Shivapuri is one of the closest hills surrounding Kathmandu valley, definitely the place for a day’s adventure
Located 12 km north from Kathmandu Valley, Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park comprises of forests, hills, over 300 species of animals and birds; and has an elevation range starting from 1350 mt all the way up to 2732 mt. With its enticing atmosphere, its surreal flora and fauna, the Shivapuri Peak Hike is one of the best adventures that you can be a part of.
It’s recommended to go early in the morning as you have to return back before it gets dark. To get there, you can take a public bus around Kathmandu that goes all the way to Budhanilkantha, or you can contact a travel and tours company for a reserved vehicle. Once you reach Budhanilkantha, you can either visit the historical Budhanilkantha Temple before you leave for the hike or you can start your journey immediately. From that point, you can either take a bike, a motorbike, a reserved vehicle, or just walk. Once you reach the Nepal Army Checkpoint, you’ll have to go through a security check and pay a fee to go further into the conservation area. Per person costs are Rs 100 for Nepali, Rs 600 for SAARC members and Rs 1000 for other foreigners. Prices also vary depending on the kind of transportation you’ve decided to come in.
The main hike starts on a dusty trail, enclosed by the rich green forest which leads you up a route that keeps getting steeper and narrower. After an hour of climbing stone steps, you will find yourself in Nagi Gomba. It’s a place decorated with colourful prayer flags and inhabited and maintained by the nuns who live there. It’s also an ideal place to enjoy the valley scenery without the pollution or the buildings obstructing it.
Once you’ve taken your time admiring the view you can continue your journey by climbing up the stone steps for about an hour or two—depending on your pace. These stone steps that go all the way to Baghdwar and a bit beyond will definitely give your legs a proper workout. The climb is more peaceful than tiring. The lively singing of the birds and the insects give you the motivation to go on ahead.
Baghdwar is where the Bagmati River begins. There is a small pond surrounding a Shiva statue in its centre. The place also consists of other Hindu and Buddhist monuments and stone carvings. It is a good place to make a stop and enjoy the forest greenery.
In another hour or less, you can walk all the way up to the Shivapuri Peak. All that climbing will finally come to an end rewarding you with an amazing view that you wouldn’t have found anywhere else. The fresh breeze; the chirping of the birds, and noises of the animals will make sure that you too are part of nature.