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The spiritual journey to Nepal
Another purpose of the journey to Nepal is to gain an experience of cultural diversity of this country, where different cultures and religions make rare occurrence of symbiosis, and to meet the majesty of the nature in the form of Himalayas, which ”calmness”, as if spreads to the different nations and tribes, who have been living here for centuries. We hope that it will be your lifetime journey and you get back to Asia again!
Kathmandu – Pharping – Dakshinkali – Patan – Bhaktapur – Nagarkot – Pokhara – Sarangot – Kathmandu
Our price - $1110 per person
The following are journey’s dates to Nepal in 2019:
4th of February - 13rd February
18th of February - 27th of February
4th of March - 13rd of March
23rd of September – 2nd of October
7th of October - 16th of October
21st of October - 30th of October
Our price includes:
Stay in 3* hotels in different cities which are on the road of our journey. Hotels offer daily breakfast. The price goes up to $ 200 in the case of booking a single room on the road of our journey.
Transport by AC buses, mini buses and taxis.
Boat cruise on the Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
Escorted by our experienced tour manager.
Arranging the journey.
Our price does not include:
Return flights to Nepal and payment for Nepalese visa. This costs $25 for fifteen days and you can get it upon arrival in Kathmandu. One blank passport page remaining and one photo is required, although the photo can be taken at the airport.
Personal expenses during the stay in Nepal.
Meals at the restaurants and tips which are normally paid in Nepal.
Sightseeing tickets and passes.
Travel insurance which is absolutely necessary while making this journey.
The very important matter referring to our journey is to a have travel insurance. There are many travel insurance companies, like Avanti Travel Insurance.
Telephone – 0800 888 6195
The choice of a travel insurance company is yours, and the information about mentioned insurance company should be treated just like a little help in searching for a company which is the most suitable for you.
All information about the journey to Nepal will be shared with those, who decide to take this journey with us. One can travel to this wonderful country all the year expect the monsoon season which is between June and August. One should plan a journey a couple of months in advance because it can make difference regarding the price of an air ticket. The sooner reservation is made the better.
We would like to inform you of the following matters:
Notification of participation in the journey takes place after sharing with us your personal data ( full name, country, postcode, street address, town/city ,phone number, email).
Notification of participation in the journey is confirmed after deposit of $ 300 was made. A bank account number will be send to a participant after making declaration of a currency to be used to pay for the journey.
The deposit is not refundable.
The rest of the money should be paid till 60 days before the journey.
The itinerary of the journey to Nepal
Landing in the lovely city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Transfer from the airport to our hotel where we can relax in the comfortable rooms after our long journey to this amazing country. During first day of our staying in Kathmandu we can get to know other participants of the journey, and take a walk to the biggest square of the city, Durbar Square. There are very interesting buildings in this square, like old king palace and some Hindu temples built in pagoda style, which is very characteristic architectonics style in Nepal. The most pagoda style temples were built in the time of Malla dynasty, which was between 12th and 18th century. During this period just The Kathmandu Valley was known as Nepal or Nepal Mandala.
Photo 1: Kathmandu Durbar Market. Photo by Anders Jenbo /commons. wikimedia.org/.
Another architectonics style we can come into contact while being in Nepal is Shikhar style, which is widely present in North India. The term - “Shikhar”- in the Sanskrit language means – “mountain peak”, this describes this style of architecture quite well because the essential characteristic of these building are as if towers or spires above the sanctuary and temple’s halls. We can admire these temples built in this style of architecture while taking a walk in the Durbar Square. The overnight at hotel.
Pashupatinath Temple - Shiva Temple – located on the bank of Bagmati River is one of the most important Hindu temples not just in Nepal but in the whole Indian Subcontinent. This temple is considered as one which should be visited by any Hindu pilgrim, who travels to the holy places, which are the most important points on the map of Hindu pilgrimage. According to Hindu wandering saints known as, sadhus in Sanskrit language, until the illusory nature of the world including the time and space, and also a consciousness, which perceives them is not recognised, the sacred time and space that can be experienced thanks to the pilgrimages and staying in the sacred space still can be considered as very significant. It is because, the specific vibration and atmosphere of such places enable one not only to attain calmness, but also a spiritual insight into the nature of the world and oneself. This place is connected with Lord Shiva, who as the god belongs to Hindu Trinity, and embodies the destruction and disappearance of the world. Everything which came into existence last for a certain period of time, but at the end of its lifespan has to disappear, which includes the world itself. The deeper meaning of the god Shiva activity is to destroy everything within us, which is not our real, pure and fundamental Consciousness. On the other hand, Shiva represents transformation death into life. His body is covered with ashes, which symbolises not only death but also next life. Lord Shiva is connected with meditation and spiritual insight into the nature of the world and a perceiver as well.
In Hinduism life continues even after our death, and will be lasting in different forms until a state of liberation, Moksha, is attained. Liberation from the wheel of the cycle of life and death coming one after another until our consciousness recognises its real nature, which is beyond life and death and all phenomena. We can meet here many the Hindu wandering saints, sadhus, who belong to the different Hindu religious and philosophical schools, and who practice the different meditative techniques. We can experience how illusory and fragile life is taking part in burial ceremonies on the bank of Bagmati River. Many of you would possibly want to immortalize these moments here by taking a photo with sadhus, which is not difficult after getting permission to do it for same rupees given to a holy man. We can take also a part in the performances with serpent charmers.
Photo 2: Panoramic View of Pashupatinath Temple Photo by Anders Jenbo /commons. wikimedia.org/.
The temple visited by us is also famous for an annual religious festival celebrated in honour of the god Shiva. During Shivaratri this place is visited by a lot of sadhus, who have permission to smoke hashish, which is treated in Hinduism, mainly in schools associated with the god Shiva, as substance which can help to attain deeper meditative states while being used with some control and discipline.
Photo 3: Wandering saint, sadhu, smoking hashish. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 4: The camp of wandering Hindu saints. The sanctuary of Pashupathi Temple. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 5: Serpent charmer. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 6: Sadhu in meditation. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 7: Sadhu showing ''Blessing Mudra''. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 8: Hindu pilgrim in a shrine. The sanctuary of Shiva Temple. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 9: Hindu pilgrim cleaning his bowl after having a meal. The sanctuary of Shiva Temple. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Within ten minutes’ walking distance from Shiva Temple there is another place to be visited, which is not only a Buddhist religious cult centre, but also the Tibetan cultural centre in Nepal. We can take a walk to Boudhanath Stupa from the place that can be described as the Hinduism centre in this country, to another area, which can be considered as a place where different energies are concentrated, and where we can experience variant atmosphere. Boudhanath Stupa was built in 14th century and it was a central point on the trade routes from Tibet to the Kathmandu Valley. For many centuries the Tibetan merchants have been gathering here and spending their time on praying and mantra recitations in order to ensure not just successful transactions but also safe return to home.
Photo 10: Boudhanath Stupa. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 11: Evenings in the area of Boudhanath Stupa are usually quieter and more mysterious. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
This is one of the largest stupas in the world. As of 1979, Boudhanath is UNESCO World Heritage Site. After Tibet was invaded by China in 1959 it was inflow of the Tibetan refugees into Nepal. Since then Boudhanath Stupa became the centre of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The stupa seen from the bird’s eye view looks like a great mandala or diagram. It contains a lot of the very specific Buddhist symbols refer not just to the ideas regarding the structure
of the universe, but also to the beliefs connected with Buddhist philosophy and the path of life, which can lead to enlightenment. While being in this are we can take a part in the very specific Tibetan religious practices like walking around stupa, clockwise and turning around the prayer wheels which are installed there. There is a mantra- OM MANI PADME HUM- engraved on all prayer wheels. It refers to bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara who embodies unlimited compassion. The mantra consists of six syllables, which are connected with six realms of existence. According to the Buddhist beliefs recitation of Avalokiteshvara mantra can lead one’s mind to go beyond these six forms of existence and to attain spiritual liberation. Numerous prayer flags with different mantras are to protect this place against negative energies and to spread positive energies and power of mantras all over the world. The interesting thing is that these beliefs belong to Tibetan, shamanistic, pre Buddhist tradition, Bon. According to some beliefs the relics of Kassapa Buddha are stored inside of Boudhanath Stupa. Theravada Buddhist tradition considers Kassapa as the twenty-seventh of the twenty-nine named Buddhas.
The place we are going to visit has a very specific atmosphere created not just by the religious practices, but also by everyday life activities, a lot of the Tibetan shops with souvenirs and some restaurants serving delicious meals. We can have a lunch here. After visiting this place we can come back to our hotel.
After breakfast we can leave for another Buddhist place, which is Swayambhunath Stupa located on the top of hill from which we can have a panoramic view of Kathmandu. There are 365 stone steps up to the hill. During our trip we can get the meaning of that’s place, which is called the Monkey Temple. These mischievous although not dangerous creatures live in this area and they are not afraid of the tourists. The time of creation of this object is dated on 5th century A.D. but according to an ancient chronicle this sanctuary was created in the time, when Kathmandu Valley was a lake, which as legends say, was inhabited by the magical serpents called Naga. This stupa is smaller than the former one, but is located in a more interesting environment. People practice here the same rituals that are very specific
for Tibetan Buddhism, which were shortly described before. If we are lucky we can take a part in the religious ceremonies performed by Tibetan monks in the nearby monasteries. The monks chanting mantras and songs are accompanied by those ones, who play the Tibetan horns and temple drums, cymbals and gongs. These ceremonies, named Puja are very essential part of monasteries life and the atmosphere created during the rituals is something one will remember for the very long time.
Photo 12: Tibetan lama, Swayambhunath Stupa. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 13: Tibetan monks formally dressed during Tibetan New Year ceremony. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 14: Tibetan pilgrim, Swayambhunath Stupa. In his left hand he has a rosary to count and recite mantras. In the right hand , a prayer wheel. Behind him the prayer wheels with engraved mantras. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 15: Tibetan monks with the horns during Tibetan New Year ceremony, Kathmandu. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 16: ''Mani Stones'' with the most popular Buddhist mantra, ''Om Mani Padme Hum''. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
The rest of the day we spend in Kathmandu to visit some other places like Hanuman Dhoka, a complex structure of the Royal Palace of the Malla kings. After returning to our hotel - free time.
We go on an excursion to Pharping and Dakshinkali located 20 km. south of Kathmandu. These two places which are nearby each other belong to the different world.
Pharping is an ancient place of Buddhist pilgrimage. There are two caves that were the places of meditation of the famous Buddhist tantra master – Padmasambhava known as Guru Rinpoche. He brought Buddhist tantra teaching into Tibet in the 8th century. According to the Tibetan legends and beliefs the Master possessed so much magical power that not only he was able to humble local demons, but also to force them to protect Buddhist teachings. He attained the ultimate enlightenment during many years of meditation practiced in these caves. It is the reason that many the Tibetan Buddhist masters consider this place as much important as Bodhgaya, where the historical Buddha - Siddartha Gautama attained his enlightenment. There are many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and meditation centre here.
Photo 17: Tibetan yogini in Pharping. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 18: The very specific atmosphere of Pharping's area, the Tibetan prayer flags. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
We can find not just calmness and peace here, but also we can admire local landscape with the vast mustard fields, village houses, as if hidden in the middle of them, the Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the wind, and eagles flaying over the hills.
Photo 19: Pharping area's landscape. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki
Photo 20: Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the wind. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki
Dakshinkali is just 6 km. from Pharping, but it is a very different world. There is the goddess Kali temple there, what makes this place of the most sacred Hindu area in Nepal. Twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday the goddess Kali followers gather here with the animals, which are to be slaughtered and dedicated to Kali, the goddess of death in Hinduism. People brought here goats, rams, cocks and sometimes buffalos. Animals are slaughtered in the main yard of the temple by the temple butchers. After that meat is taken by the owners of animals and eaten by their families in the forest surrounding the temple. The rest part of meat is taken back home. The temple can be entered only by Hindu people, but tourist can see everything from small hills surrounded the temple. Dakshinkali is a typical Hindu pilgrimage site with a lot of small shops, stalls and also with wandering Hindu saints. After spending here a couple of hours we will be on the road back to Kathmandu, where we spend next night in our hotel.
Photo 21: Goddess Kali's followers in the temple. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Photo 22: Wandering Hindu saint, sadhu, a follower of Lord Shiva. The head of an accidental woman appearing above the sadhu's head creates the very interesting element of this photography. The images of Shiva very often included the Ganga's head, which symbolises the wisdom. Photo by Dariusz Stobiecki.
Today we are going to visit two towns, which are very close to Kathmandu. They were the capitals of independent kingdoms long time ago, but they lost their significance later. On the other hand a hidden stroke of fortune helped them preserved their medieval air to the present day. We are going to Patan and Bhaktapur, the hidden gems of Nepal.
Once upon a time, Patan was named “The city of thousand golden roofs”. Until 6th century A.D.it was of the most important Buddhist places in the whole Asia. Many monks have been arriving here from China, Tibet and India. It was said that the city was inhabitant by Buddhist monks and different artists.
While staying in these cities, one can has an experience as if one goes back in time because the atmosphere here is very similar to this, which was in these places many centuries ago. There are classic pagodas in Newa style of architecture used by Newari people in Kathmandu Valley. They are dedicated to God Shiva and to Lord Krishna, who is considered as an avatar of the god Vishnu.
Photo 23: Patan Durbar Square. Photo by Shauraav Shresta /unsplash.com/.
Bhaktapur – it is another place on the road of our excursion. It was founded in 12th century by the king from Malla dynasty, and it was the capital of Kathmandu Valley till 15th century. It was built by Newari people who are one of the most important tribes of Nepal. We can stay here for same time in order to experience inimitable magic and mystery of this place. Except the temples there are many shops offer the souvenirs and traditional Newari crafts. After spending many hours in these mysterious places we will be heading to Kathmandu.
Photo 24: Bhaktapur. Photo by Wreindl /pixabay.com/.
Photo 25: Bhaktapur Square. Photo by Wreindl /pixabay.com/.
Trip to Nagarkot. This locality is 32 km east of Kathmandu attracts many tourists who want to experience, and admire the beauty of mountain landscape, and get to know a little bit the lifestyle of local people. It is perched on a 2, 300 – meter- high ridge.
Nagarkot was a summer residence of Nepalese royal family. In the ancient times it was a fort of Kathmandu Valley built to protect it against activities of other kingdoms. These days it offers views of a big chunk of Nepal’s Himalaya including five of the world’s ten highest peaks. Among them is the Mt Everest – the highest mountain in the world.
We can take a short, easy and the most popular trek that take us about 4 hours to enjoy and take pleasure from the breathtaking landscape, and to contemplate peace, and calmness of life in the villages on the route. After that we can relax and taste Nepalese food served in the local restaurants. Although Nagarkot seems to be so close to Kathmandu it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive to get there. Later on we are on the road again and heading back to Kathmandu.
Photo 26: View of the majestic Himalayan mountains of Langtan range with building on the smaller hills in foreground, Nagarkot. Photo by Uwe Bergwitz /Getty Images/.
Day 7 & 8
Pokhara. Early in the morning we set off for Pokhara. The city is located 205 km west of Kathmandu. The trip takes between 6 – 8 hours to complete. Upon arrival at a hotel we can
take a walk in the city, which is the starting point routs for trekkers. Pokhara was described by a Swiss geologist, Toni Hagen as “one of the most extraordinary and beautiful place in the whole world”. He knew what he was saying taking into consideration that he walked 14,000 km in Nepal.
There is a very beautiful Hindu temple – Bidhaya Basini – which in the contrary to others Hindu temples can be visited by not just Hindu people. From the temple unfolds a view on Himalayas covered with snow and making impression as if mountains are just nearby the temple. In reality Himalayas are about 40 km away from the temple.
Next day, very early in the morning, we set off for Sarangot to have a beautiful view from this place of the range of Himalaya’s peaks from Dhaulagiri ( 8,167 m ) on the west to Annapurna II ( 7,937 m ) and others peaks on the east.
According to many travellers, to see all of these during sunrise is like to have a mystical experience.
One hour of boat cruise on Phewa Lake will enable us to have a look at Himalayas again. During that time we can visit a small Hindu temple, Barahi, which is dedicated to goddess Durga, who is considered in Hinduism as a protector of all gods.
On the top of nearby peak there is Shanti Stupa dedicated to world peace, and it is worthy to be seen. Another Shanti Stupa is in Lumbini, which is a place, where historical Buddha, Siddartha Gautama, was born in 623 B.C.
It is second Shanti Stupa built by Japanese religious movement established in 1917, and connected with Japanese Buddhist School, Nichiren.
According to official data sources, seventy one Shanti Stupas were built all over the world.
The last place we can visit is Tibetan refugee camp.
It was a massive influx of Tibetan refugees into Nepal after Tibet was invaded by China in 1959. Not all of them became the hotels’ owners or successful businessmen or businesswomen. After visiting this place we can come back to our hotel where we spend our last night in Pokhara.
Photo 27: Phewa Lake, Pokhara. Photo by Madhushree Narayan @mad_hu /unsplash.com/.
We set off for Kathmandu. Bus departure time is early in the morning and after long journey we can relax in our Kathmandu’s hotel. It is our last day here so there is no fixed schedule regarding this day. It is rather the day for doing last shopping or whatever else.
After breakfast we take you to the airport where our journey to Nepal is over.
The concluding remarks
We would like to inform you that some changes can occur regarding the journey itinerary for reasons beyond our control.
We are going to give a nice surprise for you.