has one of the last populations of single-horned Indian Rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger. The park is very popular with ecotourists who canoe, take elephant rides and guided jungle walks. There a number of nearby religious sites that can be visited during daytrips. Devghat is one of the most sacred and holy places in Hindu mythology. You can also visit the Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and the “Mecca” of every Buddhist. If you want to stay closer to your village home, feel free to walk down to the Narayani River where you will likely see free-roaming rhinos along the river bank.