This alluring gateway to the Himalayas offers incredible delights for the free-spirited discoverer of fresh adventures. What makes Nepal such a magnet for nature-culture and adventure seekers are its magnificent Himalayan vistas, its centuries-honed cultural diversity and its incredible adventure sports activities. Nature has been at its most generous in these Himalayan enclaves, rich in natural beauty, stunning botanical wealth, wonderful wildlife and avifauna.
For decades now Nepal’s superb nature landscape has lured mountaineers from around the world to challenge its fantastic snow peaks—with amazing climbing adventures of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain, peaking this movement. You can even enjoy an armchair-version of this climb by flying to Everest Base Camp for a champagne breakfast in plain sight of this dangerous mountain. Alternately, you can do that amazing trek to the Base Camp and along the way do a deep dive into the unique culture of the Sherpa community, which has long served as experts for climbing these legendary peaks.
Gorgeous Pokhara is beloved for its nature trails and glorious Himalayan vistas. Remarkable for its tranquil lakes and peak views, it is the base for treks in the legendary Annapurna area. Enjoy a culture experience of culinary kind, learning to cook a Nepalese meal from a local home chef. Discover how coffee came to be grown in these Himalayan heights by an enterprising farmer — and set off the craze in Nepal. Unmissable here is another culture adventure–attending a musical performance of the Gandharba community, an ancient caste of musicians struggling to preserve these old traditions.
From the lush forest of Nepal’s Chitwan region, fill your memory box with the back-to-nature reflections of its exotic species of flora and fauna. Amidst the wonderful nature trails, lose yourself in the wonderments of the Chepang Hill Trek in the Mahabharat Range of Central Nepal. You will love it too for its ethnic culture and insights into the socio- economic conditions of the local communities.
Nepal’s unique religious practices mark the importance of some of the leading religious movements in the world from ancient times. Hinduism and Buddhism are the primary religions in the country. Others such as Islam, Christianity, and Bon are also practiced here. A large part of its Indo-Aryan populace follows the Hindu faith. Buddhism is generally practiced by the Tibeto-Burman ethnicities living in the country. The city of Patan has long been recognised for its harmonious blend of Hinduism and Buddhism influences.
The Hindu kingdom of Nepal is unique for its Kumari worship, a culture which dates back to 17th century as a practice was constituted by King Jaya Prakash Malla. An indelible experience is digging deep into the Kumari culture of worship. The secretive world of Kumari is associated with Hindu Nepal’s deeply embedded tradition of the worship of the virgin girl-child goddess. She is believed to be inhabited by the goddess Taleju, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Taleju is the protective goddess of the Nepal. A worship form, now linked to the syncretic connection between Nepal’s Hindu and Buddhist communities, it is marked by time-honoured rituals, pageantry and deep veneration. Try to be there during the annual Indra Jatra harvest festival to discover her power over her devotees. Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu’s most significant temple, draws streams of devotees of the Hindu god Shiva. Cultural traditions have it that if one dies in the temple, one will be born again as a human in the next life.
If you are travelling in the Terai region, try to plan a trip to Lumbini, from where the amazing saga of Gautam Buddha and his Enlightenment took birth. Delve deep into this spiritual culture amongst the shrines and ruins that mark this historic spot. In Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, imbibe the peaceful vibes of the great stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath sites.
Intrinsic to Nepal’s spiritual landscape are its shamanic and animist traditions. Spend time at Dhulikhel village to witness first-hand the world of the culture of jhhakhri or shamans who act as a mediator with the supernatural beings who bring illness and misfortune to the villagers. In your adventures around the villages of the Tharu community in the Terai region, you will encounter a spiritual eco-system that is closely linked to nature and its ways.
Its superb crafting traditions, which also define Nepal’s rich material culture, will blow you away for the choice of souvenirs you can take home for family and friends. Did you know that wood carvings with their intricate details are one of the biggest export trades of Nepal? Newari ancestral wood crafting traditions are amply documented in some of the most iconic temples and palatial structures around the country. The specialty of their wood carving is its pursuit of precision for the details and patterns to fit together, as the craftsmanship involves neither nails nor glue. The Newars comprise half the populace of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley and you will encounter these artistic people on various occasions during your travels in the region.
Architects and artisans by tradition, the Newars have documented their expertise and wood carving culture in the temples and shrines of the Durbar Squares in Kathmandu, Patan (Lalitpur) and Bhaktapur since the 12th century. Check out the skilled workmanship at the Palace of 55 Windows and the Golden Gate in the Durbar Square in Bhaktapur. Exploring Bhaktapur’s amazing old world culture and ancient art and craft forms is like walking around a living museum. Spend time with a traditional shilpkar to discover the amazing culture of Newari woodcraft. There is no area of the arts and crafts, apart from woodcarving, that the Newars are not familiar with–painting, sculpture, pottery making, paper production, and metallurgy. In Kathmandu, another culture adventure awaits at the studio of fourth generation Nepali master sculptor Jaya Raj Bajracharya, from whom you can learn the fine art of stone carving.