Aesthetic wooden artifacts, traditional windows, spell- bounding designs showcasing a glimpse of the past, Dwarika’s has set its hallmark in the sector of the hotel industry. Today’s Dwarika’s has been possible with the significant ideas of its founders and brilliant team members. Pioneering in the hotel industry, Ms. Ambica Shrestha’s role is very crucial for the existence of such a heavenly hotel in the heart of Kathmandu valley. President of Dwarika’s Hotels and Resorts, Ms. Ambica Shrestha, is one of the pioneers in the women entrepreneurship and hotel industry in Nepal.
Born in Darjeeling India, she comes from a highly educated family and she is the eldest daughter out of 8 children of her family. She completed her primary education from Loreto School and Senior Cambridge Exam(Bachelors of Arts) from Patna University. Embellished with the aura of confident and stalwart personality, Ambica Shrestha created history in her twenties. In the 1950s, she was only one among few women with higher qualifications and a fluent English skill set. Working as a teacher of English subjects in Kanti Ishwori School for two years, she also ran English language classes and training at the British Council.
Ambica Shrestha is an exemplary person representing women empowerment at those times when women were limited to doing household chores only. She shared in one interview that she was paid only Rs. 80 a month. She was the first public affairs officer of the United States Information Center. In the 196s, Shrestha used to assign herself to foreign missions and teach foreign languages. Her dedicated engagements in social and diplomatic programs and professional business have been the source of inspiration to all the women who want to embark on their successful dream journey.
Who else has thought about the heritage hotel with the stupendous collection of antique art and local architecture would stand strong among the most globally branded modern hotels? Ambica Shrestha knotted her tie with the Badahakim of Biratnagar, Dwarika Das Shrestha, and came to Nepal in 1955. Dwarika’s Hotel was a small initiation or guest house trial for the preservation and restoration of carved wooden artifacts of Dwarika Das Shrestha who was keenly interested in preserving such architectures. The small guest house turned into a large heritage home, the hotel has now over 800 rooms. After the demise of her husband in 1991, Ambica Shrestha raised the small hotel initially with five rooms into the most reputed and traditional hotel of the world. Now Dwarika’s Hotel and Resorts is known as the masterpiece of artifacts with modern amenities too. Youths are also trained here on traditional artifacts and sculptures and they work as craftsmen with income opportunities.
Ambica Shrestha also serves as the head of the Nepalese Heritage Society and Business and Professional Woman Nepal. She has a daily Mantra in one interview that “At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and failure.” She is managing director of Kathmandu Travel and Tours, and Nepal Trek and Natural History Expedition. Shrestha is also a president of the Federation of Business Professional Women-Nepal as well on the board of other voluntary organizations. She is working as an honorary consulate General of Spain for Nepal. Along with the President of Dwarika’s Hotels and Resorts, she is a renowned entrepreneur, heritage conservationist, and social worker.
Ambica Shrestha has received many accolades till now. She is one of the most influential persons in the tourism sector. She is also awarded the Decoration of The Cross of the Order of Civil Merit by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I, Spain, and was voted as one of the 50 most Influential Women of Nepal by The Boss Business Magazine in 2005. Regarding several awards, she is awarded Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 4th by His Majesty the King of Nepal, Prakhyat Trishaktti Patta by His Majesty the King of Nepal, Badge of Honour by BPW International, and highest Award in Rotary “Science Above Self Award”. Shrestha is felicitated with the “Lifetime Achievement in Business Leadership” award at the 6th NewBiz Conclave 2019. Recently, she received the award of “Nabil Skill Hero 2020” in the field of Tourism and Hospitality.
When Ms. Shrestha started her entrepreneurial journey, women in Nepal were expected to spend their time in household chores and take care of their families only. In a closed society, it was not easy for women to take such an active role. From being a woman concentrating on household chores to a present working, empowered, and globally recognized Nepali woman, she has seen all the ups and downs of the social and economic transformation of Nepal as a close eye witness. Her works are inclined towards preserving the cultural heritage of Nepal and improving the conditions of underprivileged women. Ms. Shrestha is a great supporter of women and believes that if women are given the right opportunity, they can prove what they can do. Ms. Ambica, along with a few others, also established Britain Nepal society with the support of the British Council.
Ambica Shrestha, a renowned entrepreneur, heritage conservationist, and social worker, believes in building the capacity of women and encourages them to participate in economic activities. Not only women, but she has also been restlessly promoting people and communities for better Nepal and the world eventually. Ms. Shrestha continues her mission to enhance the capabilities of men and women in Nepal and globally through her experience, expertise, and her great efforts made the recognition of Dwarika’s like a living museum of Nepal’s archeology and crafts.