CONNECT Body Mind & Soul - inner journey to external excellence

Duration : 10 Days 9 Nights

Description

Mystical Journeys invites you to immerse in sensational natural beauty, revitalizing your body, stimulating your mind, and pampering your soul. A journey along the foothills of the Himalayas is an extraordinary experience. The powerful energy makes for an incomparable destination for the study and practice of Yoga. We will take care you and you can focus on cleansing, invigorating and exploring your heart, body and mind while exploring one of the most inspiring landscapes on the planet- all in superb comfort.

Itinerary

Our tour begins this afternoon in Kathmandu

After breakfast we have arranged a walking tour, visiting the bazaar and temples of old Kathmandu in the company of a local Nepali guide. Nepal's bustling capital is a captivating mix of spice sellers and potters, rickshaws and sacred cows, all crowded together amidst a city of vibrant noise and colour. Our sightseeing this morning takes in Durbar Square, with its collection of ornate palaces, courtyards and temples that span some three centuries of dynastic rule by Malla, Shah and Rana kings. We'll see the Great Bell and the fearsome image of the six-armed Kala Bhairab, the magnificent Taleju Temple and the Kasthamandap, the oldest building in the Kathmandu Valley. We will also visit the child-eating demon of Yitum Bahal and take in the sights, sound and smells of Kathmandu's fascinating bazaars, before returning to the hotel by rickshaw. After lunch we plan to visit Swayambunath, the Monkey Temple. This large temple complex at the top of a hill offers great views across the Kathmandu Valley. It gets it's name from the many monkeys that have made the site their home.

This morning is free to enjoy a little more of Kathmandu, before an afternoon drive west along the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway brings us to Kurintar, on the banks of the Trisuli River.

This morning we visit the nearby Manakamana Temple, which occupies a ridge overlooking the Trisuli and Marshyandi River valleys. Locals believe the goddess Manakamana fulfils the wishes of devotees and she is thus regarded as the wish fulfilling deity. Access to the top of the ridge is courtesy of Nepal's only cable car, imported from Austria and inaugurated in 1998. Many of the pilgrims still make the arduous trip to the summit by foot, but the express route will get you there in just 10 minutes. After lunch we have the option of enjoying some whitewater rafting on the Trisuli River where we will enjoy an exhilarating trip through exciting rapids, scenic valleys and impressive gorges (Maximum grade 3 rapids) . This is a fantastic way to take in the rich diversity of natural and cultural highlights along the valley. No previous experience is required and all training and safety equipment will be provided.

Driving to Kande this morning, a short drive of around an hour, we then begin our trek up to Australian Camp, a two hour climb that takes us through a landscape of terraced fields and forests and affords some stunning views out across the Central Himalayas. Before us lie the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna ranges, including Manaslu and Machhapuchare - the famous Fishtail Mountain.

Walking time: approx 2 hours/280m ascent

Today's trek involves a relatively easy hike along the ridge-line from Dhampus to the Gurung village of Landruk, crossing a landscape of open meadows and small villages. Climbing through a pass at 2150m, the views of the Annapurna are absolutely breathtaking and from here we then begin the descent down into a lush forest alive with birds, orchids and ferns. Following a small canyon leading off from the Modi Khola, we then take a meandering trail through tiny hamlets to our final destination for the day. Landruk lies along the trekking route to Annapurna Base Camp and is famed for its honey hunting festival, where intrepid harvesters climb bamboo ladders and dangle precariously from ropes to gather the honeycomb from the sheer cliff faces. Surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery of the entire journey, the village lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area and provides us with one of the visual highlights of the trek.

Walking time: approx 5 hours/240m ascent and 675m descent.

Following a steep trail out of the village, through a patchwork of terraced fields that take us towards the Modi River, we then cross over a suspension bridge and continue up towards Ghandruk. The second largest Gurung village in the region, Ghandruk is a wonderfully confusing cluster of closely spaced, slate-roofed houses nestling between terraced fields of wheat and barley. A network of narrow alleyways, the village is a delight to explore and certainly one of the most beautiful in the Himalaya and at the top of the village a large handicraft factory provides an interesting venue to search for some traditional souvenirs.

Walking time: approx 3.5 hours/620m ascent and 245m descent.

Leaving Ghandruk behind this morning we descend through villages and terraces to the Syauli Bazaar, a two hour trek that offers a dazzling backdrop of Annapurna South and Machhapuchhare. From here we then continue to follow the Modi River towards Nayapul, where we rejoin our vehicle for the hour and a half drive on to Pokhara, on the banks of Phewa Tal Lake. Nepal's second largest town, Pokhara is more relaxed than Kathmandu and its beautiful lakeside setting, beneath the imposing shadow of the stunning Annapurna Range, makes it the perfect ending for our trek, with only the foothills separating the town from the high mountain landscapes of the snow-capped Annapurna.

Walking time: approx 4.5 hours/20m ascent and 890m descent.

Today has been left free for you to continue exploring this delightful setting as you wish. Once part of the bustling trade routes between India and Tibet, Pokhara has always been a centre of trade and even today mule trains can be seen around the outskirts of the village, bringing in goods to the local Guring and Magar farmers. You could spend part of this afternoon doing some trading of your own, enjoying a walk amongst the markets in search of souvenirs. Other options inclusing hiring bicycles for rides into the
surrounding countryside or taking a boat out onto the lake.

We drive to Chitwan, where our lodge is situated outside the park, near the village of Jagatpur, just over the Rapti river from the Natinal Park. Over the next two days our time here will be spent in a range of diverse activities, including jungle walks, bird spotting excursions, canoe trips along the Rapti River (seasonal) and elephant safaris.

Lying at the foot of the Himalayas, amidst subtropical lowlands, Chitwan is home to a staggering array of flora and fauna, with some 450 different species of birds being recorded here, as well as tiger, rhino and Gangetic dolphins. During our stay we will enjoy exploring the jungles and river banks with local guides, both on foot and (river conditions allowing) in dug out canoes. We'll also take elephant back safaris in search of the rare one-horned rhino, possibly even getting an opportunity to join the elephants for their daily bath (early autumn and late spring trips only). Royal Chitwan National Park is Nepal's oldest reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the exclusive hunting reserve for the Rana ministers. It was turned into a rhino sanctuary in 1963 and its rich alluvial flood plains and Sal forests are home to a rich array of wildlife, including striped hyena, python, monitor lizards, sloth bear, leopard and mugger crocodiles. We aim to cram as much into our time as possible whilst we are here, but it won't all be hard work. There will be plenty of opportunity to relax around the lodge and in the evenings we will enjoy informative slideshows about the park and its wildlife.

After a final jungle activity this morning we make the journey back to the capital. The drive back to Kathmandu should take around 5-6 hours. On arrival back in the city we will check into our hotel for our final evening in Nepal.

Our tour ends this morning after breakfast.