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Tourist Places To Visit In Nepal
Home to the highest mountain range on Earth, Nepal is no stranger to being one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. It is a warm Asian country made up of indigenous communities like Newars, Gurkhas and Sherpas; yet with its growing globalization, Nepal is seeing a steady influx of groups of people choosing to make this diverse nation their new home. Endowed with a rich cultural background and an invaluable religious history, Nepal attracts thousands of visitors every year; people who seek to immerse themselves in the alluring blend of Hindu and Buddhist culture.
Read on to find out some of the best tourist places to visit while you’re in Nepal.
Anyone who takes a trip to Nepal is known to the capital city of Kathmandu, which occupies the only international airport in the country and essentially connects Nepal to the rest of the world. It is home to a wide range of Hindu and Buddhist religious sites, but is also the most commercially viable destination for tourists in the country. One can easily observe the intermingling of ancient traditions with modern engagements, which makes it the perfect holiday spot for people who want to plan a vacation without actually getting away from the comforts of a typical urban life.
The region that witnesses the highest amount of rainfall in the entire country, Pokhara also happens to be the ultimate site for adventure sports like paragliding, zip-lining and sky-diving, or even a lazy river-boating session, assuming you skip the monsoon season. It is also the doorway to all trekking trails of the world-renowned Annapurna range, and is usually the starting point for most hikers. Phewa Tal, the second largest lake in Nepal, is a major focal point of Pokhara; remember to also check out the Begnas Tal and Rupa Tal, two gorgeously tranquil lakes located just 10 km away from the city.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan is one of the main tourist attractions of Nepal, and the first of many national parks in the country. While it boasts an abundant plethora of flora and fauna, it has also been granted the status of a World Heritage Site. It is mostly known for being the home of one of the last populations of one-horned rhinos and the Bengal tigers. Taking a jungle safari trip through the park, you will encounter all kinds of monkeys, deer and birds, but the Bengal tiger usually remains an elusive sight.
Since Chitwan witnesses one of the rainiest monsoons in the country, it is ideal to visit in the dry months.
Patan, also known as Lalitpur Metropolitan City, once used to be a part of Kathmandu and is now only 3 km away from the capital city, separated by river Bagmati. Needless to say, Patan should be the immediate next stop in your itinerary when leaving the capital. The most prominent site to visit in Patan is Durbar Square that is home to an amazing architectural assembly of palaces and temples.
Explore the scrumptious, native Newari cuisine from Newari Kitchen, which offers excellent value meals, or make a stop at Café du Temple, a local favorite among tourists, if you’re looking for something a little more continental. Don’t forget to uncover the grandeur of Mul Chowk and Sundari Chowk, part of the Royal Palace’s courtyards, and do make a stop at the Patan Museum Café. Patan is also home to a number of local bars, pubs, and restaurants that cater to the numerous NGOs and INGOs that have popped up in the neighbouring suburbs.
Also known by its Newari name Khwopa, which literally means City of Devotees, Bhaktapur is one of the three major cities of Kathmandu Valley and is recognised to be one of the best conserved regions in the country. Like most other areas of Nepal, Bhaktapur is mostly known for its temples and architecture, but don’t miss out on exploring Potter’s Square as well. As the name suggests, it is a market square filled with pottery wheels making earthenware, rows of drying pots and shops selling ceramic objects.
Also make sure to check out the Golden Gate, an intricately designed gilded structure that took over 50 years to be constructed. The gate leads into the inner courtyards of the Royal Palace, much of which has unfortunately been destroyed in previous earthquakes. Bhaktapur suffered significant damage in the earthquake of 2015, but with the help of being one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, rapid efforts were made to restore it to its former glory.
If you are in Nepal simply to marvel at the magnificence of the Himalayas from the comfort of your resting place, Nagarkot is the place to be. Away from the chaos of Kathmandu, this little town might afford some relief in the form peace and tranquility in the midst of all the mountains.
There is a wide array of hotels and guesthouses perched on various heights all over the hills, offering amazing views of different Himalayan ranges from all directions. If you want to catch the sunrise and sunset views from among the mountaintops, make sure to visit Nagarkot in the clear months of spring and autumn.
Lumbini, located in Rupandehi district of Nepal is claimed to be the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam, better known as Buddha, and needs no introduction to the world today. Needless to say, the native land of Buddhism makes it one of the most religiously significant places with thousands of devotees flocking to the pilgrimage site every year.
While in Lumbini, the most notable place to visit first is the Mayadevi Temple, which according to historians, is the actual site of Lord Budhha’s birth, dating back more than 2000 years. Throughout Lumbini are scattered numerous monasteries and temples built by various Buddhist countries, forming the monastic zone, which does not allow the construction of any commercial building in the area. Regardless of religion, this region witnesses the influx of people from all walks of life, architecture lovers and spirituality seekers.
This place is surely meant exclusively for the thrill-seekers and trekkers, but if you end up wandering around for a little respite, be sure to check out Manangi, Gurung and Thakli villages. The circuit connects some of Nepal’s most glorious mountains like the Machhapuchhare, the Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna itself. Jomsom and Muktinath are also some of the prominent sites for trekkers; Muktinath being an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists alike.
If you’re looking to avoid crowds and enjoy some alone time on your trails, be sure to check out Khopra and Mardi Himal ridges.
Sagarmatha National Park
Being one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, this wildlife reserve located in the Himalayan region of north-eastern Nepal is the actual dwelling place of Mount Everest. While its importance for housing numerous peaks, valleys and glaciers can’t be overlooked, consider yourself among the lucky few if you get to check out the rare snow leopards and pandas that reside here.
When it comes to breathtaking views of the Himalayas, Dhulikhel can give quite a good competition to Nagarkot. A small scenic village lined by temples, it is best explored on foot; do pay a visit to the various temples like Kali Temple, Narayan Temple and the Shiva Temple, and the sacred stupa at Namobuddha. For your stay, you will find a wide range of mountain resorts and lodges to choose from; spread as they are throughout the town.
Janakpur is a revered religious site for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world, known historically to be the birth place of the Hindu goddess, Sita, and her nuptial spot with Lord Ram. You will get the opportunity to visit sacred locations mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana, and witness history come alive right before your very eyes.
Also known as the ‘City of Ponds’, this is the perfect spot to discover the Nepali Terai culture, and visit religiously and historically noteworthy sites like Janaki Mandir, the Ram Sita Vivah Mandap, the Ram Mandir and the Rajdevi Mandir.