Nepal is locked in the HImalaya Mountains between India and Tibet. Known primarily for its dramatic alpine scenery, its variety of ethnic groups, languages and religions also make Nepal a fascinating cultural destination. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. The majority of the Nepalese people (80%) are Hindus, and the remaining 20% are mix of Buddhists, Muslims, Shiks, Christians, Jains, Kranti, and Jews. Nepal’s 27 million inhabitants are heavily concentrated in the valleys.
KATHMANDU, the capital, was badly damaged during a major earthquake in 2015. Extensive renovation work is now underway to restore the historical monuments impacted by the quake. These include:
- Dunbar Square with the old Royal Palace in the heart of the Old City
- Majul Deval Pagoda
- Swayambhunath Buddhist Temple, a.k.a. The Monkey Temple
- Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest in Nepal
- Pashupatinath, a Hindu Temple from the 1400s located on the bank of the Bagmati River
- The Thamel neighborhood, where shopping in market stores is fun and nightlife is very active.
It takes at least 5 or 6 hours to drive the 128 miles from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Pokhara city is located on the shore of the Phewa Lake, one of the eight lakes located in the Valley of Pokhara. The International Mountain Museum is the main attraction in town as most visitors are coming to trek on the 100 to 150 miles of mountain roads in the nearby Annapurna Mountain Range, which contains one peak over 26 000 feet,13 peaks over 23 000 feet and 16 peaks over 20 000 feet.
CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
This park lies in the lowlands of South and Central Nepal adjacent to the Indian border. Many rare mammals can be seen here, as well as the giant hornbill bird, the one horn Rhino, and Bengal tigers. Comfortable lodges are there to accommodate visitors, and elephant safaris are a great nature experience.