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Places to Visit in Bhaktapur


Bhaktapur Durbar Square :
Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square is the gem not only of Bhaktapur, but also of the entire nation. The most fascinating structure here is the world-renowned 55-Window Palace. The elaborately carved windows and doors are something that visitors simply cannot help admiring. The seat of royalty before 1769 AD, the building now houses the National Art Gallery—the museum better known for its rich collection of paubha scroll paintings and breathtaking artworks in stone.

The world famous Golden Gate rubs shoulders with the 55-Window Palace. An unparalleled specimen of repousse art dating back to 1756 , it is the entrance to the marvelous Taleju Temple Complex. Getting into it leads to a number of artistica-lly designed chowks (courtyards) including the Royal Bath, which is adorned with the well-admired Golden Faucet among others.
Another artwork that unfailing-ly bewitches visitors in the Square is the Big Bell. Big enough to match its name, the bell was erected by Ranajit Malla (r. 1722-1769), Bhaktapur’s last Malla king. It wasused in those days for paying homage to Goddess Taleju, the lineage deity of Malla
rulers, as well as to call assemblies of the citizens to discuss on given subjects concerning the state. Today, it is rung twice a day as a mark of tribute to the goddess. Right next to it is a smaller Barking Bell. To one’s surprise, all dogs around it start whining the moment it is rung by its caretaker.
The Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple equally adds to the Square’s unparallaled beauty. Named after its builder king, Yaksha Malla (r. 1428-82), the two-storied pagoda was constructed after Kathmandu’s world famous Pashupatinath temple. It is noted for its wooden struts full of erotic carvings.
Other notable monuments in and around the historic Durbar Square are: the octagonal Chyasin Mandap, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Shiva Temple (Fasi-dega), Vatsala Temple, Bhandarkhal Complex, Chatu Brahma Mahavihar, Indrayani Temple, Balakhu Ganesh Temple, Tripura-sundari Temple and the Char Dham symbolizing the four greatest Hindu pilgrimage sites.

Taumadhi Square:
The Nyataponla Temple presides over the Taumadhi Square. Dating back to 1702 AD, the colossal five-storied edifice is the country’s tallest pagoda temple. The struts, doors, windows and tympanums—each embellished with attractively carved divine figures—perfectly portray the creative tradition of Newar craftsmen. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi, the manifestation of female force and creativity. The latest major renovation of this monument was carried out in 1997 AD by Bhaktapur Municipality using the revenue it collected from tourists.
Next to the Nyataponla Temple is the rectangular shaped Bhairavnath Temple. It houses a gilded bust of Bhairav, the ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storied pagoda was razed to the grounds by the 1934-earthquake, and its latest renovation was undertaken by Bhaktapur Municipality in 1995 AD.
The enclosed complex facing the Nyataponla Temple is dedicated to Tilmadhav Narayan, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu, who is one of the Bhaktapur TemplesSupreme Triumvirate of Hindu pantheon. A few steps ahead it, to the southwest, lies the famous Pottery Square, where visitors can see the city’s well-known potters making variously shaped and sized earthenware. The major monumental highlight of this square is a temple of Jeth Ganesh, which dates back to the 14th century.Temples in Taumadi Square:
Nyatapola Temple, Bhairav Temple, Teel Mahadeve Narayan Temple and many more.
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Dattatreya Square:

The Dattatreya Square is Bhaktapur's third dazzling gem. The seat of royalty till the 15th century, the area still houses a great number of historic monuments including many wondrous Maths (residential mansions) and temples.The Dattatreya Temple is the main attraction of the Square. Constructed by King Yaksha Malla, the giant three-storied temple is believed to have been built with the stem of a single tree. Having defied series of calamities, it still bears testimony to the incredible achievement made in those regal days of the Nepalese history.
The Wane Layaku complex, which lies to the south-western corner of the Dattatreya temple, is noted for Bhaktapur's second Taleju shrine. Enclosed with old houses, the courtyard sees throngs of people, especially during the Mohani ( Dashain ) festival, when a rare Ghau-batacha (Water Clock) is put on public display. During the Malla Era, the water-clock was used by the then rulers and astrologers for fixing "propitious moments" for commencing and concluding various state and social ceremonies.
The Peacock Window , which is also called the " Mona Lisa of Nepal ", is a rare masterpiece in wood. Dating back to the early 15th century, the unique latticed window has an intricately carved peacock in its center. The window adorns the Pujari Math which, with rows of exquisitely carved windows and doors, is equally appealing. The building presently houses the Woodcarving Museum . The museum has a rich collection of unique pieces in wood.The Brass & Bronze Museum , housed in the historic Chikanpha Math , is the next highlight of the Square. It has a wide collection of bronze and brasswares including the ritual jars, utensils, water vessels, pots, spittoons and similar other household items.Near the Dattatreya Square is the Wakupati Narayan Temple . Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the two-storied structure is a unique specimen of pagoda architecture. Next to it is bhaktapur's second Pottery Square .Besides Bhaktapur's three well-acclaimed Squares, there are many other spots within the expanse where visitors can experience a lot more. The recently-restored Ta-Pukhu (Siddha Pokhari) , Ancha-Pukhu , Khancha-Pukhu , Barahi Temple , Lokeswor Mahavihar , Nava Durga Temple , the Terra-cotta Windows at Tuchhimala and Nepal's largest Shiva Lingum at Hanumanghat are some of Bhaktapur's monumental glories which tourists visiting this ancient city simply do not like to miss.

Temples in Dattatraya Square:
Dattatraya Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Pottery Square:
Bhaktapur has two famous pottery squares. One is ocated at Talac towards the southern part of he Durbar Square and another one located ate Suryamadhi, to the east of the Dattatraya square. Many potters can be seen working ont their traditional wheels and thousands of finished and semi-finished clay produts lie about in beautiful rows under the sun.Potters and their families can be observed busy in preparing the lumps fo black clay for the final shaping, mending some fo the row clay products or adding finer craftsmanship onto the half sone ones. If one is luck , one can even see how they burn these clay products in teh open traditional kilns for days before the final products are ready. Winthin the Talaco pottery square, two important temples of Vishnu and Ganesh can be seen in a very traditional way. Where as in the other portery square, the shrine of Wakupati Narayan with its beautiful wood carved windows, stone sculptures and a sample piece of the pagoda tempel can be obseved.Top

The National Art Gallery :
Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions.Nyatapola Temple :Nyatapola Temple
This five-storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures. 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 was later changed 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 the trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock window.

Hanuman Ghat:

It is religious site for Hindus and Buddhists alike. River banks often used by the local people to burn dead bodies called 'Ghat'. People have the practise of visiting such ghats areas in teh early mornings to wash themselves purifying their body and then to go about visiting temples and images of gods and goddesses, a process of purifying one;s mind and soul. Ghats usually have one or more crematories where the dead bodies are burned to ashes and the ashes in turn are thrown into the rive as a part of Hindu/Buddhist culture. There are several such Ghats in around Bhaktapur. Hunuman Ghat is very popular Ghat in Bhaktapur, it spreads to a larger area with many religious images, objects and structures scattered around in such array that even a non religious perosn would start feeling differently once visiting there. For tourists it is like alking about in an alien land. The largest Shiva Lingam in nepal, temple of Ram , numerous store sculptures, small stupas, shiva lingams, more can be observed in this Ghat area. Visiting this place in the early morning is recomanded. One can observe how a day begins for a religious traditional Newar in Bhaktapur.
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Nava Durga Temple:
Ffrom a religous point of view, the shrine of Nava Durga the nine manifestations fo Goddess Durga has a high place in Bhaktapur. Nava Durga is also the combination of nine protective mother Goddess of the city. The three storied shrine which lies in Kwathando-4, Bhaktapur also popular for the its elaborately carved windows and doors. It seems huge crowd of devotees during Dashain (October), the greatest festival of Hindu in nepal. A wood carved window and the nothern facade displays the Chariot of Bhairav which has its own importance and significance.Kancha-Pukha:
Kanchu-Pukha located to the south of the Dattatrya square is one of hte most amazing architectural pond. The unique improtance of the pond lies in the fact that it perfectly displays the image of the Nayatapolea Temple. Despite being situated at the distance of over 500m from the temple and densely packed tall houses standing between them, the beautiful reflection can still be viewed and enjoyed.

Wakupati Narayan temple:
At a little distance on teh eastern side of the Dattatraya Square, a loverly specimen in the metalwork, the Wokupati Narayan Temple is enclosed within a stone paved coutyard. This two sotried pagoda style temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu dates back to 1667 AD. No where else other than here would one see four Garudas, the bird vehicle of Lord Vishnu, at a single place in a row.

Changu Narayan:Changu Narayan Temple
The temple of Changunarayan is said to be the oldest in the Kathmandu Valley. Listed in the World Cultural Heritage, it is also a scenic spot situated at the altitude fo about 1700m and 4 KM to the north of Bhaktapur and 22 KM east of Kathmandu. The most authentic iscription located in the precinct of Changu Narayan is dated 464 AD and is accredited to the Lichhavi King Mandeva. Changu Narayan Temple , located high in the hill just to the north of Bhaktapur, is the oldest existing pagoda temple in Nepal . The temple was dedicated to lord Vishnu by the Lichhavi King in the Fifth Century. It is said to be the oldest temple in the Valley. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.

Surya Vinayak:
Situated at the walking distance fo about 2 KM to the south of the city is the holy shrine of god Ganesh ( God of well beginning and successful completion of work) . 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.

Thimi:
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The town of Thimi is well known for its pottery work. In addition to pottery, Thimi has made a name for itself in the age-old art of making colorful masks of various deities, demons and animals. Thimi also produces much of the fresh vegetables for the Kathmandu valley.

NAGARKOT:
Nagarkot, located 32 kilometers east of capital city Kathmandu and about 18 Kilometers from historic city Bhaktapur.Nagarkot is located high on the hill (approximately 7500 ft. above sea level) to the north east corner of Bhaktapur, is famous for its panoramic view of mountains, sun rise and sun set. Nagarkot has availability of different types of accommodations of Five star hotels to small cottage lodges. Mountain View
Its 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. MORE


PLACES TO VISIT IN NEPAL>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bungmati & Khokana
The twin villages of Bungmati & Khokana date from the 16th century and are located south of Kathmandu, down a rutty road dotted with Chaityas. Bungmati is the winter home of lord Rato Machhendranath, the protector God of Patan. The shrine of Karya Binayak is located between the two villages. At Khokana ancient oil presses can be seen at work in village houses.

Budhanilkantha
9 km north of Kathmandu in a small pond at the foot of the Shivapuri Hills lies the half-submerged massive black stone statue of the reclining Vishnu resting on a bed of snakes. Worshippers strew the sleeping Vishnu with offerings of flowers & rice. It is a monumental sculpture from the Lichhavi period.

Champa Devi Top

The hike to the top of Champa Devi (2,278m), the highest peak on the Chandragiri Ridge south west of Kirtipur, affords a panoramic view of the west Kathmandu valley, back dropped by the snow covered Himalayas. Either starting from Chovar or from Pharping the trail climbs steeply to join at a saddle close to the top. A Hindu shrine and a white stupa mark the Champa Devi summit. Several return routes are possible. Staying close to the ridge continuing west, a trail descends from the second saddle north to Kirtipur. Another descends from the third saddle and reaches Kisipidi.

Chandeshwari
Chandeshwari shrine is located north of the sprawling trading town of Banepa near Dhulikhel. A track leads northeast past the town hospital to the temple on the bank of a forested gorge. The temple is dedicated to Parvati, whom they called upon to slay ‘Chand’, the most fearsome of the demons. It thus became known as Chandeshwari, "the slayer of Chand". The main attraction is a remarkable fresco of Bhairav, painted on the western wall of the main structure. The torana and struts of the three-tiered temple are richly carved with the eight Astha Marikas, or "Mother goddesses" and eight Bhairavs.

Chapagaon
A rough track to the south of the Kathmandu Valley winds steeply downhill, through intricately terraced fields of reddish brown soil to the ancient Lichhavi village of Lele, on through terraced mustard fields and bamboo groves to Chapagaon. An important tantric temple of Vajra Varahi is located here in a sacred grove of trees, built in 1665 – however, the site is much older. Various naturally sculpted stones strewn about are regarded as images of Ganesh, Bhairav and the Ashta Matrika.

Chovar
Carved out of a hillside, the Chovar gorge is the only outlet for all the waters of the valley. Legend has it that Manjushree, an ancient saint cut the mountain with his magical sword, to drain out the water from the Kathmandu Valley which was then just a lake. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of the hill with a magnificent view of the snow capped peaks. Just beyond the gorge is a temple of lord Ganesh. The main image of the shrine is a massive rock, naturally carved.

Dakshinkali
Dakshinkali is 45-minute drive south from Kathmandu. Located in a dark valley at the confluence of two streams, the shrine of Dakshinkali is the most spectacular of all Kali temples. Animal sacrifices are offered to this deity signifying fertility and the procreative powers of the Female, every Tuesday & Saturday. The animals are presented to the priest who will ritually decapitate them with a khukuri knife & bathe the black stone image of Kali in blood.

Dhulikhel
30 kms east of Kathmandu lies the small resort town of Dhulikhel set on a hill top, enveloped in copper soiled terraces with magnificent views of the central Himalayan peaks. Dhulikhel is well known for its sunrise views and a number of day trails lead along the north ridge of the town. A good way to get a glimpse of Nepalese village life.

Godavari Top

18 kms south of Kathmandu lies the Royal Botanical Gardens at Godavari. With its rushing streams and shady meadows it is a popular picnic spot. It also has a notable collection of orchids, cactii & ferns. A quiet path leads to the Godavari Kunda, a spring where the sacred water of the Godavari river pours from the mountains.

Kakani
The village of Kakani lies 29 kms north west of Kathmandu City. Famous for magnificent views of the sun setting over the north western Himalayan range; the Ganesh Himal massif, Gaurishankar (7,134 m), Choba Bhamare (6,016 m), Himalchuli (7,893 m), Annapurna (8,091 m). The drive to Kakani & back along the Trishuli Road is scenically rewarding with green forest & mountain grandeur on one side and fertile river flats and terraced hillside cultivation on the other.

Kirtipur
Perched on twin hillocks and clinging to a saddle about 5 km south west of Kathmandu lies the village of Kirtipur. A long flight of steps leads up to Kirtipur from the valley floor & a motorable road goes part way up the hill. Steep paths link brick houses built on terraces. The villagers dressed in traditional costume work on ancient looms. The people are well known for their strength and valour. Many historical battles were fought and won by the inhabitants of Kirtipur.

Kopan Monastery
A center of Mahayana Buddhism was established in 1969 by two Lamas; Lama Thupten Zopa Rinpoche & Lama Thupten Yeshe. Since its inception the center has been responsible for introducing thousands to Buddha's teaching through meditation courses, lectures & retreats.

Nagarjun
Nagarjun, a prominent forested hill, west of Kathmandu topped with a Buddhist stupa with superb views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang and the Kathmandu valley. A dirt road winds to the top (2,096m) though a trek would take two hours. A return trail descends the southwest side of Nagarjun to Ichangu Narayan and reaches Kathmandu via a dirt road that eventually comes out behind Swayambhunath.

Namo Buddha
Namo Buddha meaning "hail to the Buddha" a sacred site, where according to legend Buddha sacrificed his body to feed a starving tigress & her cubs. A carved stone slab at the main stupa depicts the moving story. A dirt road (suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles) leads up to Namo Buddha from Dhulikhel. A different trail returns descending south through a forest heading west up a long vale for a round trip walk of six to seven hours, or 2 to 3 hours to Panauti.

Panauti Top

Located at the confluence of the Punyamati & Roshi Khola rivers, Panauti was once an important staging post on the Tibet trade route with pre-Lichhavi origins. The banks of the river are now crowded with temples, shrines and cremation ghats. Across the river lies the recently restored Brahmayani temple. The Indreshwar Mahadev temple is a 15th century Newari structure with exquisite woodcarvings especially on the roof struts.

Phulchowki
The triple peaked hill of Phulchowki the "flower-covered hill", is highest on the valley rim at 2,762m. Lying 20 kms south east of Kathmandu, a road winds its way to the top where a small shrine is built to the mother of the forest, Phulchowki Mai. The trail up to the top takes about 4 hours through lovely rhododendron & oak forests crossing the motorable road a couple of times. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the white peaks from Himalchuli to the Everest. There is a trail connecting Phulchowki to Pharping on one side and Panauti on the other.

Sankhu
Hills surround the sleepy village of Sankhu, once on the trade route east to Helambu. Forests above the village hide an important temple to the tantric goddess, Bajra Jogini. Follow the wide stone path north of the village and walk up the steps to the temple, flanked with smaller shrines, stupas and statues. The main structure is 17th century and has a fine golden torana above the door. Behind the temple there are other shrines & sculptures.

Shivapuri
Shivapuri, at a height of 2,732m, allows one a 360 degree view of the Himalaya in the north & the Kathmandu valley in the south. The trail up to Shivapuri hill leads through small farming villages & a protected forest of Rhododendrons & orchids with little mountain streams running through it. This can be made into a most enjoyable full day's programme.

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Tika Bhairav
A Shiva shrine of an altogether difference register is located at Tika Bhairav near Lele, where Shiva is portrayed in his terrible form as Bhairav. To reach this unusual shrine, the client must travel outside the Kathmandu Valley to the adjoining Lele Valley to the south. This monumental, multi colored fresco is an abstract close-up of Bhirav's face painted on a huge brick wall, barely sheltered by a tin roof.

The Four Ganesh Temples
Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is one of the most favored divinities in Hinduism and is certainly the most favored in the Kathmandu Valley. The god of good luck, who casts aside obstacles is believed to be the son of Shiva & Parvati. The shrew is his vehicle and he especially likes offerings of food. Ganesh has numerous shrines throughout the Valley but four are particularly sacred. The Chandra Binayak is in the middle of the village of Chabahil, 200m behind the Chabahil stupa. This small Ganesh is enshrined amidst rich brasswork & is believed to cure diseases and external bodily injuries. The simple stone Ganesh at the Surya Binayak is halfway up the foothills south of Bhaktapur. The path heads uphill to the little shrine, considered able to give the power of speech to young children who are slow to talk. In a forest preserve between the villages of Bungmati & Khokana lies the Karya Binayak. From the road linking the hamlets, a path leads up to a beautiful clearing and the walled compound of the shrine. Here Ganesh is an elephant-shaped stone and is believed to help complete difficult tasks. Those seeking strength of character go to worship the Ganesh at Jal Binayak, just beyond the Chovar Gorge. A beautiful brass shrew faces the massive rock that represents Ganesh in this triple roofed temple constructed in 1602 AD.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (175 sq. kms)
Just 1 hour flight towards east from Kathmandu to Biratnagar and 2 hrs drive, the Kosi Tappu is one of the best places in Nepal to view migratory and native water fowls; waders and shore birds during the winter months. Many species not recorded elsewhere in the region have been found here. Thousands of birds congregate here in January, February and March before they migrate north when the warm weather begins. Well-qualified nature guides take clients out on walks, jeep drives and boat rides to look for birds and the Arna, wild buffalo found only here in Nepal. We recommend to combine this tour with treks in the eastern hills or with a tour to Bhutan & Sikkim or with a Sunkosi rafting trip.

Royal Bardia National Park (968 sq. kms)
Royal Bardia National Park situated in western Terai of Nepal is one of largest undisturbed parks in the region. The park is the home of many endangered animals, reptiles and birds - including the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. A few years ago, under a successful wildlife project several young one-horned rhinos where translocated here from Royal Chitwan National Park. Over the years, Bardia has also been a good place for tiger viewing - a rare event anywhere. Recently sightings of a group of wild elephants have further enhanced the wildlife experience possible in this beautiful and unspoiled sanctuary. A stay in this park is recommended with the combination of a short raft trip down the Karnali and Bheri rivers or with a trek to Dolpo and the Rara lake area in far western Nepal.

Tansen Top

Tansen, a colourful hill town is situated at an altitude of 1,450m. It is the most popular summer resort in western Nepal on account of its location and climate. It has the most extensive views of the country’s chief attraction the Himalaya; from Dhaulagiri in the west to Gaurishankar in the north east. Walking around Tansen town is interesting or short day hike to Ridi can be a rewarding experience. It takes just five hours by car from Pokhara to reach Tansen or just a couple of hours drive from Lumbini.

Daman
For those seeking the ultimate pan Himalayan view, Daman is the place to visit. Located 80kms southwest of the Kathmandu valley, Daman (2,400m) offers the only unimpeded view of the entire Himalayan range. Daman is located on the Tribhuvan Highway between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. There is a view tower fitted with long range telescopes.

Namche Bazaar
The name of Namche Bazaar is generally associated with that of Sagarmatha or Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth. It is the entrance to the Everest region and is 241 kms from Kathmandu and located at an altitude 3,440m. Trekkers cover this distance in 9 days from Jiri town. As the largest settlement in the Everest region Namche Bazaar now boasts of its own electricity generated from the Dudhkoshi river. One can also reach Namche Bazaar by flight to Lukla and then a 2 days trek through Phakding.

HIMALAYAN REGION>>>>>>>>

The word "Himalaya" is Sanskrit for "abode of snow". This region has an altitude ranging between 4,877 m to 8,848m. It includes eight of the 14 highest summits in the world that exceed an altitude of 8000 m, including the highest of them all, Mt. Everest (8,848 m). Only 8% of Nepal's population live in this region.

The region's culture and religion are closely linked to Tibet, and the traditional economy was (and sometimes still is) based on trans-border trade with its northern neighbour.

One can enjoy the magnificent Himalayas of this region in three different ways: take a mountain flight and enjoy the splendid view of snow capped Himalayas from the safety of the presurrized aeroplane cabins, or gaze at the panorama from popular mountain viewpoints such as Nagarkot and Dhulikhel around the Kathmandu Valley and Sarangkot in Pokhara or take the direct approach and trek to the mountain base from where you can actually touch them and feel the Himalayas.

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Indeed, the best way to experience Nepal's unbeatable combination of natural beauty and culture riches is to trek through them. One should know that trekking means walking and is a process rather than a destination. As one gets into shape, it's easy to fall into walking-machine mode. Though trekking demands a physical challenge, a trekker should remind himself/ herself to stop at teashops, admire the views, splash in a stream and play with local kids. Walking and nothing, but day after day, provides illuminating insights of Nepal's diversity in terms of geography, people, religion and culture. The main precaution to be taken while trekking is not to go up too high too fast. The body should be given plenty of time to acclimatize. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) refers to the effects of the thin air at high altitudes which can be very dangerous and may even result in death. If you get initial symptoms like nausea, dizziness, swelling of the face and breathlessness, descend to the lower elevation immediately and seek medical help. Check out Travel FAQ for more details on trekking in Nepal.

Trekking is possible at any time of the year depending on where one is going. The most popular seasons are spring (February - May) and autumn (September-November). Winter is very cold above 4,000m and high mountain passes may be snowbound but it is good for trekking at lower altitudes. During the monsoon season (June-August) you can trek in rain-shadow areas of the northern areas of regions like Mustang, Upper Manang and Dolpo. These places are out of reach of the rain clouds because they lie beyond the high mountains whcih block off the monsoon clouds.

Some of the interesting trekking places to visit in this region:

ANNAPURNA AREA

The Annapurna Circuit
The Annapurna Circuit attracts a relatively high number of trekkers in Nepal. As the name itself suggests, this trail goes on a circuitous route around the entire Annapurna massif, visiting the Tibet-like country on the northern slopes of the Himalaya and the dramatic Kali Gandaki gorge. Much of the trek is through lowland country, but there is one high pass, "Thorung La" (5,380m). The trail over the pass is steep but in good shape and not hard to follow. This is the one point of the entire circuit where you really feel you are amidst the mountains. However you should be aware of altitude sickness and be prepared for weather extremes as the Thorung La is notorious for changing its moods. The pass is usually snowbound and un-crossable form mid-December to mid-April.

The Kali Gandaki gorge is another spell binding part of this trip. Known to be the worlds deepest river gorge the trail upto the Jomsom (and Upper Mustang) actually goes side by side with the river giving the lonely trekker company and groups something to talk about. Thus the Annapurna circuit is an extraordinary trek, truly one of the world's best. It requires at least three weeks. But due to the popularity of this route it can sometimes tend to be crowded.

The Annapurna SanctuaryTop

This is probably the most ideal trek: lovely, short and intense, a direct route into the heart of the Himalaya. Spectacular mountain vistas and easy access make it among the most popular treks, with over 10,000 visitors per year. The sanctuary is a hidden pocket of meadow, moraine and glacier, ringed by magnificent sheer-walled 6,000 - 8,000 meter peaks: the Annapurnas, Gangapurna, Machhapuchhare, Himchuli.

The trek requires ten to fourteens days and begins from Pokhara, passing through lowland villages and rice terraces to mountain glaciers. The trail rises nearly 2000 m in the last 8 km and one needs to plan for acclimatization. The trail is frequently slippery and there's danger of avalanches in few places, so early spring and winter trekking is unlikely. Accommodation in the lower portion (at least in Chhomrong) are deluxe; the upper stretch is understandably simple - no body lives up there for long time.

Jomsom
Easily accessible via a 20-minute flight from Pokhara, Jomsom lies nestled beneath the splendor of Mount , Nilgiri. For those of you not inclined to make it to the mountains the hard way, i.e. slogging it on foot step by step in a gradual process, taking the US$ 50 flight to Jomsom from Pokhara is the ideal alternative. Jomsom, at an altitude of 2,700 meters lies tucked in between two giant mountain ranges, the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri- both reach out to the sky beyond 8,000 meters at their highest points, and although these ranges are around 35 kilometers apart, consider yourself to be technically positioned at the bottom of the world's deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki Valley with a spectacular view of Mt. Nilgiri looming ahead like a huge snowy pyramid.

From Jomsom, one may venture on to leisurely treks for a day or two northwards to Kagbeni or southwards to Marpha, Tukuche, and Lete-Kalopani all of these places can be reached with effortless walking on an almost leveled surface. On the other hand, should the rarefied mountain air hinder your walking ability; you may choose to explore the area on a pony that can be made available by your hotel at a reasonable price. Food and board around Jomsom could probably be described as being the best among all the trekking regions of the country. All the better hotels provide cosy rooms that come with attached bath with running hot water. With three to four flights coming in from Pokhara every day, the larders of most restaurants are well stocked with fresh meat and vegetables.

Muktinath Trek
This major Himalayan highway follows the gorge of the Kali Gandaki River, crossing from subtropical jungle to high-altitude desert in less than one week. Mixed in the stream of international trekkers are Hindu saddhus (ascetic) walking to Muktinath and jingling mule trains heading down from Tibet loaded with bales of wool. Both are reminders of the trail's status as a major trade and pilgrimage route, an important cultural corridor across the Himalaya.

The end point is the ancient shrine of Muktinath (3,170 meters), one of Nepal's holiest pilgrimage sites. There's no real village, but lodges around the lower portion (Ranipauwa) put up pilgrims and trekkers. The ancient holy site is a typically confusing blend of natural, Buddhists and Hindu beliefs. The little Newari-style pagoda to Lord Vishnu is a relatively recent addition. Muktinath has been sacred for over 2000 years; the Hindu holy book Mahabharata mentions it as Shaligrama, "Place of the Shaligram,"the black fossil stones sacred to Vishnu and found in abundance in the Kali Gandaki valley. Its holiness stems from flickering blue flames of natural methane gas burning on water, stone and earth, and now enclosed in the shrine of Jwala Mai below the Vishnu temple. Near the pagoda, there is 108 spouts, shaped like bulls' heads, where devout pilgrims bathe in the freezing water to purify their sins and earn mukti or spiritual liberation.

The place has ancient association for Buddhists as well; Guru Rinpoche is said to have passed through here en route to Tibet, leaving his footprints in a rock. There are many old Buddhist temples around here. Top

The entire trek to Muktinath remains below 3000 meters. One should figure at least two weeks to walk in and out, allow a few extra days for exploration- the upper region in particular is lined with fascinating villages. Flying into Jomsom and walking back down is possible, but one should remember to acclimatize before climbing to Muktinath. One can fly from Jomsom to either Kathmandu or Pokhara.

THE EVEREST REGION
The classic walk through the Sherpa homeland of Solu-Khumbu is a tough trek with a clearcut goal - to see Mt. Everest, the highest peak of the world. There are many ways to trek in this area. One can either walk all the way up and back, or walk one way and fly out on the way back, or fly in and out depending on the time at hand and inclination. The first requires a month, the second just about three weeks and the third at least two weeks.

Most Everest trekkers avoid the hardest walking by flying in and out of Lukla airstrip. If you have got time and energy, the walk in from Jiri through the Sherpa's traditional homeland is worth the extra effort. It passes through the lovely region called Solu and the narrow gorge of the Dudh

Kosi (Pharak) to reach the high mountain region of Khumbu in a little over a week. Khumbu is exceptionally at high altitude with trekking routes going up to 5,400 meters. Solu can be trekked year around while Khumbu's trekking season is limited. October-November and March-May are the busiest trekking season of Khumbu. Besides good weather, this period offers the five-day Dumje festival (usually April) and the masked Mani Rimdu dances held at major monasteries in spring and fall. Khumbu is a good region for a monsoon trek. High pastures are full of wildflowers and grazing yaks, and the people are relaxed, taking a well-deserved break from trekking and expedition work.

Namche Bazaar (3,446 m), the modern Sherpa capital, is the nerve center of upper Khumbu: from here the trails branch out to explore at least four separate high valleys. It's a cosmopolitan little village, a good place to pick up tips on trails and conditions from descending trekkers. Food prices skyrocket above here, since all supplies must be carried in from a distance; budget extra for this trip.It is the entrance to the Everest region Situated in the lap of the Khumbu Himal range,Namche Bazaar is about 24 km from Kathmandu and the distance is generally covered within 15 days by trekking. This place is the home of the legendary Sherpas, who have won international reknown as the world's most sturdy climbers with an indomitable will to scale peaks. One can fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and Syangboche in the Everest region. At Lukla accommodations are available in Sherpa huts and lodges Lukla is the most popular base for trekking in the Khumbu region. Days could be spent hiking and visiting the Sherpa villages, Thyangboche Monastery, Khunde Hospital, Khumjung Hilary School and trekking towards the Everest Base Camp. Accommodations are available at Thyangboche, Debuche, Pheriche, Pangboche, Lobuche and Gorakhshep.

Phaplu Another scenic place that is also easily accessed via air is Phaplu which has direct flights from Kathmandu. Phaphlu is in the eastern district of Solu-Khumbu, famous for its Sherpas. From here, you can hike into little known corners of Sherpa territory, and bask in the mountains' glow, yet return at night to the warmth of the Sherpa Lodge in Phaplu bazaar.

LANGTANG REGION Top

The trek up the Langtang valley is another of those finest mountain treks. Situated directly north of Kathmandu, this region has three relatively short yet interesting treks: Langtang, Helambu and Gosainkund. The regions are usually visited separately but can be combined in as 16-day trip. Lower regions like Helambu are perfect for winter treks and in springtime this region's rhododendrons are especially beautiful.The people are a mixture of Tamang, Sherpa and Bhotia. Food and lodging are easily available along the main routes.

Fascinating Places of Langtang Valley

Langtang
Langtang, at 3,307m above sea level, extends from north of Helambu to all the way up to the Tibetan Border. It is the largest village of the region despite its small size. Its upper valley is a grazing paradise, rich in flowers and grass and dotted with stone huts used in the summer time for butter making. Sewn in skins and exported to Tibet to flavor tea and fuel monastery lamps, butter was once the region's major industry.

It is generally a thirteen day trip, counting transportantion time and a day above Kyangjin and Gosaikund, the sacred lake devoted to Lord Shiva.

Helambu
The trek to Helambu is one that remains open for twelve months of the year. It is the most easily accessible of all trekking regions. Helambu is below 3000 meters and creates few altitude problems. The trek provides a sudden, dramatic contrast between higher and lower areas of Helambu. The higher region consists of pleasant forests, interesting Sherpa villages and offers stunning mountain views. The lower valley is comparatively dull and depressing hot much of the year.

REMOTE AREAS
Beyond the aforementioned "Big Three" trekking regions of Nepal, Nepal is basically a virgin territory for trekkers. Trekking off the main paths is not only possible, but can be immensely rewarding, though you need a sense of adventure and an increased ability to deal with the unexpected. The treks range from teahouses to wilderness hikes. Frequently they combine both aspects by crossing over one or two uninhabited passes.

You need extra time to get beyond the standard routes, however, as said rewards are great - not just mountain views, but increased contact with a wide range of Nepalis, and the chance to glimpse a completely different way of life.

Fascinating Regions

Dolpo

The best known of the many isolated high Himalayan valleys across the northern Nepal, Dolpo preserves one of the last remnants of traditional Tibetan culture. Legend says it's a bayul, one of the "hidden valleys" created by Guru Rinpoche as a refuge for devout Buddhists in troubled times. Surrounded by high mountains including the Dhaulagiri massif to the southeast rand cut off by high passes closed by snow half the year, Dolpo's easiest access is from Tibet, where its' people emigrated from perhaps thousand of years ago.

Upper Dolpo shelters about 6,000 people, whose lives revolve around Buddhism, barley, and yaks; their villages (over 4,260 meters) are among the highest settlements on earth. A large portion of Dolpo has been set aside as Shey-Phoksumdo National Park, at 3,555 sq.km. The park shelters blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, leopards, wolves and the elusive snow leopard.

Largely thanks to "The Snow Leopard" book and Oscar nominated movie, "Caravan," Dolpo is the best known of Nepal's remote northern border regions. One needs to get trekking permit from Department of Immigration in Kathmandu or Pokhara to visit this fascinating region. Check out travel faq for more information on this.

Phoksumdo lake at 3,627m is the most fascinating part of the whole trek in Dolpo. The lake is a basin of unearthly turquoise blue ringed by rocky crags and forest, framed by snowcapped peaks.

Rara LakeTop

Rara lake, the largest lake of the country, is a major destination among the treks in western Nepal. The lake, located within the Rara National Park, is perched on a high shelf, encircled by gray ridges and pine forested hills inhabitated by beers, jungle cats and deer. The trail leading to the lake was built as a horse trail for His Majesty King Mahendra's 1964 visit to Rara.

Access to Rara Lake is from Jumla, which can be reached by flight or by walking for around ten days from Surkhet in western Nepal. A trip to the lake and back to Jumla takes just about ten days.

Kanchanjunga
Kanchanjunga, referred as "Five Great Treasures of the Snows", is the third highest mountain of the world that lies at the eastern border of Nepal at an altitude of 8,586m. It takes at least two weeks' walk to reach the destination, Khangchenjunga base camp. There are two

Kanchanjunga base camps - north and south, and the usual trek involves reaching either of them. It is possible to visit these both camps, but it takes a much longer time and moreover both are very difficult to cross.

This region requires a trekking permit from Department of Immigration from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. The trekking fee for one person per week for the first four weeks is US$10 and US$ 20 per week thereafter.

Upper Mustang - Kingdom of Lo
Upper Mustang, an arid barren land with pockets of fertile oases, is very different from any other parts of Nepal. In fact, the kingdom of Lo share similar culture and geography of Tibet. The lifestyle of Lo, people of Lo, is also unique and to date remains untouched by modernity.

The trek to Upper Mustang requires a trekking permit from Department of Immigration of Kathmandu or Pokhara. The trekking fee is around US$ 700 per person for the first ten days and US$ 70 per person per day thereafter. You should remember to get trekking permit only through the registered trekking agencies. The trip to the capital of Mustang and back takes around two weeks and can be done by partly retracing the way in or by taking a circuitous trail through the outposts of this ancient pilgrimage.
Top

And many more tourist spots ..........


For further information regarding reservatin of hotels in Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur & Nagarkot and Trekking all over NEPAL call or write us at our email address. puspa@mos.com.np

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