Being home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, you can say that what Nepal lacks in area, it certainly makes up for in height. The majestic jagged peaks of the Himalayas serve as frosted eye candy for the sightseer and a formidable feast for mountaineers and trekkers. The distinctive Hindu and Buddhist culture, rich architectural heritage and warm hearted people only add to the allure. Exquisitely eccentric, chaotically cool, Nepal has topped the globe-trotter wish list for years.
The vibrant capital of Kathmandu it has been said, has more temples than houses, and more gods than people, and many of these can be found in Durbar Square - along with the assortment of cud chewing cows, crusty sadhus, rickshaw drivers and flower sellers with baskets overflowing with fragrant marigolds. You’ll also find the old Royal Palace, the red cloaked statue of Hanuman the Monkey God, and the house of the Kumari - the living goddess. For Hindus, she is the reincarnation of the Goddess Kali.
The shops harbour an Aladdin's cave of beautiful cashmere scarves, wraps and jumpers in natural colours that could be worn on Boulevard Saint- Germain. Popular buys include locally made clothes, khukri (the national knife), filigree ornaments, bamboo flutes and other folk objects.
The most ancient and enigmatic of all the Valley’s holy shrines lies across the Vishnumati river. From a lofty wooded hillock, the painted eyes (and question mark shaped nose) of Swayambhunath stupa survey the nation’s capital.
Kathmandu offers a great variety of restaurants so eating out is a real joy. In addition to traditional Nepalese dishes, you’ll find international cuisine such as Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Indian.
Nepal hosts many festivals and occasions such as Buddha’s birthday on the first full moon in May, and Dashain, Nepal’s longest and most important festival which is marked with feasting, gambling and animal sacrifice. During the Holi festival, people take a legal form of cannabis and throw paint over each other just like 60’s hippies, and Hindu Nepalese welcome the month of Magh with mass bathing sessions.
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