Nepal is the land of mountains and monasteries. This landlocked country has the perfect fusion of nature and culture. Nepal definitely is the ultimate destination for those who prefer to stay closer to nature and immerse themselves in various cultures. From rugged trails to scenic views, from rafting on swollen rivers to sighting wild animals in their natural habitat, it offers a rush of adrenaline for every nature-loving adventure seeker on its diverse array of landscapes. Dotted by medieval city squares, temples and monasteries, the capital city Kathmandu enjoys a rich tapestry of cultures blending to form a national identity. But there is something beyond the usual travel itineraries too, and we list the top 5 authentic experiences in the mystic country.
An aarti ceremony at Pashupatinath Temple
When it comes to spiritual experiences that touch the soul, the Aarti Ceremony at Pashupatinath Temple stands as a shining example. This ancient Hindu temple, nestled in the heart of Kathmandu, is not only a testament to architectural marvel but also a place where devotees gather to witness and participate in the awe-inspiring Aarti Ceremony. Aarti, a Hindu ritual of worship, involves the offering of light to the deities. As the sun sets and the temple bells resonate, devotees gather with lit oil lamps and incense sticks. The Aarti Ceremony symbolizes the illumination of the inner self and the dispelling of darkness.
Try making momos
Nepal is a land of vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes, but it is also a food lover’s paradise. One of the most popular dishes in Nepal is momos, which are traditional Nepalese dumplings that are steamed or fried and filled with a variety of meat or vegetables. Momos are a staple food in Nepal and can be found in almost every corner of the country, from small street vendors to fancy restaurants. In addition to Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are many other cities and towns in Nepal where you can find delicious momos. In fact, some of the best momos are often found in small, out-of-the-way places that are off the beaten track.
Walk with a monk at Kopan Monastery
Only a stone’s throw away from Boudha, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and the largest Buddhist stupa in the world; Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on a hilltop. The monastery follows the Gelung tradition of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism under the guidance of His Holiness Lama Zopa Rinpoche. There are more than 360 monks, teachers, lamas, and other workers. Spend some time with one of the resident monks, learning of the deeply held beliefs, rituals, ceremonies and schooling that dictate their daily lives and sense of spiritual understanding; a truly special experience.
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See the sunrise at Nagarkot
Enjoy one of Nepal’s most beautiful sunrises, with views of the Himalayas. Capture flawless mountain shots from the hill town of Nagarkot. The adventure begins with an early morning ride to the top of Nagarkot Hill to behold the most magnificent sunrises over the mighty Himalayas. From here, you can see on a clear day several of the world’s highest mountains including Mt. Everest. From here, enjoy breakfast, and then it’s a 3-4 hour gentle walk to the ancient village of Changu Narayan. This entire village has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Attend the TIJI Festival
Tiji is a popular festival of the Mustang District in Nepal. The festival is most exciting at Lo Manthang, recognized as the Lo Kingdom. This festival falls in May and can vary depending upon the Tibetan Lunar. It lasts for three days and people of different towns of Mustang commend at Lo Manthang to celebrate the festival. Tiji festival is a living elusive legacy of the mountain region and is popular among Lamas. If you are planning to travel Mustang on your vacation in Nepal, you can schedule your trip to Mustang in May so that you can be the part of an exciting festival called Tiji.
Parinita Salaria is Co-Founder of Indus Bound. Indus Bound is an award-winning, specialist boutique travel company offering bespoke, luxury private India tours and tailor-made India holidays.
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