From perfectly symmetrical temples and architectural monuments to arid valleys and serene mountains, Nepal, a small country located in between the Tibetan Plateau of China and the Southern Plains of India, has everything to ignite the wanderer in you! If you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure freak, or an aesthete, Nepal should be on your list of “must-go” travel destinations. Here’s our rundown of eight unmissable things you must do while in Nepal.
Home to some of the tallest mountain peaks in the world, Nepal has more to offer than just natural beauty. The country is scattered with temples and religious monuments that can transport you back in time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the history of the country’s buildout from 400 BCE to recent years. Holy pilgrimage sites such as Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, Lumbini, and Budhanilkantha Temple signify spirituality and morality. The Durbar Squares in Patan, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu showcase some of the best architectural monuments and ancient buildings. Stop by the shops that surround the square for clay-making and crafting activities.
Kumari, or the living goddess, is believed to be an embodiment of Goddess Taleju by the Newari community of Kathmandu. Each erstwhile kingdom of the Kathmandu Valley has a “Kumari,” with those of Kathmandu and Patan being the most celebrated and influential. The living goddesses are pre-pubescent girls selected from particular priestly families depending on a long list of physical and temperamental attributes. Girls as young as three are chosen to be the Kumari, and their tenure ends when they get their first period, at around 12-14 years of age. While Kumari(s) are typically kept inside their special homes, receiving and blessing visitors, they come outside in their unique palanquins during certain festivals, such as the Rato Machhendranath Festival in Patan.
Located in Khumjung, a town in Khumbu of Nepal, there lies a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist temple that holds a rare relic. If you have ever wondered whether the Yeti is real, then here’s your proof: a Yeti skull enclosed in a glass cabinet. Khumjung is on the Everest Base Camp trekking route, so swing by to see for yourself.
Nepal’s shimmering lakes are the country’s jewels, contributing to the overall elegance of the scenery. These lakes are a natural occurrence that plays the role of vital signees of the area, with waters that reflect the nearby mountains on their surface and lake tinctures that imitate precious stones like lapis-lazuli azure. Gokyo Lake, Rara Lake, Phoksundo Lake, and Tilicho Lake are some of the many lakes you should not miss out on visiting. Most of them have religious importance, and pilgrims from around the world visit to immerse themselves in the tranquility of those waters.
For all the adventure junkies, setting off on a motorbike journey across Nepal is the “one thing” you should not miss. The winding mountain roads offer up some spectacular vistas, and it’s a great way to explore with total freedom. Driving in Nepal probably isn’t for the fainthearted, though; those roads can be dangerous, and potholes are pretty common. But if you’re looking for adventure and bragging rights, this is for you!
With a variety of dishes that have lip-smacking tastes, Nepali Cuisine is a must-try during your stay in Nepal. It is the perfect blend of Tibetan, Indian, and Chinese food, all in one flavorful dish. Trekkers often wind up eating the country’s staple dal bhat for three meals a day during their trips. But this country has so much more to offer than the hearty lentil soup that’s served with almost every meal. The one dish you shouldn’t miss is mo:mo. It is famous amongst not just locals but tourists. They are small envelopes of white flour stuffed with veggies or minced buffalo or chicken, much like dumplings. They are served with different sauces, making them a mouth-watering combination of delicious snacks.
Every evening, at 6 P.M., priests of Pashupatinath Temple conduct one of the most important and captivating Hindu rituals called “Sandhya Aarati” at the banks of Bagmati River. The evening ritual consists of a band singing hymns in praise of god, playing classical instruments, chanting Vedic mantras, ringing bells, burning incense, and lighting oil lamps, keeping the people and spectators spellbound throughout. The dazzling environment of Pashupatinath during this time is a blissful moment for attendance.