Looking for an opportunity to savour the rich cultural heritage in the Himalaya? Nepal can be your dream destination. After all, Nepal is not just about mountains. Nepal, country of long history, fascinating art, distinctive and varied architecture is highly diverse in its cultural representation. Nepal is a home to about 101 ethnic groups with more than 129 dialects living from southern plains of Terai region to the foothills of the world’s highest peaks. Unique culture and tradition are the parts of everyday life of Nepali that will surely make you bedazzled. So, cultural tours in Nepal can be the best opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the country that offers unforgettable experiences of cultural bequest. These cultural tours do not only take you to the holy pilgrimage sites, historical monuments, UNESCO world heritage sites but also rejuvenate your mind, body, soul and makes your trip memorable one.
Nepal, especially Kathmandu Valley is one of the rarest places on Earth that showcases the exemplary fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism. This makes Nepal rich in cultural diversity with variety of gods and goddess, numerous temples of different styles, stupas, monasteries portraying the deep faith of people. The cultural tours provide you with the most satisfying experience of guided excursion and roaming in the old historic towns like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan providing live display of medieval art and architecture in its wonderful durbar squares. The insight of eye catching design of durbar squares glorifies the miraculous relation of Gods and humans that adds excitement and rejuvenate you spiritually. Also, the 3rd century Boudhnath Stupa, Swoyambhunath temple and the biggest Hindu temple in the world- Pashupatinath Temple allure you towards their pristine beauty.
Not just in Kathmandu Valley, wherever you travel in Nepal, you with encounter with various groups of people with different culture and lifestyles. Nearby places along the rim of Kathmandu Valley like Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and Namo Buddha, offer insights on the mid-hill life of Nepal with the eye catching views of the Himalayas. In the eastern and central parts of Terai, resides a Mithila culture center, which is related to the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. The capital of ancient Mithila kingdom is present in heart of Mithila, Janakpurdham, where you can experience the touch of Mithila culture through different temples, ponds, foods, art, architecture, and cultural monuments there. The famous and only Hindu-Mughal style temple ‘Janaki Mandir’ is really mesmerizing and the numerous sacred and beautiful ponds there crown it as “City of Ponds”. Lumbini, Birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha is an important spiritual site and attracts thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Other destinations to experience both natural beauty and cultural magnificence are Pokhara, Bandipur, Palpa, Nuwakot and Gorkha as well as Chitwan where you can also enjoy wildlife experiences.
Nuwakot Seven Stored Palace (Sattale Durbar)
Well, the list is long and choice endless. A wide variety of ethnic groups, all speaking their own language and practicing their own way of life is what makes Nepal unique from rest of the world. You can be rest assured that these places is tantamount to invaluable insight, unspoiled beauty through the enriched culture, charming people with varied lifestyle and valued customs and traditions. So, why wait?
Why to Visit Nepal in 2020? The answer is simple! The Shangri-la, Himalayan jewel, trekkers’ paradise – Nepal boasts a long list of eulogies in its name. Indeed Nepal, a tiny country tucked between two Asian giants China and India, defines what it means to be “Small is beautiful”. The land of contrasts and diversity, the country has world’s 8 highest mountains and world’s deepest gorge; roaring Himalayan rivers and tranquil freshwater lakes; evergreen tropical forests of Bengal Tiger and the home of Snow Leopard! The culture is as diverse as its landscape – more than 100 ethnic groups with their own religion and language coexist in this deceptively small country. You can also witness the incredible fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, which is one of its kind, not to be found elsewhere. So, the land is simply a replica of heaven if there exists any. Now, this land of wonders is all set to welcome 20 million visitors in “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign.
The campaign is launched by Nepal Government as a part of its promotional initiative to develop Nepal as a premier destination among international travelling community. However, this is not the first time Nepal Government is promoting the country. It all began in 1998, when the country launched its first promotional campaign as Visit Nepal 1998, followed by another one in 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year. Following these years’ successes, Nepal is now anticipating the 2020 campaign with much hope and excitement. Though, Nepal has always lured travellers but Visit Nepal Year 2020 is going to be extra delightful. So, if you are new to the country, the time is not to be missed to make your debut Himalayan adventure. Or, if you have already been here, be prepared to make your trip more eventful. We have listed some of the amazing things you can do while you are in Nepal in 2020.
Though it may sound like a cliché to say that Nepal is a trekkers’ paradise, it is in fact a big truth! Mountains are dreamlike, Hills are mystifying, Valleys are enchanting, and most importantly options are plenty! What else do hungry feet need? Trekking in Nepal normally means walking from low elevated mid-hill towns, passing through lush green rolling hills and gradually gaining elevation to the Himalayan landmarks where the natural vistas are matchless. Depending on your wish and fitness level, trekking adventure of any grade and any length can be done. All you need is your willingness to meet the mountains.
If mountains bring out the best in you, or you crave for some serious alpine adventure, Nepal is by default the best destination. The wide section of 800 kilometer long Nepali Himalayan section that includes world’s 8 highest mountains offers world class mountaineering adventures. Either you are a beginner or an old hand at mountains, you have a wide range of choices from less technical 5/6000m+ (trekking peaks) to highly technical eight thousanders (expedition peaks). There are more than 300 mountains in Nepal that are open for climbing with more than 100 virgin peaks. So, the choices are endless.
It’s quite understandable that Nepal always conjures up the world of towering mountains and distant valleys in everyone’s mind. However, Nepal is not just about meeting mountains only. Beside its natural wonders, the country is also a home to more than 100 ethnic groups resulting in diverse cultural displays. The country is a proud owner of various languages, religions including the unique fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, multiple festivals, colorful celebrations, age-old folklores and unique practices. It’s not for nothing that Nepal is called a cultural trove of South Asia! Cultural tours of ancient towns and heritage sites are a great way to experience the cultural wonders of Nepal.
Nepal’s unique topography and extreme altitudinal range from 67m in the south to 8848 m (Mt Everest) in the north caters 11 bio-climatic zones resulting in one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity. Though Nepal occupies about 0.1 % of the world’s landmass, it harbors 3.2 % and 1.1 % of the world’s known flora and fauna. This rich natural heritage is preserved in country’s 20 protected areas (10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 6 conservation areas and 1 hunting reserve). So, Nepal is a paradise for wildlife lovers and bird watchers. You can do ample of activities from thrilling jungle safaris to tranquil bird watching sessions in the exotic wilderness of Nepal.
As if mountaineering, trekking, cultural tours, wildlife tours aren’t just enough! Nepal also hosts a wide variety of adventure sports ranging from extreme aerial sport like Everest Skydive to more traditional sport like mountain biking. The winding Himalayan rivers, extreme terrains, deep gorges and stupendous waterfalls just make perfect spots for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers to unleash their mad monkeys. Skydiving, Bunjee Jumping, Paragliding, Ultra light flight, White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Canyoning, Zip Flying and Rock Climbing are very popular among adventure lovers. So, either you are a soft adventurer or an intrepid soul, Nepal has brilliant things for you!
Honey Hunter at Work (pic credit: The Guardian)
Nepal is full of surprises! You might have already seen half of the mountains but the country still has so many things to show you. There are many unique things, definitely not as bizarre as going for yeti hunting, but are still not less interesting than any trendy activities. Honey Hunting, Shamanism Tour, Photography Tour, Culinary Tour, Motor Bike Tour, Volunteering, Visiting off the beaten places, Learning Buddhism, and Yoga and Meditation Tour are just some of the unique things you can do here. It is as if you spend your entire life here and you would never be able to see everything.
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