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Kathmandu Holiday Package
Embarking on a plane into Nepal, is an eye-catching discovery of a merry-go-round of sights, sounds And essence that could develop into a sensory load, whether you are gruelling along the crowded Alleyways of the ancient township or bowing in ecstasy to the medieval temples, or moving on for a trek Towards this magical destination of a Kathmandu Holiday Package!
Nepal as it is officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked Country located in South Asia, and the mountainous north of this country has eight of the worlds Ten tallest mountains including the highest point resting on heavenly Mother Earth, Mount Everest, Called Sagarmatha in the Nepalese language. The country has several temperate broadleaf forests, Subalpine conifer forests, and alpine shrubs and meadows through the vast range of the Himalayas!
The fascinating urge for a holiday destination, from the colours and magic of Kathmandu's markets to the serenity of Himalayan trails, this great and humble adventure offers an intriguing blend of a well- Paced excursion. The rugged foothills of the surrounding Pokhara will reward those willing to break a sweat with stunning views of mountain vistas. Experience Kathmandu and its adjacent areas from a different perspective as you explores its natural surroundings across the treks and the mountains! With many included activities and options like a misty view of the mountains and a visit to a book café or to a Religious shrine, the tourists would come away with an appetite-full and complete appreciation of this ancient land.
Kathmandu is Nepal’s inspiring capital and the largest city as the name alone is sufficient to conjure up images of temple pagodas, long-haired saddhus in clouds of smoke and the ever-present Himalayas. A bowl-like valley, surrounded on all sides by the most stunning picturesque images on earth, this city has been a crossroads of cultures since hundreds of years before Christ, the Lord, and a tradition very much
alive even today. The place is panoramic at every turn and a great avenue to just wander, and explore the possibilty of where chance, fate or the city may lead you.
You could start on a tour of the world heritage sites of Durbar Square and Bhaktapur. The Durbar Square (durbar meaning `palace) was the city’s legitimate domain of the crowned kings that were once crowned and as such, the square remains the traditional heart of the old town and the most spectacular legacy of traditional architecture. It is easy to spend hours wandering around the Square and watch the world go by from the terraced platforms of the towering Maju Deval to get that unique way of feeling the aroma of the city, since the entire Square was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Within the square of course, there is the Royal Palace and many temples built in the traditional Newari pagoda style. The Narayanhiti Palace Musuem is a walled palace at the northern end of Durbar Marg and was opened as a people’s museum a few years ago. Full of chintzy meeting rooms and ancient glamour, the palace interior is rather opulent with the highlights of an impressive throne and banquet halls, embracing modest royal bedrooms, adorning the great armchair with built-in speakers. Stuffed gharial, tigers and rhino heads line the halls next to the towering portraits of earlier leaders from the royal family as well as those with international acclaim. The walls peek at a regal lifestyle that for centuries could only be dreamt about, and it would be hard to face the disappointment for not capturing the same on camera as photography is not allowed.
The Kathmandu Holiday Package takes you towards the south side and therein lies the Kumari Chowk, home to Nepal's living goddess, the Kumari, the mythology of which states that a young girl was chosen as the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Talejn. Who lived a cloistered life rarely leaving the confines of the chowk, as when she did it was only for important religious festivals whence whilst travelling her feet were not meant to touch the ground. The old palace in Durbar square is well preserved and has beautifully carved wood work and a finely worked gilt gateway. Nepal's Malla dynasty's achievements in arts and crafts are reflected throughout the city and the tourists would observe interesting happenings such as colorful open markets, locals making clay pots, and weaving. The town is famous for its home made curd which is known locally as khopa dhau. It would be ideal to visit the Bodhnath Stupa, one of the largest Buddhist shrines in the world where they would come across several Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the Stupa.
Known as Bhadgaon or the city of the devotees, Bhaktapur is a unique old town and since time immemorial lay on the trade route between Tibet/ China and India. This position on the main caravan route made the town rich and prosperous, which in turn fed the cultural life of the city, which today is a living gem of Hindu temples, pagodas, palaces and monuments, many dating back to the 16th century. Swayambhunath is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in the Kathmandu valley.
The Kathmandu Holiday Package would take you to Swayambhunath, which has an interesting path leading towards the shrine, through climbing steep steps that lead up the hill from a collection of brightly painted Buddha statues at the bottom of the hill, passing a series of chaityas and bas-reliefs, including a stone showing the birth of the Buddha, with his mother Maya Devi grasping a tree branch. There are Tibetan astrologers reading fortunes here. At the top, the steps are flavoured with pairs of Garudas, lions, elephants, horses and peacocks, the ‘vehicles’ of the Dhyani Buddhas and the area surrounding the stupa is filled with temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects. It is to be remembered to walk around the stupa only in a clockwise direction. The Judda Art Gallery is located towards the south of Swayambhunath at Chhauni and contains some rare stone, metal and terracotta statues of Nepalese deities and exquisite paubha cloth paintings, an 1800-year-old life-sized statue of standing Jayavarma, and another statue of the buffalo-headed Sukhavara Samyara. At the back of the compound, is the temple-style Buddhist Art Gallery, sitting adjacent to the votive objects, thangkas, and manuscripts as huge as coffee tables, with some informative displays on mandalas or geometric Buddhist diagrams? To the north of the main compound, housed in a handsome Rana-era palace, is the Historical Museum which displays a collection of heritage weapons, including the personal kukris (daggers), katars (punch- daggers), talwars (curved swords) and khandas (hatchet swords) of the national heroes of this country!
In the same building, the Natural History Museum displays stuffed animals and old bones, including, the bizarre `jaws of a whale’ for this landlocked location. Upstairs are the rather matter-of-fact Numismatic and Philatelic Museums.
A popular activity from Kathmandu is to take an early morning scenic mountain flight along the spine of the Himalayas for close-up views of the tallest Mt. Everest and other peaks from a distance of a few nautical miles, such as Nuptse, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga.
Another fascinating shrine, Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, is located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you would see Hindu holy-men or Sadhus and pilgrims performing ritual bathing. Hawker stalls dot the entire area for serving `prasad’ or `religious offerings’ to the Deity inside the temple, and also selling statues and curios of religious idols and semi-precious gems and stones. Around the temple!
A tantalising flight or a journey by road, along stunning scenery brings the tourists from Kathmandu to Pokhara which lies on 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 Himalayas. The enchanting city has several beautiful lakes and offers breathtaking views of its peaks - creating the ambience that has made it such a popular place to relax and enjoy the charm of nature. Nestled in a tranquil valley, it is a place of lushcious environs. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre rising behind it create an ambience of peace and solitude. Pay a visit to the striking temple of Brindabasim which stands proudly over Pokhara and is of great importance to the Hindus, having been defined as a site of much religious fervor, dedicated to the goddess Durga who is the chosen guardian deity of Pokhara. Later, why not relax in a café, hire a boat and float around the lake or shop for Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs in endless stalls and shops.
From Pokhara, it would be worthwhile visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed as Royal Chitwan National Park, known as the Terai Tarai (moist land), the landscape containing marshy grasslands, savannas and forests at the base of the Himalayas. The Terai zone is composed of alternate layers of clay and sand, with a high water table that creates many springs and wetlands and the entire zone is inundated by the monsoon-swollen rivers. The Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands stretch across the Terai belt. They are a mosaic of tall grasslands, savannas, evergreen and deciduous forests and this region is home to the endangered Indian rhinoceros, elephants, Bengali tigers, bears, leopards and other wild animals, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, sambars, cheetals, rhesus monkeys and langurs.
The Royal Chitwan National Park was a hunting reserve for big game, though tourists come here only to spot wildlife and not to shoot. You can explore the national park by the jeep safari or go on a canoe ride or to enjoy bird watching. Try to accommodate a quick visit to the busy street of Makhan Tole which spills into Indra Chowk, the Courtyard named after the ancient Vedic deity Indra, as the visitors find the local crowd around the Square’s newspaper sellers, scanning the day’s news. Indra Chowk is traditionally a centre for the sale of blankets and cloth at a steal price, and mostly crowds flock to this market for their purchases! On the west side of the square is the facade of the Akash Bhairab Temple, or Bhairab of the Sky Temple. From the balcony four metal lions rear out over the street, but the temple’s entrance is at the Right-hand side of the building, guarded by two more brass lions, and non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the premises. Alternatively, if not able to enter inside, the silver image of the temple’s interior is visible through the open windows out in the street, and during important festivals the image is displayed in the square.
In a small niche just to the left of the Akash Bhairab Temple, is a very small but much-visited brass Ganesh shrine! The next-door Shiva Temple to the northeast is a smaller and simplified version of Patan’s Krishna Temple. The Krishna Mandir is constructed from a carved stone, a fabulous Architectural confection which is most distinctive and is often depicted on the ornate brass butter lamps hung in Nepalese homes.
If time permits, you could visit the Nepal Zoo, to `wow’ the wildlife creatures such as elephants, tigers, leopards, hyenas, gaur, deer, blue bills, gharials, giant tortoises , langur, monkeys, hippotami and squirrels.. Children can also take an elephant ride to enjoy the eclectic atmosphere on the Kathmandu Holiday Package!
For shopping there are centres and shops for homeware and furnishings with exquisite carpets from the Nepali origin and plenty of outlets supporting the craft of cooperatives and handicapped women, such as handmade paper products, photo albums, paper lamps, batik and woollens. There is a showhouse with treasures of dhaka weavings, ceramics, block prints, pashminas, woodcrafts, jewellery, knitwear, statues, masks, wood carvings, curios and souvenirs, made of brass and copper with a gold polish or gold plated. The outbuildings surrounding the old Rana complex have been redeveloped to house a warren of chic clothes shops, designer galleries, handicrafts shops, including some restaurants and cafes. Sleeping bags, knitwear and carpets are found in abundance at negotiable prices, a variety of Indian and Internationally branded gear and other innumerable items to motivate the buyer!
For food, you could try the best bookstore which is strong with antiquarian travelogues including a tempting tea house and a vegetarian restaurant behind. There are bright, buzzy and popular restaurants selling Middle Eastern dishes, eateries with a dramatic and regal Victorian setting embedded with crystal and linen, catering food to Royal taste. There is a Bhanchha Ghar and Bhojan Griha for pure traditional and vegetarian food, in contrast to the Korean, Italian, French and Tibetan food being served elsewhere in the city. If moving around the former Rana Palace, you could could share your dining space with the ambassadors and ministers in a top-end restaurant around a charming ambience. Ofcourse, there are spots, selling American and European style breakfast, snacks and brunch.and Italian bistros selling cheese, spinach and walnut ravioli, sinfully rich chocolate torte, gelato and the ever sparkling wines and liqueurs for that romantically drunken effect! The legally pronounced casinos are there for an exploration and an after-dinner snacks, beverages and perhaps, even an ice-cream!
Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia in the winter and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all regions, with resulting erosion and degradation of ecosystems. Recommended for a holiday throughout the year, as there are enough indoor activities to keep you occupied and interestingly involved, even if it is very cold or raining outside on the Kathmandu Holiday Package!