Nepal is a bijou country sandwiched between India and China. It is a religious hub for both Hindus and Buddhists as it contains many temples and stupas in its confines. It has great cultural significance with many world heritage sites located here. Home to the Mount Everest, here you can view scenic snow-capped mountains as well as plan treks. Annapurna, Mount Everest, Manaslu, and Kanchenjunga are home to some of the best trekking trails in the world. The crime rates here are very low, making it a very safe destination.
Kathmandu- Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It has great religious and cultural significance. Kathmandu Durbar square is a UNESCO world heritage site, many important religious activities take place here, it is a unique museum of complex of palaces, courtyard and Hindus temples like Hanuman dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju temple. Here you will get to see the Boudhanath Stoupa in Kathmandu, one of the largest spherical stupas dominating the skyline of Nepal. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. You will also get to visit the Swayambunath monastery which is located on a hilltop of Kathmandu valley. It is regarded as one of the oldest monasteries in the world. The monastery is also known as the monkey temple as large tribes of monkeys can be seen there regularly. Swayambhunath Monastery is complete with Buddha eyes looking out across the valley, an iconic symbol. Another famous monastery that’s located in Kathmandu is Kopan, located on top of Kopan hill. The monastery is home to over 300 Tibetan Buddhist monks. Dominated by a magnificent Bodhi tree, it was once the home of the astrologer to the King of Nepal. The Kopan Monastery also offers a panoramic view of the town of Boudha below and the spectacular Himalayan mountain range. Thamel is city's main nightlife zone. Bars blast out live music by cover bands, and lively eateries serve Nepalese and international dishes. The stately Garden of Dreams is dotted with pavilions, fountains, and urns. Markets and stores sell metal handicrafts, colourful jewellery, and trekking gear, while pedestrianized Mandala Street has upmarket shops and spas.
Attractions- Swayambunath monastery, Boudhanath Stoupa, Hanuman dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar, Thamel
Bhaktapur- Visit Bhaktapur, it is known for its artistic masks and earthen pots, often seen spread out on the streets to dry in the sun. Bhaktapur was the largest of the three Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley and was the capital of Nepal during the great 'Malla Kingdom' until the second half of the 15th century. The remarkable architecture, the exquisite woodcarvings and metal craft that can be seen around the city. Unlike Kathmandu and Patan, Bhaktapur has resisted rapid change, and a large number of women in Bhaktapur are still seen in their traditional Newari attire in black and red. The pagoda-style temples present here rise above the skyline. The Pottery Square, the Palace (Durbar) Square which dates back to the 12th century, where devotees still celebrate their centuries-old festivals and the temple squares that still remains vibrant, is Bhaktapur’s major attractions. But the city’s archaic look itself draws tourists besides the elaborate festivals that remain unchanged for centuries. Durbar Square is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the valley. Nyatapola Temple is a 5-story pagoda style temple located in here. It is the temple of Siddha Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity. Bhairab Nath Temple is another pagoda temple of lord Bhairab, the dreadful aspect of Lord Shiva. It stands near the Nyatapola temple and was originally constructed on a modest scale. It was later remodelled into what it is now a three-storeyed temple. Changu Narayan is a UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, this ancient Hindu temple is believed to have been constructed first in the 4th century. Changu Narayan is the name of Vishnu, and the temple is dedicated to him. A stone slab discovered in the vicinity of the temple dates to the 5th century and is the oldest stone inscription discovered in Nepal. It was rebuilt after the old temple was devastated. The gilded door depicts stone lions guarding the temple. Gilded windows also flank the door. A conch and a disc, symbols of Vishnu, are carved on the two pillars at the entrance. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. One of the most popular festivals of Bhaktapur is the Bisket Jatra which attracts a large number of tourists around the Nepali New Year.
Attractions- Nyatapola temple, Bhaktapur Palace Square, Changu Narayan
Lalithpur – Also known as Patan this is the third largest city in Nepal. It’s known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly in the tradition of arts and crafts. Lalitpur has maintained a culture of craftwork even in the face of rapid urbanization and many social and political upheavals. It is called the city of festival and feast, fine ancient art, making of metallic and stone carving statue. Patan city is fragmented from other cities due to its substantive architectural ancient masterpieces. Lalitpur is renowned as a very artistic city. Most of the Nepalese art is devoted to gods, and there is an abundance of temples and viharas. Patan Durbar Square which is a World Heritage Site is the most popular attraction of this city, it was home to the Malla rulers in its hay-day and now it houses a museum. Also present here are numerous temples including Hiranyavarna Mahavihara is a Buddhist temple locally known as Golden Temple. Mahabouddha Temple, Kumbheshwar Temple, Banglamukhi Temple, Krishna Mandir, one of the most beautiful stone temples in Nepal. Central Zoo present here is the only zoo in entire Nepal, it has 870 animals of 109 different species. Pim Bahal Pokhari is a large pond centred around a charming lakeshore pavilion. On the north side is three-tiered Chandeswari Temple built-in 1663. Walk around the pond clockwise and you'll pass a damaged 600-year-old whitewashed stupa.
Attractions- Mahabouddha Temple, Patan Durbar Square, Hiranyavarna Mahavihara, Pim Bahal Pokhari
Sundarijal- The name Sundarijal has been coined from adjoining two words ‘Sundari’ which means beautiful and ‘Jal’ which means water. The reason behind this name can be attributed to the Bagmati river that originates from this region and has been the major source of water. This picturesque town is fringed with rhododendron trees and presents the visitors with awe-inspiring views. BP museum located here is one of the historical places in Nepal, but it took a long time for this to be established as a Museum. It has its own historical transformation. Before it was an Army General Quarter and then, it was changed into Rajbandigriha where prisoners were kept, after that again it changed into Gaida Gasti which again got changed into Sundarijal Military Camp and finally, after the detention of leaders like B.P it came into the light and was established as B.P Museum. Shivapuri Nagarjun national park present here can be visited to view a wide array of flora and fauna. The main religious sites in Sundarijal are the temples of Sundarimai Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, and Krishna Mandir. In July, the Dashahara festival is celebrated at the confluence of Shyalmati and Bagmati.
Attractions- Sundarimai Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, B.P Museum, Shivapuri Nagarjun national park
Chitwan- Chitwan is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. Later, it was established as a Ramsar Site as well. This national park is one of the major tourist attractions in Nepal. Thousands of tourists visit this park every year to catch a glimpse of the majestic Bengal tiger. This park is also famous for its vast bird population, with more than 500 species on display. You must visit the elephant breeding center where you can see elephants perform a dance, you can give them a bath and feed them as well. Here you can go for an elephant safari, this is the best way to spot a rhinoceros, as the elephant walks without making any sound. Hence, an elephant doesn’t scare the wild animals away. Go for a jeep safari, go for multiple jeep safari’s in the summers is a more comfortable way to view more animals as the water bodies inside the forest have dried up and the animals come out looking for other water sources. The canoe ride is the best way for bird watching.
Chitwan is open all year round, park timings are listed below:
6:00 A.M (opening time) - 6 P.M. (closing time)
Jungle safaris and Elephant safaris
6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. (timings may vary depending on the availability of vehicle and elephants)
Charges for Chitwan National Park:
Entry fees- NPR 2000 for foreigners, NPR 1000 for SAARC citizens, NPR 50 for locals
Jeep Safari- Short NPR 2000, Full day NPR 3800
Government Elephant Safari- NPR 2500 for foreigners, NPR 1000 for SAARC citizens, NPR 100 for locals
Private Elephant Safari- NPR 1850- 3000 depending on where you avail the services from
Canoe Ride- Short NPR 1400, Full day NPR 1800
Entry fees for the Elephant breeding center- 60 NPR for foreigners, 25 NPR for SAARC citizens, 10 NPR for locals
For bathing an elephant- NPR 200
Nagarkot- Situated in a strategic location, Nagarkot was an ancient fort of the Kathmandu valley built to monitor the external activities of other kingdoms. Later, it became a summer retreat for the royal family before becoming popular as an international hill station. Nagarkot is considered one of the most scenic spots in the district of Bhaktapur, offering you the best vantage point for mountains, sunrise and sunsets. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a popular tourist hiking route for tourists. The spot on the way offers you an excellent view of the sunset and Mt. Everest can be seen on a clear day. Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley (8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 from here). You can enjoy other adventure sports including paragliding, ATV and mountain biking.
Lumbini- Known as one of most spiritual sites in the world, this UNESCO world heritage site in Nepal is where Gautam Buddha was born. Queen Mahaydevi gave birth to a baby boy in the year 563 BCE. His parents like any other parent expected a lot from their son but little did they know about his destiny, little did they know what he’ll go on to achieve, that he’ll attain a level on consciousness which will remain unparalleled till the present day. In Lumbini, you will get to visit a pillar discovered in Rupandehi in 1896 marking the spot where Ashoka the great (a king who reformed and became a Buddhist monk after the great Kalinga war, where thousands died) visited Lumbini. You will also get to visit various older temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and various new temples that have been funded by numerous Buddhist organizations from all over the world. You will also get to visit Puskarni, the holy pond where Buddha’s mother took a ceremonial bath before his birth. This is also the place where Buddha was bathed for the first time.
Attractions- Mayadevi temple, Puskarni
Dhulikhel- Dhulikhel is yet another beautiful tourist spot in Nepal. Here you can visit numerous temples depicting traditional and archaic Newari craftsmanship. The core area of Dhulikhel has interesting narrow cobbled streets and lanes embedded with several Hindu Shrines and a few Buddhist Stupa. In the centre of the old town is the Narayan Temple with its yellow metal roofs. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna whose birthday is celebrated in August. Alongside is the Harisiddhi Temple. Both the temples are adorned with profuse wood carvings and fronted by two Garudas. Dhulikhel also acts as a mid-point for many treks, it has many interesting attractions located in its vicinity. Present here is the popular and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site of Namo Buddha. According to the legend, it is believed that Lord Buddha sacrificed his flesh to feed a starving tigress and her cubs. Panauti located to the southeast of Dhulikheli is a historical and culturally significant own town. The town is famous or thing one of the biggest festivals of Nepal, Makar Mela held every 12 years. Sanga is another village located close-by, that is famous for the 143 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva which is the tallest Shiva statue of the world.
Attractions- Narayan Temple, Harisiddhi Temple, Panauti village, Sanga village
Pokhara- This metropolitan city is the second-largest city in terms of population and area. Considered as the tourism capital of Nepal, it acts as a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna circuit. Pokhara valley offers picturesque landmarks and various religious sites. Some of the beautiful sites include Seti River gorge, this scanty chasm created by the flow of water shows the hidden river that flows through Pokhra. Other sites include Davis falls known as Patale Chango, Mahendra Gupha (cave), Gupteshwar Gupha and Chamero Odhar (house of bats) Sarangkot village located on the Sarangkot mountain offers a panoramic view of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manasalu. Activities like trekking and paragliding can be partaken in. Religious spots include Tal Barahi temple, Bindabashini temple, this temple has religious activity in the old bazaar and dedicated to goddess Bhagawati manifestation of power, and World peace pagoda. Davis Falls called Patale Chango locally is one of the most visited places in Nepal, where the cascading water vanishes underground.
Attractions- Davis Falls, Seti River Gorge, Tal Barahi temple, Mahendra Gupha, Chamero Odhar