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Nepal

The exotic treasure of heritage

Nepal - Overview

Nepal is located in South Asia and shares territorial borders with India and China. Previously ruled as a kingdom, today it is a Federal Democratic Republic. Nepal is known for its exquisite natural beauty, with the iconic Himalayas running across the northern and western part of the country. Eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, reside within its borders. Although Nepal is a relatively small country in comparison with its neighbours, it has an astonishingly diverse landscape, from the rugged Himalayas in the north to the humid Terai plains in the south. The capital and largest city is Kathmandu. The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee(NPR).

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Getting Here

The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu welcomes visitors into the country and an additional 47 airports make getting around Nepal relatively easy, despite its rugged and mountainous terrain that makes some of the more remote virtually impossible to reach by road. Nepal Airlines is the official air carrier of the country, with a fleet consisting of two Boeing B-757s and seven DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. The railway network in Nepal is rather sparse, with the main line running between Janakpur and Jainagar, a town close to the border of India. A rail link between Nepal and Lhasa in Tibet, China is under consideration for future development

Passports and Visas

In most cases, visiting Nepal requires a valid passport and visa with an exception for visitors from India and China- which do not need a passport or visa. British, Australian, Canadian, USA and European Union nationals may apply for a visa on arrival in Kathmandu at the Department of Immigration. However, all visitors should check with their travel agent for current visa requirements. Most visas are valid for sixty days for the first visit. Subsequent visits in the same year may be restricted to thirty days. An application for a visa extension may be made.

Climate

Climatic conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in south summers are tropical and winters are mild. Nepal has namely five major seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter.An average temperature drop of 6°C occurs for every 1,000 m gain in altitude. In the Terai, summer temperatures exceed 37°C and higher in some areas, winter temperatures range from 7°C to 23°C in the Terai. In mountainous regions, hills and valleys, summers are temperate while winter temperatures can plummet under sub zero. The valley of Kathmandu has a pleasant climate with average summer and winter temperatures of 19°C – 35°C and 2°C – 12°C respectively.

Attraction

While the most obvious attractions in Nepal are its majestic mountains and ruggedly beautiful landscapes, there are many historic and cultural treasures to appreciate. Bhaktapur Durbar Square in the town of Bhaktapur near Kathmandu is one of these treasures that should not be missed. It features the spectacular 17th century Lion Gate, the richly decorated Golden Gate and the nearby Palace of Fifty-Five windows. The Central Zoo In Jawalakhel is both a research and educational facility, welcoming animal-lovers to view the more than 900 birds, mammals, reptiles and fish on exhibit. Visitors may also enjoy an elephant ride as well as the picnic facilities and paddle boats.

There are also a number of national parks which protect the diverse wildlife and their habitats in Nepal. The Davis Falls (also known as Patale Chhango, Hell's Falls, Devi's Falls and Devin Falls) is an area renowned for its tranquility and mystic legends. The nearby Mahendra Cave (referred to as the House of Bats by locals) is also well worth a visit. History enthusiasts should make a point of visiting the Gorkha Royal Palace standing proudly on a hill overlooking the Gorkha Durbar. The climb to the elaborately decorated Newari-architectural style palace is challenging, but the view of the green landscapes, snow-capped Himalayas and the town below, as well as the palace itself, makes the effort well worth while. Kathmandu, a city which has been immortalized in countless songs, literary works, films and paintings, offers visitors numerous places of interest to visit, with some of the most noteworthy being Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath, Tharlam Monastery and the Kathmandu Durbar Square listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tours and Activities

Tours are popular in Nepal and there are many local tour providers. The most popular guided tours include short stopovers at major towns and cities allowing travelers to visit local attractions and do a bit of souvenir-hunting while soaking up the sights, sounds and aromas of Nepal's markets. Ecotourism has become a very popular activity among many travelers.

Without a doubt two of the most popular activities enjoyed by visitors to Nepal are trekking and mountaineering with the rugged landscape offering innumerable opportunities for both. Trekking is an excellent way of really getting to understand what Nepal is all about. Trekkers can set their pace to enjoy the incredible scenery, meet the locals and stop off at the many temples and historic ruins that are often found in unexpected places. Other activities to be enjoyed by the adventurous at heart include elephant safaris, biking, river rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, parasailing and hot air ballooning – an excellent way to view the spectacular Himalayas without actually climbing them.

If you would like more information about planning a vacation to Nepal, we offer many hunderds of pages of city guides about local attractions, destinations, museums, trekking, and eco-tours. Nepal.com also has travel specials on hotels, flights and car rental to help you make your trip the adventure of a lifetime!

POPULAR TREKS

Annapurna Circuit Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest View Trek
Jomsom Trek
Mustang Trek


Places of Interest

Kathmandu City

Kathmandu is known as Kantipur, the kingdom of Nepal. Here you will visit the temple of the living Goddess, who acknowledges the greetings of her devotees from balcony of her temple residence, Kathmandap-the source of the name Kathmandu. It was allegedly made from the timber of a single tree. Next, on to the Durbar Square area with its array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient palace of the Nepalese Royalty.

Pashupatinath

Lying 6 Km from central Kathmandu, Pashupatinath temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple, which was built in pagoda style, has a gilded roof and beautifully carved silver doors. Visitors will be permitted to view the temple from the east bank of the Bagmati river, as entrance into the temple is strictly forbidden to all non-Hindus. Pashupatinath is the centre of an annual pilgrimage on the day Shivaratri, which falls in February or March. Behind the temples are the cremation grounds.

Dakshinkali

Literally meaning the Kali of the south, this temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kali, the Hindu goddess of power. Goats, chickens, ducks etc. are sacrificed on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The temple itself is located in a forested canyon and lies 19 Km. from Kathmandu.

Boudanath

This stupa, situated 11 Km. from the center of Kathmandu, is one of the biggest in the world of its kind. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions, keeping a lookout for righteous behavior and human prosperity. This Buddhist stupa was built by King Man Deva at the advice of the Goddess Mani Jogini. It is built on an octagonal base and is contains inset prayer wheels. The shrine is surrounded by the homes of Lamas, or Buddhist priests.

Swayambhunath

Located approximately 3km from the center of Kathmandu, this Buddist stupa is said to be 2000 years old. The stupa which forms the main structure is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth which supports a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of gilt copper.Painted on the four sided base below the spire are the all seeing eyes of lord Buddha. The whole area around the Stupa contains an array of small stupas and temples. This is one of the best places from which to view the Kathmandu valley, as it is situated an a small hillock.

Bhaktapur

Also known as BHADGAON meaning the city of devotes, this place is the home of medieval art and architecture. Lying 14Km east of kathmandu city. This place was founded in the 9th century and is shaped like a conch shell. The city is at the height of 4600 ft. Above sea level. In Bhaktapur you will visit the Durbar Square with its array of temples overlooked by the palace of 55 Windows built by King Bupatindra Malla, the Nytapola Teple. This temple, which was also built by king Bhupatindra Malla, is the best example of the Pagoda style and stands on five terraces, on each of which stands a pair of figures, famous strong men, elephants, lions, griffins and goddesses. Time permitting, a visit to the museum of Thanka painting can also be considered. A 30 minute walk brings you to the Dattatraya temple and Pujari Math which can also be done provided there is plenty of time at the clients' disposal.

Nagarkot

It is situated about 35Km. east of Kathmandu city and from here one can see Mt. Everet and other peaks of the Himalayas. Nagarkot is located between Kathmandu valley in the west and Indravati in the east.

The top of Nagarkot commmands accelerating views in all direction. The altitude of Nagarkot is 2229Mt. Above from sea level. It is also very popular for the viewing sunrise and sunset.

Dhulikhel

It is situated at an altitude of 1600 m. above from sea level and 32 Km. From Kathmandu City. Dhulikhel is famous for its vantage location in viewing the Himalayan ranges, from Cho Oyu in the east to Himalchuli in the west. It is popular for viewing the sunrise and sunset.

Patan

5 Km. away from Kathmandu city. Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is a city of fine arts, enclosed within 4 stupas, which are said to have been built in the 3rd century A.D. by Emperor Ashoka.You will see Durbar square, the Patan durbar (palace), which houses a bronze collection, the Krishna temple built by King Siddi Narsinh Malla, Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, and Mahaboudha Temple.A trip to the Tibetan Refugee Centre and the Handicraft Centre will be included during your visit to Patan, where you will witness the hand weaving of Tibetan carpets and molding of metal statues. There are many other place to vist which are:

Pokhara Valley

Pokhara is Nepal's second most popular tourist destination and its adventure capital. It is overshadowed by a massive wall of the Himalayas, and dominated by the towering peak of the Annapurna range. Even more impressive is the fishtailed pinnacle of Mt. Machhapuchhare (6977 mt.) For the adventurous, the massif of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m) waits to be explored. Pokhara is the starting point for the most famous treks in Nepal, in the Annapurna area. Pokara is situated 200 K.M. west of Kathmandu.

Phewa Lake

The second largest lake in the kingdom, this is the center of attraction in Pokhara. The eastern shore, popularly known as lake side, or Baidam, is the favorite hang out for travelers, and is where most of the hotels, restaurants, and handicraft shops are located.

Begnas & Rupa Lake

The lakes offer the perfect natural retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing oppertunities can be had here.

Barahi Temple

The most important religious monument in Pokhara, built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, this two storied pagoda is dedicated to the manifestation of Ajima, the protectress deity who represents the female force.

Seti Gandaki

Flowing right through the city, this turbulent river runs completely underground in places. Amazingly, at certain points, the river hardly appears to be two meters wide, but it is quite deep, up to over 45 meters.

Devi's Fall

Locally known as "Pataley Chhango", this is an awesome waterfall lying about two km. southwest of Pokhara airport. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin David….) was washed away by the Pardi Khola (river) and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.

Mahendra Gupha (cave)

Another of nature's wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the house of bats, which is an apt name for it. A two hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch in order to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.

Lumbini

The birth place of Lord Buddha.
Nepal is as well known to the world as the sacred birth place of Lord Buddha as it is famous for its mountains and monuments. It attained a high level of civilization and prosperity, and its acclaim is well deserved. Buddha was born into a royal family. Immediately after his birth, he took seven steps in the four cardinal directions, and wherever he set foot, a divine lotus flower bloomed.

The main attraction at Lumbini is the Secred Garden, which is spread out over 8 sq km and contains all of the treasures of this historical area. The Mayadevi temple is the main attraction for pilgrims and archaeologists alike. Here we find a bas relief that shows Mayadevi, the Buddha’s mother, giving birth to him. Standing west of the Mayadevi shirine is the oldest monument in Nepal, the Ashoka Pillar. The pillar was erected by Emperor Ashoka in order to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred site.


Tourist Info

LOCATION :

It borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China in the North and India in the East, South and West respectively.

AREA :

147,181 sq. kilometers.

ALTITUDE :

Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters.

CAPITAL :

Kathmandu.

POPULATION :

1,84,91,097

LANGUAGE :

Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well.

TIME :

Nepal Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.

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