DOSSIER: Culture & Customs
10 Days. Character Hotels, some road travel.
See ‘First 48’ Dossier for pre-trip services.
We are about to embark on a short journey quite unlike any other – for the Himalaya and the peoples who reside here are themselves quite unlike any other. You surely are planning to come here because Nepal is not only very spectacular but also because it is very different. Tourism on any scale is barely one generation old and the Nepalese are still closely tied to their ancient cultures, religious traditions and regional differences (20 languages, 4 main castes, 36 ethnic groups, even 4 different New Years and 3 totally different scripts – each with its own variants!). This diversity is the basis of the Nepali’s exemplary tolerance of others, overseas visitors – honoured guests (Athitis) – especially.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY:
DAY 2 - Nagarkot – Changu Narayang Temple – Bhaktapur (O/N Bhadgoan Guest House). Comprehensive day tour, including Changu Narayang Temple and the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Bhaktapur.
After breakfast we descend to one of UNESCO’s least known conservation projects, the exquisite temple at Changu Narayang atop its promontory overlooking the upper
Bagmati River as it flows through the paddy to then become the holy river of cremation at Pashupatinath.
There can be no better introduction to the temple architecture of the Hinduism of the Himalaya, for Changu Narayan is a master-piece. Dating as do parts of it, including many stone deities, from the 4th and 5th Centuries, it is beautifully awesome. Vishnu, in his incarnation as Narayan, is the resident god-form. Tantric influences from Tibet are depicted in the gloriously carved roof struts and the embossed doors with their custodial lions help explain its fame throughout the trans-Himalaya.
As if held in a time-warp, the little city of Bhaktapur amazes everyone. You have entered a time of feudal ways, a place of medieval street-scenes, with a uniquely magical ambiance that confidently pays no tythes at all to modernity. There are some who say that travel is part about going places, part about doing things there and part about ‘just being there’. Well Bhaktapur is definitely - though not only - simply about just being there. (Indeed a lot of visitors don’t even know that it is there, for the wrong but ready assumption is that all the wonders of the legendary Kathmandu Valley are in Kathmandu City itself).
In fact Bhaktapur is one of three main historic cities in The Valley, not unlike separate city-states in ancient Greece and Asia Minor, and with all three to be visited on our odyssey.
So it is a place where the eye is instructed upwards
The definitive building is the 30m high Nyatapola
- First 48 - and Beyond
- Culture & Customs (Tailor-Made Sample Itineraries)
- Rural Heritage - Pokhara, Trisuli River, Bandipur and Nuwakot
- Trekking in the Himalayas
- Whitewater Rafting
- Jungle Safari (Bardia & Chitwan)
- Also At Home Elsewhere in the Himalaya -
Tibet and Bhutan
- Joining the Volunteers
- To 'Summit Up'