Few people opt to trek around the Kathmandu Valley, yet the insight it offers into the lives, history, culture and religion of Nepal is unrivalled. Each season has something special to offer – planting, harvest and a changing profusion of wildflowers. From viewpoints on the valley rim (1000-2800m) Everest is visible to the east and Annapurna to the west.
Explore Panauti, an ancient bazaar (market) with many cultural and historical monuments; the important Buddhist pilgrimage site of Namobuddha and Bhaktapur, famous for its rich historical and cultural sites.
Transfer Kathmandu to Changu Narayan. Hike to Nagarkot
Morning, drive to Changu and visit the famous Changu Narayan Temple. This ancient temple (considered the oldest in Nepal) is located on a hilltop a few miles north of Bhaktapur. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and held in especial reverence by the Hindu people.
Hiking from here, the trail follows the ridge, rich with deciduous forest and the Himalayas appear in the distance. The walking is easy, climbing gradual uphill passing through terraced rice fields. The thatched village houses, painted ochre, are built by with local stone hand-hewn by local craftsmen. These houses are normally 3 storied with a kitchen on the ground floor, a bedroom on the second and a store on the top. A courtyard in front has an adjoining shed for animals. The garden next to the house supplies all the household seasonal vegetables and fruit. Spring brings colour to the village with young goat kids and other young animals as well as beautiful bright blossoms everywhere. Local winemaking is common throughout the year.
Nagarkot Hill (2175m) is a popular tour and hill destination, famous for its outlook. Five of the world’s 10 tallest mountains can be seen: Everest (8849m), Lhotse (8516m), Cho Oyu (8201m), Makalu (8463m) and Manaslu (8163m) along with many lesser summits.
Hike from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel.
A lot of ups and downs today, but the route is not difficult. Dhulikhel is a real Newari town, not just a tourist resort, and renowned for its views of the Himalaya – particularly impressive at dawn.
Hike from Dhulikhel to Namobuddha.
After breakfast, set out strolling through the forest to the Kali Temple, then hike to the Namo Buddha shrine. Namobuddha is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Valley, particularly significant to Tibetan Buddhists. It is associated with one of the Jataka Tales, which recount the previous lives of the Buddha. Colorful prayer flags and pilgrims surround the white stupa, and a carved stone slab recounts the tale. It is also a school for novice monks.
Perched on top of a hill Namobuddha offers 360-degree views of the valley below making it a great place for sunset and sunrise
Hike from Namobuddha to Panauti.
After joining early morning meditation followed by breakfast, start hiking along the Panauti-Namobuddha road. The trail then takes you up a gentle uphill through the small village of Lapsibot and towards Panauti. In Panauti you will stay the night with locals in a community homestay.
Panauti is a Newari village with an ancient bazaar (market) and many cultural and historical monuments. Despite being so close to modern amenities Panauti has managed to protect its ancient culture and preserve its numerous Hindu temples.
Hike from Panauti to Sanga. Drive back to Kathmandu.
Today’s hike mostly follows ridgelines with steep drops below, views of rice fields and farmland, the town of Banepa and–on clear days–unobstructed views of the Himalayas. The paths we followed were mostly just local paths that the villagers of this area have always used. The curious faces with which we were met proved that these people weren’t used to outsiders passing through.
Sanga, is just outside the eastern edge of the Kathmandu Valley, and will be better known by most as the place with the tallest Shiva statue in the world.
Here your transport is waiting to take you back to Kathmandu.
Sabita Khadka was flexible in proposing multiple options for hike in the Kathmandu Valley area after arrival but before our 7 day Langtang Valley trek