Nepal Cultural Tours Packages
You will find all your sightseeing tour needs in Nepal. Sightseeing tours starts from 2 days to 15 days. Kathmandu valley has three major cities: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. All three are rich in its cultural heritage. Beyond the cities there are several places on the rim of Kathmandu valley for short hike and rest. The countryside and viewpoints are added attractions.
Of the 812 World Heritage Sites, four are located in Nepal, namely the Kathmandu Valley, Sagarmatha National Park, Chitwan National Park and Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha. Major monument zones in the Kathmandu Valley are Swoyambhunath, Boudhanath, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changunarayan, Pashupatinath, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square. All these monuments were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most of the places listed in Wolrd Heritage Sites were revered for thousands of years and there has been a series of contributions and renovations in the form of construction of temples, stupas and palaces over the centuries by different rulers and kings. These sites are an expression of the finest sensibility of the history and lifestyle of Nepal and are a legacy of the the Nepalese people of human civilization.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: Located in the center of Bhaktapur city. Showcasing architecture that dates back to the Malla period, the square is the most charming, with wide open spaces that are off limits to vehicular traffic. In Bhaktapur you will see some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. Of particular interests are: the Golden Gate, Fifty-five Windows and the beautiful statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar. The Golden Gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla as the entrance to the main courtyard of the Fifty-five Window Palace. The Palace of Fifty-five Windows was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A.D.and was re-modelled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th Century. The Art Gallery has a fascinating collection of ancient manuscripts, thangkas, centuries-old stone sculpture, antique paintings that belong to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods.
Changu Narayan Temple: Perched on a hill and visible from miles around, the Changu Narayan temple stands majestically above the rice fields of Bhaktapur. Dedicated to Vishnu, the Preserver the temple’s origins go back to the 4th century. A fifth century stone inscription in the temple proclaims it as one of the oldest shrines of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple is a showcase for the brilliant art and architecture of the early century. The stone, wood, and metal craft found here are exemplary. On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are ten incarnations of Narayan. And a 6th Century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu. Garuda, half man and half bird, is the vehicle of Vishnu, and his life-size statue kneels before the temple.
The stone inscription (dated 464 A.D.) placed in front of the Changu Narayan temple describes in detail the story of Dharmadeva, a Nepali King who died suddenly, with his young son succeeding him to the throne. It is said that later the son after a series of victories in war inscribed the victory on a stone pillar and placed it in front of the Changu Narayan temple. It is written in verse and in an academic Sanskrit which is akin to an encyclopedia about the society of the time, its tradition and culture. It starts with an invocation to the Vishnu of Doladri proving that Changu Narayan or the Doladri Narayan is much older than the date on the inscription of 464 A.D.
Boudanath Sutpa: The 36-meter-high stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. With countless monasteries surrounding it, Bouddhanath is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Built in the shape of a mandala designed to replicate the Gyangtse of Tibet, the stupa was renovated by Licchhavi rulers in the 8th Century. The location of the stupa is interesting as it once lay on the ancient trade route to Tibet and it was here that Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers for centuries. Boudha even today has a strong Tibetan presence as countless Tibetan refugees found a home around the stupa. On top is the harmika and on each side are painted the all seeing eyes of the Buddha symbolizing awareness. The canopy has thirteen stages. At ground level there is a brick wall with 147 niches and 108 images of the meditational Buddha inset behind copper prayer wheels.
Kathmandu Durbar Square:Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of old Kathmandu city in Basantapur never fails to impress first time visitors with its intricate wood carvings and rich history. Surrounded by concrete buildings, the complex is an oasis in a fast developing, chaotic modern city. Once the residence of Nepal’s Royal family, all coronation ceremonies were held here. The palace is an amalgamation of eastern and western architecture with additions by Rana and Shah rulers over the centuries. An unbelievable 50 temples lie within the vicinity including the temple of the titular deity, Taleju Bhawani. The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner section consisting of Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. Some floors have been converted to museums dedicated to three generations of Shah kings. Most parts of the palace premises are open to tourists throughout the week.
Some important monuments to see in this area are:
- The Taleju Temple is the tallest of all structures, built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 AD. This temple is open to the public for one day each year during the Dashain festival.
- The Jagannath Temple, built in the 16th century is known for the fascinating erotic figures carved on the wooden struts.
- The Kal Bhairav, one of the largest 17th century stone statues in Kathmandu, representing the terrifying aspect of Lord Shiva.
- Swet-Bhairav – the temple is open to the public once in year during Indra Jatra Festival.
- The 17th century Kumari Temple (the temple of Living Goddess) is an example of highly developed Nepali craftmanship.
- Kasthamandap, from which Kathmandu derives its name, is said to have been built from the timber of a single tree.
- Nautalle Durbar (the nine storyed palace)
Pashupatinath Temple: The holiest shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built in the 5th Century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered in the forest. The largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus. The main pagoda style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver, and wood carvings of the finest quality. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath. Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva’s consort Sati Devi. Cremation of Hindus takes place on raised platforms and it is always in use. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. The inner sanctum has a Shiva lingam and outside sits the largest statue of Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shiva. There are hundreds of shiva lingams within the compound. The big Shivaratri festival in spring attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees from within Nepal and from India.
Patan Durbar Square: Located in the heart of Patan city, this was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of Malla kings who were great builders and patrons of the arts. The palace has three main courtyards: the central and the oldest is Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free standing temples of various sizes and built in different styles. A masterpiece in stone, the Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple, the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna Mahavihara and Sundari Chowk mark the artistic brilliance of the Newar craftsmanship of that era. The Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti, showcases exquisite woodcarvings, stone and metal sculpture. Like the other palaces, Patan Durbar Square also houses a temple dedicated to Taleju Bhawani.
Swoyambhunath Stupa: Swoyambhu literally means ‘Self-Existent One.’ Swoyambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. According to translations from an inscription dating back to 460 A.D., it was built by King Manadeva and by the 13th century, Swoyambhunath had developed into an important center of Buddhism.Legend has it that Swoyambhu was born out of a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of the lake which the Kathmandu valley once was. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal was recently built on the western boundary of Swoyambhu. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri or Saraswati – the Goddess of learning. Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities fill the stupa complex. The base of the hill is almost entirely surrounded by prayer wheels that were recently installed. Devotees can be seen circumambulating the stupa at all times.
The stupa sits atop the hill and the exceedingly steep stone steps leading up to the shrine is quite a challenge. However there is also a road going up almost to the top and you can drive up. A large number of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swoyambhunath through out the day. Swoyambhu is perhaps the best place to observe religious harmony in Nepal.
Nagarkot: It is a hill station located about 25 km. from Kathmandu about 10 km from Bhaktapur. It is situated on northeastern rim of Kathmandu valley. Nagarkot is best known for sunrise and sunset view over the Himalayan range. On a clear day you may see peak of Mt. Everest. A day excursion including tour of Bhaktapur and Changunarayan is ideal. Overnight stay at one of the hotel, lodge and resort with modern facilities is a good way to escape from the city. You can enjoy the mountain with cool and fresh air. There are several places nearby for short hike.
Dhulikhel:It is located 30km from Kathmandu and about 10 km from Bhaktapur. It is on the high way to Tibet border known as Kodari-Border. The area is located at the edge of the eastern rim of Kathmandu valley. There are pleasant view of the Panchakhal valley and the mountain range. Like Nagarkot there are several hotesl, lodges and resort for overnight stay. A day excursion on foot or car to Namobuddha, situated on top of a hill and a historic village of Panauti are possible extension tour. Namobuddha is the last place in Kathmandu valley Buddha had visited before going to Vanaras (India) at the end of his life. The visit was during the reign of Kiranti king.
Other interesting tours in Kathmandu valley are: Dakshinkali – every Saturday at the Kali temple animal sacrifice is performed. Kirtipur – it is one of the oldest city in the valley that has not changed since the time it was used as spring board to capture Kathmandu by the founder of Nepal. It is located on a hilltop overlooking Tribhuvan University. Tour of Dakshinkali and Kirtipur can be combined in a single visit.
Pokhara (900m): is a beautiful valley with a panoramic view of Annapurna and Machapuchare (shape of fish tail) in the north and Dhaulagiri in the west and, Lamjung himal and Manaslu in the east. Machapuchare is just 28 km from your hotel! It looms large infront of you. Pokhara has several lakes; among them Phewa Tal (lake) is a major attraction. Most of the hotels, lodges and eating places are located on the eastern edge of the lake. It is one of the favourite tourist destination next to Kathmandu. Pokhara is linked by 200 km road with Kathmandu. The road branch out at Mugling to go to Chitwan for safari adventure. Trishuli river that runs parallel to the road provides white water rafting. It is also linked with Bhairawa and Lumbini, birth place of Gautama Buddha, by Siddhartha Rajmargh (highway). There are several flight to and from Pokhara to Kathmandu. You can also fly to Manang and Bhairawa direct from Pokhara. For the trekkers it is also the gateway to the mountain.
Travel duration by surface from Kathmandu to Pokhara is about 5 hour and flight duration is 35 minutes. Beside jungle safari and rafting, tour to Pokhara provides one of the best extension tour. You may join a packaged conducted tour or take public bus operated for tourist only. There are several hotels with good quality.
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