Interesting places to see around Nepal
A hub for the adventure-lovers and home to Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest peak, Nepal is a Himalayan country sandwiched between India and China. The mighty snow-capped mountains here such as Annapurna, Mount Everest, Manaslu, and Kanchenjunga are home to some of the best trekking trails in the world. Nepal is also a major religious hub with its many pilgrimage sites for the followers of Buddhism and Hinduism like the Pashupatinath Temple and the Boudhanath Stupa. Lumbini, a small Buddhist hub in Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. To make things better, the crime rates are very low, making it a very safe travel destination.
Pokhara, the ‘Tourist Capital of Nepal,’ is the second-largest city in this Himalayan country, after Kathmandu. At an altitude of more than 900m, it is one of the highest cities, making it the base for many world-famous treks. The highlight of the town is its Lakeside, which is a boating paradise flanked with charming shops, dreamy cafés, restaurants and pubs that make up this postcard-perfect town.
Kathmandu, the city of peace, lives true to this description. The city is charming, busy, bustling, serene, alive and asleep – all at once. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the most accessible city in the country – it is Nepal’s only metropolitan city as well. From buying trekking equipment in Thamel or taking a rickshaw ride through traffic-packed alleys of the old part of the city or simply visiting the fascinating buildings in Durbar Squares, Kathmandu is truly a place filled with warmth.
Located at a mere 28-kilometre drive away from Kathmandu, Nagarkot offers one of the best views of the Himalayas in the entire region as it has an altitude of 7000 feet (2000 metres)! Perched at the edge of Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot gives you one of the widest panoramas of the Himalayan ranges – you can spot 8 out of the 13 Himalayan ranges from the comfort of your hotel. The mighty Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang, Jugal, Everest, Numbur, Ganesh Himal and the Rolwaling ranges can be seen from Nagarkot on a clear day!
Bhaktapur is one of three medieval cities in the Kathmandu Valley, the other two being Kathmandu and Patan. It is often referred to as Bhadgaon and Khwopa and has a mix of Hindu and Buddhist population. This city is located around 12 kilometres from the capital city of Kathmandu and is divided into three squares, each of them filled with temples and other religious structures. Entry to this town, however, is not free and visitors need to pay a town entry fee of NPR 1500. This goes into the maintenance of the temples in Bhaktapur.
Sagarmatha National Park is a wildlife reserve that is well known to people for its location which is dominated by Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Eastern Nepal. The location, which is in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal, has been visited by tourists since the 1960s, although it was officially established in the year 1976, people have been flocking the area increased over the years because of the stunning scenery and the adventurous trails for trekking and hiking.
Nestled in the Himalayas near the Indian border, the beautiful town of Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a plethora of ancient stupas dating back to 2000 years and monasteries that were built by past dynasties. People come here from all over the world to this abode of Buddhism to study scriptures, meditate, practise yoga, trek, learn more about Buddhism and find inner peace. ‘Lumbini’ literally means ‘The Lovely’ in Sanskrit, and true to its name it stands!
Patan is the third-largest city in Nepal right after Kathmandu and Pokhara. It is presently known as Lalitpur. Both names are derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Lalitapattan’. The city is located just across the river Bagmati from Kathmandu. Patan has a Durbar Square that is full of statues, temples, and palaces. In addition, Durbar Square also has the ‘Patan museum’ which is a must-see attraction. It is a traditional centre for handicrafts and is also a place to purchase traditional jewellery, Buddha statues and masks.
Dharan is a city located near the Southeastern border of India and is a replica of Indian culture and tradition. Dharan is the gateway to the Mahabharat hills and is one of the biggest pilgrimage locations in Nepal. This low-lying hilly region is extremely clean, colourful and culturally diverse as well as a centre for football in Nepal, hence it being called ‘mini-Brazil’. Located in the Sunsari District of Eastern Nepal, the city does not have extreme climates, making it a pleasant destination for tourists throughout the year.
Biratnagar is a metropolitan city located near the Indian border and is the capital city of Province No.1 in Nepal. Biratnagar is popular for its Jute Mills – the first large scale industry of Nepal and the famous Kali Mandir that holds high religious importance in Hinduism in the country. Named after King Virat, the city serves as the entrance point to multiple destinations of Eastern Nepal such as Baraha Chhetra and Ilam. Bustling weekly markets are held here in different areas of Biratnagar which a tourist attraction as spices and handicrafts are sold here.
Janakpur is a city in Nepal which is believed to be the birthplace of Goddess Sita and the place of her marriage with Lord Ram. Also known as the City of Ponds, Janakpur boasts of more than seventy ponds that dot its verdant landscape. Here you can learn more about the ancient and revered Hindu epic, the Ramayana and its significance today. Visit the actual sites mentioned in the great epic and listen to local lore as well!
Birgunj is a Nepali city which is based near the border of the Indian state of Bihar. It is a major point of entry for Indian goods trade. Birgunj also receives the goods coming in from the port of Kolkata. Located in the Terai region, Birgunj is the second-largest city after Biratnagar and the sixth most populated metropolis in Nepal.
Mustang is known for its trekking tours and mountain sightseeing. Elevated at an altitude of 3840 kilometres, this city is divided into two parts: Lower and Upper Mustang. Even though it is relatively unexplored, this city is a great destination for those who want to immerse in Tibetan culture as well as in Nepalese lifestyle as it is located near the Tibetan Plateau.
Kathmandu Valley is the capital city of Nepal. Located at the country’s centre, Kathmandu Valley spreads over 600 square kilometres. Kathmandu Valley holds the Kingdom’s three largest cities, including Kathmandu and contains several small towns and villages. This valley has been a great tourist attraction as it has more than 130 historical monuments, including pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. Being the most crowded area in Nepal, Kathmandu Valley has seven World Heritage Sites designated, which are worth spending time and exploring. It is an economic epicentre of Nepal and is rich with industries, natural beauty and tourism hotspots. In the aftermath of the earthquake in 2015, the valley has restored most of its tourist monuments and infrastructure.
Located in the Khumbu area of the Solukhumbu district in north-eastern Nepal, Lukla is a small town perched at the height of 2,860 metres above the sea level. While many would describe the place to be just an airport and a strip of hotels, this quaint little town definitely offers much more than that. With the development of the airport here, Lukla started to gain more and more popularity, and today it has become a popular place for tourists who further wish to visit the Himalayas. In fact, once trekkers reach Lukla, they will need only two additional days to reach the village Namche Bazaar, which is an altitude acclimatisation stop for those who are planning to continue further on. However, trekking is not the only thing that this town is famous for. It is also reputed, (or rather notorious!) for being one of the scariest airports all across the world, which has one of the most dangerous landings. That being said, one cannot deny that this airstrip has made the Everest region accessible to numerous people, and many more and not just mountaineers can now explore the beauty and grandeur of this place.
Located some 32 kilometres away from the capital Kathmandu, Panauti is a leftover reminiscence of a time long bygone. The word ”Panauti’ in Hindi means ‘unlucky’, and for some reason unknown, it sits perfectly well with the historical background of this medieval city. At one glance, the town of Panauti is a melancholic chock-a-block of wooden houses, public halls, temples and shops, all nestled together resembling the shape of a fish in the laps of Himalayan greenery. Though still dotted with enough places worth mentioning, there is a feeling of decay spread all across the once prosperous town.
The word Manaslu comes from the Sanskrit word manas, which means a person’s soul, and Mount Manaslu can be reflected as exactly that – the mountain of the soul. Despite all the chaotic craze around mountain trekking that Nepal experiences every season, Manaslu has surprisingly held on to its pristine, untarnished beauty. Rising from a rugged terrain of ridges and frozen valleys, the double peaks of Manaslu heads up into the brilliant blue sky like a proud guardian looking over the Gorkha district.
The thing about Nepal is that you can never run out of spiritual places to visit. And yet most of them are old temples with the same archaic architecture and follows a typical path of devotion. Shashwat Dham, on the other hand, is completely different, both in terms of ambience and philosophy practised in the establishment. In the calm and composed premises of Shashwat Dham, spirituality finds a new home and an evolved meaning altogether. The temple and ashram complex is located in the beautiful surroundings of Devchuli region of Nawalprasi district in south-central Nepal, on the east-west Mahendra Highway only 23 kilometres from the twin city of Bharatpur-Narayangarh. The sprawling expanse of Shashwat Dham spreads over 12 acres of land. Given the central shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva, this could be a subtle token of reference to the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva that we know of.
Located in the south-west of the capital city Kathmandu, Chandragiri Hill is one of Nepal’s most loved day-trip destinations. Locals, expats and tourists alike visit this place for an exhilarating experience and some lovely memories are made in the wake. The main destination of Chandragiri Hill is the mountaintop, from where spectacular views of the great Himalayan mountain ranges can be seen. The crisp cold weather would envelop you, as only the snow-covered crests of numerous mountain massifs raise their head above the cloudy mist and the green valley of Kathmandu lies at the bottom, looking beautiful and glorious.
Located at 2322 metres above the sea level in the Thaha Municipality of Nepal, Daman has inarguably the best view of the Himalayan range in the entire country. On the best of days, the whole stretch from Mount Dhaulagiri in the west to Mount Everest in the east can be seen perfectly. The snow-crested tops of the greatest mountains in the world rise above the misty cloud and grace the skyline of Daman. This simple site is proof to the fact that a place does not need to be studded with attractions to be attractive. The natural beauty of Daman is charming enough to draw crowds from all-over Nepal as well as from other parts of the world.
Shree Rikheshwar Mahadev Temple is a shrine situated atop Daman, dedicated to the Hindu God of Destruction Shiva. The local people consider this temple to be very sacred and awakened, which means their wishes get granted once it is spoken to the lingam here. A common practice in Shivalinga temples is to whisper the prayers and wishes into the ear of the Nandi bull that sits guarding the sanctum.