Nepal is the holy grail of mountains, but it is also the abode of gods and hence extremely rich in unique culture. If you were looking for an introduction to Nepal and its culture in a short duration, Adventure Club Trek’s Kathmandu-Lumbini and Pokhara Tour-8 Days package do just that! We explore the various scattered cultural heritage of Nepal, many of which are UNESCO world heritage sites in these 8 days.
From the meditating gods in medieval shrines in the busy Kathmandu to the birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini, Tansen which is a Newari town in the Dhaka ( Nepali fabric) capital Palpa and the lake city of Pokhara, this tour takes you nooks and corners of Nepal We begin our tour from the Kathmandu valley visiting two of its three Durbar Squares, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur squares are medieval palace complexes featuring numerous temples and other structures.
Walking along the premises of the Durbar Squares, one cannot help but admire the magnificent scriptures on the age-old wooden and stone architectures, the woodcraft and unique style of the buildings. The pagoda style temples and old houses with hand-crafted windows identify Nepal’s medieval architectural style. Indulge yourself in knowing the Buddhist culture better as you visit the Boudhanath and Swayambhunath Stupa. Explore the premises of the Pashupatinath where you can also see Babaji (a person devoted to Lord Shiva), open cremations on the bank of Bagmati river and other Hindu rites and rituals. We depart from Kathmandu to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha to explore the famous landmarks including the Sacred Garden and the Ashoka Pillar.
While on our way to Pokhara, we stop at the ancient town of Tansen in Palpa. The small town known for producing Dhaka ( uniquely patterned Nepali fabric) is filled with old palaces and houses. The spectacular views of the peaks in Mahabharat range and the hospitable people add more to the beauty of the place. Finally, we arrive at Pokhara, a city filled with natural wonders, where we visit famous landmarks including the Phewa Lake, Davis Fall, and Gupteshwor Cave among others. Adventure Club Trek also offers Kathmandu Cultural Heritage Tour-2 Days, Nepal Explore Tour-15 Days and Kathmandu-Pokhara Tour-7 Days.
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), you will be welcomed by a representative from Adventure Club Trek. After sorting out your custom formalities (visa and so on), you will be then transferred to your respective hotel in Adventure Club Trek’s private vehicle and give you some time to freshen up. After this, you will attend an orientation about your trek led by the trekking leader over a welcome dinner. Overnight at hotel.
Today we explore different UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Kathmandu.
One of the most sacred Hindu temples in the World, Pashupatinath is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a two-storied pagoda style temple surrounded by around 500 temples and monuments. Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the premises of the main temple you can catch a glimpse of the temple from top of Biswarup and roam around the smaller shrines. One of Pashupatinath temple’s major attractions to foreigners is its open cremation sites on the Bagmati River banks.
It is the largest stupa in South Asia and is highly symbolic in nature. The stupa stands on a giant mandala which represents earthly levels above which there are two circular plinths that represent water. The Kumbha or the dome symbolizes universe and the 13 spires refer to the stages one must cross to attain nirvana. It is believed that the bones of Kasyapa Buddha( one of the incarnations of Buddha) is buried under the stupa. Doing koras(clockwise rotation of the stupa) of the Boudhanath is considered holy. There are many shops selling statues of Buddha, spinning wheels and handicrafts related to Buddhist culture. You can also hear the Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum being chanted by the monks.
Located on top of a hill, Swayambhunath is an ancient architectural complex containing a glistening white stupa in the center surrounded by a temple and numerous small shrines. Both Hindus and Buddhists come to pay their offerings here. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as a huge population of monkeys resides near the forest surrounding the stupa. From the top of Swayambhunath, you can see the whole of Kathmandu city. It is the best place to catch a peaceful sunset in Kathmandu city.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Located in the heart of the city, Kathmandu Durbar Square consists of pagoda style temples and palaces dating back to Malla and Shah Dynasty. Most of the temples crumbled to the ground during the 2015 earthquake, however, the remaining palaces and temples that suffered damage are being reconstructed.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares located in the Kathmandu Valley. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the lifestyle and culture of the people here still involves centuries-old mud houses, narrow alleyways, pottery, farming, and shop-keeping. Exploring Nyatapola Temple, The 55 Windowed Palace, Golden Gate, Vatsala Temple and other monuments of great historical value takes you back to the times when triumphant Kings ruled the nation. Trying the Newari cuisine and Juju Dhau or King Curd, a popular form of yogurt is a must in Bhaktapur. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Today, we are headed to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. After a hearty breakfast, get packing for a 8 hours long drive to Lumbini.mLumbini is in the Terai region of Nepal (province No. 5), so our drive from the hilly roads of Kathmandu to the flatland of Kapilvastu, Lumbini is going to be scenically diverse. Upon arrival in Lumbini, we will proceed to our hotel for overnight stay.
We start our day in Lumbini visiting the Maya Devi Temple where Lord Buddha was born and the sacred garden surrounding it.
Major attractions in Lumbini
Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi Temple is the spiritual heart of Lumbini, it was where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and lies next to Pushkarini, a sacred pool.
The Ashoka pillar in front of the Maya Devi temple was erected in after the Indian emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini in 249 BC. The pillar was lost for centuries before being re-discovered in 1896 by Khadga Shumsher Rana, the governor of Palpa.
World Peace Pagoda
The impressive gleaming white World Peace Pagoda is located outside the main compound, but is easily accessible by bike. Built by Japanese Buddhists at a cost of US$1 Million, It is one of world’s greatest stupas.
There is a shining gold statue depicting Buddha’s posture as he was born. There is also a grave of a Japanese monk near the stupa’s base. The monk was murdered by anti-Buddhist extremists during the monument’s construction phase.
It is due for completion in 2018, but this colorful fantasy resembling some features of Angkor Wat is already one of the most fascinating structures in Lumbini. A sqaure railing with 50m green snakes with their tails entwined at the corners surround the temple.
Royal Thai Monastery
Built from gleaming white marble, this stunning Thai-style monastery is a sight of marvel. Its blue-roofed meditation centre next to the monastery is also considered a fine piece of architecture. The compound is arguably the greatest in the Lumbini’s monastic zone.
Zhong Hua Chinese Buddhist Monastery
Zhong Hua is one of the most impressive structures at Lumbini’s monastic zone. This elegant monastery has a gateway flanked by dogs of Fo making this pagoda-style buddhist emblem resemble a small Forbidden City.
Myanmar Golden Temple
Among the newly constructed structures, the Myanmar Golden Temple is one of the oldest structures at Lumbini’s monastic compound. It hosts three prayer halls and the most impressive of them is topped by a corncob-shaped tower style like the temples of Bagan
The Lokamuni Pula Pagoda within the temple grounds is a huge gilded stupa boasting the southern Burmese style of architecture-particularly inspired by the Shwedagon Pava in Yangon.
Tilaurakot lies around 29 km west of Lumbini and is a historical site as well. It is where Siddhartha Gautama spent his first 29 years of life. The region lies in a peaceful meadow on the banks of the Banganga River. Once can still the the ruins of the foundations of the large residential compound which was so extravagant and luxurious that it made Buddha question the nature of existence and drove him away from home. Other delights of this small town are the Korean Buddhist Temple, Nepal Vajrayana Mahavihara Temple, Great Drigung Kagud Lotus Stupa, Thrangu Vajra Vidhya Monastery, Manang Samaj Stupa, Drubgyud Chöling Gompa, the Sri Lankan Monastery, Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, Eternal Flame, Vietnam Phat Quoc Tu Temple and Gold Buddha Statue among others. Overnight in Lumbini
Today, we leave for Pokhara, the beautiful city of lakes. En route we make a stop at Tansen, once a capital of Magar kingdom. The small heritage town rewards us with spectacular views of the long stretch of mountains in the Mahabharat range including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu. During a walk through the streets of Tansen, you can see traditional Newari houses and historical buildings like the Tansen Durbar. Friendly locals and peaceful environment make the place even more attractive. The sound of wooden looms clanking is common here as the town is the main producer of Dhaka(handmade Nepali fabric). Rani Mahal also is known as the Taj Mahal of Nepal lies a little far off the town. After enjoying a short stay in Tansen we continue our drive to Pokhara where we spend the night.
Before the dawn cracks we leave for Sarangkot to watch the sunrise as it slowly comes up sneaking behind Mt. Machhapuchhre ( Fishtail mountain). It is also a vantage point where you can catch spectacular panoramic views of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna range and Fishtail along with picturesque Pokhara valley and Phewa Lake. Return to hotel for breakfast and in the afternoon we visit famous landmarks in the city of Pokhara.
It is a stream flowing through rocks into a underground tunnel which is around 500 m long and 100 feet below the ground level. During the summer, it is huge in volume and surrounds the area with a big hissing sound of huge water mass falling onto rocks. The name Davis Fall is given by Davi’s father after she drowned in the pit. The Swiss woman’s body was discovered three days later in the river Phusre. Davis Fall is called Patale Channgo in Nepali, it means ‘’underworld waterfall.’’
This sacred cave lies across the road from Davis Fall. It contains a huge Stalagmite which is worshipped by the Hindus as a Shiva lingam ( an aniconic representation of Hindu deity, Lord Shiva). Behind the shrine is a tunnel you can clamber through to get to a damp cavern which is adjacent to the soaring waters of Davis Falls.
Today, we boat the pristine Phewa Lake, one of the largest lakes in Nepal. Explore the Barahi Temple (dedicated to female force Shakti) situated almost at the middle of the lake. You can even see the reflection of the Fishtail mountain ( Mt. Machhapuchhre, 6,993 m) on the serene surface of the lake.
World Peace Pagoda(Shanti Stupa)
Located atop Ananda Hill, Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist style pagoda built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monk Morioka Sonin. You can either walk or ride up to the hill which rewards you with a magnificent view of Pokhara city and Phewa Lake with mountains in the background. The peaceful setting with monks humming prayers in the adjacent monastery makes it a truly spiritual experience.
Bindhya Basini Temple
Located at the heart of the city, Bindhya Basini Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. Also on the premises are other temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. The temple of Shiva stands along with a golden trident and a bull in front of the temple. A clear view of Fishtail and Annapurna range is seen from the temple grounds. Overnight in Pokhara.
Today, We drive back to Kathmandu via Prithivi Highway. The drive alongside white waters of Trishuli River and local Nepali country setting is quite pleasing. The twists and turns of the mountain road and forested hills make it all the more fascinating.
Once we arrive in Kathmandu, you can go souvenir shopping in city, we will provide a guide if you need one, or you can also rest in your hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Adventure Club Trek will manage a farewell drive to the international airport for your final flight departure. Meeting you and serving you was a pleasant experience over the weeks. We are sure you enjoyed a wonderful holiday in beautiful Nepal. We hope you will remember us in the years ahead.
Note: Your safety is of the utmost concern whilst you are traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline and there can be illness or an injury. To avoid dangerous situations we may occasionally have to make changes to the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That having been said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and to keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.
Prior to all the treks and expeditions, Adventure Club Trek hosts a pre-trip meeting in Kathmandu. The primary purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the forthcoming trek and to introduce other team members. The meeting covers topics as diverse as personal equipment and acclimatization and usually involves a hike and some skills training. Pre-trip meeting is very important in order to have a better preparation of the trekking.