For those with limited time and a desire to experience the basics of trekking our day tour to Nagarkot fits the bill perfectly. Situated 32 kilometers from Kathmandu, an hour’s drive brings us to the town’s lofty perch and its glorious outlook towards the mighty Himalayas and the imposing massifs of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Dorje Lakpa, and Gaurishankar, as well as the numerous villages scattered across the broad Kathmandu valley. Formerly an ancient fortress strategically built to overlook the various approaches to the valley, in later times it became a favored summer retreat for the royal family, then morphed again into a renowned hill station.
We begin the journey by heading downhill along a ridgeline that offers us a scenic outlook across the valley to Sankhu and the historic town of Bhaktapur, and then make our way by a number of Hindu temples to a rest stop where we pause for lunch and a relaxing opportunity to observe local life. After the break the trail picks up again and takes us through a wide stretch of pine forest that occasionally opens to reveal fleeting glimpses of the Himalayas before we finally arrive Changu Narayan.
UNESCO-listed as a world heritage site of major significance to Hindus, Changu Narayan’s temple complex and its glorious Licchavi sculptures are a testament to the stunning artistic ability of the Newar period in Nepal, the intricately carved and lavishly decorated structure a work of art in its own right that complements the extraordinary and famous statuary. Of note is the figure of Vishnu Vikrantha, the six-armed God, as well as the lion-headed statue of Vishnu Narasimha. With a history dating back well over 1,000 years and a level of artistry amongst the finest in all of Asia, Changu Narayan truly is one of the crown jewels of Nepal’s cultural heritage.
Altogether the excursion will take approximately four to five hours depending on your walking pace, and once our visit to Changu Narayan is concluded we’ll drive back to Kathmandu.
Day 01: At 5 am your journey commences to Nagarkot from where we hike to Changu Narayan (4 hrs)
At 5 am you meet your guide and driver at the hotel lobby, then an hour's journey commences to the most beautiful view point Nagarkot. After exploring the sunrise with undisturbed Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Gaurishanker, Everest range and many more outstanding snow capped Himalaya surrounding. Likewise, we hike 4 hrs towards the most interesting UNESCO world heritage sites, Changu Narayan Temple. The exciting hike starts gradually downhill through the outskirts of Kathmandu valley and offers beautiful views of local villages, lifestyle of people, temples, Bhaktapur, Sankhu and Kathmandu valley. At the last part the trail leads through the pine and Rhododendron forest and some beautiful picnic spots which might be the final opportunity of capturing panoramic Himalaya Vistas surrounding. Ultimately we reach Changu Narayan which is known as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and major shrine of Hindu gods Vishnu. At the end we drive back to Kathmandu.
Rajesh is incredibly personable, fit, and knowledgeable about Nepal's mountains. He accompanied 2 of my friends and me on a perfect day hike at Nagarkot to Changunarayan on the outskirts of Kathmandu. This steep but non-technical hike took us 4 hours and we were rewarded with spectacular views of snowcapped Annapurna, LangTang, Everest and other 8000+ meter mountains at the top, where we feasted on wonderful Nepalese food and Khumbu Sherpa beer at a spectacular outdoor restaurant and explored a Hindu temple. Rajesh even brought great apple wine that we thoroughly enjoyed and, best, of all! This is a great hike for those with limited time in Nepal. I plan to trek around Pokhara with Rajesh on my next trip to Nepal for sure.