Places to see

Kathmandu

Kathmandu Durbar Square
This complex of places, country yards, and temples built between the 12th and 18th used to be the seat of ancient malla kings of Kathmandu. An interesting object here is the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 language.

The durbar square protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. This is the social, religious and urban focal point of city. There are also museums inside the palace building.

Hanumandhoka (Durbar Square)
It is the historic seat of royalty. The durbar square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. Interesting things to see here are; Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A. D. Kal Bhairav, the God of destruction, Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chok, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and, the Jagannath Temple. On the right-hand corner, larger wooden latticescreen hides an enormous gilded face of Sweta Bhairav. The screen is removed only during the Indra Jatra festival.

There are also Numismatic Museum and Tribhuvan Museum inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace building. Photography is prohibited inside the museums. Both the museums remain . closed on Tuesdays and government holidays.

The Temple of Kumari (Kumari Ghar)
The temple or the residence of Living goddess, Kumari, is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has profusely carved wooden blaconies and window screens. The Kumari- the living Goddess, acknowledges the greetings from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited.

Kasthamandap, Nepal
Located near the temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple

Ashok Vinayak, Nepal
The small but a very important temple of Ashok Vinayak is situated behind the Kasthamandap also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh.

Swayambhu Stupa, Kathmandu
This is the second holiest place of Buddhism in Nepal. Swayambhunath is perched on hilltop over looking Kathmandu and is a complex of temples including Nepal? most famous landmark, this large stupa adorned with eyes watching over the Kathmandu valley.

Swayambhunath located 6.5 km west of Kathmandu is popularly called Swayambhu ?hich means self-existent”. This shrine is dedicated to the supreme Adi-Buddha. Its religious significance is also described in the Swayambhu Purana written in the 15th century.

This is a very holy shrine for Buddhist and is equally regarded as sacred by the Hindus as well.

It is dedicated to Bodhnath, the god of wisdom , and is located at the centre of Kathmandu Valley.

The stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist monastery in Nepal, establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Swayambhu is also known as Samhengu and is listed as a World Heritage Site. It watches over the Valley from the top of a hillock on its western side.

Bouddhanath Stupa, Nepal
Bouddlianath Stupa a world heritage site lies about 6km to the east of downtown Kathmandu is the largest stupa in the Valley. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design. Bouddhanath is also known as Rhasti. There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries In the area.

Pasupatinath Temple, Nepal
Pashupatinath Temple is the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world, lies 5 km east of the city center, is also world heritage site. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple’s existence prior to 400 AD. Devotees can he seen taking ritual dips in the holy Bagmati river flowing beside the temple.

Budhanilkantha, Nepal
About eight kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of Sivapuri hill is a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining of the bed of snakes. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of Lichchhavi period. This fifth century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water.

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal
As you walk in, you cannot but be overcome by a feeling of inner harmony. Such is the art and architecture and the spacial layout here. The 15th-century Palace of 55 Windows, situated to the left as you enter through the city gate, inspires admiration. In the fron tof the palace building is a medley of temples of vaious designs. The place entrance, Golden Gate is a masterpices in repousse art.

Thimi, Nepal
Thimi is situated 8 Km east of Kathmandu, is a farming town on the way of Bhaktapur. Wonderful temples and other religious shrines point its steers. It is known for the artistic masks and mud pots often seen spread out on the streets to dry in the sun. Handspun cotton cloth is another Thimi specialty.

The Gloden Gate, Nepal
Golden gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.

The Palace of 55 Windows
The Palace of 55 windows was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpieace of wood carving.

The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi
which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the “bell of barking dogs”. This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.

Nyatapola Temple, Nepal
This five-storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singini the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structureand subtle workmanship.

Bhairavnath Temple, Nepal
This temple was first built as a one-storey pagoda but later chaned into a three-storey temple in 1718 A.D. by king Bhupatindra Malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to Lord Bhairav the god of Terror.

Dattatraya Temple, Nepal
Built in 1427 A.D. this temple is said to have been built from trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.

Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal
Changu Narayan Temple is situated on a ridge overlooking the Valley, about 12 km to the east of the center city. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Bishnu. One of the finest and oldest specimens of pagoda architecture, the temple is embellished with exquisite wood and stone carvings. The sacred complex is a world heritage site.

Lalitpur

Krishna Mandir, Patan, Nepal
Built in the seventeenth century, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made of stone.

Hiranya Verna Mahavihar, Nepal
Located inside kwabadehal, this three story golden pagoda of Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by king Bhaskar Verma. Inside the upper story of the pagoda, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.

The Gloden Gate, Nepal
Golden gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.

Kumbheshwor Temple, Nepal
This fine tiered temple of Lord Shiva was built during the reign of King Jayasthiti Malla. A fair is held here on the Janai Poornima day in August.

Rudra Varna Mahavihar, Nepal
This unique Buddhist monastery contains fine and amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.

The Ashokan Stupas
There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 B.C. by Emperor Ashoka at the four corners of Patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. These stupas give evidence to the city’s ancient religious importance.

Temple of Machhendranath and Minnath
The pagoda of Red Machhendranath built in 1408 A.D. is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.

Patan Industrial Estate, Nepal
Patan Industrial Estate is situated at Lagankhel in Lalitpur (Patan) near Sat Dobato. This Industrial Estate is well known for Nepali handicrafts such as wood carvings, metal crafts, carpets and thangka paintings. For The convenience of The tourists there is a shopping arcade where all the handicraft products of the Estate are exhibited in the shopping arcade.

Mahaboudha, Nepal
A litle further east from Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteenth century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.

TIBETAN HANDICRAFT CENTER
This was originally set up as a Tibetan refugee camp but over the years, has been transformed by the refugees living there as a center for handicrafts. Things made here includes traditional crafts such as wooden masks, carpets, thankas, etc. Even today, these are all made in the same manner as they were made centuries ago.

Around Valley

Around Valley Places to See  
Kritipur, NepalKritipur is situated on a ridge 6 km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient township is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major sights here. Kirtipur offers quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares. The people are known for their skill in building and weaving.

Dakshinkali and Chobhar, Nepal
Dakshinkali and Chobhar. The temple of Dakshinkali is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and is one of the most popular places of worship in Kathmandu, located 22 km from the city center on the southern of the Valley past Pharping village, the shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. On the way back, stop at Chobhar gorge. The narrow gash in the hills was made by Lord Manjushree to drain out the lake which once covered the Valley.

BUNGAMATI, Nepal
A 16th century settlement where Machindra, a Rain God of India was invited to settle with his people at the time of a big draught. Later a shrine of Machendra was established at the place where the village of Bungamati now lies. Walking through this town reminds you of a life of 17th century human habitants.

SHANKHU, NEPAL
Shankhu, in the north-east part of the valley is famous for secret goddess, the Bajra Jogini who is believed to have persuaded Manjushree to drain the water of the lake which once occupied the Valley floor.

Nagarkot, Nepal (Mountain View Point)
Nagarkot is situated 32 krns east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2175 m above sea level. Nagarkot is a popular tourist destination of Nepal. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), can be seen from here. The Himalayan peaks like Manaslu (8463 in). Ganesh Hinial (7111 in), Langtang(7246 in), Choba Bhanre(60l6 in), Gaurishanker (7134 m) and number (6957 in), are also clearly seen from Nagarkot (weather permitting).

Daman, Nepal (Mountain View Point)
It is situated 80 kilometers south-west of Kathmandu, midway to Hetauda at an altitude of 2322m. Daman is located on the Tribhuvan Highway in between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. For the view of the breathtaking grandeur of the world’s highest peaks extending in one glittering are from far-west of Dhaulagiri to far-east of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) there is no better place than Daman. There is a view tower fitted with long range telescopes.

Daman is three hours by car or four hours by bus from Kathmandu. Unfortunately, there is only one bus a day in each direction. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is one of the most spectacular and grueling mountain-bike routes in the world.

Lumbini

Lumbini (The Birthplace of Gautam Buddha)
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha where the apostle of peace, compassion, non-violence and universal brotherhood was born in 624 B.C. It is the most sacred place of Buddhism and lies in the Terai about 250 km south west of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It is located near Bhairahawa domestic airport. Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. Further exploration and excavation of the surroundings area revealed the existence of a brick and sandstone sculpture within the temple itself, which depict the scenes of Buddha? birth.

Very recently, several Buddhist countries have built several beautiful shrines in Lumbini. An international committee has also been set up for the development of this sacred historical place.

The visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, the realm of the Shakya is not only for spiritual enlightenment but also for solace and satisfaction that one normally gets in a calm and peaceful place like it.
Kapilvastu

Kapilvastu
About twenty-five hundred and some years ago, Kapilvastu was a small republic situated beneath the Churia or Shiwalik range of the foothills of the Himalayas. At the time of the birth of Buddha, Suddhodana the father of Buddha was ruling in Kapilvastu as its chief or king. The first description of Kapilvastu is by the Chinese historian and pilgrim, Fa-hien who visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu in 403. A.D. When he reached the site, the city was marked by desolate ruins and mounds. A few monks and common people lived there. Excavation of Kapilvastu and the surroundings was started from 1899 and Kapilvastu was located in 1901. Proper excavations were conducted in 1967 and onward by the department of archaeology, His Majesty? Government (HMG). At this site the structural remains the palace of the king Suddhodana and several stupas were found. More important details are yet to be revealed after further excavations.

Kapilvastu is an important native place of Buddha where he spent his first 29 years of life. Kapilvastu is associated with several incidents of his life such as: meeting the sick person, meditation of Saint Asit, competition with Shakya youth, shooting of an arrow to cause the spring of water to gush out and so on. When Buddha got enlightenment in Bodhgaya at this place 500 Shakyas and 8 princes adopted Buddhism. At this place he preached his father and Son Rahul also.

Places to See In Lumbini

Lumbini
Lumbini – the birth place of Lord Buddha and the founder of Buddhism, known as Buddha or the enlightened one. This is confirmed by the existence of an inscribed pillar erected 318 years after the event by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka, who visited Lumbini in 245 BC and left a number of his famous inscribed pillars in the region.

Sacred Garden:
Which is spread over 8 sq.km possesses all the treasures of the historic area. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. This is the place where Lord Buddha was born. The site is marked by Ashoka Stone Pillar which has an engraved inscription identifying the spot as the birth place of LORD BUDDHA. On one side of the pillar is the MAYADEVI TEMPLE the temple of the mother of Lord Buddha. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing Foot Prints of Lord Buddha.

The Puskerni Pond: Located south of the Ashokan Pillar is the pond where Queen Mayadevi the mother of Lord Buddha is believed to have taken a bath before giving birth to LORD BUDDHA. Many countries have built TEMPLES , MONASTERIES OR STUPA in Sacred Garden in the international Monastery Zone and there has been global initiative to promote the place Lumbini.

Chinese Monastery: is a complex of Pagodas, & prayer rooms built by Buddhist Association of CHINA.

Korean Monastery: Contains beautiful images of Lord Buddha.

Royal Thai Monastery, The Royal Thai Monastery is located in the vicinity of the birthplace of the Buddha at the Lumbini Sacred Garden, Lumbini, Nepal. The construction has been funded by the Royal Thai Government and the devoted Thai Buddhists followers. The project was initiated to honour the celebration of commemorating the 50th Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the Throne.

Ashoka Pillar: The 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 . Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a “foot imprint”, indicating the exact place of birth.

The Lumbini Museum: located in the Cultural Zone, contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta fragments, and stone and metal sculptures. It also possesses an extensive collection of stamps from various countries depicting Lumbini and the Buddha.

Lumbini International Research Institude : located opposite to the Lumbini Museum , LIRI provides research facilities for the study of Buddhism and religion in general. Run jointly by the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) and the Reiyukai of Japan, LIRI contains numerous books on religion, philosophy, art and architecture.

Myanmar Monastery: The Myanmar Temple (Lokamani Cula Pagoda) is a gleaming gold and white structure gracefully soaring into the sky in the style of the Shwe-dagon Pagoda in Yangon . There is a monastery complex behind the temple. Nearby, the International Gautami Nuns Temple is a fine replica of the Swayambhu stupa in Kathm-andu. There is a pond here known as Paleswan Pukhu.

Peace Stupa: The Japan Peace Stupa is situated at the northern end of Lumbini. Built by the Nippon Jon Myohoji of Japan, the 41-m tall edifice is visible from a distance. Four different Buddha statues are set into the stupa’s dome to face the four cardinal directions. Sri Lanka , Vietnam , Thailand and Mongolia are also building temples in Lumbini.

Tilaurakot
Tilaurakot, 27 km to the west of Lumbini, contains the ruins of ancient Kapilvastu, capital of the Sakya kingdom where the Buddha spent his youth as Prince Siddhartha. At Niglihawa (8 km from Tilaurakot) and Gotihawa (5 km), there are broken Ashoka pillars and other relics. Devdaha, capital of the Koliya kingdom and maternal home of Mayadevi, lies 35 km to the northeast of Lumbini – just off the Butwal-Narayanghat section of the East-West Highway.

Kapilvastu
About twenty-five and some years ago, Kapilvastu was a small republic situated beneath the Churia or Shiwalik range of the foothills of the Himalayas . At the time of the birth of Buddha, Suddhodana the father of Buddha was ruling in Kapilvastu as its chief or king. The first description of Kapilvastu is by the Chinese historian and pilgrim, Fa-hien who visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu in 403. A.D. When he reached the site, the city was marked by desolate ruins and mounds. A few monks and common people lived there. Excavation of Kapilvastu and the surroundings was started from 1899 and Kapilvastu was located in 1901. Proper excavations were conducted in 1967 and onward by the department of archaeology, His Majesty? Government (HMG). At this site the structural remains the palace of the king Suddhodana and several stupas were found. More important details are yet to be revealed after further excavations.

Kapilvastu is an important native place of Buddha where he spent his first 29 years of life. Kapilvastu is associated with several incidents of his life such as: meeting the sick person, meditation of Saint Asit, competition with Shakya youth, shooting of an arrow to cause the spring of water to gush out and so on. When Buddha got enlightenment in Bodhgaya at this place 500 Shakyas and 8 princes adopted Buddhism. At this place he preached his father and Son Rahul also.

Kapilvastu Museum:
Kapilvastu Museum is situated 27 km west of Lumbini in the village of Tilaurakot . The museum holds coins, pottery and toys dating between the seventh century BC and fourth century AD. The museum also has good collection of jwellery and other ornaments of that period.

Devdaha, capital of the Koliya kingdom and maternal home of Mayadevi, lies 35 km to the northeast of Lumbini – just off the Butwal-Narayanghat section of the East-West Highway .

Gotihawa is in the Kapilvastu district, about 31 kilometers west of Lumbini. Gotihawa is regarded a very important religious place for Buddhists all over the world. It is believed that Krakuchanda Buddha, who came before Sakyamuni Buddha, was born and attained nirvana in Gotihawa.

Kudan is in about four and a half kilometers south of Tilaurakot. It is where King Suddhodhana met Lord Buddha.

Niglihawa is situated about 32 kilometers northwest of Lumbini. Emperor Ashoka visited Niglisagar during his pilgrimage, built a stupa and set up a pillar. It is believed that the Kanakmuni Buddha, who came earlier than Shakyamuni Buddha, was born, enlightened, and met his father in this place.

The Ramgram Kingdom was 60 kilometers to the east of the holy place of the Buddha’s birth. The King of Ramgram Kingdom was one of the eight Kings who obtained Buddha’s relics and he also built a pagoda, which is named Ramgram Pagoda.

Sagarhawa is in the northwest of Niglihawa. This site has been identified by archeologists as the “Palace of massacre of the Shakyas.”

Aroarakot: About 10 km northwest of Taulihawa there is a rectangular fortified area which is popularly known as Arourakot. The fortified area is identified by the famous Indian archaeologist P.C. Mukharji as the natal town of Kanakmuni Buddha . Remains of ancient moat and brick fortification around the Kot can still be clearly located. A brick lined well is seen to the south and elevated mound towards the northwest corner.

Buddhist Festivals


Buddha Purnima
– Buddhists remembering threefold events, the birth of Buddha in Lumbini, attainment of Buddhahood in Buddhagaya and his Parinirvana in Kusinara celebrate Buddha Purnima – Vesak which falls on full moon of May. Devotees go to religious places on this day freely as it is official holiday. Practising generosity, cultivating morality and contemplating on meditation is done in every Buddhist temples. Going to Swayambhu, displaying picture of Buddha outside the house, reciting devotional songs and Buddha’s relic procession are some of colourful events take in Nepal during this day.

Gunla – religious month in August when Buddhists visits Swayambhu daily for this month. It is considered as religious month. Playing Gunla drums, which is religious music, devotees visit Swayambhu and Buddhist shrines (Vaidya, which is displayed specially during this month in Baha and Bahis in Kathmandu Valley).

Vijaya dasami – Buddhists commemorate this day as a day of victory of peace. Emperor Asoka, who lived 2 century after the Buddha gave up weapon and known as Dhammasoka from Chandasoka. By listening to the novice monk the warrior Emperor Asoka became peaceful in his heart. After becoming devout to Buddhism he built shrines and pagodas across the India and Nepal. Thanks to his thoughtful action, stabilising pillars and rocks, today we know where the Buddha lived and taught the Dharma.

Mukha Astami – Annually during month of October-November at Pasupati, god Siva is covered by Buddha’s face and done rituals. For this day Pasupati becomes a Buddhist shrine. During this period Buddhists observe precepts (vrata) and participate in rituals.

Chaita Dasain – In the month of December-January Statue of Compassion (Janmadya, Karunamaya) is put in chariot taking in parade around the Kathmandu city. Fortnight before the Karunamaya is given bath, redrawn face. City parade with national troop takes a week. During this week chariot is stopped over night on the way to the Shrine where devotees visit and lit lamps and do offerings.

Panjaran – Give alms to shrines and Gurju (household monks) in Swayambhu and in household. Panjaran Bigu is time when devotees offer various foods to Gurjus.

Gorkha

Gorkha, Nepal
Gorkha is a scenic hill- town with great historical significance.
GORKHA (pop. 20,600) is a hill town 110 km east of Pokhara. It is 23 km from the turnoff at Abu Khaireni which lies about midway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. As the ancestral seat of the Shah dynasty and home of the original Gurkha soldiers, Gorkha is a national pilgrimage spot. Its centerpiece is the 17th-century Gorkha Durbar, which is a fort, a palace and a temple with excellent views of the Manaslu range. A side-trip to the hilltop temple of Manakamana is in order. It can be reached by hiking from Abu Khaireni (three hours) or by cable car from Cheres on the main highway (96 km from Pokhara). (Temperature 7-36 degrees Celsius.) King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified the kingdom of 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 mountain.

Then the 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.

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.

Gorkha Bazaar:
It is primarily a cobbled street market place where by people from neighboring hill dwellings come to trade. There are a few temples near about, but not much. Yet, it is worth a visit as it provides a very good vista of the quiet charm that soaks a typical hill village of Nepal.

Gorakhnath Cave:
Ten meters below the palace’s southern side, is the sacred cave temple of Gorkhanath. The cave is is carved out of the solid rock and is among the most important religious sites for mainstream Brahmins and Chhetris of Nepal.Gorkha is also an alternate starting point for a few trekking routes in the region. Gorkha-Trisuli is an easy three day walk along unspoiled Nepali country side. One can also walk a long day’s walk to Besishahar, which is the usual starting point for Annapurna and Manang area treks. One can also walk through Besishahar area to Pokhara in a four days.

Nepalgunj

Nepalgunj – Butwal – Bhairahawa, Nepal

Nepalgunj, Nepal
NEPALGUNJ: (pop. 48,000) is an industrial and trading center 199 km east of Dhangadhi. The Jai Bageswari temple marks the town center. It is the gateway to Royal Bardia National Park (95 km, three hours by car). After the safari, you should drive to Chisapani to view the 500-m long, single-tower bridge over the Karnali. Nepalgunj is the hub of air routes in western Nepal. (Temperature 5-44 degrees Celsius.)

Butwal
BUTWAL: (pop. 44,300) is a key crossroads and bazaar town on the East-West Highway. The road leading north goes to Tansen (39 km) and on to Syangja (plus 81 km) and Pokhara (plus 38 km). Other roads run south to Bhairahawa (24 km), west to Nepalgunj (271 km) and east to Bharatpur (114 km). The local people are mostly Gurungs and Thakalis.

Bhairahawa
BHAIRAHAWA: (pop. 39,500), located in the Terai 24 km south of Butwal, is the gateway to Lumbini (22 km). The road leading north from Bhairahawa intersects the East-West Highway at Butwal. Bhairahawa is a busy entry/exit point for overland visitors. From Sunauli on the Indian border, the rail junction of Gorakhapur is three hours by bus, from where there are trains to all over India. (Temperature 6-43 degrees Celsius.)

Central Nepal Tour

Kodari (Nepal-Tibet Border)
KODARI (pop. 3,100)
lies on the Nepal-China border 114 km north-east of Kathmandu at the end of the Arniko Highway. The village, situated beside the thundering Bhote Koshi river, was a stopover on the ancient trans-Himalayan caravan trail. The Arniko Highway offers an enjoyable drive, taking you through magnificent river gorges and mountain scenery. The Tatopani hot water springs are situated 3 km before Kodari. Most of the inhabitants in the area are Tamangs

Trisuli
TRISULI (pop. 18,700)
is 69 km north of Kathmandu over a winding mountain road (three hours’ drive). The town, located at the bottom of a ravine, is the site of a 21-megawatt hydro-electric project. (The dam is 13 km upstream at Tupche.) Nuwakot Durbar, a palace-fortress-temple complex built in 1762, sits atop a nearby hill (two-hour hike). In the old days, large garrisons were kept here because of its vital location commanding the ways to Gorkha, Pokhara and Tibet. Dhunche, 48 km to the north, is the trailhead to Gosaikund (two-day trek) and Langtang (three days). Most of the people here are Tamangs.

Dolkha, Nepal
DOLKHA (pop. 19,300)
is 133 km east of Kathmandu. The hill town is an ancient Newar settlement known for its shrine of Dolkha Bhimsen, patron deity of businessmen. It is 4 km from Charikot on the Lamosangu-Jiri Highway which branches off from the Arniko Highway. Dolkha, formerly a stopover on the old Tibet trail, offers superb views of Mt. Gauri Shanker. Treks to Rolwaling start here.

Jiri, Nepal
JIRI
is 110 km from the turnoff at Lamosangu on the Arniko Highway to Tibet (or 188 km from Kathmandu). The road winds up and down mountains passing through Brahmin, Chhetri and Tamang settlements. Jiri (elev. 1,860 m) is a picturesque village clinging to a hillside. The weekly market is held on Saturday. The people here are Jirels. It lies at the head of the classic trail to Everest, the route followed by Himalayan expeditions of old. Jiri to Namche Bazaar is a nine-day trek. (Temperature -6 to 28 degrees Celsius.)

Hetauda, Nepal
HETAUDA (pop. 54,000)
lies 128 km south of Kathmandu on the edge of the Himalayan foothills. It is linked by the Tribhuvan Highway, Nepal’s first highway built in 1956 and popularly known as Byroad. The scenic route climbs up and down endless hills, the high point being Sim Bhanjyang Pass (elev. 2,487 m). The Martyrs’ Memorial Park and the Hetauda Cement Factory are interesting visits. Makwanpur Gadhi, an historic fort, is 15 km from Hetauda. Parsa Wildlife Reserve, where you can go animal-viewing on elephant-back, is 25 km.

Birgunj
BIRGUNJ (pop. 69,000)
is a border town in the plains, 50 km south of Hetauda. It is an important industrial center and transit point for trade goods. Places to see include Vishuwa where Buddha idols are enshrined atop a wooded mound, the city park with a boating lake and the Birgunj Sugar Factory. Kathmandu to Birgunj is 178 km over the legendary Tribhuvan Highway. The detour via Bharatpur is 270 km. The nearest airport is Simara (25 km).

Janakpur

Janakpur is the capital of the ancient state of Mithila and 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. During this period, the city is enlivened by the wedding festivities.

Ram and Sita (Janaki) are the two central characters of the great Hindu epic Ramayan. In the story, Ram strings a bow that originally belonged to Lord Shiva the Destroyer and in the process, the bow breaks into three pieces. One piece flies up to heaven. Another falls down into the depths of the underworld. Today, there is a huge pond called Dhanush Sagar above the very spot. The third piece flies to present day Dhanushadham, about 40 kilometers from Janakpur. There, visitors will see huge rocks shaped liked a bow. Thus, after Ram’s successful attempt to string the bow, Janaki’s father, King Janak gives his daughter’s hand in marriage to the brave prince of Ayodhya.

Getting Around
Janakpur is manageable on foot and the lack of car makes it an absolute pleasure to walk Cycle rickshaws are plentiful and cheap, good for visiting the semi-rural suburbs of Janakpur, with their village feel and many water tanks.

Getting There
By “express” bus, Janakpur is 10 hours from Kathmandu, seven hours from Kakarbhitta , four hour from Raksul (Birjung) and five hour from Patna (Bihar, India). An easier way is to fly directly from Kathmandu which just takes around thirty to forty minutes. Flights from Kathmandu are almost daily by various airlines the airport is two kilometer south of town.

Accommodation and food
There isn’t much in the way of tourist hotels. But you will get some, even you can get good Dharma sala (like guest house), Hotel, Food is deliciously Indian influenced, with lot of sweets and vegetarian specialties for devout Hindus, though the lack of menus may reduce you to sign language or a point and eat system. Look around the bazaar or across from the Janaki Mandir for tea stalls, sweet shops and restaurants.

Biratnagar

Biratnagar-Dhankuta-Ilam-Kakarbhitta    
BIRATNAGAR (pop. 130,000) is an industrial center in the Terai. Nepal’s first large-scale industry, Biratnagar Jute Mills, was set up here in 1936. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (90-minute drive) is a bird watching spot. The Koshi Barrage on the Koshi river (two-hour drive) is an impressive sight. Biratnagar is the hub of air routes in eastern Nepal. (Temperature 8-39 degrees Celsius.)

Dhankuta, Nepal
DHANKUTA (pop. 17,000)
is 52 km north of Dharan. It is a charming hill town of cobbled streets and white-washed houses populated by Rais, Limbus and Newars. The villages to the north are starting points for treks to Makalu and Kanchenjunga. An excursion to Hile, 13 km north, is an opportunity to view the eastern Himalaya. Basantapur (elev. 2,200 m) is a large bazaar 35 km north of Dhankuta. It is situated on a ridge above Tanmaya Khola, and offers a view of the entire Kanchenjunga range. The road continues north up to Terhathum. (Temperature 5-30 degrees Celsius.)

Ilam, Nepal
ILAM (pop. 13,200)
is a hill town 83 km north of the intersection at Birtamod on the East-West Highway. Ilam is known for its tea gardens. Sacred sites include Mai Pokhari, where pilgrims take holy dips on Haribodhini Ekadasi (Oct.-Nov.), Maibeni which attracts ritual bathers on Makar Sankranti (Jan.) and Gajurmukhi where a fair is held on the Kartik full moon day (Oct.-Nov.). A number of hilltops around Ilam offer views of the Himalaya. The road winds north to Phidim (68 km) and on to Taplejung where there is an airport. Taplejung is the trailhead to Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. Limbus and Lepchas are the main ethnic groups here. (Temperature 6-31 degrees Celsius.)

Kakarbhitta, Nepal Kakarbhitta lies on the Nepal-India border at the eastern end of the 922-km long East-West Highway. From Kathmandu, it is a 610-km drive (13 hours). The boundary is marked by the grand Mechi river bridge. On the Indian side, Sikkim’s capital Gangtok is 146 km (a four-hour drive) and Darjeeling is 113 km (three hours).

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Overview

Kathmandu

Kathmandu Durbar Square
This complex of places, country yards, and temples built between the 12th and 18th used to be the seat of ancient malla kings of Kathmandu. An interesting object here is the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 language.

The durbar square protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. This is the social, religious and urban focal point of city. There are also museums inside the palace building.

Hanumandhoka (Durbar Square)
It is the historic seat of royalty. The durbar square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. Interesting things to see here are; Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A. D. Kal Bhairav, the God of destruction, Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chok, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and, the Jagannath Temple. On the right-hand corner, larger wooden latticescreen hides an enormous gilded face of Sweta Bhairav. The screen is removed only during the Indra Jatra festival.

There are also Numismatic Museum and Tribhuvan Museum inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace building. Photography is prohibited inside the museums. Both the museums remain . closed on Tuesdays and government holidays.

The Temple of Kumari (Kumari Ghar)
The temple or the residence of Living goddess, Kumari, is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has profusely carved wooden blaconies and window screens. The Kumari- the living Goddess, acknowledges the greetings from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited.

Kasthamandap, Nepal
Located near the temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple

Ashok Vinayak, Nepal
The small but a very important temple of Ashok Vinayak is situated behind the Kasthamandap also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh.

Swayambhu Stupa, Kathmandu
This is the second holiest place of Buddhism in Nepal. Swayambhunath is perched on hilltop over looking Kathmandu and is a complex of temples including Nepal? most famous landmark, this large stupa adorned with eyes watching over the Kathmandu valley.

Swayambhunath located 6.5 km west of Kathmandu is popularly called Swayambhu ?hich means self-existent”. This shrine is dedicated to the supreme Adi-Buddha. Its religious significance is also described in the Swayambhu Purana written in the 15th century.

This is a very holy shrine for Buddhist and is equally regarded as sacred by the Hindus as well.

It is dedicated to Bodhnath, the god of wisdom , and is located at the centre of Kathmandu Valley.

The stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist monastery in Nepal, establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Swayambhu is also known as Samhengu and is listed as a World Heritage Site. It watches over the Valley from the top of a hillock on its western side.

Bouddhanath Stupa, Nepal
Bouddlianath Stupa a world heritage site lies about 6km to the east of downtown Kathmandu is the largest stupa in the Valley. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design. Bouddhanath is also known as Rhasti. There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries In the area.

Pasupatinath Temple, Nepal
Pashupatinath Temple is the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world, lies 5 km east of the city center, is also world heritage site. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple’s existence prior to 400 AD. Devotees can he seen taking ritual dips in the holy Bagmati river flowing beside the temple.

Budhanilkantha, Nepal
About eight kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of Sivapuri hill is a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining of the bed of snakes. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of Lichchhavi period. This fifth century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water.

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal
As you walk in, you cannot but be overcome by a feeling of inner harmony. Such is the art and architecture and the spacial layout here. The 15th-century Palace of 55 Windows, situated to the left as you enter through the city gate, inspires admiration. In the fron tof the palace building is a medley of temples of vaious designs. The place entrance, Golden Gate is a masterpices in repousse art.

Thimi, Nepal
Thimi is situated 8 Km east of Kathmandu, is a farming town on the way of Bhaktapur. Wonderful temples and other religious shrines point its steers. It is known for the artistic masks and mud pots often seen spread out on the streets to dry in the sun. Handspun cotton cloth is another Thimi specialty.

The Gloden Gate, Nepal
Golden gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.

The Palace of 55 Windows
The Palace of 55 windows was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpieace of wood carving.

The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi
which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the “bell of barking dogs”. This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.

Nyatapola Temple, Nepal
This five-storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singini the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structureand subtle workmanship.

Bhairavnath Temple, Nepal
This temple was first built as a one-storey pagoda but later chaned into a three-storey temple in 1718 A.D. by king Bhupatindra Malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to Lord Bhairav the god of Terror.

Dattatraya Temple, Nepal
Built in 1427 A.D. this temple is said to have been built from trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.

Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal
Changu Narayan Temple is situated on a ridge overlooking the Valley, about 12 km to the east of the center city. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Bishnu. One of the finest and oldest specimens of pagoda architecture, the temple is embellished with exquisite wood and stone carvings. The sacred complex is a world heritage site.

Lalitpur

Krishna Mandir, Patan, Nepal
Built in the seventeenth century, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made of stone.

Hiranya Verna Mahavihar, Nepal
Located inside kwabadehal, this three story golden pagoda of Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by king Bhaskar Verma. Inside the upper story of the pagoda, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.

The Gloden Gate, Nepal
Golden gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.

Kumbheshwor Temple, Nepal
This fine tiered temple of Lord Shiva was built during the reign of King Jayasthiti Malla. A fair is held here on the Janai Poornima day in August.

Rudra Varna Mahavihar, Nepal
This unique Buddhist monastery contains fine and amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.

The Ashokan Stupas
There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 B.C. by Emperor Ashoka at the four corners of Patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. These stupas give evidence to the city’s ancient religious importance.

Temple of Machhendranath and Minnath
The pagoda of Red Machhendranath built in 1408 A.D. is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.

Patan Industrial Estate, Nepal
Patan Industrial Estate is situated at Lagankhel in Lalitpur (Patan) near Sat Dobato. This Industrial Estate is well known for Nepali handicrafts such as wood carvings, metal crafts, carpets and thangka paintings. For The convenience of The tourists there is a shopping arcade where all the handicraft products of the Estate are exhibited in the shopping arcade.

Mahaboudha, Nepal
A litle further east from Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteenth century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.

TIBETAN HANDICRAFT CENTER
This was originally set up as a Tibetan refugee camp but over the years, has been transformed by the refugees living there as a center for handicrafts. Things made here includes traditional crafts such as wooden masks, carpets, thankas, etc. Even today, these are all made in the same manner as they were made centuries ago.

Around Valley

Around Valley Places to See  
Kritipur, NepalKritipur is situated on a ridge 6 km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient township is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major sights here. Kirtipur offers quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares. The people are known for their skill in building and weaving.

Dakshinkali and Chobhar, Nepal
Dakshinkali and Chobhar. The temple of Dakshinkali is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and is one of the most popular places of worship in Kathmandu, located 22 km from the city center on the southern of the Valley past Pharping village, the shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. On the way back, stop at Chobhar gorge. The narrow gash in the hills was made by Lord Manjushree to drain out the lake which once covered the Valley.

BUNGAMATI, Nepal
A 16th century settlement where Machindra, a Rain God of India was invited to settle with his people at the time of a big draught. Later a shrine of Machendra was established at the place where the village of Bungamati now lies. Walking through this town reminds you of a life of 17th century human habitants.

SHANKHU, NEPAL
Shankhu, in the north-east part of the valley is famous for secret goddess, the Bajra Jogini who is believed to have persuaded Manjushree to drain the water of the lake which once occupied the Valley floor.

Nagarkot, Nepal (Mountain View Point)
Nagarkot is situated 32 krns east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2175 m above sea level. Nagarkot is a popular tourist destination of Nepal. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), can be seen from here. The Himalayan peaks like Manaslu (8463 in). Ganesh Hinial (7111 in), Langtang(7246 in), Choba Bhanre(60l6 in), Gaurishanker (7134 m) and number (6957 in), are also clearly seen from Nagarkot (weather permitting).

Daman, Nepal (Mountain View Point)
It is situated 80 kilometers south-west of Kathmandu, midway to Hetauda at an altitude of 2322m. Daman is located on the Tribhuvan Highway in between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. For the view of the breathtaking grandeur of the world’s highest peaks extending in one glittering are from far-west of Dhaulagiri to far-east of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) there is no better place than Daman. There is a view tower fitted with long range telescopes.

Daman is three hours by car or four hours by bus from Kathmandu. Unfortunately, there is only one bus a day in each direction. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is one of the most spectacular and grueling mountain-bike routes in the world.

Lumbini

Lumbini (The Birthplace of Gautam Buddha)
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha where the apostle of peace, compassion, non-violence and universal brotherhood was born in 624 B.C. It is the most sacred place of Buddhism and lies in the Terai about 250 km south west of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It is located near Bhairahawa domestic airport. Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. Further exploration and excavation of the surroundings area revealed the existence of a brick and sandstone sculpture within the temple itself, which depict the scenes of Buddha? birth.

Very recently, several Buddhist countries have built several beautiful shrines in Lumbini. An international committee has also been set up for the development of this sacred historical place.

The visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, the realm of the Shakya is not only for spiritual enlightenment but also for solace and satisfaction that one normally gets in a calm and peaceful place like it.
Kapilvastu

Kapilvastu
About twenty-five hundred and some years ago, Kapilvastu was a small republic situated beneath the Churia or Shiwalik range of the foothills of the Himalayas. At the time of the birth of Buddha, Suddhodana the father of Buddha was ruling in Kapilvastu as its chief or king. The first description of Kapilvastu is by the Chinese historian and pilgrim, Fa-hien who visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu in 403. A.D. When he reached the site, the city was marked by desolate ruins and mounds. A few monks and common people lived there. Excavation of Kapilvastu and the surroundings was started from 1899 and Kapilvastu was located in 1901. Proper excavations were conducted in 1967 and onward by the department of archaeology, His Majesty? Government (HMG). At this site the structural remains the palace of the king Suddhodana and several stupas were found. More important details are yet to be revealed after further excavations.

Kapilvastu is an important native place of Buddha where he spent his first 29 years of life. Kapilvastu is associated with several incidents of his life such as: meeting the sick person, meditation of Saint Asit, competition with Shakya youth, shooting of an arrow to cause the spring of water to gush out and so on. When Buddha got enlightenment in Bodhgaya at this place 500 Shakyas and 8 princes adopted Buddhism. At this place he preached his father and Son Rahul also.

Places to See In Lumbini

Lumbini
Lumbini – the birth place of Lord Buddha and the founder of Buddhism, known as Buddha or the enlightened one. This is confirmed by the existence of an inscribed pillar erected 318 years after the event by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka, who visited Lumbini in 245 BC and left a number of his famous inscribed pillars in the region.

Sacred Garden:
Which is spread over 8 sq.km possesses all the treasures of the historic area. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. This is the place where Lord Buddha was born. The site is marked by Ashoka Stone Pillar which has an engraved inscription identifying the spot as the birth place of LORD BUDDHA. On one side of the pillar is the MAYADEVI TEMPLE the temple of the mother of Lord Buddha. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing Foot Prints of Lord Buddha.

The Puskerni Pond: Located south of the Ashokan Pillar is the pond where Queen Mayadevi the mother of Lord Buddha is believed to have taken a bath before giving birth to LORD BUDDHA. Many countries have built TEMPLES , MONASTERIES OR STUPA in Sacred Garden in the international Monastery Zone and there has been global initiative to promote the place Lumbini.

Chinese Monastery: is a complex of Pagodas, & prayer rooms built by Buddhist Association of CHINA.

Korean Monastery: Contains beautiful images of Lord Buddha.

Royal Thai Monastery, The Royal Thai Monastery is located in the vicinity of the birthplace of the Buddha at the Lumbini Sacred Garden, Lumbini, Nepal. The construction has been funded by the Royal Thai Government and the devoted Thai Buddhists followers. The project was initiated to honour the celebration of commemorating the 50th Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the Throne.

Ashoka Pillar: The 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 . Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a “foot imprint”, indicating the exact place of birth.

The Lumbini Museum: located in the Cultural Zone, contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta fragments, and stone and metal sculptures. It also possesses an extensive collection of stamps from various countries depicting Lumbini and the Buddha.

Lumbini International Research Institude : located opposite to the Lumbini Museum , LIRI provides research facilities for the study of Buddhism and religion in general. Run jointly by the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) and the Reiyukai of Japan, LIRI contains numerous books on religion, philosophy, art and architecture.

Myanmar Monastery: The Myanmar Temple (Lokamani Cula Pagoda) is a gleaming gold and white structure gracefully soaring into the sky in the style of the Shwe-dagon Pagoda in Yangon . There is a monastery complex behind the temple. Nearby, the International Gautami Nuns Temple is a fine replica of the Swayambhu stupa in Kathm-andu. There is a pond here known as Paleswan Pukhu.

Peace Stupa: The Japan Peace Stupa is situated at the northern end of Lumbini. Built by the Nippon Jon Myohoji of Japan, the 41-m tall edifice is visible from a distance. Four different Buddha statues are set into the stupa’s dome to face the four cardinal directions. Sri Lanka , Vietnam , Thailand and Mongolia are also building temples in Lumbini.

Tilaurakot
Tilaurakot, 27 km to the west of Lumbini, contains the ruins of ancient Kapilvastu, capital of the Sakya kingdom where the Buddha spent his youth as Prince Siddhartha. At Niglihawa (8 km from Tilaurakot) and Gotihawa (5 km), there are broken Ashoka pillars and other relics. Devdaha, capital of the Koliya kingdom and maternal home of Mayadevi, lies 35 km to the northeast of Lumbini – just off the Butwal-Narayanghat section of the East-West Highway.

Kapilvastu
About twenty-five and some years ago, Kapilvastu was a small republic situated beneath the Churia or Shiwalik range of the foothills of the Himalayas . At the time of the birth of Buddha, Suddhodana the father of Buddha was ruling in Kapilvastu as its chief or king. The first description of Kapilvastu is by the Chinese historian and pilgrim, Fa-hien who visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu in 403. A.D. When he reached the site, the city was marked by desolate ruins and mounds. A few monks and common people lived there. Excavation of Kapilvastu and the surroundings was started from 1899 and Kapilvastu was located in 1901. Proper excavations were conducted in 1967 and onward by the department of archaeology, His Majesty? Government (HMG). At this site the structural remains the palace of the king Suddhodana and several stupas were found. More important details are yet to be revealed after further excavations.

Kapilvastu is an important native place of Buddha where he spent his first 29 years of life. Kapilvastu is associated with several incidents of his life such as: meeting the sick person, meditation of Saint Asit, competition with Shakya youth, shooting of an arrow to cause the spring of water to gush out and so on. When Buddha got enlightenment in Bodhgaya at this place 500 Shakyas and 8 princes adopted Buddhism. At this place he preached his father and Son Rahul also.

Kapilvastu Museum:
Kapilvastu Museum is situated 27 km west of Lumbini in the village of Tilaurakot . The museum holds coins, pottery and toys dating between the seventh century BC and fourth century AD. The museum also has good collection of jwellery and other ornaments of that period.

Devdaha, capital of the Koliya kingdom and maternal home of Mayadevi, lies 35 km to the northeast of Lumbini – just off the Butwal-Narayanghat section of the East-West Highway .

Gotihawa is in the Kapilvastu district, about 31 kilometers west of Lumbini. Gotihawa is regarded a very important religious place for Buddhists all over the world. It is believed that Krakuchanda Buddha, who came before Sakyamuni Buddha, was born and attained nirvana in Gotihawa.

Kudan is in about four and a half kilometers south of Tilaurakot. It is where King Suddhodhana met Lord Buddha.

Niglihawa is situated about 32 kilometers northwest of Lumbini. Emperor Ashoka visited Niglisagar during his pilgrimage, built a stupa and set up a pillar. It is believed that the Kanakmuni Buddha, who came earlier than Shakyamuni Buddha, was born, enlightened, and met his father in this place.

The Ramgram Kingdom was 60 kilometers to the east of the holy place of the Buddha’s birth. The King of Ramgram Kingdom was one of the eight Kings who obtained Buddha’s relics and he also built a pagoda, which is named Ramgram Pagoda.

Sagarhawa is in the northwest of Niglihawa. This site has been identified by archeologists as the “Palace of massacre of the Shakyas.”

Aroarakot: About 10 km northwest of Taulihawa there is a rectangular fortified area which is popularly known as Arourakot. The fortified area is identified by the famous Indian archaeologist P.C. Mukharji as the natal town of Kanakmuni Buddha . Remains of ancient moat and brick fortification around the Kot can still be clearly located. A brick lined well is seen to the south and elevated mound towards the northwest corner.

Buddhist Festivals


Buddha Purnima
– Buddhists remembering threefold events, the birth of Buddha in Lumbini, attainment of Buddhahood in Buddhagaya and his Parinirvana in Kusinara celebrate Buddha Purnima – Vesak which falls on full moon of May. Devotees go to religious places on this day freely as it is official holiday. Practising generosity, cultivating morality and contemplating on meditation is done in every Buddhist temples. Going to Swayambhu, displaying picture of Buddha outside the house, reciting devotional songs and Buddha’s relic procession are some of colourful events take in Nepal during this day.

Gunla – religious month in August when Buddhists visits Swayambhu daily for this month. It is considered as religious month. Playing Gunla drums, which is religious music, devotees visit Swayambhu and Buddhist shrines (Vaidya, which is displayed specially during this month in Baha and Bahis in Kathmandu Valley).

Vijaya dasami – Buddhists commemorate this day as a day of victory of peace. Emperor Asoka, who lived 2 century after the Buddha gave up weapon and known as Dhammasoka from Chandasoka. By listening to the novice monk the warrior Emperor Asoka became peaceful in his heart. After becoming devout to Buddhism he built shrines and pagodas across the India and Nepal. Thanks to his thoughtful action, stabilising pillars and rocks, today we know where the Buddha lived and taught the Dharma.

Mukha Astami – Annually during month of October-November at Pasupati, god Siva is covered by Buddha’s face and done rituals. For this day Pasupati becomes a Buddhist shrine. During this period Buddhists observe precepts (vrata) and participate in rituals.

Chaita Dasain – In the month of December-January Statue of Compassion (Janmadya, Karunamaya) is put in chariot taking in parade around the Kathmandu city. Fortnight before the Karunamaya is given bath, redrawn face. City parade with national troop takes a week. During this week chariot is stopped over night on the way to the Shrine where devotees visit and lit lamps and do offerings.

Panjaran – Give alms to shrines and Gurju (household monks) in Swayambhu and in household. Panjaran Bigu is time when devotees offer various foods to Gurjus.

Gorkha

Gorkha, Nepal
Gorkha is a scenic hill- town with great historical significance.
GORKHA (pop. 20,600) is a hill town 110 km east of Pokhara. It is 23 km from the turnoff at Abu Khaireni which lies about midway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. As the ancestral seat of the Shah dynasty and home of the original Gurkha soldiers, Gorkha is a national pilgrimage spot. Its centerpiece is the 17th-century Gorkha Durbar, which is a fort, a palace and a temple with excellent views of the Manaslu range. A side-trip to the hilltop temple of Manakamana is in order. It can be reached by hiking from Abu Khaireni (three hours) or by cable car from Cheres on the main highway (96 km from Pokhara). (Temperature 7-36 degrees Celsius.) King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified the kingdom of 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 mountain.

Then the 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.

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.

Gorkha Bazaar:
It is primarily a cobbled street market place where by people from neighboring hill dwellings come to trade. There are a few temples near about, but not much. Yet, it is worth a visit as it provides a very good vista of the quiet charm that soaks a typical hill village of Nepal.

Gorakhnath Cave:
Ten meters below the palace’s southern side, is the sacred cave temple of Gorkhanath. The cave is is carved out of the solid rock and is among the most important religious sites for mainstream Brahmins and Chhetris of Nepal.Gorkha is also an alternate starting point for a few trekking routes in the region. Gorkha-Trisuli is an easy three day walk along unspoiled Nepali country side. One can also walk a long day’s walk to Besishahar, which is the usual starting point for Annapurna and Manang area treks. One can also walk through Besishahar area to Pokhara in a four days.

Nepalgunj

Nepalgunj – Butwal – Bhairahawa, Nepal

Nepalgunj, Nepal
NEPALGUNJ: (pop. 48,000) is an industrial and trading center 199 km east of Dhangadhi. The Jai Bageswari temple marks the town center. It is the gateway to Royal Bardia National Park (95 km, three hours by car). After the safari, you should drive to Chisapani to view the 500-m long, single-tower bridge over the Karnali. Nepalgunj is the hub of air routes in western Nepal. (Temperature 5-44 degrees Celsius.)

Butwal
BUTWAL: (pop. 44,300) is a key crossroads and bazaar town on the East-West Highway. The road leading north goes to Tansen (39 km) and on to Syangja (plus 81 km) and Pokhara (plus 38 km). Other roads run south to Bhairahawa (24 km), west to Nepalgunj (271 km) and east to Bharatpur (114 km). The local people are mostly Gurungs and Thakalis.

Bhairahawa
BHAIRAHAWA: (pop. 39,500), located in the Terai 24 km south of Butwal, is the gateway to Lumbini (22 km). The road leading north from Bhairahawa intersects the East-West Highway at Butwal. Bhairahawa is a busy entry/exit point for overland visitors. From Sunauli on the Indian border, the rail junction of Gorakhapur is three hours by bus, from where there are trains to all over India. (Temperature 6-43 degrees Celsius.)

Central Nepal Tour

Kodari (Nepal-Tibet Border)
KODARI (pop. 3,100)
lies on the Nepal-China border 114 km north-east of Kathmandu at the end of the Arniko Highway. The village, situated beside the thundering Bhote Koshi river, was a stopover on the ancient trans-Himalayan caravan trail. The Arniko Highway offers an enjoyable drive, taking you through magnificent river gorges and mountain scenery. The Tatopani hot water springs are situated 3 km before Kodari. Most of the inhabitants in the area are Tamangs

Trisuli
TRISULI (pop. 18,700)
is 69 km north of Kathmandu over a winding mountain road (three hours’ drive). The town, located at the bottom of a ravine, is the site of a 21-megawatt hydro-electric project. (The dam is 13 km upstream at Tupche.) Nuwakot Durbar, a palace-fortress-temple complex built in 1762, sits atop a nearby hill (two-hour hike). In the old days, large garrisons were kept here because of its vital location commanding the ways to Gorkha, Pokhara and Tibet. Dhunche, 48 km to the north, is the trailhead to Gosaikund (two-day trek) and Langtang (three days). Most of the people here are Tamangs.

Dolkha, Nepal
DOLKHA (pop. 19,300)
is 133 km east of Kathmandu. The hill town is an ancient Newar settlement known for its shrine of Dolkha Bhimsen, patron deity of businessmen. It is 4 km from Charikot on the Lamosangu-Jiri Highway which branches off from the Arniko Highway. Dolkha, formerly a stopover on the old Tibet trail, offers superb views of Mt. Gauri Shanker. Treks to Rolwaling start here.

Jiri, Nepal
JIRI
is 110 km from the turnoff at Lamosangu on the Arniko Highway to Tibet (or 188 km from Kathmandu). The road winds up and down mountains passing through Brahmin, Chhetri and Tamang settlements. Jiri (elev. 1,860 m) is a picturesque village clinging to a hillside. The weekly market is held on Saturday. The people here are Jirels. It lies at the head of the classic trail to Everest, the route followed by Himalayan expeditions of old. Jiri to Namche Bazaar is a nine-day trek. (Temperature -6 to 28 degrees Celsius.)

Hetauda, Nepal
HETAUDA (pop. 54,000)
lies 128 km south of Kathmandu on the edge of the Himalayan foothills. It is linked by the Tribhuvan Highway, Nepal’s first highway built in 1956 and popularly known as Byroad. The scenic route climbs up and down endless hills, the high point being Sim Bhanjyang Pass (elev. 2,487 m). The Martyrs’ Memorial Park and the Hetauda Cement Factory are interesting visits. Makwanpur Gadhi, an historic fort, is 15 km from Hetauda. Parsa Wildlife Reserve, where you can go animal-viewing on elephant-back, is 25 km.

Birgunj
BIRGUNJ (pop. 69,000)
is a border town in the plains, 50 km south of Hetauda. It is an important industrial center and transit point for trade goods. Places to see include Vishuwa where Buddha idols are enshrined atop a wooded mound, the city park with a boating lake and the Birgunj Sugar Factory. Kathmandu to Birgunj is 178 km over the legendary Tribhuvan Highway. The detour via Bharatpur is 270 km. The nearest airport is Simara (25 km).

Janakpur

Janakpur is the capital of the ancient state of Mithila and 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. During this period, the city is enlivened by the wedding festivities.

Ram and Sita (Janaki) are the two central characters of the great Hindu epic Ramayan. In the story, Ram strings a bow that originally belonged to Lord Shiva the Destroyer and in the process, the bow breaks into three pieces. One piece flies up to heaven. Another falls down into the depths of the underworld. Today, there is a huge pond called Dhanush Sagar above the very spot. The third piece flies to present day Dhanushadham, about 40 kilometers from Janakpur. There, visitors will see huge rocks shaped liked a bow. Thus, after Ram’s successful attempt to string the bow, Janaki’s father, King Janak gives his daughter’s hand in marriage to the brave prince of Ayodhya.

Getting Around
Janakpur is manageable on foot and the lack of car makes it an absolute pleasure to walk Cycle rickshaws are plentiful and cheap, good for visiting the semi-rural suburbs of Janakpur, with their village feel and many water tanks.

Getting There
By “express” bus, Janakpur is 10 hours from Kathmandu, seven hours from Kakarbhitta , four hour from Raksul (Birjung) and five hour from Patna (Bihar, India). An easier way is to fly directly from Kathmandu which just takes around thirty to forty minutes. Flights from Kathmandu are almost daily by various airlines the airport is two kilometer south of town.

Accommodation and food
There isn’t much in the way of tourist hotels. But you will get some, even you can get good Dharma sala (like guest house), Hotel, Food is deliciously Indian influenced, with lot of sweets and vegetarian specialties for devout Hindus, though the lack of menus may reduce you to sign language or a point and eat system. Look around the bazaar or across from the Janaki Mandir for tea stalls, sweet shops and restaurants.

Biratnagar

Biratnagar-Dhankuta-Ilam-Kakarbhitta    
BIRATNAGAR (pop. 130,000) is an industrial center in the Terai. Nepal’s first large-scale industry, Biratnagar Jute Mills, was set up here in 1936. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (90-minute drive) is a bird watching spot. The Koshi Barrage on the Koshi river (two-hour drive) is an impressive sight. Biratnagar is the hub of air routes in eastern Nepal. (Temperature 8-39 degrees Celsius.)

Dhankuta, Nepal
DHANKUTA (pop. 17,000)
is 52 km north of Dharan. It is a charming hill town of cobbled streets and white-washed houses populated by Rais, Limbus and Newars. The villages to the north are starting points for treks to Makalu and Kanchenjunga. An excursion to Hile, 13 km north, is an opportunity to view the eastern Himalaya. Basantapur (elev. 2,200 m) is a large bazaar 35 km north of Dhankuta. It is situated on a ridge above Tanmaya Khola, and offers a view of the entire Kanchenjunga range. The road continues north up to Terhathum. (Temperature 5-30 degrees Celsius.)

Ilam, Nepal
ILAM (pop. 13,200)
is a hill town 83 km north of the intersection at Birtamod on the East-West Highway. Ilam is known for its tea gardens. Sacred sites include Mai Pokhari, where pilgrims take holy dips on Haribodhini Ekadasi (Oct.-Nov.), Maibeni which attracts ritual bathers on Makar Sankranti (Jan.) and Gajurmukhi where a fair is held on the Kartik full moon day (Oct.-Nov.). A number of hilltops around Ilam offer views of the Himalaya. The road winds north to Phidim (68 km) and on to Taplejung where there is an airport. Taplejung is the trailhead to Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. Limbus and Lepchas are the main ethnic groups here. (Temperature 6-31 degrees Celsius.)

Kakarbhitta, Nepal Kakarbhitta lies on the Nepal-India border at the eastern end of the 922-km long East-West Highway. From Kathmandu, it is a 610-km drive (13 hours). The boundary is marked by the grand Mechi river bridge. On the Indian side, Sikkim’s capital Gangtok is 146 km (a four-hour drive) and Darjeeling is 113 km (three hours).

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    Bhote Koshi River Rafting

    2 days
    Bhotekoshi is one of the most fast flowing river and action-packed canyon river for short rafting trips in Nepal, providing continuous, challenging rapids from start to finish. Bhote koshi is known as the river from tibet which is one of the steepest river for rafting in Nepal. It is the best river for rafting in Nepal and also best for white water…
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  • Seti River Rafting

    Seti River Rafting

    4 days
    Seti River is beautiful passes through stunning jungle scenery tremendous excitement of white water rafting, forested canyons and wonderful villages. Seti river rafting is the best adventure in Nepal. Five to Rafting put-in point, Damauli, is about 5 hours drive from Kathmandu. It ends at Gaighat from where you can either drive back to Kathmandu or…
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  • Karnali River Rafting

    Karnali River Rafting

    12 days
    Karnali river rafting is one of the finest big volume rafting and kayaking trips in Nepal. The Karnali river is the best white water rafting as it is a perennial, torrential, turbulent and undisturbed river of the Himalayas, which is one of the three major rivers of Nepal, the other two being Gandaki or Narayani River and Sapta koshi River. It originates…
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  • Sunkoshi River Rafting

    Sunkoshi River Rafting

    10 days
    Sunkoshi River rafting in Nepal is the most raft trips start at Dolalghat your raft 'put-in-point' covering the distance of 57kms in about 3 hrs. Your excitement starts and ends only after you covered 210kms of wild stretches calm flows through high rock strewn passages eventually emerging form the mountains to the flat plains of southern Nepal. One of…
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  • Kaligandaki River Rafting

    Kaligandaki River Rafting

    3 days
    Kali gandaki river rafting in Nepal is a wonderful adventure in Nepal. Kali begins its journey high on the Tibetan plateau in the kingdom of Mustang. Using the Deepest gorge in the world that is formed between the Mt. Annapurna (8346m) Massif and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8046m) and named after the ferocious goddess kali, the kali the Gandaki is one of Nepal's very…
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  • Trishuli River Rafting

    Trishuli River Rafting

    2 days
    Nepal is one of the beautiful destinations for tourist who want to explore the true nature with adventurous trip and trek in Nepal. Among them, white water rafting is also one of the adventurous activities for the fun and adventure seekers. Among them, Trishuli River rafting is one of the most popular white water rafting in Nepal because…
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