A Himalayan Adventure: Nepal’s Rocks and Temples
27 September – 12 October 2021 Alumni

Nepal

A Himalayan Adventure: Nepal’s Rocks and Temples
27 September – 12 October 2021 Alumni

It’s not just the landscape of Nepal which has been shaped by tectonic plate movements; every aspect of life, from the architecture to the food, is influenced by the mountainous environment. It’s for this reason that Indus Experiences’ Himalayan Rocks and Temples will be led by not one but two specialist lecturers: Mike Searle, Professor of Earth Sciences and Fellow of Worcester College and David Gellner, Professor of Social Anthropology and Fellow of All Souls College.

All participants in this tour must be fit enough to trek over occasionally challenging terrain for up to five or six hours per day.

We plan to follow this detailed itinerary, but events beyond our control – unpredictable weather, unruly rivers, blocked roads, cancelled flights, mechanical breakdown – may require changes and work-arounds at the last moment.

Accommodation varies between excellent hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara to trekking lodges in the Kali Gandaki. Trekking lodges typically are simple rooms with very basic interiors, single beds with basic furniture (if any) and generally outside toilets. Some toilets will be local drop types rather than western sit down types.

Degree of trekking difficulty will be average - not excessive and generally along flat along river valleys or gently inclined ridges. One characteristic of the Kali Gandaki are daily strong winds that rush down the valley. Headscarfs are advised.

Altitude varies between 2900 meters at Kagbeni up to 3760 m at Lo Mantang.

Professor Mike Searle

Professor Mike Searle was brought up in Oman since age 15 when his father worked for the oil company PDO (Shell). He did fieldwork for his PhD (1980) in Oman and has spent the last 30 years working almost every year on his own research projects with students and colleagues both in Oman and along the Himalaya in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Tibet. He has been at Oxford University since 1990 and is now Professor of Earth Science and a Senior Research fellow in Worcester college. He has published more than 220 papers, co-edited 5 books, written 2 books including 'Colliding Continents' (Oxford University Press) and appeared in 5 geological programmes for the BBC, Channel 5, History channel and others on the making of Everest and other Himalayan topics. He has also carried out fieldwork along the Himalaya, Karakoram, Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, Jordan, Syria and the Aegean islands, Greece.

Professor David Gellner

David Gellner has been researching religion, culture, ethnicity, and politics in Nepal since 1980. He has written or edited sixteen books and numerous articles on Nepal and/or South Asia. In 2016 he was invited to give the prestigious Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture, which he titled 'The Idea of Nepal' (http://soscbaha.org/downloads/mcrl2016.pdf). He still remembers a little of the Sanskrit he studied as a graduate student, and he speaks both Nepali (the national language) and Newari (the Tibeto-Burman language of the Newars, the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley).

16 days from £3,580.00 per person
London - Kathmandu - Bandipur - Pokhara - Jomsom - Gyemi - Tsarang - Lo Manthang - Pokhara - Kathmandu - London

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Itinerary View Map

Day 1: To Kathmandu

Monday 27 September

Fly from Heathrow to Kathmandu on Qatar or Emirates Airlines. D

Day 2: Walking tour of Pattan

Tuesday 28 September

Morning arrival in Kathmandu. Transfer to Green Tara Heritage hotel in Patan. Afternoon walking tour of Patan, the City of Arts and Architecture, renowned for its fine works in bronze, copper, silver and gold work. Visit to include the Durbar Square, Patan Palace Museum, and Hiranya Varna Mahavihar (the famous ‘Golden Temple’). B, D

Day 3: Drive to Bandipur, short walk in the hills around Bandipur

Wednesday 29 September

Morning visit to Swayambhu, famous Buddhist shrine and pilgrimage site of the Kathmandu Valley; then drive out of the Kathmandu Valley and on to Bandipur, a bazaar that preserves the old-style architecture of a Newar trading community. This hilltop town overlooks the Marsyangdi river valley with stunning views towards the Himalayas. Overnight stay at Gaun Ghar Hotel. B, L, D

Accommodation: Gaun Ghar Hotel

Day 4: Drive to Pokhara: either rest or visit cultural sites in Pokhara

Thursday 30 September

On a clear day see the magnificent Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges with Machapuchare (the ‘fish-tail), the Matterhorn of the Himalayas, right above. You may wish to go for a little hike in the afternoon or drive to the Peace Pagoda on the far side of Pokhara’s famous lake. You can buy any last minute items in the many trekking shops along Lakeside. Time permitting, we will visit Devi’s Fall, also called Hell’s Fall, where the Fewa lake drains wildly through its deep gorge, Ramghat Gumba, and other religious sites. Explore the old bazaar and visit the important shrine of Bindhyabasini, dedicated to the Goddess Bhagwati. Stay at Temple Tree Hotel. B, D

Accommodation: Temple Tree Resort & Spa – Pokhara

Day 5: Fly to Jomsom (early morning), Drive to Muktinath & Kagbeni

Friday 1 October

The flight from Pokhara to Jomsom skirts around the Machapuchare–Annapurna range and follows the course of the Kali Gandaki River. There will be spectacular views of the west face of Dhaulagiri, and the Nilgiri peaks with their large folds. In the afternoon we will drive to Muktinath with its ancient temple past the amazing fortress-like village of Jharkot. Overnight stay in Muktinath. B, L, D

Day 6: Trek from Kagbeni to Cheley

Saturday 2 October

We will trek for a full day, off the road, to Cheley, sending the jeeps ahead. There will be spectacular views up and down the valley. Once in Cheley, we are in the fully Tibetan cultural part of Nepal. Stay in Mustang Hotel. B, L, D

Accommodation: Mustang Hotel

Day 7: Trek from Cheley to Ghyakar drive to Charang

Sunday 3 October

We now head north up the Kali Gandaki valley towards Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang. The trail follows the broad valley floor with numerous branches of the river. Saligrams – small nodules of mudstone enclosing ammonite fossils – are common in this region and are sacred to Hindus as symbols of Lord Vishnu. They have been eroded from the Jurassic and Cretaceous limestones that formed in the Tethys Ocean, a vast ocean that previously lay between the Indian plate to the south and the Asian plate in Tibet to the north. As the Himalaya mountains rose from about 35 million years ago to the present day, the mountains dammed the rivers flowing south off the Tibetan plateau. The Kali Gandaki was a huge lake over 600 meters deep in the south stretching north for more than 40 km. At some stage during the Pliocene – Pleistocene, earthquakes caused the river to breach and enormous floods were released to the south all the way to the Tarai and plains of India. The cliffs of very fine, barely consolidated, pale orange dust are the relic lacustrine sediments left once the lake burst and the water drained. Erosion has caused amazing geomorphological features including pillars of rock capped by stones. On our drive up the valley, we will stop at Gilinga and Ghami. The views and landscapes of Mustang get better and better with amazing cliffs bounding the deep Kali Gandaki and views of the High Himalaya to the south. Overnight stay in Charang at Hotel Dolma. B, L, D

Day 8: Drive to Lo Manthang

Monday 4 October

After a short walk around Charang/Tsarang, we will complete the route to Lo Manthang by jeep in the morning and spend the afternoon visiting monasteries, palace, and museum in Lo Manthang. Overnight stay at Himalayan Hotel B, L, D

Day 9: To the Tibetan border

Tuesday 5 October

We will drive to the Kora-la pass (4660m). On the way back we will visit the caves and monasteries of Choser. Overnight in Lo Manthang B, L, D

Day 10: Walk to Kyimaling and to Lo Manthang

Wednesday 6 October

We will visit some more villages of Mustang and return to Lo Manthang for the night. B, L, D

Day 11: Walk to Ghar Gumba and then on by jeep to Ghami

Thursday 7 October

We will walk 11 kms to Ghar Gumba, then pick up the jeeps to continue to Ghami. Overnight stay at Lower Mustang Hotel B, L, D

Day 12: To Kagbeni

Friday 8 October

After a short walk around Ghami, we will take the jeeps south to Kagbeni pausing briefly at several locations for photography stops. The views south to the Annapurna and Nilgiri ranges east of the Kali Gandaki and Dhaulagiri ranges, west of the Kali Gandaki are spectacular. Stay at Red House Hotel B, L, D

Day 13: To Jomsom

Saturday 9 October

We will drive the short distance to Jomsom and then either take a short trek to Lubra and visit its Bonpo Gumba or hike to and around Lake Dgumba. Overnight in Om Hotel. B, L, D

Day 14: Fly Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu

Sunday 10 October

Two short flights will return us to Pokhara and then to Kathmandu. We will transfer directly to Bhaktapur and experience a homestay with a local family, that of our guide Shamsher Pradhan. B, D

Day 15: Kathmandu to Bhaktapur

Monday 11 October

In the morning we will walk to one of the most ancient sites of the Kathmandu Valley, Changu Narayan, which has stunning Lichhavi period sculptures and a museum. The rest of the day will be spent in Bhaktapur, ‘city of devotees’, known as Khwopa in Newari, the local language. It is the best preserved of the three ancient royal cities of the Kathmandu Valley, but also the worst-hit by the 2015 earthquake. We will see the architectural gems of Bhaktapur and observe the damage caused by the earthquake. Stay at Shamsher’s House B, D

Day 16: Departure for London

Tuesday 12 October

Fly from Kathmandu to London Heathrow on Qatar or Emirates Airlines.

Looking to extend your holiday ? Contact our consultants today for your options.

Itinerary map

Dates & Prices

Dates Price per person (Double/Twin share) Single room supplement
27 Sep - 12 Oct 2021 £3,580.00 £458.00
Cost includes:
  • We will contribute £25.00 per person booked on the tour to Kashigoan Village School in Nepal. This school is supported by Professor Mike Searle.
  • International flights on scheduled Qatar or Emirate Airlines in economy class inclusive all taxes.
  • Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhra. All meals for the rest of the tour.
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements by private coach/vehicles as per itinerary.
  • Permits to enter Mustang.
  • Entry fee to Monuments and places of interest.
  • Services of a local English speaking guide.
  • Services of Prof. Mike Searle and Prof. David Gellner as trip scholars.
  • Tips & gratuities.
  • 100% protection of your payment by our ATOL & ABTA licences.
Cost does not include:
  • Visa fee: Tourist visa will be available on arrival at Kathmandu airport. Visa fee for a 15 days tourist visa is USD30. Please keep this money and two passport size photographs handy for the immigration officer at Kathmandu airport on arrival.
  • Travel Insurance: Foreign office advises all overseas travellers to have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place before departure.
  • Camera /video entrance fees if applicable.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature.

What our clients say

I just wanted to thank you and your colleagues for arranging our holiday. All the transfers were accomplished quickly and easily. Everything went according to plan and all the reps and guides were brilliant and made our holiday stress free and relaxing. Khajuraho was an amazing experience and again our rep was waiting for us at the airport. The airport looks brand new and is…

A Davis - India Holiday