Nepal’s Peaks & UNESCO Sites

After visiting Bhutan and India, we stopped in Nepal for a few days before heading to Tibet.  Located in the Himalayas, Nepal is bordered by China to the North and India to the South.  With over 240 peaks above 20,000 ft., Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains including Mt. Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali.  According to Wikipedia, “Hinduism”  is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation.  “Buddhism”, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal.  Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are three different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley, “Mahayana” and “Vajrayana”, and also the “Theravada”  Buddhism.”

Below is our itinerary and some photos:

Kathmandu, NEPAL (12.5 hours ahead of PST)
DAY 1 Varanasi to Kathmandu
7.00-8.00 Am Yoga class in hotel
8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Visit Bharatmata Temple
9:30 AM Transfer to airport
12:10 PM Depart Varanasi to Kathmanduon on IC – 751
1:20 PM Arrive Kathmandu
2:20 PM Transfer to hotel
3:00 PM Arrive hotel and check in
rest of the day at leisure
6:00 PM Transfer to local restaurant Decheling for Welcome Dinner
Overnight at Gokarna Forest Resort (www.gokarna.com)
DAY 2 KATHMANDU- Full day Tour of Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath and Patan City
8:00 AM Breakfast at hotel
9:00 AM Depart hotel
9:20 AM Arrive at the Thamel market
10:20 AM Arrive Kathmandu Durbar Square (one of three famous squares in Nepal) where you can see the incredible architecture and skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen dating back to the 15th century.  The UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by courtyards, temples, and the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. There is also a Living Goddess, the Kumari Devi, a young girl who lives with her staff in the Kumari Bahal Building that stands in the middle of Durbar Square.  The Goddess is selected at age 4 from the Newari caste and lives in this building until she reaches puberty when she turns back into a mere mortal.  She makes a daily appearance from an 3rd floor open balcony where tourists are allowed to get a few seconds glance. Unfortunately no one is allowed to take her picture, so we took a photo of this postcard instead.
11:20 AM Rickshaw Ride
11:40 AM Arrive Bus
12:00 PM Arrive Patan Durbar squareAnother UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Lalitpur and famous for the Ancient Palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided.  The Main Square has temples, shrines and historical Newari Architecture, and the Royal Palace has three main courtyards – Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan  
12:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Meet in square. L&D “3 Wheelers” to bus
1:45 PM Arrive bus; Depart for Swayambhunath
2:00 PM Swayambhunath, one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrammage sites, is located on a hill in Kathmandu Valley – once you arrive, you climb approx. 365 steps up to the main temple platform and the base of the giant stupa where Buddha’s painted on eyes gaze down at you.  There are shrines, a Tibetan monastery, museum, library, and temples that date back to the Licchavi period.  This ancient religious site is known as the Monkey Temple and has several “holy monkeys” everywhere you turn.
3:00 PM Depart for hotel
3:30 PM Arrive hotel  and rest of the evening free to relax
Dinner
Overnight at Gokarna Forest Resort
DAY 3 KATHMANDU- Mt. Everest & Pashupatinath and Boudhnath
5:45 AM Mt. Everest flight
8:30 AM Return back to hotel
9:00 AM Arrive hotel and Breakfast
10:30 AM Located along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pashupatinath is considered the most important Hindu temple in the world where cremations take place every hour.  Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple, and non-Hindus can respectfully observe the temple and the cremations from the other side of the river. 
10:45 AM Pashupatinath “Holy” Men
11:30 AM Depart from Pashupatinath
12:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Depart to visit Boudhnath temple – another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular sites to visit in Nepal.  Boudhnath is considered one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world.  Its stupa has a large mandala base making it the largest in Nepal, if not the world.
2:30 PM Depart for hotel
3:00 PM Arrive hotel and rest the evening at leisure
7:00 PM Dinner
Overnight at Gokarna Forest Resort
DAY 4 KATHMANDU – Bhaktapur visit
8:00 AM Breakfast at hotel
9:00 AM Depart hotel for Bhaktapur Sightseeing
10:30 AM Arrive Bhakatapur – east of Kathmandu, this third Durbar Square is an ancient complex that consists of four squares – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square.
12:00 PM Lunch on their OWN
2:00 PM Spend more time in the local bazar of Bhaktapur
3:00 PM Drive back to hotel
4:40 PM Arrive hotel and relax
6:00 PM Transfer to local restaurant for Farewell Dinner at Bhitha

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