26 Dec 2023

Nepal’s Natural Heritage: Hypnotic and High-Octane

The buzz of adventure in the streets of Kathmandu reflects the high energy rising exponentially as hikers, trekkers, and wildlife enthusiasts converge on the national capital. This lovely Himalayan kingdom has long been recognized for its fantastic geographic setting and bounteous natural beauty.

As winter sets in, with clear days and star-filled nights, this is the place to be if you love the great outdoors. This is where you want to be out and about exploring its mountain trails, lakeside retreats, and richly forested game parks.

It's time to put the soul back in travel as you wander through the mesmerizing wonderland of natural delights that’s Chitwan National Park. Located in the generously verdant lowlands of the Terai region Chitwan's lazy sprawl of 93,200 hectares, extends over four districts: Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Parsa, and Makwanpur. It is fed by the waters of the Narayani (Gandak) and Rapti rivers. The National Park is home to 68 species of mammals, the highest concentrations of birds in the world— 544 species and counting, 56 species of herpetofauna, and 126 species of fish.


Jeep safaris, elephant-back rides, canoeing adventures, and short hikes lay open the variegated forest vistas, rich in exotic avifauna, radiant butterflies, and unique insects.  And we haven’t even talked about the tigers, elephants, and bears. This is also the home of the indigenous Tharu community, who made this stunning region its homeland centuries ago. Be prepared for some interesting times while delving into their unique ways.

Not everyone is aware that this is a UNESCO-acclaimed Heritage Site and its Beeshazari Tal in its buffer zone is a Ramsar Wetland Site. Now you know why talk about its rich avifauna, mammalian wealth, and natural beauty. What adds heft to its importance as a global biodiverse hotspot has been the amazing conservation drive to protect endangered global species such as the One Horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, and Gharial Crocodile.

Do remember while travelling through Chitwan that the Nepal government 2019 made a landmark decision Chitwan, Nepal’s first national park, would be the country’s first plastic-free protected area. So, take home your plastic and your memories …leave behind only your footprints. The plastic ban is already in place across the Kathmandu Valley. So be mindful of your garbage disposal commitment even on your travels.

If it's Himalayan peaks that thrill you to bits, this is the time when you can probably get the best sightings of the snow-mantled mountains, glittering under cloudless blue skies. From Bhaktapur, you should make it a point to head out to the picturesque hill town of Nagarkot which on a clear day offers the most breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks, in particular the notoriously shy Mt Everest. Keep your eyes peeled for views of Gaurishankar, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Jugal, and Rolwaling. If you are here between December and February you can have lots of fun skiing, snowboarding, and even a bit of hiking on the snowy trails around town.

A winter hike to Everest Base camp might intimidate some, but if you can't resist the adventure of snow trails you could hike up to Tengboche to view snowpeaks. If it's snow you want the bustling hub of Namche, Kunde, Khumjung, and Tengboche all to experience some amount of snowfall.

Close to Pokhara snow buffs will love to explore the nearby hill towns of Poonhill which serves up stunning views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), and Himchuli. The hill station has some pretty trekking hiking trails which are great for short hikes around town.

Nearer Kathmandu. you can head for Phulchowki, 20 km away, and join other snow adventurers indulging themselves in various snow activities. Adventurous visitors sometimes prefer hiking here from Kathmandu itself. Chandragiri Hill is another popular spot to enjoy the snowfall. The cable car ride is truly rewarding for its fabulous snow panoramas.

Nepal offers a slew of exciting snow adventures when its natural beauty can be explored up close and personal. Plan to get the best of these winter pleasures which are as bounteous as its fabulous natural surroundings.

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