Vegan Weekend in Kathmandu Valley
By Suresh Prasad Sharma
(General Secretary, Nepal Vegetarian Association)
Temple Worshipping - Heritage Sites - Hiking - Food - Mountain Flight - Traditional Crafts - Yoga & Meditation – Shopping - Vegetarian Campaigns - Village Tours
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is the most Important Tourist Destination in Nepal and gateway to the tourism in Nepal which is a diverse country and home to multiple religions, race, tribes, and cultures. The city has a rich history, spanning nearly 2000 years, as inferred from inscriptions found in the valley. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Most of Kathmandu's people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. The country with over 100 ethnic groups is literally a melting pot of many (more then 90) languages and ethnicity. And Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and it is said that Kathmandu city was named after "Kastha-Mandap" meaning the temple made of wood in Sanskrit, an imposing pagoda near Hanuman Dhoka Palace. It was built in 1596 out of a single tree by King Laxmi Narashingha Malla.
Kathmandu is situated in a bowl shaped valley in central Nepal. The Kingdom extends about 885 km. east to west and 193 km. in width north to south. The entire terrain is like a steep incline, descending from the icy Himalayan heights to the hot Terai flatland within a short distance.
People in Nepal have always smiling face. Press your hands together and say Namaste to watch the people of Nepal return your gesture with some of the largest most welcoming smiles in the world. It may seem cliché but Nepal's people are some of the most friendly you will ever encounter. Namaste the common form of greeting each other in Nepal, means in Sanskrit "the divine in me bows to the divine in you".
It's fascinating to learn how all these different groups of people adapted to their environment in their own ways. Visiting Nepali villages is like visiting an open air history museum. In the big cities of Nepal modern life is mixed with ancient traditions mostly visible during festivals, but who walks through the small alleys of Kathmandu or Patan where buyers and sellers of handicrafts, spices and clothes give life to a unique city experience you will only find in Nepal it’s also feels like you are thrown back in history.
Did you know that when you meet people in Nepal they will probably ask; "Have you had your tea?" or "Have you had your lunch?" instead of asking "How are you?” However, the primary intention is to know about your health. So, if you honestly answer that you haven't, and then there is a high probability that you'll get invited to their place in the very next conversation.
Attractions around Kathmandu Valley
Among urban areas in Nepal, Kathmandu being the premier cultural and economic hub of Nepal is considered to have the most advanced infrastructure. The sister cities of Patan, and Bhaktapur are integral to Kathmandu, from the point of view of tourism, economy and cultural heritage. Even the cultural heritage recognition under the World Heritage list of the UNESCO has recognized all the monuments in the three urban agglomerates as one unit under the title “Kathmandu Valley-UNESCO World Heritage Site”. We can make a Heritage Circuit Walk in Bhaktapur including Dattatreya temple, Tamodi Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square. While walking we can experience the crafts like wood carving, pottery making etc.
Pashupatinath is a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km northwest of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). It attracts thousands of pilgrims each year and has become well known far beyond the Kathmandu Valley. The temple is barred to non-Hindus, but a good view of the temple can be had from the opposite bank of the river.
Boudhanath, the Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.
Swayambhunath, The golden spire of the 5th-century Swayambhu stupa is adorned with a colorful fluttering of prayer flags; it crowns a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and offers fantastic views over the city of Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is one of the most recognizable symbols in Nepal and the painted eyes of Buddha watch all those who ascend the worn stone steps. It is a World Heritage Site and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal.
Patan Durbar Square, The ancient city is situated on the southern bank of the river Bagmati and is about five kms southeast of Kathmandu. Patan Durbar Square is a concentrated mass of temples, the most stunning display of Newari architecture to be seen in Nepal. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former Royal Palace complex is the center of Patan's religious and social life, and houses a museum contain a array of bronze statues and religious objects.
Kathmandu Durbar Square, Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durbar Square is the religious and social heart of Kathmandu's old city and is a complex of palaces, temples, shrines, statues and courtyards built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient kings of Nepal. O/N at hotel.
Changu Narayan, the temple is a double-roofed temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan. The temple is decorated with ten incarnations of the Narayan. Stone lions guard all the four doors of the temple. Garuda, half-man and half-bird is the vehicle of the Vishnu. A life size stone statue of Garuda kneels in front of the west face of the temple. There is an inscription stone behind the statue. The inscription provides important information on the Licahhavi dynasty and on the history of Kathmandu valley. In front of the temple’s main entrance, in a ornate cage, there are smaller statues of King Bhupatindra Malla and his queen.
Mountain Flight is a much easier way to see the Nepali Himalayan peaks. Most flights are in mornings and operate at all times. Air planes fly along the Himalayan range and also beyond for passengers to get a good view of the Himalayan range. All the domestic airlines of Nepal offer various forms of mountain flights. The aircraft takes off and heads eastward and almost immediately approx the 14 including Mt. Everest can be view in one hour flight.
Hiking Around Kathmandu Valley. Adventure Mission Nepal offers hiking and walking around Kathmandu valley for visitors who have not long time stay in Nepal and wants to walking or hiking around Kathmandu Valley enjoying the Local villages and natural green hills. Kathmandu is the valley surrounded by green hills and traditional rural villages. You will get chance to explore around Kathmandu with your short time limits.
You will be seeing the stunning mountains views without climbing big hills and without talking long adventures. This few day hiking around Kathmandu the place like Nagarkot, Chisapani, Kakani, Champadevi, Phulchoki, Chnadragiri, Nagarjuna ect offer you an chance to view a panoramic mountain instead of trekking for long time duration.
Yoga / Meditation. Many travelers come to Nepal for meditation, yoga, astrology, retreats and to merge with the mighty Himalayas. Vipassana (Meditation) is one of the most ancient techniques. Long lost to people, it was rediscovered by Gautam Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Vipassana means 'to see things as they really are'. It is an art of living which frees the individual from all the negativities of mind, such as anger, greed and ignorance. It is a practice which develops positive, creative energy for the betterment of the individual and society. The path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with any religion. It can be practiced freely by anyone without conflict with race, caste or religion, in any place, and at any time and it will prove beneficial to everyone.
Kathmandu has many places where you can uncover further truths through meditation. Kopan Monastery, Nepal Vipassana Center-Dharmashringa, Osho Tapoban, Himalayan International Yoga Academy and Research Centre (HIYA-RC) etc are major meditation / yoga centres.
Vegetarian Activities / Campaigns. There are regularly organized campaigns / programmes in favour of poor animals and to save the naturality in the Kathmandu valley. Along with other organizations Nepal Vegetarian Association (NVA) promote the adoption of a plant-based diet and lifestyle for a healthy, ethical and sustainable living. Being the citizens of Lord Gautama Buddha, the Messenger of Peace they offer to the community to meet, learn, exchange ideas and information, and interact with others interested in plant-based & cruelty-free living for a better world. They are also an active campaigner of animal rights protection, ethical treatment towards animals & strongly protest cruelty in any forms towards animals. They host number of events throughout the year, such as vegan products & charity hiking, picnics, cultural heritage cleaning programs, cooking class, conferences, parties, dining out, lectures, and outreach events. Anyone can join the campaigns and activities from the every corner of the globe.
Stay and Local Transportation; Majority of the out comers in Kathmandu use hotels and guest houses scattered around the valley along with the beautiful Hill Stations like Nagarkot and Dhulikhel. But the increasing number of home stays are offering the tourists a comfortable and enjoyable around Kathmandu Valley. People get the most friendly welcome, excellent service, clean comfortable rooms and bathrooms and as much food as I can eat during breakfast and dinner, add to this free Wi-Fi, free laundry, and mineral water in moderate costs.
Except the comfortable private tourist vehicles people can be benefited by other public transports from each corner to another corner in the Valley. Sajha Yatayat, Nepal Yatyat, Ring Road Bus etc. and other routes are always open till 9 pm in Kathmandu. Taxi service may be also a good option for local transportation.
Nepal has its own food culture and “meal with Daal Bhat Tarkari and Achar” is a set Nepali food menu. Except this different casts have different food menu like Newari meals in Kathmandu Valley.
A menu in a typical restaurant will include a wide array of ethnic delicacies. Any combination of the following cuisine may be represented: Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American, English, French, German and Nepalese. Vegetarianism is clearly understood in Nepal, eating meat versus not eating meat.
(1) LOCAL LINGO - GENERAL
Hello/Goodbye or See You
Namaste / Pheri Vetaula
If you want to more polite way than you can say Namaskar for Hello.
Thank You (very much)
Dherai Dherai Dhanyabad
You’re Welcome/It’s Nothing:
How are you?
Tapai / Hajur / Timi lai Kasto cha
(Hajur is more polite, Tapai is polite and timi for juniors and friends)
I’m fine. And you?
Ma thik chu. Hajur / Tapai lai?
Nice to meet you.
Hajur / Tapai lai Bhetda khushi lagyo
Shubha hos / Ramro hos
Ho / Hoina
Ma / Mero
Tapai/ Hajur/ Timi
Delicious / Very Tasty
Dherai Swadista / Dherai Mitho
Good / Very Good
Ramro / Dherai ramro
How much does it cost?
Yesko mulya ( Paisa ) Kati ho?
I don’t understand.
Maile bujhna sakina ni
Do you speak English?
Hajur / Tapai English ( Angreji ) bolnuhuncha ?
Where is the bathroom?
Souchalaya kaha chha?
(2) LOCAL LINGO – VEG
I eat vegetarian (vegan/strictly).
Ma dugdha janya padartha (Dudh, Dahi, Ghiu Maccha Anda) binako bishuddha sakahari khana matra khanchu
I eat vegan food (no lacto ovo meals)
Ma dudh janya ra anda navayako khana matra khanchhu
I eat vegetarian meals
Ma shakahari khana khanchu
Please don’t use
Kripaya prayog nagarnuhos
Machako sauce .
Anda (Kukhurako Phul)
Nauni / Makhkhan
Broth from beef, pork, chicken, egg or fish.
Gai, sungur, kukhura, anda ani machha misayako
(3) GENERAL TIPS
Where does this road connects?
Yo bato kaha pugchha?
How can I get public transport?
Maile kasari sarbajanik bus pauna sakchhu?
Roads left, right, ahead, back, turning
Bato bayan, dayan, aghadi, pachhadi, ghumauro
What is the fare from this station to another?
Yo bus stand bata arko samma pugna kati bhada lagchha?
What is the entry fee of this monument?
Yo ghumne thaun ko prabesh shulka kati lagchha?
(4) VEGAN TIPS
Please give me pure vegetarian MoMo
Kripaya malai mashu, anda, machha, paneer namisayako MoMo dinus
Please give me pure vegetarian soup
Kripaya malai mashu, anda, machha, paneer namisayako Soup dinus
Please give me pure vegetarian salad
Kripaya malai mashu, anda, machha, paneer namisayako Salad dinus
Please give me vegan Nepali meal
Kripaya malai dudh janya kura (ghyu, dudh, paneer, cheese, dahi etc.) namisayako Nepali Khana dinus
Please give me tea without milk
Kripaya malai dudh namisayako chiya dinus
(5) BEST TIME TO GO:
All the 12 months are good to travel in Kathmandu
(6) BEST VEGAN EATERIES FOR “LOCAL KATHMANDU VEGAN CUISINE”
BLISS Raw Cafe and Garden
Boudha Stupa , Kathmandu, Nepal
Now Open: Mon-Fri 11:30am-8:00pm, Sat-Sun 11:00am-8:00pm
Cuisine: Vegan, Organic, Raw, Western, Salad bar, Juice bar, Asian, Fusion
Bouddha 6 (at opposite Sherpa Sewa Kendra), Kathmandu, Nepal
Now Open: Mon-Sun 9:00am-7:00pm
Cuisine: Vegan, Indian, Delivery, Take-out, Nepalese
Boddhi Garden Vegetarian Restaurant
Vegetarian / Vegan
Maharajgunj, Chakrapath, Kathmandu, Nepal
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Chinese
Aniyor Vegetarian Restaurant
Vegan / Vegetarian
2nd floor, Om Tara Guest House, Kathmandu, Nepal
Now Open: Mon-Sun 12:30pm-9:30pm
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian, International, Buffet, Take-out, Catering, Nepalese, Indo-Chinese
Vegetarian / vegan friendly Middle East food
Address: Mandalastreet, Kathmandu
Open today • 9AM–11P
Sarangi Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant
+977 984 124 9004 / [email protected]
Shiva Complex, Thamel
Monday – Sunday: 8.30AM – 10PM
Thamel (at Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Centre), Kathmandu, Nepal
Mon-Sun 8:00am-9:00am, Mon 6:00pm-7:00pm, Wed 6:00pm-7:00pm, Fri 6:00pm-7:00pm, Sat 2:00pm-5:00pm
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Indian, International
108 Uddan Marg, Phulabari Chowk, Boudha (at /Inside Hotel Siddhi Manakamana), Kathmandu, Nepal977-1-4917700, 977-1-4917711
Now Open: Mon-Sun 7:00am-8:30pm
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Chinese, International, Italian, Western, Buffet, Tibetan
310 Battisputali Rd (at Mirage Lords Inn Hotel), Kathmandu, Nepal
Now Open: Mon-Sun 12:00pm-12:00am
Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian, International, Juice bar, Indo-Chinese
Note: There are more restaurants in Kathmandu for vegetarian and vegan food and you can get information from Happy Cow, Trip Advisor etc.