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Nepal - Places to See-Out of kathmandu Valley

NAGARKOT

Sweet tranquility amid an oasis of green
Located 30 km to the east of Kathmandu on the valley rim, Nagarkot is the favorite weekend getaway for those who seek Himalayan scenery and rural serenity. From Nagarkot, you witness the stunning view of mountains that extend all the way from Dhaulagiri in the west past Mt. Everest to Kanchenjunga in the east. The surrounding countryside of Nagarkot is great for walking. Accommodation in resort hotels and lodges.

The View
Nagarkot is situated at an elevation of 2,175 m and provides a grandstand panorama of the Himalaya . You can see five of the world's 10 tallest mountains - Everest (8,848 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), Cho Oyu (8,201 m), Makalu (8,463 m) and Manaslu (8,163 m) - and many other lesser summits. The snow peaks look especially gorgeous during sunset and sunrise.

Activities
Surrounded by terraced hillsides and picturesque farm houses, the hilltop resort is the epitome of an idyllic escape - with only the wind and the sound of rustling leaves to disturb you. Bird watching is a joy in the forests here. Short hiking options abound. The most popular walk leads down from Nagarkot along a ridge to the temple of Changu Narayan - with views of Sankhu village to the right and Bhaktapur to the left. Another preferred trail leads south from Nagarkot to Nala and Banepa on the highway to Tibet.

DHULIKHEL

A scenic splendor with exhilarating mountain views
The hill resort of Dhulikhel (pop. 12,000) lies 32 km to the east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Highway that leads to Tibet . In the old days, Dhulikhel flourished as a trading center handling commerce between Kathmandu and Lhasa . Today, it delights visitors with its enchanting cultural heritage and stunning Himalayan views. Accommodation in resort hotels and lodges.

The Town
Dhulikhel (altitude 1,440 m) is a small town with a long history. Records show that it has been around for more than 500 years. The artistic skill and urban ethos of its Newar inhabitants have created a place of charm and beauty. Streets lined with bare-brick houses, carved wooden windows, sloping tile roofs, pagoda temples and sacred statues everywhere. You will think you have wandered into a cultural theme park.

The major places of worship here are the Narayan and Harisiddhi temples which are adorned with profuse wood carvings. The Gokhureswar Mahadev temple, a 30-minute walk to the eastern part of town, is a peaceful and scenic spot. The Bhagawati temple is situated at a height in the western part of Dhulikhel and dominates the skyline. From here, you can get a beautiful vista of the town and surrounding areas.

The Views
There are many vantage points in Dhulikhel which offer a panorama of the Himalaya that will leave you spellbound. Looking out over low hills and valleys, the mountains rise up in an extended arc stretching from the far left to the far right. More than 20 Himalayan peaks, including Annapurna (8,091 m), Ganesh (7,429 m), Langtang (7,234 m), Phurbi-Chyachu (6,637 m), Gauri Shanker (7,134 m) and Lhotse (8,516 m) can be seen in all their glory. You should get up early in the morning to watch the first rays of the sun hit the summits and their colors change. Sunset views are equally spectacular.

Activities
The most popular activity for visitors in Dhulikhel is doing nothing. For something more strenuous, we recommend bird watching. You can sit back in your hotel garden and admire the winged creatures fluttering from tree to tree. The forests around Dhulikhel harbor many species of exotic birds.

For adventurers, there's hiking around the countryside, visiting nearby pilgrimage sites and mountain biking. Walking trails pass through Tamang villages and terraced fields providing you an insight into rural Nepal. The shrine of Namura or Namo Buddha, where the Buddha in a past life is said to have offered his own flesh to a starving tigress, is four-five hours on foot. The center of attraction at the village of Panauti (two-four hours' walk) is the temple of Indreswar Mahadev , the oldest existing pagoda structure in the Kingdom.

Mountain biking is a joy with hill trails and rough roads radiating in all directions from Dhulikhel. Some popular routes are Dhulikhel-Panauti-Dhulikhel, Dhulikhel-Banepa-Nala-Dhulikhel and Dhulikhel-Namura-Dapcha-Panauti-Banepa-Dhulikhel. Rafting on the Sun Koshi river, 25 km away, is another diversion.

DAMAN

For the ultimate pan-Himalayan view
Daman (elevation 2,400 m) is the place to go for those seeking the ultimate pan-Himalayan view and willing to travel the extra distance to find it. Located 75 km to the southwest of the Kathmandu Valley on the highway to India , Daman offers the only unimpeded view of the entire Himalayan range, a sight guaranteed to leave the early riser spellbound for days to come. Accommodation in resort hotels and lodges.

KAKANI

Pristine hill resort
Kakani (elevation 1,982 m) lies 23 km to the northwest of Kathmandu . It is a less crowded and more pristine destination which provides excellent mountain views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang and the Annapurnas. The offerings of nature provide the impetus to visit Kakani, and nature lovers will hail the close-up view of Ganesh Himal to the north, as well as the beautiful oak and rhododendron forests on the south slope leading down to Balaju. Accommodation in resort hotels and lodges.

NAMO BUDDHA

Namo Buddha means 'Greetings to the Buddha'. It is the symbol of human sacrifice at the highest possible level. A legend has it that a prince while hunting in the forest saw a hungry tigress with her cubs. The compassionate prince seeing the pitiable conditions of the starving animals cut the flesh of his body and feed them. Such an extra ordinary deed of the priced led him to be a Buddha at the site where he feed his flesh to the animals. The main stupa dedicated to Namo Buddha depicts this story of self-less action of the prince. Namo buddha has always drawn reverent pilgrims. You can drive up to Dhullikhel or Panauti from Kathmandu then hike up to Namo Buddha.

Panauti : Standing in a peaceful valley roughly 8 Km south of Banepa, the small beautiful town of Panauti is at a junction of the rivers Roshi and Pungmati. Similar to that of Ilahabad in India , a third ‘invisible' river is declared to join the other two at the confluence point. This Town is relatively untouched but where festivals preserving tradition of the indigenous Newars are held. It possesses a number of interesting temples, one of which perhaps be the oldest in Nepal . Besides it is famous for magnificent woodcarvings. Panauti once stood at the junction of important trading routes and had a royal palace in its principal square. Today it's just a quiet backwater, yet all the more interesting for that. Concerning trek, an interesting walk leads from Dhulikhel to Panouti. The pleasant two-hour stroll starts off south from Dhulikhel, then turns west crossing rice-fields and running along the course of tiny stream. It eventually hits the Banepa - Panauti road a little north of the town.

CHANGUNARAYAN

The temple of Changunarayan is one of the Kathmandu Valley 's oldest temples. The richness of Changunarayan is surpassed only by wealth of the greatest temple of Pashupati . The temple is sitting on the hillock called Changu - the name derived from the name of the god. Around the temple you will see the stone image of Garuda - the half bird half-man that is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu - another name of Changunarayan. The superb image of Lord Vishnu astride the Garuda to the left of the main temple door is of such importance in the Nepal 's art history that it is featured on the ten rupee note. The most interesting one would be the half day hike along the hill ridge route from Nagarkot to Changunarayan.

DAKSHINKALI

The temple of Dakshinkali is situated about 18 km. south from Kathmandu and just 2 km. of Shekha Narayan. Dakshinkali is regarded as one of most important Hindu goddesses. Pilgrims visits this temple to offer their prayer and animal sacrifices to the goddess. Besides, this place has been developed as a popular picnic spot and the nearby, is a lovely temple to the Tantric Goddess Bajrayogini and a meditation cave of the Buddhist teacher "Guru Rimpoche" (Padmasambhava).

Shekha Narayan :(way to Dakshankali)
Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali the temple of Shekha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu Valley . The other three Narayans are Changu Narayan of Bhaktapur, Visankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu.

PHULCHOWKI

Phulchowki (2760 m) is the highest of the mountains encircling the Kathmandu valley. This broad-leafed-sub tropical forest is the richest for birds and wildlife in the valley and remains the most convenient place to see some of the birds that are rare or local to Nepal . Phulchowki lies 18 km south east of Kathmandu above Godawari village (1525 m). The drive to Godawari is about half and hour and it is another half and hour drive to the top of the Phulchowki by four wheel drive. Phulchowki and Godawari forest are internationally famous for the species richness of their flora and fauna, specially butterflies and birds. They are one of the few remaining examples of this type of sub-tropical forest in Nepal . Mammals include Spotted Leopard, Yellow-throated Marten and Orange-bellied Squirrel.

Forest types : Rhododendron-Oaks- and Fir and thickets of cane bamboo.

Recommended length of birding is a day for lower a slopes (including Godawari Botanical Garden ) and a day for the upper slopes.

Specialties :
Resident (regular) : Besra, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Kalij Pheasant, Common Hill Partridge, Ashy Wood Pigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Scops Owl, Collared Owlet, Golden Throated Barbet, Speckled Piculet, Crimson Breasted Pied and Rufous bellied Pied Woodpeckers, Grey Chinned Minivet, Striated Bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Spotted Forktail, Chestnut Headed and Grey bellied Tesias, Chestnut Crowned and Black-faced Warblers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Lesser Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler, Streaked-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Grey throated and Spiny babblers, White-crested, Striated, Rufous Chinned and Grey-sided Laughing Thrushes, Red-billed Leiothrix, Cutia, White-browed Green and Black-eared Shrike Babblers, Hoary Barwing, Blue-winged Minla, Nepal Fulvetta, Yellow-browed Tit, Brown-throated Tree Creeper, Black-throated Sunbird, Maroon Oriole, Eurasian and Lanceolated Jays, Red Billed Blue Magpie, and Brown Bull Finch.

Winter (rare) : Rufous-throated Hill Partridge, Barred Cuckoo-dove, Bay Woodpecker, Blue-naped Pitta, Grey Cheeked Warbler, Large Niltava, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher, Black Throated Parrotbill, Blue winged Laughing thrush and Red-tailed Minla, Speckled Wood-Pigeon, Golden Bush-Robin, Hodgson's Redstart, Plain-backed and Long-tailed Mountain Thrushes, Long-billed Thrush, White-collared and Grey-winged Blackbirds, Chestnut Thrush, and Fires-tailed Sunbirds, Slaty backed Flycatcher, Greater Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, Mrs. Gould's and Fire-tailed Sunbirds, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Crimson browed, Scarlet, and Gold naped Finches, Red-headed Bullfinch and Spot-winged Grosbeak.

Summer (rare ) : Crested Serpent Eagle, Lesser Cuckoo, White-throated Needletail, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-tailed Robin, Blue-capped Rock-thrush, Orange headed and Tickell's Thrushes, Small Niltava, Asian Sooty, Ultramarine, Little Pied, and Snowy-browed Flycatchers and Bronzed and Lesser Raquet-tailed Drongo.

SHIVAPURI

Shivapuri is the second highest peak among the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. It is 2732m at its peak with numerous sharp ridges radiating to all sides. Situated towards the north of the Kathmandu Valley, due to its strategic location and convenience, Shivapuri was proclaimed as a watershed area supplying more than a million liters of natural spring water to the city. After Shivapuri experienced several problems concerning soil erosion as a result of deforestation, over- grazing, cultivation on steep slopes etc.; reducing the quality and quantity of the water supplied, His Majesty's Govt. of Nepal initiated a program to protect Shivapuri and its adjoining areas as a watershed and wildlife reserve in 1975. In 1976, the Shivapuri Development Board was established to ensure a multi disciplinary supervision and guidance of the project activities.

A boundary wall of 111 km was constructed around the reserve and settlements within the area evacuated, establishing the Royal Nepal Army here to safeguard the reserve. A road 95 km in length and foot trails 82 km was built and improved around the reserve. 1193 ha inside and 786 ha outside the reserve had been identified and designated as Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve (SWWR) and its buffer zones. As recently as, in mid 2002 Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve was officially given a National Park status.

Since Shivapuri lies in the transition zone between subtropical and temperate climate, the vegetation consists of a variety of natural forest types, depending on altitude and aspects. Most of the areas below 1800m are covered with Schima castanopsis forest in which pines (Pinus roxburghii) appear on the southern dry ridges, with Utis (Alnus nepalensis) along the streams. A forest of oak species such as Quercus semicarpifolia and Quercus lamelosa mixed with rhododendron and a variety of orchids flourish on the northern slopes. A variety of medicinal herbs is found at higher altitudes. A hundred and twenty nine species of mushrooms have been so far identified and catalogued from the Shivapuri National Park.

Among the wild animals, Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), Pallas's Cat (Felis manul), Large Indian Civet (Viverra zibetha), Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten (Martes flavigula), Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Goral (Nemorhaedus goral), Indian Porcupine (Hystris indica), and Common Langur (Presbytis entellus) etc. can be spotted around the park.

Numerous birds, butterflies and lizards can be seen in around the 97.36 sq. km of SWWR. 177 species of birds of which 9 are enlisted as endangered, 19 species of mammals and 150 species of butterflies some endemic and rare are found in the Shivapuri area, out of the total of 800 species of birds, 130 species of mammals and 600 species of butterflies found in Nepal, thus making Shivapuri a paradise for flora and fauna and one of the few National Parks in the capital around the globe.

LUMBINI-Birth Place of Lord Buddha

About Lumbini: In the plain south of the first foothill of the Churia range, lies Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama, the Buddha. Lumbini is asacred placefor Buddhistsfrom all over the world, standing on an equal footing with holy places sacred to other world religions. A veteran Asian traveller and author of several books writes, 'As millions of Christians look to Jerusalem for inspiration, as millions of Muslims turn to Mecca, so do three hundred million Buddhists see in the sacred Kingdom of Nepal, a pillar left by the great Emperor Ashoka to mark the site where Buddha was born.

Ashokan Pillar: The Ashokan Pillar-In 1895, a German archaeologist, white wandering about the foothills of the Churia range, discovered a massive stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C. to pay homage to the birth place of Buddha. It is said that the Indian Emperor visited Lumbini Garden in the twentieth year of his coronation.

The stone pillar bears the following inscription:
King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, having been anointed twenty years, came himself and worshipped saying: "Here Buddha Sakyamuni was born. He caused a stone pillar to be erected, because the worshipful one was born here. The village of Lumbini has been made free of taxes and a recipient of wealth.' (translated from Brahrni.)

The Temple of Maya Devi-The next visible monument in Lumbini is the temple of Maya Devi containing a stone relief depicting the birth scene of Lord Buddha. The bas-relief shows Maya Devi supporting herself by holding on to a branch of a sal tree, and the newborn infant Buddha standing upright on a lotus pedestal. Two celestial figures are engaged in the act of pouring water and lotuses from the heaven, indicated in the sculpture by a delineation of clouds. The Maya Devi shrine has been worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists since the beginning of the Christian era and is believed to have been built over the foundation of at least one earlier temple or stupa.

To the South of the Maya Devi temple is the famous sacred pool of 'Puskarani', believed to be the same sacred pool in which queen Maya Devi bathed just before giving birth to Buddha. It is also belived to be the same sacred pool in which queen Maya Devi bathed just before giving birth to Buddha. It is also believe to be the pool where the infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. The structure consists of three projecting terraces in descending order and is rivetted with fine brick masonry.

 

Places to See

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