Peaks, Pagodas & Temples
Nepal is a country with unmatched natural beauty. Nestled between Tibet and India it is home to eight of the world’s highest mountains including Mount Everest. Its physical environment is as diverse as its cultural landscape. It has rich subtropical forests, lush jungles and the massive Himalayan range with its soaring snow-capped peaks. The country-side is painted with wild tropical flowers and centuries-old terraced rice fields carved into mountain slopes. You will experience it first hand as we hike into many small villages and towns.
Nepal is home to a host of distinctive ethnic groups including Newars, Sherpas and Tibetans who practice Indian style Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, nature worship and shamanism. In Nepal, the gods mingle in the sacred and the profane. You can see it in the three former city-kingdoms of Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu in the countless ornately carved temples and shrines dedicated to the vast pantheon of Hindu and Buddhist gods. They are living museums and a treasure — trove for art history students.
Each day your classroom is a different Hindu temple, Buddhist monastery or artist studio. Study Hindu and Buddhist art, philosophy and culture. Receive lectures from prominent local Hindu scholars and Buddhist monks. One of the many highlights of the program takes place with a stay in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery outside of Kathmandu. Learn and practice Buddhist meditation with the monks and nuns who share their in-depth knowledge of Buddhist philosophy. Hike the Himalayas to many of Nepal’s most sacred sites. Volunteer your services at a school and orphanage.
Start Your Application
Our programs are very popular and tend to fill quickly. Enrollment is first come, first served. If you are considering one of our study abroad programs, enroll early to reserve your space.
Instructors, Scholars & Guides
Beena is an Associate Professor at the Central Department of Culture at Tribhuvan University of Kathmandu. She received her Ph.D. from Benaras Hindu University in India in 1991 in Nepalese iconography. Beena is an expert on Hindu sacred art, Nepalese architecture, history, culture, and religion. Her knowledge of Nepal’s rich cultural heritage and her warm friendly personality leave a lasting impression on anyone who participates in one of her cultural tours.
Namgyal is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. He has been a monk for more than 30 years and is a resident teacher for the novice monks at his monastery. Having been a monk for the majority of his life, Namgyal is an expert on Buddhist philosophy and spiritual traditions and shares this knowledge enthusiastically with others. He is our Buddhist guide and translator and often leads optional morning meditation. Namgyal’s radiant smile, genuine hospitality, and hearty laughter, always make you feel like family and not merely a visitor.
Kirti is a renowned Nepalese sculptor of sacred art. He has learned and perfected the lost-wax process of bronze casting from his father and grandfather who have been commissioned by many monasteries throughout India and Nepal for generations. Kirti’s excellent command of English and expert statue-making skills make a visit to his studio fascinating. There he explains and illustrates the process of statue making. Of course this means meeting his entire family and drinking many cups of Nepali tea – a Nepalese custom!
Surrendra is our local Nepali Tangka painting expert. Having been an artist for many years, he now operates a studio with many artists who create paintings in the ancient tangka painting traditions. Surrendra is fluent in English. One of the friendliest people in Nepal, he invites us into his studio where he explains the entire process of painting sacred images. There we observe artists creating images that can often take years to complete. After one of Surrendra’s insightful tours, it is easy to see why the Nepalese have become famous throughout Asia for their artistic traditions.