Nepal, a country of sublime beauty, tucked away in the
shades of the highest mountain range in the world, can truly be labeled
the 'last paradise' on earth. Even in such a small area
of 147181 sq. kilometers, Nepal presents a myriad of attractions to tourists
and locals alike – ranging from its scenic beauty
and well preserved exotic culture to the adventure opportunities
in every nook and cranny in the country.
When the hippie culture hit the world in the mid 20th century, Nepal
could not remain an exception. Indeed, the first tourists who came to
Nepal were these hippies who arrived in search of cheap marijuana. Hashish
was available here and there were no laws preventing its use. Thus, backpackers
with the likes of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix thronged
to Nepal and the well known "Freak Street"
established itself as the tourist hub of Nepal.
Now, tourism has developed much in Nepal and it has lots more to offer
to tourists than just cheap narcotics. Due to the diverse topography,
altogether different forms of life have developed in the northern Himalayan
valleys and the southern plains of the Terai. These lifestyles have given
rise to different customs
and traditions. Exotic cultures have developed which differ
with the part of the country you are in, the mid hills and southern plains
being the richest in traditions. Festivals
like the Kumari Jatra and Bisket Jatra cannot
be seen in any other part of the world. Neither can one experience such
hospitality anywhere else. Nepalese believe in a traditional Sanskrit
saying "Atithi Devo Bhava"(meaning guests and
gods are alike) This is what makes them so hospitable that they can never
regard their guests with indifference and always warm heartedly welcome
them and try to help them as much as possible.
The exotic customs has also given rise to different
monuments of cultural, religious and historical importance. Temples
and palaces dating back to 10th century AD still exist as cultural heritages
in Nepal. Beautiful pagoda style monuments in the Kathmandu
valley uphold a strong reminiscence of their glorious past. Magnificent
Buddhist stupas also remind everyone that Buddhism
originated from this religiously tolerant country. Art and architecture
are particularly well developed in the capital Kathmandu
as it was the cultural and political centre of the country from the very
beginning of its existence.
The exoticism of the culture makes only a small fraction of what a tourist
can experience in Nepal. You cannot come to Nepal and return without trekking
some of the ancient pathways hidden in the barren Himalayan Bhots.
In fact, nowadays most tourists throng to Nepal for this very purpose:
trekking. The well worn trade routes used by people of
the Himalayas descending south in the winter or moving in caravans further
north towards Tibet in the summer have been modified to serve as trekking
routes. More and more trekking routes are opening year by year to enhance
a tourist's experience in Nepal.
Not only trekking routes but also more and more mountains
have been opened for mountaineering by the Nepalese government. The Mount
Everest, the highest mountain in the world, along with six of
the ten tallest peaks in the entire world, lies in Nepal's terrain. The
majestic Everest, which stood so proudly and magnificently shining its
own snow white light without anyone daring to reach its hilt until just
half a century ago was scaled by several thousands of mountaineers two
years back to mark the golden jubilee of the scaling of the Sagarmatha
(Nepali name for Everest, meaning greatest of all) by Tenzing Norgay and
Sir Edmund Hilary. Sir Edmund was himself in the capital to grace the
functions organized to commemorate this remarkable event.
Moreover, the thing that makes visiting Nepal really desirable to visit
is its supreme
natural beauty. The hills and mountains, the rivers lakes and falls, the
omnipresent greenery, the exotic flora and fauna, the forests
with all the wilderness are sure to bewilder tourists who see just
their well kept lawns and flower pots in the name of greenery. All these
factors, along with the local people; in their small, straw thatched mud
houses, living a backward life in the villages, beautifies Nepal more than
Where else in the world can you paraglide, balloon
ride, bungy jump off one of the highest fall
in the world, bird watch, go for a safari
in jungles home to one horned Rhinoceroses and Royal Bengal tigers
and yet canoe or kayak in white water
rivers or go for a trek or even try to ascend the world's highest
mountains? Nepal has it all which many other destinations lack. This country
always makes you feel elated, as if you have just landed into
a paradise, a small yet really beautiful utopia. The wilderness of Kenya
might be excellent for safari but can it offer the snow? The beaches of
Hawaii might be the best in the world but can one go for a safari there?
Here, in Nepal, one can do all the things they have never even dreamt
of. One can go for an elephant ride to see the endangered one horned rhinos
and an hour later be at the foot of Everest with all the mountaineering
gear ready to scale it. Nepal has it all, from riverside beaches and exotic
wildlife to people who value their traditions and present themselves with
utmost hospitality to tourists. From adventure sports to sightseeing of
ancient relics, anything can be done here. Thus, if you can visit Nepal,
do it now, if not, it might be too late.
P.S. It is our sincere request to all those people visiting
Nepal or looking forward to it to be responsible in dumping their wastes
along the trekking routes and help Nepal remain as beautiful as it is
now, if not more so.