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Route map for Spirit of Nepal (ANDND)

Day 1 Kathmandu (D)

Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. There will be a notice informing of the time of the introductory group meeting this evening. Here we'll meet our Tour Leader and fellow traveling companions and go over the logistics of the upcoming adventure. Following the meeting we will have our first Indian feast.

Day 2 Kathmandu (B)

In the morning we take a guided tour of some of Kathmandu's most interesting monuments and learn the basics of the local language with an introductory lesson.

Lord Pashupatinath Temple dating back to 400 AD is the Nepal's holiest Hindu shrine. With its astonishing architectural beauty, it stands as a symbol of faith, religion, culture and tradition. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings'. The richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. You can mingle with the holy men or sadhus on the banks of Bagmati River, and see the daily chores of Nepalese people paying their homage to Lord Shiva. Often you can see the traditional cremation ceremony on the riverbank, which occurs all through the day at the shrine.

On the other hand, Boudhanath, is one of the world's largest stupas (Buddhist shrine). Boudhanath (also called Bouddhanath, Bodhnath or Baudhanath or the Khasa Chaitya) is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Bodhnath Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Ca-bahi (often called 'Little Bodhnath'). Join the pilgrims who gather to circumnavigate the enormous dome, beneath the watchful eye of the Buddha which gazes out from the gilded central tower. Join the pilgrims in lighting butter lamps or candles on the shrines of the stupa, and send the prayer wheels spinning their prayers up into the heavens.

After Lunch we travel by private bus to the nearby city of Patan (Lalitpur), which is the oldest of the three major cities in Kathmandu Valley and is famous for its Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples, and traditional artisans working with wood, stone and metal. Without doubt you will marvel at the fine arts, intricate wood and stone carvings, metal statues, and ornate architecture, including dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples, and over 1200 monuments. Without doubt one of the most interesting places in Patan is Durbar Square, which is situated in the center of Patan city, it houses the residence of the former Patan royal family, it features an excellent display ancient Newari architecture.

After sokaing in the history and ancient culture we later drive to Thamel for free time. Its concentration of narrow streets are lined with small shops selling an eclectic mix that is sure to suit all travellers and all budgets.

Day 3-4 Dhulikhel/Panauti (2B,1L)

In the Early morning you can take an optional breathtaking Everest Experience flight - To soar above the world highest peaks, including the mighty Everest and to really feel you are crossing the roof of the world.

After breakfast we start our journey to Bhaktapur it is the second largest of the three major cities in the Kathmandu Valley and is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork. The city is a well preserved ancient city, and walking throughthe Durbar square you will feel like you have stumbled into another world. Before you leave try the local Royal Bhaktapur Yogurt, its delicious.

After we explore the ancient city, an hour’s drive brings us to Dhulikhel where we stay overnight. Dhulikhel is a small, quiet Newar town about 20 miles (30kms) from Kathmandu. From here you can admire the views from the edge of the ridge, with a stunning panorama of peaks that stretch from Langtang Lirung (7,246m) in the east, through to Dorje Lakpa, Melungtse (7,181m) and Numbur (5,945m) in the far east.

We travel in the afternoon to Panauti, a very historical city, originally a small state given by King Bhupatindra Malla as a dowry to his sister. Panauti steeped in culture and tradition is considered as quaint and interesting destination it feels as it has been left exactly the way the founders had built the town. Locals are shy but welcoming a nostalgic atmosphere covers the narrow town streets and ancient structures.
As every culture has its unique ceremonies and celebration, Panauti holds a number of festivals reflecting the ancient traditions and mythology. After a simple lunch in a local restaurant in Panauti, we start our hike to Namobuddha.

Namobuddha is a peaceful holy place for Buddhist and Tibetans, with rows of Buddhist stupas adorned with fluttering prayer flags. A carved stone image of Buddha portrays a popular legend, which relates that the Lord Buddha in his previous incarnation as the prince Mahasatwo, offered his own flesh to save a starving tigress and her cubs from the imminent death.

Days 5-6 Annapurna Foothills/Dhampus (2B,2L,2D)

After breakfast, we have wander around in Dhulikhel town before we head back to Kathmandu to catch our flight to Pokhara. Upon arrival in Pokhara, we take jeeps to Phedi.

The entire region from Phedi, on the valley floor to the top of the hill is commonly known as Dhampus. But the main part of Dhampus is on the top of the rise, more than 500m above. Interested trekkers will start their walk from Phedi or you can choose to take the drive to reach our Lodge.

Dhampus - This area is inhabited by Brahmans, Chhetris and a few Gurungs, though along the hillside is a mix of Gurung and Magar ethnic settlements with guesthouses and teahouses. The views of the mountains and valleys are superb, with great mountain vista as you continue along the ridge.

On day 6, we enjoy our day in the mountains and explore village life and trekking routes of Nepal. The walking route from Dhampus to Pothana is a very pleasant one through the Rhododendron forest with the Annapurna Ranges at the background. If you do not wish to hike, you can choose to stay at the lodge for leisure time.

Day 7-8 Pokhara (2B)

In the afternoon we take the short journey to Pokhara with its ancient monuments and stunning natural landscape. You will have time if you so wish to visit some of its main attractions Phewa Lake is the center of all attraction in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. The eastern shore, popularly known as Lakeside or Baidam, is the favorite haunt of all travelers restaurants, handicraft shops and other tourist facilities are located. Also the Barahi temple is the most important monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the Center of Fewa Lake, this two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protector deity representing the female force of Shakti.

On day 8, we hike through paddy fields and farmland. On arrival in the village, we are welcomed by the villagers. We meet local Gurung people and learn about their day to day life and chores. Lunch will be prepared by the villagers and we join them for a typical local meal. Visit the local people’s houses and interact with the village men and women. This day will give you a wonderful insight into village life. If you do not wish to hike, you can choose to stay in Pokhara to relax and enjoy the city.

Day 9-10 Chitwan National Park (2B,2L,2D)

Today we drive through across the Terai to Chitwan which is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the region, which formerly extended over the foothills of Nepal. This National Park is the first in Nepal home to at least 43 species of mammals. In Chitwan, all the jungle activities are just a step away and there's always a chance to spot wildlife. The warm subtropical Terai region of Nepal is a home of such animals as Royal Bengal tigers, rhinos, leopards wild elephants, black bears, monkeys, Langurs, crocodiles, kinds of dear and over 250 species of exotic birds. We will take a jeep Safari in the jungle to spot wildlife. We also will do village walks.

Day 11 Kathmandu (B,D)

Today we take our leave of the wildlife and return to Kathmandu, where you will have time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, before our farewell diner feast.

Day 12 Kathmandu (B)

Depart at any time.