A Few Days around Nagarkot

Spectacular view of Himalayas from Nagarkot. Image: flickr/Christopher Macsurak

Lots of tourists to Nepal have often likened the country’s scenery to postcard pictures. It’s not an exaggeration, not by any means. What’s more, you don’t need to go too far from the busy city of Kathmandu either to see such scenery. One of the best places for this is undoubtedly Nagarkot. There are many who wish to have a retreat here, so magnificent are the views all around. In fact, a surefire method to impress visitors fast is to take them to Nagarkot, a mere 32-km east of the capital. The road starts climbing from Bhaktapur and just keeps on climbing through verdant forests on the hillsides. A lovely drive, even if a bit scary sometimes, especially when a big tourist bus is coming your way, blocking most of the narrow road. Otherwise, it’s a drive that will make tourists exclaim, “At last! This is what I came to Nepal for.” And, once they experience the joy of sunrise from Nagarkot, they’ll be returning with memories to last a lifetime. It’s a sight that can leave you mesmerized—the color of the sky changes rapidly from black to purple to different hues of red and orange behind the magnificent Himalayan peaks.

The air is invigorating and the landscape is refreshing. Once you reach Nagarkot, you are assured of panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas. The place is chock-a-block with attractive resorts, many of them perched on hilltops and with rolling hills behind them, changing color along with the distance, and rolling over each other as far as the eye can see. The nearness to Bhaktapur and Kathmandu and the many amenities available naturally means that Nagarkot gets a lot of visitors every single day. Perhaps this may not go down well with some who are seeking a more secluded retreat. For such people also, there are some fine isolated trails, hiking on which is sure to be a very rewarding experience. On the way, you’ll come across some quiet villages and meet simple village folk going about their everyday life as they have for centuries. The lifestyle, you’ll find, is pretty laid back. Just what you are seeking, what?

There are quite a few back tracks around Nagarkot, hiking on which, you’ll get a good taste of Nepal’s rural life. One trail in particular is the one that takes you to Telkot, and it must be said, you’ll be surprised at how different it is from the tourist hotspot of Nagarkot, although it’s only a matter of a few kilometers. Hiking is of course the most preferred way to explore and discover, but the trails also make for excellent mountain-biking tracks. In fact, you’ll often seen mountain-biking enthusiasts making their way uphill on the paved road to Nagarkot from Kathmandu (four to five hours on average). After biking around Nagarkot on the back trails to secluded villages, these bikers usually return via stone back roads to the capital.

Telkot, as said before, is a tranquil village, but it too is being discovered as a good tourist spot, and so, you’ll also find signs of development in that direction. One such sign is Vision Inn, a comfortable inn run by the renowned Kathmandu Guest House group. From its airy lounge you’ll be able to get a lovely view of Bhaktapur far down below. This inn takes pains to make you feel at home and the food here too is quite good. After having you fill, you’ll of course be raring to and explore some more. Hike to a lookout point some 15 minutes away from the hotel and pay homage to Lord Shiva’s statue near the  Jahlapa Devi Temple. After this, reflect; reflect on the fact that here the environment is so serene, the air so pure, and almost no noise at all. You’re liable to drift off into a state of meditation! But, keep your eyes open—far below, you’ll notice wisps of smoke trailing from the tall chimneys of brick factories around Bhaktapur and large patches of green, brown, and golden yellow fields. Watching the sunset form here is also recommended; the slow fading of colors in the sky from orange to blue. In the fading light, the dark green pines and the brown terracotta homes seem to mesh together as if an artist’s aesthetic hands were at play.

Telkot, however, is not the end of the trail. You can hike from here to the nearby dam, or for those so inclined, to Changunarayan village, which is further away. Trekking to Muhan waterfalls is also a pleasant trek, one that should take one hour. The trail goes up and down some steep slopes, and also rambles through forests. It will give you some good exercise, that’s for sure. However, there are a couple of excellent picnic spots on the way, so there’s no reason to hurry. Take your time, enjoy the beautiful country scenery.

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