Journey to the “roof of the world” and meditate on your impressions. A trip to Nepal offers even more than the opportunity to hike and trek some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. With ancient temples and sites of pilgrimage set in lush valleys and rugged mountains, this mysterious and deeply spiritual country provides a chance delve into history and religion, to learn, discover and explore. What’s more, you can take advantage of Nepal’s long history of traditional medicine and therapies to radically enhance your wellbeing.
Begin your discoveries of the numerous and fascinating sacred temples of mystic Nepal with a visit to the capital city, the perfect place to begin a classic trip around all the country’s wonders. Historic Kathmandu is home to Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the “Monkey Temple”: this complex stands on the western edges of the Old City with foundations from as far back as the fifth century and is considered sacred by numerous different faiths. Wander its labyrinthine courtyards alongside the large contingent of incumbent monkeys for which it is nicknamed.
Uncover further national and religious treasures in Patan City, not far from Kathmandu. Protected by UNESCO, this ancient city is also known as Lalitpur and many of its monuments date back as far as the third century BC. Discover an ornate stone temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and explore those historic centers of Nepali wellness – the Royal Baths. Onwards to Nepal’s former capital, Bhaktapur, you will find Changu Narayan, one of the oldest Hindu temple complexes in the country, as well as more recent devotions. Completed in 2010, the Kailashnath Mahadev is the tallest statue of Shiva in the world. Elevate your sense of peace and tranquility with a stroll around Ta Pukhu, a rectangular lake from which you can gaze across the mountains for matchless panoramic views of the stunning scenery that surrounds you.
Embark on a trail of spirituality with a visit to the majestic region of Pokhara, a site of natural beauties and hallowed grounds. Find yourself at one with nature as you float across Fewa Lake, gazing up at the Annapurna mountain range, and hike to mysterious Gupteshwar Cave, frequented by Hindus from all over the continent. Truly take in the splendor of the Annapurnas with a hike up Pun Hill before dawn: atop the lofty summit, you will be able to appreciate the otherworldly marvels awaiting those who make it to the 10,795 foot elevation. As the sun rises, gaze down at the carpet of clouds beneath your feet, floating in the valley below.
Clear your mind and unclutter your thoughts as you plunge into the truly remote reaches of Mustang, or Lo Manthang, a land as yet untouched by modern life. Hike the rugged terrain and join the Hindus and Buddhists making their pilgrimages to Muktinath Temple – one of our dozen dream destinations for 2016. An experience sure to cleanse body, mind and soul, the temple sits atop a mountainous ridge and its inner sanctum houses a murti of Vishnu. Join the ritual and bathe in in the outer courtyard’s fountain with its 108 stone bulls spouting ice cold water from the glacial river Gandaki – an unforgettable and invigorating experience in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas.
Prioritize your own spiritual well-being and treat yourself to a stay Tiger Mountain Lodge on its hilltop ridge overlooking the lush Pokhara Valley. Prepare yourself for your journey or contemplate what you have seen with personalized yoga sessions and meditation training, also enjoying refreshing dips in the the mountain-view swimming pool. Alternatively or additionally, make a stop at Dwarika Hotel to soothe your limbs, aching from hiking. Here, the Pancha Kosha Himalayan Spa offers indulgent therapies influenced by ancient medicine and healing techniques. Relax in the traditional treatment rooms for holistic experiences from experts who use natural herbs, oils and essences, all of which are plucked from the local terrain.