On 29th May 1953, a beekeeper from New Zealand and a Himalayan porter (a sherpa) summited Mount Everest and put Nepal, a sleepy Hindu kingdom where time had essentially stood still, onto the world stage. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became Himalayan legends and the rest is history.
From randonneurs to mountaineers, from spiritualists to yogis and more recently the flower children, there has been a steady stream of visitors to Nepal ever since.
From the high wall of the Himalayan range to the the lower foothills in the steamy jungles of the terai, you’ll find everything that needs to be done, seen and experienced in Nepal on this 400 km stretch northeast to southwest.
We call this from yeti to tiger.
Go on a temple tour walk through Patan, one of three royal cities in the Kathmandu valley and a centre of fine art and buddhist and Hindu culture, and in Patan durbar square you will find the finest collection of Hindu temples in the whole of Nepal. Do not miss the Patan museum, a national treasure and an invaluable introduction to the art, symbolism and architecture of the valley.
Chant mantras with the monks at Boudhanath, and seek his blessings as did the traders once before setting off on a journey over the high passes.
The best time to visit Boudhanath is late afternoon when the shrine bursts with life as thousands of devotees go around the dome under the watchful eyes of the Buddha, to light butter lamps, spin prayer wheels, chant mantras, socialise and perform a ritual clockwise circuit of the monument.
Go back in time and wander through the narrow cobblestoned streets of bhaktapur and soak in the atmosphere. Admire the Nayatapola temple, the five-storied pagoda dedicated to Siddhi Lakshmi, a bloodthirsty incarnation of the goddess Durga (Parvati) or watch artisans weave cloth and chisel timber by the roadside, squares filled with drying pots and open kilns, and locals gathering in communal courtyards to bathe, collect water and socialise, often over intense card games.
Fly into thin air. Hop on twin-engined planes and cruise past the high walls of the Himalayas from the Annapurna range in the west to within 200 metres of Mount Everest. The bubbly should calm your nerves and everyone gets a window seat.
And for the adrenaline junkies, there’s the tumultuous Trisuli river inviting you to ride her rapids from Kurintar down to Brigands bend.