Nepal - Your Destination in the Himalayas
Nepal, a country situated along the Himalayan spine, may have little economically, but it has overflowing blessings when it comes to scenery and cultural gems. It has definitely piqued the interest and curiosity of many Westerners, with its religious, mysterious and unexplored aura.
Many photographers love to shoot around Nepal as the sun, according to most of them, has never directly been overhead in the country. You can then take shots from dusk till dawn. Visit some time-worn temples, parks and palaces to take your greatest shots.
When you have toured the country, the memories will surely stick with you and charge you with the urge to visit this country again and again. Here are some of the coolest places to visit:
Where to Go
In 2007, there were 550,000 visitors to Nepal, a 25% increase from 2006 tourism statistics. If you want to truly experience Nepalese spiritual and recreational activities, be sure to visit Bodhnath, Dakshinkali, Hanuman Dhoka, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, and the Royal Chitwan National Park.
Bodhnath: This is the country’s most famous Buddhist architecture. This monument is composed of shimmering white stupa with a golden spire on top and eyes of Buddha watching over it. There are also colorful prayer flags that fly overhead and pilgrims that visit this place daily. It is said that Bodhnath has tangible spiritual energy. Tibetans flock here for pilgrimage.
Dakshinkali: The Temple of Dakshinkali is located at the dark southern end of the Kathmandu Valley. It was especially built in honor of the six-armed goddess called Kali. She was Shiva’s partner in her incarnation. Nepalese pilgrims usually visit here twice a week to satisfy Kali’s bloodlust. They once offered buffaloes, ducks, goats, sheep, chickens and pigs by slitting their throats and chopping off their heads.
Hanuman Dhoka: This old royal palace is at the heart of the Durbar Square, where the royal family used to live. The family moved to Narayanhiti, which was unfortunately damaged by the 1934 earthquake.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve: Take some time off from spiritual matters by doing some bird or animal spotting. This wildlife park has the last surviving members of the water buffalo or wild arna clan. It also contains various deer, mugger crocodiles, dolphins and nilgai.
Royal Chitwan National Park: All of your favorite animals are in the Royal Chitwan National Park. You can see your favorite leopards, tigers, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, bird species, deer, and other adorable creatures.
What to Do
You can conquer Mount Everest. Well, if you are a beginner, you can climb the lower slopes of the “Head of Sky” or Sagarmatha in Nepalese language. This mountain is the world’s highest peak that is also open for commercial mountaineering. You will, however, need a climbing permit. (Tips on how to climb Mount Everest)
You can shop for Tibetan handicrafts. For artifacts and other cultural collectibles, you can visit Bodhnath Stupa, the center of Tibetan exile culture. Bazaars are located in the town of Gorkha, which is also the home of the Gurkha soldiers.
You can ride a mountain bike around Kathmandu Valley and walk around local villages.
You can meditate on Buddhist teachings at Buddha’s birthplace near Lumbini. (Learn how to meditate)
You can also row a boat on Phewa Tal, the breathtaking lake at Pokhara. The next day, you can rise early to watch the sunrise from Sarangkot.
What to remember
Though it may be sweet and kind of you to offer food to other people, this act is a no-no in Nepal. Refrain from offering food or drink that is considered “polluted” or those you have bitten or tasted. Using both hands when offering or accepting things is polite in their culture.
When entering houses, shrines, or private dwellings of people, you will need to leave your shoes or footwear outside as they consider the inside grounds clean and sacred. Generally, you will need to ask for permission before entering temples, and taking pictures especially in private places. Remember: when in doubt, ask.