Nepal Panorama (14n/15d)

A popular way to explore Chitwan National Park is by Elephant back

A popular way to explore Chitwan National Park is by Elephant back

Day 1: Arrival Nagarkot
Arrival and transfer to Nagarkot. Nagarkot is a popular tourist resort.  It is situated 32 kilometres east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175m. On a clear day, the panorama of the Eastern Nepal Himalaya can be seen from here. Peaks such as Manaslu (8,463), Ganesh Himal (7,111m), Langtang (7,246m), Choa Bhamre (6,016m), Gaurishanker (7,134m) and Numbur (6,957m) add majesty to the vista. PM – free to walk around Nagarkot or up to the view tower that offers a panoramic view of the central to eastern Himalayan range. Overnight at Hotel Fort Resort

Day 2: Nagarkot – Pokhara
Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast, a downhill walk through villages and fields to the temple complex of Changu Narayan. Sightseeing of Changu Narayan and continue onto Bhaktapur. Changu Narayan is situated at the end of the long ridge which runs well into the Valley, and is said to have been built in 323 A.D. by King Hari Dutta Varma. The temple is richly decorated with sculptures and carvings and said to be the oldest temple in the Valley. It is situated about 153 m above the level of the Kathmandu Valley and affords a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon is situated at an altitude of 1401m and is a home of medieval art and architecture. The urban city covers an area of 4 square miles. Shaped like a conch-shell, Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. Pottery and weaving are its traditional industries. The city lies about 14 kilometres east of Kathmandu.The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like Gallery, the Lion Gate and the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla. Other places of interest include the Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, the Palace of 55 Windows, the Batsala Temple and the Bell of Barking Dogs, and the replica of Pashupatinath Temple. PM – Transfer to the domestic airport and fly to Pokhara. Upon arrival at Pokhara, transfer to hotel and check-in . PM – Boat ride on Phewa Lake. The Pokhara Valley is one of the most picturesque in Nepal. Lakes Phewa, Begnas, and Rupa enhance the beauty of the valley, which have their source in the glacial region of the Annapurna Range of the Himalaya. Pokhara is one of the few places in the world to provide such a dramatic view in a sub-tropical setting. Machhapuchhre for example, is only 28 kilometres from Phewa Lake, and not a single mountain range intervenes between the two. Pokhara’s numerous lakes, known as “Tal” in Nepali, offer fishing, boating and swimming. Overnight at Hotel Trekotel.

Day 3: Pokhara
Breakfast at hotel. AM – Sightseeing of Pokhara. PM – Hike to the Peace Stupa on the southern end of Phewa Lake, reachable by boat and then climb up the hill. The view of Pokhara, Phewa Lake and the Annapurna range is breathtaking. Overnight at Hotel Trekotel.

Day 4: Pokhara – Tolka (1700m)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive from Pokhara to Kande on the Pokhara – Baglung highway for about an hour. From Kande we take the right-hand trail on a gradual ascent through sparse settlement on rugged trail to Australian Camp for 2 hrs where the trail eases to a level walk to Pothana. From Pothana we proceed to Deorali for about an hour on gradual uphill and then walk a very steep descent through thick rhododendron forest until Bhichuk. From there the trail again eases and we walk on levelled land through ridge to Tolka for overnight stop. Walking time: 6 hrs.

Day 5: Tolka – Chomrung (2170m)
The first phase of our walk sees a gentle downhill to Langdruk which takes about one hour and further similar walk for another hour through Himalpani along the Modi Khola will take us to Nayapul. From Nayapul our walk gains height gradually through farm land of millet and bushy vegetation to Jhinu 1700m where we stop for lunch. After lunch we see a steep ascent through some villages through to Chomrung, where we stop for the night. From Chomrung we can enjoy the beautiful views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Glacier Dom, Gangapurna, Annapurna 3, Gandabhachuli and the famous Mt. Machapuchre and the forest of Annapurna Base Camp. Walking time: 6 – 7 hrs

Day 6: Chomrung – Tadapani (2630m)
We walk down gradually to Kimrong Khola 1810m for about an hour and trek to Chuile and stop there for lunch. From Chuile we ascend through some villages and  most of our walk will be through thick rhododendron forest to Tadapani for night stay. Walking time: 6 hrs

Day 7: Tadapani – Ghorepani (2860m)
We walk down for half an hour and subsequently uphill to Banthanti. This is a very small village with some lodges and tea shops and we will walk gradually uphill through forest until Deorali the point from which we will see the magnificent views of many mountains of the western part of Nepal including Dhaulagiri, Puthahiunchuli, Tukche Peak, Nilgiri, Larjung Himal etc. About 200m downhill walk will take us to Ghorepani, a village of Magars rich in traditional culture. Should the time permit we can explore the village, enjoying the culture and people. Walking time: 6 hrs.

Day 8: Ghorepani – Tikhedhunga (1540m)
Early in the morning we climb Poonhill for about one hour to absorb the sunrise views over the aforesaid snow-clad mountains. We come down to Ghorepani for breakfast. After breakfast we take our return journey to Pokhara walking on downhill trail through forest. We may encounter the herd of mules carrying the food-stuff and other essential commodities for the region north of Pokhara which are considered to be the most reliable means of transportation in the hilly region. We will stop at Ulleri village for lunch. After lunch we walk on a very steep trail of stone-made stairs throughout to Tikhedhunga for night stop. Walking time 6 hrs

Day 9: Tikhedhunga – Nayapul – Pokhara
Today we will have an easy walk on flat farmland throughout via the villages of Hille, Sudame, Lumduwali etc to Birethanti and stop for lunch. Post-lunch walk of approximately an hour which will take us to Nayapul where our trek ends and we drive back to Pokhara. Walking time: 4 hrs. Upon arrival at Pokhara, check in at hotel. PM – Free. Overnight at Hotel Trekotel.

Day 10: Pokhara – Chitwan
Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast depart for Chitwan. The main attraction of Chitwan is the Royal Chitwan National Park, which is situated 120 kilometres southwest of Kathmandu. This is one of Nepal’s largest forest regions, with a wide range of wildlife—the rare great one-horned rhinoceros, several species of deer, sloth bear, leopard, wild boar, fresh water dolphin, crocodile, more than 350 species of birds, and the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. Arrive at Safari Narayani Lodge followed by refreshments and a briefing about the afternoon programme and the Lodge facilities. 1300 hrs: Lunch at the central dining restaurant. 1500 hrs: A talk on the elephants by our naturalist at the elephant stable. 1600 hrs: Jungle Safari on elephant back. An excellent opportunity to see four different kinds of deer, rhinoceros, wild boar, leopard, monkeys, birds and many other smaller animals. 1830 hrs: Talk on the natural history & flora & fauna of the national park.  1930 hrs: Dinner Overnight at Safari Narayani Lodge.

Day 11: Chitwan
0600 hrs: Wake up call. Tea/Coffee. Second Jungle Safari on elephant back through another section of the Royal Chitwan National Park. 0730 hrs: Breakfast. 0830 hrs: Dugout canoe ride along the Rapti river. A good opportunity for bird watching and to see the two rare species of crocodile, the marsh mugger and the fish eating gharial.  Half an hour walk through the jungle to the Elephant Breeding Farm. Drive back to the Lodge. 1300 hrs: Lunch. 1530 hrs: Nature Walk: An excellent opportunity to be familiar with the diverse vegetation of the park and to see a great many of those over 500 different species of birds which have made Chitwan their home. 1830 hrs: Tharu Tribal Dance presented by the local Tharu villagers.1930 hrs: Dinner. Overnight at Safari Narayani Lodge.

Day 12: Chitwan – Kathmandu
After breakfast leave for Kathmandu. Total distance is about 150 km covered in about 5 hours. PM – Sightseeing of Swyambhunath, one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Chaityas, said to be 2000 years old. The Chaitya, which forms the main structure, is made of a solid hemisphere of brick and clay supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four sides of the spire bases are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is three kilometres west of Kathmandu City, and situated on a hillock about 77m above the level of the Valley. This hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and pagoda temples. Overnight at Hotel Himalaya.

Day 13: Kathmandu
Breakfast at hotel. AM – Sightseeing of Patan & Tibetan Refugee Camp. The ancient city of Patan is situated on the southern bank of the river Bagmati. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments with bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, it is known as the city of artists. Patan Durbar Square, situated in the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. One can rummage for treasures in the various shops around the square. A little further from Patan Durbar Square lies Mahabouddha. This Buddhist temple is made of clay bricks in which cotta structure is one of the fourteenth century Nepalese architectural masterpieces. Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, a three storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the 12th century by King Bhaskar Verma. It is located in the courtyard of Kwabahal. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, placed on the pedestal, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large wall and a complete life of Buddha in gold relief. Tibetan Centre or Tibetan Refugee Camp was established by the then King of Nepal, King Mahendra, to accommodate Tibetans who fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the late 1950s. It is an interesting place where one can observe Tibetans in their daily lives, though the place is quite commercial now with shops of Tibetan carpets and other souvenirs. PM – Sightseeing of Pashupati & Boudhnath. Pashupatinath Temple is situated on the bank of sacred Bagmati River, the temple of Lord Shiva-Pashupatinath with two-tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its super architecture. It is a centre of annual pilgrimage on the day of Maha-Sivaratri. Entrance to the temple precinct is permitted to the Hindus only however, visitors can clearly see the temple and activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river. Buddhanath Stupa lies about six km to the east of downtown Kathmandu and is the largest stupa in the Valley. It looms 36 metres high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design. Bouddnath, a World Heritage site, is also known as Khasti, or dew drops, after an account that says builders had to use dew to mix the mortar as Kathmandu was suffering from a severe drought during its construction. Overnight at Hotel Himalaya.

Day 14: Kathmandu
Breakfast at hotel. AM – Sightseeing of old Kathmandu. Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square), the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square with its old temples and palaces epitomises the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnised. Interesting things to see here are (1) Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D. (2) Gigantic figure of Kal Bhira, the God of Destruction. (3) Basantapur Durbar or Nautalle Durbar, built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah (4) Coronation Platform (Nasal Chok), (5) the Hall of Public Audience (Gaddi Baithak), (6) the statue of King Pratap Malla, (7) the Big Bell, (8) Big Drums, and (9) the Jagannath Temple. Here is also a temple of Panch Mukhi Hanuman inside the old palace. This is one of the only two such structures in Nepal, the other is in Pashupatinath. Opposite the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace stands the Krishna Mandir. It is one of the few octagonal temples in Nepal. PM – Free .Overnight at Hotel Himalaya.

Day 15: Departure
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport.

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