Kathmandu – City of Art and Architecture
A landlocked country Nepal is in Southern Asia, between the Tibet autonomous region of China and India. It contains 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest – the world’s tallest –bordered with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. A monarchy for hundreds of years, Nepal was declared a republic in June 2008.
A very diverse geography, rising from less than 100 meters (328 ft) elevation in the tropical Terai, the northern rim of the Gangetic Plain, beyond the perpetual snow line to some 90 peaks over 7,000 meters (22,966 ft) including Earth’s highest Mount Everest or Sagarmatha at 8,848m (29,029 ft).
Prithvi Narayan must have been a charismatic figure, for he recruited, equipped and trained a formidable army and persuaded his subjects to underwrite all this from his ascension until his death in 1775. Through conquest and treaty, he consolidated several Chaubisi kingdoms. As his domain expanded, Khaskura became known as Gorkhali, i.e. the language of the Gorkha kingdom. Then he moved east into the next river basin, the Bagmati which drains the Kathmandu Valley that held three smallurban kingdoms.Like the Rapti, the Bagmatirises somewhat south of the Himalaya. Unlike the Rapti basin, this valley had once held a large lake and the remaining alluvial soil was exceptionally fertile. Between the agricultural abundance, local crafts, and extensive trade with Tibet, the cities were prosperous. Prithvi Narayan encircled the valley, cutting off trade and restricting ordinary activities, even farming and getting water. With a combination of stealth, brutality and intimidation he prevailed and deposed the local kings in 1769, making Kathmandu his new capital. This was the high point of PrithviNarayan’s career; however he continued consolidating the Kathmandu Valley with the Chaubisi and Baisi federations to the west until his death in 1775. Gorkhali was re-dubbed Nepali as ‘Nepal’ came to mean not only the urbanized Kathmandu Valley, but all lands ruled by the Shahs.
Nepal is also one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and variation in altitude. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in climatic conditions from sub-tropical to Arctic.
Nepal is occupying only 0.1 % of the earth and is home to:
- 2 % of all the flowering plants in the world.
- 8 % of the world’s population of birds (more than 848 species).
- 4 % of mammals on earth.
- 11 of the world’s 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species).
- 600 indigenous plant families.
- 8 of the 14 highest (8000 m) peaks of the world
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
Min. 2 Pax
NEPAL AT A GLANCE:
Official Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Area: 147, 181 square kilometers.
Geography: Situated between China to the north and India to the south, east & west. Highthest point Mt. Everest (8848 m) and the lowest Kechana (60 m above sea level)
Capital: Kathmandu – surrounded by four hills – Fulchowki, ChandragiriShivapuri and Nagarjun. Kathmandu valley has three major cities Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. Situated at the altitude of 4,500 feet above sea level, Kathmandu is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Before the unification of Nepal in the 18th century, the three cities were independent states ruled by the Malla Kings.
Population: 27.8 million (according to the census of 2013)
Language: Nepali is the national language. However English is spoken by many.
People/Religion: Nepal has more than 105 ethnic groups with diverse culture, traditions and lifestyle. Nepali people can be divided into two distinct groups: Indo- Burman and Mongoloid. Nepal is a secular state with majority of people following Hinduism. However, people practicing Buddhism, Christianity and Islam among others live in a good harmony.
Politics: Multi-party Democracy.
Administrative Division: Though Nepal is a federal republic, federal states are yet to be carved. Nepal is divided into five development regions, 14 Zones and 75Districts.
Climate: Nepal has four seasons, namely; (1) winter – December to February (2) Spring – March to May, (3) summer – June to August & (4) Autumn September to November. Nepal can be visited the whole year around.
What to wear: Light weight clothing is recommended for May through October, Warm garments are required in October through till March. An umbrella or a raincoat is a must for the rainy season. (June /July)
Voltage: Standard voltage only 220 volts.
- 01 Full day sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley including Patan City and Bhaktapur City in a private deluxe a/c vehicle accompanied by a well experienced and knowledgeable English speaking guide.
- Entrance fee to all the heritage sites and monuments for the sightseeing tour of Kathmandu as per the itinerary.
- Government taxes and tolls and entrance fees where applicable.
- International Airfares.
- Nepal Visa fees (If applicable).
- Hotels accommodation and meals
- Personal Insurance
- Items of a personal nature such as bar bills telephone calls, laundry, extra mileage and any extra costs incurred due to natural calamities, flight delays etc.
- Personal medication
- Insurance against accidents, loss of life, theft etc.
- Personal insurance, evacuation and medical expenses.
- Costs incurred due to cancellation of flights, altitude sickness or unforeseen circumstances (riots, natural calamities etc) and situations beyond the control of Sacred Summits (P) Ltd.
- Tips for the staff on tour.
- Any item not mentioned in the above ‘cost includes’.
DAY 1 - AM
Sightseeing Tour of Patan City
09:00 HRS : After breakfast met by the representative at the hotel who will introduce to the city guide for the sightseeing tour, later board the waiting vehicle and proceed for the sightseeing tour of Patan.
Ancient Patan City also known as Lalitpur or the city of fine arts is about five Kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. The major tourist attraction of Patan is the Durbar Square situated in the heart of the city and constitutes the focus of the visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings. The Patan Durbar consists of three main chowks or courtyards, the central MulChowk, Sundar iChowk and Keshav Chowk.
The SundariChowk holds in its center a masterpiece of stone architecture, the Royal Bath called Tushahity. Also visit, Krishna Mandir, built in the seventeenth century and dedicated to Lord Krishna. It holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan and is supposed to be the first specimen of its kind in Nepal having 21 spires and completely made of stone.
Later visit the Hiranya Verna Mahavihar (Golden Temple) located inside Kwabadehal. This Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by King BhaskarVerma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.
After sightseeing tour board the waiting vehicle and drive to 10 kilometers East to Bhaktapur which and is shaped like a conch shell and pottery and weavings are its traditional industries.
NOON : Break for lunch
DAY 1- PM
Sightseeing Tour of Bhaktapur
The major sightseeing places in Bhaktapur include:
Durbar Square: The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like Lion Gate, the statue of BhupatindraMalla the Picture Galley, the Golden Gate, The Palace of 55 windows, the Bastille temple and the Bell of barking dogs, etc. The statue of BhupatindraMalla in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace. Of the many statues available in Nepal this is considered to be the most magnificent.
The National Art Gallery: Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist school depicting Tantrics of various period and descriptions.
The Palace of 55 Windows: The palace of 55 windows was built in the seventeenth century by King BhupatindraMalla. Among the brick walls with their gracious settings and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is the masterpiece of wood carving.
Natyapola Temple: This five storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King BhupatindraMalla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces, squat a pair of figures, two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins, Baghiani, Singini – the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.
PM: Visit the Woodcarving Museum, (Dattareya Square: Woodcarvings are everwhere in Bhaktapur. Since the early Licchavi period (300-789 AD), the carvings are present everywhere in the Nepal architecture. Woodcarving is specially a Newari art and Bhaktapur is one of the most famous places for woodcarving. In the Bhaktapur district alone there are some 500 active wood crafters.
In Bhaktapur old pujari Math has been converted into a Woodcarving Museum and is located at the Dattatreya Square about a ten minute walk from the Durbar Square. The Pujari Math is considered one of the oldest maths (dwelling of a priest) in the Kathmandu Valley.
After visiting the Woodcarving Museum we proceed towards the Thanka Painting workshop.
Thangka, also known as tangka, thanka or tanka (Nepali pronunciation: Nepal Bhasa is a painting on cotton, or silk, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala of some sort. The thangka is not a flat creation like an oil painting or acrylic painting but consists of a picture panel which is painted or embroidered over which a textile is mounted and then over which is laid a cover, usually silk. Generally, thangkas last a very long time and retain much of their lustre, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture will not affect the quality of the silk. It is sometimes called a scroll-painting.
These thangka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and bodhisattvas. One subject is The Wheel of Life, which is a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings (Art of Enlightenment).
After the sightseeing tour of Thanka Painting workshop we proceed to the Pottery Square of Bhaktapur.
Bhaktapur is famous for its traditional pottery industry. The age old craft has survived the calls for modernization and today it enhances Bhaktapur’ value as a city of Heritage. Bhaktapur has 2 famous pottery squares. One is located at the dark, damp alleys beckon on either side of the main road, the most promising destination in this area- Potter’s square, a sloping open space south west of TaumadhiTol. Walking towards Bolachhen/ Talakwa, better known as the town’s Potter’s square, the streets are lined with small shops selling innumerable items produced in baked clay and the pavements are filled with black clay items drying in the strong sunlight. Within the Talakwa pottery square, 2 important temples of a solid- brick Vishnu temple and the double roofed Jeth Ganesh can be seen in a very traditional way. On the northern side of the square a small hillock is topped by a Ganesh shrine and a Shady papal tree.Like potters all over Nepal, the men of Bhaktapur employ primitive techniques. The heavy old wooden wheels have been for the most part replaced by weighted truck tyres which spin faster. Guided by skilled hands, the cones of wet black mud are shaped and smoothed into yoghurt bowls, washbasins, giant grain storage jars and tiny oil lamps. With the exception of the planting and harvesting season, the potters of Bhaktapur are always busy shaping the natural clay into any imaginable shape. The craftsmen have passed this technique down from generation to generation and even today, the majority uses traditional techniques.
The next potter’s square is located at Suryamadhi. Walking around potter’s square, it becomes clear that the piggy bank must be the most popular item produced here. In less visited areas, Suryamadhi, south of Dattatraya Square, potters are occupied making the traditional bowls for the famous local curd, ‘Juju Dhau’. All around the square, pots lined up in symmetric patterns dry in the sun, waiting for a final firing in temporary kilns of heaped straw.
After the sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur city board the waiting vehicle and drive back to the hotel.
Rest of the evening is free to relax and explore around the city.