Nepal: The Himalayan Delight

| Nepal | Kathmandu | Pokhara | Dhulikhel | Chitwan National Park |
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Summary

Nepal boasts eight of the world's tallest mountains and the world's oldest Hindu and Buddhist sites. While Kathmandu Valley is made of three ancient cities filled with enchanting medieval palaces, pagodas, temples, statues and stupas, the rest of the kingdom offers unparalleled adventure options with abundance in flora and fauna. As for its people - From the Tharus that share their land with the splendid Asian tuskers in the plains to the brave Yak herders of Dolpo, they are as amazing as the land itself. Here in its tropical jungles the Royal Bengal Tiger prowls, higher up the legend of the Yeti lives on. Although modernization has set in, the quintessence of ancient Nepal remains amongst its people.

This itinerary is a traveller’s delight, for it captures the essence of Nepal. The perfect amalgam of culture, heritage, wildlife and spectacular scenery, this trip guarantees a nostalgic after taste and memories that will last you a life time.

Itinerary

Day 1 - 2
Excursion starts:

Fly to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. On arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Accommodation: Dwarika’s Hotel

Day 2 - 3
Excursion starts:

After breakfast at the hotel, explore Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath Stupa and Patan City.

Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is the political as well as the cultural capital of the country. Like any big city, Kathmandu has seen rapid expansion in the last decade, but despite the hustle and bustle so typical of metropolitan cities, its people remain as refreshingly friendly as ever.

Much of the heritage sites have been damaged by the April 2015 earthquake. Restoration is under process.

You will visit the vegetable & spice market in Ason, and see its many courtyards and bustling bazaars. From here you can take the local rickshaw (tricycle) ride to Thamel, a happening tourist hub of Kathmandu.

After lunch you will visit Swayambhunath Stupa. Also known as the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It rests on a hillock and is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist shrines of Nepal. Legend has it that when Kathmandu Valley was a lake 2000 years ago, a single lotus flower grew at the center of the lake. When Saint Manjushree, the Bodhisatva drained the lake with a single slash of his sword, the lotus settled on top of a hill and magically turned into a stupa. Thus, Swayambhunath is also known as a Self-Created Stupa. This stupa is the most ancient and perhaps the most enigmatic of all holy shrines in Kathmandu. The area surrounding the stupa is filled with smaller chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.

The April 2015 earthquake caused major damage to this Heritage Site and reconstruction is currently taking place.

Later transfer to Patan, the city of architectural interior. Experience the art of cooking local Nepali dish at Dhakwa House and relish the delicacy.

Patan, also known as Lalitpur, the city of artisans is a paradise of fine arts and best known for its rich cultural heritage. It is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of its old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments.

In the heart of Patan, amidst the Patan marketplace lays the Patan Durbar Square, an area filled with ancient palaces, pagoda temples, stone baths, Hindu and Buddhist statues, engravings and bronze cravings. Patan Durbar Square is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also located in the square is the Patan Museum, formerly the Malla palace, which houses bronze statues and religious objects, some dating back to the 11th century.

Due to the April 2015 earthquake, many of the temples here have been damaged and reconstruction is in process.

Accommodation: Dwarika’s Hotel

Day 3 - 4
Excursion starts:

Today you will take a helicopter charter tour to Mount Everest (total time: 2.5 – 3 hours including ground time). The flight takes off early morning from the Kathmandu Domestic Airport and heads east. One does not have to wait too long to find out what is in store. This is one of the most thrilling rides ever. Hovering up the valleys of the Khumbu region surrounded by the snowcapped Himalayan peaks along with some of the highest mountains in the world, the view from the vantage point of a helicopter is exhilarating.

Once in the Everest region, the helicopter will make a stop at a selected location, allowing you to enjoy, photograph and savor the breathtaking view of the Mount Everest and the other great majestic peaks that surround it.

‘Everest Close Up’ is a rare and a fascinating opportunity to embrace the legendary Himalayas and discover the ineffable beauty that is guaranteed to be one of the most mesmerizing experiences ever.

*Please note that helicopters in Nepal are usually used for rescue purposes at higher altitude. If need arises and there is a call for rescue, the helicopters would need to make a rescue trip. The guests can meanwhile soak in the glory of the majestic Himalayas.

After the tour, you will head to the Boudhanath Stupa. You will have lunch at one of the selected restaurants and then continue sightseeing in Boudhanath. Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most imposing landmarks of Kathmandu and is a center of Tibetan Buddhism. The stupa is built on a massive three level mandala style platform and is 36 meters (118 feet) in height. The base of the stupa is adorned with 108 small images of the Dhyani Amitabha Buddha and inset with prayer wheels. Thousands of pilgrims circle the stupa in a clockwise direction each day spinning the prayer wheels. It is said that each spin of a prayer wheel is the equivalent of reciting the mantra. The stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The ancient stupa is one of the largest in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The top portion of the Stupa was slightly damaged by the April 2015 earthquake. Currently renovation is under process.

The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet that enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner. Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Buddhist sage, perhaps parts of the Buddha’s body (bones, teeth), or sacred texts and other ceremonial objects.

Later, you will visit the Pashupatinath Temple. The magnificent temple of Pashupatinath with its astonishing architectural beauty is situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River. The temple built in pagoda style has gilded roof and richly carved silver doors. Dedicated to the Hindu God of Destruction, Lord Shiva, this temple is regarded as the most sacred temple of all Lord Shiva temples. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pashupatinath is also Nepal's most renowned Hindu cremation site. In the Hindu Culture, after a person is dead, his/her body is wrapped in cloth, placed on bamboo litters and brought to the cremation site where the eldest son in the family burns the body. The ashes from the dead body are collected and swept into the River Bagmati that eventually joins the Holy Ganges. Non-Hindu visitors are strictly prohibited to enter the temple; however, they are permitted to view the temple from the east banks of the River Bagmati.

The rest of the evening is at leisure.

 

Accommodation: Dwarika’s Hotel 

Day 4 - 5
Excursion starts:

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the domestic airport for your 25-minute flight to Pokhara.

Pokhara’s bewitching beauty has been the subject of many travel writers. Its pristine air, spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks, serene lakes and surrounding greenery make it ‘the jewel in the Himalaya’, a place of remarkable natural beauty. With the magnificent Annapurna range forming the backdrop and the serenity of three major lakes – Phewa, Rupa and Begnas – Pokhara is the ultimate destination for relaxation. Pokhara Valley is the end of the famous Annapurna Circuit and a gateway to some of the most famous long-distance treks in Nepal. It also offers plenty of rewarding short walks and day trips suitable for children and weary trekkers. It is the second largest city in Nepal and sits high on the list of ‘must visit’ places in Nepal.

In the evening, indulge in boating at Phewa Taal, the second largest lake in Nepal. The lake is stream fed but a dam regulates the water reserve, therefore, it is classified as semi-natural freshwater lake. Visit Barahi Temple – the island temple situated in a small island in the Phewa Lake surrounded by marvelous views.

Later you can stroll around the street at the lakeside that has become a tourist hub with many restaurants and tourist shops. 

Accommodation: The Pavilions Himalayas

Day 5 - 6
Excursion starts:

Early in the morning drive to Sarankot, a beautiful village located on a mountainside ridge at an altitude of 1600 m with panoramic Himalayan views, from Dhaulagiri in the far west and Pokhara city in the south with the Phewa Lake on the north-western outskirts of the city. This place offers spectacular view of the sunrise. Visit the Bindabasini Temple on the way towards hotel, one of the oldest temples in Pokhara.

After breakfast, visit the World Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist stupa built by the Buddhist monks of the Japanese Nipponzan Fujii organization at a narrow ridge above the Phewa Taal. Visit the International Mountain Museum which displays the history, culture, geology, flora and fauna of the Himalayas. The museum is dedicated to the mountains of Nepal and the mountaineers who have climbed them. Visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp, in the vicinity of Pokhara - Tashiling and Tashi Palkhel. The Tibetan people living in these villages keep themselves busy by producing and trading in woolen carpets and other handicraft items. They also run souvenir shops around lakeside.

Visit The Davis fall, a lovely waterfall that marks the point where a stream from Phewa Lake vanishes underground through a natural tunnel. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, across the Devis Fall, is one of the longest caves in Nepal. Later visit Pokhara’s traditional Old Bazaar.

Accommodation:
The Pavilions Himalayas

Day 6 - 7
Excursion starts:

After breakfast you will begin your drive to Chitwan passing through beautiful landscapes of rural Nepal. Upon arrival at Chitwan, check in at the hotel. On arrival at the hotel, welcome drinks will be served. After checking into your respective rooms, lunch will be served. During lunch you will be briefed about the resort’s accommodation and the natural surroundings.

The leisure time will be followed by tea and then you will move on for the thrilling Elephant Safari. This exciting ride will offer you an opportunity to experience the wildlife in Chitwan. If you are unable to do the Elephant Safari today, you can have an option of doing it the next day.

Dinner begins at about 19:30 with a traditional cultural show by the locals in the area.

Accommodation:
Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safari Lodge

 

Day 7 - 8
Excursion starts:

Early this morning, bed tea will be served in your room. Before breakfast take an exhilarating nature walk as you are introduced to the main features of the park, the forest, open grasslands and the riverine forest. After breakfast explore the culture and flora of the village life around the hotel on an oxcart. Lunch will be served at the hotel.

After lunch, a short drive will take you to the canoeing point from where you will canoe down the river. As you float down the serenity of the tranquil water, you can observe the aquatic animals and the bird life so diverse in Chitwan. This program will last for about 1-2 hours.

You can spend the evening relaxing by the poolside. Dinner will be served.

Accommodation: Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safari Lodge

Day 8 - 9
Excursion starts:

Today you will fly back to Kathmandu. On arrival at the airport, drive to Dhulikhel that will take approximately 45 minutes. En route visit the ancient royal city of Bhaktapur, formerly known as Bhadgaon. Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the ‘City of Devotees’ is a major tourist destination that takes visitors back in time. Bhaktapur lies on the Arniko Highway that connects Kathmandu to the Chinese border. Bhaktapur is still untouched by rapid urbanization and has managed to retain its brick paved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. This ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively.

The extraordinary Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its monuments reflect the glory days of the Malla Dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. In Bhaktapur Durbar Square, visit the Nyatapola Temple, the unique temple that literally means ‘five storied’ and rises above the city’s landscape as a remarkable landmark. The Bhairavnath Temple, dedicated to Bhairav, the God of Terror, is a three-storied temple noted for its artistic grandeur and stands adjacent to the famous five-storied Nyatapola Temple. The Golden Gate is the entrance to the 15th century Palace of 55 Carved Windows. The golden gate is a masterpiece in repousse art, which has added splendor to this palace square that consists of buildings dating from the 13th to 18th century. You can also stroll around Taumadhi Tole, a short street lined with tourist shops.

Bhaktapur was one of the most affected areas of the April 2015 earthquake. Renovation is currently under process.

Continue your journey to Dhulikhel. Situated at the foothills of the Pachkhal Valley, Dhulikhel is about 21 miles towards the eastern rim of the Kathmandu Valley on the Chinese built Arniko Highway that leads to Tibet. Dhulikhel, which has always been an important trade center, is a place of exhilarating beauty and unparalleled serenity. Also popular for the remarkable view of the sunrise and sunset, Dhulikhelis famous for its vantage location in viewing the Himalayas. The old town of Dhulikhel is a close traditional Newari settlement with an assembly of fine old Newari houses with beautifully carved windows and doors. The core area of Dhulikhel has interesting narrow cobbled streets and lanes embedded with number of Hindu Shrines and a few Buddhist Stupas.

Dhulikhel had also suffered damages from the April 2015 earthquake and reconstruction is currently taking place in some areas of Dhulikhel.

Upon arrival at the resort, you can spend your time at leisure with the mesmerizing feeling that Dhulikhel provides.

Accommodation: Dwarika’s Resort 

Day 9 - 10
Excursion starts:

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, indulge in activities like bird watching, hiking, yoga, meditation, spa etc. that are offered by the resort itself. You can also indulge in in-house activities like pottery making, mandala making, etc.

Accommodation: Dwarika’s Resort

Day 10 -
Excursion starts:

Your journey comes to an end today as you are transferred from your hotel to Kathmandu airport for your flight back home.

- This is a guide itinerary and can be modified to suit. It is subject to availability and price at the time of booking. Other conditions may apply -

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