Nepal Special Muslim Tour includes both the cultural flavor and the natural blessings that Nepal has. This trip is specially designed for people of the Islamic religion and for those looking to get to know the Nepalese culture and tradition along with the desire to enjoy nature in a short period. Our 3-night 4 days journey starts with a visit to two very important mosques (Jame Masjid and Kashmiri Mosque) located in Kathmandu. In the places, Bhaktapur Durbar Square can experience the historical monuments with old traditions and different stories to tell of their own. Nagarkot, 35 Km from Kathmandu offers enchanting Mountain views and Nepalese village life.
Kathmandu is a city of religious tolerance, a cultural melting pot where all the religions and religious sites are respected equally. Here, all of the religions live in a shared community enjoying each other’s festivals, and cuisine and valuing each other’s religious norms.
4.4% of the total population in Nepal follows Islam, making Islam the third largest religion in Nepal. The Islam followers in Nepal are known as Nepalese Muslims or Nepali Musalman. The Nepali Muslim culture and lifestyle differ from any other Islamic and Non-Islamic communities in the world. It is well-known for its uniqueness and Himalayan Trekkers, a pioneer tour operator for Muslim-friendly tours, created this package in order to introduce the unique culture, traditions, and lifestyle of Nepalese Muslims to the world because of their beautiful combination of diversity deserves recognition and admiration.
A Brief History of Islam in Nepal
Islam community has been inhabitants of Nepal for the last 600 years. According to historians, the first Muslim Settlement took place during the reign of King Ratna Malla in the 15th century. The first Muslims to arrive here were Kashmiri Traders, followed by Afghans, Persians, Arabian, and Indian Muslims.
The Kashmiri Muslims were invited to Nepal in an endeavor of earning profit from wooden crafts, carpets, shawls, and rugs, whereas the Indian and Afghan Muslims were employed to train Nepali soldiers to use weapons and ammunition. It is said that King Prithvi Narayan Shah admired the expertise of Afghans and Indians in manufacturing guns, cartilages, and canons. Indian Muslims also were musicians and specialists in perfumes and ornaments for the Royal family. But the historians claim that they were in the palace to protect the King against rebellions.
Similarly, Persian and Arabic Muslims were appointed as employees to maintain International Relationships and Diplomacy because of their knowledge and fluency in Arabic and Persian languages.
During the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, a large number of Indian Muslims migrated to the Terai region of Nepal. They settled in the Terai region by working as agricultural labor or selling leather goods.
1. KASHMIRI MOSQUE
Kashmiri Mosque also known as Pancha Kashmiri Takiya Masjid is the oldest mosque in Nepal. It was built in the 15th century by the Kashmiri traders who were invited to Nepal during the reign of King Ratna Malla. But the mosque was built during the reign of King Pratap Malla. The Kashmiri Mosque is located in Ghantaghar, Kathmandu. The mosque consists of three complexes: a prayer hall, an annex, and a madrasah.
This mosque is built in Islamic Mughal style and consists of beautiful architecture. The tombs of Khwaja Gyasuddin Shah and Haji Mishkin Shah are kept inside the mosque premises.
2. JAME MOSQUE
During the time of the unification of Nepal led by Prithvi Narayan Shah, Kashmiri traders assisted him by spying on the Malla rulers as they had a close connection with them. After the victory of Prithvi Narayan Shah, he gave permission to the Kashmiri Traders to build a mosque. The mosque they built was the Jame Mosque located in Ghantaghar. The Muslims gather together every Friday afternoon to pray in the name of Allah. The word “Jame Masjid” gives the meaning of “congregational mosque”.
Also known as Nepali Jame Masjid, it is the biggest mosque in Kathmandu. It is built in the Islamic Mughal style and has impressive architecture. There also is a pond with a fountain for ablution.
3. INDRA CHOWK
Indra Chowk is an ancient trade market, previously a small market square lying between the India-Tibet trade route. This vibrant ancient street is a must-visit place if you are in Kathmandu. On the heart of Indra Chowk lies a Lassi Shop which has been there for ages. And this is the best Lassi you will ever have.
On the eastern side of the square lies the Raqi Bazar, it gets the name Raqi Bazar from the Iraqi Merchants that used to perform the trade in Indra Chowk. It is a zigzag alley lined with several small shops owned by Nepali Muslim communities. They are still following the tradition passed by their ancestors in the form of work or livelihood. They sell handmade ornaments and wooden handicrafts in this alley. But as you enter the lane, you will see lined with colorful shops that sell Potey. Potey is a glass/plastic beads that are beaded into beautiful necklaces.
Potey is known as ‘Sauvagya Chinna’ in Hindu tradition meaning the symbol of prosperity of married life. Hence, this shows the religious tolerance between Hindu and Muslim communities in Nepal. Likewise, the ancient architecture is still preserved in Indra Chowk, and walking through this street, you will feel like you are walking in the streets of Medieval Kathmandu.
4.BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE
Bhaktapur Durbar Square houses a variety of pagodas and Shikhar-style temples clustered around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The durbar square is part of an enchanting valley, as it highlights the idols of ancient kings perched on top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities watching from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in the same place: props, lintels, tympanums, doors, and windows. They all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony.
This royal palace was built by King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A.D. And King Bhupatindra Malla during his reign turned this area into an eternal piece of architectural heaven. Hence, it was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 A.D. Similarly, there were 99 courtyards among which only 13 are remaining and there still are 33 temples preserved within the premises of Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
The must-visit places inside the square are Bhandarkhal Chowk, The National Art Museum, 55 Window Palace, The Golden Gate, Lunhiti Chowk, The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, Nyatapola, Lapandegal, and Durbar Square Hiti. In the streets, you will see the locals engaged in pottery, painting, and wooden crafting.
Nagarkot is a popular and exciting tourist spot in Nepal which is situated 35 kilometers east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2175 meters. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Mt. Everest can be seen from here along with a dramatic sunrise and sunset view. This famous viewpoint also offers a breathtaking view of the Kathmandu Valley with the majestic backdrop of the Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, Mahalangur range, Numbur range, Langtang range, Jugal range, and Rolwaling range.
For hiking enthusiasts, there also is an option to engage in hiking in the serene trails through the beautiful pine forests, sparkling waterfalls, vibrant terraced fields, green meadows, and pictures villages enjoying the landscape and Himalayan vistas.
6. THAHITI CHOWK
Thahiti Chowk is an ancient walled city located at the heart of Kathmandu. It is one of the oldest Muslim settlement areas. This area is the true definition of religious tolerance in Nepal. In the center of the city, there is a stupa that dates back to the 15th century. This stupa was made by a Tibetan trader. He built the stupa with the motive of hiding the Hiti (stone spout). This stone spout was not an ordinary spout, it dispensed gold coins to the righteous. Fearing that others would steal the spout, the trader built a stupa to hide it. The stupa is preserved inside a fence and also has a garden inside of it. On the southern side of the fence is a small gate to enter the shrine and on the northwest corner is a monument of Lord Ganesh mounted to the fence.
Likewise, opposite the stupa lies Nateshwar Temple which was built in the 18th century. This shrine is revered by Nate, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It has two roofs and a long Toran. It also consists of an engraved door and windows, two stone lions, two Taleju bells beside the door, and depictions of dancing skeletons above the gate.
It is believed that the Muslim community has been residing here as early as the 15th century when King Ratna Malla invited them to Nepal. In the streets of the square, we can see small shops that sell handmade souvenirs, jewelry, antique decors, and others, and these shops are owned by local Muslims. We can also interact with them and know more about their lifestyle and history straightly from the locals.
Best Seasons for Special Muslim Tour in Kathmandu
Muslim tours in Nepal can be done throughout the year. However, we have given brief information and highlights of traveling to Nepal during all four seasons:-
Autumn in Nepal falls from October to December. It is the peak season for Nepal travel. During this time of the year, the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and you can enjoy the vista of endless blue sky and mesmerizing landscape everywhere you go. The temperature of Kathmandu during fall ranges from 8-10 °C in the morning, 22-25°C at noon, and 5-7°C at night. And the temperature of Nagarkot ranges from 8-10 °C in the morning, 22-25°C at noon, and 5-7°C at night.
The time of your visit does not matter for city tours as it is beautiful all around the year, but during Nagarkot visit, this season is perfect for hiking and you can witness the best view of the city, nature, Himalayas, landscape, sunrise, and sunset.
Spring in Nepal lies from March to May. It is also known as the shoulder season for Nepal travel. The weather is very pleasant in springtime and you can witness a wide variety of blossoming floras and the view is crystal clear with a bright blue sky. The temperature during these months in Kathmandu, in the morning, ranges from 16-18 °C, 25-29°C at noon, and 14-16°C at night.
The temperature in Nagarkot in the morning ranges from 10-12°C, 22-24°C at noon, and 14-16°C at night. This is also one of the best seasons for hiking in Nagarkot especially if you want to walk through the blossoming Rhododendron and other wildflower forests.
Winter in Nepal starts after Christmas and ends by the end of February. Since it isn’t much cold in the cities during winter, It is also an ideal time for Muslim tours in Nepal. The temperature in Kathmandu is usually 3-5 °C in the morning, 12-15°C at noon, and 0-2°C at night. Similarly, Nagarkot is a bit cooler having a temperature of 0-4°C in the morning, 10-12°C at noon, and -1 to 0°C at night.
However, except for the early mornings, the weather is still clear and offers a mesmerizing view of the surrounding. Hiking in Nagarkot during the winter months is also possible but will not be the best as in spring and fall. Similarly, Nagarkot is one of the popular places to travel to during winter as temporary snowfall occurs here during this time of the year.
Nepal has a summer monsoon and it falls from June to September. The temperature of Kathmandu ranges from 18-20 °C in the morning, 28-32°C at noon, and 16-18°C at night, and the temperature in Nagarkot is the same too. For city tours, the monsoon doesn’t cause an issue in fact it is better as it often rains during the night and washes away the dust and pollution allowing us to enjoy walking on the clean streets and admiring detailed architecture and vistas.
However, we do not suggest hiking during these months as the trails are muddy and slippery which causes inconvenience and is a bit risky too. Apart then that, summer is also ideal for Muslim Tour Package.