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Kathmandu Thamel

Thames is the old city centre of Kathmandu. there are quite a few religious sites scattered across the centre, but nowadays Thamel is know for one thing: Shopping, trading, merchants. If your wit to buy something or anything in Kathamandu this is the place to start.


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Kathmandu Swayambhunath

Swayambhunath Temple complex, also know as the Monkey Temple, is an very ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of the city. The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples. A very lovely place, together with Boudhanath the most tibetan place . A must visits especially from 3-5 in the afternoon with very good views across the Kathmandu valley.


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Kathmandu Boudhanath

The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it is also a very Tibetan Place. Very peaceful, friendly and welcoming and one the most popular destinations in the Kathmandu valley. I love this place. The stupa itself was very heavily damaged and there where cracks within the whole structure. They had to remove even the main dome. but its nearly fully restored to its former glory.


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Kathmandu Pashupatinath

On the banks of the river bagmtiy lies the cremation complex. The Pashupatinath Temple complex takes the prime spot. This temple is considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith .The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath.This temple complex is on UNESCO World Heritage Sites's list Since 1979. But there are also other ver important temple such as the Mother Teresa Nursery home, the shiva temple etc.


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Kathmandu Durbar Square

The Kathmandu Durbar Square (in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However the Earthquake destroyed main of the Temple incl the Hanuman one as well the Roayel place. It is very sad to see, especial if you know how it was before. They ry their best to restore this are to its former glory but it will take time an money.


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Lalitpur Patan

Patan Durbar Square is situated at the centre of the city of Lalitpur at the outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided andy many other historic buildings and temples such as the Golden Temple and the Krishna Mandir temple. It was also heavily damaged by the earthquake but not as bad as the other places. Still sad to see.


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Annapurna Flyby

In Ohara I stayed two night. Sadly the Overlander Campsite is now closing (last season) and only open till December for Cycles and Motorbikes as the locals closed the main entrance road to the site. So I had to stay in a hotel againnnnn. However, the main attraction in Pokhara is the Annapurna Mountain Range with peaks over 8000m. There are many trekking routes to choose from but I went for the Flyby. It is very expensive compared to the prices for example in Germany for similar flight durations (90min), but the views are still worth it (and they probably know this).


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Nepal on my way to Pokhara

The Border Crossing was straight forward, but I was surprised that I had to use the Carnet for Nepal. According to the ADAC Overview it is not a requirement. Anyway. The road form the Boarder up to Pokhara was beautiful and compared to India such a relief. Far less traffic, it is cleaner everywhere and the ride was smother as well. And of course also some areas where of stunning beauty.


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Corbett National Park

The Corbett National Park - Home of the Indian Tiger. Founded by British hunter and wildlife expert Jim Corbett. It is the oldest National Park in India. I stayed at Jims Jungle Retreat for two nights and had two 3:45 private safaris. The Retreat i very lovely with attention to detail etc, but pricey. Sadly I didn’t see the tiger but saw his tracks, favorite areas, hunting places etc. The problem was that at this time of the year after the monsum season the jungle is so dense that you really cannot see that much. However it was still very lovely!!!


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On the road

The drive from Shimla onwards to the Nepal Board was a nightmare. Awful traffic, traffic jams everywhere, f***ing lorries, bikes, dust and what else. Not pleasant, the wort every in my life so far. Only the stopp in between at the Corbett National Park was nice.


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Shimla

Shimla - the former Summer Capital of the British Empire. This place should scream brightness in India. But really it doesn’t. Yes, the old Old buildings are still there but thats it. Nothing really about the history, the past, the Emprie, not even a single British or Irish Pub around. But the basar and the atmosphere made up for the shortcomings. They also realized that those shortcomings are important and a bonus for the tourism, but they are only building up the place slowly. It will take a few years to come.


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On the Road to Shimla

Once I left the so beautiful Ladakh aka Little Tibet the next destination was Shimla. Again I went for the Backroads, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. One of the most beautiful backroads so far. Some stretches looked like Switzerland or North Italy. Took about two days to reach Shimla.


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Something special

I visited the Ladakh SOS Children village. ITs known to have some good handcrafts on sale made by Tibetan refuges. Bought some small things and also had a walk trough the village. It is very impressive and houses the biggest Tibetan schools in Ladakh.

Then on my way to Leh from Alchi there was suddenly an armada of cyclers. This was a charity event from Leh to Srinagar and close to the Phyang Monastery there was a roadside camp celebrating the event.


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Ladakh - On the road

Some impression of the Ladakh landscape.It really feels like little Tibet. Only the mountains are not as high and there aren’t really any glaciers around. But the buildings, the monasteries, the gompas, the stupas, the colors and the so friendly people scream Tibet.

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Alchi - Historic Village

The Alchi village is about 60km west of Leh. The main attraction is the historic buddhist temple which is said the to be oldest in Ladakh. It is currently under survey and restoration of the Indian archeological department.

The temple complex is very small and has one buddha / bodhisattva four facing stature, which is very stunning and unusual. Some elements look even european. I haven’t seen anything like this even in Tibet. However, it is a pity that you are not allowed to take photos inside.

And the village itself is also very lovely. The best I’ve seen in Ladakh and worth a small walk.


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Gompas - Buddhist Temples Gompas - Buddhist Temples

Buddhist Temples - Kompass - are everywhere in Ladakh. Actually so many that you should made a shortlist or you will spend a at least 2 weeks to see them all. I’ve visited the Spituk and Phyang Gompa to the west of Leh, the Distik Gompa with the large Buddha overview the Nubra valley and the one you have to see - the Thickset Gompa (feels like you’re in Tibet). Some impressions:


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The Highest Mountain Road

North of Leh is military mountain road leading into the Nubra valley. You need a permit to cross this road, but its said to be the highest paved mountain road of the world - 5606m. Already done the second highest one whilst driving the Manali-Leh highway this one was a must.


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Leh - The Capital of Ladakh

After the impressive highway I reached Leh - the Capital of Ladakh. The old city feels like your are in Tibet - even if there islamic mosques around. And above the cityscape sits the old palace guided by a small fortress. If you take a stroll trough the city you will find small markets, tibetan handcraft shops, stupas and small temples. Everywhere is something to see. And the plenty Royal Enfield motorbikes provide a background-sound. The only issue are the none-tibetan shop owners which try in a constant bases to lure you into their shops to buy something that smells mass produced in china.

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Manali-Leh Highway

After crossing the Rohtang Pass I was finally on the Manali-Leh Highway. And what an impressive road. This is really like little Tibet! Everywhere you look - the scale is just breathtaking and on top you’ve got three passes to cross: Baralacha La - 4892m, Lachulung La 5059m & the second highest mountain road pass Tangling La - 5325m


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Start of the Manali-Leh Highway

This is where my India adventure really starts - The Manali-Leh Highway. The first part isn’t really part of the original road. It’s a military road and as such a shortcut: The Rohtang Pass at about 3978m.

This mountain massif also is important for the climatic conditions. Manali & south is a wet climate region while north, Leh & Ladakh is a dry, sometimes near desert like climatic region.


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Amritsar - The golden Temple

The Golden Temple or officially known as Harmandir Sahib. This is the main sanctuary of the Sikh movement. It is said that this is also the place were Alexander the Great was on his final treck into India. The temple surrounds a peaceful atmosphere and you could easily spend hours. On a side note the temple facilities also provide free food for more than 80’000 people per day.


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Amritsar City

Once the border crossing was done I followed the Great Trunk road to Amritsar. This is the cultural centre of the Sikh movement. Their sanctuary is the Golden Temple (see next post). The city itself is one of the smaller once (about 1.1m people) but already very vibrance. the old city developed in the 17th and 18th century. Also, it is know for a very dark hour in 1919 when the British Army killed hundreds of civilians during a friendly unrest (The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre). Stayed for 2 days.


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