Nepal, a country tucked in Asia on the southern slope of the great Himalayan Ranges, attracts a large number of travellers throughout the year. People travel to Nepal to see the country's multicultural environment, participate in exhilarating experiences, and soak up the warmth and vitality of the country's rich culture.
Nepal is a fascinatingly diversified country that draws tourists for a variety of reasons. Some come for the mountains, expecting to climb or trek in the Himalayas, while others are drawn to the culture and the famous city of Kathmandu, and yet others come in search of spiritual awakening. The beautiful splendour of these renowned tourist destinations in Nepal provides the appropriate backdrop, and the climate makes it ideal for visitors to visit and explore.
Kathmandu Valley comprises the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, which were once independent states ruled by the Malla kings from the 12th to the 18th centuries. The three cities house seven UNESCO World Heritage shrines which are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture). The valley is also home to hundreds of other exquisite monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art - reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.
Legend has it that the valley was once a primordial lake ringed by verdant mountains. In this pristine lake lived giant serpents until one fine day, saint Manjushree, the Bodhisatva, raised a mighty sword and in one fell swoop, cut open the side of a mountain at a place now known as Chobar. The voluminous water of the lake gushed out, leaving behind a fertile valley capable of supporting large urban settlements over the millennia. The Gopala and Kirati dynasties were the earliest rulers here followed by the Licchavi (300-879 A.D.), under whom flourished trade and crafts.
But the valley’s remarkable cities with their ornate palaces, the superbly crafted pagodas, and the monumental stupas are testimony of the artistic genius of the Newars, the original inhabitants of the valley, whose skills were championed by the Malla kings and appreciated even by the Mongol rulers of 18th century China.
Pokhara’s tranquil beauty has been the subject of inspiration for many travel writers. Its pristine air, spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks, blue lakes and surrounding greenery make it ‘the jewel in the Himalaya’, a place of remarkable natural disposition. With the magnificent Annapurna range forming the backdrop and the serenity of the Cluster of 9 Lakes with three major ones - Phewa, Rupa and Begnas – Pokhara is a great destination for a weekend getaway as well as a long relaxing holiday. Pokhara Valley, gateway to the Annapurna region where many a trekker finds his Shangri-la, sits high on the list of ‘must visit’ places in Nepal.
Pokhara once lay on the important trade route between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains set up camps on the city outskirts, bringing goods from remote Himalayan regions including Mustang. Gurungs and Magars, who have earned world-wide fame as fierce Gurkha warriors, are predominant here. Thakalis, indigenous of the Thak Khola region of Mustang, are known for their entrepreneurship and run tea houses along the trek routes in the Annapurna region. The Pokhara is best known for the stunning view of the Annapurna range. It is perhaps one of the few places on earth from where mountains above 6,000 m can be seen unobstructed from an altitude of 800 m within the distance of 28 km.
Many find Machhapuchhre's razor-edged "Fish Tail" peak piercing the skyline or reflected in the still waters of Phewa Lake to be their most lasting impression of Nepal. Pokhara Valley has in recent years grown as a destination for adventure sports such as paragliding and ultra-light aircraft flights. And with boating, bird watching, trekking and mountain biking as other attractions, Pokhara has it all.
Climb Everest if you want to stand on top of the world, or do the extremely popular Everest Base Camp Trek to enter a strange world of ice and snow.
Reach the highest point on earth or choose to live out your dream by standing at the foot of Mt. Everest (8,848 m).
The Everest region in Nepal is more than just climbing and trekking, it is a life-changing experience and some see it as a journey close to achieving Nirvana. Located in the northeastern province of Nepal, this region is in a world of its own with vast glaciers, icefalls, the highest mountains, deep valleys, precarious settlements, and hardy people challenging the harshest conditions thrown at them by nature in the thin air of high altitude.
Passing through legendary Sherpa villages, the trek is a mix of deep cultural and spiritual experiences and physical challenges that test your strength and endurance. Buddhist lamas, monks and nuns led by Rinpoches (reincarnate at mas) serve the predominantly Sherpa communities from their gompas (monasteries).
The journey to Everest or Everest Base Camp begins with a dramatic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, after which you hike up the Everest region to reach your destination in the Himalayas. However, for die-hard lovers of trekking, there is another switchback starting from Jiri through the mid-hills of Solu, an ethnically diverse section of the trek rich
For those with sufficient time, a 10-12 day trek through Solu to the Khumbu and the Sagarmatha National Park is an excellent itinerary both in terms of acclimatization and to observe the changing customs, traditions, and lifestyles as you go from the lower altitude settlements to those in the higher altitudes.
A part of the Himalayan ecological zone, the park was added to the list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in 1979. The park has three of the world's highest mountains: Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu besides countless other peaks that rise above 6,000 meters from sea level.
Taking a flight is a time-saver, while trekking from Jiri gives you the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Tenzing and Hillary before their conquest of Everest. With more time to interact with the charming people along the route, you get to see the rich flora and fauna on the long trail. You get the added benefit of natural acclimatization as you go up and down the cliffs and valleys.
The option from Jiri will roughly add 10 days to your trip to the famous Sherpa village, Namche Bazaar (3,500m). The Sagarmatha National Park in which Mt. Everest lies is one of the few places on earth with the rarest bio-diversity and the highest mountains in the world.
Climbers and trekkers continue to trek to Everest Base Camp and not surprisingly the "Roof of the World" continues to be the world' top attraction for hardened mountaineers, a haven for alpine enthusiasts and is on the bucket list of adventurers from around the world.
The Everest region has been valued as the key to the evolutionary history of the Earth and is also a habitat for some rare and endangered species like the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, musk deer and Himalayan wolves.
During the Treta Yug/ period about 12,000 years ago Janakpur used to be the capital of King Janak’s Kingdom of Mithila. Known as the capital of Province 2 today, Janakpur the birthplace of Janaki or Sita, the consort of Lord Ram, is an important religious pilgrimage site in the Terai plains, in south central Nepal. Apart from being mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana, Janakpur is also famous for its temples, ponds, Mithila art and vibrant festivals. The prime attraction of Janakpur is the magnificent temple dedicated to Sita called the Janaki Mandir.
Known as the cultural center for Hindus in the Terai plains of Nepal, Janakpur has held a special significance for Indian travelers since centuries. Similarly, Janakpur is also of particular interest to Thai travelers as the Late King Bhumibol expressed special affinity for Janakpur as a cultural center of Mithila. The Royal household of Thailand still receives mangoes from the orchards of Janakpur annually. These fruits are in abundance during the peak summer months from May to mid-June are savored for their sweet taste and unique flavor.
Janakpur is approximately 390 km and 10-hour drive from Kathmandu. Buses to district headquarter Janakpur city leave from Central Bus Station, Gongabu, Kathmandu. One can also take a 40-minute flight to Janakpur city from Kathmandu. Janakpur lies in the Terai belt where the temperatures soar during summer months making it quite hot while winters are mild and temperate. Monsoons from June to September bring rainfall in this sub-tropical region.
Chitwan literally means “heart of the jungle”. The popular Inner Terai valley gets its name from Chitrasen, the Tharu King, who once ruled here. In the southwest corner of Bagmati Province, Chitwan lies between foothills of the Himalaya, the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges. The region called Chitra Ban in earlier references used to be dense forest abounding in wild animals and resorted by recluse sages meditating deep in the forests.
In recent years Chitwan National Park tops the list of things to do in Asia. It is an exciting jungle experience with - jungle safaris, birdwatching, canoe rides and numerous other nature and jungle activities. While the jungles are teeming with wild animals like tigers, leopards and rhinos, along the marshes and rivers are gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles basking in the sun.
You can also spend some quality time visiting the elephant and gharial breeding centers, a perfect way to educate kids about these animals and their life cycle. Observe local indigenous life by visiting a Tharu village, where you will be welcomed inside their traditional mud houses and treated as valued guests. Unwind next to campfire at the end of the watching the Tharu stick dance and listening to their soothing folk songs.
The climate in Chitwan is sub-tropical with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
Lumbini Birthplace of Buddha
Lumbini is the Buddha's birthplace, one of the world's most important spiritual sites and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Today you can visit over twenty-five Buddhist monasteries built by diverse countries from Vietnam to France, study Buddhism, meditate and visit the birthplace within the sacred Mayadevi Gardens.
Mayadevi Temple is the most sacred site in the Lumbini Garden where archaeologists have identified the exact spot where Lord Buddha was born. Inscriptions on the Ashoka Pillar nearby also refer to the spot as his birthplace. It is said that the newly born Prince Siddhartha (later became the Buddha) took his first seven steps and delivered his peace message to humanity here.
The birth took place in the beautiful Sal grove, which is now the focal point of the Lumbini Garden. Mayadevi, the Queen of Shakya King Suddhodhana of Kapilvastu, while passing through the Lumbini Garden, on the day of Baishakha Purnima (full moon day of May in 623 BC) took a bath in the the Sacred Pond Pushkarini and soon after gave birth to Prince Siddhartha.
Visit the remarkably beautiful monasteries built by countries such as China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Germany, France and many more; admire the spectacular and diverse architecture they showcase. Soak up the peaceful atmosphere and above all, visit the Mayadevi Temple which dates back 2,200 years.
Walk around the garden or find a quiet spot to contemplate. The focal point for pilgrims is a sandstone carving depicting the birth of the Buddha, believed to have been left here by the Malla King Ripu Malla, in the 14th century, when Mayadevi was worshipped as an incarnation of a Hindu mother goddess. The Ashoka Pillar was built by the great Indian Emperor Ashoka who became a devout Buddhist while visiting the birthplace of the Buddha back in 249 BC.
Visit the Panditarama Vipassana Center for some yoga and meditation and interact with the monks who live in the vicinity of the monasteries, devoting their time to bringing peace and harmony to all sentient beings through devotion and religious worship.