Art & Culture

The culture of Nepal is rich and unique. The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. This multi-dimensional heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepal's ethnic, tribal, and social groups, and it manifests in music and dance; art and craft; folklore and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebration; foods and drinks.

Bronze and Metal

From the beginning Nepal produced beautiful art work in metal. The cooper coins of the Lichhavi from the 5th century of the Christian era shows the highly developed metal art of Nepal. In the temples of Kathmandu valley there are copper statue made from the lost wax process (cine-per-due) that can be dated back to the 2nd and 3rd century AD.

The Chinese travelers, Wang Hsuan Tse, when testified the existence of highly developed metal craft skills in Nepal saying he was surprised to find crocodile headed cooper pipes, which drained the monsoon (waters) from the open balconies of the palaces. The palaces also had the copper roofs. Copper utensils where used and exported in India. The Tibetans after the emergence of Buddhism in Tibet needed many Buddhist icons most of which were obtained from Nepal. A beautiful tall one cast image of Buddha made in Patan in the year 591 AD is displayed in the Cleveland Museum in the U.S.A. in and around Kathmandu there are thousands of figures from the 7th century onward. During the medieval period they sculpted various Hindu Buddhist deities to fulfill the local needs as well as to meet the demand of the Tibetans.

The metal work even today is done by the century old cine-per-due or lost wax process. Firstly the object s shaped in beeswax, every detail of the brow, hair, and ornaments are made in the wax model. Then the second process covers the wax model in soft thin clay and dried in the shade. (Drying in the sun will cause the clay to crack). After drying, a second coat of hare clay mixed with rice husks is applied. A small hole is left at the bottom. When the mould dries completely, it is then heated on the fire so that the wax melts and comes out of the hole, but the clay has taken the impression and then the melted metal or bronze is poured through the same hole and it takes on the shape of the original wax model now in clay. The mould is then broken and the figure takes the form of the original wax model now in clay. The mold is broken and the figure takes the form of the object originally designed. The bronze is cleaned and chiseled, gilded with gold and the finally the eyes, face and hair are painted on. One mold casts only one piece, that is why they are quiet expensive.

At the Industrial Estate of Patan and in many homes around the Mahaboudha area the properly cast bronzes and copper statues are produced. They are mostly carved solid, but some are hollow inside. The artists can be observed preparing the wax models, coating the clay, taking the wax out, casting, chiseling and painting, at the workshops around Mahaboudha, Patan.

Along with casting the Nepalese are experts in repose- hammer beaten brass and copper works. There are life size repose images of Ganga and Jamuna in the three Royal Palaces of the Kathmandu valley. The copper and brass sheets are beaten by hammer into the required shape and then gold is applied. Many tympanums, the royal statues of the three cities supported by the tall monolithic stone pillars are done in this way. The golden gate of Bhaktapur, the golden gate of Patan Durbar and Hanuman Dhoka are best examples of these.

Patan museum has good example of these bronze icons in various styles, and the shop sales the posters and copies of bronze icons, and a number of galleries have beautiful authentic bronzes cast more recently. Also, old households brass and bronze utensils can still be found in Bhaktapur.

Ceramics and Pottery

The pottery industry in Nepal is ancient; mention was made of pottery work in the Vedas probably dating back to 3,000 B.C. pre-history pottery of Nepal consists of red brown or black shades on unglazed surfaces. Excavation on various sites of Kathmandu valley as well as Lumbini, have revealed specimens of ancient pottery ware. They are usually terracotta unglazed, although a few pieces of glazed pottery have found in Lumbini Area. Most of Nepali pottery ware is for utilitarian purposes, such as container jars, water pitchers, lamps, washing bowls, flower vases, and chilims - small objects used in religious worship.

The pottery clay is found in the Kathmandu valley, the Pokhara valley and the southern terai belt of Nepal. In Nepal there are four techniques used which are (1) hand forming (2) forming with coils (3) moulding, and (4) throwing. The hand forming technique is used to make small pottery ware for burning the oil fed lamps in the temples And at the Tihar season (October / November) the festival of light is celebrated, and this time most houses in Nepal will purchase numbers of these lamps to light their houses and gardens.

There are no known brick-built permanent kilns in Nepal except in Bhaktapur where there are commercial kilns, as normally the pottery ware is fired in the courtyard of garden, or in the field.

Black terracotta is another variety of folk pottery. This pottery ware with a black shiny surface is first of all made on the potters wheel and dried in the sun. When leather hard, it is placed on the wheel again and the outer surface is rubbed with a smooth fruit seed, called lekh pangra to give it a shiny surface. It is then fired in an open kiln. When the firing is about to be completed all the openings are closed and the pottery is baked in an insufficient supply of oxygen. This produces a lot of smoke inside and carbon particles get deposited on the outer surface of the potter ware, which gives shiny black surface to the pottery. Other clay products such as bricks and roof tiles are also produced all over Nepal.

The Nepalese potters are waiting to be helped and encouraged to widen their horizons; to learn to use glazes; to build brick kilns. A travel agent can arrange a series of visit to potters in their villages and it is possible to arrange workshop and training programs to tourist and visitors. Speakers and practitioners can be sourced to present workshops, and the main areas where this could be an inclusion in a tour are in Thimi and Bhaktapur.

Dance

Both spatial and temporal in nature dance derives its liveliness from music which is merely temporal. In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the Natraj, the supreme king of dancing and when he danced his "Tandab Nritya", the whole planet earth was violently shaken. Since then classical dance have been mainly based on religion and myth. Nepal has had a tradition in which even epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana have been subjected to interpretation in dance.

Elaborate classical grammar which was laid down in the "Natya Shastra" written in the 2nd century B.C. in India, gives much emphasis to the movement of the eyes and the gestures of the hands to which Nepali dance also adheres.

The Newars of the Kathmandu valley are the main exponent of the classical dancing, with mask dances with tantric background, and in particular the lakhe dance, and in Bhaktapur the colorful Mahakali masked dances are performed during the Indra Jatra festival each year.

As well, among the monasteries of Boudhanath Tibetan masked dancing by monks can be seen at certain times of the year during celebration and anniversaries, and in western Nepal Magar performs Sorathi, and in Terai the stick dance is usually seen.

Gold Jewelry

Jewelry is closely associated with culture's aesthetic ideals, with its sensuous contours, even materials from which they are made - all reveals culture's impassioned view about what it is beautiful.

In the Himalayas, jewelry also communicates social status and political power. Its symbols convey ancient cultural values and, particularly in its form as an amulet boxes it serves as a powerful talisman. Himalayan jewelry also reflects the great religious traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism; the Newar craftsman of the Kathmandu valley created amulet boxes adorned with both Hindu and Buddhist iconography for their customers from Nepal, and for exports around the Himalayan region, and Tibet in particular.

Jewelry plays an important role in Buddhist and Hindu iconography, with god and goddess of these traditions richly adorned with abundant jewelry crowns, earrings, necklaces, armlets, anklets, finger and toe rings.

The Newars became the gold craftsmen in Lhasa Tibet, as far back as the 16th century. Amulet boxes and other gold jewelry were created by repose, a metal working technique, which flourished in the Kathmandu valley as early as the 7th century AD. It translates from the French word reposser "to beat again" The technique demanded great skill of the artists, as the material actually worked upon is metal a surface particularly unforgiving of mistakes. A sheet of metal must take the imprint of the craftsman's chisels and punches, beaten again and again against a pitch of wax and resin. Most surviving reposse work from Nepal is in copper or brass, although it is often gilded to look like gold.

Along with the gold the Himalayan stones of coral, amber and turquoise decorate the amulets, the jewelry, the ornaments, rings, earrings, necklaces and even belts. (Modern copies are made in silver and can be found in the jewelry shops scattered through the three cities).

Hunting among the antique, metal and jewelry shops of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur is a shopper's delight.

The Living Goddess

From the immemorial the practice of worshipping an ordinary pre-pubescent girl as a source of supreme power has been an integral part of both Hinduism and Buddhism, a tradition, which continues even to this day virtually in every household. They call this girl Kumari Keti and worship her on all the religious occasions.

The predominance of the Kumari cult is more distinctly evident among the Newars community inside the Kathmandu valley as she has become an inevitable feature of their worship almost in every Vihar and Bahal including the nooks and corners of Newari settlements. However, it was the Vajrayana sect of Mahayana Buddhism that was responsible for establishing the tradition of worshipping a girl from the Sakya community as the royal living goddess.

The selection of a living goddess is highly elaborate tantric rituals. Upon passing the preliminary test, which is merely concerned with their 32 attributes of perfection, the 4 to 7 years old poor girl from the Sakya community are made to confront a goddess in the darkened room. The sight of buffalo head scattered around, the demon like masked dancers, the terrifying noises they encounter scare some of these innocent babies. The one who emerges victorious from these tests is the only girl who is entitled to sit on the pedestal for worship as the Living goddess.

The god-house Kumari Ghar beside the Kathmandu Durbar Square is a storehouse of magnificent intricate carving where the Living goddess performs her daily rituals. During her tenure in god house, Guthi Sansthan, the government trust bears her entire expenses including that of her caretakers. Under normal circumstances, her day in god-house comes to an end with her first menstruation, but if she turns out to be unlucky, as they say, even a minor scratch on her body that bleeds can made her invalid for worship.

On Indra Jatra, the living goddess in all her jeweled splendor travels through the older part of Kathmandu city in a three-tiered chariot accompanied by Ganesh and Bhairab each day for three days. It is really a grand gala in which people in their thousand throng in an around the Kathmandu Durbar Square to pay their homage to the living goddess. During this festival she also blesses the king in keeping with the tradition in which the first king of the Shah Dynasty, who annexed Kathmandu in 1768, received a blessing from the living goddess.

Masks

The god are on the one hand, the demons on the other, representing good and evil; they are the two opposing radical forces in Hindu mythology who have been fighting ever since the creation of beginning itself. In each drama god emerges as victorious, the demon get vanquished, and the dancer have worn masks to stage these dramas. Wearing a mask makes a person a god, another a devil, and this is where drama gets enacted amid the roaring sound of drums and cymbals.

Masked dances are performed in Nepal on almost every major religious occasion, like Gai Jatra, Indra Jatra, Pachali Bhairab Jatra, etc. and the dancers are mainly gardeners from the Newar community. The three cities of Kathmandu valley have a number of organizations of masked dancers, with Bhaktapur city alone with more than one hundred group.

Thimi, on the way to Bhaktapur, is where masks of all kinds are made, and it is possible to watch the mask makers at work mixing cotton and Nepalese rice paper with the clay, placing it in a mould and drying it in the shade, and later painting the eyes, lips and mouth according to the norms set down by religious tradition.

The wooden masks are carved mainly by the Tamangs in Nepal, although the wood is often not seasoned, and at Boudhanath you ac see many old wooden masks which are quiet old and have an antique or art value, and Thimi is the place to see the paper and clay masks, including a master turning a lump of clay into a beautiful masked wall hanging.

Mithila Art

Janakpur, a city of Nepal's eastern terai, is a Hindu pilgrimage site with a legendary history, and is the center of Mithila culture in Nepal. It is an age-old culture with its own language and rich literature where women have a predominant role in the field of painting as well as handicraft.

The painting traditions vary from caste to caste. The art of Brahmins and Kayastha (the caste, which once kept records for Brahmins) is closely tied to religious rituals, as shown in the making of aripana, in which the women grind rice with water into a paste called Pithar. Dipping two fingers in to the Pithars they make graceful lace-like designs on the mud floors of their homes or courtyards. These designs are used for worship, for rituals related to marriage, or a particular full or half moon day.

Brahmins women decorate a maraba, a pavilion made out on mud plaster on the occasion of Upanayan ( a boy’s hair cutting ceremony) with images of the gods. Before wedding Kayastha women decorate a wedding chamber called kahbar. The art of the women is transient with the rains destroying the mud and painted designs, or in the spring during a New Year festival the paintings are covered with mud. The practice of painting in papers is fairly new for most Mithila women, although the Kasayastha caste has had tradition of making paintings on paper to wrap gifts for marriages.

Music

Nepali classical music owes its origin to Rig Veda. Later the metrical chanting of its hymns found its expression in the songs of Sama Veda. Since then classical music has associated itself with every sphere of Nepalese classical life. For nearly 3,000 years, the tradition has been handed down from generation to generation.

The classical structure of melody is known as Raga, and there are hundreds of Ragas either played on musical instruments or sung according to season or time. The 24 hours period is divided into 8 segments of 3 hours each, and each Raga has to stick to a particular time in order to produce a desire effect. At time, some branches of these ragas composed of songs are intertwined with dances.

Small groups of itinerant minstrels namely the Damais and the Gaines have become an integral part of the Nepali folk culture. Through the ages of Gaines have been visiting door-to-door singing accompanied by Sarangee, a local violin, their only means of survival. The Damais do the same thing with Sahanai (a recorder), (although they have another source of income from tailoring). The Damais also plays Panchai Baja (Sahanai, Narsinga(horn), Damaha (drum), Dholaki (a recorder) and Tyamko (a small drum)) which they play in a group during wedding which is a feature of village life. Folk music in Nepal thrives throughout the country embracing a wide range of ethnic diversities. Every community dances to the beat of the drum and melody of the flute on important occasions.

Paper (Handmade)

The Nepalese handmade paper is called "kancho kagaz" (kancho meaning raw and kagaz meaning paper). This paper is ancient in origin. The craft appears to have been introduced to Nepal from china via Tibet by the Lama Buddhists, some immigrants from India and probably Kashmir also brought the art of Nepal. Papermaking is practiced in the mid northern belt of Nepal, probably the temperate climates being an issue as well. Different ethnic groups in Nepal are engaged in different profession. Gurung, Magar of west Nepal and Rais of east Nepal are usually found in the paper making profession.

Nepali paper is used in making the kites, dolls and toys, calendars, envelop and writing materials, in writing horoscopes, mandalas and thangka painting. The raw material of Nepali paper still grows wild; it has not been cultivated as yet. It is Danphe plant grown in the altitude of 2,000 to 3,500 meters. The common name of the bark is Lokta.

Handmade paper production can be seen very easily on the edges of the Kathmandu valley and north towards the Tibet borders. More enterprising entrepreneurs are now pressing petals, flowers and leaves into the paper and are making wallpapers, lampshades and other designer items.

Terracotta

Nepal is a famous for this unique art, which is of a mostly religious nature, although there is some secular art from the very beginning of her civilization. The excavation in Nepalese terai have brought to light many terracotta art works that have been scientifically dated to 3rd and 4th century BC or even earlier. The terracotta art from Lumbini, and Kapilvastu the famous Buddhist sites, prove that the terracotta art was highly developed during this period

The National Museum at Chaunni in Kathmandu has many terracotta pieces in display. An excavation at Dhumbarahi in the east of Kathmandu within the Ring Road, has yielded many terracotta figurines, animals and miniature toys with various kinds of clothes and ornaments. It has been ascertained that in certain areas of Handigaon and Chandol there were big terracotta centers in the Lichhavi period. During a medieval period a caste “Prajapati” known as Kumale developed the terracotta art. Hundreds of goddess and gods from this medieval period can be seen in the art in and around Kathmandu. The famous temple of Mahabouddha of Patan, built around 1,600 AD is a perfect example of Nepalese terracotta and brickwork. This terracotta art is different from the ceramic art of china and Japan. Archaeological findings at Lumbini and Kapilvastu have proved that around 600 BC the Nepalese made the special kind of pottery with black polish, smoothed and glazed. These disappeared around 2nd century BC. The medieval Chaityas were also made of terracotta, the potters of Bhaktapur made lattice windows from terracotta, and Tympanum and struts to support the roof were also made from clay.

The National Museum has on display many figures of terracotta with multiarms and heads, and the temple of Rani Pokhari right at the center of the pool has wonderful collection of figures of Astamatrikas, Varaha, Vishnu, Surya, and Varaheni.

A huge standing terracotta Vishnu in the Aryaghat of Pashupati is another masterpiece of art. At the Kumari Ghar the official residence of Kumari, the living goddess in Kathmandu, there are some perfect examples of Nepalese terracotta art. Hundreds of terracotta piece depicting the ruler game hunting in the jungle, the wild animals, the peacock dancing are some of the best art of Nepal. This art still continues in Nepal today, with the potters of Thimi and Bhaktapur working very hard to develop the art and to gain international recognition. They have started many ceramic industries making household objects. The whole process can b watched in Thimi and Bhaktapur along with scores of souvenirs shops.

Lumbini and Kapilvastu are south of Nepal close to the border with India, referred to as the Terai area. They can be reached by bus, air or guided tour. And of course visitors need no remainder that any one of these terracottas cannot be taken out of the country. Seek some advice and find a master potter, who could craft you a copy.

Thangkas

"Painting is the mother of all forms of art", so say a Hindu scripture, whereas the pre-historic cave paintings of Dordogne in France and Altamira in Spain are considered 12,000 years old, the history of painting in Nepal are dates back to the Lichhavi period in the beginning of the Christian era. The wall paintings and inscriptions in Chabahil near Pashupatinath are dated to the 5th century, and inscription in Kathmandu and Gorkha are some other example.

Some of the oldest most refined and beautiful Thangka paintings found in Nepal dates back to 12th century and even earlier. The majority of these paintings came from Buddhist manuscripts like Pranjaparamita, and are preserved in National archives, in temple and monasteries, and in private collection and museums abroad. The national Art Gallery of Bhaktapur, the National Archives and the Kaiser Library have good collections of these manuscripts.

Wall paintings, fresco and murals paintings are found in Kathmandu valley in all of the three palaces of Kathmandu, with whole rooms painted without an inch uncovered, showing both religion and secular themes. The kumari ghar of Kathmandu and the temple of Kirtipur show wonderful examples of wall paintings with gods, divinities and the rulers and aristocrats of the period. As far as the Lichhavi period the temples of Jayabagishwari, the temple of Chandiswari at Banepa, and the wall of Tika Bhairaba were painted every twelve years, and this tradition still continues today.

The ruler, and the rich and aristocratic painted nine planets, twenty-eight constellations, all in different posses such as seated, standing, walking, eating, sleeping according to the birth name of the constellation and the planets, but these horoscope charts are not easily found as the tradition in Nepal is to burn them along with the body at cremation, or tear them up and throw them in the water with the ashes.

Thangka painting in Nepal was used to describe the complicated tantric philosophy, which also worked as a visual aid to a layman. “Ushnisa Vijaya”, a coming of age ceremony (77 years, 7 month and 7 days) in the Newar community is another occasion when the elderly person is depicted in the center of Thangka riding in a palanquin through his neighborhood or locality. Thangkas are also painted to commemorate the building of a temple or stupa, and are used in worshipping the divinities in their various manifestations. When he come to his holiness the Dalai Lama or other reincarnated lamas in the monasteries ordering Thangka these painting still adhere to old iconographic rituals and they have their special masters who have been trained by their fathers or other masters. But the commercially motivated ones obviously fall into the different category.

The two kinds of Thangka paintinga are Newari Thangka and the Tamang Thangka, which has been influenced by the Tibetan school. The Newari Thangkas are the more refined and defined and are always much brighter in color. The Newar thangkas have gods; Buddhist gods dominating the whole canvas, while the Tamang Thangkas mostly depict mandalas, the life of Buddha and the wheels of life. Throughout Kathmandu and the valley, thangka schools and painters can be visited and time can be spent learning, listening and watching the artists at their work. Westerners can learn painting, and spend time learning this meditative art, which will pervade their whole being, and bring them closer to their own truth.

Woodcarving

In annals of the art and architectural treasure of Nepal wood has been the most common material used for carving. Although it is difficult to trace its exact origin, Nepalese craftsmen in wood exist even before the 6th century. The description of Chinese traveler, Wang Hsuan Tse, in his travelogue, who visited Kathmandu in 673 AD about the sculpted and painted wooden houses in Kathmandu bears ample testimony to it. Its practice was evident in the Lichhavi era, and it reached its real stature during medieval Nepal. This was the period when the Malla kings of the three cities of Kathmandu valley committed themselves in producing distinctive features in craftsmanship. Be it palace or temple, a place for public assembly or a window frame of a small house nothing was left uncarved. Those were the days when the three cities of the Kathmandu valley had a splendor of their own. But this unique heritage suffered a major setback when the valley was razed to the ground by a number of tremors including the devastating one in 1934. Today most of what we see is a recreation, a mere shadow of its antiquity but thankfully, there are still more carvings in the valley from the 14th century, which do reverberate with the memory of their glorious past.

Beside the struts, windows of various designs, the peacock window, the Desemaru Jhya, meaning the unparallel one, fake the lattice window have added to the beauties of Nepalese temples and added to the beauty of Nepalese temple and monasteries. They beautiful carvings in their pillars and door frame lintels and cornices. There are intricate carvings of number of animals and birds including the story of Ramayana, the legendary Hindu epic - all of them contributing to their secular nature. These temples have erotic carvings at the bottom of their roof struts, a symbol of tantric cult that was widely practiced in Nepal during the 13th century.

The Nepalese wood carvers always used Shorea Robusta (Sal), and Michelia Champaca (Chapwood) to carve their best windows and doors, and now are also using Adinga cardifolia (Haldu) and Sisso Dalbergia (Rosewood), and many wood carvers today are still using the original tools and methods, and following patterns and designs handed down through the family. The carvers can be seen throughout the city of Patan and Bhaktapur. And to see these carvings in their original locations, each durbar square has some absolutely beautiful examples, still vibrating with the sounds of the original carvers.

Ayurveda

Based on historical evidence Ayurveda has been practiced in Nepal since the beginning of time. The Himalaya stand for purity, clarity and harmony, which is the goal and aspiration of every living creature. Nepal is one of the richest countries with diverse flora ranging from tropical to alpine within a small geographical area. Much of the flora is used for medicinal purposes. Nepal has a great tradition of Ayurveda, and it is considered to be part of the cultural and scientific heritage of the country.

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that means 'the science of life' or 'a natural way of living'. Ayurveda, is thought of as a life science, and includes Yoga, meditation and the natural and spiritual sciences. It looks at every person as a unique individual, and seeks to understand and to correct the imbalances and restore the innate intelligence and harmony of the person.

The objectives of Ayurveda are the development of awareness, which leads to a state of desirelessness; the promotion of health and the achievement of longevity; the prevention of disease; and the curing of disease. The Ayurvedic practitioner first of all ask a series of question to identify the person's type, after which it is possible to diagnose the problem, and suggest a series of activities and practice together with ayurvedic medicines. Neither stand-alone, each patient is treated in both ways.

In order to understand Ayurveda in more depth, it is possible to visit Nepal to be treated by ayurveda practitioner, or to meet the practitioners to understand the philosophy on a more intellectual level. Excursion can be organized to visit practitioners, to meet the rural people collecting the herbs, and to meet traditional healers such as Shamans and Jhankris.

  • Electricity

    Normally, domestic consumption of electricity in Nepal comes to 220 Volts/50 cycles. Climatic conditions in Nepal may bring in fluctuation in electric supply leading to load shedding. However most Nepal hotels have UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or a backup generator to deal with this electric crisis. It is advisable to carry voltage converters and plug adapters with you while travelling in Nepal for using electric goods. Voltage converters and plug adapters are easily accessible at shopping malls in the cities of Nepal.
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  • Drinking Water

    Drinking water from taps can be risky. Hotels and lodges usually furnish safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms. Bottled mineral water is available in every hotel and shops. If you are travelling in rural areas, carry iodine tablets with you. Drinking water containing iodine tablet will give you absolute protection from viruses, bacteria and parasites. At a reasonable price, you can also purchase iodine crystals from the local shops.
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  • Currency

    Nepali currency is termed as Rupee. Rupees come in the form of bank paper note with Rs.1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 inscribed on the notes. Nepali coins also come in 25 paisa, 50 paisa, 1 rupee, 5 rupee and 10 rupee coins. You can have your money exchanged at banks and hotels. Prior to any transaction, it is advisable to inquire about the commission and charges that will be deducted for the money exchange at Nepal currency exchange rate. Banks are usually open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Sundays through Thursdays and from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm on Fridays. Saturdays are holidays. Credit Cards: all major cards are accepted for tourist services. There is usually a 5% mark-up on top of the price.
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  • Communication

    Communication system has improved impressively after the advent of modern technology in Nepal. Since the past few decades, Nepal Government has been providing reliable postal services. Many private courier service companies have opened up to provide high quality services. Cell phones in today's time have made communication very easy in Nepal. While trekking in the remote parts of the Himalayas, you can have access to telephone facility but sometimes bad weather may disturb telephone connections. In most of the cities you can easily get internet access but in the trekking trails this service is available only in limited places.
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  • Language

    Nepali is an official language of Nepal, with over 30 other languages spoken as mother tongues in different parts of the country, and as well there are many regional dialects. English is spoken. Many in the travel and tourism industry speak German, Spanish, Japanese, French and Italian.
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  • Clothing

    From April to the end of October, it is warm in Kathmandu. In Nepal clothing for travelling purpose should be comfortable and light. You can also wear longer shorts provided that it is weather- friendly. In the months of November to the end of March, days are usually warm and evenings are cool. Put on your summer clothes during the day time but in the evening and night it is advisable to carry a light jacket. Winter season starts from December to February. One must be equipped with sufficient winter wears to stay protected from the cold.
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  • Weather

    Climate factors are very important in deciding on a visit to Nepal and because of its varying topography Nepal encounter climatic extremes depending upon the altitude of the place. However, in general Nepal has four climatic seasons:

    Autumn (September-November)), the start of the dry season, is in many ways the best time of the year in Nepal. As the monsoon ends the country-side is green and lush and Nepal is at its most beautiful. Rice is harvested and there are some more important and colorful festivals to enjoy. At this time of the year the air is sparkling clean, visibility is unexcelled and the Himalayan views are as near perfect as you can ask. Furthermore the weather is still balmy, neither too hot nor too cold. For obvious reasons, this is also the peak tourist season.
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  • Actvities

    Cultural Tours

    Nepal is a rich country for cultural heritage. The culture of Nepal is a unique combination of tradition and novelty. The traditions are followed as they were and new customs are created to keep pace with the changing times. Culture in Nepal is an assemblage of music, architecture, religion and literature. The two predominant religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, are ever present with the variety of gods and goddess, numerous temples, stupas and monasteries, and depict the deep faith of the people.

    Nepal is cloaked in myths and legends, and as well as being home to the highest mountains on earth and spectacular scenery, the country has an extremely rich cultural heritage. Historical Kathmandu Durbar Square, 3rd centuries Swoyambhunath Stupa, biggest Hindu temple - Pasupatinath where the maximum cremation is conducted. The largest stupa in the world - Boudhanath, temple of reclining god - Budhanilkantha, city of fine carvings, temples and shrines in - Patan Durbar Square, city of devotees and Palaces Bhaktapur Durbar Square, 5th centuries Changunarayan Temple, Nagarkot (charming sunrise and sunset spot as well as the great Himalayan scenery), Lumbini - birthplace of Lord Buddha, travelling around Pokhara; city of full of natural beauty as well as dozens of temples and monastery and Manakamana (wish fulfilling goddess) etc. has made Nepal a mysterious and an interesting and best place for a cultural tour.

    Mountaineering
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  • Festivals

    Seto Machindranath Snan, January. Seto (white) Machendranath enjoys a week long festivals in which he is bathed, oiled perfumed and painted. The goddess Kumari visits him at his elaborate temple near Asan tole. If he is pleased by the music, offering and attention of his devotee, the people of the valley can look forward to satisfactory rainfall in the planting season.

    Swasthani, January – February, The three eyes of Goddess Swasthani watches over us. By worshipping Swasthani, Parbati attained
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  • Entry to Nepal

    By Air:

    To fly directly to Nepal, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. The TIA has direct air links with Hong Kong, Lhasa, Dhaka, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Banglore, Shanghai, Dubai, Bangkok, Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi & Paro etc. Apart from Nepal Airlines, various other airlines such as Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, Ethiad Airline, Oman Air, Fly Dubai, Air Asia, Pakistan International Airlines, Indian Airlines, Druk Air, Air China, Biman Bangladesh carry most of the travelers to Kathmandu.

    By Land:

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  • Visa & Immigration

    All visitors except Indian nationals must hold a passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the airport or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport size photograph.

    Beside Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Tourist entry visa can also be obtained from the following entry points of Nepal:

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  • Flora & Fauna

    Nepal is a land of geographical extremes, ranging from near sea-level elevations in the southern Terai to the world's highest mountain. The country contains variety of ecosystem; treeless sub-alpine pastures and dense forests of the high valley, oak and rhododendron woods of the middle hills, and tall sal forest of the south. Along the southern border of Nepal are preserved much of the low land jungles and grassland that once covered this part of the sub continent. Here one can see the birds and mammals found nowhere else. Although animals habitat has been somewhat depleted as a result of agriculture, deforestation and other causes, through Nepal's extensive and effective park and reserve system, the country still has more varied flora and fauna than any other area in Asia.
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  • Art & Culture

    The culture of Nepal is rich and unique. The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. This multi-dimensional heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepal's ethnic, tribal, and social groups, and it manifests in music and dance; art and craft; folklore and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebration; foods and drinks.

    Bronze and Metal

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  • Geography

    Nepal has a long roughly rectangular shape with an extension of around 885 km east - west and 145 - 241 km north - south. Altitude ranges from near sea level to 8848 m above it. The contrasting topography of Nepal can be divided into three different geographic regions based on the altitude.
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  • Religion

    Since Nepal was declared federal democratic republic nation, the people of Nepal living in various society got right to establish their own religion belief so thereafter Nepal is known as multi religious to the entire world. Due to its huge diversified land division people living in the various regions in different ethnic groups they follow their own way of religious practice, lifestyle, language, culture and tradition with ever peace of harmony in society. About 80% of the total populations follow Hindu religion, about 10% are Buddhist, 4% are Muslims and rest of other religions.
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  • People

    Nepal has a population of about thirty million, made up of an assortment of races and tribes living in different regions, wearing different costumes and speaking different languages and dialects. They live under diverse environmental condition, from the low plains at the borders of India, northward through the middle hills and valleys up to the flanks of great Himalayan range where there are settlements at altitudes of up to 4,800 meters.
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  • History

    With the passing of every new century, Nepal witnessed many rulers and dynasties play contributing roles in molding Nepal to present day's Modern Nepal. Kiratis ruled Nepal from 9th century B.C. to 1st century A.D. Later Lichchavis took over Kiratis from 3rd to 13th century and then were followed by Thakuris belonging to Malla dynasty. Then Shah Dynasty held the reign. King Prithvi Narayan Shah is solely responsible for today's modern day Nepal for he is the one who united different kingdoms into one single nation in 1769. In 1846, the Kot massacre led by Jung Bahadur Rana back seated the power of monarchy and made the Rana regime more powerful.
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