Kathmandu

Sprawling among the foothills at the base of four major mountains (Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri) and annexed by eight rivers, Kathmandu is not only the capital of Nepal, but also its largest, densest, most populated urban center, a city that constitutes the very heart of Nepal. An intersection of diverse languages and religious beliefs, Kathmandu is permeated by historical landmarks, among them Buddhist and Hindu temples, even as modernity creeps closer with each passing day.
Sprawling among the foothills at the base of four major mountains (Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri) and annexed by eight rivers, Kathmandu is not only the capital of Nepal, but also its largest, densest, most populated urban center, a city that constitutes the very heart of Nepal. An intersection of diverse languages and religious beliefs, Kathmandu is permeated by historical landmarks, among them Buddhist and Hindu temples, even as modernity creeps closer with each passing day.

Experiences

Bhasmeshvar Ghats

One of Kathmandu's most compelling sites is the Bhasmeshvar Ghats, the largest cremation center in the greater Kathmandu area. Like India's Varanasi on the Ganges River, Hindus bring the bodies of their loved ones to these ghats, or steps, on the banks of the Bagmati River, to be cremated and to scatter their ashes to guarantee immortality. The main Pashupatinah Temple is off-limits to non-Hindus, but you can wander the tranquil grounds and observe the activities of the temple from across the narrow river.

Boudhanath Temple

Visit Boudhanath Temple, another of Kathmandu’s UNESCO sites, and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the center of Kathmandu on the northeastern outskirts of the city, the stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. Throughout the day, pilgrims can be seen circumambulating the stupa chanting mantras, some completing the circuit while prostrating themselves at each step. The pilgrims continue to circle into the night when the temple is illuminated by butter lamps. Anyone is free to join in, but remember to walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction and also to spin the prayer wheels clockwise.

Durbar Square

Visit Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, which is located in the old city and whose construction dates to the 11th century. Four different kingdoms added buildings over the centuries, including the Kasthamandap Hindu pagoda, erected by a Malla dynasty king in the late 16th-century, and from which the city takes its name. Today, approximately 50 temples and palace structures remain around the square. Your guide will describe the unique architectural styles and structures you see, and why they have been protected (and, more recently, called endangered) by UNESCO.

Helicopter to Everest

Fly by private helicopter from Kathmandu around the legendary Mt Everest, which stands at an altitude of 29,029 feet (8,848 meters); your pilot will land the chopper near Everest Base Camp, situated at about 18,000 feet (5,486 meters). Since you are not acclimated, you can only stay up there for about 15 minutes before flying back down to 13,000 feet (3,962 meters), where you will have lunch at an upscale trekker's lodge.

Afterwards, return by helicopter to Kathmandu to cap what will have been one of the most memorable days of your life.

Monkey Temple

Visit the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, a complex of monasteries of all faiths started in 460 A.D. by King Mana Devi of the Licchavi era, on the western fringes of the city. The imposing structure is recognized as a major landmark of Kathmandu and is distinguished by its population of freely roaming monkeys.

Tea with the Locals

Have tea with a family living in one of the historic bahals around a common courtyard in the old part of town. Chat with your hosts about their lives and livelihoods, and hear about a way of life so very different from your own.

The Old Quarter

Wander the narrow streets and alleyways of Kathmandu's Old Quarter, with its myriad tiny stalls and its colorful street life. Visit the many different markets including the famous bead market, and the Indrachowk carpet and textile market.

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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

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Travelogues

The Rites of Cremation at Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple

Author
Tyler Roney

The most important temple complex in Nepal, Shree Pashupatinath is a maze of cultural treasures; most know it as where the bodies of Kathmandu burn.

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Middle Ground: Responsible Wilderness Tourism in Nepal’s Tiger Tops

Author
Julianne Gauron

Throughout Asia the exploitative practices of elephant tourism are being phased out, and Tiger Tops in Chitwan is looking for the middle ground to protect their remaining elephants ethically and carefully.

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Lens on Sadhus from Kathmandu to Varanasi

Author
Jay Tindall

Jay Tindall has been shooting sadhus for more than two decades; down his lens, the varied faces of the holy men of Nepal and India tell tales.

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Searching for the Unicorn Rhinos of Chitwan

Author
Tyler Roney

Travelogues journeys to Nepal's Chitwan National Park where deer, rare birds, and tigers mingle with the one-horned rhinos in a jungle fed by the ice of the Himalayas.

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Top 15 Travelogues Articles of 2018

Author
Tyler Roney

As Travelogues from Remote Lands rounds out 2018, we wanted to take a few moments to recognize some exceptional articles published this year.

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Faces of Bhaktapur: Medieval Nepal Hidden in Plain Sight

Author
Ronan O'Connell

Just east of Kathmandu is an accessible gateway to Nepal in the Middle Ages: Bhaktapur. with culture, architecture, and roaring markets, this underrated Nepal destination is as unique as it is accessible.

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