NEPAL... mention Nepal, and most people will conjure up images of the Himalaya. Indeed eight of the worlds 10 tallest peaks are located here. The
country is, however, distinguished not only for its high mountains, but also for its unique cultural heritage, artistic monuments and exotic wildlife, which are reflected in the country's language, architecture and biodiversity.

Wedged in between Tibet of the Peoples Republic of China in the north and India on the other three sides, Nepal is the confluence of two great religions- Hinduism and Buddhism. It is the land where Lord Buddha was born more than 2,500 years ago and is also the birthplace of Sita, consort of Lord Ram.

The valley comprises the three royal cities of Kathmandu, Paten and Bhaktapur which share amongst themselves seven World Heritage Site. The valley is on vast open-air museum of Newar culture with its colossal ensemble of sculptures, temples, monuments and magnificent art work on display.

Major places of interest in Kathmandu are the Durbar Square ( a World Heritage Site), an ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the Malla kings; Swayambhu Stupak (a World Heritage Site), one of the holiest Buddhist sites, that keeps watch over the Valley from atop a hillock; Bouddha Nath Stupa(a World Heritage Site), the largest stupa in the valley that rises 36 m; Pashupatinath Temple (a World Heritage Site), one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world:and Changu Aryan Temple(a World Heritage Site), dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the finest and oldest specimens of pagoda architecture.

In Paten, place to visit include the Durbar Square (a World Heritage Site) with its enchanting palace buildings, artistic courtyards and pagoda temples; Mahabouddha, a 14th century Buddhist monument, which is a fine example of terra cotta artwork; Kwan Bahal, or the Golden Temple, a 12th century Buddhist monastery exceptionally rich in fine wood-carving and repose work; and Kumbheswar, one of the only three temples in the valley with five roofs.

Bhaktapur attractions are just as spectacular, They are the Durbar Square (a World Heritage Site) with its 15th century Palace of 55 Windows and entrance known as the Golden Gate- a masterpiece in repose art; Taumandhi Square over which presides the towering five-roofed Natal temple; Tachapal Square famed for its many ornate Hindu monasteries called Math; Potters Square (Baldachin), where potters mold clay into earthenware; and Surya Binayak, a shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesh.


The natural beauty of Pokhara in Midwestern Nepal is simply bewitching. Forming the backdrop are the spectacular Annapurna Mountains with the magnificent fish-tailed Machhapuchhre dominating the scene. Adding to Pokharas enchantment are the three serene lakes of Phewa, Rupa and Begnas. Other places of interest include the World Peace Stupa a top a hill that provides stunning views of the surroundings; the deep Seti Gorge below which spreads the Green Canyon; and Devi's Fall, an awe-inspiring waterfall that disappears into an underground passage.

Annapurna, the most popular trekking route in Nepal, begins from Pokhara and leads you through rhododendron forests over the foothills of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains. The Kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest in the world, and Lake Tilicho, the highest lake at 4,919 m, are located here. The highest elevation reached on the trek is 5,416 m. Royal Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site in south-central Nepal, is 932 sq km of subtropical lowlands of sal forests, tall grasslands, ox-bow lakes and flood plains. Asia best managed park is home to 50 species of mammals, 55 species of amphibians and reptiles and 525 species of birds. Wildlife found here include the one-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, gaur, wild elephant, gharial crocodile and Gangetic dolphin. Tharus are the indigenous, inhabitants of Chitwan, Activities such as jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk,canoe ride, village tour and jeep drive can be enjoyed in Chitwan.

Lumbini, in the south west, is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a World Heritage Site an inscription on the Ashoka Pillar identifies the Sacred Garden as the place where the Buddha was born. Lumbini has a number of artistic temples and monasteries built through international support.

The Khumbu valley in the Everest region is another popular destination for trekkers. Ringed by towering mountains, it is home to three of the worlds tallest peaks, namely Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,516m) and Cho Oyu (8,201m).A spectacular flight lands you at Lukla (2,850m) from where the trail leads to the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar, Tengboche monastery set against the backdrop of the picturesque Ama Dablam (6,812 m) and finally Everest base camp.




VISA AND TRANSPORT: All foreigners, except Indians, need a visa to enter Nepal. Indians must, however, possess identification papers. Single, double and multiple-entry visas are available from the Royal Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or at the point of entry on arrival. A single entry visa lasts 60 days.
All movement within Nepal is by bus or plane, Taxis, local buses and rickshaws are available in the cities.

ACCESS: Kathmandu is connected by direct flights with Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Vienna, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Karachi, Bahrain, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Patna, Varanasi, Dhaka, Paro, Lhasa, Bangkok, Singapore, Hongkong, Shanghai and Osaka. Alternatively, you can enter Nepal by land from India through six points- Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Mahendranagar- or through Kodari from Tibet. 

In addition to Tibet and Bhutan, Kathmandu in also connected by air/road to Sikkim and Darjeeling, which makes it the natural gateway to these places.

SEASON: February-May and September November are the best times to visit Nepal. The rainy season lasts from June to August.

ADVENTURE: Mountaineering, trekking, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, bungee jumping, cannoning, motor gliding, paragliding, hot air ballooning and rock climbing.





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