Kathmandu-Nagarkot-Chitwan National Park-Lumbini-Pokhara-Bandipur-Kathmandu
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu (BD)
Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, welcome by our representative & transfer to the Hotel. At the hotel briefing about the program by our representative. In the evening, enjoy traditional Nepalese Dance with Dinner at a Newari Restaurant.
DAY 2 – Kathmandu-Nagarkot (B)
Optional Early morning Mountain Flight for an hour by fixed wing aircraft, the flight shall give you an aerial view of Mt. Everest and other Himalayan Peaks.
After breakfast, introduce with the sightseeing guide & driver. We set to the first day sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley. This day visit Swoyambhunath-The four seeing eyes of Swoyambhunath Stupa watch over the valley from the top of 77-m high hillock on western side. This most glorious Stupa in the world, is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of Kathmandu valley out of a primordial lake. The surroundings of the Swoyambhunath are covered with small Chaityas & monasteries as well as some Hindu temples. The National Museum and the Museum of Natural History are situated at the foot of the hill, Kathmandu Durbar Square – This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples, built between 12th and 18th Centuries, used to be the seat of ancient Malla Kings of Kathmandu. It is the place where kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. An intriguing piece here is the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. Kumari Temple: Kumari temple is the residence of the Living Goddess. Kumari, known as Virgin Goddess has got some specialties, she must be chosen from a typical Newari cast with no body marks & injuries & will be replaced by another Kumari after puberty. Kasthamandap: Kasthamandap is believed to be constructed from the wood of a single tree in the sixteenth century situated near to the Kumari Temple. The name Kathmandu was named after this temple, Patan City – Patan Durbar Square: Patan Durbar Square is an enchanting mélange of Palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former Royal Palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statues and religious monuments. One remarkable monument here is 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna, built entirely of stone. Tibetan Refugee Camp: This camp was set up in 1960 under the initiative of the International Red Cross & the Swiss Development Corporation in corporation with HMG of Nepal. Its main objective is to help the Tibetan Refugees to do something nice & support themselves & some carpet industries & handicrafts have been operating.
Later, drive to 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 colored 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.
DAY 3 – Nagarkot-Kathmandu-Chitwan National Park (6 hrs) (BD)
After breakfast drive to Chitwan and enroute, visit Bhaktapur City-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, The Golden Gate, The Palace of Fifty-five Windows, The Art Gallery and The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla.
Upon arrival at the Lodge welcome & briefing by the naturalist.
DAY 4 – Chitwan National Park (BLD)
Whole day full of jungle activities including Jungle walk, elephant ride, canoe ride, Elephant briefing OR Elephant batthing , Village visit OR Tharu Dance etc. Chitwan National Park is the most famous national park in Nepal. Which offers 450 species of birds including four species of deer, leopard, sloth bear, wild boar & many other wildlife. This park is well known for one horned Rhinoceros & it is a shelter for few Royal Bengal Tigers. Besides this, Chitwan also supports a great variety of flora & fauna. (Exact program in Chitwan can only be confirmed upon guest’s arrival at the resort as itinerary shall depend upon the occupancy in the resort and guest’s arrival / departure time)
DAY 5 – Chitwan - Lumbini (140 km / 4 -5 hrs.) (B)
After breakfast, drive to Lumbini and upon arrival at the hotel briefing about the program by our representative. Situated at the Terai plains of the southern Nepal, Lumbini is the place where Siddhartha Gautam, the Shakya Prince and the ultimate Buddha, the Enlighted One, was born in 623 BC. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites.
Today the holy site is being developed with international support as the supreme Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace. The shrines and monastries that many countries have built or are still building reflect the architectural traditions of the respective countries, and thus giving Lumbini an international feel with a message of universal friendship and brotherhood.
About 30km east of Lumbini is the village of Tilaurakot which is believed to have been the location of the Kapilvastu royal palace where the Buddha grew up as the Shakya dynasty prince, until he renounced it at the age of 29 in search of enlightenment.
Later, visit Lumbini Garden – The main attraction at Lumbini remains the Sacred Lumbini Garden, which is spread over 8 sq.km and possesses all the treasures of the historic area. Today as part of the global initiative to promote Lumbini, many countries have built or are building temples, monastries or stupas near the Sacred Garden in the International Monastery Zone. Temples or shrines that have finished their construction so far are Myanmar Temple, International Gautami Nuns Temple, China Temple, The Nepal Buddha Temple and the Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihara. Ashoka pillar, carrying an inscription identifying the holy site as the birthplace, is situated nearby the Sacred Garden. To one side of Ashoka pillar is the Mayadevi Temple which houses a bas relief depicting the nativity. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a “foot imprint”, indicating the exact place of birth. The Puskarni pond, where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddha’s mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to him lies to the south of the pillar. Kushinagar is the place where Lord Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. Here are a lot of chaityas, stupas and viharas to see. The Muktabandhana stupa is believed to have been built by Malla dynasty to preserve the temporal relics of Lord Buddha. A smaller shrine nearby contains a reclining Buddha which was brought from Mathura by the monk Haribala. Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree under which Buddha attained wisdom is called the Bodhi tree, while the temple marking the sacred spot is known as Mahabodhi temple.
DAY 6 – Lumbini - Pokhara (drive 280 km / 8 hrs.) (B)
After breakfast, drive to Pokhara. 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 world-wide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
DAY 7 – Pokhara (B)
Early morning excursion to Sarangkot to have a bird’s eye view of Pokhara City and witness sunrise over the Annapurna range.
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.
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 neighbourhood. Boastfully levitating in the skyline, the fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain.
Afternoon half day sightseeing tour of Pokhara city to visit 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.
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.
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.
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.
DAY 8 – Pokhara – Bandipur (75 km / 2.5 hrs) (B)
Bandipur was established as a funneling point of trade by Newar traders from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley after it had been conquered in 1768 by Prithvi Narayan Shah. They took advantage of its malaria free location to develop it into an important stop along the India-Tibet trade route. With them they brought their cultural heritage and architecture which basically has remained unchanged to this day.
DAY 9 – Bandipur - Kathmandu (140 km / 4 hrs) (B)
After breakfast drive to Kathmandu. Later, half day sightseeing tour of to visit 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 Bouddhanath. 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 Bouddhanath 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. The Bouddha area is a visual feast. Colorful thangkas, Tibetan jewellery, hand-woven carpets, masks, and khukuri knives are sold in the surrounding stalls. Smaller stupas are located at the base. Gompa monasteries, curio shops, and restaurants surround Bouddhanath. Conveniently situated restaurants with roof-top patios provide good food and excellent views of Bouddhanath.
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 offering puja worship to Shiva, tile Lord of Destruction. The Bagmati River flows close by and the Arya Ghat cremation grounds are here. We strongly advise photographers not to take photos of cremations and of bereaved families. Sadhus, sages who follow the lifestyle of Shiva, may be seen covered in ashes and loin-cloths. They ask for money in case you want to take their photos. The main Pashupatinath courtyard may be entered by those of Hindu faith only.
Day 10 – Kathmandu Depart (B)
After breakfast, in time transfer to board your onward flight.
HOTELS USED (Or Similar) ON CULTURAL NEPAL TOUR:
Nagarkot: Club Himalaya
Chitwan: Machan Country Villa Resort
Bandipur: Bandipur Mountain Resort
Meet & greet service on arrival at Kathmandu International Airport
Welcome document kit
Private round trip transfers airport/hotel as mentioned
Accommodations as described (or similar) on twin sharing basis
Buffet breakfast daily
Ground transportation as described by chauffeur-driven air-conditioned car/minivan
Sightseeing and excursions as described
Services of a licensed professional English speaking guide
All hotel taxes and service charges
Itineraries are intended to be suggestions only, completely customizable to meet the needs and tastes of the traveller in terms of type of accommodations, length of stay, additional destinations, experiences, and transfers.
Any domestic or international airfares and related taxes and fees, airport taxes, any city taxes if required to be paid locally, meals not mentioned in the itinerary, beverages, gratuities to your tour-guide and bus driver, any optional tours, items of a personal nature fees i.e., laundry, telephone calls, etc., and any other items not specifically listed as included.