Nepal: Blessed Beauty

Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia bordered north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometers (56,827 sq km) and a population of approximately 35 million, Nepal is ranked as the world’s 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolitan city. For some geographical gist, some folks say Nepal is like a yam struggling to grow between two huge boulders.

Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geographical features, culture and religions. The mountainous region in the north has eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including the tallest in the world i.e. Sagarmatha, the Mount Everest. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized. This small Himalayan nation has over 240 peaks above 20,000 ft (6,096m) above sea level.
With constitutional monarchy throughout most of her history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified many small kingdoms (principalities). However, a decade-long People's Revolution by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) along with several weeks of mass protests by other major political parties in 2006 culminated in a peace accord. The ensuing elections for the constituent assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of displacing the last Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in May 28, 2008.
Slotted amidst the greatest heights of the Himalaya, Nepal is where the ice-cold of the mountains meets the steamy heat of the plains. It's a land of yaks and yetis, temples & cows, stupas, monasteries and Sherpa’s with some of the best trekking trails on earth. The Himalayan's most sophisticated urban cultures took shape here, in the three great medieval cities of the Kathmandu bowl shaped Valley - Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur - home to a world class artistic and architectural heritage.
The landscapes are unequalled in beauty and variety, cultural diversity, aesthetically built monuments, rugged beauty and tranquility of the snowcapped shimmering mountains, serenity and placid lakes and valleys, an unmatched collection of flora, fauna and wild life, diverse races, ethnic groups, dialects and languages all combined to make Nepal a visitor's dream for holidays. This is a land of immense contrasts.

Ancient Kathmandu, the capital city, can be described with a single word - 'striking’. Its array of Pagodas dedicated to every deity in the Hindu pantheon and Buddhist Chaityas are a sculptor's dream and architect's delight. Old and new jostle for space with one another in people’s lifestyles, buildings and cobbled stone streets.

Trekking in the mountains, rafting on raging rivers, steamy safaris in the jungles and sightseeing in Kathmandu – name it…its all up for grabs…and the ubiquitous clanging of temple bells throughout the day send you into blissful sleep at night! To miss it is a blunder… THIS IS NEPAL FOR YOU…YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO FIND THIS ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PLANET…LOVE IT OR DUMP IT, MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD PREFER THE FORMER!!!

If you are looking for any kind of holiday in Nepal, Crystal Nirvana Treks & Expeditions have some of the most gripping and diverse programs to offer…with price tags that will leave you breathless. ITS NOW…OR NEVER!!!

By Air

The Tribhuvan airport in Kathmandu is Nepal’s only international airport. The main airlines that serve Kathmandu are Indian Airlines, Thai International, Bangladesh Biman, China Southwest Airlines, Druk Air, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Jet Air, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Asia etc. The national carrier - Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), operates flights to Europe and Asia as well as regional destinations.

Via Asia

You could travel to Kathmandu via Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. There are daily flights to Kathmandu from Bangkok. If in India, you can fly to Nepal from Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore and Varanasi. There is the spectacular flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thrusdays operated by China Southwest Airlines. You can also fly Druk Air from Paro in Bhutan, or take a flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

From Europe and Middle East

Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Etihad and Fly Dubai all operate daily flights to Kathmandu from Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Bahrain. Bangladesh Biman and the above mentioned Middle Eastern airlines all offer flights from various cities in Europe with one stop over in the middle east, India or Bangladesh.

From North America

Any of the middle Eastern or Asian Airlines will bring you to Kathmandu with a couple of stop over’s in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.

From Australia

From Australia and New Zealand, look for routes via Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok, usually with Thai International.

By Land

There are many entry points into Nepal by land open to foreigners, from which most are from India and one from Tibet.

Via India

The crossing points from India include Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi and Nepalgunj in the west, Sunali, Birganj and Kakarbhitta in the east. Make sure to book your tickets through a reputed agency to avoid getting duped. Also bear in mind that everyone has to change buses at the border whether they book a through ticket or not, and that despite claims to the contrary, there are no tourist buses on either side of the border. You can board direct buses to the Nepal border from Delhi, Varanasi, Calcutta, Patna and Darjeeling. From the border, you can board Nepali buses to Kathmandu.

Via Tibet

You can cross the border into Nepal from Tibet via Kodari.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

Placed on the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, Nepal is ethnically very much diverse. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations. These migrations have taken place from India, Tibet, and Central Asia. Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newar of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Tarai region. The ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups came from India while other ethnic groups including the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai and Limbu in the east, and Sherpa and Bhotia in the north trace their origins to Central Asia and Tibet.

In the Tarai, which is a part of the Ganges basin, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryan people of northern India. People of Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid stock live in the hilly region. The mountainous highlands are sparsely populated. The Kathmandu Valley, in the mid-hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but it is the most densely populated area with almost 5% of the total population.

Nepal's 2001 census enumerated 103 distinct caste/ethnic groups including an "unidentified group". The caste system of Nepal is rooted in the Hindu religion while the ethnic system is rooted in mutually exclusive origin, myths, historical base, mutual seclusion and the occasional state intervention.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

Nepal is blessed with one of the richest cultures in the world. The culture has been called 'the way of life for an entire society'. This statement holds particularly true in the case of Nepal where every aspect of life, food, clothing and even occupations are culturally guided. The culture of Nepal includes the codes of manners, dress, language, rituals, norms of behavior and systems of belief. 

Religion occupies an integral position in Nepalese life and society. In the early 1990s, Nepal was the only constitutionally declared Hindu state in the world. There is, however, a great deal of intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Many of the people regarded as Hindus in the 1981 census could, with as much justification, be called Buddhists.

Hindus can be seen worshiping at Buddhist temples and Buddhists can be seen worshiping at Hindu temples, the two dominant groups in Nepal have never engaged in any overt religious conflicts. Due to the dual faith practices and mutual respect, the differences between Hindus and Buddhists have been in general very subtle in nature. You will also find Christians, Muslims and Jains in Nepal. All Religions co-exist peacefully and respectfully.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

Dashain / Vijaya Dashami 

Dashain is a national festival of Nepal which lasts for 15 days. During this festival, every Nepali is stirred by the prospects of joy which the festival is supposed to bring with it. The change of mood is also induced psychologically by the turn of autumn season after a long spell of monsoon rains. Followed by clear and brilliant days, an azure blue sky and a green carpet of fields, the climate is also just ideal at this time; it is neither too cold nor too warm. The Nepalese cherish their Dashain as time for eating well and dressing well. Each house sets up a shrine to worship the Goddess at this time.


The 5-day festival is marked by worshiping different animals. On the first day of the festival, the crow is worshipped as it is believed to be a messenger of Lord Yamraj (God of death). On the second day, the dog is worshipped as it is believed to guard the gates of heaven. On the third day, the cow is worshipped as it is believed to be the representative of Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) and in the evening Goddess Laxmi, herself, is worshipped. The most endearing sight of this festival is presented by the illumination of the entire town with rows of tiny flickering lamps in the evening of Laxmi Puja. Goddess Laxmi is worshipped at every household and it is in her welcome that myriad of lamps are burnt. On the fourth day, Govardhan Puja is performed by worshipping the ox as it tills land and helps grow crops. It is also the New Year of the ethnic group of Newars and they celebrate Mha Puja (worshipping one’s self in self-aggrandizement) in the evening. In the evening of this day, people in groups also play Deusi Bhailo in which they go door to door and sing to collect money and food offerings. On the fifth day, sisters show their affection towards their brothers by performing Bhai Tika (worshipping brothers), and feed them delectable foods. They pray to Yamaraj for their brothers’ long lives.

Bala Chaturdashi 

A year after the death of a family member, the soul of the dead wanders around awaiting entrance to the underworld and it is the inescapable duty of living relatives to provide it with substance, comfort and peace once or twice each year and Bala Chaturdashi is one of them. The relatives pay homage to Pashupatinath and offer grains while taking a round of the temple.

Maghe Sankranti 

A Sankranti signifies the first day of any month in the Nepali calendar. The first day of the month of Magh, which falls in January is a sacred day in the Nepalese calendar because the sun, on this day, is believed to be astrologically in a good position. It starts on its northward journey in its heavenly course on this day. The Nepalese belief of this day marks the division of the winter and summer solstices. Bathing in rivers is prescribed on this day, especially at the river confluence. Feasting of specially prepared rich foods is common in the family.

Basanta Panchami 

On this day, Nepalese people bid farewell to the winter season and look forward to welcome the spring season. Most of the people of Nepal worship Saraswati, Goddess of learning. The people of the Kathmandu Valley go to a little shrine near Swayambhunath to worship this Goddess.


This is the most famous and celebrated festival of Nepal which attracts large crowds from far flung places, both in India & Nepal. The festival is consecrated in honor of Lord Shiva. It is observed by bathing and holding a religious fast. All Shiva shrines become the places of visit for ‘Darshan’, but the greatest attraction of all is held by the temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu. One gets to see thousands of Hindu devotees coming to visit the temple of Pashupati. Among the devotees are a large number of Sadhus and naked ascetics. Many people like to keep awake for the whole night keeping vigilance over an oil lamp burnt to please Shiva. Children are seen keeping awake similarly over a bonfire in many localities. In the afternoon, an official function is held to celebrate this festival at Tudikhel.

Fagu Purnima 

Holi is also known as the festival of colour. It is observed for eight days just before the full moon of the month of Falgun of the Nepalese calendar and during this time, people indulge in color throwing at each other. 

Ghode Jatra 

The festival has two sides of its celebration. Its cultural side involves the Newars of Kathmandu, who celebrate it for several days. The idols of the gods of many localities are taken in a procession in their area in portable chariots. Every household will be feasting at this time. A demon called ‘Gurumapa’ is also propitiated at Tundikhel. The other aspect of the festival is provided by the function organized by the Nepalese Army at Tundikhel in the afternoon of the main day. Horse race and acrobatic shows are the attractions at this time.

Seto Matsyendranath Jatra 

On this day a popular festival is held in honour of the Seto Matsyendranath, who is actually the Padmapani Lokeswara, whose permanent shrine is situated at Matsyendra Bahal in Kel Tole in the middle of the bazaar in Kathmandu. A huge chariot of wood supported on four large wooden wheels and carrying a tall spire, covered with green foliage is made ready for receiving the image of the divinity on this occasion and the chariot is pulled through the thoroughfares of the core of Kathmandu. There is a spontaneous and heavy turnout of devotees to pay homage to this god, who is also said to be the ‘Embodiment of Compassion’ at this time.

Ram Navami 

This day celebrates the birth of Rama, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, a prominent Hindu god. Religious fasting is observed and worship is offered to Rama. A special celebration takes place at the Rama Janaki Temple in Janakpur during this festival.

Rato Macchindranath Jatra 

This festival is the biggest socio-cultural event for the city of Patan. It begins with the chariot journeys of the most widely venerated deity of the Nepal valley, who resides in his twin shrines at Patan and Bungamati. His popular name is Bungamati, but non-Newars call him by the name of Rato Matsyendranath. The wheeled chariot is prepared at Pulchowk and pulled through the town of Patan in several stages for months until it reaches Jawalakhel for the final celebration of this festival called the Bhoto Jatra. The two Machhendranaths of Patan and Kathmandu are from the same cult of Avalokiteswara in the Mahayan religion.

Buddha Jayanti 

The day which falls on the full moon of the month of Baisakh of the Nepalese calendar is celebrated to commemorate the birth, attainment of enlightenment and the death of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha, the founder preacher of Buddhism, more than 2500 years ago. Prayers are made and worship is offered by the Buddhists in leading Buddhist shrines throughout the country including Lumbini in the Rupandehi district, which is the birth place of Buddha. A huge fair is held in Lumbini on this day.

Janai Purnima 

The full moon of the month of Shrawan, the day when this festival is observed, is considered a sacred day all over Nepal and is celebrated in different ways by various groups of people. Hindu men of the Brahmin and Chhetri castes take a ritual bath and change the sacred thread worn over their left shoulder. Everyone gets a sacred thread around the wrist from Brahman priests for protection throughout the year. This day is also held sacred for bathing in Gosainkunda. One can also see a pageantry of the Jhankris attired in their traditional costume as they come to bathe at Kumbheshwor in Patan. These Jhankris also visit the temple of Kailinchowk Bhagwati in Dolakha district where they go to revamp their healing powers as they are traditional healers of Nepalese villagers.

Gai Jatra / Cow Festival

The outlook of this festival is similar to the carnival in Europe. In this festival, young boys dressed up as cows, parade the streets of the town. This costume springs from the belief that cows help the family member/members who died within a year to smoothly travel to heaven. Some are also dressed up as an ascetic or a fool to achieve the same objective for the dead family member/members. Groups of mimics also improvise short satirical enactment on the current social scenes of the town for public entertainment of the public. The week beginning from Janai Purnima actually unfolds a season of many good religious and cultural activities. All the Buddhist monasteries open their gates to the visitors to view their bronze sculptures and collection of paintings for a week. In Patan, one observes the festival of Mataya at this time. The festivity of Gai Jatra itself lasts for a week enlivened by the performance of dance and drama in the different localities of the town. The spirit of this festival is being increasingly adapted by cultural centers, newspapers and magazines to fling humor and satire on the Nepalese social and political life.


The day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Religious fast is observed and Krishna temples are visited by devotees on this day. A procession goes around the town displaying the pictures of Lord Krishna, a practice which was started in the recent years by a social organization called the Sanatan Dharma Sewa Samiti.


This is a festival for the female. On this day, Nepalese women go to Shiva temple in red colorful dresses to worship Lord Shiva. In the Kathmandu Valley, women go to Pashupatinath, where they worship Shiva to fulfill all their wishes.

Indra Jatra

This festival also heralds a week of religious and cultural festivity in Kathmandu. There are several phases of this festival. On the night when this festival begins, members of the Buddhist family in which death has taken place within a year, go round the town limits of Kathmandu burning incense and putting lamps along the route. The same morning a tall wooden pole representing the statue of Indra and large wooden masks of Bhairab are put on display in the bazaar. Several religious dances like the Devinach, Bhairava, Lakehnach, Pulukishi and Sawa Bhakku as well as the Mahakalinach come into life during this week. The week also commences with the pulling of the chariots of Ganesh, Bhairava and Kumari (the living Goddess) in the core areas of Kathmandu.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

At a Glance:

Location It borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China in the North and India in the East, South and West.
Area 147,181 sq. kilometers (56,827 sq. miles)
Altitude Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters (230 feet to 29,029 feet) 
Capital Kathmandu 
Population Over 28 million
Language Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well.
Religion Hinduism and Buddhism
Time Nepal Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time




Nepal is a landlocked country which lies between the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China in the north and India in the south, east and west. The country is rectangular in shape stretching from east to west and has a length of approximately 550 miles (880 km) and breadth of 150 miles (240 km). Nepal covers an area of 56,827 square miles (147,181 square kilometers) and is divided lengthwise into three strips. The northernmost strip is the Himalayan Region which has 8 of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mt. Everest, the roof of the world at an altitude of 29,029 ft (8848 m). The middle strip is the Mountainous Region which consists of hills and valleys. The southernmost region, which is the narrowest of the three strips, is the Terai Region which is an extension of the Gangetic plains of northern India. This region has fertile land and is called the bread basket of the country. It also has jungles with elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers and other wild animals and brds.  

Source: Nepal Tourism Board




Nepal’s ClimateFriendly weather patterns of immense proportions…

Nepal’s climate is an off-spring of its diverse seasons. Autumn and spring is a wonderful delight; not only for visitors heading to Nepal but also for the local people. Autumn commences from early September to early December and the skies are a sparkling blue with sunny days and colder full moon nights. Spring really begins from early February to May end with occasional rainfall. The monsoon starts from early June to September with scattered showers in October. Trekking is pretty difficult and uncomfortable this time around due to the humidity and everyday showers. The trails get slushy and are often leech-infested. And the mountains are generally hidden by clouds. But Nepal always has something in the bag for visitors and this is when expeditions gear up for summer climbing and trekking in the trans-Himalayan regions of Mustang, Narphu La, Dolpo and Tibet begin. These regions lie in the rain-shadow zones of the country and wonderfully receive significantly less precipitation than the more southerly areas.


The best seasons to trek on Nepal’s Himalayas are autumn, from mid September until end November and spring, from the beginning of March until mid May. However, with Global Warming creating erratic climatic conditions, NATURE CAN BE A BEAST WHEN LEAST EXPECTED. Some brief seasonal explanations follow below:

Autumn (mid-September to end-November)

Trekking during this period is bliss. Generally, during autumn, the weather is clear with mild to warm days and chilly nights. However, on the higher altitudes, the nights can drop to freezing temperatures. At this time, the mountain views are amazingly clear.

Approach to winter and the mid winter (end-November through March)

Trekking during the winter period is feasible, from December until the end of February. Daytime temperatures are cooler; however, the nights will often be bitterly cold. The days are generally clear but frequent winter storms can bring snow as low as 2000m. Early October through late November is also a hectic period for trekking. But in mid winter (January through March), trekking can be arduous on the higher altitudes with semi-regular snowfall followed by more winter storms, which break the long finer periods of early autumn. From mid-December to mid-February it’s the coldest time.
Despite harder snowing, wind conditions remains stabilized in early winter, and climbing some trekking peaks are possible. Expeditions to Mera peak, Island peak, Chulu, and trekking in Annapurna, Everest and Langtang regions in early winter have been pretty popular over the past few years. But it’s always good to be prepared for the unpredictable.

Spring and early summer (mid-March through May)

Spring is always welcome after the biting cold, the mornings are usually clear but the afternoon cloud build-up brings occasional thunder showers. The days are a rumble tumble with humidity and rain, and the colorful show of wildflowers like rhododendrons lighten up the environment. The whole country is a verdant flush and an abundance of greenery is seen every where during this time. This period invokes the second most popular and pleasant trekking season as this is rice-cultivation time. Late-march into April is especially gorgeous. We also get to see clear skies in April. Up to May, the weather gets misty and disturbed with puffy cloudy patterns.

The monsoon (June to mid-September)

June to September is what we call the slushy monsoon season. Generally, the morning is cloudy and wispy cloudy chains randomly form on ridges and peaks. Trekking during this period is generally cumbersome and uncomfortable as the weather is hot and there are showers almost every day. The trails get muddy and are often leech-infested and the mountains are usually hidden by clouds. During April and May, the expectation of thunderstorms, hail showers and strong winds intermittently tend to occur during the fine periods. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining and there are wonderful possibilities for summer trekking in some of the most remote but beautiful trans-Himalayan regions of Mustang, Narphu La, Dolpa and Tibet. These regions fall in the rain-shadow areas of Nepal and therefore receive significantly less precipitation than the more southerly areas.
Consequently, since Nepal’s climatic conditions follow a friendlier pattern than imagined, there’s always space for a lifetime vacation in the sunshine of Nepal’s Himalayas and Incentive Holidays has numerous holiday options for a trip that only dreams are made off. Just let us know you plans and we’ll turn your dreams into realities.
For more information about Nepal’s climatic conditions, please visit: (official web site of the Department of Hydrology & Meteorology, Ministry of Environment).

Source: Nepal Tourism Board


Weather of Nepal


December – February March – May June - August September - November
Winter Autumn Summer Spring
Cool and a little damp Cloudy and cool Warm and hot Sunny days with cool nights
Average temperature: 5°C - 10°C (41ºF - 50º) Average temperature: 11°C - 18°C (52ºF - 64ºF) Average temperature: 24°C - 26°C (75ºF - 79ºF)  Average temperature: 20°C - 24°C (68ºF - 75ºF)
Travel note: Bundle up as the weather may get freezing Travel note: Great time for walks Travel note: Drink plenty of water when going out and about. Expect rainy weather as well. Travel note: Best time to visit and trek the countryside




Warm clothing are required from November to February and tropical wear from March to October.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board


Local Currency

The major currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupees (NPR). Foreign currency must be exchanged through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transactions are to be obtained and retained by visitors other than Indian nationals. They have to make their payments in convertible foreign currency at hotels, travel agencies, trekking agencies and while purchasing air tickets. In Nepal, Nepalese Rupees is subdivided into 100 Paisa. The denominations of currency notes available in circulation are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

Credit Cards


Most International Cards are widely accepted by hotels and leading travel/trekking agents.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board




Nepal was declared a secular country by the Parliament on May 18, 2006. Religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism. The majority of the Nepalese are either Hindus or Buddhists. The two have co-existed in harmony for centuries.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board




Nepali is the official language which is written in the Devanagari script. English is understood and spoken by the educated people and by people involved in the tourism industry. 123 languages are spoken in Nepal and most people speak more than one language.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board




In Kathmandu, boiled and filtered water as well as mineral water is available in most of the hotels and restaurants. Elsewhere, it is advisable to use water sterilization tablets or stick to tea and soft drinks.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board




In Nepal we use 220 volts AC, 50 cycles throughout the country. Power cuts are faced on a daily basis as per the pre-determined schedule.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board


Official Weekly Holiday

Saturday is the official weekly holiday in Nepal. Most of the shops are closed on this day, while Museums throughout the valley remain closed on Tuesday and other government holidays.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board

Working hours and Holidays

Official working hours are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Nepal has a lot of festivals and religious holidays. If you happen to be in Nepal during such an occasion, do participate in the festivities, possibly with the help of a guide. 

Source: Nepal Tourism Board



International certificate of vaccination regarding current inoculation against cholera, typhoid and yellow fever are not required.

Source: Nepal Tourism Board