Nepal is a trekker's dream come true because it affords gorgeous views, challenging yet rewarding climbs and a host of like-minded adventurers to give you great company.
One of the holiest Hindu shrines in Nepal, the Pashupatinath Temple is stretched across both the banks of the beautiful and sacred Bagmati River on the eastern fringes of the capital city of Kathmandu. The magnificent sanctum devoted to Lord Shiva draws in thousands of devotees who come to offer their prayers and seek blessings from him. Sprawled over a large area with temples and ashrams, it is believed that the Jyotirlinga housed in the Pashupatinath temple is the head of the body which is made up of the twelve Jyotirlinga in India. In 1979, the magnificent temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Known For : Maya Devi Temple Bodhi Tree, Lumbini Mayadevi Pond
Nestled in the Himalayas near the Indian border, the beautiful town of Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini has a plethora of ancient stupas dating back to 2000 years and monasteries that were built by the past dynasties. People come here from all over the world to this abode of Buddhism to study scriptures, meditate, practise yoga, trek, learn more about Buddhism and find inner peace. 'Lumbini' literally means 'The Lovely' in Sanskrit, and true to its name it stands!
Best Time: April to May
Known For : Annapurna Circuit Sarangkot Shree Gaden Dhargay Ling Monastery
Pokhara, the 'Tourist Capital of Nepal,' is the second-largest city in Nepal, after Kathmandu. At an altitude of more than 900m, it is one of the highest cities as well. The highlight of the town is its Lakeside, which is a boating paradise flanked with charming shops, dreamy cafés, restaurants and pubs that make up this postcard-perfect town.
Best Time: September to November
Pokhara happens to be one of the top commercial tandem paragliding locations in the world. With a range of safe take off and landing zones, stable thermals and the convenient proximity of a large lake for safety, it is not hard to understand why it is one of the most coveted paragliding spots in the world. Also as a bonus, the low lying valleys, the snow-capped Himalayas and the scenic locales of Pokhara make for incredibly spectacular views that are out of this world!
Thamel has been and continues to be, one of the most popular and crowded commercial hubs in Kathmandu City of Nepal. Be it cultural monuments or discotheques, cosy restaurants or magnificent temples, narrow alleys of Thamel have continued to serve the tourist industry of the country for over four decades.
Chitwan National Park is the first step that Nepal took towards protection of the wildlife and nature at large. Located in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal, the national park covers an area of 952.63 sq. km. over the districts of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Makwanpur and Chitwan itself. The place was granted its long-due status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, and ever since its inception 11 years before that, Chitwan National Park has been getting the footfalls of the nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Kathmandu Durbar Square. The place which has witnessed and received one king after the other as they sat and ruled over Nepal a long time ago, where new rulers were crowned while the steady beats of drums and trumpets filled the place. The regal Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three durbar squares in the country. Till date, the place remains the most remarkable legacy of Kathmandu's traditional architecture. Even though the unfortunate earthquake of 2015 took its toll on the building and around half a dozen places within the premises collapsed, it has still retained its original glory. Three squares - A former elephant stable Basantapur square, main Durbar square on the west and another part of Durbar Square that houses the entrance to Hanuman Dhoka which are loosely connected make up the Durbar Square area.
Known For : Patan Durbar Square Patan Museum Uku Bahal
Patan is the third-largest city in Nepal right after Kathmandu and Pokhara. It is now known as Lalitpur. Both names are derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Lalitapattan’. The city is located just across the river Bagmati from Kathmandu. Patan has a Durbar Square that is full of statues, temples, and palaces. In addition, Durbar Square also has the ‘Patan museum’ which is a must-see attraction. It is a traditional centre for handicrafts and is also a place to purchase traditional jewellery, Buddha statues and masks.
Perched on top of the Semgu Hill located in the outskirts to the west of the Kathmandu Valley, Swayambhu Temple temple is one of the most important eligious shrines in the city of Kathmandu. With a wite dome stupa and an array of shrines, this place draws people to it daily. Circumnavigating the temple in a clockwise direction is a common practice among the pilgrims since it is believed to wash away all the sins. The sanctum is one of the holiest sites among the Buddhists and Tibetans and is second only to the Lord Boudha for them.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once home to the royal family of Bhaktapur. Locally known as Khwopa or the ancient Newa City, visitors can explore the entire complex that consists of four different squares – Taumadhi Square, Durbar Square, Pottery Square and Dattatreya Square. Typical findings here are the Bhaktapur royal palaces along with several temples and other ancient structures dating back to the 17th and the 18th century.
Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu, also referred to as the 'Swapna Bageecha' and 'garden of six seasons is a neo-classical garden in Kathmandu built by Kishore Narshingh in1920. The garden has a magnificent amphitheatre, urns, gorgeous pavilions, paved perimeter paths, pergolas, and ponds that draw in locals and tourists alike.
Located some 32 kilometres away from the capital Kathmandu, Panauti is a leftover reminiscence of a time long bygone. The word ''Panauti' in Hindi means 'unlucky', and for some reason unknown, it sits perfectly well with the historical background of this medieval city. At one glance, the town of Panauti is a melancholic chock-a-block of wooden houses, public halls, temples and shops, all nestled together resembling the shape of a fish in the laps of Himalayan greenery. Though still dotted with enough places worth mentioning, there is a feeling of decay spread all across the once prosperous town.
This post was published by Shalaka Sreekesh