Nepal: Holidays, national customs, climate
The Nepalese public holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar, which is why their date changes from year to year. For example, the public holidays of 2005 are found here.
|11th January||Day of Unity|
|January 29th||Day of the Martyrs|
|13th February||Vasant Panchami Day|
|11th January||Day of Unity|
|January 29th||Day of the Martyrs|
|13th February||Vasant Panchami Day|
|19th of February||Rashtriya Prajatantra Divas(Democracy Day)|
|March 8th||Day of the woman; Shivaratri(celebration of Lord Shiva)|
|March 09||Ghode Jatra (Festival of Horses)|
|March 18th||Chaite Dashain day|
|19th March||Ram Nawami(birthday of the god Ram)|
|April 14th||Navabarsha (New Years Day)|
|April 21||Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s birthday)|
|May 29th||Republic Day (since 2008)|
|August 19th||Rakshya Bandhan (Janai Purnima)|
|20th of August||Gai Jatra (pageant of the cows)|
|August 25||Krishna Asthami (birthday of the god Krishna)|
|September 6th||Teej (Festival of Women)|
|October 10th||Dasain (Durga Puja Festival)|
|November 1st||Deepawali (Festival of Lights)|
|November 8th||Indra Jatra (festival of the rain god)|
|November 09||Constitution Day|
Source: Countryaah – Nepal Holidays
Otherwise, hardly a day goes by in Nepal without a festival. Most of them are of a religious nature, as Hinduism knows around 300 million gods, of which only the most important of course want to be celebrated. The festivals are often an inscrutable mixture of religious ritual and fairground exuberance. It is precisely this combination that makes them so colorful and so attractive. Since the dates of the festivals are also based on the Hindu Vikram calendar (lunar calendar), they also differ from year to year. Due to the large number of public holidays, only a selection can be mentioned here.
|7th of July||National holiday|
|Seventh day of the month of Phalgun (February / March)||Is dedicated to King Tribhuvan, the “father of modern Nepal”. Parades and processions are held on this National Democracy Day.|
|New moon day||One of the most important Hindu festivals: Shivratri (the night of Shiva). This is the god’s birthday, on which thousands of believers come to his sanctuary in Pashupatinath for a ritual bath. The festival reaches its full intensity after dark.|
|Full moon day||Phagu marks the beginning of the hot season. In an exuberant festival, Narasinha’s victory over the demon Hiranyakashipu is symbolically commemorated. Bags of paint are thrown so that tourists shouldn’t wear their “Sunday best”. At the Basantapur Tower in Kathmandu, colored cloths are hung on the upper end of a pole to represent the saris that the mischievous god Krishna is said to have stolen from his cowherdesses (Gopis).|
|Last day of the month Chaitra (March / April)||This is where the Nepalese New Year (Bisket) takes place. The festival commemorates the victory over two serpent demons in the Mahabharata. The best place to experience this celebration is Bahktapur. There the figures of Baihrav and Kali are drawn in a triumphant procession through the narrow place. The highlight is the erection of a 25 meter high, wooden lingam (phallic symbol for Shiva). The undertaking, which is considered a bad omen for the coming year, does not always succeed. The lingam is set up under the eyes of thousands of spectators and two opposing teams try to pull it in their direction with ropes. If the lingam sways and threatens to fall, all that’s left is running: fatal accidents are not uncommon due to the monster weighing tons.|
|Full moon day of the month of Baisakh (April / May)||One of the most important celebrations for Buddhists: Buddha’s birthday (Buddha Jayanti). Most impressive are the celebrations at the Swayambunath stupa. Thousands of pilgrims and their lamas gather there throughout the day, all in splendid robes. They dance around the stupa to Tibetan music.|
|Beginning of the waxing moon in the month of Ashwin (September / October)||Announces Dasain or Durga Puja, the most important festival in Nepal. The celebrations last about 10 days, are dedicated to the goddess Durga and symbolize the victory of good over evil. During the festivities, numerous male, uncastrated animals are sacrificed at the Durga, Kali or Taleju temples. According to belief, all sacrificed animals will be reborn as humans in the next life. The vegetarians among the faithful sacrifice a certain type of pumpkin instead of animals, which is broken in two in front of the statue of the goddess.|
|Harvest time in the month of Kartik (October / November)||At this time one of the most beautiful festivals takes place. Tihar or Diwali (translated: rows of lights, festival of lights) lasts five days. Hundreds of small mustard oil lamps are set up at the temples. The festival is dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Lakshami.|
|first day of the month break (December / January)||Mahendra Jayanti or Constitution Day: On this day, parades and processions commemorate the draft constitution of 1962.|
Although the Nepalese are generally a very tolerant people, there are taboos that one should be aware of.
Entering the holy of holies of Hindu temples is only permitted for Hindus. Non-Hindus, however, are permitted directly at the temple, in the inner courtyard of the temple and in some of the buildings around it.
When entering residential buildings, shoes must be taken off at the threshold. This also applies to the sacred precincts of the temples. The kitchen of a house is a screened off area that you are not allowed to enter without being asked. This rule applies especially to traditional Brahmin families, whose food would otherwise be ritually contaminated. When the housewife serves, the male attendees are served first. Only when they have eaten do the women eat.
When it comes to clothing, decency and morality are observed. Nepalese women cover their bodies almost entirely with sari. The western woman should therefore not wear daring necklines or shorts. A naked male torso is also considered immoral.
When sitting, the feet must be placed so that the soles of the feet are not pointing at anyone, as this is considered an insult.
Public caresses among couples are considered shamelessness. Holding hands and kissing are taboo. However, it is different with holding hands between men: this is only a sign of friendship.
The left hand is used to cleanse after a bowel movement and is therefore considered unclean. Therefore, you should not touch food or people with it.
Male visitors must be particularly careful when dealing with local women. If possible, these should not be addressed. If you ask for directions, always turn to a man! Under no circumstances may women be touched!
In order to avoid the impression of sexual accessibility, tourists should show a “traditionally female restraint”: Conversations should be conducted at a distance, erotic topics should be avoided at all costs, and eye contact from strangers should not be returned. Women are never allowed to put on the topi, the Nepalese man’s cap. This is taken as a terrible insult to men.
Fire is sacred, especially kitchen fires. Therefore, no waste should be burned in a fire.
Permission should always be obtained before photographing Nepalese people. In many cases, the person asked will ask for a little change. 1-2 Rs. Per photo should be enough.
Avoid food lying on the floor. A “stepping over”
Cows are sacred to Hindus. Accordingly, they enjoy a lot of freedom. Many Nepalese allow themselves to be “blessed” by the cows as they pass by by first putting their right hand on the animal’s forehead and then on their own. The slaughter of cows is prohibited by law, and you should not drive your car, kick or throw stones at them.
Shaking hands in greeting is not common in Nepal. You greet by putting your hands together in front of your chest as if in prayer and saying “Namasté” (Sankrit: “I greet the God in you”). It can be used at any time of the day. Inferior people like beggars or shoe shiners should not be greeted with “Namasté”, they could feel mocked.
The climate of Nepal ranges from tropical to arctic temperatures. The southern part of the country is tropical with a very warm and humid climate. The central part of the kingdom is dominated by a subtropical climate, the northern part has an alpine climate with very low winter temperatures due to its altitude of over 3,500 m. The general rule for areas below 3,500 meters is: not too cold winters, mostly sunshine during the day. Night temperatures in December and January are slightly below zero degrees. Snowfall in the Kathmandu Valley is extremely rare. Most of the rain falls in the months of June, July and August, the warmest months are April to June.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that NP stands for the nation of Nepal as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Kathmandu valley basin was originally a lake in prehistoric times that dried up in earlier times. The valley is surrounded by mountains that are “only” 3,000 m high. There are numerous attractions in the Kathmandu Valley. One of them is Durbar Square, a temple district in Kathmandu, where you can visit various temples and the old royal palace with its wonderfully carved windows.
The valley was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
Parts of the world heritage sites in Kathmandu were badly damaged in the severe earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on April 25, 2015.
Sagarmatha National Park (Mount Everest)
The Sagarmatha National Park is located at an altitude of around 3,000 m and is thus the highest national park in the world and includes three mountains that are higher than 8,000 m. The park is cut through by deep rivers and has many facets, there are glaciers, rough areas – the snow line is 5,800 m – in which plants no longer grow and areas similar to the Alps. Plant growth is diverse in the lower areas. In summer the Sagarmatha Park is uniquely beautiful due to its colors, fauna and flora. The park’s animals are adapted to the low-oxygen altitude and the extreme cold; yaks, leopards, black bears, martens and wolves live there.
The Sagarmatha National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979
Chitwan Royal National Park
The Royal Chitwan National Park with an extension of 932 km² is one of the largest remaining jungle areas in the country. In 1973 the area was proclaimed Nepal’s first national park and in 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique ecosystem. The park consists of 70% forest, which is dominated by the Sal tree, 20% grassland and 7% mixed forest along the rivers. The remaining 3% are accounted for by rivers and swamps. The fauna is no less diverse than the flora of the park. In addition to the Bengal tiger, leopards, rhinos, elephants and various species of monkeys can be found here. There are also various types of snakes, ranging from the harmless blindworm to the king cobra and the most poisonous snake, the Indian krait. Park entry costs Rs 500.
Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace)
Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha – with the name Siddhartha Gautama – the founder of Buddhism. The place is in the Rupandehi district on the border with India. It was not until 1896 that a 6.5 m high stone column was discovered, which was built in 245 BC. BC King Ashoka and which has an inscription written in Brahmi.
The Ashoka Pillar marks where Maya Devi gave birth to the Buddha. The Maya Devi Temple was dedicated to Buddha’s mother and is right next to the column. Inside there is a stone relief depicting the Buddha’s birth scene. On the south side of the temple there is a bathing pond, the Pushkarni, in which Maya Devi is said to have cleaned herself before giving birth. One of the largest Buddha figures can be seen in the temple building, the Mahayana Vihara. It shows Buddha with the hand gesture Bhumispharsha, with which he symbolically invokes the earth to take note of his enlightenment. Lumbini was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997
Bhairawa with about 40,000 residents is one of the most pleasant cities in the Terai. Busy streets, well-stocked shops, countless rickshaws and a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere contribute to this. There is nothing special to see, you can only enjoy the Indian flair. The city also serves as a starting point for trips to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. The proximity of the illustrious place also explains the old city name Bhairawa – Siddharta Nagar means “City of Siddharta” – based on Buddha’s secular name.
Bhaktapur is a fascinating ancient city, with countless temples and other sights. The city is noticeably cleaner than Kathmandu and, as an old royal city, also has Durbar Square, which, however, has not been preserved in its original size. The central eye-catcher of the palace is the “Golden Gate” (Sun Dhoka). It was built in 1753 under Jaya Ranjit Malla and is considered the most valuable copper work of Bhaktapur. The part of the palace behind the gate is inaccessible and is guarded by a soldier. On the southeast side of the palace complex stands the Palace of 55 Windows. The building has three floors, the top of which has a hall of 55 curved windows. This floor was originally built overhanging and was restored in a modified form after the destruction by the earthquake in 1934.
Dhankuta is a wonderful place with about 20,000 residents and is picturesquely embedded on a mountain ridge. The houses are all very well maintained and the cityscape is extremely clean. A considerable prosperity of the place comes from the remittances of the Gurkha soldiers, of which Dhankuta produced a particularly large number. There is no special attraction here, but the beautiful surroundings invite you to take long walks.
Janakpur is one of the interesting cities of the Terai and should actually be named the fourth largest tourist attraction in the country. The place has a lot of atmosphere: colorful, winding streets, numerous bathing ponds and temples.
According to the Ramayana, the great Hindu epic of the sage Valmiki, the goddess Sita was born in this place.
Nepal: Lumbini – birthplace of the Buddha © Nepal Tourism Board
Special buildings and structures
The Dharahara Tower was a nine-story, 61.90 m high tower in the old town of Kathmandu. The tower with a wall made of bricks was built in 1832 for the Queen of Nepal under the then Prime Minister of the country Bhimsen Thapa. It is therefore also known as the Bhimsen Tower. Originally it served as a military watchtower and later as a viewing platform for tourists. The tower collapsed in an 8.3 magnitude earthquake on January 15, 1934 – but was then rebuilt true to the original.
On April 25, 2015, the tower collapsed again as a result of another earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. Around 50 visitors lost their lives in the process.
In Gorkha there is an old fort and a royal palace, which remind of the warlike times of these strong-fighting residents. The complex was built in 1790 as a memorial to the conquest of Kathmandu by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Photography is prohibited inside the complex. The 45 minute climb to the fort is very steep. At lofty heights, however, you are rewarded with a seemingly endless view: the Ganesh Himal rises on the northeast side, the Annapurna massif in the northwest. The snow-capped peaks seem close enough to touch. The best view is early in the morning, right after sunrise.
Hanuman Dhoka Durbar in Kathmandu
The Royal Palace, which has served as a residence for kings since the 14th century, is located between Durbar Square and Basantapur Square. Before an earthquake destroyed large parts of it in 1933, the palace district comprised over thirty courtyards (chowks). Today there are not so many inner courtyards behind the palace walls. The interior is entered through the gilded Hanuman Dhoka portal, which was named after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. Next to the entrance is an approximately 500-year-old statue of the god, whose face can no longer be recognized from the ritual smearing with mustard oil and red colored powder. The architecture of the numerous palace buildings has changed significantly over time. In addition to the classic styles of the Malla buildings, there are Indian-Islamic and neoclassical elements, which ensure an inconsistent appearance, but which reflects the history of the city very well. In the palace district, next to the various inner courtyards, there is the Basantur Tower, which offers a beautiful view over the city, the Agam Chem Pagoda, the Pancamukhi Hanuman Temple and three museums that illustrate the history of the royal family.
Hetauda is an important traffic junction at the foot of the Churia mountain range.
Janakpur is the only place where railway fans get their money’s worth. Here one of the two railways in operation begins its journey, which is only 51 km long. The Janakpur Railway was created in the mid-1930s. A ride on the tiny train – only 4 or 5 wagons – leaves a lasting impression. However, here too, due to overcrowding, you have to expect a ride on the wagon roof. The locomotives are serviced in the train station in Khajuri and could therefore be an interesting destination for rail enthusiasts.
The building from which Kathmandu owes its name is called the Kashtamandap or Maru Sattal. The initial history of the not very conspicuous building goes back to the 14th century. According to legend, the building and the neighboring Sinha Sattal were made from the wood of a single sal tree. The Kashtamandap is a kind of covered platform that is still used today for various purposes (children’s playground, market).
The Mahendrapul (“pul” means bridge) in the bazaar area of Pokhara crosses the Seti Gandaki. Under the bridge, the river runs in a deep, narrow gorge. From here you can see the river flowing about 30 m deep, the limestone part of which makes it appear whitish-foamed.
Narayanhiti Durbar in Kathmandu
The royal palace at the end of Durbar Marg was built outside the city walls during the Rana rule. Modern extensions to the palace took place in the 1960s and 1970s. There are other representative buildings of the Rana family in the area. Except for one day a year, during the Dasain festival, the palace is not open to the public. Only the adjoining fountain with the Narayan Temple can be visited.
The Ropeway, a freight cable car that runs from the western edge of the city to Kathmandu, is without a doubt of interest. This was put into operation in 1964 with a capacity of 22.4 tons per hour. With the construction of the highway connection, the importance of this original construction decreased.
The Martyrs’ Memorial or Shahid Gate spans the street as a kind of archway. It is intended to commemorate those who fell in the fight against Rana rule. Four busts of perished fighters are on the archway, in the middle is a statue of King Tribhuvan, who is considered the father of modern Nepal.
Shingha Durbar in Kathmandu
The Shingha Durbar, the former Rana Palace, was completed in 1901 after only 11 months of construction. It comprised 17 inner courtyards, had over 1,700 rooms and was considered the largest private residence in Nepal. In 1973, much of this complex was destroyed by fire. The front was preserved. After the restoration, the office of the Prime Minister, several other ministries and Radio Nepal are now on the premises.
Pottery Center in Kathmandu
A few minutes from Durbar Square Bhaktapur is the Pottery Center (Potter’s Square). The potters sit on semi-open verandas, turn the massive pottery wheels and shape the clay in a manner that has been passed on from generations. The finished vessels are placed in the sun to dry, and so the space is littered with thousands of different clay vessels.
The spacious Tundikhel, originally a military parade ground, but unofficially more often used as a cricket or football field, is lined with equestrian figures on the edge and at the corners. They represent war heroes.
Bhaktapur Art Gallery
The entrance to the Bhaktapur Art Gallery is flanked by figures of Narasinha and Hanumanta-Bhairav. The gallery shows Hindu and Buddhist paintings, thangkas (Tibetan fabric paintings), palm leaf manuscripts and art objects made of wood, metal and stone. Opening times
10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.
Brass and Bronze Museum
The Brass and Bronze Museum is located directly across from the Pujari in Bhaktapur. It shows metal objects from different centuries. Opening times are aligned with the Woodcarving Museum.
The Patan Museum in Patan Durbar shows traditional religious and religious art of Nepal in an architecturally unique setting, namely in the royal palace of the former Malla kings of the Kathmandu valley. The museum was opened in 1997 after extensive restoration. The palace garden is a small oasis that invites you to linger.
10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday is closed.
Pokhara has two museums: The Natural History Museum is located on the grounds of Tribhuvan University and exhibits Nepalese birds and butterflies.
The second museum, Pokhara Museum, displays historical objects.
Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Woodcarving Museum is located in Pujari Math, Bhaktapur. The four-story building includes three courtyards that are decorated with intricate carvings. On the east side of the building there are some ornate windows carved in the shape of a peacock. Here is the particularly well-preserved peacock window that can be found on numerous postcards. The museum displays figures of gods from different eras and other carvings on the upper floor.
Saturday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Photography is charged in addition to the entrance fee.
A large number of temples can be found in Kathmandu, only a few of which are particularly worth mentioning here.
The Swayambhunath stupa, located on a hill about 2 kilometers west of Kathmandu, is almost a landmark of the city. It is one of the holiest places in the Kathmandu Valley, but it is also populated by a herd of monkeys. This earned the temple the name “Monkey Temple”. You can climb the Swayambuthnath via the large staircase with 365 steps on the east side of the temple. The stairs end at a one and a half meter high vajra, the symbol of spiritual power. The vajra rests on a mandal, on the sides of which the symbols of the Tibetan calendar are attached. Immediately behind it is the sacred stupa, from which the legendary, mystical light still shines through an opening above.
Durbar Square is Kathmandu’s main attraction. A wonderful hodgepodge of temples and palaces can be found in a very small space. They were restored by UNESCO between 1972 and 1975 on the occasion of King Birendra’s accession to the throne. The center of the complex is the old royal palace, the Royal Palace. Tickets must be purchased at the entrance. During a tour you can admire the following sights: the Hanuman statue (1862); the golden gate to the old royal palace, flanked by two lions; the Narishna statue (erected in 1673); the Jagannath Temple (1563); the Taleju Temple (1564); the Krishna Temple (1637).
Outside the Durbar Squares is the Shiva – was Parvati Temple, the end of the 18th century on a platform, probably a dance stage erected.
The Maju Deval, another Shiva temple, follows. If you climb the steps of the temple, which was built around 1690, you will be rewarded with a good view of the surroundings.
Trailoka Mohan Temple
The Trailoka Mohan Temple was built in 1680 with a Garuda statue in front of it.
Seto Machhendranath Temple
The Seto Machhendranath Temple dates from around the 16th/17th centuries. Century and is dedicated to the white (seto) Machhendranath. Here the devout Hindus and Buddhists come together for worship.
The stupa of Boudhanath is next to Swayambhunath the most important Buddhist shrine in Nepal. It is located about 6 kilometers northeast of central Kathmandu. With a diameter of 40 meters, it is also one of the largest Buddhist buildings in the world. Facts and legends are also mixed up around this stupa. It probably dates from the 14th century and was rebuilt after it was destroyed by invading Muslims. The floor plan of the stupa is based on a Tibetan mandala: it is a four-tiered base, in the middle of which rises the bell-shaped dome, on which a square tower is built. It tapers upwards in 13 steps and is closed at its tip with a “crowning” umbrella. Around the base of the stupa there are 108 small statues of the Amitabha Buddha. In the immediate vicinity there are some gompas and monastery buildings that are inhabited by monks and used for prayer meetings. The Cinya Lama, the third highest spiritual head of the Tibetans after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, resides in the Cinya Lama Gompa north of the stupa.Rani Pokhri
The Rani Pokhri is one of the most striking places in Kathmandu. A square, man-made pond with a whitewashed Shiva temple in the middle became a magnet for suicides. Therefore, the temple can only be viewed through bars.
The Chhusya Bahal is one of the oldest surviving monastery complexes of this kind in the Kathmandu Valley. The building was completed in 1649 and was dedicated to Pratap Malla in 1667. Special attention should be paid to the artistic wood carvings.
Not far from the Bagmati bank is an unconventionally built temple, the Kalmochan Temple, the construction of which was probably started in 1852 and finished in 1873, stands out due to its typical Mughal architecture. The onion-shaped dome, which is otherwise only used in Islamic buildings, rests on a square base. The four corners of the building are guarded by mythical metal creatures that originally stood at a Vishnu temple on Tundikhel.
The Janaki Temple is a tremendous example of Mughal or Saracen architecture as it was common in 17th century India. Built of white marble, the temple measures around 50 m in length, has countless curved window and arches and a roof with an oriental-style spire. Inside the complex there is a kind of courtyard, in the middle of which there is a small and richly decorated temple building. A figure of Sita is kept here. A few meters north of the Janaki Temple is a temple-like building, the Rama Sita Vivaha Mandap (wedding podium). In it, Sita’s wedding with Rama is recreated by colorful dolls. Admission: 2 Rs., Photo permit 5 Rs.
The second most important temple in the city is the Ram Mandir or Ram Temple. It dates from 1882. All important areas of the temple are inaccessible to non-Hindus.
Pashupatinath Temple Complex
The Pashupatinath Temple Complex is located about five kilometers east of downtown Kathmandu on the Bagmati River. It is Nepal’s most important Hindu sanctuary and is the destination of numerous pilgrims and sadhus. As with all Hindu temples, non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the Holy of Holies.
Patan, Kathmandu’s “twin city” and only separated from Kathmandu by the Bagmati, also has some sights. Patan also has Durbar Square, which the locals call Mangal Bazar (“Market of Happiness”). On the west side is the not very attractive Bhai Dega or Bishhesvar temple, which is dedicated to Shiva.
A few steps further east is one of the few octagonal temples in the Kathmandu Valley, a Krishna temple. The influence of the Indian Mughal architecture is striking.
Directly opposite the southernmost palace building, the Sundari Chowk (“Court of Beauty”) was erected. Murals depicting Narasinha Ganesh and Hanuman can be seen near the entrance. The Sundari Chowk was built in 1627 as the residence for King Siddhi Narasinha Malla and his family. In the middle is the Tusha Hiti, a stone bath tank decorated with countless deities, which was fed with water from the surrounding mountains through a pipe system. With its variety of figures, it is certainly one of the most beautiful stone carvings in Nepal.
Keshav Naryan Chowk
The third palace courtyard, the Keshav Naryan Chowk, was the most important palace complex and was only completed after 60 years of construction. The surrounding buildings have some excellent wood carvings, the magnificent golden gate at the front is particularly noticeable.
The Vishvanath Temple, built in 1626 and restored from 1990 to 1991, shows a particularly filigree columned arcade that was built around the central sanctuary. Toranas (semicircular, metal portal top) showing Shiva in his various manifestations can be seen above two wooden pillars.
Char Narayan Temple,
the Char Narayan Temple, which adjoins it to the south, dates back to 1566 and is the oldest temple in Durbar Square. Impressive carvings can be admired on its roof struts.
Only a few minutes north of Durbar Square is Patan’s most impressive Buddhist monastery, the Kwal Bahal (“Golden Temple”). According to tradition, its history goes back to the 12th century. Inside the complex is the main shrine, which is closed at the top by three golden balls. In the middle of the courtyard is a three-story, richly decorated temple, which also has a golden roof. A walkway leads around the courtyard. It is necessary to take off shoes and other leather items to leave the gallery into the inner courtyard. On the upper floor you can see Buddha figures and wall paintings.
The Kumbheshvar Temple is Patan’s most important Shiva temple and one of only three five-story temples in the Kathmandu Valley. It probably dates from 1392 and stands out for its harmonious proportions and masterful wood carvings. Thousands of believers come to the temple for the Janai Purnima festival to take ritual baths in a tank. On this occasion, the Brahmins change the “brahmin cord” which they wear over their left shoulder as a sign of their status. At the same time, Raksha Bandhan (“The Band of Protection”) is also celebrated. According to the custom, men and women tie colorful threads around their wrists and from now on consider themselves “brother” and “sister”,
Rato Machhendranath Temple
One of Patan’s most important shrines is the Rato Machhendranath Temple, which is dedicated to a multifaceted Buddhist deity, Padmapani Avalokiteshvara. It was probably built in the 17th century. The temple is surrounded by a spacious courtyard, on the north side of which one can see animal figures that represent the months of the Tibetan calendar. The four temple gates are guarded by lions. The two-story roof is covered with metal and decorated with wood carvings.
Rudra Varna Mahavihara – Monastery
The Rudra Varna Mahavihara Monastery was probably built in the 17th century. The temple lies in the middle of a courtyard, which shines with numerous statues of all kinds. 1934 the monastery was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt. The complex is no longer used as a monastery, but is architecturally so interesting that it is worth a visit.
On the southeast side of Durbar Square stands Bhaktapur’s version of Pashupatinath Temple. It is said to be the oldest temple in the city and is strikingly similar to its model in Kathmandu.
A little east on another larger square is the 30 m high Nyatapola Temple, the highest in the Kathmandu Valley. It dates from 1708 and was built by Bhupatindra Malla. The main feature of this temple is its five-story roof, on which 108 struts with carvings are attached. The steps leading up to the Holy of Holies are guarded by colossal statues.
University, Rangjung Yeshe Institute
Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu
The International Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies is located in Baudha and was designed in the style of traditional Buddhist colleges. The institute belongs to the Kathmandu University and is located near the monastery Ka-Nying (also Kagyu and Nyingma). The institute offers Bachelor and Master degrees in Buddhist studies. The special courses in Tibetan, Nepali and Sanskrit are certainly helpful.
Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu
The Tribhuvan University is also located in the Nepalese capital. However, the main campus of the university can be found on the southwestern outskirts of the neighboring town of Kirtipur.
A number of regions of Nepal have been declared nature reserves.
Royal Chitwan National Park
For details, see UNESCO World Heritage Site above
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
The 175 km² Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve consists mostly of shrub and grassland and offers the wild water buffalo a refuge. The area is also home to around 280 different species of birds that live in or around the water.
Nagarjun Forest Reserve
About two kilometers north of Balaju is the entrance to the Nagarjun Forest Reserve. The forest is surrounded by a wall and is one of the last original jungle areas in the Kathmandu Valley. In some places the forest grows so dense that no daylight can penetrate and is home to a variety of animal species. If you follow the main path of the park you will reach the top of Nagarjun Mountain Jamacho, better known as Nagarjun Stupa. The stupa itself is nothing special, but the view from the 2,096 m high summit is breathtaking. One has a clear view of the Ganesh Himal, Langtang and the Kathmandu Valley. There is an observation tower next to the stupa.
Royal Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanical Garden is located behind the town of Godavari. It is a popular excursion destination for the locals, but not a “must” for tourists. Opening times daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you follow the road to the botanical garden to the east, you will reach Godavari Kunda, a sacred spring, after about 100 m. Every 12 years, believers gather here for a ritual bath, which is said to bring wealth. The next opportunity is in 2015!
Royal Bardia National Park
The Royal Bardia National Park is located in the southwest of Nepal and covers an area of 968 km². There is still pristine wilderness here, rhinos and Bengal tigers can easily be observed. The park is made up of forests of the Sal tree and wide grass steppes. Marsh crocodiles and river dolphins frolic in the rivers.
More natural beauties
The Himalayas are found in Nepal. The highest mountains in the world, the eight-thousanders, are fascinating in these mountains. Peaks like Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat or Makalu are world-famous and determined by mystical beauty. Five of the highest 14 mountains in the world are located in the Karakoram, which connects to the Himalayas to the west. The Himalayas can be divided into different mountain ranges that rise from south to north. In the south are the Siwalik Mountains, to the north of them the Front and High Himalayas. Several rivers, all of which eventually flow into the Ganges, have dug deep gorges through the mountains. The Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest on earth at around 6,000 m. The states of Nepal and Bhutan are located on the southern slope, and to the north is the Tibet highlands.
Five kilometers north of Kathmandu center is Balaju. The attraction in this industrial area in front of the city is the Mahendra Garden. In this small park there is a water tank that is fed by 22 taps (22 taps is the Nepalese record). Here you have to pay not only for yourself, but also for your camera and video camera. Another attraction is the copy of the “Sleeping Vishnu” by Budhanilakantha. The Vishnu lies in a bed of interwoven snakes and is surrounded by a small pond. Its length is about 2.5 m. In front of the “sleeping Vishnu” there is a temple of Shitala Mai, the goddess of smallpox.
About 200 km west of Kathmandu is Pokhara, the second most important tourist destination in Nepal. In contrast to Kathmandu, Pokhara offers hardly any cultural highlights, but instead various scenic highlights. The place is located at 884 m in the middle of a fertile valley. Seven lakes are embedded in it. On the west side of Pokhara stretches the picturesque Fewa Lake, one of the main tourist attractions of the region. The Devis Fall is fed by the Pardi Khola, which in turn rises from Fewa Lake. The water flows partly underground, but no less violently. To visit the small waterfall, you have to pay a few rupees entrance fee. The barriers should not be trespassed. The ground is not very stable and you could be swept away by the floods very quickly.
About 7 km north of Pokhara in the village of Batulechaur is the Mahendra Cave, an easily accessible limestone cave. There are some stalactites and stalagmites in the cave, a flashlight should be carried.
From Sarangkot you have a good view of the Fewa Lake and the Himalayan massif. The place is about 9 km west of Pokhara. The road ends a few hundred meters below the summit, the rest of the way must be climbed.
Devghat is one of the most sacred and at the same time most scenic places in the Terais. It lies at the mouth of the Kali Gandaki and the Narayani. This confluence (Sangam) of two or more rivers is said to have spiritual power by the Hindus. What is special about the Sagam of Devghat is the color of the rivers that flow there. The water of Kali Gandaki appears dark to black, whereas the water of Narayani appears light turquoise. The color difference can be clearly seen when they merge. Both rivers are also lined with a white pebble beach, which results in a perfect color composition. And Devghat aptly means “shore of the gods”.
On this guided trekking tour you go around the 8.091 m high Annapurna on a 260 km long path.
The tour can be done between 18 to 21 days and is also manageable for healthy but inexperienced participants.
It is recommended to start in Besisahar (780 m). From there the path leads over the villages of Khudi (820 m), Tal (1620 m), Pisang (3180 m) and Manang (3530 m) to the Thorong La pass (5416 m).
We then continue through the holy pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3790 m). Via the district capital Jomsom (2770 m) and Marpha (2680 m) you get to Tatopani (790 m), which is known for its hot springs.
The next few days it goes via Ghorepani (2,750 m), Tikedungha (1,600 m to Naya Pul – with a subsequent drive to Pokhara
There are hardly any tours that lead through such diverse climates and cultures as this one.
The best travel time is October.
As a result of a blizzard, a total of 29 people – Sherpas and hikers – were killed on this trekking tour in October 2014.
It’s just not a hike through the Harz Mountains or the Black Forest.
Patan Central Zoo in Kathmandu
With the Patan Central Zoo, Kathmandu has the only zoological garden in all of Nepal. The zoo, founded in 1932, can be found in the southwest of the Patan district. It has also been open to the public since 1956. An estimated 700 animal species currently live in the zoo, including more than 100 species of birds. Animals from the Himalayan region and the Terai are kept. However, the keeping of the animals is anything but exemplary. Opening times 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tip: A special attraction is the pond of the Patan Central Zoo. It was established in the 17th century by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla and is now accessible by boat.