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Outside Kathmandu Valley

The rare combination of snow-clad peaks, snow-fed lakes and rivers has helped to make the Pokhara Valley one of the most picturesque natural attractions in Nepal. The basin which is 210 km away from Kathmandu provides sites for the base camps of many of Nepal’s most popular trekking and rafting expeditions. The attractions of the Pokhara Valley are Lake Phewa, boating, pony rides, fishing, canoeing on the lake, paragliding and other fascinating activities.

Chitwan is proud to be home to one of the most attractive national parks in South Asia. Located in south central Nepal, Chitwan National Park is 932 sq km in area. The main attraction of the sanctuary is the huge variety of wildlife among which are the rare great one-horned Asian rhinoceros, several species of deer, sloth bear, leopard, wild boar, fresh water dolphin, crocodile, more than 350 species of birds and the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. The reserve is just a five-hour drive from Kathmandu.

This historic township is situated 131 km west of Kathmandu at an elevation of 1,135m. It is the ancestral home of the Shah dynasty and home of the original Gorkha soldiers. Gorkha’s centerpiece is the magnificent Gorkha Durbar which is a fort, a palace and a temple rolled into one. From it can be had excellent views of the surrounding valleys and the Manaslu range.

The renowned temple of Lord Muktinath is situated in the district of Mustang at an elevation of 3749m, on a high mountain ridge. It is about 18 kilometers north-east of Jomsom. The trail to this holy site passes through the picturesque valley of Pokhara. The scenic beauty all along the trail from Pokhara to Jomsom is very impressive and wonderful views of the eastern Himalayan peaks such as Machhapuchre, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri can be had. The landscape is arid and rocky from Jomsom onwards, with only a few patches of green to be seen. Muktinath is equally important to both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. It is a venerated pilgrim destination for the Tibetans as well and they have established several gompas or monasteries near the shrine.

This is another famous pilgrim destination in Nepal and and is south east and very close to Gorkha. Every Nepali harbours the ambition of visiting Manakamana at least once during his/her lifetime. It lies south east from Gorkha. The Devi Temple is easily accessible by the cable car service from Kurintar, which takes a mere eight minutes.

Lumbini is the small town in the southern Terai of Nepal where Lord Gautam Buddha was born 2500 years ago. The ruins of the old city can still be seen here. The township has since become holy ground for Buddhists all over the world. In the restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini are the remains of many ancient stupas and monasteries. A large stone pillar erected by the Indian emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription regarding the birth of the Buddha. Additionally, Lumbini offers cultural insights into the village life of southern Nepal.

Janakpur is the capital of the ancient state of Mithila and the Janaki Temple, located in the centre of the city, is well known in Nepal. Sita, the wife of the legendary hero, Ram, was born in Janakpur. Throughout the year many pilgrims come to pay their homage to Ram and Sita who are especially revered in Janakpur. During the festival of Bibah Panchami, worshippers and visitors alike flock to the township. This annual festival is celebrated on the occasion of the anniversary of the marriage of Ram and Sita. The festivities last throughout the week, enlivening the town for the duration.

Nepalgunj is an industrial and trading centre 199 km east of Dhangadhi. The Jai Bageswari temple marks the town centre. It is the gateway to Bardia National Park (95 km, three hours by car). After enjoying a safari in the park, one can drive to Chisapani to view the 500m long, single-tower bridge over the Karnali river. Nepalgunj is the hub of air routes in western Nepal.

Daman, at an altitude of 2400m is located 80 km southwest of Kathmandu. It is famous for the magnificent veiw of the world’s highest mountain range. A viewing tower fitted with long range telescopes for the benefit of tourists has been erected there.

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