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Friday, 21 October 2011

Places To Visit In Nepal

Places To Visit In Nepal

Are you ready for some high altitude adventure with in a soul-warming environment? Then pack your bags and experience some of the most majestic peaks, most exhilarating torrents and wonderful people Nepal has to offer. Here are some places you may want to visit when go.

1.) Kathmandu
Find your inner peace in the streets of Nepal's capital and cultural center. You can walk on the streets of this once inaccessible city and experience the culture, the people, the history, and the faith Nepal had embraced, imbibed, and relived for centuries. Katmandu is also one of the Nepal's starting points in activities like trekking, rafting and other sports.

The tourism has opened up in the country manifold and as a result it is sometimes said to be the 'third religion' of Nepal, as the country's most important industry that plays a large role in the economic activity of Kathmandu. This activity is central to Kathmandu, the gateway to Nepal. It is a major source of income for most of the people of the city with some several hundred thousands of visitors annually. Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world visit various religious places located in Kathmandu and the surrounding district such as Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Baudhanath, Budhanilkantha, Kapan Monastery/Kapan Sangeet Sarowar, etc. From a mere 6,179 tourists in 1961–62, the number jumped to 491,504, but with political instability in the country in recent years, it dropped to 275,468 in 2002–03, but since then has shown a rising trend with the country turning into a Democratic Republic. In economic terms, the foreign exchange earning showed a remarkable trend registering 3.8 % of the GDP in 1995–96 but started declining. All this tourism is attributed to the natural grandeur of the Himalayas and rich cultural heritage of the country.

The neighborhood of Thamel is Kathmandu's primary 'traveler's ghetto,' packed with guest houses, restaurants, shops and bookstores catering to tourists from abroad. Freak Street, also known as Jochhen Tole, is Kathmandu's original traveler's haunt made popular by the hippies of the 1970s and remains a popular alternative to Thamel.

2.) Royal Chitwan National Park
If you want to experience some jungle adventure with the elephants and ravaging rapids, you may want to stop by Nepal's Royal Chitwan Park. Covering some 932 sq kilometers, this national park serves as a home for 450 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 43 species of mammals. One can also enjoy guided jungle walks, terai culture, wild life breeding project, and safari drives inside 4WD cars. The flora and fauna of Chitwan makes it a great place for nature lovers. Chitwan has over 50 different species of mammals, 400 different species of birds, and 65 different types of butterflies in its hardwood Sal forests, riverine vegetation, and "elephant grass" savannah. More than 70 different species of grass grow here.

The most famous wildlife in Chitwan is perhaps the single-horned Asian rhinoceros. A few decades ago, their number had fallen to less than 100, but recent count puts them at 400. These animals have thick armor like hide that is hard to penetrate even with a bullet.

A fully grown animal can be as tall as 180cm. In spite of army protection for these animals and severe punishment for harming them, rhino poaching is still a problem as every organ of the animal carries some (probably superstitious) value. The horn fetches about US$10,000 per kilo and is believed to be an aphrodisiac. The dung can be a laxative, the urine cures tuberculosis and asthma. The blood can help cure menstrual problems. The hide keeps away evil spirits. And so on.

Chitwan has about 150 Bengal tigers left of the one time 3000 or so. Though poaching is a serious threat, the real threat for these majestic animals is the gradual loss of its habitat. A male tiger requires almost 60km space, and a female one requires a third of it. Chitwan is simply not big enough to handle many tigers. It is rare for one to actually see a tiger, though looking for one is an interesting part of the trip.

Other wild mammals one may see are leopards, various types of deer, monkeys, sloth bear, and antelope.

3.) Nagarkot
Located 32 kilometers east of Katmandu, Nagarkot is a great place to visit if you want to see how beautiful and majestic the Himalayan Mountain range can be. A lookout tower in Nagarkot, for one, enables visitor to have a 360-degree scenic view of the Katmandu valley and Himalayan Mountain peaks. Drive up the city, book for a hotel, wake up early, and experience a different kind of sunrise with cool winds blowing every word away. Set on a ridge northeast of Bhaktapur, NAGARKOT (1950m) is no quaint hilltop village. The series of hotels is here for one reason only: the classic panorama of the Himalayas. While the view isn't as expansive as from Daman, and the area not half as interesting as Dhulikhel, it's easy to get to from Kathmandu and you don't have to stay in an expensive hotel to get a fantastic view from your window.

The first tourists are thought to have been a troop of Punjabi mercenaries recruited to defend the Valley against Prithvi Narayan's troops. Stationed at the now-vanished ridgetop fort, they quickly succumbed to the "mountain air", proving drunkenly incapable when the Gurkha invaders finally arrived. Since those times, numerous guesthouses have sprouted along some two kilometres of ridge, but the main attractions haven't changed much. Taking in the sunrise view, either from your hotel or the view tower further back along the ridge, is the standard activity. Many take the chance to just chill out, but there's a wealth of hiking and biking opportunities too. Since Nagarkot is located at a high point and easily reached on a good road, many people get a lift up and then hike or bike back down.

4.) Pokhara
Located some 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu, this enchanting city is the rally point for trekking and rafting destination.Pokhara offers perfect scenery and gripping natural beauty not only for those who looks for fun but also for those seeking solace. Be it the preview of the Himalayan Mountain range, a row in Phewa Lake, a trek beside Seti Gandaki River and Devi's Fall, or a peek to the Mahendra Cave, a trip to Pokhara is a experience worth the journey. Pokhara has become a major tourist hub of Nepal, more than making up for the loss of its trading importance. The city offers a combination of nature and culture and is mostly known as the gateway to the trekking route Round Annapurana, which is usually a trek of 25 days.

Pokhara is quite a modern city with many tourist attractions in the town itself. Most interesting is the lakeside which is also called Baidam. It is situated at the side of the Fewa lake so it is named as Lakeside. The old centre in the north of the city (Bagar, Purano Bazar) where many old shops and warehouses in the Newari style can still be found. Although more seldom, mule caravans still arrive there from Mustang.

Temples worth visiting in city are Bindhyabasini, Bhadrakali, Sitaldevi, Gita mandir temple and Bhimsen temple. Another temple, Barahi temple, is located on an island in the Phewa lake, which is accessible only by boats.

Bindhyabasini Temple in the evening

5.) Pashupatinath Temple
Four kilometers east of Katmandu lies a temple of immeasurable sacredness for Hindu people - the Pashupatinath. Hindu believes that dying and being cremated in Pashupatinathand having one's ashes scattered in Bagmati Riverwill give a Hindu salvation and release from the cycles of birth and rebirth. Have a peek of Hindus life, death and tradition by visiting this holy ground.

The Bagmati River, which runs next to Pashaputinath Temple, has highly sacred properties. Thus the banks are lined with many ghats (bathing spots) for use by pilgrims. Renovating or furnishing these sites has always been regarded as meritorious.

Arya Ghat, dating from the early 1900s, is of special importance because it is the only place where lustral water for Pashupatinath Temple can be obtained and it is where members of the royal family are cremated. The main cremation site is Bhasmeshvar Ghat, which is the most-used cremation site in the Kathmandu Valley. The preferred bathing spot for women is the Gauri Ghat, to the north.

Across the Bagmati River are 15 votive shrines, the Pandra Shivalaya, which were built to enshrine lingas in memory of deceased persons between 1859 and 1869.Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It is not known for certain when Pashupatinath Temple was founded. But according to Nepal Mahatmaya and Himvatkhanda,the deity here gained great fame there as Pashupati, the Lord of the Animals. Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple, that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings'. 2011

6.) Patan
Art lovers and enthusiasts should always put a stop in Patan in their Nepalese trip itinerary. Patan is the oldest city in the Ksthmandu valley and is the home for Nepalese architecture, arts, traditions, and crafts drawing mainly from religious customs. Walk around the city and feel as if you're walking inside an open museum.Patan is renowned as a very artistic city. Most of the Nepalese art of any form is devoted to Gods, and there are an abundance of temples and vihara in the city. Notable places of interest include:

    * Patan Durbar Square: The residence of the Malla rulers of the Patan state which is now converted into a museum.
    * Hiranya Varna Mahaa Vihar: A buddhist temple known locally as Golden Temple
    * Rudra Varna Mahavihar
    * Mahaboudha Temple
    * Bangalamukhi temple: A Hindu temple
    * Kumbheshwor temple: One of the two five-story pagoda temples of the valley
    * Pancheswor Mahadev temple: Kusunti
Bird's eye view of the Patan Durbar Square. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
Durban Square in Patan

7.) Wildlife Reserve of Koshi Tappu
Sprawling some 175 km2 near the River of Sapta-Koshi in Eastern Nepal, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is the best place to watch native and migratory birds in action. Thousands of birds converge in this area, especially during the months of January, February and March. The trip which normally includes jungle walks, jeep drives, and boat rides, coupled with treks to Bhutan and Sikkim or rafting trip in Sunkosi will make any Nepalese trip an unforgettable experience.

The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a protected area in the Terai of eastern Nepal covering 175 km2 (68 sq mi) of wetlands in the Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur Districts. In altitude it ranges from 75 to 81 metres (246 to 266 ft) and consists of extensive mudflats, reed beds, and freshwater marshes in the floodplain of the Sapta Kosi River. It was established in 1976 and designated as a Ramsar site in December 1987.

It can be accessed from the Mahendra Highway.

A study of the reserve was conducted between 1997 to 1998 by the Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. The study found serious conflicts between the reserve wildlife and the local people living adjacent to the reserve. The people suffered crop depredations and animal harassment while the reserve managers had the problems of poaching, cattle grazing, and other illegal activities in the reserve. The study has several recommendations, one of which is the promotion of tourism to the area with the reserve using local tourist guides trained by wildlife experts.

8.) Lumbini
Lumbini is the perfect place to go to if you are into cultural, archaeological and religious treasures. With the number of stupa, meditation grounds temples, courtyards and more, a walk in Lumbiniis a walk with Buddha. Enter the birthplace of one of the greatest man of world religions - Siddharta Gautama, founder of Buddhism - and be captivated by its serene environment and meditate and reflect with its outmost tranquility and peaceful atmosphere.In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was a park situated in Kapilavastu Nepal. It was in Lumbini that the Buddha was born. A pillar now marks the spot of Asoka's visit to Lumbiní. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Asoka's visit and gifts. The park was previously known as Rummindei, two miles north of Bhagavanpura.

In the Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans, in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta. 

Ashokan Pillar
    * Ashokan Pillar - an inscribed pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka (249 BC) on the spot of Buddha's birth. The inscription, which is the oldest in Nepal, grants Lumbini a tax-free status in honor of Buddha’s birth.

    * Buddhist Temples - there are foundations of temples dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD, and two modern temples: one in Tibetan style, the Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Temple, which was built by the king of Mustang, and one Nepalese Theravada style building, the Lumbini Buddha Vihar, which was built by the Nepalese government and contains Tibetan-style frescoes and Newari-style Buddhist images. Outside the main complex, there are other temples built in the styles of countries where Buddhism is the predominant religion, such as Chinese, Japanese and Burmese.

    * The Japan Peace Stupa - the 41m imposing structure is situated at the northern end of the gardens.

    * The Lumbini Museum displays artifacts from the Mauryan and Kushana periods, religious manuscripts and other items discovered at the site.

    * The Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI) is devoted to the study of Buddhism and other religions. It houses an extensive collection of books on religion, art and architecture.

9.) Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is an ancient town east of Katmandu in the Katmandu Valley. Experience Nepalese life as it happens in this city by enjoying the scenery in Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Potter's square. Make your trip complete with a taste of Khopa Dhau, Bhaktapur's home-made curd.haktapur is a popular day-trip destination for tourists visiting Kathmandu. Lately, with more air-pollution in Kathmandu, more tourists are staying in Bhaktapur for a few days, before trekking arrangements are finished. In addition, although the Mount Everest (i.e. Sagarmatha) is breathtaking and the landscape of Lord Buddha (i.e. Founder of Peace) mysterious, tourists visiting Nepal still don't feel their sojourn complete unless they have experienced Bhaktapur, Nepal's ancient "City of Culture".

Pottery is one of the main tourist attractions in Bhaktapur besides the architecture. In Nepal the city is renowned for its yoghurt or curd Ju-Ju Dhau, traditionally sold in clay bowls.


    * Four Squares - Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square.
    * Popular Places - Changu Narayan (World Heritage Site), Nagarkot, Surya Vinayak, Kamal Vinayak, Siddha Pokhari, Chonga Ganesh etc.
    * Devine Miracolus Vision - Largest Shiva lingum, Golden Spout and Gate, Magnificent peacock windows, around 40 temples etc.

10.) Royal Bardia National Park
Located in Western Terai,Royal Bardia National Park is the largest park in the region with 968 km2. It serves as a sanctuary for tigers, small and large mammals, deer, reptiles, birds, and a herd of the last known elephants in captivity. Enjoy wildlife as it happens along with short rafting in Karnali and Bherias well as trekking to Dolpo and Rara lake.The Royal Bardia National Park, situated in the mid-far Western region, is the largest and most unspoiled wilderness area in the Terai, covering an area of 968 The park, a sub-tropical jungle, is thickly forested by sal trees and carpeted with grass, savannah and riverine vegetation. The north is bordered by the Churia hill range, the west by the Karnali river, while the Babai river cuts its course almost through the middle of the park. On the southern fringe of the park are the villages of the unique and indigenous Tharu people of Western Nepal. Considered as one of the most picturesque national parks in Asia, it teems with rich and diverse flora and fauna. Royal Bardia National Park

The park is home to more than 30 different mammals, including the langur and rhesus monkeys, civets, hyenas, wild dogs, sloth bears, otters, blue bulls, deer and wild boars. It is a regenerated habitat for endangered animals like the tiger, rhinoceros, wild elephant ( the park harbours the biggest wild tusker in Asia) and black buck, Gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles the great game fish-masher and the Gangetic dolphin cavort in the river waters. The unique birds which number over 350 species include cormorants, egret, storks, geese, jungle fowls, king-fishers and endangered species such as the Bengal florican, silver-eared mesia and the saurus crane thus making the park truly a bird watchers paradise.

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