Godawari, a municipality in Lalitpur is a famous must-visit destination rich in both natural and cultural heritages.
Godawari municipality was established in December 2014 by merging Village Development Committees Godawari, Badikhel, Bisankhunarayan, Godamachaur, and Thaiba of Lalitpur district of Bagmati Zone. It is one of the famous destinations for a hike, and rich in wildlife and natural resources. The highest peak in Kathmandu Valley, Phulchoki, is also located here. With the diversity of the natural heritage and the culturally significant sites and shrines, this is a must-visit destination once you are in this district.
Some of the major attractions of this place are listed below:
GODAWARI BOTANICAL GARDEN
Established in 1962 AD by Surya Bahadur Thapa in the interest of King Mahendra Shah, the botanical garden covers an area of 82 hectares. It stands at an altitude of 1515m, at the foothills of MT. Phulchoki. The National Botanical Garden covers a large area with a lush green forest with a diversity of flora and fauna. The garden holds many species of indigenous medicinal plants. It has over 500 species of plants and 66 different species of ferns. The botanical garden holds its prominence for purposes like scientific purpose, conservation, display, and education. It is also famous as a picnic spot with water springs flowing, fountains, and spacious open areas. The freshwater spring sprouting ice-cold water is just 200 meters from the gate. There are separate gardens for the flowers like the lily garden, fern garden, rose garden, etc. The garden is set in a natural landscape surrounded by evergreen and ornamental plants and is a great place to dive into nature. The opening hours are from 10 am to 4 pm from November to January, and 10 am to 5 pm from February to October.
Straight ahead at the junction before the Botanical Garden, a quiet path leads to Godawari Kunda, a sacred spring on the right and the left, a tank bordered by a line of Shaivite shrines. The revered water that flows through the Godawari river pours from the mountains. Every 12 years, a huge festival takes place at a Godawari Temple in the autumn season. Thousands of pilgrims from around the country come here on the auspicious festival named Maha Kumbha Mela. The Maha Mela lasts for a whole month, and this may be the best time to visit here and take a shower in the sacred water of Godawari Kunda. People believe that one gains spiritual merits after bathing in the water during the festival.
Naudhara – Nine Taps in translation, is a man-made stone tap built during the Rana regime. Juddha Shumsher, former prime minister of Nepal, commissioned the construction of the taps for relaxation and to beat the summer heat. There is no religious or cultural belief attached to it as they were made to facilitate the people. To escape the heat, many Rana families built houses around the Gadawari area, some of which are still there today. The water in the taps comes from the Phulchoki hill, and it flows throughout the year though the flow is fast from June to August and is slow during winter seasons. The site is a peaceful and quiet place to lay of the heat in the summer season with the refreshing water and natural beauty.
GODAWARI TO PHULCHOKI HIKE
Phulchoki is the highest point on the edge of the Kathmandu valley. The ideal hike from Godawari to Phulchoki is a one-day trip to the top of the Kathamandu Valley edge. The hiking starts from the jungles of Godawari up to the Phulchoki. Away from the hustle of the city life, the hike is a plunge into nature. The sounds of the birds chirping and the fresh wind blowing accompanied by the breathtaking natural view of the Himalayas, the top of the valley is reached in about 4 hours. The overall hike will feel like blending with the harmony of nature. One can experience the same natural aura while returning through the farmlands and jungle ways. All in all, the approximate 6 hours hike will be a journey to cherish.
SHANTI BAN BUDDHA
On the hillside, above Godawari, there is a gigantic golden Buddha statue in meditation posture created by Buddhists who were inspired by the Japanese Peace Pagoda Movement. It is only a 20 minutes' walk from the turnoff from the village. Locals and tourists come here to worship Lord Buddha. The open space in front of the statue is used as a school where poor children from nearby villages come to attend the free Buddhism classes. The Buddhist priests share their valuable speeches and discourses with the children. Built-in 2002 AD, the huge image stands 25 feet tall with a crystal image on the top; crystal for a symbol of peace.