Continuing his tour of Nepal, Prince Harry was yesterday honoured as a village leader in a remote village.
The fifth in line to the throne had an early start were he flew to the Leurani village, northwest of the capital Kathmandu. Harry went to the village to experience life with people in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Prince Harry spent his time with the villagers dancing and feasting with the family of Mangali Tamang an 86-year-old widow of a former soldier. Villagers from Leurani crowned Harry with a pheta – a white turban-like head-dress, giving him the status of an honorary leader.
They offered the Prince flowers and cream-colored scarf which is gIvan to special guests. Nepal abolished the centuries-old monarchy in 2008 and Harry is the first British Royal to visit Nepal since then.
The Prince also visited Bardia, a 1000 sq km of forest and grassland, a national park that is a home to rhinos, wild elephants, crocodiles and tigers where he talked about conservation. A welcome message was chalked onto an elephant for Prince Harry. The Royal even imitated the movements of a tiger, infront of an automatic camera.
When the Prince saw a picture of a tiger walking exactly where he was standing, he reacted “That was here? Amazing.”
Harry also witnessed the earthquake reconstruction work carried out by the Gurkha Welfare Scheme at the park. He spent hours discussing the local conservation officials and villagers about the tigers and was also taken on raft along the Khauraha River.
Later, the former army captain visited Dalla, and the village elder told Harry: “It’s an honour to welcome you sir and we are pleased to have you in our village.”
Harry also chatted to one homestead owner, Champi Tharu and to Parshuram Tharu, about how the entire village has turned its back on poaching and hunting deer to creating an industry based on the local wildlife with the help of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The Prince told them: “You are proving to the rest of the world, especially Africa, that it can be done. You are proving that man and animals can live alongside each other. If this wasn’t the case you wouldn’t have tiger, you wouldn’t have rhino being reintroduced and probably no elephant.
“And if you didn’t have them you wouldn’t have any tourists. You can see what a huge benefit wildlife is to the community. Instead of suffocating the park you are ring fencing it.”
The last part of the day consisted of a trek through the Himalyas, giving Harry a great view of the beautiful scenery. He spent the night with a local family who cooked for him.
Harry, has already met survivors of the earthquakes in April and May last year. He is on a five day tour in Nepal, and yesterday visited a local temple and viewed the devastation caused by the earthquake.