Meet and greet on arrival at the Kathmandu airport. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley is the political and cultural heart of the Kingdom. The urban sprawl that makes up modern Kathmandu is in fact two cities, Patan and Kathmandu.
This morning, visit the seat of Hindu culture in Nepal, Pashupatinath. The Pashupatinath Temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, 5 kilometres north-east of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, this extensive Hindu temple precinct is a sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river.
Later visit Bouddhanath, the largest Tibetian Budhist stupa outside Tibet. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture is accessible and unfettered, and the lanes around the stupa are crammed with monasteries and workshops producing butter lamps, ceremonial horns, Tibetan drums, monks’ headgear and the other paraphernalia essential for Tibetan Buddhist life.
This morning, venture to visit Patan. Also known as Lalitpur, this city is separated from Kathmandu only by the Bagmati River and is the second largest town in the valley. Lalitpur is distinctive due to its substantive architectural ancient masterpieces. Patan’s central Durbar Square is absolutely packed with temples. It is an architectural center point with a far greater concentration of temples per sq. meter than in Kathamandu or Bhaktapur. Within the city also lies the Tibetan refugee center, home to most of the valley’s Tibetan population. While technically refugees, the Tibetans are some of the wealthiest people in the valley because of the carpet industry they operate. For those looking to bring home a fine Tibetan carpet, this is the place to shop. Later, proceed to Swayambhunath. The golden spire of this 5th-century Swayambhu stupa is adorned with a colorful fluttering of prayer flags. The stupa crowns a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and offers fantastic views over the city of Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is one of the most recognizable symbols in Nepal and the painted eyes of Buddha watch all who ascend its worn stone steps.
Nagarkot is situated 35 kilometers, 1.5 hrs drive east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 meters. The panoramic view of the major peaks including Mt. Everest can be seen from here. Nagarkot also offers stunning sunrises and sunsets.
En route to Nagarkot, stop at Bhaktapur, perhaps the least changed of all the cities in the Kathmandu Valley, with a distinct medieval feel. Pottery and weaving are still traditional industries here. Architectural wonders abound, including the Palace of Fifty Five Windows, Golden Gate and the magnificent five-storied pagoda-style Nyatapola Temple.
After breakfast, check-out from your hotel and transfer to the airport to take your flight home.