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Nepali students study to become priests in unique school

Agencies: It is 9:00 am. Outside the compound of Nepal Ved Vidhya Ashram School, students wearing their neat uniforms are disembarking from school buses for their classes.

Inside the school, the morning sessions for an “all boys” class wearing the national dress “Daura-Suruwal” along with “Dhaka topi” and slippers, would soon start.

Unlike other schools that have mushroomed in Nepal, this school is teaching the traditional “Sanskrit” and “Vedas” to its 200 students who would become priests after getting their School Leaving Certificate(SLC).

“Our school has been providing education and at the same time promoting the traditional culture and ritual along with the conservation of Sanskrit language,” said Keshav Prasad Adhikari, the school principle in an interview with Xinhua.

He said that the school is different from other schools because it teaches “Vedas”, which still has relevance today despite its being introduced thousands of years ago.

The unique school does not have girl students or students from any other caste than Brahmin. This was despite an earlier Supreme Court verdict that any willing student can study in any school irrespective of their caste, creed and gender.

“Earlier the study was restricted to only Brahmin child but now it is open. However, no one from other caste has ever come to study here,”Adhikari added.

The school has meager facilities. Students sit on carpeted floor in very tiny classrooms and only teachers sit on chairs.

The school has no computers and students are not allowed to have extracurricular activities.

Adhikari said that they have a budgetary problem. He said that of the 200 students, 75 of them study in full scholarship being selected from each district while the government provides only 50, 000 rupees (approximately 546 US dollars) yearly.

However, he said Pashupati Area Development Trust provides a sum of 7 million rupees (roughly 79,000 US dollars) but this is not permanent.

15-year-old Bhanubhakta Upadhayaya, who comes from remote Humla in mid-western Nepal, said that he enjoys studying Sanskrit at the school which is far better than the school in his village.

The fourth grader said that he wants to become a priest after completing his formal studies in the school.

Apart from those aspiring to become priests, there are those who have expressed the desire to become astrologers.

Kalyan Kharel, 11, said he wants to follow the footsteps of his father who is an astrologer aside from being a priest.

Apart from Sanskrit, students also learn English, Mathematics, Nepali,Social Studies, Health and Population, which are taught in regular schools.

After their SLC examination, students can chose to go into other fields of studies but most of them prefer to go to the Sanskrit University to acquire more knowledge.

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For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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