Nepal – A Mix of Beauty and Religion

/Nepal – A Mix of Beauty and Religion

Nepal

Nepal became a Federal Democratic Republic on May 28, 2008. The 240 year-old monarchy was finally abolished. Today, Nepal has a President and a Prime Minister who heads the Government of Nepal.

Geography

Nepal is in the temperate zone. It is located in South Asia. To the north of Nepal are China and India in the south, east and west. The highest point in Nepal is Mt. Everest. The lowest point is in the Terial plains.

The mighty Himalayas have alpine pastures, temperate forests and show line. Nepal has 6000 rivers, which originate in the Himalayas. It is called the “water towers of South Asia”.

Climate

The climate of Nepal varies from one place to another according to the geographical features. The south summers are tropical and have mild winters. The north has cool summers and severe winters. The five seasons of Nepal are spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winters. The tourists get awesome views in December and January as the sun is bright, though it is very cold. The skies are clear, and one can see the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas after monsoon in October and November. This is spring time, and Nepal is bright with rhododendrons.

Tourists Destinations

Kathmandu Valley

The valley is fertile and has an urban settlement. The cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur have ornate places, wonderfully crafted pagodas and stupas.

Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal. It witnesses both ancient traditions and latest technological advances. The visitors gaze though settles on the exquisitely carved 18th century sculpture or the spiritual stupas.

The old Kathmandu city has the Durbar Square with its places, country yards and temples. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This square is Kathmandu’s social, political and religious focal point.

Asan

This is a market square. The visitor will see six roads here radiating in all directions. This is an ever lively bazaar. It is busy shopping center with shops selling Chinese goods, fresh vegetables, clothes, imported spices etc.

Balaju Garden

This garden lies below the Nargarjun hill. It has a quiet and peaceful park. The garden lies three kilometers north-west of Kathmandu. The park has 22 stone water spouts each with a carved crocodile head. These were built in the 18th century. Above Balaju,  you will find the Nagarjun forests. A two hour walk takes the tourists to a summit. You get striking views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan peaks. On the summit are a Buddhist stupa and a view tower.

Thamel

Thamel is ever bustling with activities with late night. The tourists can walk down for ten minutes from the center of Kathmandu to reach Thamel. The place is full of tourists enjoying themselves as free birds. It has a large number of hotels with a variety of cuisine, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, workshops etc. While, in Thamel, the tourists can visit the Garden of Dreams with its 24 acres garden. The garden includes fountains, neo-classical pavilions, urns and bird houses.

Pokhara

Pokhara has bewitching beauty nestled within the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. The air around is pure and fresh and keeps your spirits high. There are lakes surrounded by greenery with natural beauty all around. It was once a trade route between India and Tibet. On a trekker’s list is Shangri-la a must visit place in Nepal.

The Annapurna range offers stunning views from Pokhara. Mt. Fishtail lies close to the valley and can be seen from anywhere in Pokhara.

Phewa Lake is a beautiful, large and popular among the tourists who relax and enjoy here. It is lined with bars, restaurants and souvenir shops.

The Mahendra Gupha is a cave of limestone. It is located at a distance of a two-hour walk from Pokhara. This cave is famous for stalactites and stalagmites. It is also known as the House of Bats.

The World Peace Pagoda sits on a hill. It has four images of Buddha. The pagoda is dome shaped and commands great views. When in Pokhara the adventurer can go in for paragliding, boating, trekking, mountain biking and bird watching.

Lumbini

Lumbini is a sacred pilgrimage place for the Buddhist. It is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It lies in the Terai plains of Nepal. Lumbini is of great religious and archeological importance. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site has a pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka when on a pilgrimage to Lumbini in 249 BC.

Lumbini has the Sacred Gardens and a Mayadevi Temple. Excavations here show the visitors the spot where Gautam Buddha was born. The sacred Puskari Ponds lies nearby where Queen Mayadevi had bathed before the birth of Buddha. The infant Buddha was given his first bath at this pond.

Monastic zones lie to the north of the Sacred Gardens. Different countries have here built temples and monasteries of the different sects of Buddhism.

Countries like Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, Germany, France and Sri Lanka have built beautiful temples and monuments in Lumbini. The tourists can avail the Lumbini-Buddhist Circuit Tour. It helps you to visit the places with a guide giving details about each place. The Lumbini Village Tour is also an interesting one. You can walk through the villages or take a rickshaw or a bullock cart. The villages offer you a sight of wetlands, ponds, lands and bird watching.

National Parks

Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The tourists can jungle walk, jeep drive or ride through the part on elephant back. The wild life seen at the national park include the Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, rhesus monkey, deers etc. Amphibian and reptiles can also be sighted here. A number of winter migrant birds and summer migrant birds come to the national park. You will find deciduous forests all around. It is best to visit this national park from October to March.

Resort hotels and lodges offer accommodation. It takes 20 minutes by air from Bharatpur, or you can take a bus from Kathmandu, a ride of 146 kilometers. It is very scenic all along the ride. An entry fee has to be paid before entering the national park.

Other National Parks worth a visit are the Sagarmatha National Park, Bardia National Park, Khaptad National Park and many others.

Neal’s reserves and national park preserve the endangered fauna and flora more thN any other country in Asia.

Hill Stations

Ilam

Ilam offers its visitors a look at its picnic sites, tea gardens, holy places, unique culture and treks along its gentle slopes. You get excellent views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. Ilam produces excellent cheese. West Bengal in India lies to its east. It has four main rivers, cultural diversities, cash crops and natural landscape. A lot of researchers visit Ilam for botanical and anthropological research. You can visit Anto Danda for stunning sunrise and sunset over the eastern Himalayas. It is surrounded by slope terraces and plains with different vegetation. On a clear day, you can see the India hill station of Darjeeling.

Mai Kokhari

This is a nine cornered lake and is considered a sacred pilgrimage site. It lies 13 kilometers from Llam bazaar. The lake is surrounded by forest of birch, juniper, pine fur and medicinal plants. The forests are abode to rear animals and birds.

Kamyam and Fikkal

These are large tea estates which the tourists see on their way to Llam bazaar. The tea gardens attract the tourists for picnicking, sightseeing and photography. From here the border can be crossed by Indians and Nepalis with valid documents to the eastern border city of Pashupatinagar adjacent to Darjeeling. The tourists can visit pilgrimage sites of Gajur Mukhi, west of Llam bazaar. It is tunnel carved with deities and lies on the banks of with River Deumai Khola. Sanu Pathibhara the temple of Lord Shiva is situated on a hill offering great views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the Mahabharata range and the Terai plains.

Buses are available from Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj. You can reach the above places by flight and then proceed by bus or a private taxi to Llam. Food and accommodation are both available for the tourists at Llam.

Tansen

This place is like an off the beaten track destination in Nepal. It is a town between the Indian border and Pokhara. It is a town between the Indian border and Pokhara. Tansen is on the Srinagar Hill. You will find cobbled streets and an old world charm with its Newari houses. There is a lot of activity in the town bazaar. Srinagar hilltop provides the viewer with great mountain views on a clear day. You can also visit the palace which was designed by British engineers from Kolkata. The tourists walk down a slope passing through a narrow gorge to reach the artistic palace. The Sat Yawati Lake is on top of a mountain ridge about 1400 meters high. Foreign tourists often visit the villages around Tansen to know more about village life, food, clothing and the people.

Buses ply from Kathmandu and Pokhara or else one can fly to Bhairahava and drive down to Tansen. There are budget hotels and lodges in Tansen.

Nagarkot

The tourists get spell-bound views of the Himalayas from here. It is situated on the valley rim 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu. It is thrilling for the tourists on an elevation of 2175 meters to view the five of the world’s tallest peak. The views of sunrise and sunset are simply stunning. Nagarkot is 45 minutes’ drive from Kathmandu. The cosy hilltop resorts warmly invite the tourists. You can walk around Nagarkot, breathe in some pure air while your eyes feast upon the natural scenic views all around the place.

I visited Nepal and have seen all these wonderful places. My journey started from Mumbai where I along with my parents boarded the Gorakhpur Express and reached Gorakpur a town in India. We stayed for a day at a hotel in Gorakpur. We crossed the India border with all necessary documents into Nepal. From here onwards started my beautiful journey by bus to all the places mentioned in this article. To me, being in Thamel was wonderful. I celebrated Easter Sunday there. Nagarkot left me spellbound with its beauty and climate. Tansen too was enjoyable as I sat waiting on a hilltop to watch the setting sun. I am fond of photography and hence kept on clicking as many photographs I could capture of these lovely moments of my trip. We returned by train after a ten days’ vacation.

The tourist can avail of Visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. Visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission. The tourists are required to pay cash for obtaining the Visa. Credit cards, Nepali and Indian currency are not accepted as Visa fees. Indian nationals do not require a Visa to enter Nepal. Prior to planning your visit to Nepal, do get all the required information necessary for your visit from your home country.

Hotels in Nepal accept Foreign exchange and Credit cards like the American Express, Master and Visa cards. The tourists are required to keep the receipt of their currency exchange. ATMs can be used in Kathmandu. The health services are good in Nepal.

The tourists are requested to carry all the medicines required by them and to take care of hygiene, proper food and clean water. You will surely have a hassle free and a wonderful stay in Nepal.

The National Geographic Adventure Magazine rates Nepal as one of the best countries for adventure. When in Nepal, the tourists can go trekking, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, jungle safari, bird watching and many others. Book different tours while in Nepal and have a blast of a time shutting out home and work memories.

2017-02-07T14:41:30+00:00

About the Author:

Ravish Khapra has a passion for, and extensive experience with, travel writing. His engaging posts provide detailed information on destinations around the world, including how to reach these locales, ways to make the most of your trip, and tips on budgeting for maximum return on your travel investment.