July 3, 2012
The City of KathmanduKathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is one of the world’s oldest cities. It is also known as Kantipur. Here one can find distinctive pagoda-roofed temples, stone sculptures, old monasteries and histories monuments. Here you will visit the temple of the Living Goddess, who acknowledges the greetings of devotees from the balcony of here temple residence Kasthamandap – the source of the name Kathmandu and supposed to be made from the timber of a singe tree and Durbar Square are with it’s array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient place of the former Nepalese Royalty.
SwayambhunathLocated approximately 4 km, Buddhist stupa this is said to be more than 2000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest and most glorious Buddhist chaityas. The Chaitya (stupa) which forms the main structure is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth supporting a lofty conical spire capped by pinnacle of gilt copper. Painted on the four-sided base of the spire are the all-seeing eyes of lord Buddha. It stands on a hill which is a mosaic of small chaityas and pagoda temples.
PashupatinathSituated approx. 4 km east of Kathmandu city, is the holiest of all the Shiva shrines in Nepal and is the abode of Lord Pashupatinath, the guardian spirit of Nepal. It is situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river. The temple is a large double-roofed pagoda of brass and gilt gold; the gateway is plated with silver. Visitors will be permitted to view the temple from the east bank of River Bagmati, entrance in the temple being strictly forbidden to all non Hindus. There is crematorium outside the temple by the side of the wide but shallow river and the wooded surroundings are dotted with small shrines. On the occasion of the annual festival of Maha Shivaratri (February / March), the temple is visited by thousands of devotees including a large number of pilgrims from India.
BoudhanathThis colossal stupa, one of the biggest in the world of its kind, is situated approx. 8 km east of the Kathmandu city. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions keeping watch for righteous behavior and human prosperity. This Buddhist stupa was built by King Man Deva at the advice of Goddess Mani Jogini. Built on a octagonal base, the stupa is surrounded with a wall inset with prayer wheels. It is common to see dozens of worshippers constantly circumambulating the stupa while taking care to spin each of the sacred prayer wheels. Around the stupa and in the surrounding fields are many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.
Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas; picturesque Bhutan is a quaint holiday destination. Named ‘Bootan’ by the great traveler Marco Polo, this country is fondly called as ‘Druk Yul’ by the local people meaning the land of the peaceful thunder dragon. Bhutan is popular worldwide as ‘the Last Shangri-La’ or ‘the Last Place on the Roof of the World’.
Bhutan is bound by a distinctive culture and lifestyle; from monasteries and crafts to carved wooden houses. Bhutan is in no hurry to shift to the contemporary world and is thus holding on steadfast to its own unique culture. Bhutan is also a botanist’s dreamland; being called ‘Southern Valley of Medicinal Herbs’ among the flora enthusiasts.The Kingdom of Bhutan has remained blissfully untouched by the rest of the world. With very few visitors entering the country, Bhutan’s landscape has remained pristine, its rivers pure, and its mountains magical. Bhutan’s people are gracious, the culture is rich, and spirituality is prevalent. On our active tour into this last remaining Shangri-La, we meet welcoming local people, red-robed lamas, and nomadic yak herders as we learn about the Bhutanese way of life. We hike to remote gold-roofed temples and monasteries, and through peaceful villages in emerald valleys surrounded by spectacular Himalayan scenery.
National Geographic Traveler recently named our Bhutan: A Journey Into The Peaceful Kingdom trip as one of their “50 Tours of a Lifetime.”Interesting facts about Bhutan
• Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, has no traffic lights. It is the only capital in the world that does not have traffic lights.
• The Government of Bhutan has made it compulsory for the citizens of Bhutan to strictly wear only their traditional national attire in public places – the national dress for men being the Gho and for women the Kira. Gho is a lengthy robe that is tied on the waist and gathered above a belt, the pouch looks and functions like a pocket. Kira is worn till the ankles and is tied at waist level with a broad sash; this is secured on the shoulders with silver broaches. The Government does not want Western influences to take over their age old tradition.
• Hotel tariffs and tour operator rates are fixed by the Bhutanese government.
• Crime rate is very minimal; Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world.
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