A day in the streets of Kathmandu – What to do?

Photography-1

One of the oldest cities in the world, Kathmandu is a tourism hub of Nepal. The history dates back between 167 BC and 1 AD according to great scholars. Throughout the ancient times, different rulers of different dynasties like Kirat, Licchavi, Malla and Shah have ruled the valley. Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu are the greatest cities of the ancient Kathmandu valley where trade, culture, art and architecture flourished in different phases. Still there are many historical monuments, which represent Nepalese culture as well as the harmony between two great religions Hinduism and Buddhism.

Anyone planning their next trip to Nepal, Kathmandu valley will be an awesome way to get in touch with the unique history of the country that defines, civilization of different eras with the blend of modern touch.

Sightseeing:

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Kathmandu valley offers variety of sightseeing destinations. The harmony between Buddhism and Hinduism can be witnessed during the visit to the world heritage sights. Sightseeing in Kathmandu is a perfect way of getting in touch with the rich Nepalese history. The Valley is also the home of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include Kathmandu Durbar square, Bhaktapur Durbar square, Patan Durbar square, Pashupatinath, Swyambunath, Boudhanath and Changunarayan.

Shopping:

shopping-in-nepal

When it comes to shopping, Kathmandu is a great place for buying authentic Nepalese goods. Handicrafts, Thanka Paintings, Fabrics like Pashmina, Cashmere, Wool, Silk and handmade garments are some of most sold items in Nepalese market. Streets of Kathmandu are filled with items that might interest all kinds of tourists. Local spices are very famous amongst food loving people whereas Handicraft, exotic Nepalese weapons, hemp products and traditional musical instruments are famous amongst travelers. Branded goods as well as Nepalese items are sold side by side, so it is quite easy to find the desired goods in different localities of the valley.

Photography:

photography-2

Travellers who have been to Nepal describe the culture as a very colorful one. Since the beginning of the civilization, “Religion, Culture and Festivals” have been a part of Nepalese life. Plus ethnic diversity adds a different flavor to the colorful life in the country. With multiple ethnical tribes the level of cultural diversity in the valley caters a great photographic experience for both professional and amateur photographers.

Food:

Food-1

The language of food is universal. And when it comes to Nepalese food, it is the prime highlight of our culture. Types of Nepalese food depends on, which place or city you are in. If you are in Kathmandu, spicy Newari cuisines will awaken your taste bud in a hot and sweet way. The Newari clan who dominate the population of the valley not only celebrate colorful festivals and culture; they also are wonderful cooks and food fanatics who love to cook delicious cuisines and of course share them with every one around.

Best of Nepal – Culture, nature & adventure

We would not hesitate to call this tour the Best of Nepal Tour because it incorporates the best of Nepal’s culture, wildlife, nature and adventure.

The country better known for Himalayas and the adventurous walking activities to the elevated landmarks closer to the Himalayas also caters equally fascinating culture, rich wildlife, matchless urban nature and the thrilling adventures. And the Best of Nepal is a blend all these wonderful highlights Nepal caters without trekking to the elevated regions.

 

best of nepal kathmandu

Our Best of Nepal Tour takes you to three major cities of the country i.e. Kathmandu Pokhara and Chitwan. These cities of Nepal are the biggest tourist hubs known for the contrasting extraordinary treasures they house.

The tour is also considered the best of Nepal because travelers have plenty of options for lavish stay as three towns house the best hotels and restaurants of the country, with all the modern facilities and amenities.

Let us see why we call this tour the Best of Nepal Tour

Kathmandu – where culture is older than the countries like USA & Australia

If you are entering Nepal via air, you need to tolerate Kathmandu. The first experience of Kathmandu for many is not good. The sights, sounds and smells of Kathmandu for most of westerners definitely give them the cultural shock. However, travelers slowly begin to like Kathmandu.

best of nepal newar

The metropolis choke full of traffics and pedestrians has so much to offer. The cobbled maze streets of Old Town Asan that lead to the site of artistic and cultural Heritage Square – the Kathmandu Durbar Square cater abundant opportunities to understand the culture of this ancient town. The city known as the melting point of Hinduism and Buddhism also houses the largest Hindu shrine of the country, Pashupatinath and two major Buddhist stupas – Boudhanath and Swayambhunath.

Moreover, the neighboring towns Bhaktapur and Lalitpur are not less fascinating culturally and artistically as all these towns went through tough Art War with each other for centuries. Additionally, the culture of native community of all three cities, Newars is wonderful aspect to observe in Kathmandu.

best of nepal kathmandu lifestyle

 

Newars are the families of artists, who designed every tiny creation of the valley bit by bit. They are the families of the celebrators, who throughout the year are involved in celebrating the most vibrant festivals of the country and they are the families of the indigenous cooks, who are admired for cooking the most delicious and traditional Newari cuisines.

Pokhara – from where 8000m+ Himalayan peak loom dramatically in 30 km radius

Pokhara is truly a dream town where everyone likes to settle down permanently. Perfect weather throughout the year, lush green hills that ring the valley and the spectacular views of the Himalayas dominated by Virgin Mountain Fishtail, Pokhara is unarguably a heaven on Earth.

best of nepal pokhara

This Lake Town that lies 200km west of Kathmandu is the most popular stopover point for trekkers to Annapurna and Mustang Region to spend significant amount of quality time before and after the trek. The tourist hub in Pokhara, Lakeside that lies in the shore of verdant Fewa Lake is full of life catering live music and colorful souvenir shops.

best of nepal adventure

Apart from soft adventures like boating in Fewa Lake and excursion of caves and gorges of the town, Pokhara is the most popular adventurous hub of Nepal. Among several hilltops that cater the magnificent views of the Himalayas and Sarangkot is one of them. Sarangkot is the most special hilltop in Pokhara because it is from here the Aerial Adventure as if Paragliding takes place.

Besides, the city is also the home to Aadventures like zip-flying, bungee jumping, Ultra-light flights and skydiving. The soft adventures like Mountain Biking and day hiking are also the popular activities Of Pokhara.

Chitwan – where the endangered wild species are sheltered for generations to come

When it comes to the wildlife adventure in Nepal, Chitwan National Park is the first destination most people think of. UNESCO World Heritage, protected park spreads over 932 sq km with wetlands, grasslands and woodlands.

best of nepal chitwan

The park caters one of the best wildlife activities of entire Asia. If you are a wildlife lover, Chitwan National Park has plenty of wildlife activities for you. Elephant Safari, dugout canoe ride, Jeep drive, nature walk, elephant bathing and bird-watching tours are the most popular activities of Chitwan National Park. All these activities are full of fun catering you an opportunity to sight as much as species of mammals, reptiles and birds.

However, spotting a wild species in the wilds needs bit of luck. The home to one horned rhino and Royal Bengal Tiger, the park also houses rare gangetic dolphin and 544 species of birds.

best of nepal tharu culture

 

Plus, the opportunity to enjoy glimpses of Tharu culture in the neighborhood of Chitwan National Park is an additional cultural activity attached with the incredible wildlife park of Nepal.

 

TripAdvisors’ Destination on the Rise- Kathmandu tops the list in Asia.

ktm-city-of-temples

Kathmandu, city of Temples and Deities  

54 cities across the globe competed for TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for the Destination on the Rise 2014. Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital tops the list in Asia. Based on searches and reviews of millions of TripAdvisors’ users, Kathmandu achieved third place after Havana and La Fortuna de San Carlos in the category.

Kathmandu, a cosmopolitan city is an ideal blend of medieval and primeval cultural treasures and the rapidly growing modernity. The valley itself is a Heritage Valley, which comprises three medieval towns Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The home to seven UNESCO enlisted World Heritage Sites; Kathmandu also is called the City of Temples and Deities for having countless small and big temples and monasteries scattered throughout the city.  The oldest finding archaeologists have found in Kathmandu, is a statue at Maligaon which dates back to 185AD and hence the civilization of Kathmandu is ancient which is evident.

BOUDHANATH

Largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, Boudhanath

Situated at 1400m, Kathmandu has an ideal weather most of the times of the year. The pleasant natives who are always in the festive mood, celebrate more than 100 festivals every year, which could be an opportunity to have an insightful peep into the traditional Nepali culture. Moreover, the restaurants serving varieties of cuisines of food, comfortable hotels and facilities of every modern amenity are easily available in the city. All the above factors mentioned among others, have made Kathmandu an ideal pick to travel, for millions of travelers around the world.

After the TrpAdvisors’ winners on the category of Best Travel Destinations on the Rise 2014 were announced, the travel search engine says, “These were the places that have seen the greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest”.  “In all these award winning destinations travelers can discover wonderful accommodations, attractions and,” said TripAdvisor chief marketing officer Barbara Messing.

ktm-durbar-square

Artistic example of medieval Nepal, Kathmandu Durbar Square

 

First time in Kathmandu- Surprise to many shock to few

Living with the Gods
Living with the Gods
A sacred soul in Kathmandu
A sacred soul
Royal peep
Royal peep
Ancient stone deity in Kathmandu
Ancient stone deity

 Boarding a plane to a very new place is often interesting. Throughout the flight a traveler draws an imaginary picture of the place. Once the plane lands and reality is before the eyes, it is nowhere close to the drawing in the brain. Exactly, encountering the unexpected or the least expected is the fun of traveling. And Kathmandu is one of the few destinations where several unexpected activities for a novice traveler take place every now and then.

Metallic and wooden carving-Kathmandu
Metallic and wooden carving-Kathmandu
The most artistic doorway
The most artistic doorway
Devotee with Buddha-Swayambhunath
Devotee with Buddha-Swayambhunath
Hindu death ritual- Pashupatinath
Hindu death ritual- Pashupatinath 

Wheels dominate the noisy roads, but medieval culture overflows in the neighborhood. Dust in the air but colors of celebration absorb the pollution. Modern malls built everywhere but still the ancient edifices count more. Traffic jam stretched to several 100 meters but the citizens hold unlimited patience to drive through. This is Kathmandu or the first perception over Nepal- for a novice traveler. Kathmandu is surprise to many and shock to few; disorganized technically but organized rationally.

Deity resting on the ground
Deity resting on the ground
Artistic window frames-Everywhere in Kathmandu
Artistic window frames-Everywhere in Kathmandu
My home is so beautiful - Kathmandu
My home is so beautiful
Evil dies when I roar
Evil dies when I roar 

Kathmandu, a UNESCO World Heritage valley holds three equally beautiful antediluvian cities which in medieval times were at Art War with each other. Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur collectively house seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with 1000s of other temples and monasteries sprinkled in different corners of the valley. That is why Kathmandu boasts to be the City of Temples. Traveling back to medieval times is the exact way to describe the exploration of Kathmandu. It is a sanctuary of ancient sensual architecture, wobbly but still firm ancient structures, the complex wooden carvings, the sacred dome and pagoda shaped shrines and the peaceful courtyard where once the civilization thrived. The fun of getting lost in the lively squares of Asan and Indra Chowk demands a map to navigate a way to the main street. Kathmandu in short is a beautiful ancient maze bucketed with life.

Guarded deity
Guarded deity
Kaal Bhairav- Fearsome God
Kaal Bhairav- Fearsome God
Rani Pokhari, in the middle of Kathmandu
Rani Pokhari, in the middle of Kathmandu
Fluttering holy flags- Boudhanath
Fluttering holy flags- Boudhanath 

Kathmandu is a treasure trove. Arty and holy deity idols scattered everywhere demand the watchful eyes. These ancient treasures are everywhere; resting high on ancient buildings, tucked in temples doors, abandoned in an isolated ruins of the shrines. But most of these little treasures are found somewhere near to famous temples and monasteries of the city.

City of temples- Kathmandu
City of temples- Kathmandu
Elephant God- Ganesha
Elephant God- Ganesha
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Ear pleasing music
Ear pleasing music 

Pashupatinath, the holiest Hindu Temple for death ritual in Nepal, Changunarayan, the oldest Hindu temple in the valley, the prevailing Boudhanath, said to be the largest stupa in the country, Swayambhunath, a peaceful Buddhist stupa set atop a hill are the major shrines in Kathmandu enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The medieval Durbar Squares built in all three cities are also must explore UNESCO Heritage Sites while in Kathmandu.

Gods live in and out of the temples - Kasthamandap
Gods live in and out of the temples
Flowers for the Deities
Flowers for the Deities
Devotee dressed and masked as Monkey God- Hanuman
Devotee dressed and masked as Monkey God- Hanuman
I have seat up in the sky
I have seat up in the sky 

Kathmandu is chaotic yet captivating it is frenzied yet fantastic. A hub of culture, history and religion, Kathmandu has something for everyone.

Tearing down the devil into peices
Tearing down the devil into peices
Monastery and a temple in a same place
Monastery and a temple in a same place
Line of small temples in Pashupatinath
Line of small temples in Pashupatinath
Holy saints at Pashupatinath
Holy saints at Pashupatinath 

 

Spend lesser time and money to watch authentic Tibetan culture at Boudhanath

Boudhanath_Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa

The largest stupa in Asia, Boudhanath reflects the Tibetan lifestyle at its traditional best. Everyday myriad of Buddhist devotees gather around this dome shaped stupa to circumambulate the shrine clockwise, which is ritualistically a holy act in Tibetan culture. Right below the dome, colorfully marked eyes of Buddha , seems like taking care of the city with a parental watch.  Maroon robed Tibetan monks stroll around the adorned streets with colorful prayer flags. The view of pilgrims spinning the prayer wheels and amassing yak butter and roasted barley flour which is also one of the typical Tibetan cultures,  adds life to this tiny Tibet within Nepal. One of the few places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture can be observed without spending much time and money, Boudhanath is an UNESCO enlisted World Heritage Site.  The vicinity around Boudhanath is pack to capacity with monasteries and outlets producing and selling essentials to live a normal life of Tibetan Buddhist.

boudhanath1

Young monks learning the values of Buddhism

Boudhanath has an important historical significance which was once upon a time a prominent stopover point on the trade route between Tibet and Kathmandu. Travelers on this silk route offered prayer at Boudhanath for the safe journey to Tibetan capital Lhasa, through the high passes in the Himalayas. Descendants of Tibetan refugees to Nepal since 1959, dominate the place now whereas, maroon robed Western students influenced towards Buddhism can also been seen in the backstreets of Boudhanath.

The ancient heritage, Boudhanath can be best observed on the full moon evening, when the entire plaza surrounding the shrine, lightens up with hundred thousand butter lamps.

boudhanath2

Cultural Tours in Nepal

Every Nepali there was honored, as on cloud nine an American shouted, “Only paradise on Earth is Nepal.”

Towering ice-topped mountains sparkle with the colorful prayer flags, while the fanatical streets of Kathmandu are a ceaseless delirium of honking motorbikes, additionally the historical and religiously important 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered in different corners of Kathmandu: Nepal is  thoroughly a vibrant slice of Asia.

If there is a trekkers’ paradise, then beyond doubt Nepal is the first pick. Trials to the base of Himalayas in Nepal offer top-notch trekking terrain – from verdant Annapurna to eminent Everest – sprinkled with rural mountain hamlets, and hundreds of rolling trails that have been trodden upon for centuries.

But divinely and naturally blessed Nepal is indeed not only for mountaineers who set off to clamber the higher elevation; from the lime-green grasslands of Chitwan National Park rustling with the dark grey flash of One-horned rhino, to the eclectic cafés and unconventional vibe of Lake-side Pokhara, Nepal is truly an interesting and convivial destination for all.

As a part of company CSR, six Explore Himalayans toured and trekked around few prominent destinations of Nepal which included Chitwan, Pokhara and Poonhill Trek. The FAM trip involved more fun and of course little bit of work. Field work obviously was focused on visiting our service partners so that we could improve the level of our services offered to the clients. Fun part definitely boosted our work efficiency while on work table . Have a look at a photo essay which highlights the prime attractions of the trip.

Day 1: Drive to Chitwan and transfer to Tigerland Safari Resort

166 km South East of Kathmandu lies the first Wildlife Park of Nepal, Chitwan National Park

Thrau-stick-dance

One of the biggest Ethnical tribes of Terai Lowlands of Nepal, Tharus have unique history and culture. The tharu stick dance at the resort is an insightful opportunity to peep into rich Tharu culture and history.

Day 2: Bird watching tour at the bank of Rapti River, Elephant wildlife Safari at Chitwan National Park and transfer to Hotel Water Front in Pokhara

birding-rapti-bank

Boating or Canoeing in Rapti River inside the Park is wonderful chance to spot different species of birds. Chitwan National Park is the home to 543 species of birds including 160 species of migratory birds.

elephant-wildlife-safari

The total area of 932 sq. km, Chitwan National park offers one of the best Wildlife Safaris in the world on the back of giant Asian Elephant. The Park comprises diverse species of floras in the form of wide grasslands and dense deciduous moist forest.

pea-cock

Birds like peacock and Braminhy Duck are easy spotting in the park whereas endangered bird species like Gould’s sunburn and Slaty-breasted Rail among others can also be spotted here which depends on traveler’s luck.

one-horned-rhino

Chitwan National Park is the home to 43 species of mammals which includes one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal Tiger. Varieties of species of reptiles, insects and amphibians also share the wild habitat.

After the safari and lunch with wonderful hospitality at Tigerland Safari Resort, we drive 146km North West of Chitwan and arrive to TripAdvisors’ ranked hotel of Pokhara, Water Front Resort.

Day 3: Drive to Nayapool in a private vehicle, drive to Kimche in a public vehicle and then trek to Tadapani

fishtail-pkr

Initial view of stunning Mt. Fishtail from Pokhara. The view changes as we climb higher.

Kimche

One and half hour drive to Naya Pool from Pokhara followed by 1 hour drive brings us to our trek starting point Kimche. The massif of Mt. Fishtail at the backdrop.

ghandruk

Two hours long steep uphill climb on the stone staircases from Kimche brings us to wonderful Gurung hamlet, Ghandruk. The first glimpse of rural lifestyle at Ghandruk.

tadapaniAlmost 4 and half hours of ascending climb followed by the final part of the pleasant walk along the rhododendron and bamboo woods takes us to the major stopover point in the region Tadapani. Places to stop for tea and snacks between Ghandruk and Tadapani- Sitkyu and Bhaisi Kharka

Day 4: Trek to Ghorepani via Deurali

tadapani-view

The morning view from Tadapani- From right to left- Fishtail, Gangapurna, Hinchuli and Annapurna South

Gurung-hill

Three hours of walk on the slippery, icy and rolling trial via Banthati brought us to Deurali 3105m. The view of Gurung Hill from Deurali. Gurung Hill is almost 150m steep uphill climb from Deurali.

dhaulagiri-gurung-hill

One hour up and down from Deurali to Gurung Hill rewards with striking view of Dhaulagiri, Tilicho Peak and Dhampus Peak

mt-view

One hour walk from Deurali and just before the final descend to Ghorepani the mountains open up even more. The view from the ridge of a hill between Deurali and Ghorepani. Ghorepani is just 45 minutes walk from this point.

Day 4: Early Morning Trek to Poonhill for the sunrise view, trek back to Ghorepani, and trek to Hille via, Nangethati, Banthati, Ulleri and Thirkedunga. Drive to Nayapool and drive back to Lakeside Retreat in Pokhara.

sunrise-poonhill

Colorful Nature- Dark Hills, silvern Himalayas, aureate sky and nigrescent cloud during the emerging new sun somewhere in the horizon- a striking view from Poonhill

view-poonhill

Color changes in a flash at Poonhill. Wide Himalayan range sprawls right before the eyes.

view-poonhill

The section of hills swarming to the wide Range of Dhaulagiri Himalayan Range, yet another contrast view from Poonhill- Anyone would call this place a paradise

poonhill-view

Dhaulagiri witnesses the expression of love! Where else in the world people can find such a romantic place?

Day 6: Boating at Fewa Lake in Pokhara

tal-barahi

A sacred Hindu shrine, Taal Barahi Temple in the middle of Fewa Lake

fewa-lake

Tranquil Fewa Lake, colorful boats and sacred small island- A place to enjoy serenity in Pokhara

fishtail-paragliding

Flying to face the beautiful Fishtail- Pokhara is also an adventurous flying hub of Nepal

Day 7: Drive back to Kathmandu

group-pic

Explore Himalayans during the FAM Trip with their guide/porter Mr. Phool Man Kafle

Few photographs of diverse Nepal

 

Pashupatinath_Temple_ Kathmandu

Thronging devotees to Hindu sacred shrine Pashupatinath on Mahashivratri

mustang

An ancient grandiose palace of Forbidden Kingdom- Mustang

langtang

A far-flung hamlet on the Nepalese mid-hills on the Langtang Trial

agriculture

A traditional way of farming in Nepal. Oxen plough the fields and farmers sow the seeds

garden-of-dreams

Lonely planet says, “Most beautiful place in Kathmandu but missed by many”- Garden of Dreams

pokhara

Expression of nature itself- Pokhara, a paradise on Earth

lumbini

Sacred land- Lumbini where Gautam Buddha was born

indra-jatra

Celebrating Indra Jatra to please the “God of Rain Indra” at Kathmandu Durbar Square

Tsegori

A wonderful ridge to summit- Tsergo Ri- Langtang Region, Nepal

Tyangboche Monastery aginst the back drop of Mt. Ama Dablam

Tyangboche Monastery aginst the back drop of Mt. Ama Dablam- Everest Region, Nepal

harvest

Sherpa women harvesting their staple food in the Himalayan Region of Nepal

range

View ubiquitously available while trekking in Nepal

 

TTF Bangalore- Nepal attracts large segment of outbound Indian Tourists

 

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), led the team of Nepalese Travel delegates while participating in the Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF) held in Bangalore, India.

During India’s largest Travel Show TTF, nine Travel  Companies of Nepal accompanied NTB. The Travel Trade Fair was held from January 3 to 5. According to NTB visitors at TTF, made inquiries about Nepal´s prime touristic highlights as well as the pilgrimage destinations like Pasupatinath, Muktinath and Manakamana among others.

The statement of NTB says “Visitors also inquired about pilgrimage tour to Kailash Mansarovar via Nepal. The soft adventure holidays like trekking and rafting, leisure tour of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan, and entertainment segments are also found popular among young travelers of India”, NTB statement adds.

News source: Republica