Patan lies 5km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who preserve ancient techniques such as repoussé and the lost wax process, still producing exquisite works of sculpture. The district within which Patan lies is known as ‘Lalitpur’, literally, the City of Artisans. With its narrow streets, brick houses and the multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries (Vihars), the old city is a delightful sight that charms visitors. The tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping fills the air around here. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other and the religious harmony can be seen as Buddhist vihars and Hindu temples stand side by side.
14km east of Kathmandu, at an altitude of 1,401m, Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon (literally the City of Devotees) is perched on a plateau and is a major tourist attraction. This city retains the old world charm of paved roads, red brick houses and a laid back lifestyle that is infectious and reminiscent of medieval times. The spectacular ‘Durbar Square’ with its resplendent Golden Gate and extraordinary Palace of Fifty-Five windows reminds one of the glorious rein of the Malla Dynasty when the city flourished in rich art and architecture. This archaic city is also known for its pottery and exquisite woodcarving plainly visible in the streets and squares.
Every visitor to Nepal soon hears about the enchanting Pokhara valley, the ‘Jewel of the mid-west’, and a must-visit place. They are greeted by the magnificent Annapurna range of mountains which forms the backdrop for the Lake District. Tourists also enjoy a relaxing time in the tranquility of the three lakes of Phewa, Rupa and Begnas. Pokhara is the ultimate destination for an R & R. But in recent years its reputation has grown exponentially as the destination for adventures sports. From zip lines to paragliding and ultra-light flights to rafting on the raging rivers, there is much to do here. With boating, bird watching, trekking and mountain biking as the other attractions, Pokhara is a must visit for everyone.
Renowned as one of the best conservation areas in Asia, the Chitwan National Park is only a half-hour flight away from Kathmandu. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, wildlife sighting is guaranteed in this remarkable forest where birds and animals thrive in their natural habitat. Established in 1973 the park lies in the 'Tarai' region (plains) and is home to a wide variety of wildlife that includes endangered species like the Greater One-horned rhinoceros and the majestic Royal Bengal tiger. With its rich flora and fauna, the park is home to more than 450 species of birds and 68 species of mammals. The activities within the park include safaris on elephant back, boat rides, jeep drives and walks accompanied by naturalists.
As the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini attracts Buddhists and other visitors from around the world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, this pilgrimage site lies in southwest Nepal where people arrive to pay homage at the Sacred Garden where the ‘Enlightened One’ was born. Of great interest here is the Ashoka Pillar which was erected by the Emperor Ashoka of India who famously converted to Buddhism. Today Lumbini has been enlivened by a display of architecturally beautiful temples, stupas and monasteries built by various international Buddhist communities.