The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking is a short one-day hike perfect for limited time attempting to escape from the rush of Kathmandu. The route is one of the most popular and exemplary climbing trails that takes you through vibrant countryside landscapes and textures of terrace farming to a small hill station at the top.
Nagarkot is a well-famed hill station on the outskirts of Bhaktapur, famous for its fantastic views of the broad mountain range. The ranges include Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, and the Mahalangur range. At a distance of approximately 32 kilometres away from the capital, Nagarkot is highly regarded as the best viewpoint for sunrise and sunset in the outskirts of Kathmandu.
The hiking route takes you through lush landscapes and blooming vegetation as you pass through diverse cultural settlements. The trail is mostly uphill with a 40m drop in between. Enroute we also witness traditional agriculture fields of mustard and wheat on terrace textures displaying the hilly region’s agriculture scenario.
The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking route also takes you to one of the ancient heritages of Nepal. Changunarayan dates back to the 7th century and features marvellous architectural textures. UNESCO has declared it as a world heritage site due to its rich cultural history. The temple is the focal point of culture, religion, and history of the entire Kathmandu valley.
Highlights Of The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking
- Opportunity to visit the ancient Changu Narayan temple (UNESCO world heritage site).
- Pleasant walk alongside the countryside villages.
- Incredible views of Langtang, Ganesh and Everest Himalayan range.
- Observe diverse ethnic gatherings and their way of life.
- Opportunity to taste delicious local Newari cuisines
About The Route
The hike commences with a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Changu Narayan Temple. We pass through the verdant landscapes of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur on our way. After a quick visit to the holy shrine, we begin our ascent towards Nagarkot.
Changu Narayan Temple to Telkot
We walk uphill to Telkot (Bhaktapur) for about an hour. Telkot is the centre point in the trek. En route, you can observe the agricultural terrace farmings and the diverse settlement of the locals.
In the start of our ascent, you’ll see two or three byways, but you’ll need to stick to one side of them. From a branch of the Citizens Bank, you’ll take the right turn and follow the trail until you take another left turn which connects the Telkot-Changu Road. This path leads to the Telkot village.
Telkot To Nagarkot
After some quick refreshments, we continue to ascend along the steep uphill until we reach the Jalapadevi Temple, which is a small ashram. We keep proceeding in this way, sticking to one side of the visible two or three byways. This way will take you back to the highway where vehicles drive individuals up to Nagarkot.
We follow the dirt trekking trail, which will take you off the principal street and leads to the Buddha Peace Park. The end of this trail eventually leads to Nagarkot. The total journey takes about three and a half hours from Changu Narayan Temple.
Upon reaching Nagarkot, the magnificent views of the mountain range welcome you! You can also witness breath-taking views of the verdant valleys of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur from the view tower in Nagarkot.
Places to Visit During the Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking
Situated at an altitude of 2,175 meters, Nagarkot is one of the primary attractions located at the rim of the capital. Whether you’re looking for a short hike or just a weekend gateway, Nagarkot is the place to visit! It is a perfect gateway for those looking to enjoy the mountain views in absolute solace. During dawn, the sun gleams in, illuminating the Himalayan range extending from Dhaulagiri in the west to Everest and Kanchenjunga in the east, welcoming the visitors with its dazzling beauty.
For individuals looking extend their legs and appreciate the crisp morning air, there are exquisite strolling trails where you can walk upon as you admire the magnificent scenery all around. Nagarkot also features a viewpoint tower which allows an even higher and more clear view of the mountains.
Adventure-seekers can even opt for the Nagarkot Paragliding which offers a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding landscapes. Experience the joy of soaring through the clear blue sky while getting indulged in incredible scenery that surrounds you!
Changu Narayan Temple
Believed to be one of the oldest shrines in Nepal, the Changu Narayan Temple dates back to the 5th century. It a two-tiered pagoda style temple featuring some impressive architectural features. Especially if you consider the facilities available during the 5th century.
The shrine is home to the holy deity, Vishnu, also known as the creator of life. There are
numerous carvings of Lord Vishnu in many avatars across the courtyard of the temple.
Some of his visible avatars are as Narsingha (his man-lion incarnation) and as Vikrantha (the six-armed dwarf who defeated King Bali).
The temple also features a Garuda figure facing the west door which dates back to the 5th century. In front of the statue lies the oldest stone inscription. It describes how the king of the Licchavi period persuaded his mother not to commit Sati after his father’s death.
The temple was partly destroyed after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. But with the recent restoration process, the temple stands tall in all its glory!
The Jalapadevi Temple perches at the top of a hill on the way to Nagarkot. The temple does not have many residents except for some travellers resting for a brief period. The temple is the shrine of the holy deity Shiva.
Many people believe that this temple represents the ‘Linga’ of Shiva, where women often come to worship for fertility purposes. Some locals disagree with this and say that the temple indeed represents the ‘Linga’ but not for fertility purposes. They believe that the ‘Linga’ represents the creation of the universe.
Alternative Hiking Routes
You can also conduct the hike vice-versa where you take a bus upto Nagarkot and hike slowly down towards Changu Narayan temple. We follow the same route of crossing through Telkot.
You can also opt for the longer routes where you travel from Sundarijal to Chisapani through the Shivapuri National Park. Then follow the trail all the way to Nagarkot and end at Changu Narayan Temple. Since this is a much longer route, you may require to spend a night at any one of these locations.
Another alternative is the Dhulikhel-Nagarkot trail. Although this is a much longer route, the views are magnificent through this trail. The hike commences as you pass through Sanga, Panauti and eventually into Dhulikhel. You can also drive upto Dhulikhel and begin your walk from there if you want a shorter option.
Equipment List For The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking
Since the Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking is an easy and uncomplicated trek, you will not need to carry heavy hiking gears. A simple pair of functional hiking boots will do the trick. However, below are some equipment that may prove beneficial during this single day trek.
- Sturdy pair of hiking boots.
- Day Pack Bag
- Hiking Poles
- Sunglasses, and Sunscreen
- Regular hiking pants or shorts.
- Synthetic short-sleeve-T-shirt.
- Waterproof Jacket
- First-aid kit
- Water bottle
Some Tips For The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking
- Nepalese people are extremely friendly, so be sure to wave or offer some basic greetings in Nepali, on your way.
- For a newbie hiker, the trails can be confusing, so carry a guide if you are a solo traveller.
- Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated throughout the journey.
- Always check on the weather before hiking, rainfall can cause slippery trails which makes the trek very challenging.
- The guides often expect tips from you, so tip a certain amount of money you feel is favourable. However, Tipping is not mandatory!
The Changunarayan To Nagarkot Hiking is an excellent alternative for individuals looking for a getaway from the rush of Kathmandu. Take a day off indulging yourself in the magnificent views mountains in absolute serenity!
This single-day hike is the best option to witness the Himalayas without having to face the tough challenges of the wild. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags for the next adventure among the landscapes of Nagarkot!