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tourist destinations
 
  •  Around Kathmandu   •  Bhaktapur   •  Kathmandu
  •  Outside Kathmandu   •  Patan    
           
 
Kathmandu top
swayambhunath  
     
•  Kathmandu Durbar Square   •  Indrachowk
•  Swayambhunath   •  Freak Street
•  Bouddhanath   •  Seto Machhendranath Temple
•  Pashupatinath   •  Thamel
 
Kathmandu Durbar Square
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly uncountable monuments in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The house of the Living Goddess ( Kumari Ghar ), the ferocious Kal Bhairab, the red monkey god, and hundreds of erotic carvings are a few examples of the sights at the Square! The buildings here are the greatest achievements of the Malla dynasty, and they resulted from the great rivalry between the three palaces of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. The Valley was divided among the children of Yaksya Malla. For visitors today, and for the Nepalese, it was serendipitous that they, and later their offsprings, began an artistic warfare trying to outdo each other in splendid constructions. Kings copied everything their neighbors built in an even grander style. A visitor who wanders around the Square will see a round temple in the pagoda architectural style, the temple of Goddess Taleju (legend has it that She played dice with King Jaya Prakash Malla), and an image of Shiva and Parbati sitting together among the many monuments.

The Square teems with colorful life. Vendors sell vegetables, curios, flutes, and other crafts around the Kastamandap rest house. This rest house is said to have been built with the wood of a single tree and is the source from which the Kathmandu Valley got its name. Nearby are great drums which were beaten to announce royal decrees. All woodcarvings, statues, and architecture in this area are exceptionally fine, and Kathmandu Durbar Square is among the most important sights for travelers to see. The complex also houses the Tribhuvan Museum that carries the mementoes of different Shah Kings.
 
Swayambhunath top
The history of the Valley, according to the legends, begins with Swayambhu, or the "the self-existent". In times uncharted by history, Boddhisatwa Manjusri came across a beautiful lake during his travel. He saw a lotus that emitted brilliant light at the lake's center, so he cut a gorge in a southern hill and drained the waters to worship the lotus. Men settled on the bed of the lake and called it the Kathmandu Valley. From then on, the hilltop of the self-existent Lord has been a holy place.

Swoyambhu's light was covered in time because few could bear its intensity. By the thirteenth century, after many layers were added to the original structure that enveloped the Lord's power, a dome-like shape had been acquired. The stupas central mast was damaged and replaced at that time. Peripheral sources of power were discovered on the hilltop as well and stupas, temples, and rest houses were built to honor them. Images of important deities, both Buddhist and Hindu, were also installed.
Bouddhanath
Sgarahawa Boudhanath is among the largest stupas in South Asia, and it has become the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The white mound looms thirty-six meters overhead. The Stupa is located on the ancient trade route to Tibet, and Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many of them decided to live around Boudhanath. They established many gompas, and the "Little Tibet" of Nepal was born. This "Little Tibet" is still the best place in the Valley to observe Tibetan lifestyle. Monks walk about in maroon robes. Tibetans walk with prayer wheels in their hands, and the rituals of prostration are presented to the Buddha as worshippers circumambulate the Stupa on their hands and knees, bowing down to their lord.

Many people believe that Boudhanath was constructed in the fifth century, but definite proof is lacking. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage who is venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus. One legend has it that a woman requested a Valley king for the donation of ground required to build a Stupa. She said she needed land covered by one buffalo's skin and her wish was granted by the King. She cut a buffalo skin into thin strips and circled off a fairly large clearing. The king had no choice but to give her the land.
Pashupatinath top
Pashupatinath is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal. There are linga images of Shiva along with statues, shrines, and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A temple dedicated to Shiva existed at this site in AD 879. However, the present temple was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1697. A gold-plated roof, silver doors, and woodcarvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda construction. Guheswari Temple, restored in AD 1653, represents the female "force". It is dedicated to Satidevi, Shiva's first wife, who gave up her life in the flames of her father's fire ritual.

A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eighth-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. Some other places to visit are Rajrajeswari Temple, built in 1407, Kailas with lingas more than 1,400 years old, Gorakhnath temple, and the courtyard of Biswarup. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over South Asia offer worship to Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.
Indrachowk
Indrachowk, a square, the courtyard of Indra named after an ancient Hindu deity is within walking distance from Durbar Square. Akash Bhairab temple, a three- story temple lies at Indrachowk the main market avenue of the Kathmandu city. The image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside the temple for a week during Indrajatra, the festival of Indra or the God of Rain.
 
Freak Street top
Locally known as Jhhonchen Tole, the once famous "Freak Street" is well known to all low budget tourists. In seventies this area was full of small hotels, lodges, restaurants, taverns as well as shops that "buy and sell anything". But all this is now a matter of the past as the place has been dethroned by another part of the city called Thamel.
 
Seto Machhendranath Temple
The temple is situated at Machhendra Bahal near Indrachowk. This two storeyed temple was built by Yaksha Malla in 1500 AD the chariot festival of white Mahchendranath (the god of mercy) is annually celebrated in Kathmandu Valley. The traditional music is always played in the evening at this temple which is also open to westerners.
 
Thamel top
Thamel area has recently emerged as the most popular tourist area of Kathmandu. Thamel is a 15 to 20 minute walk from the center of Kathmandu. Thamel has clean narrow streets full of mushrooming lodges, hotels for budget travelers. Restaurants, bars and other tourists oriented shops can be seen bustling with activities.
 
Around kathmandu top
 
     
•  Changu Narayan   •  Shivapuri
•  Nagarkot   •  Budhanilkantha
•  Dhulikhel   •  Godavari
•  Namo Buddha   •  Phulchoki
•  Kakani   •  Bajra Barahi
•  Pharping and Dakshinkali    
 
Changu Narayan
Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to Hindus. His temple near Changu village is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. A fifth century stone inscription, the oldest to be discovered in Nepal, is located in the temple compound and it tells of the victorious King Mandev. The temple now covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese art history. The temple, built around the third century, is decorated by some of the best samples of stone, wood, and metal craft in the Valley. In the words of one tourist guide, "When you look upon Changu Narayan, you observe the complete cultural development of the Valley."

On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are the ten incarnations in which Narayan destroyed evil-doers. A sixth-century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu, while another statue recalls his dwarf incarnation when he crushed the evil king Bali.
 
Nagarkot top
Nagarkot, located 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur district and is renowned for its spectacular sunrise view of the Himalaya when the weather is clear. Visitors often travel to Nagarkot from Kathmandu to spend the night so that they can be there for the breathtaking sunrise. Nagarkot has become famous as one of the best spots to view Mount Everest as well as other snow-topped peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. It also offers an excellent view of the Indrawati river valley to the east. With an elevation of 2,195 meters, Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Valley and is described by visitors as a place whose beauty endures year round.

Many visitors prefer to visit Nagarkot in the spring when surrounding valleys break out in a rich kaleidoscope of different coloured flowers. The flowers are beautiful against the serene backdrop of the snow-covered mountains. Ever popular among the tourists are the short treks and picnics which Nagarkot offers. Treks from Nagarkot are unique and delightful. For anyone who wants to have an adventure without exerting much efforts, a hike to Nagarkot's surrounding areas would be a good option. One can traverse short distances on trekking trails and come close to nature's wonders such as the outer of verdant forests, flower-covered meadows and unusual rock formations.
Dhulikhel
Dhulikhel is a scenic and ancient town situated 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Rajmarg (Kathmandu Kodari Highway). From here one has a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. From the main town, a short visit to Namobuddha, with the stupa and Buddhist Monastery, is highly recommended. Panauti, a village noted for its numerous temples with magnificent woodcarvings, is a short distance from Dhulikhel.
Namo Buddha top
It is situated on a hill above Panauti. It requires an easy drive or good walk to get there. There is an amazing story concerned with the Buddha which is commemorated by an ancient stone slab and a Stupa with the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. According to the legend, one of the earlier Buddha offered his own flesh to a hungry tiger unable to feed her hungry cubs. It is also a three-hour trekking from Dhulikhel through a number of small villages.
Kakani
Kakani is another good location for viewing the mountain scenery. Only two hours north-west of Kathmandu, one can see the mountain landscape of central Nepal, a vast collection of majestic peaks stretching from Ganesh Himal to the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. There is an unusually perfect blending of the imposing mountain scenery with the more sylvan environment of the lower valleys. Rhododendrons growing wild on the mountain slopes begin to bloom in late winter and stay in bloom for several months, giving the village even more charm.
 
Pharping and Dakshinkali top
Pharping has a shrine of Shesh Narayan which is richly endowed with art. The picturesque shrine stands beneath a rock cliff beside many fish ponds. The famous temple of Dakshinkali is situated about two kilometers from Pharping. Every Tuesday and Saturday, pilgrims congregate at the temple to sacrifice animals and worship goddess Kali.
 
Shivapuri
Shivapuri provides most of the water to the Kathmandu Valley and among the hills, it is closest to the high Himalaya. The wildlife sighting here is also excellent as the park has access to wider lands and areas behind the Kathmandu Valley. You may wish to visit the Buddhist monastery set high on the hill.
 
Budhanilkantha top
Eight kilometers north of Kathmandu is a remarkable, colossal statue of lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes. The fifth-century statue lies in the middle of a small pond Budhanikantha is a place of pilgrimage for all Hindus and is the scene of great activity at such festivals as Haribodhini Ekadasi and Kartik Poornima. An interesting feature of this shrine is that the reigning King of Nepal may not visit the spot according to an old tradition.
 
Godavari  
This scenic village is situated ten kilometers south-east of Patan. The road from Patan passes through the towns of Harisiddhi, Thaibo and Bhadgaon. One of Nepal's holy places, Godavari is also a good picnic spot set amidst a dense forest. The Royal Botanical Garden, a fish hatchery.
 
Phulchoki top
Phulchoki, a 279 -meter hill, is a good hiking spot as it offers a spectacular view of the whole Kathmandu Valley. Rhododendrons of different colours are found here, including pure white and dark red varieties. A jeepable road leads to the top of the hill, where there is a Buddhist Stupa.
 
Bajra Barahi  
The ancient temple of Bajra barahi is situated in a small woodland park located about ten kilometers south of Patan, near the village of Chapagaon. A visit to Tikabhairav and Lele from here is well worthwhile.
 
Bhaktapur - Bhaktapur Durbar Square top
 
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara-style temples grouped around a fifty-five window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place-struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows-all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony.

The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:

The Lion Gate:
Dating as far back as 1696 A.D., this gate is guarded on either side by two huge statues of lions.

The Golden Gate:
The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man-bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs.

The Palace of Fifty-five Windows:
This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in A.D. 1427 and was subsequently remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century.

The five-storey pagoda styled Nyatapola temple
It was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A. D. It stands on five terraces on each of which squat a pair of figures: two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singhini -the tiger and the lion goddesses. Each pair of figures is considered ten times stronger than the ones immediately below, while the lowest pair, the two strong men Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla, were reputedly ten times stronger than any other men.

The temple of Dattatraya:
It is as old as the Palace of Fifty-five Windows. Consecrated by King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A. D. , this temple, according to popular belief, was built out of the trunk of a single tree. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishwa Malla in 1458 A. D. Just beside the temple is a monastery (Math) with exquisite carvings.
 
Patan top
krishna mandir  
     
•  Patan Durbar Square   •  Mahaboudha
•  Hiranya Varna Mahavihar   •  Rato Machhendranath Temple
•  Kumbeshwar    
 
Patan Durbar Square
This whole square is a cluster of fine pagoda temples and stone statues; it is at the same time the business hub of the city. At every step one comes across a piece of art or an image of a deity, testifying to the consummate skill of Patan's anonymous artists. The ancient palace of the Malla kings and the stone baths associated with various legends and episodes of history are especially interesting to visitors. The stone temple of Lord Krishna and the Royal Bath (Tushahity) with its intricate stone and bronze carvings are two other masterpieces in the same vicinity.

The temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in Patan's Palace complex. Though its style is not wholly native, it is one of the most perfect specimens of Nepalese templecraft. The three-storey stone temple continues to elicit high praise from lovers of art and beauty. It was built by King Siddhi Narasingha Malla in the sixteenth century A. D. Important scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics have been carved in bas-relief. The minute details of this work clearly show the high level that the art of stone carving attained in the sixteenth century.
 
Hiranya Varna Mahavihar top
This three-storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwar in Patan was built in the twelfth century A. D. by King Bhaskar Varma. Located in the courtyard of Kwabahal, this temple is in a class of its own. A golden image of Lord Buddha and a big prayer wheel can be seen on the pedestal of the upper part of the Car while intricate decorative patterns on its outer walls add charm to the mellow richness of the shrine.
Kumbeshwar
This is a five-storey pagoda-style temple of Lord Shiva. Inside the courtyard is a natural spring whose source, it is said. is the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. This temple was built by King Jayasthiti Malla while the golden finial was added later, in 1422 A.D. He also cleaned the pond near Kumbheshwar and installed various images of Narayan, Ganesh, Sitala, Basuki, Gauri, Kirtimukh and Agamadevata around the pond and in the courtyard. Ritual bathing takes place here every year on the day of Janai Poornima.
Mahaboudha top
The temple of Mahabouddha is a masterpiece of terra-cotta. Like the Krishna Mandir, it reveals an artistic tradition which evolved outside of Nepal and shows how native Nepalese craftsmen have been able to do justice to an unfamiliar art form. This temple was built by Abhaya Raj, a priest of Patan and is sometimes referred to as the temple of a million Buddhas because every single brick bears a small image of Buddha. There is an astonishing total of nine thousand bricks. It was levelled to the ground in the great earthquake of 1933 but was rebuilt exactly to the original specifications, proving that the templecraft is still one of the living arts of Nepal.
Rato Machhendranath Temple
The temple of Red Machchhendranath is another center of attraction in Patan. The temple lies in the middle of a wide, spacious quadrangle just at the outer rim of the market place. A fine clay image of Red Machchhendranath Avalokiteshwar is housed here for six months every year, after which it is taken round the city of Patan in a colourful chariot during the festival beginning in April-May and lasting sometimes for several months.
 
Outside kathmandu top
 
         
•  Birgunj   •  Gosaikunda   •  Lumbini
•  Chitwan   •  Helambu   •  Manang
•  Daman   •  Hile   •  Muktinath / Jomsom
•  Dhankuta   •  Janakpur   •  Mustang
•  Dharan   •  Dhanusadham   •  Namche Bazar
•  Dolpo   •  Jumla / Humla   •  Nuwakot
•  Gorkha   •  Kodari   •  Pokhara
         
 
Birganj  
Birganj is the busy border town which serves as the main entry point to Nepal for travelers from India. It is a rapidly growing industrial town connected to Bihar's Raxaul. If you are traveling from Calcutta and Patna to Kathmandu, you have to pass through Birganj. For almost all the travelers, however, it is just a stopping point for over night on the way to Kathmandu or Chitwan National Park.
Chitwan top
Surrounding Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal is one of the best-planned and most intelligently developed tourist areas in Nepal. Not only does it offer a wide variety of resorts and lodges, it is also easy to reach - by road or by air. Regular flights are scheduled by Nepal Airlines and other airlines to Meghauli, Simara and Bharatpur. Many resorts provide coach service. Local buses offer a choice between a night ride and a day ride.

Chitwan National Park is perhaps the best park in Nepal for seeing animals in the wild. In the earlier part of the century, when rapid deforestation was devastating Nepal's southern Terai belt, Government of Nepal intervened and proclaimed the Chitwan area a national park.

The Government of Nepal declared the Chitwan region a national park, outlawed settlement and deforestation within its boundaries, and a campaign to save the animals began. Projects carried out with the help of friendly nations have revived the animals that remained. Though the Terai is certainly not what it once was, the preserved portion within the Chitwan National Park is still a treat for animal lovers.
Daman  
For a view of the breathtaking grandeur of the world's highest peaks from the far west of Dhaulagiri to the east of Mt. Everest, there is no better place than Daman. It lies eighty kilometers south-west of Kathmandu on the mountain highway known as Tribhuvan Rajpath and has a view tower fitted with a long range telescope.
Dhankuta top
Although Dhankuta is only 75km by excellent road from the Terai, it seems more like a million miles. This hill town is being developed as a regional center of eastern Nepal. It is quite a large town with good views, mild climate and plenty of interesting walks in the surrounding areas. The town owes prosperity to the fact that it was a major recruiting center for Gurkha regiments of the British Army. Quite a bit of British aid money has been spent in the viciuity.
Dharan  
Dharan lies right at the foot of hills, but the transformation when coming from Terai is dramatic. It is a hill town with hill people. Dharan is also the gateway to such towns in eastern hills as Dhankuta which are being developed as regional center for the whole area. Until 1989 there used to be a British Gurkha Camp in Dharan which was used to recruit Gurkha soldiers from the eastern hills. Rais and Limbus from eastern Nepal used to constitute the major portion of Gurkha soldiers. Dharan is now a bustling bazaar town that has grown rapidly. Temples of Dhantakali, Buda Subba and Singha Bahini in Dharan are unique and famous.

Varahakshetra - This is another important temple site located at the confluence of the Koka and Koshi rivers. The site is known to belong to the period of later Guptas, who had issued a copper grant for the two Varaha images found there. There are also many miniature Gupta period temple replicas, which suggest that many such temples and idols were made during the sixth and seventh centuries A. D.
Dolpo top
Dolpo (sometimes written Doplpa) is the most remote and least developed district in Nepal. The western half of the area has been set aside as SHE- PHOKSUNDO National Park. Although a few anthropologists and geographers had explored the region, the entire district was closed to trekkers until 1989 when the southern part of Dolpa was opened to organized trekking groups. Peter Matthieseu's "The Snow Leopard" and Snellgrove's "Himalayan Pilgrimage" have contributed in revealing the mystery and attraction of Dolpo. Dolpo lies between Dhorpatan and Rara and two of those treks could be combined into a single tour from Pokhara to Jumla. A stunningly blue lake called Phossundo Tal is situated in Dolpo.
Gorkha top
Gorkha is a scenic hill- town with great historical significance. King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified Nepal during eighteenth century, was born in the township of Gorkha. Situated on a small hillock at an attitude of about 1000 m, Gorkha offers panoramic view of snow-fed mountains.

The then small kingdom of Gorkha, founded by king Drabya Shah in 1560 A. D. became famous during the dynasty of Ram Shah (1604-1641 A.D.), who earned the reputation of being just to his people. There was a famous proverb in those days which said that one should go to Gorkha if he were looking for justice.

In the middle of eighteenth century there were hundreds of small kingdoms and principalities in what is today's Nepal. The great Prithvi Narayan Shah took the mammoth task of unifying Nepal in the eighteenth century. The Gorkha soldiers under his dynamic leadership eventually succeeded in conquering the Kathmandu valley. The capital of greater Nepal was shifted to Kathmandu since then. But this beautiful township has always remained as the center of attraction for many Nepalese as well as foreign visitors.


Principal Sights:

Gorkha Durbar
This historical palace is situated on the top of the fortified hill above the township, about one hour's walk uphill from the bus station. On the west side of palace is the temple of Goddess Gorakhkali. There is also a famous cave sheltering the statue of Gorakhnath Baba (sage). It is believed that the name of Gorkha was derived from the name of this sage, whose blessings inspired King Prithvi Narayan Shah for the unification of Nepal. From the top of the hill above Gorkha palace and from a saddle east of the bazaar, the view of Manaslu and Himalchuli is spectacular.

Upallokot
It is situated at a 20 minute walking distance from Gorkha palace.There is a viewing platform at an altitude of 1520 meters in Upallokot from where the spectacular view of Gorkha palace and the sliver shining snow-fed peaks can be enjoyed.

Manakamana
On a beautiful ridge south-east of the township of Gorkha lies the holy temple of Manakamana, the holy goddess of aspirations. It is a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus. Manakamana is a four-hour walk uphill from Anbu Khaireni on Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway.
Gosaikunda top
One of Nepal's most famous religious places of pilgrimage is Gosainkunda lake situated at an altitude of about 4360 m. Surrounded by high mountains on the north and east, this lake is grand and picturesque. There are other nine famous lakes such as Saraswati, Bhairav, Sourya and Ganesh Kunda. Every year during Janai Purnima in August, thousands of Hindu pilgrims come here to lake holy bathe in the lake. The large rock in the center of the lake is said to be the remains of a Shiva shrine and it is also claimed that channel carries water from the lake directly to the tank at the Kumbheshwar Temple in Patan, 60 km to the south.
Helambu  
Helambu, situated about 72 kilometers north- east of Kathmandu, is famous for its scenic grandeur and pleasant climate. There are many Buddhist monasteries amidst a rich and enchanting landscape. Helambu is great for short treks. Helambu was once considered a hidden, sacred domain and its misty ridges and fertile valleys are still comparatively isolated.The peaks of Langtang Himal are clearly visible from the area.
Hile top
It is situated about 13 km north of Dhankuta Bazaar. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Himalaya including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), Makalu, Lhotse and Kumbhakarna can be enjoyed from Hile.
Janakpur  
Janakpur is the capital of the ancient state of Mithila. The Janaki Temple, located in the center of the city, is well known in the Hindu Kingdom. Sita the wife of the legendary hero Ram was born in Janakpur. Throughout the year, many pilgrims come to pay their respects to Ram and Sita who are the main religious attractions in Janakpur. The city is thronged by worshippers and visitors alike especially during the festival of Bibah Panchami. This annual festival is celebrated on the occasion of Ram and Sita's marriage and their wedding ceremony is enacted throughout the week.
Dhanusadham top
Dhanusadham is a historical and religious site, its reference dating back to the great Hindu epic Ramayana. It is believed to be the place where fell broken remains of the divine Shiva bow that Ram broke to obtain Sita's hand for marriage. It is believed that a fossilized fragment of the broken piece is still to be seen and worshipped here.

Nearby is Janakpur, capital of the ancient Mithila culture, and famous as the birthplace of Sita believed to be incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi of the Hindu mythology. Dhanusadham offers religious sightseeing, rich Terai flora and fauna, semi-rural charm of the Janakpur suburbs and the colorful art and culture of South Nepal. Yadavs, Teli, Brahmans, Kyastha, Tharu, Musahar, Rajput, and Chhetri, are the main inhabitants of the villages in this region.

Tourist services are available in Janakpur city. The best time to visit is between October-March. Dhanusadham is in Dhanusa district and Janakpur zone. Janakpur is approximately 390 kilometers and 10-hour drive from Kathmandu. Buses to district headquarter Janakpur city leave from Central Bus Station, Gongabu in Kathmandu. One can also take a 40-minute flight to Janakpur city from Kathmandu. Dhanusadham is an hour drive from Janakpur.
Jumla / Humla  
Jumla, on the banks of the Tila River at 2370 meters, is one of the highest rice growing areas in the world. The entire Tila valley is covered with paddy fields growing a unique red rice that is more tasty than white rice, but is scorned by most local People. The people in this region speak their own version of Nepali. The people throughout the region are Thakuris, and also Chhetris who have the highest social, political and ritual status. Treks to Rara National Park starts and ends at Jumla. Humla is a high and dry land hemmed by snowcapped peak in three sides that shut out most outside influences, including the monsoon. Trekking facilities are nonexistent, but the local Buddhist highlanders are accommodating to strangers.
Kodari top
Kodari lies on the Nepal-China border. Besides being a place of stunning natural beauty, it has an exotic history going back to ancient times as the starting point of the trans- Himalayan caravan route, the Nepalese equivalent of Silk Road. Merchants bound for Lhasa would head north from Kodari and cross the Kuti pass before turning east to begin the perilous journey over the Tibetan plateau. This border village is still an important trading center between Tibet and Nepal. The 144 km Arniko Highway connecting Kathmandu with Kodari passes through magnificent river gorges and splendid mountain scenery. Three kilometers short of Kodari is the famous hot water spring called Tatopani, meaning hot water. People come here from all over Nepal to bathe in the hot water for its therapeutic value.
Lumbini top
Shakyamuni Buddha was born in Lumbini, in southern Nepal, twenty-five hundred years ago. Since his time, Nepal has been a sacred ground for Buddhists as the birthplace of the Buddha. Lumbini is a small town in the southern Terai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. Shakyamuni Buddha was born to a royal family.

Lumbini has been a holy ground for Buddhists all over the world. The restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the ancient stupas and monasteries. A large stone pillar erected by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription about the birth of the Buddha.

An important part of Lumbini is the temple of Maya Devi. It has a stone image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds onto a branch. It has been well worn by the strokes of barren women hoping for fertility. To the south of the temple is a pool where Queen Maya Devi is said to have bathed and given her son his first purification bath.

A quiet garden, shaded by the leafy Bo tree (the type of tree under which Buddha received enlightenment), and a newly planted forest nearby lend an air of tranquillity which bespeaks Buddha's teachings. Lumbini is now being developed under the Master Plan of the Lumbini Development Trust, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the restoration of Lumbini and its development as a pilgrimage site. The plan, completed in 1978 by the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, will transform three square miles of land into a sacred place of gardens, pools, buildings, and groves. The development will include a Monastic Zone, the circular sacred Garden surrounding the Ashoka pillar and Maya Devi temple, and Lumbini Village, where visitors will find lodges, restaurants, a cultural center and tourist facilities.

An important archeological site near Lumbini, Kapilvastu evokes the ancient palace where Lord Buddha spent his formative years. Scattered foundations of the palace are abundant, and archeologists have by now discovered 13 successive layers of human habitation dating back to the eighth century BC. A must for archeological and historical buffs!

Tilaurakot
Over the past few decades archaeological work has been conducted in the Terai region of the country where Nepal's first settlements were probably located. Tilaurakot, for example, used to be the capital of the Shakya dynasty. It is situated in Kapilbastu district in western Nepal. The present archaeological site extends over an area of more than five square kilometers.

Gotihawa
Gotihawa, rich in possession of ancient ruins is situated eleven kilometers south of Tilaurakot and six kilometers south west of Taulihawa, the present district headquaters. To the north of Gotihawa village, there is an ancient brick stupa and an Ashokan Pillar. The lower portion, with its square granite base stone, is still intact but the crowning features and inscriptional portions are missing. The site can be safely identified as the Nirvan stupa of Kakuchhanda Buddha (one of the previous Buddhas), whose hometown lies within one kilometer of this stupa - pillar complex.

Sagarahawa
This site is located two kilometers north of Tilaurakot on the bank of the Banganga river. It was excavated in 1896 and seventeen miniature stupas were found there. In the same general region, sites of ancient civilization have been identified at Lumbini, Banjarhi, Nipaniya and Kadyatawa, to mention just a few.
Manang top
Situated at the lap of the gigantic Himalaya, Manang is a unique village with a compact collection of 500 flat-roofed houses separated by narrow alley ways. To reach a doorway you must ascend a steep log notched with steps. The setting of the village is most dramatic, with the summits of Annapurna and Gangapurna less than 8 km away, and a huge icefall rumbling and crashing on the flanks of the peaks. Gompa at Manang and Braga are well worth visiting.
Muktinath / Jomsom  
The famous temple of Muktinath lies in the district of Mustang and is situated 48 km north east of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3749 meters. The temple is situated on a high mountain range and is visited during fair weather. During the festival of Janai Purnima, Hindu devotees gather here to pay homage to lord Muktinath. The visitors get lodging facilities at Dharmasala and Maharani Pouwa. Another famous temple of Jwaladevi, the goddess of flame, is situated about hundred meters south of Muktinath.
Mustang top
Jomsom is the district head quarters for the Mustang region of Nepal. To many people, however, Mustang implies the area of Nepal that extends like a thumb into Tibet. This is the region described in Michel Piessel's book "Mustang", and includes the walled capital city of Mustang; to Manang.Since 1991 trekkers have been allowed in limited numbers into the high desert region north of Jomsom that still has its own nominal king.
Namche Bazaar  
The name of Namche Bazaar is generally associated with that of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. It is the entrance to the Everest region. Situated on the lap of Khumbu Himal range at an altitude of 3440 meters. This place is the home of legendary Sherpas. Namche Bazar can be used as the starting point for trekking to Thyangboche, Debuche, Periche, Pangboche, Lobuche and Gorakhshep which are famous destinations in the Everest region. Besides, Namche is the gateway to the Sagarmatha National Park.
Nuwakot top
The old fortress town of Nuwakot used to be an important strategic outpost. It controlled the ancient trade routes to Tibet and the kings of medieval Nepal maintained large garrisons here. Nuwakot possesses a number of artistic buildings on the hill top which recall the traditional architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. It offers terrific views of the mountains and the surrounding rural villages. The palace of Nuwakot was once the palace of the great King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who conquered Nuwakot before conquering the Kathmandu valley.
Pokhara top
If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its center of adventure. An enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley; it is the starting point for many of Nepal's most popular trekking and rafting destinations. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as hipster backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants exchanging recommendations on guest houses and viewpoints, both by the lake and above the clouds.

Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fishtailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambience of peace and magic. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu, it has a much more tropical feel to it, a fact well appreciated by the beautiful diversity of flowers which prosper in its environs. Indeed, the valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, emerald lakes, and of course, the world famous views of the Himalaya.

The powerful rule of the old kings of Kathmandu, the Lichhavis and the Mallas, held sway over this valley for some time. As these dynasties fell prey to their own troubles, Pokhara Valley and the surrounding hills disintegrated into small kingdoms, frequently at war with each other. These were called the Chaubise Rajya or the Twenty-four Kingdoms. It was among these that Kulmandan Shah established his kingdom. His descendant Drabya Shah was the first to establish Gorkha, home of the legendary Gurkha warriors.

Finally, Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.

Mountain Views
Clearly the most stunning of Pokhara's sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Stretching from east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna 1 to IV and Annapurna South. Although the highest among them is Annapurna 1 (8,091 m), it is Machhapuchhre which dominates all others in this neighborhood. Boastfully levitating in the skyline, the fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain. If you want to see the mountains from close up, Everest Air offers a mountain flight from Pokhara that takes you on an aerial sightseeing tour of the western Himalaya.

Phewa Lake
Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the Kingdom, is the center of all attraction in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. Here, one can sail or row a hired boat across to the water or visit the island temple in its middle. The eastern shore, popularly known as lakeside or Baidam, is the favorite home base for travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.

Barahi Temple
The Barahi temple is the most important monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the center of Phewa Lake, this two-storyed pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of' Ajima, the protesters deity representing- the female force Shakti. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.

Seti Gandaki
Another of Pokhara's natural wonders that unfailingly interests visitors is the Seti Gandaki river. Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs completely underground at places. Amazingly, at certain points the river appears hardly two meters wide. But its depth is quite beyond imagination over 20 meters! Mahendra Pul, a small bridge near the old Mission Hospital, provides a perfect view of the river's dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.

Devi's Fall
Locally known as the Patale Chhango (Hell's Fall). Devi's Fall (also known as Devin's and David's) is a lovely waterfall lying about two km south-west of the Pokhara airport on the Siddhartha Highway. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin, David..) was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.

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

The Old Bazaar
Pokhara's traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Located about four km from Lakeside, the market's original charm is alive and well. This area strewn with shops selling commodities ranging from edibles and cloth to cosmetics and gold is a pleasant and shady spot to stroll around.

The old bazaar is also home to one of Pokhara's most important shrines'. Locally called the Bindhyabasini Mandir, this white dome-like structure dominates a spacious stone-paved courtyard built atop a shady hillock. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive local flavour.

Museums
The Pokhara Museum, located between the bus stop and Mahendra Pul, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as Gurungs, Thakalis and Tharus are attractively displayed through models, photographs and artefacts. One major attraction is a display highlighting the newly discovered remains of an 8000-year-old settlement in Mustang. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee is Rs.10 (tel: 20413).

The Annapurna Regional Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is another interesting visit in Pokhara. Run by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds and models of wildlife found in the area. Located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar, it is open daily except Saturdays and holidays from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance is free (tel: 21102).

Surrounding Areas
Pokhara is the starting and/or finishing point for some of the most popular treks including the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom Trek. It also offers a number of short treks for those who cannot opt for long, challenging ones. The most popular destination among them is Sarangkot (1592 m), a former Kaski fort lying atop a hill to the west of Pokhara. The panoramic view of the Himalaya seen from this point is superb. Kahundanda, Naudanda, Ghandrung, Ghorepani, and Ghalchok are other favorite destinations around Pokhara.
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