Mandala Tour (Kathmandu Valley), 4 days/ 3 nights
Day 1: Receive at the airport and Transfert to the Hotel. After settling in at your hotel, you go to see the cobble stoned complex of Kathmandu's Darbar Square. Here are the spectacular 16th century wooden temple called Kasthamandap, the simple, well-proportioned neo-classical palace where the king of Nepal is crowned, and the large scary mask-statue of the god Bhairab, still an object of everyday veneration. Most interesting is also the Kumari's house, a small white-painted building with the traditional wooden struts and windows through which you can sometimes see the young girl worshipped as the Living Goddess.
Day 2: Although there are numerous local sacred spaces and temples, a few are standouts on any visit to Nepal. Baudhanath is one of the largest chhorten in the world, and it is every Tibetan Buddhists' dream to worship here at least once. It is the centre of Sherpa and Tibetan (refugee) culture in Nepal. This splendid stupa ringed by shops is reminiscent of the Jorkhang/ Barkhor in Lhasa, and is the focal point of a few score monasteries in the neighbourhood. The best known Hindu temple, considered the most sacred spot in the Valley, and certainly where the palace takes its religious guidance from is Pashupatinath. This gilded pagoda-style temple, reminiscent of other temples around the Valley, is set in a massive shady grove through which the Bagmati flows. On a little hillside behind the main temple are numerous small shrines and covered meditation slabs. The old city-state of Bhaktapur is one of the best preserved Heritage sites in the world - an entire large village/ small town seems to have stopped in time - the traditional houses with ornate struts and carved windows, winding alleyways with a potters' square or old threshing centre around a sudden corner, splendid stone and wood statuary, temples, and palace, all make the experience of visiting it pure magic.
Day 3: The third centre of the old city-states, Patan Darbar Square, is home to numerous temples and Buddhist baha, or temple-monastery complexes, some with remarkable - and well-preserved murals, as well as lost-wax detailing, stone statues, and fine gilding, the art all again illustrating how intertwined Hindu and Buddhist culture have been for centuries in the Valley.The other major stupa in Kathmandu, Swayambhunath, which stands spectacularly gilded and imposing on a hill north-west of Kathmandu, is supposed to have arisen out of the ground of its own volition. Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, it is considered to be of more importance to Buddhists such as Manangis and Tamangs. There are numerous little shrines all around that are visited by all. There is time built in today for you to explore on your own, look around, and go shopping.
Day 4: Before your airport transfer it is shopping time in Kathmandu. There is something for everybody, from adorable handknitted woollen outfits for children to trekking and climbing gear, from inexpensive silver jewellery to very expensive amber and turqouise,from thangka paintings (Buddhist religious art) to pashmina shawls, and great deals on cameras and cotton clothing.
Cost on your request:
Cost quoted in itineraries includes:
* Airport-hotel transfer at arrival and departure
* Domestic land and air transport as described in itinerary
* Standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu-Pokhara-Chitwan with breakfast as described in itinerary.
* Sightseeing as described in itinerary with an English speaking guide, as well as city entrances fees, monuments fees etc
* Full board for Chitwan Safari includes the program activities and meals.
* Re-confirmation of flight
Cost quoted does not include:
* Your international flight into and out of Nepal
* Travel insurance
* Domestic and international airport taxes
* Lunch, dinner, drinks in Kathmandu, Pokhara (US$6-15 per day)
* Tips, souvenirs or other shopping