Nepal offers a lifetime experience for everyone from around the globe. A holiday in Nepal offers romance and adventure from the spectacular Himalayas to exotic wildlife safari, exhilarating white water rafting, mystifying variety of flora and fauna, charismatic arts and cultures and some of the best walking trails on earth combined with stirring adventurous bustles.
“Nepal” being embellished with gleaming Himalayan range in the north and adorned with lowland greenery in the south, has always lingered in a class of its own as a magical, mysterious and marvelous tourist destination and remains evermore. This Himalayan Kingdom known as the “Land of Mount Everest” and the “land of Living Goddess-Kumari” is dignified by the heroism of its brave warrior ancestors-“The Gurkhas”.
Here are some of the popular places of Nepal that most visitor visit.
Kathmandu valley is situated at an altitude of 1,336 meters above sea level and covers an area of 218 square miles. The rich tapestry of the cultural heritage of Nepal is synthesized in the Kathmandu valley, which includes Kathmandu (kantipur), Patan (Lalitpur) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaun) cities.
Kathmandu, also known as “kantipur” is the capital city of Nepal. A city that offers a perfect blender of modern amenities, exotic setting and ancient arts, cultures and traditions. King Gunakama Dev built the city in present form in 723 A.D. The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu include:
Built between 12th to 18th centuries by the Malla dynasty Kings, the site is now on World heritage List of UNESCO. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and palaces, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people.
Temple of Kumari (Vestal virgin), or “The Living Goddess”, is situated in vicinity of hanuman Dhoka palace. The building has intricately carved wooden balconies with window screens and the Kumari acknowledges greetings from her balcony window.
Located near the temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha malla in the beginning of the sixteen century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple.
“The Self Existing One” is located 4 kilometers west of the Kathmandu on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu valley. It is the oldest shrine and a place of pilgrimage, which was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979 A.D.
Pashupatinath is the temple of the lord Shiva, which is situated 5 km east from central Kathmandu on the banks of the river Bagmati. Annually hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrimage from different parts of the world visit this sacred temple on special religious occasion. The temple was listed in UNESCO World heritage Monument List in 1997 A.D.
Here looms a 36-meter stupa amidst a locality inhabited by members of the Buddhist community. It is on the World heritage List of UNESCO. It has 45 monasteries in its premises.
Situated on the way to Shivapuri Sanctuary, it environs a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes. It is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of the Lichchhavi period of Nepal. This fifth century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float on water.
Located about 2 kilometers west of Kathmandu, the National Museum has a splendid collection of weapons and artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing.
This ancient city is above five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, embellished with numerous Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments with bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, Patan city is known as the “City of Fine Arts”. The major tourist attractions of Patan are:
Patan Durbar Square, situated in the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings.
Bhaktapur city of the “City of Devotees” is situated 18 kilometers east of Kathmandu. This 19th century town boasts of its architectural splendor and colorful lifestyle full of rituals and festivity where civilization may be at a standstill. The major sightseeing places in Bhaktapur include:
The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the Statue of King Bhupendra Malla, the picture gallery, the Golden Gate, the palace of 55 windows, the batsala Temple and the Bell of barking Dogs, the replica of Pashupatinath Temple, etc.
The square takes its name from the Dattratraya Temple. The square is famous for ornate monasteries known as maths. The National Wood-Working Museum and the Brass and Bronze Museum are housed here.
Some of the most popular tourist spots located in the periphery of Kathmandu valley are as follows:
Tucked away in the upper reaches of Kathmandu valley is nagarkot with a history that dates back to the first human settlement of the valley. It is situated 32 km east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 meters above sea level. Besides being popular location for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the Himalayas, Nagarkot also offers the panoramic view of the major peaks of the eastern Nepal Himalayan including Sagarmatha.
This ancient town is situated 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the side of the Arniko Highway. This newari town Dhulikhel offers a traditional atmosphere along with spectacular views. The pleasant climate is a big attraction of Dhulikhel especially during summer.
Situated at the end of a long ridge, which runs well into the valley, it is said to have been built by King Hari Dutta in 323 A.D. It is regarded to be the oldest temple in the valley. It was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979 A.D.
Though proximate to Kathmandu, it is way off from the pollution and the dust of the valley with an open space, surrounded by green hills, all-around to a place that assures tranquility and warm weather, a place amidst a quaint village with paddy field and orange trees, and the rustic smell of the hay and the barn, a place far from the madding crowd, is Dakshinkali.
Pokhara, an enchanting valley, nestled in the tranquil laps of the Annapurna Range, is located 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu. It is an ideal vacationer’s paradise with its crystal clear lakes and magnificent views of the western Himalayas of Mount Annapurna and Mount Manaslu range and the Fish tail Mountain.
It is believed that all miseries and sorrows are relieved once you visit the temple. The name itself signifies, Mukti means Nirvana and Nath means God i.e, the “God of Nirvana”. This famous temple of Lord Muktinath lies in the district of Mustang and is situated about 18 kilometers northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3,749 meters.
The birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam, the Shakya prince and the ultimate “Buddha”, the “Enlightened one”, is the pilgrimage destination of the world’s millions of people faithful to the scholls of “Buddhism”. This holy place is accessible by air from Kathmandu to Bhairawa. From Kathmandu it takes about eight hours by bus or cars.
Shrine of Goddess Manakamana, also known as “the wish fulfilling Goddess” is located 6 kilometers north of Mugling on the Prithiwi (Kathmandu-Pokhara) Highway. It is nestled on a top edge (1302 meters) gazing the valleys of trishuli to south and Marshyangdhi to the west. You can reach there by cable car along the highway right up to the temple in less than 10 minutes.
One of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of Nepal is Gosaikunda Lake, which is situated at an altitude of about 4,360 meters. The best approach to Gosaikunda is through Dhunche, 132 kilometers to the northeast of Kathmandu.
It is the threshold to the Everest region and is 214 kilometers from Kathmandu. The distance is generally covered within 3 days of trekking from Lukla Airport. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself so totally among the highest mountains on earth and travel among the legendary Sherpas.