There may be no more picturesque place on earth than nepal, for its natural beauty and ancient culture, barely touched by the modern world. Picture the "city" of kathmandu, pokhara, with one traffic light and no need for that. Picture decorated wooden homes with windowed balconies and a crossed phallus and sword hung at each roof corner. Picture "spirit catchers" discarded by the path, having been abandoned, along with the malevolent beings they ensnared, to the wilds. Picture happy and smiling people, deeply religious and deeply hospitable, and far "richer" than you or I. Religion is a part of life and self for the mostly nepalese, It instructs the great arts and crafts of nepal: painting, woodwork, sculputre, embroidery and leather work, weaving and paper. All this is part of the rich fabric of nelpese culture. There are many nature reserves and parks in nepal, and several unique species. and the trout are enormous! The great dzongs of nepalese are fortified monasteries and administrative centers. The country's civil service is largely made up of buddhis and hindus ; The Dzongs are large, impressive forts - each unique in decoration, form and function. Parts of dzongs will be off-limits, understandably as they are functioning offices and worship centers as well as spectacular attractions.
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