Budhaneelkantha Sundarijal Day Hike is a short hike that takes you to the forested hills towards the northern fringe of Kathmandu city. It lets you discover the verdant forests and wildlife of the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, the only national park in Kathmandu Valley. The hiking trail takes you deep within the national park and to Sundarijal, a popular day hiking and mountain biking spot. On the way, you will come across Nagi Gompa, a Buddhist nunnery, and several small Hindu shrines.
The trail is easily accessible from the city, and it takes only about five or six hours to complete the hike. If you are an experienced hiker, it’s possible to complete the hike within three or four hours. You will be walking on a rough jeep track with very few ascents and descents. The most difficult sections are at the beginning and end of the hike, where you will have to make a steep ascent and descent. The middle section of the trail is easy and comfortable. The route is not technical and can be easily covered on foot without using special equipment.
Your journey will begin in the morning. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel, and together you will drive towards Budhaneelkantha, to the northern end of the city. The vehicle will drop you off at the gate of Shivapuri National Park. Begin your hike after paying the entry fee. It's a steep climb for an hour or so until you reach Nagi Gompa. You stop here to explore the nunnery and have a light refreshment. This Buddhist nunnery was established by a Tibetan lama who fled Tibet during the Chinese invasion. The monastery imparts education to young 'anis’, or Buddhist nuns, who have given up their worldly lives in quest of spiritual salvation.
Later, you will continue your hike and walk close to Tarebhir and Shivapuri Hill. The views of Kathmandu and the surrounding hills look superb from the trail. You will come across local farms and homesteads with patches of vegetable gardens and goats and cows grazing lazily on the hillsides. If the weather is clear, you can view the magnificent snow-covered peaks of Ganesh Himal, Dorje Lakpa, and Langtang Lirung.
You will be following a rough jeep track deep into a dense forest. The trail is shaded by a thick growth of rhododendrons, oaks, bamboo, and cherry trees. The trail is seldom used by locals, and it gets really quiet and peaceful. The silence is only broken by the cheerful twitter of birds and the sound of water flowing in the small streams. Surrounded by nature, you can feel the stress leaving your body. Around midday, you can stop at a scenic spot and have your packed lunch. Afterward, you can continue your walk towards Sundarijal.
Sundarijal, which means 'beautiful water, is dotted with water bodies. Bagmati, a sacred river, flows down through huge boulders and makes its way to the main city. You make your final descent to Sundarijal via a long stone staircase. On the way, you will walk by a beautiful waterfall, Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the checkpoint of Shivapuri National Park. The Bagmati River roars down below the trail.
Your hike ends as you reach the main market. Our vehicle will be waiting for you to pick you up and drop you off at the hotel. It's a long ride from Sundarijal to central Kathmandu. Depending on the traffic, it will take around an hour or so to reach your hotel.
Budhaneelkantha Sundarijal Day Hike can be done any time of the year. However, hiking during the monsoon or summer season can be tricky owing to heavy rainfall and slippery paths. There will also be a lot of leeches on the trail during the summer season.
This hike is fairly easy and can be done by people of all ages, provided they are healthy and have great stamina. However, inexperienced hikers may find this hike a bit difficult because of the distance covered. Most of the time, you will be walking on even ground with slight inclines. Only the first and last sections of the hike are difficult. Please note that there are no shops or restaurants on the trail. You need to carry a packed lunch, drinking water and snacks with you.
The Budhaneelkantha Sundarijal Day Hike serves as an ideal getaway for people who want to escape from the chaos of the city. The walk through the verdant forests is sure to soothe your senses and help you connect with nature.
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Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and drive you towards the north of Kathmandu. Get down at the entrance of Shivapuri National Park.
After purchasing the entry tickets, you start your hike and follow your guide. The trail goes uphill. After walking for around an hour or so, you will arrive at Nagi Gompa, a Buddhist nunnery. You can spend some time here exploring the nunnery and interacting with nuns.
Later, you continue your walk close to Tarebhir. You can enjoy sweeping views of Kathmandu Valley from the trail. If the weather is clear, you can spy the snow-covered summits of Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, and Dorje Lakpa glistening on the horizon.
En route, you will come across rustic farming settlements, a far cry from the ultra-modern structures of Kathmandu. The trail goes inside a dense forest of oak, rhododendron, bamboo, and cherry trees. As you head deeper, the trail becomes more isolated. There is no human habitation or shop deep within the park. You can savor your hike surrounded by nature. The silence is only broken by the twittering of birds and the sound of flowing water. Sights of waterfalls and small brooks en route delight your senses.
The trail is a rough jeep track. Most of the time, you will be walking on even ground. Apart from the intense uphill and downhill at the beginning and end of the hike, there are no steep ascents or descents in the mid-section of the trail. The route follows an even surface with some slight inclines.
You can stop for lunch around noon. As there are no restaurants inside the park, it's important that you have your lunch packed at the hotel before leaving for your hike. You can also pack some snacks to have on the way.
Walking through the lush forest, you come across small shrines of Hindu gods and goddesses. You will cross a metal bridge and head down a flight of stone steps. On the other side flows the sacred Bagmati River. There's an amazing waterfall right next to the staircase.
Sundarijal, which means 'beautiful water, is a picturesque spot dotted with religious sites. From here, you can witness the first journey of Bagmati in its pristine form before it flows down to the main city and becomes murkier.
As you make your final descent, you will walk down Shivapuri National Park's check post and enter the Sundarijal Bazaar. Our driver will pick you up from the bus stop and drive you to your hotel. Depending on the traffic rush, it will take around an hour or less to reach your hotel.