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DAY TRIPPER

As the last Hindu kingdom and birthplace of the Budda, Nepal has an extremely rich cultural heritage,encompassing a wide varity of ethnic groups, each having their own colourful festivals and customs. Nepal has a wealth of beautiful old buildings, temples and palaces. Whether you want to go for a half day sightseeing trip or venture further afield, we can provide you with a tailor made agenda to suit your interests.
The most popular places to visit are as follows:


KATHMANDU

DURBAR SQUARE: Kathmandu’s most impressive sight, Durbar Square is a colourful hotch-potch of temples and palaces. It is also home to Kathmandu’s Kumari, or ‘living goddess’, a young girl believed to be a reincarnation of the goddess Durga.

SWAYAMBHUNATH: Known as the ‘monkey temple’ because of its resident swarm of apes, this spectacular Buddhist Stupa, from which the Buddha’s eyes gaze serenely down, lies on a hilltop only 2km from Kathmandu. The views down over Kathmandu and the surrounding valley are superb.

BOUDHANATH: 8km from the city centre, this is Kathmandu’s largest Stupa. It’s especially colourful on Saturdays, when Tibetan refugees flock here to pray.

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE: On the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, this Shiva Temple is famous for its two-tiered golden roof and silver doors.


PATAN

The ancient city of Patan faces Kathmandu on the southern bank of the River Bagmati. It’s a colourful place, with Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments jostling side by side in its narrow, winding streets and unexpected squares.

DURBAR SQUARE: Exquisitely carved palaces, temples and shrines litter the square, which is dominated by the ancient Royal Palace. Nestling in one corner is the triple-roofed octagonal tower of the 17th Century Teleju Bhawani Temple.

KRISHNA MANDIR: The first of its kind to be built, this 17th Century temple is the only one in Nepal with entirely stone-carved shrines.

HIRANYA VARAN MAHAVIHAR: A 12th Century, three-tiered Golden Pagoda of Lord Buddha.

KUMBHESHWOR A Shiva Temple with an unusual five-tiered roof.

BHAKTAPUR

One of the three ancient cities of Nepal, Bhaktapur is the home of medieval art and architecture, as well as thriving local pottery and weaving industries

DURBAR SQUARE: This spacious, beautiful square is packed from end to end with ancient temples and monuments. These include the colourfully named ‘Lion Gate’ and ‘The Bell of the Barking Dogs.’ It’s a great place to explore for an hour or two and absorb the local life.

NYATAPOLA TEMPLE: Dating back to 1702, this five-storey pagoda is an impressive sight. Staring down at you from the terraces are intricately carved figures of wrestlers, elephants, lions and griffins.

WILDLIFE SAFARIS The beauty of Nepal’s natural heritage can be enjoyed by a visit to one of it’s famous National Parks.

TOKHA: is one of the oldest settlements in the Kathmandu valley, dating back more than 2,100 years. The village is famous around the valley for the quality chaku produced here. This ancient settlement a maze of narrow lanes and tightly packed houses punctuated by pagoda temples, reflects the traditional layout of the valley towns and is a different world altogether. Tokha lies about 7 km directly Langtang & Ganesh Himal past Samakhusi.

DHARMASTHALI: lies on the old pilgrim trail to Gosaikund in the Langtang mountains, about 6 km Langtang & Ganesh Himal via Balaju. It is a typical Newar farming village and is known for its beautiful, serene and greenery. As with all Newar settlements, there are many temples in the area. Buses leave regularly for Dharmasthali from Balaju.

SANKHU: or Sakwa, is a small and charming town situated 16 km to the east of Kathmandu. Believed to have been established in 1299 BC, it is the oldest urban center in the valley. Sankhu once bustled as the terminal on the old trade route to Tibet. The artistic temple of Bajra Jogini, the town’s guardian goddess, is a major pilgrimage site.

SUNDARIJAL: lies just beyond Gorkarna, 7 km to the north – east of Kathmandu past the Boudhanath stupa. Sundarijal, which means pure water, is a beautiful waterfall cascading down from a hilltop. For the best view, climb up a long stone stairway. Nearby lies one of the country’s oldest hydro- electric power houses. Besides being a popular picnic spot, Sundarijal is also the starting point for adventurers embarking on the popular Langtang- Helambu trek.

SURYABINAYAK: is one of Kathmandu’s most popular pilgrimage and picnic spots. It is a 20- minute walk from the trolley bus terminal, south of Bhaktapur, 12 km east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Highway. An ornate shrine of Surya Binayak is set in the midst of a thick forest. The deity’s image has been carved on a huge rock jutting out from the hillside. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Surya Binayak is crowded with worshippers and newly- married couples who come to offer animal sacrifices seeking success in their lives.

SANGA: lies 19 km east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Highway to Tibet. Also known as Bhonta, this Newar town has a glorious history as a trade and cultural center. To reach the town’s old quarter, turn left at the statue of King Tribhuvan. There are many stone carvings dating to the Lichhavi period. The temple of Chandeswari, a goddess with both Hindu and Buddhist features, is its main shrine.

NALA: lies about 3 km to the north of Banepa. In the center of this farming village is a 12th century temple of Bhagwati, one of the only two four- storied Bhagawati temples in or near the Kathmandu Valley. To the west of the village is a shrine to Karunamaya, the Buddhist deity of compassion. An annual procession of the deity takes place in early spring.

PANAUTI: is a charming old Newar town which lies 10 km south of Banepa. From the Tribhuvan statue at Banepa, a road turns right leading to this ancient settlement located at the confluence of the Roshi and Pungmati rivers. Its main attraction is the 12th – century Indreswar Mahadev temple, the country’s oldest existing pagoda structure, whose carved wooden struts are said to be the finest in Nepal. Namo Buddha, where the Buddha is said to have offered his own flesh to a starving tigress, is four – five hours walk east of Panauti.

GODAVARI: is situated at the foot of Phulchoki, the highest peak surrounding greenery, and is home to a rich variety of birds. The Botanical Garde, spread over 24 hectares, has a fascinating collection of plants, including orchids, ferns and cacti. The other enticement of Godavari is its sacred ponds. A grand festival takes place here once every 12 years. Godavari lies 20 km south – east of Kathmandu via Lagankhel, at the southern end of patan.

HARISIDDHI: lies about 10 km out on the road to Godavari. It is also called Jalan. The quaint Newar farming town is best known for its spectacular Jalan Pyakhan, to which, it is said, there is no equal in the valley. The origins of the dance date back to the Lichhavi period. The Trishakti Bhavani temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga, is another attraction here. The four – tiered pagoda is looked after by priests who wear white pleated gowns and keep their hair tied in a bun.

BISHANKHU NARAYAN: is one of the most celebrated Bishnu shrines in the valley. His image is enshrined a cave which is reached through a rock fissure. It is said sinners cannot squeeze through this opening. On the ground level of the cave, down a narrow spiral stairway, is a statue of the Hindu god Hunuman. Bishankhu Narayan is situated on a hill 12 km south of Kathmandu. It lies at the end of a dirt road that branches off at Baregaon on the way to Godavari.

THECHO is a charming 16th century village about 12 km from Kathmandu on the southern fringe of the valley. It has an attractive temple of Balkumari with a stone pillar in front marked by a peacock on top. Surrounding this temple are several stone seats where you can sit and watch life go by. To the north is the temple of Brahmayani with her vehicle, the swan, atop a stone column guarded by lions.

LELE is an ancient village dating by to the Lichhavi period and draws visitors for its peaceful atmosphere. Adding to the scenic allure is Saraswati Kunda, a spring, with a shrine built in 1668. Lele lies 20 km south of Kathmandu, up and over the valley rim. The road begins at sat Dobato on the Ring Road and passes through the quaint Newar villages of Sunakhoti, Thecho and Chapagaon. Near Lele valley is a Shiva temple with huge fresco of Tika Bhairav painted on a brick wall.

BAJRA BARAHI lies 3 km to the east of Chapagaon, Newar village that comes shortly after Thecho. The tantric temple of Bajra Barahi is one of the manifestations of Ajima, or mother goddess. The boar- headed deity is worshipped as a protectress of livestock. Built in the center of a thick grove, this 15th – century temple is a popular site for both devotees and picnickers. Various naturally sculpted stones abound here which are considered to be images of Ganesh, Bhairav and the Asta Matrikas.

DHAPAKHEL is a medieval village situated about 12 km south-east of Kathmandu. It is a natural sanctuary that has few rivals in the valley. A sacred pond, Nagdaha attracts many devotees, especially during the festival of Nag Panchami. The road to Dhapakhel branches off from the Ring Road at Sat Dobato. From here it is a pleasant countryside drive with rice fields to the left and right.

LUBHU is 7 km east of Patan past the intersection on the Ring Road at Gwarko. Set amidst lush greenery and fields of paddy or wheat, it is a Newar village with alluring scenery. As with all old Newar village with alluring scenery. As with all old Newar towns, there is a gate at the entrance. People socialize in the streets, winnowing grain, washing clothes and massaging their babies with oil.

BUNGAMATI is a Newar village 6 km south of Patan where Red Machhendranath, the God of Rain, spends his winter months before being brought to Patan for the chariot festival in summer. The shrine is a large open square with a 10- m shikara temple in the middle. The courtyard is used for socializing by the local inhabitants. To reach the village, head south past the zoo at Jawalakhel. After crossing the Ring Road, descend to the village of Nakhu. Take the left fork over the bridge and continue south.

KHOKANA is the twin Newar village lying next to Bungmati, both dating back to the 16th century. In between the two settlements is the temple of Karya Binayak. Just like Bungmati, Khokana is a compact village. Running through it is a wide main street, which was built after the 1934 earthquake. In the middle of the street is the temple of Sikali Mai, khokana’s guardian mother goddess. Khokana has long been famous as an oil pressing center where mustard seeds are pressed using traditional methods.

PHARPING lies 18 km south of Kathmandu on the valley rim. Perched on a hilltop overlooking a cluster of Newar settlements is a Buddhist monastery. Pharping’s main attraction is an elaborate 17th – century temple which houses a gilded image of Goddess Bajra Jogini. A cave and a hand-imprint of the Buddhist saint Padmasambhav on the rock face over its entrance are other intriguing sights here.

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