Famous all over the world, Nepal has many different things and sites to offer for sightseeing. The eye catching Himalayan views, unique culture and traditions, historical monuments, art and architecture, Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas and monasteries, its people and their rites, and myths and mysteries make Nepal a unique place to visit. The first entry point for most visitors is Kathmandu, which divided into the three major cities of Kathmandu proper, Patan and Bhaktapur.
Every trekking office in Nepal arranges sightseeing trips for you in and around the Kathmandu valley. Nepal possesses rich sightseeing from mountains to local culture, and it is well worth exploring the many regions. Favorite destinations for visitors are Bhaktapur, where it is possible to see local potters at work, Nagarkot, for its wonderful sunrises and mountain views, Swayambhunath, Patan Durbar Square, and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Sightseeing in Nepal can also takes you to different small but ancient places outside of the Kathmandu valley and into the more remote places of Nepal. All the sightseeing tours are led by knowledgeable guides who speak and understand English very well. Guides for non-English speakers can also be arranged.
Some Major Sightseeing destinations:
The Everest Region is the second most popular trekking region in Nepal and islocated in the northeast of Nepal. The most visited part of this region is Solukhumbu district, home of the legendary Sherpas as well as the highest peak in the world, Everest at 8,848 meters. To the north of Solukhumbu is Everest National Park, while to the east is the Makalu Barun National Park. The Everest Region is recommended as an introduction to the hills of Nepal and their inhabitants. The major ethnic groups that live in the Everest region are Sherpa, Rai, Tamang, Brahmin, and Chhettri. The diverse range of wildlife and vegetation can be seen in the region. Animals to be observed in the forests are mountain goat, musk deer and barking deer. Birds include Impeyan Pheasant [Danfe], ravens, crows, choughs and snow pigeons. The best time to visit is in spring and autumn. The national bird, danfe (a kind of pheasant), and mountain goats are common in the Khumbu area. Because the Sherpas do not kill animals or birds, people can have a closer proximity with these animals and birds. Musk deer and snow leopards are also natives of the Khumbu mountains.
Gorkha is an ancient kingdom and the capital of the last monarchs of Nepal, the Shah. It is located midway between Kathmandu and Pokhara. Gorkha can be reached from either city by taxi or public bus. The capital of the Nepal was shifted to Kathmandu after King Prithvi Narayan Shah unified the Kingdom of Nepal during the eighteenth century. But this beautiful township has always remained as the center of attraction for many Nepalese as well as foreign visitors. It is a picturesque hilltown that has a rich history of its own. Situated on a small mountain at a height of 3,500 feet, Gorkha offers a magnificent view of the Himalayan peaks. Among the sites to visit, Gorkha Durbar is the most important historical site. This historical palace is a one hour walk from the downtown Gorkha. The palace is strategically located over a fortified hillock. On the southwestern side of palace lies the temple of Goddess Gorakhkali. A cave which claims to shelter the statue of Gorakh Nath, a Tantric sage, adjoins it. The place is picture perfect with a view of Manaslu and Himalchuli peaks of Himalayas. Nevertheless, the best place to have a view of the palace and peaks is Upallokot, a viewpoint made on a pedestal over the hill at the height of some 5,000 feet.
Another important site is the Manakamana Temple. The place lays on a beautiful ridge southeast of the township of Gorkha. The temple, a famous pilgrimage for Hindus, is dedicated to Manakamana, the holy goddess of wish fulfillment. It is a four hour uphill walk from Anbu Khaireni on the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway.
Manakamana is situated in the of Gorkha district, 12 km south of Gorkha bazaar. A cable car is a newly introduced phenomenon in Nepal and has becomes extremely popular among the locals as well as the tourists. This cable car is in Kurintar, from where Manakamana waits only 10 minutes away via cable car. Kurintar is around 105 KM west of Kathmandu on the highway to Pokhara. Before the cable car was established, millions of pilgrims have to go to Manakamana by a long strenuous trek, although some people still prefer the foot path. The cable car ride covers a distance of 2.8 km with 31 passenger and 3 cargo cars, each with a seating capacity of 6; the system has the overall capacity of handling 600 persons per hour.
This place is famous for the temple of Manakamana, one of the manifestations of the Hindu goddess Bhagwati. The Manakamana temple is located 12 Km south of historic town Gorkha and situated on a prominent ridge (1,302m. above sea level) overlooking the river valleys of Trisuli (south) and Marshyangdi (west). The unique location of the place is dramatized during winter when the ridge appears as an island above the sea of morning mist. People believe Manakamana Devi fulfills the wishes of her devotees, thus called the wish fulfilling deity. The reward on reaching the shrine is both spiritual and physical exhilaration. Spectacular views include deep valleys, terraced fields and the Manaslu-Himalchuli and Annapurna ranges. The adventure is one way your wishes get fulfilled!
The famous city of Bhaktapur, situated at an altitude of 1,401 meters, is home to medieval art and architecture, covering an area of 4 square miles. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. The city lies about 14 kilometers east of Kathmandu and can be reached by public transportation or taxi. The major sites in Bhaktapur include:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square contains countless temples and architectural showpieces. The Lion Gate, a statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, a picture Gallery, the golden Gate, the Palace of 55 Windows, and the Batsala Temple are the primary attraction of this square. The Lion Gate, adorned with stone figures of Hanuman, Bhairav and Narasingh Narayan was built during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla. The Golden Gate built by King Ranjit Malla is the entrance to the main courtyard and the palace with 55 of the most beautifully carved windows. The famous Palace of 55 Windows was built by King Bhuptindra Malla in the seventeenth century. It is the masterpiece of wood carving with its gracious setting and sculpture deign. You can also see the Picture Gallery which includes paintings of Hindu and Buddhist schools of Tantra.
Nyatapola Temple is the five stories pagoda built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A.D, stands on a five storey terraced platform. There are squat pairs of figures, two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins, and a Baghini and a singhini, the tiger and the lion goddeses on each of the terraces.
This temple was first built as a one story pagoda during the reign of King Jagat Jyoti Malla, and later changed into a three storied temple in 1781 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the god of Terror.
Surya Vinayak is situated in the beautiful surroundings of Bhadgaon, which is the shrine of Ganesh, the elephant headed god. From here the pleasant view of the city of Bhaktapur is seen with snow-capped peaks in the background.
Changu Narayan one of the most famous religious sites in Nepal. It is located at the end of a long ridge, which runs well into the valley. This temple is said to have been built in 323 A.D by King Hari Dutta Verma and is considered to be the oldest temple in the valley.
Nagarkot is located 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 meters above sea-level. From here one can see spectacular views of major mountain peaks of the eastern Nepali Himalayas including Mount Everest, Annapurna etc. Himalayan peaks like Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Gaurishanker, etc, are also clearly seen from Nagarkot. It can be reached by a road which links Nagarkot with Bhaktapur.
The famous city of Patan, is situated on the south of Bagmati river, about five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. It is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments with bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Patan Durbar square is the most famous area, situated in the heart of the city, and also the main tourist attraction. The square is full of ancient places, temples, and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings.
It is the temple of lord Krishna which is famous in Patan built in the seventeenth century by King Siddhi Narshing Malla.
Walking little further from Patan Durbar Square lies the Buddhist temple of Mahaboudha, made of clay bricks where thousands of images of the Lord Buddha are carved.
Hiranya Varna Mahavir:
This three story golden pagoda was built in the twelfth century by King Bhaskar Verma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, the golden images of Lord Buddha can be found.
The Zoo is located in Jawalakhel where a wide range of animals, birds, and reptiles, mostly representing the Himalayan fauna are reserved. It is the only Zoo in Nepal.
Godavari is situated in the foothills of Phulchoki, this place has splendid natural beauty. The road from Patan city runs to Godavari to the southeast, passing through small, old towns of Harisiddhi, Thaiba and Badegaon.
Phulchoki is located around ten kilometers southeast of Patan, this hill, 2,759 meters high, is a good spot for hiking. A Buddhist shrine is situated on top of the hill which can be reached via driving.
There are many other religious and historical sites in Patan; Kumbheshwor Temple, Jagat Narayan Temple, Rudra Varna Mahavihar The Ashokan Stupas, Accheshwor Mahavihar, Temple of Machchhendra Nath and Min Nath, Jawalakhel Handicraft Centre, Patan Industrial State, among others.
Sundarijal is located 15 kilometres northeast of Nepal´s capital, Kathmandu. The Bagmati River flows through the main village, where it is joined by the Shyalmati and Nagmati Rivers. Largely hilly in its terrain with few flat areas, the village is covered by forests. A large part of Sundarijal is covered by Shivapuri National Park covers. The place was named after the Hindu goddess, Sundarimai. A temple is dedicated to the deity in Sundarijal. Sundarijal is also famous for the Sundarijal Military Detention Camp where former Prime Minister B P Koirala was detained and held without trial for eight years after the Royal coup in 1960. The camp now has been turned into a museum dedicated to B P Koirala. Agriculture based on traditional techniques is the main occupation for the local people and crops include millet, maize, barley, wheat, barley, maize, potato and vegetables millet.. About sixty percent of the villagers are Buddhists and the rest are Hindu.
Sundarijal recieves a large number of internal and foreign tourists owing to its natural and cultural beauties. The main cultural sites in Sundarijal are the temples of Sundarimai Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, and Krishna Mandir. The visitors are attracted to the area´s natural beauty, including the waterfalls and rivers. Sundarijal is also a starting point for hikers along the Langtang Range. There are several picnic tables to meet the needs of tourists.
There is a huge drinking water project that would bring water from Melamchi, treat it, and distribute it from Sundarijal. A pipeline of 58 kilometers in length would be laid in Sundarijal to other places in the Kathmandu Valley. It will start pumping 170 million liters of water daily in 2011 or 2012.
The vegetation Sundarijal consists of mostly pine, oak, rhododendron, and other forest types and 129 species of mushrooms. Wildlife recorded in the area includes the Himalayan Black bear, leopard, jungle cat, and rhesus monkey. The area is inhabited by at least 177 species of birds including at least nine threatened species, 102 species of butterflies with several endangered species.
Kakani lies at a height of 2,073m, 24 Km northwest of Kathmandu. The place is a famous picnic spot among locals. Kakani is also popular among the tourists for its magnificent views of the Ganesh Himal and the central and western Himalaya. The 24km road to Kakani also offers a great bike ride from the capital. There are also some government building, one being the century old summer villa used by the British embassy, and large police training college and army posts. The peaceful Thai Memorial Park commemorates the 113 victims of a 1992 Thai Airlines crash. The Shiva shrine across the road offers wider Himalayan views.
The International Mountaineer Memorial Park below the hillside is a Nepal Mountaineering Association project, under the supervision of a retired French engineer, Henri. Seventy-year old Henri, who is married to a Nepali from Solukhumbu started to construct the climbing wall after being inspired by his love for mountains and natural resources and to make a contribution in the Nepalese mountaineering and tourism industry and assist NMA. The project includes picnic spots, museum, mountain zone, camping sites, memorial garden, clubhouse and several other sub-projects related to tourism industry.
A close view of the other Himalayan peaks can be seen from here, such as: Gaurishanker (7134 in), Choba Bhamte (6016 in), Dorje Lakpa, Manaslu (8163 in), Himalchuli (7893 in), Annapurna (8091 m) and the other several peaks. A majestic view of the sunset can also be seen from this place. The fairly basic Kakani Guest House and Waiba Guest House were both closed in 2005 but are expected to reopen soon. The former Tara Gaon Hotel is currently occupied by the army.
Dhulikhel is the foremost point for the mountain-oriented sightseeing very close to the capital Kathmandu. The ancient Newari town of Dhulikhel is situated 30 km east of Kathmandu and has spectacular views of the Himalayas. Once an important link in the ancient trade route to Tibet, Dhulikhel has a glorious history, which is still can be seen in many beautiful buildings and in intricate wood carvings in the shop-lined streets and temples. Dhulikhel is the administrative centre of the Kavrepalanchok District. Dhulikhel lies along the B.P Highway and Araniko Highway. The Araniko Highway connects Kathmandu, Nepal´s capital city with Tibet´s border town of Kodari. Dhulikhel is located near the Himalayas at 1,550m above sea level and is situated 30 km northeast of Kathmandu and 74 km southwest of Kodari. The people in the village are Newars, Brahmin, Chhettri, Tamang, and Dalit.
Some tourists to the Dhulikhel town admit that the spectacular snow fed mountains seen from Dhulikhel must be one of the finest panoramic views in the world. The plains rise up gradually up to the green mountains and further into the snow capped Himalayas. The panorama offers a majestic undisturbed view of the Himalayan ranges stretching from Mount Annapurna in the far west to Mount Karyolung in the far east. More than twenty Himalayan peaks including Mt. Annapurna (8091 m), Mt. Ganesh Himal (7429 m), Mt. Langtang (7234 m), Mt. Phurbi-Chyachu (6637 m), Mt. Gaurishankar (7134 m), Mt. Lhotse (2516 m) and many others can be seen in their full glory from the different vantage points in Dhulikhel.
Namobuddha is an important destination for Buddhist pilgrims in the area. Namobuddha is a little village in the mountains, near Dhulikhel, which hosts the Thrangu Monastery and the Shree Mangal Dvip school for monks. The place is famous for the stunning, yet not completely clear view of the mountains. One of the main attractions in Namobuddha is a little stupa, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage destination in the center of the village. According to a legend, in a previous life, the Buddha came across a tigress close to death from starvation and unable to feed her cubs. The Buddha felt compassion and sorrow and therefore offered his body to the tigress. In the woods below the stupa there is a little mountain spring with extremely clean and good water, which is said to be blessed. The Phulbari, a beautiful park appears, suddenly in the middle of nowhere. The owner is a German businessman who also has a house in the park and who is kind enough to open the park for the public when he is not living there. The bus ride to and from Namobuddha is sometimes quite an adventure. The local buses are incredibly crowded with at least twice as many people as its capacity and many of the passengers have to sit on the roof.
Daman (2,400m) offers the ultimate panoramic Himalayan views that attract hundreds of internal, regional, and foreign tourists. Daman is a five hour drive on the Tribhuvan Highway between Kathmandu and the town of Hetauda. Located approx 80 km southwest of the Kathmandu valley, Daman offers the only unimpeded view of the entire Himalayan range – roughly 400 km of Himalayan panorama. The mountains seen from Daman cover many ranges - the world´s highest peaks extending in one glittering are from the far west of Dhaulagiri to the far east of Mt. Everest. There is a view tower fitted with long range telescopes. A walk around the surrounding area or a lounging on the one of the resort here is just a different experience in itself. There are lots of trails leading towards the villages around that offer an opportunity to connect with the local life. Similarly one of the resorts here has bicycle on hire which can take one on a very interesting downhill ride to Palung Village.
Phulchowki is the largest peak in the Kathmandu Valley and is situated 20km south-east of Kathmandu. It can be easily reached by taxi in an hour. Before reaching Phulchowki are the Godavari Gardens. The Phulchowki and Godavari forests are famous for different flower and bird species. Godavari is the base of the hill Phulchowki, which is at height of 2,758m. Hiking up to Phulchowki hill inside the dense jungle, one can glimpse beautiful birds and cross small natural streams. After the exhilarating one hour trek, reaching the amazing vantage point is the best part, where a clear day will thrill you with close up view of the entire range of snowy mountains from Mt. Everest in the east to Dhaulagiri in the west. The Spiny Babbler, Nepal’s only endemic is found at the foot of Phulchoki. Along the trails in the early morning it is possible to see 2 species of Tesia, so long as you are first to walk the path. As the track leads up the mountain following the stream, take the small side path along a little valley instead of following the track to the left and look for the Tesias here. Around 265 species of birds have been recorded here.
The places of interest in the area are the Godavari Kunda, Phulchowki Mai Temple and enjoyable walks to the giant Shanti Ban Buddha or shrine of Bishankhu Narayan.
The 10km road from the Kathmandu Ring south of Patan passes through the village of Godavari to an open space at the foot of the hills. Here a partially sealed road continues south to Phulchowki Mai Temple and on to Phulchowki Mountain; the main road veers left (northeast) 1km past an ashram to the gardens and Godavari Kunda.The road from Kathmandu passes several large plant nurseries, highlighting the region´s botanical importance and commercial viability. One of the hotels has a view tower with great views on clear mornings of the Himalayas, with one of the widest panoramas of any viewpoint. A Tibetan monastery and temple is about a 30 minute walk through lovely mountain scenery. Get directions from one of the restaurants or guesthouses. The activities available here is hiking, cycling, rock climbing, fishing trip to Kulekhani, pony ride etc. There some guesthouses with rooms for rent, and one place renting out safari style semi-permanent tents.
Tansen is a hill station at an altitude of 1500 meters about 30 kilometers north of Butwal and 120 kilometers from Pokhara. This is a historic Newari town at an strategic position between high Himalayas and flatland Terai of Nepal. Although in Nepal’s midhills, the town can be reached just in 3 hours drive from the Indo-Nepal Border town of Sunauli. From Kathmandu, fly to Bhairahawa Airport in under 45 minutes, and then drive for 2.5 hrs to Tansen. The regular buses from Kathmandu take 7 – 10 hrs to reach Tansen., and it’s only a 3 hour drive from Pokhara and Chitwan. You can reach Tansen from the Indian cities of Delhi and Calcutta by taking train to Gorakhpur, then a three hours drive, total time taking 12-14 hrs. Tansen is a beautiful natural and cultural town. Moreover, from here you can view Himalayas including Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Machapuchre and witness cultural attractions.
There are no rickshaws or taxis in Tansen. But as it is a small town the best option is walking. The better hotels can arrange a vehicle or a motorcycle to hire. You can also rent a bicycle at some guest houses. Like most hill stations, Tansen lies on the side of a hill so walking at times can be demanding. The Amar Narayan Temple is a traditional three-tiered pagoda-style temple built in 1806. The Bhagwati Temple is near the Tansen Durbar and was originally built in 1815 to commemorate the victory over the British at Butwal. Srinagar Park is the jewel of Tansen, for. the peaks of Machapuchre/Fishtail, the Annapurnas, Gauri Shankar and Dhaulagiri. Palpa Ranighat on bank of the Kali Gandaki river for viewing palace garden, stone walls, and a small shrine known as Taj Mahal of Nepal. It is a 2 hour hike down from Srinagar Park.
Bhairabsthan Or Kal Bhairab is an easy trek of 6 miles from Tansen and brings you to a beautiful spot, the Bhairabsthan temple. Tanahu is a beautiful hill town, which is located only about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Tansen, and is linked by a road. Souvenirs from Tansen: Palpali Brass kuruwas, diwas, and statuary Dhaka Cloth.
Janakpur is a Terai town in central Nepal, 375km southeast of Kathmandu and the birthplace of Janaki Sita. Places of interest in this city include the Janaki Temple, Biwaha Mandap, and numerous beautiful ponds. The most famous landmark in Janakpur is the Janaki Temple. The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur is also place of great importance for the followers of Hinduism. The Janaki Mandir is an artistic marble temple of Sita (known as Janaki) which is popularly known as Naulakha Mandir which literally means 900,000 (a popular way of saying incalculable). The temple was built by Queen Brishabhanu of Tikamgarh of India. Janakpur is also a place for learning Mithila painting. While Thangka paintings portray the Tibetan Buddhist rituals in Nepal’s north, the Mithila paintings illustrate the social and religious lifestyle in Nepal’s southern plains. Interestingly, Mithila paintings traditionally seem to be the domain of the women only, the men started taking interest only later for commercial and identity interests. This rather neglected town is the capital of ancient Mithila Kingdom described in the holy literature of Ramayana. Many pilgrims from Nepal and India attend mock wedding processions for the wedding of the Goddess Sita and the God Ram, locally called the Bibah Panchami. Thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India attend the celebration. Religious festivals, pilgrimages trade fairs and other festivities are held here on Bivaha Panchami and Ram Navami.
Near Janakpur lies the ancient place of Dhanushadham, another important religious site for the Hindus. The Dhanusha pond is believed to have been made by the pieces of arrow broken by the God Rama at Janak’s Durbar. There are several other ponds in the area, and the famous temples there are Ram Mandir, Ganesh Mandir, Panchamukhi Hanuman Mandir, Baba Makhandada Kuti etc.
Biratnagar is Nepal’s second biggest city and is located near the south-eastern border to India. It is known for its agriculture, commerce and industry. Most of the country’s most manufacturing industries are located in this region. Tourists discover Biratnagar on their way to the Himalayan states of India, known as Sikkim and Darjeeling. Visitors also arrive Biratnagar by air to begin their trekking to mountains such as Kanchenjunga. In recent days, a day or two is also spent at Biratnagar city by tourists adventuring into Nepal’s tea growing regions like Ilam and Dhankuta. Biratnagar is linked with Kathmandu by road and air. The Biratnagar airport is the regional hub for vital air services serving the remote Eastern Hills, and there are regular flights to Kathmandu. A survey for a railway extension from India is underway.
Places to Visit around in Biratnagar are Baraha Chhetra, take an hour´s splendid scenic drive away from Biratnagar to Baraha Chetra, an important Hindu pilgrimage site located at the confluence of Koka and Sapta Koshi rivers. Biratnagar Haat Bazaar: Open Market (Haat Bazaar) takes place every Wednesday in a field east of Biratnagar. Make sure to visit the Haat when you get to this place.
The Koshi Tappu:
Visit this wet wonderland in Nepal for bird watching expeditions. It rests along the flood plains of Sapta Koshi river in the Terai belt of Saptari and Sunsari districts of eastern Nepal. It is believed to be one of the best wild life rich wetlands of Asia. Two hour’s drive from Biratnagar is all it takes to discover this hidden wetland.
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Pariwar Holidays Ganesh Man Street, Thamel Kathmandu, Nepal