Nepal Tour, Gods’ Above Himalaya
Katmandou, Région de développement Centre, Népal
This tour will give you a comprehensive overview of this Himalayan country. You will be mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the mountain scenery in Pokhara, the rich biodiversity in the Chitwan national Park in the Terai region and the exceptional artistic beauty of the stupas, palaces and shrines in the valley of Kathmandu which boasts one of the highest concentrations of world heritage listed monuments in the world. You may like to embark on an optional spectacular flight over Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world and or an ULM flight in the region of Pokhara for a bird’s eye view of the Annapurna Range. Should you look for adventure we have planned an optional intermediate trekking extension which will give you an insight into the life of Nepalese mountaineers in the foothills of the Annapurna Range. It is in this region that Gurkhas soldiers are still recruited.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day is at your leisure or depending on your arrival time you may like to get acquainted with the old city. See the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durbar Square, with its amazing complex of temples and monuments that have witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties: the Royal Palace and its statue of the monkey God Hanuman Dhoka. the Kumari Palace home of the Kumari Devi, young pre-pubescent girl worshipped as a manifestation of the divine female energy of goddess Taleju (Nepalese equivalent of Durga).
Wander the narrow streets and alleyways of the old quarter, with its myriad tiny stalls and its colorful street life. Visit the many different markets including the famous bead market and the Indrachowk carpet and textile market.
In the morning visit the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, a complex of monasteries of all faiths started in 460 A.D. by King Mana Devi of the Licchavi era, on the western fringes of the city. The imposing structure is recognized as a major landmark of Kathmandu and is distinguished by its population of freely roaming monkeys. The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, there is something painted which looks like the nose – but is the Nepali symbol of ‘unity’. Embark on a privately guided architectural tour of the ancient city of Patan. Once a separate kingdom, Patan is home to over 1,200 Buddhist shrines and is famed for the beauty of its elegant Newari architecture, which is on prominent display in the central Durbar Square, one of the Kathmandu Valley’s seven World Heritage sites. The square is fronted by an amazing assortment of buildings and the ancient Royal Palace. Explore the gracefully carved and ornamented chowks (courtyards) of the palace, as well as its temples, including the Krishna Mandir, the only temple in Nepal with 21 shrines and which is built entirely of stone. Patan is famous for the exceptional work of its bronze craftsmen sculpting the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Later on stop at the Tibetan refugee camp famous for its high quality arts and crafts (woolen carpets, tankha paintings…etc.). If you have not done it the day before visit the old city of Katmandu.
Drive to Pashupatinath, roughly 20 minutes from Boudhanath, and as sacred to Nepal’s Hindus as Boudhanath is to its Buddhists. On the banks of the Bagmati River, people flock here to purify themselves in the waters and to guarantee their relatives immortality by having them cremated on the ghats and their ashes scattered. The main temple is off-limits to non-Hindus, but you can wander the tranquil grounds and observe the activities of the temple from across the river. Continue onto Bhaktapur. Known as Bhadgaon which literally translated means the “city of devotees”. It was founded by King Ananda Deva in AD 889 and is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork. Bhaktapur is filled with monuments, most terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs, open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines. Lying along the ancient trade route between India and Tibet, Bhaktapur is surrounded by mountains and provides a magnificent view of the Himalayas. After the tour drive to the small hill station of Nagarkhot (2100m) which afford stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and Everest range.
Rise early to witness the sunrise over the towering Himalayan Peak of the Everest Range. After a downhill 2-hour walk you reach the village of Changu Narayan, a picturesque village home to a temple dedicated to Vishnu and Narasimha (an avatar of Vishnu as anthropomorphic lion) known to be the oldest in the entire valley of Kathmandu. It is said to have been founded in the 4th century by king Han Dutta Verma. Seen from a terrace overlooking the village its lavishly ornamented slanted roofs stand out from the secular buildings. The compound of the village consists in walls mixing red bricks and minutely carved timber. Then proceed to Dulikhel which affords a different panoramic view of Nepal’s mountain scape. On clear days you can see the Lhotse (8 511 m), Mount Everest (8 848 m), Makâlû (8 598 m) and towards the east, Manaslu Peak (8 156 m), and the four Annapurnas in the westward direction. Visit the village of Panauti famous for its ancient houses with amazingly refined stucco decorations. Its superb 15th century temple is a listed Unesco world heritage shrine. Return back to Kathmandu after the visits.
Drive to Pokhara (a journey of approximately 7 hours). Pokhara is located at the foot of the mighty Annapurna range. Snow-clad peaks, with snow-fed lakes and rivers make the valley of Pokhara one of the most picturesque natural attractions in the world. Immerse yourself in the peace of this region, with its tropical climate giving way to lush vegetation. The valley is made up of dense forest, flowing rivers, luminous lakes and of course, the sublime mountains.
Get up early to see the sun rise over the Annapurnas from Sarangkot view point. Return to your hotel for breakfast. Enjoy some free time before heading to the Pokhara to explore the local bazaar. In the later afternoon enjoy a boat ride on Lake Phewa which affords fantastic views of the Annapurna range.
Morning drive to Chitwan. Situated at the foot of the himalayas and set in lush sub-tropical lowlands, chitwan national park is a treasure trove of wildlife. After lunch join your guide and tour manager for a short briefing and an introduction to the park. The daily programme may vary and is dependent on local conditions such as weather and recent animal sightings. Time for an introduction to the mightiest 4×4, the elephant. He or she will be your companion and sturdy transport for a thrilling safari ride. In your lofty seat you are high above the ground and able to see the animals who take refuge in the tall grass. As you sway through the jungle terrain look out for grazing bison, deer, monkeys and wild boar. You will probably need the sharp eyes of the local specialist guide to seek out the rarer leopard. If luck is on your side you may even catch a glimpse of that most elusive creature, the royal Bengal tiger.
An early start today for a morning nature walk. You don’t want to miss the potentially beautiful sunrise over the forest. In the first light of day, the mist rises and Chitwan begins to wake. Before long, you will hear a whole jungle choir of birdlife singing a dawn chorus. Spend time with the highly skilled elephant trainers and learn more about the fascinating animals in their care. This afternoon leave the land for water and board a traditional dugout canoe for a river safari. As you drift along listen to ‘tales of the riverbank’ from your local specialist guide. Look out for indian otter, grey headed and himalayas fish eagles and gharial crocodile. Watch out for rare one-horned rhino, they may be grazing close to the river bank. Jeeps will be waiting to take you on a safarI ride back through the park. Keep your camera ready for the big cats and look out for sloth bear, Indian wild dogs, and wild elephants.
In the morning drive back to Kathmandu (approx. 05 hours). In the afternoon, visit the Boudhanath Stupa, another of the valley’s UNESCO sites, and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Located about 7 miles from the center of Kathmandu on the northeastern outskirts of the city, the stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. Throughout the day, pilgrims can be seen circumambulating the stupa chanting mantras, some completing the circuit while prostrating themselves at each step. The pilgrims continue to circle into the night when the temple is illuminated by butter lamps. Anyone is free to join in, but remember to walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction and also to spin the prayer wheels clockwise. Boudhanath was built in the fifth century by Lichchhavi King Mana Dev on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels. The colossal and ancient stupa is one of the biggest in the world.
In the evening indulge in a dinner of Newari delicacies whilst attending a cultural show of traditional show of dances and songs from across Nepal.
Optional early morning flight over the Himalayas (weather permitting). Morning at leisure for shopping in the bazaars of Thamel. In time you will be transferred to the airport.
Kathmandu, Nagarkhot, Pokhara, Chitwan
10 Days / 9 Nights