Name : Tomosha Bhattacharjee [On Aug 23, 2010]
State : NC
Title : ‘Nepal – A perfect holiday destination’
Nepal, a popular tourist resort has natural and artistic backdrop. Nestled in the majestic Himalayas it is overwhelmingly beautiful.One can reach Nepal from India either by air or by train. We- a group of four decided to take the latter. One has to get down at Raxaul and then take any form of conveyance to reach Birganj a dusty border town in Nepal.
A night’s rest in Birganj and then we started for the first leg of our tour – a trip to pokhara. If you journey by local bus a seven hours trip will invariably lengthen to nine or ten hours. By the time we reach Pokhara we are sapped of energy. A night’s rest is a must. The next morning we went for local sight seeing. Pokhara is no longer the small idyllic spot that is supposedly a tourist’s paradise. It is quite a busy town. A number of hotels have sprung up along the lake side. A stroll down the lake side is pleasant in the evening. Boat ride in Pokhara lake is a popular tourist activity. Our sight seeing itinerary included a view of the sun rise, Bindubasini temple, Davis falls, Mohendra cave etc.
The walk through the cave was indeed a novel experience. In the evening we bought some curios from the shops that lined the lake side. From Pokhara one can go to Muktinath by taking a flight to jomsom and then availing the jeep facility. The flight from Pokhara to Jomsom ( 24 minutes ) was the most unforgettable and thrilling experience of the entire trip. One can view the majestic Himalayan ranges during the flight. The Himalayas with all its aura and pristine beauty is a balm for the eyes and the mind as well. You can trek to Muktinath or take a jeep. The jeep ride along the bumpy road which is motorable but not pitched is rather unpleasant.
The landscape here is quite barren with a vague resemblance to Ladakh. The ride takes one and half hours. Muktinath temple is set atop a mount. There are 108 dharas. Most pilgrims bathe in the dharas and then offer puja in the temple. After a night’s stay at Muktinath one usually returns to Jomsom – we did the same. Jomsom is a sleepy town but one can get a hotel of one’s choice easily. Since there are no evening flights available tourists have to spend the night in Jomsom and then catch the next morning flight. The next morning we boarded an eighteen seater plane and returned to Pokhara. From there we started for Lumbini – the birth place of Lord Buddha. No bus goes to Lumbini directly. One has to get down at Bhairava, a place 22 kms from Lumbini and then avail a car or a bus.
By the time we reached Lumbini it was evening. There are few hotels in Lumbini. Most of the tourists put up in monastery rest houses. Lumbini is spectacular not just because of its historical importance but also because of the grandees of the monasteries build by various Buddhist countries. Lumbini is spread over 1150 bighas of land. In the middle is the monastic zone. One can only gaze in silent awe at the spectacular beauty of the monasteries – special mention need to be made of the Myanmer, Thailand & Srilankan monasteries. One needs to spend the entire day in the Lumbini development project to view this world heritage peace site. Our next destination was Manokamana, a temple of goddess Bhagwati, situated atop a mountain, is believed to have the power to fulfill wishes. We availed the rope way to reach the temple. A ride in the rope way always sets your heart a flutter and this was no exception. There are many hotels in this tourist spot.
The weather here is quite balmy unlike other parts of Nepal we visited. After spending two nights in Manokamana we set out for Kathmandu. On our way to Kathmandu by bus we were guided by one of our fellow passengers to put in any hotel an Thamel. The hotel we chose was Annapurna – a neat well maintained hotel meant for middle income group like us. Kathmandu being the capital has all the marks of a city – the usual hustle bustle, dust, smoke and fast paced. We started sight seeing with Pashupatinath temple. We also visited Boudhanath and Swayambhunath monasteries. Each of the places mentioned has distinct features of its own. Pashupatinath had all the marks of an Indian temple thronged by worshippers who stood in long queues waiting patiently to offer puja. It was rather noisy. In comparison Boudhanath and Swayambhunath monasteries were peaceful. Unlike Pashupatinath photography is allowed in these two places of worship. Next day we started for Dhulikhel, a tourist spot, took only two hours by bus from Kathmandu. Dhulikhel had the tranquility and meditative nature which draws tourists yearning for solitude. Bhaktapur is situated in between Kathmandu and Dhulikhel. A visit to Bhaktapur is a must – it is the ancient Nepalese capital.
The architectural designs of the palace and temples of Bhaktapur is a marvel. We took a guide who informed us in great details about this ancient capital of Nepal. From Bhaktapur we started for Nagarkot – a tourist paradise with its serene ambience and its virgin forests. One can enjoy the scenery from the various panoramic view points of Nagarkot. From the watch tower at the highest peak one can also view the sunrise and sunset. There is a trekking trail from Nagarkot to Benepa – 3 kms away from Dhulikhel. The trekking route is exciting between the lofty pines and far flung serene Nepalese hamlets. We started for the last leg of our journey the next morning our destination being Kathmandu from where we could catch our flight for Kolkata. Since there was one more day to spare we decided to visit Patan, another famous historical site. It is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples.
Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former royal palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statues and religious objects. Our visit to Nepal would have been incomplete if we hadn’t visited its famous Casino. Though luck didn’t favour us but the visit was enjoyable. We bid adieu to Nepal after a 15 days tour carrying with us fond memories of the place.
Copyright © Tomosha Bhattacharjee