Nagarkot sits atop a verdant hill framed by an endless chain of rolling green hills and snow-capped peaks. Lying just a few hours’ drive away from Kathmandu, Nagarkot is famous for its spectacular sunrise and panoramic Himalayan views. On clear days one can even catch a glimpse of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. Take a Nagarkot Day Trip and surround yourself with mesmerizing mountain vistas. After soaking in the views, drive down a winding road to Telkot. Next, hike through a forested path to the oldest Hindu temple in the valley.
Nestled in a wooded hill lies Changu Narayan Temple, one of the most ancient Hindu temples in the world. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Exquisite engravings dating back to the Licchavi period (450 AD-750 AD) embellish the temple and its courtyard. Here you will find representations of Lord Vishnu’s avatars in wood, stone, and metal. The temple is also home to the oldest inscription found in the valley. Located in an idyllic setting, a walk around Changu Narayan will delight your senses.
Your final destination is Bhaktapur, a former medieval kingdom. After exploring Changu Narayan, take a short drive to Bhaktapur. This charming old city is filled with Newari traditional houses and an assortment of temples, palaces, and Buddhist shrines. Meander along its cobbled streets and discover Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medieval royal square is divided into three squares – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, and Dattareya Square. Nyatapole Temple, Golden Gate, Palace of 55 Windows, Pujari Math, Siddhi Lakshmi Temple, Bhairavnath Temple, Naag Pokhari and Pottery Square are some of the artistic gems dotting the palace square. Created by unnamed artisans of the Malla era the durbar square has the finest collection of Newari art and architecture in the valley. Finally, wind up your tour with a scenic drive back to your hotel. If you are visiting Nepal to try out some adrenaline pumping outdoor adventures, then our Nepal Multi Activity Tour is the tour for you. If you want to explore the cultural jewels of Kathmandu, then our Kathmandu Ancient City Tour might interest you.
Begins at: 4 AM (sunrise tour) or 8 AM
Ends at: 1 PM or 5 PM
Duration: 9 Hours
Starting & Ending Point: Your Hotel in Kathmandu
Destination Covered: Nagarkot, Changu Narayan, Bhaktapur
Nagarkot is famous for its beautiful sunrise and this day trip allows you to experience it. The trip begins quite early, at 4 AM (6 AM in winter). However, if you are not too keen on waking up early and it’s okay with you to miss out on the sunrise, you can have a late start (at 8 AM). Please let us know your preference while booking this trip, so that we may arrange your trip accordingly. Kindly note, the quality of views depends on the prevalent weather conditions. The Himalayan range may not be visible if it’s cloudy or foggy.
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Drive Kathmandu to Nagarkot (1 hour 30 minutes.)
Leave Kathmandu behind and take a scenic drive to Nagarkot with your guide. Following a pitched highway lined with pine trees, drive to this beautiful vantage point. On reaching Nagarkot head to the viewpoint and enjoy amazing views of hilltop villages and the Himalayan peaks. The sunrise view from this vantage point is to die for. Watch the first rays of the sun colouring the landscape in hues of pink, red, orange and golden. It is as if the creator has dipped a paintbrush and is splashing the hillsides in different colours. The Himalayas stretch in an unbroken line in the horizon. If the weather is clear you may also get a glimpse of Mount Everest’s summit. Have breakfast enjoying the beautiful Nagarkot view, to the accompaniment of bird songs. Gaze at the verdant hillsides to your heart’s content before heading down to Changu Narayan.
Drive Nagarkot to Telkot - Hike Telkot to Changu Narayan Temple (3-4 hours)
Enjoying the views drive down to Telkot. From Telkot take a forested trail down to the hilltop temple of Changu Nararyan. Nestled in the middle of a green forest the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to the Licchavi period (450 AD-750 AD), the temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Exquisite wood, stone and metal carvings dating back to Licchavi and Malla periods embellish the temple and its courtyard. In a stone pillar you will find the oldest inscription (464 AD) found in Kathmandu valley. The inscription in Sanskrit describes how the Licchavi King Manadeva stopped his mother from taking the ritual death by fire (sati) after his father’s death. Surrounded by a verdant forest, it is a joy to stroll around the temple grounds. Apart from a few local devotees, the temple grounds are filled with gaily chirping birds and monkeys scampering around.
Drive Changu Narayan to Bhaktapur Durbar Square (20 minutes)
Leaving Changu Narayan you take a short drive to the ancient city of Bhaktapur.Take a leisurely stroll around Bhaktapur Durbar Square - a protected UNESCO World heritage Site. Divided into three squares – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattareya Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square was once the power centre of the Malla kingdom. It became an independent principality after King Yaksha Malla divided his kingdom among his three sons, thus creating Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. Nyatapole Temple, Golden Gate, Palace of 55 Windows, Pujari Math, Siddhi Lakshmi Temple, Bhairavnath Temple, Naag Pokhari and Pashupatinath Temple are some of the gems of the palace square. Spend some time at the Pottery Square observing the local potters at work. Watch them mould lumps of clay on their spinning wheels. You can also pay a visit to a traditional kiln to observe the firing process. A visit to Bhaktapur is incomplete without a taste of its famous ‘Juju Dhau’ (king of yoghurt). Available in shops and restaurants throughout Bhaktapur, do try this sweet curd. It is prepared with buffalo milk (which is slightly richer than cow’s milk) and sold in clay containers. Head back to your hotel after exploring the durbar square.
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My friends and I did this tour after our ABC Trek. Nagarkot was absolutely amazing. We started early from our hotel, when it was till dark. By the time we reached Nagarkot, dawn was just breaking. We rushed straight to the view tower to view the sunrise. The sunrise was the best that I have ever experienced in my life! Everything came to life as soon as the sun peeked out of the mountains. We were lucky, the weather was just splendid. The sky remained clear with not a single cloud blocking the view. We could see the whole Himalayan range. It was simply beautiful. We later walked down to a resort for a delicious breakfast and more views of the mountains and the green hills.
The hike down from Telkot to Changu Narayan through a forest was refreshing. Our guide Ramesh was patient and gentle. He was also quite knowledgeable and shared with us vital information about the places and people living there. Stepping into Changu Narayan Temple was like stepping into another time. Though some of the buildings had been damaged by the earthquake, the main shrine was still there standing. We also visited the medieval palace square in Bhaktapur. The intricate carvings and works of art displayed at the square shows the superior artistry of Nepalese artisans of that time. We ended our tour by having Juju Dhau(local curd with honey) out of clay pots at a quaint little shop.
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