Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are 3 different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley (mostly Mahayana and Vajrayana), and also the Theravada Buddhism. Covering just a very small portion of this world i.e. 0.03%, Nepal amazingly offers diverse landscape from majestic mountains to great rivers, hilly regions, and lowland plains. Terraced farmlands meticulously carved like stairways out of hill ridges, cascading mountain rivulets and rushing rivers, forest full of wild life, flowers and birds and the colourful cultural heritages are the enchantment of the country. Besides its rich cultural, heritage and great history, Nepal is blessed as paradise of earth. The white majestic mountains, verdant hills clad in colourful attires of pine and rhododendrons; wide valleys inhabited by peaceful people, wide stretches of terraced paddy fields, wild streams and roaring rivers criss-crossing one of the world’s most stunning mountain landscapes are some of the unquestionable evidences that proves Nepal as the paradise of the world.
Nepal has numerous cultures and languages. Today, all the Nepalese speak their national language Nepali though their mother language may differ. Beside, educated Nepalese can speak and understand English languages.
Nepal held its first elections in 1959, but with the king dissolving parliament and banning political parties soon after, Nepal's monarchy retained power. After decades of pro-democracy movements, Nepal was finally declared a democratic republic in 2008, with Nepal's monarchy being removed from power after ruling for more than 240 years.
Nepal being the only Hindu Nation of this world has numerous festivals that are being dedicated to numerous Hindu deities. According to some historians, Kathmandu the capital city of Nepal once had more temples devoted to deities than residential houses. The central part of the city is still occupied by these ancient temples and shrines and monuments. Nepalese celebrate various festivals all year round and each festival has it’s own significance and deity. Nepalese people are mainly divided into two distinct groups, the Indo-Aryans and the Mongoloids. Kathmandu valley is the spiritual and cultural meeting point of all these groups. Indo-Aryans is devotee of the Hindu deities while Mongoloids are devotees of Lord Buddha. Though they belong to different religion, the Hindus and Buddhists live in harmony throughout the Kingdom and one can see temples and shrines at the same place. The light of Asia, Lord Buddha was born in Nepal and is worshipped by all Nepalese i.e. Hindus and Buddhists.
Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 denominations. Coins come 25p,50p Rs 1, 2 and 5 denominations.
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through the banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange foreign currency at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival. Visitors other than the Indian national have to make the payment in foreign currency in hotel, travel agencies or trekking agencies and air tickets. Non-Indian visitors are not allowed to import or export Indian currency.
After hectic schedules, working from morning to night, every person certainly deserves a break once in a year. How about going to some places, which are known as the paradise of the earth? Imagine a place where you could gaze at the wonders of the world’s highest range whose beauty is a feast to behold, trek to the lower slopes where a whiff of fresh air and scent of exotic flowers greet you at every step, raft down a snow-fed river, fly across the country by helicopter for candle-lit dinner in the mountains under the clear blue sky with Mt. Everest as your company and enjoy the sunrise as it splashes hues of red on blushing mountain ranges. You think your imagination is working over time? Well, think again. Paradise is closer than you think.
Welcome to Nepal - the most happening incentive travel destination in the world - a heady mixture of unique culture proudly preserved, mind boggling adventure and remarkable natural beauty. A land where you can revitalize your mind, body and soul amidst scenery that is simply a knock out. Age-old traditional hospitality is an added bonus, of course.
Since the day, Nepal opened its door for tourists in the 50’s; it has been a new destination for those who want to be away from the cacophony of modernization. Thereafter, Nepal has proved to be one of the best and cheapest sojourns in the lap of the Himalayas that never ceases to offer eternal peace and tranquillity. Tourists have been coming into Nepal from all countries of the world and have returned with a very satisfied set of mind, relaxed body and fresh mood and most of all the unforgettable and cherished moments of their lifetime. They have lots and lots of activities to enjoy and much more to feel than just see.
Nepal offers lots and lots of activities like climbing, trekking, rafting, hitch hiking, mountaineering, etc for those who are adventurous and love dwelling along with the nature. Beside these natural expeditions, Nepal has attracted scholars, researchers, etc for it has provided them with many subjects to research and study upon. For the wild life lovers, Nepal has several National Parks and in them are species that are near to extinction but protected. There are eight National Parks, four Wildlife Reserves and two Conservation Areas in Nepal.
Out of 14 highest peaks of the world, 8 of them are in Nepal including Mt. Everest, the highest peak of the world. Beside these highest peaks, Nepal has 1310 peaks and out of them 146 peaks is open for expedition. There are still more than thousand peaks yet to be conquered and those peaks conquered still presents excitement and challenge. Thus, the adventurous ones are never disappointed trying the quest the same peak or they could even try their luck with new ones. The less adventurous ones could enjoy along with the current of the mighty rivers and raft along enjoying the nature by the riverside.
Nepal even offers pleasant times for the holidaying ones. They can engage themselves in sight seeing the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara Valley. Kathmandu Valley has 3 ancient cities and each city has its own culture and identity. Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur are the 3 cities of this valley and the most common nature of these cities is that these cities are like an open-air art gallery and museum clustered within a range of green terraced hill. The ancient temples and palaces of these cities are beautiful and ornamented by unique woodcarving, amazing architecture, and sculptures. These types of temples and palaces can be found all over the valley and each are either dedicated to a particular deity or they could be palaces of the ancestor rulers. Dwelling around in these historic places becomes more pleasurable when the white snowy mountains are seen surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of shrines in brick, stone, metal and wood are scattered throughout the valley. Several of them have been designated as UNESCO world heritage sites.
Pokhara Valley another attraction for the holidaying tourists is best place where one can just relax the whole day enjoying the beautiful and majestic Himalayan ranges. Pokhara has lots of lakes and it looks like nature has blessed this valley. Anyone visiting this magical and beautiful city gets spellbound with the ranges of Himalayans, as it is seen just 40 km away from this valley at the elevation of 900m. From this city itself, the Annapurna trekking starts and hence this city has lots and lots of natural beauties that can enchant the visitors.
The remote rural areas of this Himalayan Kingdom present visitors a glimpse of a very simple life. There they can find themselves completely away from the modern world and very true to human. The clean, healthy and attracting environment of these rural areas spellbound the visitors’ mind to such extent that some has spent months and months just relaxing in these rural areas. These rural areas might not have all the modern facility yet they provide welcoming environment. Thus those who have been to such areas says that in scarcity, they encountered real life. Trekkers, trekking to various regions is sure to pass through these rural areas and they just don’t only enjoy the beautiful nature and splendid surroundings but they also get this chance to see how people live in scarcity away from the modern world. They have nothing more to offer but just love and warm welcome to the passer by.
Nepal's climate consists of several holidays season. For trekking and Expeditions : The best month are February, March, April, May in spring and September,October, November, December in Autumn. The monsoon months June and September are excellent to go on Trekking on Dolpa, Mustang and Tibet.
Kathmandu valley offers excellant sightseeing trips throughout the year.
The best period is right after moonsoon, when the water level from the river is high.
For Terai and Chitwan
Octover through April , when the temperatures are pleasent.
Trekking, mountain Biking, Peak climbing, Paragliding, Mountain Flight, Bunzee Jumping, White water Rafting, Heritage Tour, Adventure.
The Nepalese New Year’s Day usually falls in the second week of April i.e. the first day of Baisakha. The day is observed as a national holiday. The people celebrate it with a great pomp and show. On this occasion, Bisket Jatra is held in the City of Bhaktapur.
As Nepal is birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia, the triple anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death is observed with many colorful ceremonies on this day. People celebrate the occasion with great veneration paying homage to Buddha at places like Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath and Lumbini.
This festival is the biggest socio-cultural event of Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity known as Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath is made at Pulchowk and dragged through the city of Patan in several stages till it reaches the appointed destination Lagankhel. The grand finale of the festival is called the “Bhoto Dekhaune” or the “ showing of the vest”. A similar kind of chariot festival White Machchhendranath is also held in Kathmandu City in the month of March/April.
Gaijatra, popularly known as Cow festival, is a carnival that lasts for eight days. Dancing, singing comedy and anything that causes mirth and laughter are its highlights.
It marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. On this day, impressive ceremonies are conducted at the Krishna temple in Patan and at Changu Narayan.
Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by Hindu women. Dancing, folk song and the red color of women’s wedding saris dominate the days of Teej. Women observe a fast flock to Shiva temples where married once pray for a happy conjugal life and unmarried ones for a good husband.
The festival of Indra, the god of rain, is observed with great enthusiasm in Kathmandu valley. The festival lasts for eight days. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in procession through the main streets of Kathmandu. The festival is specially noted for the echoes of drums and dancing feet of the masked dancers.
The Dashain festival is the most important festival of the Nepalese. The entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at the time of the festival.
Known as the “Festival of Lights”, Tihar is celebrated for five days. Houses are illuminated at night and special sweets of different varieties are prepared.
This is a famous festival of Janakpur in the eastern Terai. The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita with Ram, one of the most venerated Hindu divinities. It attracts thousands of pilgrims from India to Janakpur.
This festival is most impressively observed in the month of February by the Sherpas. They organize folk songs and dances on this occasion. These dances can be seen in Khumbu, Helambu and other northern regions of Nepal and also at Bouddhanath in Kathmandu.
Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva is observed in February/March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes place in the Pasupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India flock the Temple to worship Lord Shiva.
Known as the Festival Of Horses, it is one of the most exciting festivals of Kathmandu. Horse race and other sports take place at Tundikhel on this day. In other parts of the city, various deities are carried shoulder-high on palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of traditional music.
Trekking Region & Duration
Arun Valley 10 to 16 Days
Gokyo Valley 18 to 25 Days
Everest Base Camp 14 to 28 Days
Island Peak 16 to 20 Days
Amadablam 16 to 26 Days
Everest view trek 05 to 09 Days
Ganesh Himal 14 to 16 Days
Langtang 14 to 16 Days
Gosainkunda 10 to 12 Days
Langtang Valley 08 to 10 Days
Helambu 06 to 08 Days
Shivapuri 03 to 05 Days
Annapurna Circuit 14 to 21 Days
Annapurna Sanctuary 10 to 14 Days
Jomsom / Muktinath 05 to 18 Days
Ghorepani ( Poon Hill ) 06 to 08 Days
Ghandrung Village 04 to 06 Days
Upper Dolpo 22 to 28 Days
Dolpo Circuit 25 to 30 Days
Upper Mustang 14 to 18 Days
Manaslu Circuit 20 to 25 Days
Kanchanjungha 25 to 28 Days
You will find both teahouse and camp trekking all the trekking regions but you will not find teahouse trek in the specific regions. Specific region was opened for tourism recently and they are regarded as virgin tourist regions. You will find all the natural beauty in these regions but will hardly find habitant in these regions. You are recommended to take very special care while trekking in these specific regions.
TREKKING IN ANNAPURNA REGIONS:
This is one of the classic and most rewarding treks in Nepal. The Southern slopes of Manaslu and Annapurna ranges are heavily settled and farmed, except the higher regions, which support thick forests of Rhododendron and fir. The tribes inhabiting this area are Gurungs, Magars, Chhetris and Newars.
As turn on westwards into the Manang Valley and into the rain shadow of the Annapurna Ranges dramatic changes occur. Though, there are small fields supporting some crops of millet and wheat and small flocks of sheep and goats, the Manang tribes are traditionally a trading race. They are Tibetan by origin and Buddhist by religion and their architecture and lifestyle is quite different to those tribes on the southern slopes.
Thakalis and Mustang tribes control the busy trading and pilgrimage trail along the Kali Gandaki River, until mover through the gap between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna into the wetter zones, where one can meet Gurungs and Magars again.
On the whole trek there is not a single day when one will not be able to view the magnificent views of the all the ranges.
Most treks in this region commence from Pokhara Valley, which lies 200 km west of Kathmandu, the capital city, in the shadow of the lovely Annapurna, Fishtail Mountain ranges. Annapurna circuit trek begins at the middle-hills village of Besi Sahar on the Marshyangdi River and follows the river all the way from Brahmin-Chhetri-Gurung settlement to that of the Tibetan Buddhistic region of Manang. The high point is the crossing of the Throng-La at 5416 m into the Kali Gandaki valley stopping at the famous shrine of Muktinath then continuing along the river to Tatopani through Thakalis settlements, Magar and Gurung villages and back to Pokhara. Or beginning in the tropical climate of Pokhara’s bare 900 m and gradually ascending to the 5400m pass above Muktinath and may be on to upper Mustang which was opened for tourists in October 1991 to a limited number of tourists. The main trail in the region and trek days from Pokhara are” easy hiking around Pokhara 1 to 6 days, Ghorepani circuit 6 days, Muktinath via Jomsom and fly back 8 to 12 days, Annapurna Sanctuary 11 days which is although is considered moderate and the most beautiful trek in the world, Annapurna Circuit 19 days, Silkish 7 days, Lamjung 7 days, Gorkha 8 days from Kathmandu, Dhaulagiri circuit 19 days; Manaslu circuit 21 days; Legendary Mustang 13 days; peak climbs en route and several other endless trails.
Everest or Sagarmatha as the King of the Great Himalayas, the Everest Region is hard to beat for High Mountain scenery. Three of the world’s ten highest peaks guard this holy sanctuary. The Sherpas settled in the Khumbu highlands some 450 years ago bringing Tibetan Buddhism in the form of ornate monasteries, carved prayer Mani stones and a never-ending joy of life. Some moved lower to Solu, a land rich in resources and of temperate climate. The annual Mani Rimdu festival at Thyangboche during November and at other monasteries enacts ritual dance dramas of good versus evil.
Khumbu treks fly in and out of Lukla to maximize your time on height but if you have time we encourage you to walk in or out through Solu or Salpa. Occasionally flights are delayed due to weather. It is strongly recommended that you plant least 2 extra “ cushion” days in Kathmandu after the trek.
The Everest region boasts of some the world’s highest mountains such as the Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and beautiful mount Ama Dablam. It is also the home of the Sherpa people whose warm hospitality and skills as mountain guides and porters have made them famous. Its active and devout monasteries are the centres of the Buddhist Lama culture and its festivals are many colourful. In this region you will be into the heart of these giant massifs passing through colourful and beautiful Sherpa villages that each have something unique to offer such as the Yeti’s skull and hands at Pangboche or the world’s highest Monasteries at Tengboche. And of course at every village you will be extended typical Sherpa hospitality. We are very careful to plan your trek days so that you have time to rest and take in the views as well as to acclimatize to the high altitudes. This is most important since altitude sickness can not only ruin your holidays but prove fatal as well. In this region, most of the treks commence with flight to Lukla (2800m.) which is a small (15000 feet runway length) STOL (short takeoff and landing) airstrip. The main trek routes in this region and an average trek days to and from Kathmandu are: Everest Base Camp 14-day, Gokyo 12-day, Island Peak 15-day, Mera peak 16-day, Hongu valley 25-day, from Arun to Everest 19-day, from Jiri to Everest Base Camp 20-day, Rolwaling 16-day or through Tashi Laptsa 23-day, Gaurishanker 22-easy days in Everest and several other trek routes.
This region covers treks in the Kathmandu Valley, Langtang, Gosainkunda and Helambu, which is the most beautiful region of the kingdom. It ranges, the Langtang-Lirung, which is spectacular while its forests of fir and rhododendron delightful. The treks are an excursion from the Kathmandu Valley’s heavy Hindu dominance to the Buddhist culture of the north. The land is dotted with Stupas, Mani walls, Chorten and monasteries and the flutter of prayer flags. The treks are one days and routes of Kathmandu Valley treks day walk to 5-days, moderate Helambu 7-days, and difficult treks from Syabru through Gosainkunda into Helambu, Ganesh Himal 7-day and easy and couple of days treks on the rim of the Valley.
This trek has been considered as a young trek as it was opened for trekking enthusiasts not so long ago. This trek offers considerable spectacular views of mountains, meadows, forests, different wild animals, birds, glaciers and many more to feast the eyes of visitors. Cheese factories, monasteries, and other monuments are other specialties of this trek.
The Langtang valley is aptly called “ The Valley of Glacier”. Here the mountain - scape is spectacular. On either side of valley, mountains rise, soaring into the sky. The valley offers pine forest, slow moving rivers and swift mountain streams, rugged rock and snow-capped peaks, grassy downs and meadows strewn with daisies and wild primulas. In the upper part of valley there are snow ridges spanning angry torrents, high passes enveloped in mist, tiny lakes with icebergs floating on them and water of crystalline brightness. There are also high mountains of solid ice.
About 72 Kms northeast of Kathmandu lies Helambu. This place is famous for scenery and pleasant climate. Many Buddhist monasteries are situated amidst a rich and enchanting landscape. Sundarijal (11 Kms away from Kathmandu) is the starting point for trekking to Helambu. It also can be reached via Panchkhaal.
Few people trek around the Kathmandu valley. Yet it offers a rich insight into the lives, history, culture and religion, together with the daily toil in the fields of its inhabitants. The valley rim lies around 1000/1800 m. and in the spring offers early flowering rhododendrons and through the autumn and winter, wonderful mountain vistas which are, from certain view-points, stretch from the Everest in the east to Annapurna in the west.
The Far Western region of Nepal is still unspoiled and untouched by foreigners. Time has stood still for centuries where the inhabitants, of Tibetan descent, continue to live as they did long ago. The Phoksundo National Park covers an area of 3555 sq. km. and is virgin. Forests harboring one of the world’s best habitats of snow leopard, blue sheep, ghoral, musk deer, wolf and other, wildlife. One of the prime spots for herb hunting place is the rigged valley of Jumla (2,370m) in Far Western Nepal known as.”Wild West’ because of its remoteness and the difficulty of life .on its arid, forested ridges. Most of the trek in this region commences from here and the fastest way to reach Jumla (short take off and landing airstrip) is by flight from Nepalgunj. Tourists are rare and any trip is certain to be an adventure. There is mixed culture and religion of Hinduism, and further up, immigrant Tibetan families. It known as the hidden valley of the crystal mountain. Rara Lake, which is known as Queen of Lakes, is the most beautiful region of Far West Nepal, scenic and covering different cultural influence. This area is named after pristine Lake Rara, which is the biggest lake in Nepal. Upper Dolpo was opened for a limited number of tourists in 1991. Lower Dolpo 20-day and Upper Dolpo 20-day to 40 days, both involving a visit to the mythical Phoksundo Lake, Rara trek 12-day and Lower Dolpo through Pokhara 19-day are the main trails of the region. A trek to Mt. Kailash in Tibet also can be done from here.
This region offers an endless variety of culture and changing countryside as it proceeds from the hot rice-growing terraced fields, forests of birch, bamboo and rhododendron that eventually turn to stands of fir and hemlock as one climbs higher into the mountains. Himalayan bear, barking deer and the lesser panda are between the rich animal and birdlife that fill the area. Kanchejunga, Makalu and the spectacular Jannu are among the peaks at the outset of the trek. Passing through villages of Brahmins and Chhetris, you enter almost exclusive Rai territory with a scatter of Gurung and Sherpa settlements. The main trekking trails in the region are Trek to Kanchejunga 23-days, difficult trek to Makalu Base Camp 27-day and to Kanchenjunga South Base camp 22-days.
Jomsom is the district head quarter of Manthang region. To many people, however, Mustang implies the area of Nepal that extends like a thumb into Tibet. One can witness the walled capital city of Mustang, Lo Manthang. This is the most popular and fascinating trekking in Nepal. The H.M.G of Nepal opened the door to this area for Trekkers in October 1991 under strict control in obtaining a special permit for this region. The strictness is enforced to protect the tradition as well as the environment of this region.
The Government of Nepal has fixed certain number of trekkers as quota every year on this trekking route depending upon the season. The Government also has fixed special rules and regulations to obtain the permit for this region. This trek must be done as an organized one, not the tea house and one liaison officer from H.M.G. must be needed per group as the individual trekker can’t obtain the special permit for this region.
The people of this region are fully influenced by Tibetan culture and the trek to Lo Manthang has a different attraction. This route is an almost tree less barren Landscape, steep rocky trail up and down the hill and eye-catching panoramic views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri and many other beautiful peaks make this trekking a memory for the life line.
Massive Kanchanjungha (8598m) lies on the border of Nepal and Sikkim (India). It is a rich area of Nepal for Musk deer, blue sheep and possibly YETI, the abominable snowman. It also offers excellent photographic views of Everest, Makalu and Kanchanjungha itself. It is inhabited by few scattered populations and is a real wilderness terrain of Nepal.
The Kanchanjungha region was forbidden to the trekkers before; the door to this region was opened in 1988. This mountain is situated on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, the state of India. So politically it is not possible to take a circuit of this mountain. It is suggested to visit the north and south side of the mountain from Nepal side, but should be equipped for a high crossing and requires enough time, i.e. 3 to 4 weeks.
A special Trekking permit is needed to trek in this region at the payment of US$ 10 per person per week.
Fly from Kathmandu to Taplejung and trek to base camp at Pangpema and return to Taplejung by the same route; then fly back to Kathmandu (19 days)
Alternatively bus drives to Basantpur and trek to the base camp; then back to Basantpur or Taplejung (25-28 days). Cross Lobsang La or Mirgin La. spending a few more days gives an adventure for interested parties.
Trekking yearning for a bit of solitude and adventure will find it west of the Kali Gandaki where life goes on as it has for centuries. As flights in and out of Jumla are less reliable, plan several days in Kathmandu in case of delay.
Trekking into the long sequestered Dolpo region is challenging but immensely rewarding, devoid of any modern day luxuries. The trek begins and follows a northwesterly direction through Dhorpatan to Dunai. Crossing several passes en route, it then turns north and meets sparkling Lake Phoksundo, (a setting of Shey Gompa and a day hike to a nearby ridge-top for views of the northern Himalayas). Here, only the stalwart Tibetan-like Bonpos (followers of the pre Buddhist religion) and their yaks can survive. Return to the ancient east-west trade route and hike another week through rugged terrains to Jumla. Return a flight to Kathmandu from Jumla (27 days).
Dolpo is located inside the Shey-Phoksundo National Park of Midwestern Nepal, behind the Dhaulagiri massif towards the Tibetan Plateau. Cut off by a series of very high passes, closed by snow most of the year. Dolpo remains a truly isolated corner of Nepal. Time has stood still here for centuries as the inhabitants of Tibetan stock continue to live, cultivate and commerce the way they have done since tome immemorial. The finally preserved Eco-system encompasses wildlife, including the blue sheep and leopard. A trek through Dolpo is an experience not easily forgotten.
This route of trekking was forbidden to the tourists up to 1991, later on when the Japanese Expedition team ascends the Manaslu Peak (8157 m.), it became known as “Japanese Mountain” after the Japanese Expedition Team made first ascent. This trek can begin from Gorkha, Trishuli Bazar or Dhading.
This trek was official opened to tourists in 1991, but mountaineering expeditions have long had access to the area. Manaslu (8156m) was attempted by Japanese expeditions every year from 1952 until 1956 when the first ascent was made. Having become known as a ‘Japanese Mountain’, much of the information about the area was available only in Japanese. The Japanese continued to dominate the climbing scene on Manaslu until 1971.
A few trekkers managed to obtain trekking permits for the region. Otherwise this trek has always been the domain of the mountaineering expedition.
You can begin this trek from Gorkha, Trisuli Bazar or Dhading. All these routes converge at Aarughat, two days from Gorkha, three days from Trisuli and one long day from the road above Dhading. A road from Dhading to Aarughat is under construction.
MUSTANG, INNER DOLPO, HUMLA, MT. KAILASH & MANASLU
In October 1991, the Home Ministry announced the opening of the restricted areas in Nepal. This move was partly a political decision to remove a regulation that was inconsistent with the principles of Nepal’s new democratic constitution. Once the announcement was made, most of the attention was directed at upper Mustang, previously the most inaccessible and firmly area in Nepal. Other trekking areas opened in 1991 were inner Dolpa and Nupri, the region north of the Manaslu.
The regulation for the restricted areas were designed primarily to protect the environment and culture of remote regions and to provide security, both for the safety of trekkers and the protection of Nepal’s northern border with China.
FORMALITIES OF THE RESTIRICTED AREAS:
A trek to a restricted area must be arranged as a fully equipped organized trek through a registered trekking agency using tents staff, cooks and porters. The trekking agency arranges the permit through a series of applications, guarantees and letters- a process that requires about two weeks and can be started only 21 days before the arrival of the group. You may not trek alone and you must be at least two trekkers in each group. In some areas, there is a limit to the number of trekkers. The trekker must apply at least one month before to obtain the special permit.
Each group is assigned an “environmental officer” who will accompany you during the trek and who you must equip, insure and take on the trek. The liaison officer is supposed to handle all the formalities with the police and government officer en route.
The company that arranges your trek must agree to abide by the terms and conditions outlined below. The company must agree to be presented as per the laws of the Kingdom of Nepal if they flaunt these terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions under which a trekking company operates a trek in upper Mustang, upper Dolpa, Manaslu and Simikot- Taklakot start:
1. You are obliged to operate only group.
2. You will be responsible for arranging the entire trek from the start to the end of the trek.
3. Unless His Majesty’s Government makes other provisions, you must compulsorily take a Liaison Officer along with you in the newly opened areas.
4. You will be responsible for organizing the security of the trekking group and if seek the help of the local police. Thus should you need the police’s help; you have to arrange meeting their personal expenses.
5. You will arrange for medical care and other needs of the trekkers during the trek.
6. You must compulsorily provide solar fuel, electricity, gas, kerosene or a similar alternative fuel to cook food for all the trekkers and all other accompanying them. Fuel wood cannot be used.
7. Tin cans, bottles, and etc. necessary for the trek should not be thrown away at random. They should be buried/destroyed at designated sites.
8. You will arrange to ensure that the group travels only on authorized routes and does not break- up into separate groups.
9. You will not allow distribution of money or gifts or charity to local residents and students. If trekkers wish to do so, small parcels can be donated through the chief District Officer (C.D.O.)
10. Do not take foreigners into religious or cultural sites that are restricted to foreigners.
11. You will not prepare or allow any acts that destroy religion, culture or the environment.
12. You will insure all Nepalese staff on the trek. Moreover, you will insure or deposit a sum for emergency rescues.
13. Trekking parties to Lo Manthang of the Mustang area must submit to the Tourist Information Service, Jomsom a copy of the goods and equipment must be taken with them. Upon returning, you should give them garbage to be dumped at the dumping site, get clearance and submit the same to the Ministry of Tourism.
14. You will provide the Liaison officer with food, lodging and a trip expense of an amount of RS. 250 per day for the duration of the trek. You will also compulsorily provide the officer necessary items like a sleeping bag, jacket, clothes, boots etc, for the duration of the trek.
15. Permission to trek in the Lo Manthang region of Mustang area must be obtained within 21 days recommendation by the ministry of Tourism.
16. You must insure the Liaison Officer for Rs. 200,000/—(Two hundred thousand).
17. You will arrange for the necessary medicines and medical care of the Liaison Officer.
In common usage, the name Mustang refers to the arid Tibet - Like region at the northern end of the Kali Gandaki. The headquarter of the mustang district is Jomsom, the region of Tibetan influence. North of Kagbeni is generally referred to as upper Mustang. Upper Mustang consists of two distinct regions; (a) the southern region, with five villages inhabited by people related to the Manangis; and (b) the northern region where the language, culture and traditions are almost purely Tibetan. The capital of Lo is named Manthang, which translates from the Tibetan as the ‘plain of aspiration ‘ Mustang has a long, rich and complex history that makes it one of the most interesting places in Nepal. The early history of Lo is shrouded the legend, myth and mystery: but there are records of events in Lo as early as the 8th century.
During the 1960s, after the Dalai Lama had fled to India and the Chinese armies established control over Tibet, Mustang was a center for guerrilla operations against the Reds. The soldiers were the Khampas, Tibet’s most fearsome warriors.
The trek to Lo is through an almost treeless barren landscape. Strong winds usually howl across the area in the afternoon, generally subsiding at night. Being in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, Lo has much less rain than the rest in Nepal. During the monsoon the skies are cloudy and there is some rain. In the winter there is usually snow, sometimes as much as 30 or 40 cm. accumulates on the ground.
Because of the cold and snow, most of the population departs from Lo on trekking expeditions during the winter. The trekking season, therefore, is from late March until early November. The trek does not go to extremely high elevations, but the cold; dust and unrelenting afternoon winds can make the trek less pleasant than other treks in Nepal.
Because of the wind and the lack of water, you must always camp in a village. But these are not conveniently spaced. So some days are too short and others too long. There is little opportunity to vary the itinerary, as there is no most Nepal treks.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
The trek begins and ends in Jomsom with the connection flight to / from Pokhara. There are daily flights to Jomsom from Pokhara: flights are in the early morning, so you must spend a night in Pokhara on route to Jomsom. The cost of a trip to Mustang escalates severely if you fly in either direction. The airfare from Pokhara to Jomsom is reasonable (US $ 55 per head) considering you save five days of walking, but you still must calculate the expense of moving your gear to Jomsom. Your food stoves, tents and kerosene, all of which is required by law for a trek Mustang, must be carried from Pokhara. Once you add the cost of five or six days portage plus the salary of camp staff both to and from Jomsom, trek becomes quite expensive. If you have time, it is very worthwhile to walk from Pokhara, visit Lo Manthang, trek back to Jomsom and fly or walk back to Pokhara. If you do plan to fly, be aware that Jomsom can occasionally be bad in terms of flight delays due to weather conditions.
The rules require that you trek as member of a group, you will much happier if you travel as part of a small group. Come sites are small and a trekking group plus their staff and liaison officer can overpower a village.
The trekking permits cost U.S. $700 per person for 10 days. This is defined as 10 days, not night, starting and ending at Kagbeni. Extra days are U.S. $70 each. ACAP (Annapurna conservation Area Project) administers trekking under Mustang. According to the plan, ACAP is also responsible for channeling a portion of the Mustang trek royalties into development project in Mustang. Mustang is currently the only restricted area for which the permit fee goes into a special fund.
If you are trekking from Pokhara to Jomsom, you should get an additional normal USD 5 per week trekking permit: the U.S. $10 per day permit is required only from Kagbeni northwards. Because of possible delays In Jomsom flights, the entry date on the permit is supposed to have a three-day leeway. Once you start from. Kagbeni you must return within the period of your trek permit, but you need not start on a precise date.
In Jomsom, you must register yourself with the police post and also with the tourist information office across from Om’s Home, just north of the airport. The tourist office will check your permit equipment’s, stoves, food and fuels. You should have several lists of group members and equipment available for this purpose. The physical presence of all group members is required at both the police post and the tourist office. Allow at least an hour in both Kagbeni and Jomsom for formalities.
At the conclusion of the trek, you are required to register again with the tourist office and hand over all your rubbish to them for disposal. If the tourist office is satisfied that you have followed all the rules, they will give your liaison officer a letter stating so. This letter is important; any trekking company that does not follow the rules risks being from operating treks into restricted areas.
Your Liaison Officer can register the group with the other checkpoints on the trek.
The route of Mustang (Lo Manthang) (Restricted parts only)
Day 1 Kagbeni to Chele
Day 2 Chele to Geling
Day 3 Gelling to Charang
Day 4 Charang to Lo Manthang
Day 5 &6 In Lo Manthang
Day 7 Lo Manthang to Ghami
Day 8 Ghami to Samer
Day 9 Samer to Kagbeni
Alternative Routs from Lo Manthang to Kagbeni
To return to Kagbeni there is another route down the eastern side of the Mustang Khola Valley through Tange and Tetang to Muktinath. If you attempt this route, be prepared for at least 10-hours per day for 30 day. There is neither water nor vegetation between the few villages on the rarely traveled route.
Humla was once part of the great Malla Empire administered from Sinja near Jumla. Until 1787, this empire included Jumla and Pursang, better known by its Nepalese name, Taklakot, and extended as far west as Googay, the ‘Lost’ village of Toling and Tsaparang located in a remote Tibetan Valley to the north of Nanda Devi and Kamet Himal.
In Humla the traditional salt grain trade with Tibet continues much as it has for centuries. This trade has vertically ceased in the rest of Nepal because of the import of Indian salt and because China has eliminated many boarders trading center that is short drive from both the Nepalese and India boarders. Trade via Taklakot is an important factor in the economy of Humla, which is about a 15-day walk from Surkhet.
Taklakot is an extraordinary melting pot of an Indian Tourist, Chinese and Tibetan traders, and Muslim trader from Kashgar, Nepalese entrepreneurs trading wool, salt and Indian goods, Chinese government officials and a huge army contingent.
In May 1993 the governments of Nepal and China reached an accord that allowed the first treks across the boarder between the two countries. While it had been a route for Nepalese pilgrims for years, foreign trekkers were never allowed to trek from Nepal into Tibet. It has always been possible however, to bend or ignore the rules. Numerous individual trekkers managed to make their way from Tibet into Nepal each year.
Humla, Nepal’s highest, northern most and most remote district is also culturally and scenically rewarding. The people of Limi in northern Humla are Bhotias whose roots are in Tibet and who still enjoy the freedom to graze their animals on the Tibetan plateau. The upper Humla Karnali Valley is also populated by Bhotias
Who trade extensively with Tibet in traditional ways that have totally vanished elsewhere? It is only near Simikot, the district headquarters, that you will encounter people of other ethnic group, mostly Thakuris and Chhetries.
A trip to Mt. Kailash has always been regarded as a pilgrimage. It satisfies the romantic in us that the pilgrimage to Kailash is a difficult one. Whether you drive for seven days or walk for six days, it is still not possible to make a quick, easy visit to Kailash and Manasarovar. You cannot yet travel all the way to Kailash by helicopter or airplane. This is certainly as it should be.
This trek is possible only in the summer monsoon season from May to September. The entire region is snowbound in the winter; passes are closed and Taklakot itself is isolated until the snowplough arrives in late March.
The area is subject to the same relations as other restricted areas. You must trek as part of an organized group with a liaison officer. The trekking permit fee for the trek from Simikot to the boarder and back is US $ 90 for the first week and US $15 per day thereafter. The permit becomes complicated because there is a break in Nepal trek while you are in Tibet. The Immigration office may issue two trekking permits with dates 10 days apart, one for the trip to the border and other for the return.
You need Chinese Visa if you plan to cross the border. This will be arranged at the same time you organize transport within China. The rules for individual travel in China if you enter via Taklakot are still unclear. You will also need a re-entry permit for Nepal in order to avoid excessive visa fees. Your Liaison officer can stay behind in Nepal or at Taklakot while you go to Mt. Kailash, through you must continue provide food, accommodation and salary.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Kathmandu to Nepalgunj then Simikot
There is no direct air service from Kathmandu to Simikot. You must first fly 1 and 1/2 hours to Nepalgunj on the southern border of Nepal or drive more than 12 hours, spend the night and take an early - morning flight 50 minutes to Simikot.
Kathmandu to Surkhet then Simikot
Take a day drive to Surkhet then walk for about 15 days to Simikot. Be well aware of loosing the trail in the remote districts.
TRANSPORT TO TAKLAKOT & DARCHAN (TIBET)
If you are headed for Kailash, you should arrange in advance for a vehicle to transport you from the Nepalese border at Sher to Taklakot where Chinese Immigration and customs formalities are centered. You will also need to arrange transport for the 100km drive to Darchan at the foot of Mt. Kailash. A trekking / travel agent in Kathmandu that specializes in Tibet should be able to assist you with this at the same time they arrange your Chinese Visa.
The Tibetan plateau is harsh, windy and barren. It makes little sense to walk huge distances in such inhospitable country.
FOOD & FUEL
It is important to remember that there is a shortage of food in Simikot, so you should arrange to send it ahead by plane or porter. You must use Kerosene for cooking. Since this is usually not available in Simikot and can not be transported by plane, it requires advance planning. There is a reliable supply of kerosene in Taklakot, so you can arrange a porter caravan to bring Chinese kerosene from Taklakot and avoid the long haul from Surkhet.
The northern part of Dolpa is usually called Inner Dolpa and has always had an area of mysticism about it, largely because of the metaphysical discussions of the region in Peter Mathiesen’s book THE SNOW LEOPARD. Inner Dolpa was closed to foreigners until 1992. One story the reason for closure as the large scale of statues theft from monasteries several years ago.
Despite the mysticism surrounding Shey Gompa and the ‘ crystal mountain’ this is not a popular trek by means. The harsh terrain, the physical conditioning necessary and the exorbitant fees for visiting this region have deterred most people.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
The restricted part of this trek starts from Ringmo village at the southern end of Phoksundo Lake. To visit Inner Dolpa you need to trek from Dolpa you need to trek from Dolpa airport in Juphal or make a longer trek from Jumla. The trek from Shey Gompa to Kagbeni in the Kaligandaki valley is not open for foreigners, but you can make a loop trip by travelling north from Phoksundo Lake to Shey and then returning via another route to join the Tarap trail between the Baga La and Numa La.
The permit for Inner Dolpa is as expensive as Mustang US$ 700.00 for the first 10 days and US$ 70.00 per day thereafter. It becomes especially expensive because the trek (restricted area) only takes five or six days to complete.
This trek was officially opened to tourists in 1991. But mountaineering expeditions have long had access to the area. Manaslu (8,156m) was attempted by Japanese expeditions every year from 1952 until 1956, when the first ascent was made. Having become known as a Japanese Mountain, much of the information about the area was available only in Japanese. The Japanese continued to dominate the climbing scene on Manaslu until 1971.
A few trekkers managed to obtain trekking permits for the region; otherwise this trek has always been the domain of the mountaineering expedition.
GETTING THERE & AWAY TRAILHEADS
You can begin this trek from Gorkha, Trisuli Bazaar or Dhading. All these routes converge at Aarughat, two days from Gorkha, three days from Trisuli and one long day from the road above Dhading. A road from Dhading to Aarughat is under construction.
Gorkha is the traditional starting point for treks up the Budhi Gandaki. The bus ride from Kathmandu to Gorkha follows the Pokhara road as far as Abu Khaireni then climbs 24 Km. to Gorkha. Buses from Narayanghat link Gorkha, Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Dhading provides an excellent starting point for the Manaslu trek and saves a day of walking compared to the trek from Gorkha.
Trisuli Bazaar is an alternative starting point for around the Manaslu trek. Aarughat is a four-day walk form Trisuli along the old route from Kathmandu to Pokhara.
The rules for this trek are the same as those for Mustang and upper Dolpa. You must trek with a fully organized group, take liaison (or environmental) officer; pack out all cans, bottles and Plastic papers; use only kerosene for cooking and pay a special fee.
For the manual trek the fee is lower than Mustang, US$ 90.00 per week during October and November and only US$ 75.00 per week during the year remain.
Nepal`s diverse terrain makes it one of the best for mountain biking place on earth. Bike through the country and discover villages and small towns in the midst of rural serenity. Time permitting, it is even possible to explore the entire length and breadth of the country on a mountain bike.
Peak climbing in Nepal is dream for most climbers, with world’s most of high mountains and more than 1300 snowcapped peaks. Nepal is the most popular destination for climbing.
You will require a trekking permit and national park permit while you trek to any regions within Nepal. If trekking is planned to certain areas, you will require obtaining two trekking permits. Each trekking permit details the outlines of the trekking route and region and it is necessary that trekkers do not deviate from the prescribed routes and regional boundaries.
The Department of Immigration located at Baneshor issues trekking permit for the tourists and National Park permit will be issued from Tridevi Marg in Thamel. Trekking permit fees for specific region and National Park for different trekking areas have been fixed as follows:
Trekking Permit fee: Equivalent to US $ 5.00 per person per week for the first four weeks and US $ 10.00
Per week thereafter. This fee has been cancelled for this fiscal year 99/00. Now the TAAN (Trekking agent association of Nepal will issue TIMS card. It cost USD 10.00 per person for entry.
National Park Permit fee: Equivalent US $ 35.00 per person for Annapurna & Rara region. For Everest and Langtang region US $ 45.00 per person.
Trekking Permit fee: Equivalent to US $ 10.00 per person per week for the first four weeks and US $ 20.00 per week thereafter.
National Park Permit fee: US $ 35.00 per person for entrance.
Trekking Permit fee: Royalty of US $ 75.00 per person per week during off-season (December to September) and US $ 90.00 per person in October to November.
National Park Permit fee: US $ 30.00 per person for entrance. A government liaison officer is essential to lead the group.
Trekking Permit fee: Royalty US $ 500.00 per person for the first 10 days and US $ 50.00 per person per day thereafter.
National Park Permit fee: US $ 35.00 per person for entrance.
Trekking Permit fee: Royalty US $ 90.00 for first week and US $ 15.00 per person per day thereafter. Chinese Visa is also needed.
National Park Permit fee: US $ 35.00 per person for entrance.
For people wishing to climb trekking peaks (minor 18 peaks) which is open for Alpine climbing and other high mountains for mountaineering also are open. We organize and arrange both kinds of mountain climbing in Nepal’s Himalaya with experienced Sherpa Mountain Guides. Eight among the 14 highest mountains in the world lie in Nepal, that include Mt. Everest, Kanchanjungha, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Manaslu, & Lhotse.
For the more adventurous traveler there is 18 minor peaks open alpine climbing under Nepal Mountaineering Association. The climbing of these peak is controlled under the rules and regulation formulated by this association. Detailed information and application for climbing permits are available from the Association’s office or contact your trekking agency in Kathmandu. It should be noted that in most cases the climbing of these minor peaks (Trekking Peaks) require snow and ice climbing experience. Trekking Agents provide qualified and trained climbing guides to take non-climbers for convenience, safety and expected successes. By Himalayan standards these are considered minor peaks, but in fact some of them provide relative challenging snow and ice climbing of high standard, and more so in winter. The royalty for these peaks ranges from U.S. $ 150.00 to U. S $ 300.00 depending on the particular peak for up to 10 member climbing team.
Peaks Currently open for Trekking and other Groups are as Follows:
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is the first stop for all those visitors touring the country by air. Situated at an altitude of 4423 ft above the sea level and covering 218 sq. km, Kathmandu has been the source of fascination to visitors over the years. Kathmandu is one of the major cities beside Bhaktapur and Patan of this Kathmandu Valley.
The existence of this valley is not yet clearly known but legends believe that Buddhist Goddess Manjushree is responsible for making this valley inhabitable. It is believed that she had slashed a passage through the surrounding hill to drain out the primordial waters of the valley. Is it true or just another mythological myth, the result was a spectacular setting, which has brought endless praises from the pens of great poets of Nepal. Surrounded by mountain and hills, today Kathmandu is hustle and bustle of a city, which Manjushree would hardly recognize as her own handiwork. Over centuries, today a refined urban civilization has emerged being built on unique synthesis of Hinduism and Buddhism. Dynasties came and went until; Late King Prithivi Narayan Shah unified the whole country in the 18th century. He is the ancestor of our present King.
Trade and arts has flourished in this valley. The monument of Buddhism and Hinduism in the valley has given the city a rich cultural mix of tradition and beliefs. It is the place filled with prayers, gods and legends, which have given, rise to numerous monuments and shrine and have become world heritage sights. Among the monuments, Kasthamandup the huge rest house for travelers of that time is said to have been built from a wood of a single tree is the source from which Kathmandu Valley derived its name.
One of the biggest Hindu Pilgrim in this continent, Pashupatinath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is dated 1696 AD. The temple has golden roof and silver doors and is famous for its superb architecture. Shiva is considered to be the greatest Hindu God and is also worshiped as God of fertility, Lord of the beast. This monument lays 6 Kms to the east of Kathmandu near the international airport. Cremation platform, well-decorated Sadhus “the holy man”, monkeys in the jungle, sacred river Bagmati and seldomly snake charmers can also be seen in its premises.
Muslim invaders leveled the old buildings of the shrine in the 14th century and its stone lingam smashed to dust, but it again rose back behind retreating backs. The premises of then Pashupatinath is believed to be build before 400 AD. Successful monarchs added votes temples; their images and their subjects donated their wealth just to buy a hasty entrance into heaven after their death. Today, earnest Hindus are brought here before they take their last breath as myth claims that they can enter heaven if they take their last breath in this holy shrine. Non-Hindu is not allowed inside the premises of this Holy shrine.
One of the biggest Stupa in Asia, dedicated to Lord Buddha is situated 6 Kms Northeast of Kathmandu. Approximately 45 monasteries around this Stupa are found and their actual date of existence is not known. It stands 36 meters above the ground and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of Stupa design. Boudhanath, a world heritage site is also known as Khasti or dew drops as it is said that the builders had to use dewdrops to mix the mortar because Kathmandu was suffering from a severe drought during its construction. Tibetan goods shops, prayer wheels, pink–robed lamas are seen in its premises. Boudhanath is believed to be erected by Lichchhavi King Mana Dev in the fifth century AD.
Adjoining to this Boudhanath Stupa is the temple of Harati Mata, the Hindu Goddess. This shows the religious harmony between the Hinduism and Buddhism. A short distance off, the small Stupa at Chabahil and the 4th and 5th century statuary that litters its surround is all that remains of Buddhist convent founded by the widowed consort of the 3rd century prince.
The Stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Swoyambhunath is also known as Sengu and is listed in the World Heritage site. This Stupa is situated at the top of 77m green hillocks and lays 5 Kms west of Kathmandu. This shrine is famous pilgrim for both the Hindus and Buddhist of Nepal. Because monkey is closely associated with this shrine, this shrine is also known as Monkey temple.
Swoyambhunath, “The self existent” is a gigantic Stupa located on a hilltop and houses images of important deities of both Buddhists and Hindus. Swyambhu, is perhaps the best place to see the religious harmony between the two religions? Harati Mata Temple, devoted to Goddess Harati Mata, the Goddess of Small Pox is situated in the premises of Swoyambhunath. In the shadows of the posing structure and architecture; daily surge of devotees can be found faithfully offering their prayers to the gods. Swoyambhunath is the major landmark of the Kathmandu Valley and looks like a beacon attracting hundreds of people towards it.
Budhanilkantha temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is situated at about 9 Kms to the north of Kathmandu City. Lord Vishnu is regarded to be the god who maintains life. Here in this temple tall Vishnu Statue is found reclining on a bed of cosmic serpents partly submerged in the holy pond.
Nagarkot lies 32 Kms towards east of Kathmandu. Situated at an altitude of about 2175m above the sea level, Nagarkot is considered to be one of the best hill stations of the Kathmandu valley.
A good drive from the city to Nagarkot is worth for spending a night or two in the hotels, resorts found in the hill station. Nagarkot is very famous among tourists visiting Nepal and hence lots and lots of tourist standard hotels along with one 5 star luxurious hotel are available here. Nagarkot is well known for its fresh air breath, escaping from Kathmandu’s pollution to get a good view of Himalayan Ranges including Mt. Everest. Sightseeing around this hill station includes mountain houses, hay roofed huts, panoramic view of mountains, village strolling etc. Nagarkot is one of the vintage points on the rim of the valley; from where on a clear day the magnificent High Himalayan can be viewed. A quiet cool spot that embraces several peaks in atmosphere make this walker’s paradise. Sunset and Sunrise is best seen from spots from Nagarkot and is very famous among tourists.
One of the recommended to visit while in Nepal is Panauti. Hike to Panauti from Dhulikhel. One can make combined tour of Dhulikhel to stay next day hike to Namobuddha and return to Panauti. Dhulikel is another hill station; a Newar town situated 30 Kms southeast of Kathmandu on the side of Arniko Highway.
Dhulikhel is popular for its natural beauty and ancient tradition. Himalayan ranges from Karyolung in the east to Himalchuli in the west can be viewed clearly in the early morning.
Better to make a combined trip to Dhaksinkali, Kirtipur and Chovar. Chovar is popular gorge from where according to myth it is believed that Goddess Manjushree slashed a part of the hill to drain out the primordial water of the valley. The temple of Adinath is located on the top of the hill and Temple of Jal Vinayak, which houses the image of shrine on a massive rock, which represents Lord Ganesh, is situated beyond Chovar Gorge.
This place is named after the temple of Gokarneshor Mahadev; one of the name of Lord Shiva. The name of this place is derived from the religious name and is located about 10 Km northeast of Main City of Kathmandu. Most of the Hindu people got to offer their worship to this place once a year during July/August who have lost their father before. So, the day is called “Father’s day or Gokrne Aunsi” on the dark moon day. Afterwards, one can enjoy the Gokarna Safari Park, which is close by to this temple. This park attract the visitors as picnic spot, to enjoy the nature with the animal like spotted deer’s, monkeys, birds etc after all this place also offers one of the best Golf course close to the city.
Eighty kilometers southwest of Kathmandu at an altitude of about 2400 meters lies Daman. It is located on the Tribhuvan Highway between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. One can see world’s highest peak extending in one glittering are from the Far West of Dhaulagiri to Far East of Sagarmatha. Other peaks are Annapurna III, Phurni Chuyachu, Choba Bhamre and Gaurishanker. Round trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Tansen, Lumbini, Narayangargh is very rewarding.
This another hill top viewpoint and a quite countryside retreat, which lies north west of Kathmandu and takes about one hour, drive. This hilltop faces a skyline of mountains like Gauri Shankar, Choba Bhamre, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, and Hiunchuli on the northern part from east to west. There is a lodge with restaurant to stay overnight to view the sunset or sunrise.
This is the botanical garden located 18-Km southeast of Kathmandu inside the quite jungle of Godavari. Many collections of different species of flowers and herbs. Literally it is a vernacular translation of special flower. Godawari is a big village setting of extreme natural beauty south east of Patan perched at the foot of Mt. Fulchowki. Fulchowki at the altitude of 9050 ft above the sea level. It is infact the hill surrounding the Kathmandu Valley, a good spot for hiking. Rhododendron of various kinds of colors from snow white to dark red grows wild on the slopes. It also has rich forest abound with different varieties of flora and birds. It has numerous orchid species.
Dhaksinkali lies 28 Kms towards south from Kathmandu Valley. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, who is considered as bloodthirsty goddess according to Hindu Mythology. Many devotees visit this site on Saturday and Tuesday and they sacrifice animals to this goddess. The victims include the fowl, birds and sheep in general.
As most of the places in Nepal, this spot is also named after goddess as this place has a temple dedicated to Goddess Barahi. Bajra means the Thunder and Barahi means the bearer or holder so, in total Bajrabarahi means the powerful goddess of Thunder bearer. One can find a beautiful pagoda of the Goddess built by the Malla King of Patan centuries ago. This tranquil place is located o the famous Newar village “Lele” which is popular for handicrafts, clay works and agriculture. Most of the Newar Tribe gather in Courtyard of the temple during the festival and feast themselves enjoying the life with relatives and friends.
Changunarayan is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is considered to be one of the oldest shrines of the Kathmandu Valley. It is said to have been built in 323 AD by King Hari Dutta Varma of Lichhavi Dynasty. This temple is situated at the top of hill north to Bhaktapur City and is 153 meters above the Kathmandu Valley level. This temple is two storied and is built in pagoda style and is richly decorated with sculptures and carvings. To the ethnic Newars it is known as “Sako Changu”.
Those who are interested to do short 3 hours hiking, can hike from Tilkot (30 min down from Nagarkot) to Changu Narayan is good to view while hiking on the ridge of green hill that passes through small villages. From the Changu one can see Bhaktapur and Sankhu on either side of the hill.
All the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley have its own Durbar Square. Actual meaning of Durbar is Palace. From 14th to 18th century, the Malla Kings was ruling Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur were three independent states then while whole Nepal was divided into 54 small states. During the unification of Nepal, these three cities were also unified on 1768 AD. The palaces of Mallas of these states are interesting sites of this time. All three Durbar Squares are listed in world heritage sites.
The Durbar square with its old temples and palaces focus the religious and cultural life of the people of the valley. This falls to be the historic seat of the past royalty, particularly belonging to the Malla Dynasty. The age-old temples and palaces epitomize the religious and cultural life style of the people. The interesting things to view include Taleju Temple, Nautale Durbar (the nine storied palace), Nasal Chowk, Gaddi Baithak, Statue of King Pratap Malla, Big Bell, Big Drum, Sweta Bhairab, the residence of Goddess Kumari (The living goddess) and also Numismatic Museum. The temple of Ashok Binayak is also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh and Kasthamandup after which the name “Kathmandu” has been derived. This Kasthamandup is believed to be built from woods of a single tree and was erected as the rest house for travelers of those days. King Laxmi Narasingha Malla erected this monument in the beginning of the Sixteenth century. The Monkey God called Hanuman guards the main Golden Gate in the premises. He is the king of the monkeys and a faithful servant to Lord Ram. Being guarded by a sole protector, the gate itself has come to be known as Hanuman Gate. With a commercial umbrella suspended above his head and wrapped in a scarlet cloak, he squats on a stone plinth to be respected by hundreds of Nepalese Hindus. In the premises of Durbar Square, the most famous site to visit is the residence of Goddess Kumari, the Living Goddess. The temple and holy quadrangle with a Buddhist Stupa at the center form the residential quarters of the Chaste Virgin Living Goddess. The traditional building has profusely craved wooden balconies and window screens. The non-Buddhist and the non-Hindu visitors may enter the courtyard called the “bahal” but may not proceed beyond the stairs. The Goddess Kumari acknowledges their greetings from the middle window of the balcony particularly saved for Her alone and snapshot is strictly prohibited.
Patan is also known as Lalitpur, the city of fine arts. Patan has the most impressive Durbar square on the valley. This premise was also built by the Malla Kings and stood as the capital part of the city till the 17th century. The square is built of ancient palaces, temples, shrines and statues noted for their exquisite carvings. Beautiful stone baths, repose images of river sprites, great golden audience windows, 14th century terra-cotta temples and 17th century stone. A terra-cotta shikara temple, each brick bearing an image of the Buddha. A Blackstone entrances to temples of gold and exquisite 5-storey pagoda from the 14th century, earliest of the standing temples. Spring legend tells us rise in the holy lakes of Gasainkund to the north of Kathmandu. And walks through the side streets of the city, still busy today with the tap-tap of hammers and chisels and bronze and wood as the descendants of the creators of this ancient splendor carry on the trade ancestors. This Durbar Square includes three main courtyards, the first being the Keshab Narayan Chowk which we have gotten to enter through the Golden Fate and under the Golden Window; the second being the Taleju Bhawani Chowk; and the third being the Sundari Chowk carrying the Royal Bath. The single stone pillar on, which sits late King Yog Narendra Malla facing the Taleju Bhawani Temple to, the cardinal direction of east and the Titanic Bell to its right are also worth mentioning. The last of the Malla dynasty was late King Tej Narsingh Malla.
Bhaktapur is the best-preserved city of the Kathmandu Valley. The Durbar square of this city contains numerous temples and monuments of wonderful nature. Here around the Dattatrya Square, the 9th century markets grew gradually, spreading to the Taumadi Square with this 3 tiered temple of Bhairab and great 5 storied temple to the Goddess of Light and Space and finally to the magic of the main Palace Square. The first striking city mark would be the 55 Window Palace built by late King Bhupatindra Malla with which the three remaining kingdoms of Kantipur, Lalitpur and Kirtipur envied a lot. This jealousy often leads to some political stiff as well. The 55 Window Palace is the only type in the whole country. The first ten windows decently face west, thirty-five face south and the remaining ten face east. The Golden Gate, the Titanic Bell, the Stone pillar of late Bhupatindra Malla and the Chayslin Mandap looks gorgeous. Entering the Golden Gate of the 55-window palace, Taleju Bhawani temple and Royal Bath. Taleju Bhawani temple is found in every palace of the Kathmandu Valley, as she is believed to be the protector of the city. The Royal Bath looks glamorous with the image of the Serpent God in the middle of the sanatorium although the waterspout has completely dried up.
There are more than 50 Buddhist Monasteries in Kathmandu Valley and half of them you can find with the area of Boudhanath Stupa. Boudhanath Stupa is the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal and around it has sprung up, what can be called- “Little Tibet”. Dhiya Gonpa is one of the oldest monasteries in Boudhanath. Thangu Gonpa runs a school for monks and for outsider children at Coudha and also has a retreat center in Namo Buddha. Chechen Shedupling Gonpa has a very special statue of Shakya muni called “ Chhowo Rimpoche” very similar to Lhasa Chhowo, which is extremely famous. It has one retreat center in Pharping. Jamchhe Lhakhang has a special statue of Lord Buddha called Jawa Shapma which is known as future Buddha. Shechen Gonpa has very special statue of Lord Padma Sambava and three temples where they attain daily worship. Samteeling Gonpa, which is also, one of the oldest monasteries in Boudhanath as a Mongolian monk established it fifty years ago. Kopan Gonpa is also popular for its retreat center. These with Ka Nying Gonpa and small several monasteries are the main monasteries of Boudhanath area.
For those entire cliffs hang out there, Kathmandu offers a roster of stonewalls that make for an experience of a lifetime. Now of late, Rock-Climbing has become a popular sport in Kathmandu, which offers some really terrific places for rock climbing. Nagarjun, Balaju, Shivapuri and Budhanilkantha are some of the places where you can try this sport.
The best way to explore the Kathmandu Valley is on a mountain bike. Good bikes can be rented from many shops around town.
Nepal is a paradise for bird lovers with over 8oo species, almost 8% of the world total of birds. Among them almost 500 hundred are found in the Kathmandu Valley alone. The most popular bird watching spots in Kathmandu are Phulchowki, Godawari, Nagarjun, Bagmati River, Taudha and so on. Get your binoculars and look up in the trees.
Only awe-stricken silence can come close to matching the experience of going on a mountain flight to encounter the tallest mountains of the earth. Mountain flights offer the closest possible aerial views of Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga and the Tibetan Plateau. Mountain flights appeal to all categories of travelers and have become a popular tourist attraction of Nepal. For those who are restricted by time or other considerations from going trekking, these flights offer a panoramic view of the Himalaya in just one hour.
Nepal’s most famous Royal Chitwan National Park is located on the low lands of the inner Terai covering an area of 932 Sq. km.
Nepal’s unique topography ranges from lowlands with sub-tropical jungles to the snow filled Himalayan range. Within a mere 150 kilometers, the land rises from near sea level in the south to over 8,000 meters in the north. The country is richly endowed with a great diversity of flora and fauna. The Terai lowlands are a belt of plains stretching from the Indian border northward to the first slopes of the Bhabhar and Siwalik Range. This is the richest habitat in the land with tall grasslands interspersed with riverine and hardwood Sal forest. Here one can see wildlife such as the swamp deer, musk deer, black buck, blue bull, the Royal Bengal Tiger, Gharial and mugger crocodiles and the last breed of Asiatic wild buffalo. There are five protected wild life areas in Nepal-Koshi Tappu and Parsa in the east, Sukla Phanta and Dhorpatan in the west and Shivapuri in the mid-mountain region. The churia, also known as the Siwalik, is the southern most range of the Himalayas. Royal Chitwan national Park in the Inner Terai of central Nepal is the first and best-protected area in the kingdom.
Royal Bardia National Park is another park, which is famous for different species of birds and animals.
There are 11 other National Parks in Nepal which are rich in wildlife, birds, such as the rare one horned rhinoceros, several species of deer, bear, leopard, dolphin, crocodile, tiger etc. are living in these parks in their natural habitat. The parks are very popular for Elephant Safari, Dugout Canoeing, Nature Walk, Bird Watching and Jungle Excursion with Jungle Naturalist.
Inclusive: Land Transportation to & from, Choice of Accommodation (Lodge or Tented Camp), Food 3 meals a day
Excluded: Bar Bills, Personal expenses, Private Transportation etc.