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About Nepal

NEPAL – LAND OF TAMPLE

Nepal – One is not enough. Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras.

Capital of Nepal  : Kathmandu
Altitude                : 1,336 m

The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu
Machchhendrananth Temple: The temple of Sweta Machchhendra Bahal between Indra Chowk and Asan. It is a Pagoda of considerable artistic beauty is also called as “Janmadyo” or “Machchhendra” deity.

Akash Bhairav Temple: A three storey temple in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk, the image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside for a week during Indara Jatra, the festival of Indra - the God of Rain.

Hanumandhoka (Durbar Square): It is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religiuous and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized.

Interesting things to see here are; Taleju Temple built by king Mahendra malla in 1549 A.D.; Kal Bhairav, the God of Destruction, Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, The Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and the Jagannath Temple.

On the right hand corner, larger wooden lattice screen hides an enormous gilded face of Sweta Bhairav. The screen is removed only during the Indra Jatra festival. There are also Numismatic Museum and Tribhuvan museum inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace building. Photography is prohibited inside the museums. Both the museums remain closed on Tuesdays and government holidays.

Temple Of Kumari (Kumar Ghar): The temple or the residence of Living Goddess, “Kumari”, is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens. The Kumari - the Living Goddess acknowledges the greetings from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited.


Kasthamandap: Located near the Temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the 16th century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple.
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Tundikhel: A huge green field flanks one entire side of the old city Tundikhel. Some of the important landmarks of Kathmandu valley are located in the periphery of this area. At the south-western end of Tundihkel is a 59.29m tower built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832 A.D. known as Dharahara or Bhimsen Stambha. Sundhara - fountains with golden water spouts is situated at the foot of this great tower also belonging to the same period.

Bhadrakali Temple: As the eastern edge of the Tundikhel, near Shahid Gate stands the temple of Goddess Bhadrakali. This temple is also known as Lumarhi temple and is one of the main “Shakta” temples of Kathmandu city.

Budhanikantha: About 8-kms north of Kathmandu, at the base of sivapuri hill is a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining of the bed of snake. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of Lichchhavi period. This 5th century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water.

Swayambhunath: This is one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. It is said to be 2,000-years-old. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is 3-kms west of Kathmandu City and is situated on a hillock about 77m. Above the level of the Kathmandu valley.

National Museum: Two and half kilometers west of Kathmandu, the National Museum has splendid collection of weapons, artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing. The museum is open everyday except Tuesday and government holidays.

Natural History Museum: Situated 3-kms west of Kathmandu City behind the famous Swayambhunath hillock. This museum has a unique collection of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants and a variety of fossils collected within the country. Photography inside the museum is prohibited.

Pashupatinath Temple: Situated 5-kms east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva-Pashupatinath with two tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its superb architecture. Visitors can clearly seen the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River.

Guheswari Temple: Near Pashupatinath is located another historic and holy temple of Guheswari. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple courtyard.

Chabahil: The lovely stupa of Chabahil is believed to have been built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century B.C. There are ancient statues around the stupa.

Chandra Vinayak: The temple of Chandra Vinayak is situated about 200 m. north of Chabahil stupa. This double tiered brass roofed temple houses a tiny image of Lord Ganesh, the Elephant-headed God.

Bouddhnath: The Stupa of Bouddhnath lays 8-kms east of Kathmandu. This colossal and ancient stupa is one of the biggest in the world.

Gokarna: This lovely Toyal Game Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about 10-kms north-east of Kathmandu. Many wild animals such as Spotted Deer can be viewed in the sanctuary from an Elephant back. On the northern side of Gokarna, is a Pagoda of Gokarneshwor Mahadev.

Kirtipur: It is a small town, 8-kms south-west of Kathmandu on the top of a hill. Tribhuvan University is located at the foot of the hill. This historic town has many things to offer like old shrines and temples, old houses, the people typically dressed in old traditional costumes, people working on ancient loom etc.

Chobhar: Situated 9-kms south-west of Kathmandu, this place is famous for its gorge. All the water of the valley drains through it. There is a small but picturesque temple of adinath on the top of a hill. From this top one can have a panoramic view of snow capped mountain peaks.

Shekha Narayan: Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali the temple of Shekha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu valley. The other three Narayans are Changu Narayan of Bhaktapur, Visankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu.

Dakshinkali: The temple of Dashinkali is situated about 2-kms south of Shekha Narayan. Dakshinkali is regarded as one of most important Hindu Goddesses pilgrims visit this temple to offer their prayer and animal sacrifices to the Goddess. Besides, this place has been developed as a popular picnic spot.

The major tourist attractions in Lalitpur (Patan):
This ancient city of Patan also known as Lalitpur of the city of fine arts is about 5-kms south-east of Kathmandu. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. The major tourist attractions of Patan are:

Durbar Square: Patan Durbar Square situated in the heart of the city consitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisitevings. The Patan Durbar Square consists of three main chowks or courtyards, the Central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its centre a masterpiece of stone architecture, the royal bath called “Tushahity”.

Krishna Mandir: Built in the 17th century, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made of stone.

Mahaboudha: A little further east from Patan Durbar Square lays this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the 14th century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.

Hiranya Verna Mahavihar: Located inside, kwabadehal, this three storey golden pagoda of lokshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by king bhaskar verma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.

Rudra Varna Mahavihar: This unique Buddhist monastery contains fine and amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.

The Ashokan Stupas: There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 B.C. by emperor ahoka at the four corners of patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchowk, lagankhel, ebahi and in teta (way to sano gaon) respectively. These stupas give evidence to the city’s ancient religious importance.

Temple Of Machhendranath And Minnath: The Pagoda of red Machhendranath built in 1408 A.D. is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.

The Zoo: Situated at Jawalakhel, the zoo has many animals, birds and reptiles in its collections mostly representing the Himalayan fauna. There is a beautiful pond built in 17th century A.D.

Phulchowki: Located around 10-km south-east of Patan, this mountain, 2,758 m. High, is a good spot for hiking. A Buddhist shrine is situated on the top of the hill, which can be reached through a jeepable road.

The major tourist attractions in Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon):
Situated at an altitude of 1,401m Bhaktapur covers an area of 4-sq-miles. Shaped like a conch-shell, Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. Pottery and weaving are its traditional industries. The city lies about 14-kms east of Kathmandu and can be reached by public transport and by trolley buses. The major sightseeing places in bhaktapur include:

Durbar Square: The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like the lion gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the picture gallery, the golden gate, the palace of 55 windows, the batsala temple and the bell of barking dogs, etc. The statue of the King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace of the many statues available in Nepal this is considered to be the most magnificent.

The National Art Gallery: Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions.

The Golden Gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.

The Palace of 55 Windows was built in the 17th century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpiece of wood carving.

The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi which is also located in the Durbar Square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal. There is a bronze be on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the “bell of barking dogs”. This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.

Nyatapola Temple: This five storey Pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands in a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two Elephants, two Lions, two Griffins and “Baghini” and “Singhini” - the Tiger and the Lion Goddesses. This is one of the tallest Pagodas and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.

Bhairavnath Temple: This temple was first built as a one storey pagoda but later chaned into a three storey temple in 1718 A.D. by king bhupatindra malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to lord bhairav- the god of terror.

Dattatraya Temple: Built in 1427 A.D. this temple is said to have been built from trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.

Surya Vinayak: Situated in a beautiful surrounding of Bhadgaon, the temple of Ganesh is placed in a sylvan setting to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.

Changu Narayan: 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. and said to be the oldest temple in the valley.

Nagarkot: Located on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley at an elevation of 7,200 feet, Nagarkot boasts a 200-mile panorama of the Himalayas that extends from Dhaulagiri in the west to beyond Mount Everest in the east. At dawn and dusk, the snow-covered peaks are painted in shades of lavender, rose, pink, orange, and gold. It is a sight not to be missed, though you can never be sure that the mountains will be visible, even in the usually clear winter months. Fog and low clouds often obscure the view, though seeing a single jagged, pink peak suddenly appear can be as thrilling as seeing the whole 200-mile panorama. Since mornings are usually clearer than afternoons, I recommend spending a night up here. Nagarkot isn't much of a village, but there are more than a dozen lodges. Nearly every tour company in Kathmandu offers sunrise or sunset trips to Nagarkot.

Pokhara: Pokhara is a remarkable place of natural beauty. Situated at an altitude of 827m from the sea level and 200km west of Kathmandu valley, the city is known as a center of adventure. The enchanting city with a population of around 95,000 has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panaromic views of Himalayan peaks. The serenity of lakes and the magnificence of the Himalayas rising behind them create an ambience of peace and magic. So today the city has not only become the starting point for most popular trekking and rafting destinations but also a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.

The climate of Pokhara is slightly warmer than Kathmandu with daytime temperature hovering around 15 degrees Celsius in winter and 35 degrees in summer. The monsoon season which lasts from mid-June to mid-September is very wet; in fact Pokhara records the highest rainfall in the country. Best time to visit is between October and April.

The activities of foreign visitors to Pokhara focus around two districts known as Damside and Lakeside (or Pardi and Baidam, in Nepali, respectively). These two areas, with their strips of hotels and restaurants, are a few kilometers south-west of the main Pokhara bazaar.

Places of Tourist

  • Phewa Lake
  • Begnas Lake & Rupa Lake
  • Barahi Temple
  • World Peace Pagoda
  • Seti gandaki
  • Devi’s fall
  • Gupteswar Gupha
  • Mahenda Gupha
  • The Old Bazar
  • Bindbyabasini Temple
  • Museums
  • Himalayan Vista
  • Nightlife & Entertainment
  • Around Pokhara

Phewa Tal (Lake): Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the kingdom, roughly measuring 1.5 km by 4 km, is the center of all attractions in Pokhara. The enchanting lake is an idyllic playground. Brightly painted wooden boats and sailboats can be rented on reasonable cost around lakeside. 

The lake is neither deep (roughly 47 meters at most) nor particulary clean, but the water is warm and swimming is pleasant if you don't think about the probable pollution.
The eastern shoreline of the lake, popularly known as Lakeside or Baidam, consists of seemingly endless strip of lodges, restaurants, bookshops and souvenir shops. One of the fascinating parts of lakeside is the splendid view of the mountains, especially when the still water reflects the peaks, creating a double image.

Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake: The lakes are located about 15km from Pokhara at the end of a road that turns north from the highway to Kathmandu. Divided by the forested hillock called Panchabhaiya Danda, the lakes offer the perfect nature retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing can be done here.

Barahi temple: This is the most important religious monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, the two storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protectress deity representing the female force Shakti. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.

World Peace Pagoda: The pagoda is a massive Buddhist stupa and is situated on top of a hill on the southern shore of Phewa lake. Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range and Pokhara city. You can get there by crossing the lake by boat and then hiking up the hill.

Seti Gandaki: Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs completely underground at places. Amazingly, at certain points the river appears hardly two meters wide. But its depth is quite beyond imagination - over 20 meters! Mahendra Pul, a small bridge near the old Mission Hospital, provides a perfect view of the river's dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.

Devi's Fall: Locally known as Patale Chhango (Hell's Fall), Devi's fall (also known as Devin's or David's) is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara airport on the highway to Tansen. An interesting modern legend says that a foreigner named David was skinnydipping in the Pardi Khola (river) when the floodgates of the dam were opened, sweeping him into an underground passage beneath the fall, never to be seen again.

Gupteswar Gupha: Gupteswar Gupha, a sacred cave, lies 2 km from Pokhara airport on the Siddhartha Highway leading southwest from the city. The entrance is right across from Devi's Fall and the cave is almost 3 km long. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages where you have to crawl on all fours. This cave holds special value for Hindus since a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva is preserved here in the condition it was discovered. An entrance fee of Rs. 5 is charged and taking pictures inside the cave is prohibited.

Mahendra Gupha: Mahendra Gufa, locally called Chamero Odhaar ("House of Bats"), is the large limestone cave. Shepherd boys are said to have discovered it around 1950. A two hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, although most of them have been carted out by souvenir hunters.
Bazaar: Pokhara's traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Located about 4 km from Lakeside, the market's original charm is alive and well.

Bindbyabasini Temple: Bindhyabasini temple is the center of religious activity in the old bazaar. It is dedicated to goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of shakti. Worshippers flock here to perform sacrifices, and especially on Saturdays the parklike grounds take on a festive fair.

MUSEUMS:
Pokhara Museum, located between the airport and Mahendra Pul, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as the Gurung, Thakali and the Tharu are attractively displayed. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 am to 4 pm. Entrance fee is Rs. 5 and there is an extra Rs. 10 for cameras (Tel: 0612041 3).

Annapurna Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar. Managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds, and models of wildlife as well as samples of various precious and semi-precious stones and volcanic rocks. Open daily, except Saturdays and holidays, from 9 am to 4 pm. Entrance is free (Tel: 061-21102).

Himalayan Vista: The magnificent Annapurna panorama that's visible on the northern skyline of Pokhara is quite incredible. The main peaks are Annapurna I to IV and the beautiful Machhapuchhare (or Fishtail Mountaian, so named after its twin peaks). Besides these, you can also see the Himchuli, Varahashikhar, Gangapurna and other peaks. The mountains will probably be hidden in the clouds between April and September. A nice evening on the banks of Fewa Lake with the mountain range as the backdrop is what Pokhara is really about!

Nightlife and Entertainment: There is not much of nightlife in Pokhara other than dining. The town shuts down by about 10:30 in the evening. Until you can hang out some of the bars and pubs that are becoming trendy in the area. Fishtail Lodge puts up an hour long nightly Nepali cultural show with dances and such.

Around Pokhara: Pokhara is the starting and ending point for many of the popular trekking routes in Nepal. Longer treks (one to three week long) such as the Jomsom trek, Annapurna Circuit, and Annapurna Sanctuary begin here. Check a book on Nepal trekking for more details on this. Otherwise, you can also visit this site Pilgrims Book House for information on trekking books of Nepal.

For those with less time, Pokhara also provides shorter (one to seven days) more leisurely treks around the neighboring hills and villages. The popular ones are:

Ghachowk Trek: two days, a circuit through Lhachowk to Ghachowk and down to Batulechaur, north of Pokhara, close up view of Fishtail Mountain.

Naudanda Trek: two days, to Naudanda from Suikhet and then back through Kaski, west of Pokhara.

Ghorepani Circuit: five to seven days long, upto the Gurung village of Ghandruk village, great views of the Annapurna range, north-west of Pokhara.

Kahun Danda: day trip, north east of Pokhara, 1560m altitude.

Sarangkot: day trip, great view of the mountain range including Dhaulagiri, north of Fewa Lake, 1592m altitude.

Rupa and Begnas Lakes: day trip, 15km south-east of Pokhara, take a bus there and leisurely walk along the ridge that separates the two twin lakes.

 

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