- Christine Tibbetts, who joined us in 2009.
Nepal is one of the smallest countries in the world horizontally, and the largest vertically, stretching from just above sea level to the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest. It is the meeting point of many of ethnic groups of Asia. Amongst the languages spoken there are representatives of four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian and various indigenous languages. In the middle of the country as measured in both dimensions, lies the highly fertile Kathmandu Valley, believed to have once been a large lake. The city of Kathmandu’s history stretches back almost 2000 years, and few names can invoke a greater sense of the exotic and historic.
It is also home to many religions, mainly Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, and Nepal is a living example of both religious devotion and religious tolerance.
After your arrival in this most unusual city you will be based in a charming hotel. You will walk along quaint streets in the vibrant area of Thamel where shop owners squat among pashmina and cashmere shawls, exotic jewelry, hand-woven carpets and the finest silverwork. You will Visit the 5th Century Buddhist Swayambunath Stupa where pilgrims climb 365 steps. In a Hindu Temple alongside this Stupa we have a group meditation.
You will explore Durbar Square and the palace of Kumari, the living Goddess child who is revered by Hindus and Buddhists. Kathmandu is said to get its name from Kastamandap, ‘house of wood’, a temple made from the wood of one tree. Dinner with traditional dancing in a beautifully restored Nepalese restaurant, once the home of the Kings’ Priests.
You will drive through the Kathmandu Valley and will explore the medieval City of Bhaktaphur, one of three kingdoms in the Kathmandu area.
Bhaktaphur, a World Heritage Site, is filled with temples in an unusual style, superb wooden carvings and handicrafts.
In this phase of the Journey you will see examples of how Tibetans and their beliefs have been integrated into the tolerant religious fabric of Nepal. We will visit the Boudanath Temple with the magnificent Stupa built in the 5th century by King Manadeva. Should any of the senior Lamas be giving teachings at the time of our visit we will join them and we will endeavour to have the privilege of an audience with a Rimpoche.
We will visit the Tibetan Refugee centre and other communities in the area at all of which we will see the exquisite handmade work available in the area.
Farewell dinner will be held in a typical Nepalese restaurant the night before you are taken to the airport for your journey home taking with you impressions that will live on for years to come.
During the tour, as an option, you will be able to take the the optional early morning flight from Kathmandu for a close up view of Mount Everest.