Here’s How I made a Short Trip to Nepal by Overland - A 5-Day Itinerary 

13th Oct 2018

I went on a short trip to Nepal during the Durgapuja holidays in October 2018. Starting from Kolkata, you can also visit this wonderful country without taking expensive flights. That is how you can do it.

Board Mithila Express from Howrah Railway station to the Raxaul Junction. Raxaul is the nearest rail head to Kathmandu. Mithila Express and Howrah Raxaul Express are the two direct trains run between Howrah and Raxaul. Birgaunj (nearest Nepalese town ) is only ten kilo meters from the Raxaul Junction. Horse-drawn carriages (Tonga) are available outside the station that takes you, all the way after crossing the border to the Birgunj bus terminus. Although, auto- rickshaws are also available but you have to change it once near the border. Besides, I don't think autos go all the way to the Bus terminus as I didn't see any. Hence, it is better to take horse-drawn carriages. It takes generally half an hour. You can cross the International Border to enter Nepal without any documentation and security check. As you enter Nepal, you can easily find the shared cab or bus for Kathmandu. Birgunj to Kathmandu is seven to eight hours journey.

Photo of Here’s How I made a Short Trip to Nepal by Overland - A 5-Day Itinerary  1/1 by Vaswati
Birgunj Border

We started for Kathmandu in a shared cab by 10 am. The road was more or less good but dusty and in some places it’s bumpy too. Sometimes we had to roll up the window panes to get rid of the dust.

We reached Kathmandu outskirts by 5 pm. You have to take a small cab that plies within the city to reach the Hotel.

Hotel Narayana:

We decided to stay near the Pashupatinath temple. There are a lot of accommodation options but we booked Hotel Narayana online. It is situated at Pashupatinath Marg, just opposite to the Temple. Rooms are cozy and spacious. This hotel has its dining facility. Foods are good and price is reasonable. If you need a Ncell SIM without a passport, this hotel also helps you out.

The capital city Kathmandu houses some incredible temples and relics of the glorious kingdom of Nepal that attracts tourists from all over the world. The city boast of having seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Pashupatinath temple, Changunarayan temple, the Durbar squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, the stupas of Boudhnath and Swayambhunath .

Day 1 :

The next morning, you may cover Pashupatinath temple, Bura Nilkanta Temple and Boudhnath stupa .

Pashupatinath temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Nepal, is located on the bank of river Bagmati. It houses Nepal’s national deity, Lord Pashupatinath and dedicated to Lord Shiva.

In the inner courtyard of the temple, there is a huge Nandi Bull in bronze along with many other small temples. You had to join a long queue to have darshan and offer prayers. Photography is prohibited in the inner courtyard.

Among the temples in the outer courtyard, there are 12 Shiva temples along the bank of the river Bagmati and Guhyeshwari temple is worth visiting.

12 Shiv temple on the bank of river Bagmati

Photo of Pashupatinath, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

Pashupatinath temple

Photo of Pashupatinath, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

It is one of the many Shakti Peeths where Sati’s (knowledge) Guhya fell and hence originated Guhyeshwari Shakti Peeth.

In the evening, you can witness the famous evening Arati on the bank of river Bagmati. Three or four priests line up on the bank of the river facing the main temple, rotate the brass multi-tiered arti lamps and other sacred staffs one by one in the air. The entire atmosphere is filled with the burning of incense sticks, the ringing of bells, sounds of enchanting. At the same time, on the opposite bank of the river, you may find more than one funeral pyres are burnt as the dead bodies are cremated there.

It’s a Hindu open-air temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple houses a reclining statue of Lord Vishnu lying on a bed of snakes in a pool of water.


Photo of Budhanilkantha, Nepal by Vaswati

Boudhnath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites and most popular tourist attractions in Kathmandu. You can enter the stupa and climb up to the white dome. Monk standing among the pigeons with begging bowl in hands is a very common sight in Boudhnath. Tamang Gompa- one of the many gompas in that area, has an overlooking balcony that offers a beautiful view of this giant stupa.


Photo of Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

Day 2 :

We planned to visit the Manakamna Devi temple on the second day.

This temple is dedicated to sacred goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati. Manakamana Devi means wish-fulfilling Goddess. It is believed that anyone who makes a wish by their heart, would be fulfilled.

We booked this trip on a shared bus with a Nepal based travel agency(Touch Kailash travel and tours). The bus picked us from the hotel by 7 am. It is 100 km from Kathmandu on the way to Pokhara. Hence, if you are travelling in a group, you can hire a cab and visit this temple on your way to Pokhara. Once you reach the Kurintar- the bottom station of the cable car, you have to join at the end of a long queue and gradually march on to the starting point of the cable car. It took us almost two long hours to reach there. The cable car ride is another interesting thing. Ten minutes' journey takes you to the uppermost station of the cable car that lies at an elevation of 1302 meters. On the way, you can get an excellent view of below agricultural land and Thrishul river. From the station, you have to climb short stairways and long walkways to reach the entrance of the temple.

The temple area was thronged by thousands of devotees due to the on-going Dashain festival. Various rituals were performed by the devotees in front of the temple while at the other side of the courtyard, Goats and fowls were sacrificed to the goddess. After offering puja, you can have your lunch in one of the numerous hotels near the temple. We reached at Kurintar by 4.30 pm and the tour ends by 7 pm.

Rope-way to the temple

Photo of Manakamana Temple, Manakamana, Nepal by Vaswati

Rituals performed at the temple courtyard

Photo of Manakamana Temple, Manakamana, Nepal by Vaswati

Day 3 :

Next day, we visited Swayambhunath, Kathmandu Durbar square and take a peep into Thamel.

Kathmandu Durbar marg commonly referred to as Basantapur Durbar Square. It houses the prominent remnants of Malla and Shah kingdom of Nepal. The most interesting site at the Durbar Square is a three-storied building known as Kumari Bahal, houses a beautiful young girl known as Kumara Devi. You can find here numerous Hindu temples, among them Kal Bhairav temple is worth seeing.

Kathmandu Daurbar Marg

Photo of Basantapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

Kumari Bahal

Photo of Basantapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

Kal Bhairab Temple

Photo of Basantapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

This temple is also known as monkey temple. Located at the hilltop, it offers a magnificent view of Kathmandu city.


Photo of SWAYAMBHUNATH STUPA, Kathmandu, Nepal by Vaswati

Thamel is the commercial hub and shoppers paradise in Kathmandu. Various kinds of souvenirs, food, restaurants & bar, trekking gears, fancy strolls, jackets, woolens, you will get everything here, although a bit costly. Luxury hotel to budget as well as cheap accommodation, it has everything for all kinds of travelers.

Day 4 :

We set out for Pokhra by Volvo Bus at 7 am. The journey was scenic and more or less comfortable. The bus took almost 8 hours to reach Pokhara, giving two stops on the way for food.

The Pokhara is a little paradise by Phewa Lake surrounded by mighty Annapurna range of mountains. Most of the lanes in Pokhra led to the Lake. You can enjoy a boat ride or an evening stroll along the lake side road.

Fewa Inn :

There are lots of accommodations besides the Fewa lake. I chose Fewa Inn, it’s a beautiful hotel within walking distance from the lake.

Phewa Tal

Photo of Pokhara, Nepal by Vaswati

Day 5 :

The following day was the day of Tikka( a dab of red vermilion mixed with yogurt and rice). People visit their elders to seek tikka accompanied by blessings. It’s a part of the Dashain festival. Our hotel manager was kind enough to arrange a sightseeing tour at a reasonable price for us as the day was a holiday and most of the travel agencies demanded a high price for a day trip.

World Peace Pagoda, Devi's fall, Mahendra cave, Temple of Tal Varahi, Begnas Tal lake, International Mountain Museum, Bindhyabasini Temple, Gupteswor Mahadev Cave, Seti Gandaki, these are some of the attractions in Pokhara.

As the day was a holiday, I got to visit the following places only.

It's one of the world’s greatest stupa, located on a hilltop at an elevation of 1100 meters. It offers incredible views of snow covered Annapurna range and fishtail mountain or Machapuchare peak.

World peace pagoda

Photo of World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara, Nepal by Vaswati

Devis fall

Photo of Devi's Falls, Pokhara, Sital path, Pokhara, Nepal by Vaswati

This temple houses the idol of Goddess Bhagawati. The temple courtyard offers a spectacular view of the Pokhara city on the backdrop of Annapurna mountains.

Bindhyabasini temple

Photo of Bindabasini Temple, Pokhara-Baglung Highway, Pokhara, Nepal by Vaswati

Also known as Lake temple. It's a two-story pagoda temple located on a small island on Phewa Lake.

Tal Barahi temple

Photo of Tal Barahi Temple, Pokhara, Nepal by Vaswati

While coming back to the hotel, we saw people in their fineries, moving around in groups with red rice tikka on their forehead.

A nepali man with tikka on forehead

Photo of Here’s How I made a Short Trip to Nepal by Overland - A 5-Day Itinerary by Vaswati

You may leave Pokhara at night by Volvo bus or on the next morning by local buses for Birgunj. As the previous day was a holiday, we had to take the bus on the next day morning. The journey takes almost eight to nine hours. You can easily catch night train for your return journey to Kolkata.

Things to keep in mind:

1. The above itinerary is meant for tourists having children and elderly people with them to travel leisurely.

2. Indians don't need a passport or visa to enter Nepal. Voter ID card and Adhaar card serve the purpose.

3. Indian currency is widely accepted in Nepal but make sure you carry small notes and not more than 500 rupee notes. Indian ATM Cards and Credit cards do not work there. So carrying cash is advisable. The exchange rate is also fixed i.e. 100 INR = 160 NR.

4. There are two main SIM in Nepal, Ncell and Nepal Telecom. Ncell is faster whereas the latter has greater mountain coverage.

5. Generally, you will be asked to provide a Passport and a passport-sized photo for the Ncell.

6. All the buses to Pokhra leave from Sorakhutte which was walking distance from Thamel.

7. Foods are really expensive in the Thamel area and the Pokhra city.

8. Book train and bus tickets and hotels in advance for a hassle-free travel.