Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains

Tripoto
1st Aug 2014

The sacred Bouddhanath Stupa

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

stone tomb dedicated to Mountaineers at Inter

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

Mt. Everest! View from the cockpit.

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

The Elephant Safari at Chitwan National Park

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

The gushing Davis Fall in monsoon

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

The Taal Barahi temple

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

Phewa Lake

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan
Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan

Stunning views of the Nepal countryside

Photo of Nepal: Beyond the Himalayan Mountains by Nupur Pradhan
Nepal, a small landlocked country between India and China, is a world hub for mountaineers. The country of Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) hosts 8 of the top 10 tallest peaks in the world. The famous ranges of Himalayas, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri dominate the Nepal landscape. Nepal however, has much more to offer than a shot at mountaineering or any adventure sports activity. It is one of the most ideal family vacation spots with something for each member of the family. 
 
Temples and Stupas
* One of the most sacred & significant Hindu temples of Lord Shiva – Pashupatinath Temple – is located in Kathmandu on the banks of river Bagmati. Thousands of tourists from India make a pilgrimage to this holy temple.
* Nearby, is the Swayambunath Stupa situated atop a hill offering a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley.
* On the road between Pokhara and Kathmandu is the Manakamana Temple of the Hindu goddess Bhagwati. It used to take approx 3 hours to climb up the mountain but thanks to the govt initiative, the temple is accessible by a 3 KM cable car ride. It offers the most picturesque views of the countryside and is in itself an unprecedented experience one would never forget. The cable car ride is highly recommended. 
* The Barahi Temple is situated in the middle of the breath-takingly scenic Phewa Lake. 
 
National Park
The Chitwan National Park (NP) is the first NP established in Nepal. Activities like Jeep Safari, Elephant back ride safari, canoeing are offered. There is a well maintained Elephant and Gharial breeding centre inside this NP. Deer and Rhinoceros can be spot in abundance. The approx. one hour Elephant back ride safari is a must do activity.
 
Phewa Lake
The beautiful city of Pokhara is one of the most popular tourist destinations and a base for trekkers taking the Annapurna range. It is also one of the costliest cities in Nepal. Hire a boat to go up to the temple. The Phewa Lake is also famous for the reflection of the Annapurna range in its clear waters. 
 
Davis Fall
Davis Fall, also known as Underground Waterfall is situated opposite the Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave Temple. The water from this waterfall falls almost 500ft and enters the cave through a small inlet. It is possible to climb down the caves but make sure to have a guide along. The Davis Fall is a magnificent site and best visited during monsoons when it is at its full force.
 
International Mountain Museum
A must visit attraction in Pokhara is the International Mountain Museum. It covers the history of mountaineering to the present day scenario. Various tools and equipments like climbing gear, camera, cookware are on display. An short film about the flora in Himalayas is played at regular intervals in the AV room. Drive up to Sarankot for a beautiful sunrise over the Annapurna ranges.
 
Everest, up close
A trip to Nepal will always be incomplete without Mt. Everest; don’t be disappointed if you can’t climb. Everest. National airlines like Buddha Air and Guna Air run Mountain Flights to tourists who can’t make it to the top of the world. The 16-seater plane provides a cockpit view and a certificate to show off of not only Mt. Everest but the entire Himalayan range. What better way to bring back memories!
 
Quick Facts:
  • Indians do not require a Visa to travel to Nepal. A Passport or Election Card is sufficient to show the authorities.
  • The weather is more or less the same as Northern India.
  • Many major establishments accept Indian currency but it is illegal to carry denominations of INR 500 and INR 1000. (Please do not keep any cash / other valuables in your Check-In luggage)
  • Language is not a problem. Most speak Hindi.
How to reach:
Nepal can be reached by air, road and train.  There are various entry points along the Uttar Pradesh border, majorly Sunauli and Mahendranagar. Train runs from Jaynagar in Bihar to Janakpur Dham in Nepal
Intercity travel:
Though most cities have an airport, travelling by road is the best way to explore the country. The landscape varies from tea plantations to raging rivers to dry river beds. Vehicles are available for hire from Kathmandu. Contact your hotel for arrangements.
Shopping:
  • The tourist area of Thamil in Kathmandu has some great things to buy. Right from shawls to hiking gear, everything is available.
  • In Pokhara, the Lake Side offers a relaxed environment to shop. You will find many stores selling antiques.
Eat:
Daal Bhat is a national dish in Nepal. Indian food is available throughout. Scrumptious Momos are a must try!
The Taal Barahi temple, the Bindhyabasini temple and the Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave Temple are some of the major temples in Pokhara.
Photo of Pokhara, Western Region, Nepal by Nupur Pradhan
Many lodges/resorts/restaurants are lined up along the boundary of the NP which is divided by the Rapti river. One needs to Kayak through the river to get into the National Park.
Photo of Chitwan, Narayani, Central Region, Nepal by Nupur Pradhan
Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha is situated in Nepal. Majority religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism. The religions have influenced the culture and way of life in a strong way.
Photo of Lumbini Nepal, Western Region, Nepal by Nupur Pradhan
Bouddhanath Stupa, one of the holiest Buddhist stupas and one of the largest in world is also located in Kathmandu, close to Pashupatinath temple. A two storey separate section for prayers overlooks the Stupa. Many shops selling beautiful Tibetan handicrafts and jewellery adorn the sidewalls.
Photo of Kathmandu, Central Region, Nepal by Nupur Pradhan
A few thousand bucks, lots of courage and luck will take you up as close as possible to Mt. Everest.
Photo of Mount Everest, Khumjung, Eastern Region, Nepal by Nupur Pradhan
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