Nepal - The Himalayan Kingdom

 

 
 
 

Select area of
North India

 
 
 
 
NORTH  INDIA EAST  INIDA
WEST  INDIA SOUTH  INDIA

 


Draped along the greatest heights of the Himalaya, the kingdom of Nepal is a land of sublime scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best walking trails on earth. It's a poor country, but it is rich in scenic splendour and cultural treasures. The kingdom has long exerted a pull on the Western imagination and it's a difficult place to dislodge from your memory once you return. This is why so many travellers are drawn back to Nepal, armed the second time round with a greater appreciation of its natural and cultural complexity, a stout pair of walking boots and a desire for improved leg-definition.

Culture

At once a time machine and a magic carpet, Nepal sweeps you along crooked, timeworn streets flanked by irregular, multi-roofed pagodas, stupas and stone sculptures, and into rooms cluttered with horror-eyed masks, spinning prayer wheels, trippy thangka scrolls and Tibetan carpets. Muttered chants, esoteric tantric hymns and Nepalese music hang in the air, whether it be the twang of a four-stringed saringhi or the plaintive notes of a flute. Traditional folk musicians, or gaines, gather for an evening of singing and socialising; classical dancing and trance-like masked dances enliven the Kathmandu Valley and Bhaktapur regions; while no wedding would be complete without the raucous damais - Nepal's modern ensembles.

Religion is the lifeblood of the Nepalese. Officially it is a Hindu country, but in practice the religion is a syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs with a pantheon of Tantric deities tagged on. The remainder of the population that isn't Buddhist or Hindu are either Muslim, Christian or shamans.

Nepal's food is surprisingly dull given that it lies at the intersection of the two great gastronomic giants India and China. Most of the time meals consist of a dish called dhal bhat tarkari which is a combination of lentil soup, rice and curried vegetables - hardly the makings of a dynamic national cuisine. On the other hand, Nepal has adapted famously to Western tastes, markedly evident in Kathmandu's smorgasbord of menus: Mexican tacos; Japanese sukiyaki; Thai chocolate; Chinese marshmallows; onion and minestrone soup; borscht, quiche and soyburgers; and some of the best desserts - apple and lemon pies, almond layer cakes, fruit cakes - found anywhere in the world. To wash any (or all) of these offerings down, try a lassi (a refreshing mixture of curd and water), the locally produced beer or chang, a Himalayan home brew made from barley.

The living goddess: Kumari
The Kumari is believed to be the living reincarnation of the Hindu goddess...

Top of page

 

GlobNet wycieczki i Wyprawy do Indii, tel. 501272121