Shivapuri is one of the world’s closest national parks ever located from the capital of a country. Shivapuri, located at the height of 2732m to the northern part of Kathmandu is the second highest hill around Kathmandu valley offering a nice jungle walk through the sprawling forest to Shivapuri, natural environment, spectacular Mountain View of Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, and Gaurishankar Himal to east.
Shivapuri hike offers you the exact refreshment that you need after the tiring long day of flying across the countries and the busy days of urban life. This is possibly why the Shivapuri hike is one of the major attractions for hikers around Kathmandu valley, both international and local. The trail goes steeply uphill through the oak, rhododendron, and bamboo forests. Baghdwar is a beautiful water spring where the Bagmati River starts. On a clear day, one might observe the spectacular panorama of the snow-capped Himalayas below the northern and eastern horizon along with the eagle view of Kathmandu valley. At the top of the Shivpuri hill, there is a white statue of the legendary Shivpuri Baba.
Chandragiri and Champadevi Hill
The southwestern rim of the Kathmandu Valley rears up in a prominent fishtail of twin peaks, the highest visible parts of the Chandragiri range. The eastern summit is known as Champadevi, after the resident goddess. These are the hills that salute you when you travel out of the valley through the main post of Thankot. Only if you are traveling to Nepal for the first time, else these are the hills that have, each time, bid you farewell on your safe journey in and out of the valley and would continue doing so, watching majestically on travelers. Chandragiri and Champadevi hills are adjacent to each other and a perfect destination for hikers who want to conquer more within a short period. Well, plans can also be made to hike the hills singularly as well.
Chandragiri Hill is seven kilometers from Thankot and lies on the southwest side of Kathmandu Valley which is 2551 meters above sea level. The hill provides panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest. The trail winds through the green forest as you leave behind the residential village. The zig-zag route quickly takes you up the hill, as the valley drops below. Throughout the jungle route, hikers are treated to the sweeping view of the valley below. The mountain ranges are known to play hide and seek with you until you reach the summit where the skies open up for glorious views. And when you reach the top, a historic temple welcomes you around which a newly established park comforts you. This is also the moment when you see an astonishing view of mountains, such as the Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang Ranges, Gaurishankar, and Everest. Traveling to Chandragiri gives you a taste of walking the Nepali trails and enjoying the mountains.
Champa Devi is the third highest hill around Kathmandu valley, which is at a height of 2278 meters. Champa Devi as well amazes you with the astonishing views of the Himalayan range. Once you start getting higher, you will see an amazing bird's eye view of the valley. The Bagmati River, monkey temple, Patan durbar square, Bungamati, and Khokana can be pointed from the route. Champadevi hill gives a real chance to visualize the whole Kathmandu Valley with a panoramic vision. Not only the Kathmandu valley- Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur districts, from here we also can have a beautiful view of Kirtipur and Pharping village district.
Both the hill hike passes through the traditional residential areas providing the opportunity to explore the cultural aspect of the region.
Phulchoki hill is the highest among the majestic hills surrounding the valley. It stands about 2782m, 14 km southeast of the valley. The hill is the most popular and preferred destination for hikers during the snowy winter, as the hill provides the only destination for snow lovers within the nearest perimeter of the valley. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in terms of vegetation and birdwatching destinations in Kathmandu valley. The walk is difficult but the reward is a wonderful view and good for nature observers.
The route passes through the luscious forests of rhododendron as the prime flora along with various other species of plants that nurture the rich wildlife of the region. This is also the reason why it is one of the most popular choices for bird watchers and natural researchers. As we ascend the hill, the breathtaking view of Kathmandu valley and the marvelous Annapurna range starts unraveling. At the top of the hill shrine of Phulchoki Mai welcomes you marking the end of the steep hike. Yet, what we feel when we get to the top is no less than any successful treasure hunt.
Nagarkot is a historical place carrying the legacy of strategic Nepal and the crown of most desirable destinations among tourists both locally and internationally. It is located approximately 7000 ft (2000 m) above sea level and 28 km from Kathmandu International Airport.
Well, the place commands the most beautiful panoramic views of the Himalayas range that could ever be seen from around the Kathmandu valley. 8 out of 13 Himalaya ranges can be seen from the top of the hill or the Nagarkot view tower on a clear sunny day. The ranges include the Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Mahalangur range (Everest range), and Numbur range with a view to the Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri National Park.
Nagarkot is the most popular among travelers for its spectacular epic view of sunset and sunrise when the sun kisses goodbye and good morning to a panorama of these ranges. And believe me, that is the most peaceful and soulful moment that is going to be in your heart and memory forever. The trail passes through traditional Newari villages and the lush forest that gives us the feeling of rustic authentic Nepal. There are a few options on which trail to adopt to go to the epic spot of Nagarkot. We could decide on that according to your schedule. Don't worry, whichever path we decide to follow up to the top is going to amaze you with the traditional villages, dense forest, and the breathtakingly beautiful scenes of the environment till the very end, on a clear day.
The hike has another surprise, i.e. ChanguNarayan temple which dates back to the 5th century. Changunarayan is considered to be the oldest temple in Nepal. It remains a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. It is also one of the world heritage sites conserved by UNESCO.
Namobuddha is one of the oldest monasteries in Nepal. The location of this monastery is considered one of the holiest regions in the world. The monastery carries the legacy of compassion and generosity of lord Budhha. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Buddha in his previous life sacrificed himself to save a hungry tigress with her cubs who were starving to death. The legend is found to be scripted in a stone that stands to date near the holy place.
It is one of the few places that host traditional ancient villages that can read ancient Buddhist Sanskrit in the modern world of this day. Standing at the height of 1750m about 35 km away from the heart of the valley, it is the perfect destination for spiritual hiking with beautiful scenarios, holy mani, dense forest, farmlands, and an indigenous Newari village on the way. The hike route starts from Dhapasi as a steady uphill walk while we can also get to the top from Dhulikhel for a shorter hike. Both routes promise extraordinary peace of mind. The hilltop also offers fine views of the Himalayas and traditional villages from its ridge. Namobuddha hiking is an easy expedition and ideal for all travelers who would strive to walk for at least a few hours.
The next best experience Kathmandu has to offer to the hikers in the nearest proximity is the short hike of Nagarjun hill. It is now formally a part of Shivapuri Nagarjun national park. This explains the natural riches and the treasure it holds within itself to be discovered by nature lovers and enthusiasts. It stands about 2128m/6980ft tall from the sea level and has an astonishing crown-style hill just about 7km to the west of the main city of Kathmandu. The trail goes up the ascending stone steps through the lush green forest of Nagarjun hill also known as Raniban. This forest hosts a rich species of floras and faunas which commands the popular destination for bird watchers. At the top of the hill station, rests a Buddhist shrine, giving the aura of spirituality and enriching peace of mind while getting to observe the beautiful panorama of majestic mountain ranges blanketed with white snow just as any other hilltop offers. Explore this beautiful Jamacho Monastery where you can find the small statue of Nagarjuna Buddha.
The tranquil experience Nagarjun hill has to offer within the heart of the valley is just epic. This might be the reason why; this place hosts the favorite summer retreat of the former royals of Nepal at Nagarjun Palace. Moreover, it has been a popular spot for rock climbing and mountain cycling as well. The Nagarjun Hill hike is the best activity, especially for those who are the first Hikers and also have short vacations but have a strong desire to spend the active holidays.
Sundarijal and Chisapani
Sundarijal is a beautiful place with tall trees, cascading waterfalls, dense jungle, preserved culture, diverse wild lives, and most importantly the Sundarijal watershed that reflects the meaning of the name itself i.e. Sundari-beautiful and Jal-water. It also supplies water to Kathmandu and electricity through Sundarijal Hydropower Station.
Sundarijal is located just 17 km northeast of the heart of Kathmandu, deep in the ancient forest of Shivapuri Nagarjun national park. It is an easy access route to Sundari Jal from Jorpati on road. Sundarijal Hike also known as Sundarijal- Chisapani Hike is a solitary and spiritual hike in Nepal. After a couple of hours' hike, you can see amazing views of the Kathmandu valley and the beautiful Tamang village called Mulkharka. Sundarijal is also one of the busiest hangout picnic spots in the valley. It is the gateway to the Shivapuri National Park and the popular Kathmandu Valley Trekking.
The journey to Chisapani starts from Sundarijal about a 5-6 hours hike, following a scenic route of dense forest, villages, terraces, and again oak rhododendron forest. The hike offers the beauty of a Nepalese village with a terrace full of seasonal crops like mustard and wheat, along the unstoppable stone stairs that continue up to Chisapani. The route is well-defined, and the surrounding terrains are incredibly awesome, which makes this hike so popular among domestic travelers as well. After the pleasant walk, Chisapani welcomes you to the destination where you can spend some hours far away from an active city with fresh natural as well as cultural settings.
Chisapani is a mixed settlement of Brahmins, Gurungs, and Sherpas, overlooking marvelous sunsets over the gorgeous mountains of Langtang and Gaurishankar region. Chisapani is a strategic junction from where you can decide whether to end the hike or start a new journey to some of the most epic trails leading to extraordinary destinations. There are routes leading to the holy Gosai Kunda, the majestic Langtang valley trek, and the historical Nagarkot.
All in all, whichever path you would decide to roll on, Kathmandu is a place full of natural wonders for a nature lover like us. It is gonna be a cherry to your busy schedule that you would love to make a part of your memory.
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