If you love the mountains, then Nepal should rank high in your travel bucket list. Cradled in the lap of the Himalayan mountain range, it is home to Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world. The country is dotted with numerous mountain treks that allow you to explore its scenic terrain. In between these treks you will be welcomes by tiny villages and ancient Hindu temples. In this blog, we have listed our pick of 10 attractions that you must explore when visiting Nepal.
Kathmandu is not only the capital of Nepal, it is also the cultural hub of the country. It is the first place where tourists land when they fly in to Nepal as it is home to its only international airport. The metropolitan city is crowded with more than 1 million dwellers. A major part of the city’s economy is driven by tourism. It is a congested mix of tourist shops, religious sites, restaurants, trekking agencies, hotels, and artisan workshops. Unfortunately the most famous attraction, The Durbar Square, is still under restoration process after the devastating 2015 earthquakes. However, the city still has several other attractions which are well worth exploring. Of special mention is Swayambhunath, the ancient Buddhist complex, which offers picturesque view of the Kathmandu Valley.
The Annapurna Circuit of northwest Nepal provides a mesmerizing experience of varied landscapes of the region. Hikers experience the Himalayan beauty of plunging gorges and desert plateaus. In addition, there are the lush subtropical valleys adorned by terraced farms, religious sites, and beautiful quaint villages. It takes around 3 weeks to complete the trek from east of Pokhara. If that is too long, you can trek half of it by flying out of Jomsom Airport. There is a short and equally beautiful Annapurna Sanctuary Trek that can be covered in 8 to 12 days. Plenty of lodges and tea stops exist almost to the highest sections.
Bhaktapur, nicknamed the City of Devotees, is a beautiful town in the Kathmandu Valley. It used to be the capital of the region during ancient times. Its intricate and beautiful architecture experienced damage during the 2015 earthquakes. Luckily, most of the town’s attractive temples and shrines escaped the calamity unscathed. Bhaktapur is sparsely crowded and more laid back than bustling Kathmandu. Tourists can have leisurely walks through the medieval squares, pedestrian-only thoroughfares and winding streets. The city’s most sought after Durbar Square, or “noble court,” features the 15th-century 55-Window Palace, presently converted into the National Art Gallery.
Patan, located across the Bagmati River, is famous for its stunning Newari architecture dating back to the 17th century. The beautiful palaces, spacious courtyards and artistic temples of Patan Durbar are the prime attractions. They boast of multi-columned façade along with gilded spires, as seen in the recently restored Krishna Temple. Sundari Chowk, which is a courtyard consisting of an elaborately carved sunken bath, is also very popular with tourists. Patan is often hailed as one of the best places in Nepal for the gorgeous handmade silk saris that used to adorn even the country’s aristocrats and royals.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park situated in south-central Nepal. It is considered to be one of the best wildlife sanctuaries of the region. The park offers ample opportunities to view rare and endangered species like the Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros. Other exotic wildlife that can be spotted at the park include Indian bison, elephants, leopards, and sloth bears. Besides jeep tours, visitors can also explore the park through elephant rides, jungle treks, and also canoe rides. Luxury lodging is readily available at the edge of the park, along with affordable accommodation at the nearby village of Sauraha.
Nagarkot is the perfect destination for travelers who seek to experience the natural beauty and majestic Himalayas without strenuous physical activity. It offers the best views of eight Himalayan ranges and the Kathmandu Valley due to its strategic location at a high ridge in the northeast of Bhaktapur. Nagarkot has a population of just 4500 inhabitants. There is a variety of accommodations to suit every pocket. Our pick is to stay within a walking distance from the Nagarkot View Tower. The tower is considered the best place to view the sunrise over the Himalayas.
Located in south-central Nepal on the Terai plains, Janakpur used to be the capital of a millennia-old Indian kingdom known as Mithila. The ancient Maithili culture still thrives here. Hindus consider Janakpur as the place where the mythological Lord Ram married Sita. Thousands of Hindu devotees from around the globe flock to the temple Janaki Mandir annually to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The three-story 19th century marble structure with 60 rooms is the largest temple in Nepal. More than 100 sacred pools and ponds are found in Janakpur.
Every year thousands of mountaineers arrive at Khumbu in northeastern Nepal with the determination to trek to the summit of Mt. Everest. The long and difficult trek begins at the Lukla airstrip which has a clear two-lane trail leading to the Everest Base Camp. Khumbu is home to the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar, located within the Sagarmatha National Park. Expeditions to the mountainous peaks are initiated from here. Tengboche Buddhist Monastery is also located here. It offers a variety of accommodation options that offer stunning views of the tallest mountain in the world.
Lumbini is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be revered as Buddha. This is an ancient town as confirmed by the archeological finds that date back to around 550 BC. The legendary site attracts all kinds of tourists from scientists and scholars to backpackers and curious visitors. The location where Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha, near a tree in a garden, hosts a temple dedicated to her. The temple was designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The temple complex consists of multiple sacred ponds, meditation centers, monasteries, and cultural facilities.
With three tranquil lakes, verdant shorelines, and mountain views, Pokhara is a sought-after resort destination for tourists. It is popularly known as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit in northwest Nepal. Its beautiful lakeside gives respite to weary hikers, along with recreational opportunities for outdoor adventures. You can choose from leisurely paddle-boat rides to the more adventurous white-water rafting. The largest of Pokhara’s three lakes, Phewa Lake, is lined with luxury hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants. There is an island which is home to a busy temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Barahi Bhagwati.
Originally posted 2017-04-13 05:25:45.