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Trekking in Nepal

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Places to see in Nepal

There are number of beautiful and interesting places to visit in Nepal. The places are full of history and historical remains and incredible for their beauties. Most of these places can be easily reached from Kathmandu by road or by air.

High in the Himalayan Mountains lays the small country of Nepal, with its lofty mountains, deep valleys, lush jungles, exotic wildlife and diverse peoples. Most people from around the world has known it as the home of Mt. Everest, and Birthplace of the Lord Buddha. But this is not just enough. Nepal has a lot’s of more attractions to keep the visitors coming back time and again. Visit Nepal - We welcome you to Nepal, the country which is one of the most splendid destinations of the world for Adventure, Cultural, Pilgrimage and Wildlife tour. Have a look some of the exotic places once to be visit in Nepal.

Places in and around Kathmandu:

Kathmandu Durbar Square

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly uncountable monuments in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The house of the Living Goddess (Kumari Ghar), the fierce Kal Bhairab, the red monkey god, and hundreds of erotic carvings are a few examples of the sights at the Square! The buildings here are the greatest achievements of the Malla dynasty, and they resulted from the great rivalry between the three palaces of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. The Valley was divided among the sons of Yaksya Malla. For visitors today, and for the Nepalese, it was serendipitous that they, and later their offspring, began an artistic warfare trying to beat each other in splendid constructions. Kings copied everything their neighbors built in an even grander style. A visitor who wanders around the Square will see a round temple in the pagoda architectural style, the temple of Goddess Taleju (legend has it that She played dice with King Jaya Prakash Malla), and an image of Shiva and Parbati sitting together among the many monuments.

The Square teems with colorful life. Vendors sell vegetables, curios, flutes, and other crafts around the Kastamandap rest house. This rest house is said to have been built with the wood of a single tree and is the source from which the Kathmandu Valley got its name. Nearby are great drums which were beaten to announce royal decrees. All woodcarvings, statues, and architecture in this area are exceptionally fine, and Kathmandu Durbar Square is among the most important sights for travellers to see. The complex also houses the Tribhuvan Museum that carries the mementos of different Shah Kings.


The history of the Valley, according to the legends, begins with Swayambhu, or the "the self-existent". In times uncharted by history, Boddhisatwa Manjusri came across a beautiful lake during his travel. He saw a lotus that emitted brilliant light at the lake's center, so he cut a gorge in a southern hill and drained the waters to worship the lotus. Men settled on the bed of the lake and called it the Kathmandu Valley. From then on, the hilltop of the self-existent Lord has been a holy place.

Swayambhu's light was covered in time because few could bear its intensity. By the thirteenth century, after many layers were added to the original structure that enveloped the Lord's power, a dome-like shape had been acquired. The stupas central mast was damaged and replaced at that time. Peripheral sources of power were discovered on the hilltop as well and stupas, temples, and rest houses were built to honour them. Images of important deities, both Buddhist and Hindu, were also installed. Today, age-old statues and shrines dot the stupa complex.

Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri or Saraswati - the goddess of learning.

Swayambhu is, perhaps, the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. The stupa is among the most ancient in this part of the world, and its worshippers are diverse from Newar nuns, Tibetan monks, and Brahmin priests to lay Buddhists and Hindus. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is in a monastery next to the stupa. Other monasteries here have huge prayer wheels, fine Buddhist paintings, and special butter lamps which may be lit after presenting monetary offerings.

Swayambhu is a major landmark of the Valley and looks like a beacon below the Nagarjun hill. It provides an excellent view of the Kathmandu Valley. Devotees have climbed the steps on the eastern side for centuries. Statues of the Buddha, mini stupas, monasteries and monkeys make the climb to Swayambhu - which is fairly steep - worthwhile. But for someone who is pressed for time, the western road allows you to get off your transport almost at the base of the stupa.


Bouddhanath is among the largest stupas in South Asia, and it has become the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The white mound looms thirty-six meters overhead. The stupa is located on the ancient trade route to Tibet, and Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many of them decided to live around Bouddhanath. They established many gompas, and the "Little Tibet" of Nepal was born. This "Little Tibet" is still the best place in the Valley to observe Tibetan lifestyle. Monks walk about in maroon robes. Tibetans walk with prayer wheels in their hands, and the rituals of prostration are presented to the Buddha as worshippers circumambulate the stupa on their hands and knees, bowing down to their lord.

Many people believe that Bouddhanath was constructed in the fifth century, but definite proof is lacking. The stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage who is venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus. One legend has it that a woman requested a Valley king for the donation of ground required to build a stupa. She said she needed land covered by one buffalo's skin and her wish was granted by the King. She cut a buffalo skin into thin strips and circled off a fairly large clearing. The king had no choice but to give her the land.

The Bouddha area is a visual feast. Colorful thangkas, Tibetan jewellery, hand-woven carpets, masks, and khukuri knives are sold in the surrounding stalls. Smaller stupas are located at the base. Gompa monasteries, curio shops, and restaurants surround Bouddhanath. Conveniently situated restaurants with roof-top patios provide good food and excellent views of Bouddhanath.


Pashupatinath is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal. There are linga images of Shiva along with statues, shrines, and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A temple dedicated to Shiva existed at this site in AD 879. However, the present temple was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1697. A gold-plated roof, silver doors, and woodcarvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda construction. Guheswari Temple, restored in AD 1653, represents the female "force". It is dedicated to Satidevi, Shiva's first wife, who gave up her life in the flames of her father's fire ritual.

A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eighth-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. Some other places to visit are Rajrajeswari Temple, built in 1407, Kailas with lingas more than 1,400 years old, Gorakhnath temple, and the courtyard of Biswarup. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over South Asia offer worship to Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.

The Bagmati River flows close by and the Arya Ghat cremation grounds are here. Sadhus, sages who follow the lifestyle of Shiva, may be seen covered in ashes and loin-cloths. They are very wise to give you some photo clips. The main Pashupatinath courtyard may be entered by those of Hindu faith only.

Patan Durbar Square

This whole square is a cluster of fine pagoda temples and stone statues; it is at the same time the business hub of the city. At every step one comes across a piece of art or an image of a deity, testifying to the consummate skill of Patan's anonymous artists. The ancient palace of the Malla kings and the stone baths associated with various legends and episodes of history are especially interesting to visitors. The stone temple of Lord Krishna and the Royal Bath (Tushahity) with its intricate stone and bronze carvings are two other masterpieces in the same vicinity.

Golden Temple: - This three-storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwar in Patan was built in the twelfth century A. D. by King Bhaskar Varma. Located in the courtyard of Kwabahal, this temple is in a class of its own. A golden image of Lord Buddha and a big prayer wheel can be seen on the pedestal of the upper part of the Car while intricate decorative patterns on its outer walls add charm to the mellow richness of the shrine.

Kumbheshwar :-This is a five-storey pagoda-style temple of Lord Shiva. Inside the courtyard is a natural spring whose source, it is said. is the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. This temple was built by King Jayasthiti Malla while the golden finial was added later, in 1422 A.D. He also cleaned the pond near Kumbheshwar and installed various images of Narayan, Ganesh, Sitala, Basuki, Gauri, Kirtimukh and Agamadevata around the pond and in the courtyard. Ritual bathing takes place here every year on the day of Janai Poornima.

Krishna Temple:-The temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in Patan's Palace complex. Though its style is not wholly native, it is one of the most perfect specimens of Nepalese temple craft. The three-storey stone temple continues to elicit high praise from lovers of art and beauty. It was built by King Siddhi Narasingha Malla in the sixteenth century A. D. Important scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics have been carved in bas-relief. The minute details of this work clearly show the high level that the art of stone carving attained in the sixteenth century.

The Tibetan Camp:- An attraction of a different kind is the Tibetan Camp on the outskirts of Patan. The small Tibetan population living here has set up a number of shrines and stupas as well as several souvenir shops offering authentic Tibetan handicrafts such as prayer wheels of wood, ivory, silver or bronze, long temple horns made of beaten copper, belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewellery. In this area, the Tibetans can be seen weaving carpets by hand.

Durbar Square:

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara-style temples grouped around a fifty-five window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place-struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows-all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony. The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:

The Lion Gate:

Dating as far back as 1696 A.D., this gate is guarded on either side by two huge statues of lions. Alongside, there are two stone images of Bhairab (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Ugrachandi (the consort of Shiva in her fearful manifestation).

The Golden Gate:

The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man-bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is also embellished with mythical creatures of marvellous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, an eminent English art critic and historian, the Golden Gate is the most lovely piece of art in the whole Kingdom: it is placed like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its surroundings. The gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla and is the entrance of the main courtyard of the Palace of Fifty-five Windows.

The Palace of Fifty-five Windows:

This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in A.D. 1427 and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with Fifty-five Windows, considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

The Art Gallery:

The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. This gallery is open everyday except Tuesday.

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla:

This statue showing King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is set on a column facing the palace. Of the square's many statues, this is considered to be the most magnificent.

Nyatapola Temple

This five-storey pagoda was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A. D. It stands on five terraces on each of which squat a pair of figures: two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singhini -the tiger and the lion goddesses. Each pair of figures is considered ten times stronger than the ones immediately below, while the lowest pair, the two strong men Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla, were reputedly ten times stronger than any other men. This is one of the tallest pagoda temples in Kathmandu Valley and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.

Dattatraya Temple

The temple of Dattatraya is as old as the Palace of Fifty-five Windows. Consecrated by King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A. D. , this temple, according to popular belief, was built out of the trunk of a single tree. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishwa Malla in 1458 A. D. Just beside the temple is a monastery (Math) with exquisite carvings.

Changu Narayan.

Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to Hindus. His temple near Changu village is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. A fifth century stone inscription, the oldest to be discovered in Nepal, is located in the temple compound and it tells of the victorious King Mandev. The temple now covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese art history. The temple, built around the third century, is decorated by some of the best samples of stone, wood, and metal craft in the Valley. In the words of one tourist guide, "When you look upon Changu Narayan, you observe the complete cultural development of the Valley."

On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are the ten incarnations in which Narayan destroyed evil-doers. A sixth-century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu, while another statue recalls his dwarf incarnation when he crushed the evil king Bali. Vishnu as Narasingha disemboweling a demon is particularly stunning. The western bronze doors sparkle in the evening sunlight, dragons decorate the bells, and handsome devas stare from the walls. Garuda, half man and half bird, is the steed of Vishnu, and his life-sized statue kneels before the temple. The favourite of many tourists is the statue of Vishnu sitting astride his steed.


Sankhu, located twelve kilometers east of Kathmandu, is a good example of a small Newar town , with many fine old buildings and temples. Beyond the village, up a long flight of stone steps, is Bajra Jogini, a historic temple with beautiful views of the Valley.


Nagarkot, located 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur district and is renowned for its spectacular sunrise view of the Himalaya when the weather is clear. Visitors often travel to Nagarkot from Kathmandu to spend the night so that they can be there for the breathtaking sunrise. Nagarkot has become famous as one of the best spots to view Mount Everest as well as other snow-topped peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. It also offers an excellent view of the Indrawati river valley to the east. With an elevation of 2,195 meters, Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Valley and is described by visitors as a place whose beauty endures year round.

Many visitors prefer to visit Nagarkot in the spring when surrounding valleys break out in a rich kaleidoscope of different coloured flowers. The flowers are beautiful against the serene backdrop of the snow-covered mountains. Ever popular among the tourists are the short treks and picnics which Nagarkot offers. Treks from Nagarkot are unique and delightful. For anyone who wants to have an adventure without exerting much efforts, a hike to Nagarkot's surrounding areas would be a good option. One can traverse short distances on trekking trails and come close to nature's wonders such as the outer of verdant forests, flower-covered meadows and unusual rock formations.


Dhulikhel is a scenic and ancient town situated 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Rajmarg (Kathmandu Kodari Highway). From here one has a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. From the main town, a short visit to Namobuddha, with the stupa and Buddhist Monastery, is highly recommended. Panauti, a village noted for its numerous temples with magnificent woodcarvings, is a short distance from Dhulikhel.


It is situated on a hill above Panauti. It requires an easy drive or good walk to get there. There is an amazing story concerned with the Buddha which is commemorated by an ancient stone slab and a Stupa with the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. According to the legend, one of the earlier Buddha offered his own flesh to a hungry tiger unable to feed her hungry cubs. It is also a three hour trekking from Dhulikhel through a number of small villages.


Kakani is another good location for viewing the mountain scenery. Only two hours north-west of Kathmandu, one can see the mountain landscape of central Nepal, a vast collection of majestic peaks stretching from Ganesh Himal to the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. There is an unusually perfect blending of the imposing mountain scenery with the more sylvan environment of the lower valleys. Rhododendrons growing wild on the mountain slopes begin to bloom in late winter and stay in bloom for several months, giving the village even more charm.


Kirtipur is a small town located eight kilometers south-west of Kathmandu on the top of a ridge. Tribhuvan University sits at the foot of the hill. This historic town has many things to offer including ancient shrines, temple, old-style houses, and villagers dressed in traditional costumes and weaving on hand looms.

Pharping and Dakshinkali.

Pharping has a shrine of Shesh Narayan which is richly endowed with art . The picturesque shrine stands beneath a rock cliff beside many fish ponds. The famous temple of Dakshinkali is situated about two kilometers from Pharping. Every Tuesday and Saturday, pilgrims congregate at the temple to sacrifice animals and worship goddess Kali.

Balaju Water Garden.

Situated five kilometers north-west of Kathmandu, Balaju Water Garden is an ideal place for rest and relaxation. The park features a long line of twenty-two stone water spouts from the mid-eighteenth century, each of which is ornately carved with crocodile heads. The garden also includes many other ponds, some of them containing large and small varieties of fish. Adjoining the garden is an Olympic-size swimming pool open to the public. Balaju Industrial Estate is located nearby.


Eight kilometers north of Kathmandu is a remarkable, colossal statue of lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes. The fifth-century statue lies in the middle of a small pond Budhanilkantha is a place of pilgrimage for all Hindus and is the scene of great activity at such festivals as Haribodhini Ekadasi and Kartik Poornima. An interesting feature of this shrine is that the reigning King of Nepal may not visit the spot according to an old tradition.


Places out side Kathmandu.


Bandipur is an ancient trading town of quaint streets and charming atmosphere. It is situated on a ridge top south of Dumre which lies 135 km out on the Kathmandu -Pokhara highway. Bandipur can be reached after a two hour climb from Dumre. While the other trading posts of the Nepali hills have modernised, Bandipur retains its age old cultural attributes. It still has its temples, shrines, holy caves and a newari architecture that harks back to the Kathmandu Valley of old.

Charikot / Jiri.

About 133 kilometers from Kathmandu, Charikot provides a spectacular mountain view of Gaurishankar. In the eastern upper part of Dolkha township there is a famous roofless temple of Dolkha Bhimsen. The highway to Jiri is famous for the environment friendly approach adopted during its design, construction and maintenance. Jirels, one of the unique ethnic groups of Nepal reside here. Jiri, in fact, is one of the major starting points for mountain trek to Mount Everest region.


Surrounding Royal Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal is one of the best planned and most intelligently developed tourist areas in Nepal. Not only does it offer a wide variety of resorts and lodges, it is also easy to reach - by road or by air. Regular flights are scheduled by Royal Nepal Airlines and other airlines to Meghauli, Simara and Bharatpur. Many resorts provide coach service. Local buses offer a choice between a night ride and a day ride.

Royal Chitwan National Park is perhaps the best park in Nepal for seeing animals in the wild. In the earlier part of the century, when rapid deforestation was devastating Nepal's southern Terai belt, His Majesty's Government of Nepal intervened and proclaimed the Chitwan area a national park.

The Government of Nepal declared the Chitwan region a national park, outlawed settlement and deforestation within its boundaries, and a campaign to save the animals began. Projects carried out with the help of friendly nations have revived the animals that remained. Though the Terai is certainly not what it once was, the preserved portion within the Chitwan National Park is still a treat for animal lovers.

Royal Bengal tigers roam the region; one-horned rhinos can be seen charging through the underbrush, feeding and even courting. The Rapti River has been dammed to form a man-made lake called Lamital where water-birds and marsh mugger peckers and many other birds are found in plenty in these forests.

Elephant grass, five to six feet tall, provides excellent camouflage for animals. This grass serves as food for the gaur (a local bison), rhino and other herbivores. Once a year, local people are allowed into the park area to cut grass. The grass is dried, and used to thatch roofs or stored for food for the domestic animals during the dry season.


For a view of the breathtaking grandeur of the world's highest peaks from the far west of Dhaulagiri to the east of Mt. Everest, there is no better place than Daman. It lies eighty kilometers south-west of Kathmandu on the mountain highway known as Tribhuvan Rajpath and has a view tower fitted with a long range telescope.


Devghat is a popular pilgrimage spot situated at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Trisuli rivers. It lies just north of the jungle safari destination of Royal Chitwan National Park. During the Makar Sankranti festival in January, Hindu devotees gather here to take holy dips in the river. There are a number of sacred and historical sites around Devghat which provide interesting side trips: the Triveni temple and Balmiki Ashram where the great sage Balmiki had his retreat, the Someswar Kalika temple and fort, Pandavanagar where the protagonists of the Mahabharata once lived and the Kabilaspur fort built by the old kings of Palpa.


Dolpa (sometimes written Doplpa) is the most remote and least developed district in Nepal. The western half of the area has been set aside as SHE- PHOKSUNDO National Park. Although a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region, the entire district was closed to trekkers until 1989 when the southern part of Dolpa was opened to organized trekking groups. Peter Matthieseu's "The Snow Leopard" and Snellgrove's "Himalayan Pilgrimage" have contributed in revealing the mystery and attraction of Dolpa. Dolpa lies between Dhorpatan and Rara and two of those treks could be combined into a single tour from Pokhara to Jumla. A stunningly blue lake called Phossundo Tal is situated in Dolpa.


Gorkha is a scenic hill- town with great historical significance. King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified the Kingdom of Nepal during eighteenth century, was born in the township of Gorkha. Situated on a small hillock at an attitude of about 1000 m, Gorkha offers panoramic view of snow-fed mountains.

The then small kingdom of Gorkha, founded by king Drabya Shah in 1560 A. D. became famous during the dynasty of Ram Shah (1604-1641 A.D.), who earned the reputation of being just to his people. There was a famous proverb in those days which said that one should go to Gorkha if he were looking for justice.

In the middle of eighteenth century there were hundreds of small kingdoms and principalities in what is today's Nepal. The great Prithvi Narayan Shah took the mammoth task of unifying Nepal in the eighteenth century. The Gorkha soldiers under his dynamic leadership eventually succeeded in conquering the Kathmandu valley. The capital of greater Nepal was shifted to Kathmandu since then. But this beautiful township has always remained as the center of attraction for many Nepalese as well as foreign visitors.

Gorkha Durbar:

This historical palace is situated on the top of the fortified hill above the township, about one hour's walk uphill from the bus station. On the west side of palace is the temple of Goddess Gorakhkali. There is also a famous cave sheltering the statue of Gorakhnath Baba (sage). It is believed that the name of Gorkha was derived from the name of this sage, whose blessings inspired King Prithvi Narayan Shah for the unification of Nepal. From the top of the hill above Gorkha palace and from a saddle east of the bazaar, the view of Manaslu and Himalchuli is spectacular.


It is situated at a 20 minute walking distance from Gorkha palace.There is a viewing platform at an altitude of 1520 meters in Upallokot from where the spectacular view of Gorkha palace and the sliver shining snow-fed peaks can be enjoyed.


On a beautiful ridge south-east of the township of Gorkha lies the holy temple of Manakamana, the holy goddess of aspirations. It is a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus. Manakamana is a four hour walk uphill from Anbu Khaireni on Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway.

One of Nepal's most famous religious places of pilgrimage is Gosainkunda lake situated at an altitude of about 4360 m. Surrounded by high mountains on the north and east, this lake is grand and picturesque. There are other nine famous lakes such as Saraswati, Bhairab, Sourya and Ganesh Kunda. Every year during Janai Purnima in August, thousands of Hindu pilgrims come here to lake holy bathe in the lake. The large rock in the center of the lake is said to be the remains of a Shiva shrine and it is also claimed that channel carries water from the lake directly to the tank at the Kumbheshwar Temple in Patan, 60 km to the south.

Helambu, situated about 72 kilometers north- east of Kathmandu, is famous for its scenic grandeur and pleasant climate. There are many Buddhist monasteries amidst a rich and enchanting landscape. Helambu is great for short treks. Helambu was once considered a hidden, sacred domain and its misty ridges and fertile valleys are still comparatively isolated.The peaks of Langtang Himal are clearly visible from the area.

Humla / Jumla.
Jumla, on the banks of the Tila River at 2370 meters, is one of the highest rice growing areas in the world. The entire Tila valley is covered with paddy fields growing a unique red rice that is more tasty than white rice, but is scorned by most local People. The people in this region speak their own version of Nepali. The people throughout the region are Thakuris, and also Chhetris who have the highest social, political and ritual status. Treks to Rara National Park starts and ends at Jumla.

Humla is a high and dry land hemmed by snowcapped peak in three sides that shut out most outside influences, including the monsoon. Trekking facilities are nonexistent, but the local Buddhist highlanders are accommodating to strangers.

Ilam is the far eastern district of the country, inhabited by people of different colors living in peace and harmony. Neighboring the famous Indian hill town of Darjeeling, it is situated on the foothills of Mount Kanchanjunga, The third highest peak in the world. Ilam is adorned with an almost limitless range of lush-green tea gardens. The rolling hills covered with tea leaves are simply majestic. The thick white fogs alternatively descend to veil the gardens and then suddenly vanish. Greenery prevails all over the hills of Ilam all around the year. Ilam Tea Garden located near Ilam Bazaar and Kanyam Tea Garden located halfway between Terai plain and Ilam Bazaar are the major gardens of Nepal.

Antu Danda:
Antu Danda, situated at an altitude of 1677m in Ilam District, is famous for its unique views of Everest and Kanchanjunga. It is the best vantage point for viewing sunrise and sunset. There is a motorable road from Ilam to Chhipitar from where one can read Antu Danda on foot. This exhilarating trekking along the lush green hills takes about 3 hours.

Mai Pokhari
Situated at an altitude of 2438 meters, Mai Pokhari is a famous place of pilgrimage in Ilam district. Lying at about thirteen kilometers north of Ilam Bazaar, this beautiful place consists of the pond whose circumference is more than one kilometer. Altogether there are nine ponds in the area some of which are large enough for boats. This place becomes alive every year during 'Harisayam Ekadashi' when a one-night fair is held. This place is a famous picnic spot for nearby people Mai Pokhari can be reached in four hours from Ilam Bazaar in jeep. On the way are the villages of Chureghanti, Bakhaute, Dharapani and Hasbire Bhanjyang, which offer commanding views of the snowy peaks towards north.

Janakpur is the capital of the ancient state of Mithila. The Janaki Temple, located in the center of the city, is well known in the Hindu Kingdom. Sita the wife of the legendary hero Ram was born in Janakpur. Throughout the year, many pilgrims come to pay their respects to Ram and Sita who are the main religious attractions in Janakpur. The city is thronged by worshippers and visitors alike especially during the festival of Bibaha Panchami. This annual festival is celebrated on the occasion of Ram and Sita's marriage and their wedding ceremony is enacted throughout the week.

Khaptad is situated in the middle hills of the far western part of the country. It is a plateau of grassland and forest at an elevation of about 3,000 meters. At the north-eastern part of Khaptad there is a small serene lake and swampy area called Khaptad Daha which is a religious site where Hindu pilgrims come to worship Shiva on the full moon of July-August each year. Here used to live the ascetic, the Khaptad Baba, who is known and revered throughout Nepal.

Shakyamuni Buddha was born in Lumbini, in southern Nepal, twenty-five hundred years ago. Since his time, Nepal has been a sacred ground for Buddhists as the birthplace of the Buddha. Lumbini is a small town in the southern Terai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. Shakyamuni Buddha was born to a royal family.

Lumbini has been a holy ground for Buddhists all over the world. The restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the ancient stupas and monasteries. A large stone pillar erected by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription about the birth of the Buddha.

An important part of Lumbini is the temple of Maya Devi. It has a stone image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds onto a branch. It has been well worn by the strokes of barren women hoping for fertility. To the south of the temple is a pool where Queen Maya Devi is said to have bathed and given her son his first purification bath.

A quiet garden, shaded by the leafy Bo tree (the type of tree under which Buddha received enlightenment), and a newly-planted forest nearby lend an air of tranquillity which bespeaks Buddha's teachings. Lumbini is now being developed under the Master Plan of the Lumbini Development Trust, a non governmental organization dedicated to the restoration of Lumbini and its development as a pilgrimage site. The plan, completed in 1978 by the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, will transform three square miles of land into a sacred place of gardens, pools, buildings, and groves. The development will include a Monastic Zone, the circular sacred Garden surrounding the Ashoka pillar and Maya Devi temple, and Lumbini Village, where visitors will find lodges, restaurants, a cultural center and tourist facilities.

An important archeological site near Lumbini, Kapilvastu evokes the ancient palace where Lord Buddha spent his formative years. Scattered foundations of the palace are abundant, and archeologists have by now discovered 13 successive layers of human habitation dating back to the eighth century BC. A must for archeological and historical buffs!

Besides its religious and historical significance, Lumbini offers cultural insights into the village life of southern Nepal. If possible, try to coincide your visit with the weekly Monday bazaar when villagers come from miles around to buy grains, spices, pottery, jewellery, saris and various other items. It may appear as a scene out of the Arabian Nights, with colorful merchandise spread out under the mango trees and the air perfumed with incense. It's a chance to bargain for souvenirs while witnessing local life in Lumbini. Wooden ox-carts loaded with hay trundle by. Villagers dry cow-dung for fuel, and tea stalls serve sweet milk tea.

Today, Lumbini is beginning to receive travellers' and archaeologists' attention after centuries of neglect. Serious preservation work has only just been started in the latter half of this century and Lumbini as a slice of history is worth seeing and worth preserving.

Situated at the lap of the gigantic Himalaya, Manang is a unique village with a compact collection of 500 flat-roofed houses separated by narrow alley ways. To reach a doorway you must ascend a steep log notched with steps. The setting of the village is most dramatic, with the summits of Annapurna and Gangapurna less than 8 km away, and a huge ice fall rumbling and crashing on the flanks of the peaks. Gompa at Manang and Braga are well worth visiting.

The famous temple of Muktinath lies in the district of Mustang and is situated 48 km north east of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3749 meters. The temple is situated on a high mountain range and is visited during fair weather. During the festival of Janai Purnima, Hindu devotees gather here to pay homage to lord Muktinath. The visitors get lodging facilities at Dharmasala and Maharani Pouwa. Another famous temple of Jwaladevi, the goddess of flame, is situated about hundred meters south of Muktinath.

Jomsom is the district head quarters for the Mustang region of Nepal. To many people, however, Mustang implies the area of Nepal that extends like a thumb into Tibet. This is the region described in Michel Piessel's book "Mustang", and includes the walled capital city of Mustang, to Manang.Since 1991 trekkers have been allowed in limited numbers into the high desert region north of Jomsom that still has its own nominal king.

Namche Bazaar.
The name of Namche Bazaar is generally associated with that of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. It is the entrance to the Everest region. Situated on the lap of Khumbu Himal range at an altitude of 3440 meters. This place is the home of legendary Sherpas. Namche Bazaar can be used as the starting point for trekking to Thyangboche, Debuche, Periche, Pangboche, Lobuche and Gorakhshep which are famous destinations in the Everest region. Besides, Namche is the gateway to the Sagarmatha National Park.

The old fortress town of Nuwakot used to be an important strategic outpost. It controlled the ancient trade routes to Tibet and the kings of medieval Nepal maintained large garrisons here. Nuwakot possesses a number of artistic buildings on the hill top which recall the traditional architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. It offers terrific views of the mountains and the surrounding rural villages . The palace of Nuwakot was once the palace of the great King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who conquered Nuwakot before conquering the Kathmandu valley.

If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its center of adventure. An enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley, it is the starting point for many of Nepal's most popular trekking and rafting destinations. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as hipster backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants exchanging recommendations on guest houses and viewpoints, both by the lake and above the clouds.

Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fishtailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambience of peace and magic. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu, it has a much more tropical feel to it, a fact well appreciated by the beautiful diversity of flowers which prosper in its environs. Indeed, the valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, emerald lakes, and of course, the world famous views of the Himalaya.

The powerful rule of the old kings of Kathmandu, the Lichhavis and the Mallas, held sway over this valley for some time. As these dynasties fell prey to their own troubles, Pokhara Valley and the surrounding hills disintegrated into small kingdoms, frequently at war with each other. These were called the Chaubise Rajya or the Twenty-four Kingdoms. It was among these that Kulmandan Shah established his kingdom. His descendant Drabya Shah was the first to establish Gorkha, home of the legendary Gurkha warriors.

Finally, 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 the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned world-wide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.

Mountain Views
Clearly the most stunning of Pokhara's sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Stretching from east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna 1 to IV and Annapurna South. Although the highest among them is Annapurna 1 (8,091 m), it is Machhapuchhre which dominates all others in this neighbourhood. Boastfully levitating in the skyline, the fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain. If you want to see the mountains from close up, Everest Air offers a mountain flight from Pokhara that takes you on an aerial sightseeing tour of the western Himalaya.

Phewa Lake.
Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the Kingdom, is the center of all attraction in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. Here, one can sail or row a hired boat across to the water or visit the island temple in its middle. The eastern shore, popularly known as lakeside or Baidam, is the favorite home base for travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.

Barahi Temple.
The Barahi temple is the most important monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the center of Phewa Lake, this two-storyed pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of' Ajima, the protesters 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.

Seti Gandaki
Another of Pokhara's natural wonders that unfailingly interests visitors is the Seti Gandaki river. 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 the Patale Chhango (Hell's Fall). Devi's Fall (also known as Devin's and David's) is a lovely waterfall lying about two km south-west of the Pokhara airport on the Siddhartha Highway. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin, David..) was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.

Mahendra Cave.
Another of nature's wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the House of Bats, an apt name for it. A two-hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.

The Old 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 four km from Lakeside, the market's original charm is alive and well. This area strewn with shops selling commodities ranging from edibles and cloth to cosmetics and gold is a pleasant and shady spot to stroll around.

The old bazaar is also home to one of Pokhara's most important shrines'. Locally called the Bindhyabasini Mandir, this white dome-like structure dominates a spacious stone-paved courtyard built atop a shady hillock. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive local flavour.

The Pokhara Museum, located between the bus stop and Mahendra Pul, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as Gurungs, Thakalis and Tharus are attractively displayed through models, photographs and artifacts. One major attraction is a display highlighting the newly-discovered remains of an 8000-year-old settlement in Mustang. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee is Rs.10 (tel: 20413).

The Annapurna Regional Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is another interesting visit in Pokhara. Run by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds and models of wildlife found in the area. Located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar, it is open daily except Saturdays and holidays from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance is free (tel: 21102).

Surrounding Areas.
Pokhara is the starting and/or finishing point for some of the most popular treks including the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom Trek. It also offers a number of short treks for those who cannot opt for long, challenging ones. The most popular destination among them is Sarangkot (1592 m), a former Kaski fort lying atop a hill to the west of Pokhara. The panoramic view of the Himalaya seen from this point is superb. Kahundanda, Naudanda, Ghandrung, Ghorepani, and Ghalchok are other favorite destinations around Pokhara.

If visitors are wondering which place in this kingdom would give them a taste of everything, we suggest that they give Tansen a try. Tansen is a small town of approximately twenty thousand people. It is on the way from Pokhara to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and it is not too far from the Royal Chitwan National Park. Located 4,300 meters above sea level, on the south flank of Srinagar Hill, the greatest attractions of this town are its ancient culture, friendly people, excellent mountain views, and, above all, its serene atmosphere. The weather remains moderate throughout the year, and it is a pleasant place to visit in any season.

The town's mostly Newar and Magar inhabitants have long been known as staunch warriors. The kings of Tansen wielded great power over western Nepal in the fifteenth century. Palpa, their kingdom was the last to be defeated by the conquering Gurkhas who unified today's Nepal. These people became even more famous in the Anglo-Nepal war of the early 1800s. Col. Ujir Singh Thapa who commanded the army in the region was in an extremely trying situation at the time. His men were outnumbered four to one by the English forces. He desperately asked for divine help before going into battle, promising a temple in the name of Goddess Bhagwati (who is ferocious and loves blood sacrifices) if she would help him. He won. In 1815, he kept his word and built a temple to the goddess. However, fighting is not the only forte of Tansen residents.

The jamre folk song performance of the Magars are colorful. Dancing and feasting are accompanied by drumbeats of the madal during festivals. Amar Singh Thapa, another great champion of the Anglo-Nepal war, had great affinity for Tansen as well. He brought highly skilled artisans from Kathmandu Valley to build the Amar Narayan temple when he was the governor of the town. The temple's woodcarvings are remarkable and puja is offered here everyday to Lord Bishnu.

During the time of the Rana prime Ministers, from 1846 to 1951, Tansen became an important outpost. Those who offended the administration or were political prisoners were sent away from the Kathmandu Valley beyond Tansen. It was thought that they would not be able to cause problems to the rulers from their faraway exiles. Later the Ranas tried to develop Tansen into a hill-station and built palaces and mansions for personal use. One such palace in the heart of the town has a huge door called the Baggi Dhoka. Some say that it was built so that Khadga Shumsher Rana would not need to get off' his elephant while entering the palace. Others claim that it was built so that horse drawn chariots could easily enter the palace grounds. The town's intricately patterned dhaka is the most popular handwoven cloth of Nepal. Newar women of the Kathmandu Valley have preferred its shawls for many decades. Nepal's national cap, the topi, is also made of dhaka. Dhaka is available to buyers at the town's bazaars. Those interested may also see weavers at work on their looms.

There are potters and metal workers in Tansen too. Earthen pottery is still used in many houses of Tansen. Jugs, basins, and even filters are made from clay for local use. Chang, the local liquor, is wonderfully cool if it has been stored in earthen-ware. Metal workers make deep plates, karuwa water jugs, utensils for worship and hookahs for smoking.

Tansen is charming because it is unspoiled by modernity, pollution and urban bustle. On clear days, mountain views from the town reveal Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Gauri Shankar and other peaks and a walk up to Srinagar Hill provides an even more thrilling Himalayan panorama.

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