In Sanskrit, Abha means aura. In Persian, it means Paradise and is the derivative of "God the Glorious". In praise of the supreme power, the word beseeches God's blessing in every affairs of life, be it travel or any other business.
The Kathmandu valley is surrounded by row of green mountain walls and towering mighty snow-capped peaks. So, the valley looks like a bowl. The rich cultural heritage of Nepal is synthesized in the Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan are the major three cities; each of them has its own distinctive character with outstanding temples, works of art and architecture of times gone by. Different feasts and festivals are held in these cities almost every day.
UNESCO has enlisted the major cultural sites such as Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath, Kathmandu Durbar square in Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunarayan in Bhaktapur as World Heritage Sites. All these popular sites represent an epitome of harmony in urban design, elegant architecture and refined culture. This tour might be one of the best trips to have full glimpses of the valley.
Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport, you will be greeted by Abha Travel & Tours representative and transferred to hotel. After check in, you can either take a rest or hang around in the city depending on your interest and time constraint. In the evening, there will be a pre-trip discussion, introducing with your Tour guide. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions related to the tour program. Overnight in hotel.
Today after breakfast, we start a guided sightseeing to historical and spiritual sites in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites that include the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambhunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddhanath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world.
After breakfast we start our sightseeing tour of some cultural and natural sites. Firstly, we drive to Patan, which is also called "The City of Fine Arts" with full of ancient temples and shrines, and the erstwhile palace of Malla King. The Patan Durbar Square is one of the noted World Heritage Site we will visit. After lunch we drive further to Khokana village dating back to the medieval age, and this village has been nominated in the list of World Heritage Site, with its mustard-oil seed industrial heritage. Bungmati is another medieval little village with a beautiful temple in the village square and medieval houses hanging onions and red chilies from their windows. Overnight at hotel in Patan.
After breakfast we drive to Thimi which is a medieval pottery village. Then we continue drive to another most popular medieval city of Bhaktapur that has still preserved medieval arts, architecture, culture, and unique lifestyle till date. One is sure to feel like travelling back into the past while walking along the Bhaktapur thoroughfares, squares and streets. After lunch in Bhaktapur we further drive to Changu Narayan, the oldest temple of the Kathmandu valley. The route to Changu Narayan passes through small villages and farmlands . Then we head toward Nagarkot located at an altitude of 2,175m above sea level. We stay overnight at Nagarkot to enjoy the magnificent sunrise and sunset views over the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Mt Everest.
After breakfast we drive to Dakshinkali, which is regarded as one of most important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site. Many pilgrims visit here to offer prayers and animal sacrifices to the goddess 'Kali'. Then we drive to Chobhar known for the Chobhar gorge through which all the Bagmati river drains out to the Terai. On the way to Chobhar we stop by Pharping where we visit Buddhist & Hindu shrines. After Chobhar we head for Kirtipur, on the top of a hill, which is also one of medieval town inside the Kathmandu Valley. In Kirtipur, you can visit Nepal's largest and oldest Tribhuvan University. The historic town has many interesting sights, shrines and temples, old houses, people in their old traditional costumes, people working on ancient loom, etc. Finally we drive back to Kathmandu and stay overnight in hotel.
Today we drive to Kakani (1082 m), which is 23 km northwest of Kathmandu. The serenity of the surrounding gives you the immense pleasure and the panoramic view of Annapurna, Machhapuchhare, Ganesh Himal and Langtang from here. Have a pack lunch in Kakani and drive to Budhanilkantha, a colossal statue of Lord Vishnu reclining on the bed of snakes, lies at the base of Shivapuri Hill. Budhanilkantha is a major pilgrimage site for the Hindus. Further north from Budhanilkantha, a stretch of dusty road goes into the Shivapuri National Park. The site is also a famous trekking region nearby Kathmandu .There is also a Buddhist nunnery inside the National Park. The dirt-road amidst the jungle goes uphill through the villages of Dandagaon, Gurje Bhanjyang. After visiting the local villages at Shivapuri we drive back to Kathmandu for overnight stay in hotel.
After breakfast drive up to Dhullikhel and Namo Buddha (1982m). You will have a view of local villages and nice terraces on the way. You will enjoy a thrilling view of mountains valley and hills from Namobuddha. You will visit a popular Buddhist monastery where Lord Buddha is believed to have saved the life of a tiger dying from hunger. You will also experience Newari culture in Dhulikhel. Overnight at hotel in Dhulikhel.
Today we drive 30 minutes from Dhulikhel to Panauti. We keep our drive to the typical Newari village of Panauti . This traditional Newar settlement has a particularly rural character and a variety of farm products are offered for sale throughout the town. Panauti boasts a large number of fascinating temples. In history it says that under the ground there is only one large stone on which Panauti village rests. There are also several years old temples where we can visit. After Panauti we drive to Sankhu which is a typical Newari town, with many fine old buildings and temples. Beyond the village, up a long flight of stone stairs, is Bajra jogini, a historical temple with a beautiful view of the local area and we can stay at a local home. Then, we further drive to Sankhu which is one of the spiritual centre of the Hindus. Here a Hindu festival called Maghe Sankranti is held in mid January every year. Hindu pilgrims take a holy bath at the Sankhu river. On the full moon day of March-April the image of Bajra Yogini is pulled out and followed by procession. Drive back to Boudha and stay overnight in hotel.
After breakfast in hotel we drive to Kopan Monastery which is a great Buddhist learning and meditation centre. This monastery has truly become an oasis for the thousands of foreign visitors. Regular meditation courses have been held at Kopan since Lama Zopa Rinpoche, one of the founders, gave his first public teachings at Kopan in 1971 to a group of twelve Westerners. This intensive one month introduction to Buddhism became the model for the meditation courses now held throughout the year at Kopan. Drive back to Boudha and stay overnight at hotel.
After breakfast we drive 14 km south of Kathmandu to a small village below Phulchowki where the Royal Botanical Gardens and Department of Medicinal Plants are located. Here you will visit floriculture farm and walk around the hills in the midst of terraced farms. Also, you will have an opportunity to observe butterfly in the garden and have fun. Drive back to Kathmandu.
Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is one of the most favored divinities in Hinduism and is certainly the most favored in the Kathmandu Valley. He is the symbol of good luck, who casts aside obstacles if we pray Him. Today we visit only four major Ganesh temples throughout the Kathmandu valley . The Chandra Binayak is in the middle of the village of Chabahil, 200m behind the Chabahil stupa. This small Ganesh is enshrined amidst rich brass work & is believed to cure diseases and external bodily injuries. The simple stone Ganesh at the Surya Binayak is halfway up the foothills south of Bhaktapur. The path heads uphill to the little shrine, considered able to give the power of speech to young children who are slow to talk. In a forest preserve between the villages of Bungmati & Khokana lies the Karya Binayak. From the road linking the hamlets, a path leads up to a beautiful clearing and the walled compound of the shrine. Here Ganesh is an elephant-shaped stone and is believed to help complete difficult tasks. Those seeking strength of character go to worship the Ganesh at Jal Binayak, just beyond the Chovar Gorge. After the tour we drive back to Kathmandu and stay overnight in hotel.
Today our airport representative will make a departure transfer to the Kathmandu airport to board international flight for your onward destination