Nepal

November 18th – 24th, 2024

*This is an additional trip for those who want to continue from Bhutan to Nepal with Kutira.*

For more information on the Bhutan trip, please go to www.bhutanecoretreat.com/bhutan_2024/

Whenever I return to Kathmandu, my heart fills with excitement and anticipation. Even while in school in Switzerland, I was already in love with this place after hearing Cat Stevens’ song “Katmandu.”  However, since these magical places were far away and not on my parents’ travel list to support, I never thought I would have the chance to explore a spiritual path so early in my life. Fortunately, when I turned 21, I had the opportunity to visit Nepal and visit my former teacher, who became the administrator of HELVETAS, a Swiss organization. It felt like I was reborn into another world or had stepped into a past life. Everything seemed so familiar, yet so different. My inward journey started at the feet of the mighty Mount Everest. I feel grateful to share some of the stories and meetings with remarkable saints, teachers, and mentors worldwide and how my Swiss roots intertwined with my Tibetan roots and expanded into a new family. Are you ready?
 
Nepal is a country of organized chaos that invites you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unexpected. The bustling streets, the array of scents from food and incense, and the explosion of colors in fabrics and temples are just a few examples colored by my earlier adventure stories. We will visit Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath Temple, and Boudhanath Stupa during our journey in Kathmandu. These sites display exquisite architecture, intricate wood carvings, and vibrant street life.  Just so you know, the itinerary below may change in order and timing due to unforeseen events we may want to participate in, but we will stay in the flow and let the chaos lead us into stillness.

ITINERARY 

Day 1 | November 18 | KTM/Thamel 

  • After leaving Bhutan, we arrive in Kathmandu at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). We will be checking into the hotel and eating at one of the many exceptional restaurants in this bustling city. In the afternoon, we relax and are introduced top the famous shopping of the city.

Day 2 | November 19 | KTM/Thamel 

  • Kathmandu’s Durbar Square:
    • Hanuman Dhoka: We will visit this ancient palace named after the monkey God, Hanuman. This is the historic seat of royalty and the Kings of Nepal are crowned inside its courtyard.
    • Statue of King Pratap Mall: We will visit the stone pillar and the temple of Jagannath, built in the medieval period. Next, we will walk over to the temple of Taleju from 1549 AD, the large stone statue of Kal Bhairav, the God of destruction, the Big Bell and Big Drum, and Hindu Lord Shiva with his consort Parvati peeping from the window.
    • Temple of Kumari: We will explore the residence of the Living Goddess: Kumari. Kumari means “the virgin girl,” who is selected from a devout Buddhist family. This temple has beautifully carved wooden balconies and window screens, where the Living Goddess “peeks” through. 

We will end our evening enjoying the many offerings of the city and either walk through the now “car-free” streets of Thamel or enjoy a Rikshaw (bicycle on 3 wheels) ride. For dinner, we will explore some local culinary delicacies as simple as “Dal Bhat” or if your taste calls for another kind of food, be insured Kathmandu’s restaurants have an abundance of varieties.

Day 3 | November 20 | KTM/Thamel

  • Swoyambhunath Temple: This beautiful temple is also known as the Monkey Temple and literally means ‘Self-Existent One.’  The history of Kathmandu Valley is said to have started with the beginning of Swoyambhunath. 

It is the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal and is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. An inscription dated 460 A.D. states that the construction was carried out by King Mandela and by the thirteenth century Swoyambhunath had developed into an important Buddhist learning site.

 We will visit the monastery next to the stupa and experience the largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal. Next, we will explore a temple dedicated to Manjushree of Saraswati – the goddess of learning. On this majestic hilltop, we will see many statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities. Large numbers of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swoyambhunath. The remainder of the day is free to explore the surrounding area, partake in a Nepali cooking class, get a massage, or simply relax at the hotel.

Day 4 | November 21 | KTM/Thamel

  • Pasupahtinath Temple: This famous, sacred Hindu temple is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia dedicated to god Shiva and is where devotees, pilgrims and wandering saddhus (holy men) gather. This stunning two-tiered golden roof and silver doors is situated at the bank of Bagmati river where one can also observe the cremation taking place.

The remainder of this evening is free for you to explore the surrounding area, get some last minute shopping done for Bhutan or simply relax at the hotel and get ready for tomorrow as we change hotels. (Any gift shopping is better to do in Nepal as Bhutan has only a few traditional crafts to offer. Anything you see in a shop in Bhutan might come from Nepal. Kutira will be happy to advise you with your needs).

Day 5 | November 22 | KTM/Bhouda 

After check-out we will leave for Bhouda: the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal with a wonderfully vibrant and interesting community.  We will enjoy our lunch on a rooftop at the stupa.

  • Bhouda: This is the largest stupa in Nepal and truly a magical place. It is one of Kutira’s favorite sacred places in the world and we will take time to walk around and explore. Join her in experiencing this very special place by sitting in one of the rooftop coffee shops, watching the many pilgrims prostrating and circumambulating the stupa. 

Our evening is open for whatever magic our time may bring.

Day 6 | November 23 | KTM/Bhouda 

  • As we enjoy our stay right in the outer ring of the stupa, we will have mornings that are purely magical. You may find yourself exploring the morning circumambulation of the stupa or simply watching the many activities from the hotel.

 In the afternoon we will visit Kutira’s Tibetan/Muslim healer, Fatima. You can get a traditional foot massage, acupuncture or any healing you may seek. Kutira has seen many miraculous healings, including herself, and she always values this special time. The remainder of this evening is free and to get ready for your departure the next day.

Day 7 | November 24 | KTM

  • We get ready for departure and saying goodbye to this beautiful country!