Nagarkot is a hill station in the Kathmandu Valley and once served as a retreat for local rulers, given its sublime setting and magnificent views of the Himalayas.
Today, this ethereal, forested space still draws trekkers from all over the world to wander along its trails, seek out its wildlife and marvel at the eight visible mountain ranges, best viewed at sunrise and sunset.
Our Nepal tours are perfect for exploring both the lively cities and the majestic mountains, allowing for a heavy dose of culture mixed with all of the adventure.
For those looking to discover the mountains, but in a less rigorous manner, Nagarkot is a good base for a collection of mini-treks. Some of these include the Nagarkot eco trail and the Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail.
There is also a popular route from Nagarkot to Chisapani that travels through the Kathmandu Valley. Chisapani is derived from two words – chisa meaning cold and pani meaning water. Chisapani is one of many hill stations boasting incredible views of the Himalayas and as you trek this trail, the views just get better.
You will be able to gaze at the mountain range from Annapurna to the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. We recommend spending a night here to see the sun rise and set over the valley. This is an easy walk – ideal if you are short on time or just want to take a leisurely amble.
Peacefulness comes easy in such an idyllic environment – and there is nothing better than having a break from the bustling city of Kathmandu. After a few days of taking in the enchanting vistas, traveling around the area and meandering along some of the winding walking paths, you will feel an overwhelming sense of calmness.
The Namo Buddha short trek is another tempting trail and concludes at one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. This striking landmark is also regarded as one of the holiest sites in the world as it is the place where Buddha, in his previous life as a prince, sacrificed his body to a hungry tiger and her cubs.
In the centre of the village, you can see an old temple with a statue of the prince, the tiger and the cubs. Many trekkers choose to come here for meditation and to unwind in such a serene and beautiful location.
If you are in search of another sanctuary then the four-hour hike to the temple of Changu Narayan is an excellent option. This ancient shrine is the oldest temple in the country and was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this Hindu temple is also worshipped by Buddhists. As you stride towards it you will notice intricate wood and stone carvings that date back to the fourth century. The trail will also pass by some charming villages and a small forest allowing you to see the lives of the Nepali people in a pastoral setting.
When visiting Nagarkot you can also have a break from those hiking boots. While the abundance of nearby mini-treks might be one of the village’s major appeals, those who need an adrenaline rush are in for a treat. As the village is located at 7200 ft. above sea level, this point is good for acclimatizing to high altitudes.
The area is famed for its incredible views of the mountains, so why not take to the sky for a different angle? In the village you will find a collection of paragliding companies. Make sure that you pick one with a valid license and that the pilot flying has an operator’s license of three or more years of experience as seen in their logbook.
Once you have gotten all of this administration business out of the way, prepare for an experience of a lifetime. You will soar over the mountainous terrain with the snowcapped peak of Mount Everest as a most spectacular backdrop.
Another thrilling excursion on offer is a day filled with mountain biking across the craggy landscape. You can hire a bicycle from the Nagarkot Naldum Tourism Development Committee and many of the walking trails can also be cycled. The Nagarkot to Changu Narayan route with its mesmerizing mountain views is highly recommended – so grab your helmet and get ready for a bumpy ride.
If you don’t feel like cycling back from Changu Narayan, the local buses allow you to strap bicycles to the rooftop. We also suggest that you bring bottled water with you, as it won’t be available on many of the trails. Remember to check if the routes have changed due to earthquakes and landslides.
We recommend wasting no time indoors when they are such stunning scenes to be viewed outside. Set your alarm clock and wake up early to see the sun rise over the mountains, casting the village in a golden hue. You will see many travellers nabbing a spot on one of the restaurant’s terraces to watch the event over a cup of steaming coffee.
After a day of avid exploration and adventure, returning to one of these decks is recommended to see the sunset and cheers to another remarkable day in paradise. You might also want to seek refreshment in an outdoor pool followed by an indulgent spa treatment to ease those weary legs.
The Lookout Tower promises an amazing vista and rests on a 2164 ridge. Just an hour’s walk south from the village, this pleasant place is best visited at sunrise and you can see Mount Everest on a clear day. Those who aren’t comfortable walking in the dark can get a taxi or private car for a cheap price.
Nagarkot is a nature lover’s haven as it is enclosed by scrubland, scattered with hiking trails and awash with colourful creatures. Look out for the vast array of butterflies when taking a walk and make sure to have your camera ready to snap some photographs.
Avid bird watchers will also find themselves in their element as this rural retreat is home to an assortment of species. We suggest taking a pair of binoculars with you as you wander to make sure that you don’t miss a wing. More than 850 types of birds can be found in Nepal, but try and find Nepal’s national bird, the Impeyan pheasant, locally known as the Danphe.
An alternative way to travel the area is by pony. The ponies in the region are accustomed to the high altitude and will take you across the valley. Many locals in remote areas use horses and ponies as a mode of transport. Is not unusual for trekkers to ride ponies along the trails. If you are unable to walk, but still want to experience the beauty and views of the mountains, this could be a good option.
Featured image by Sherparinji / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
This 8-day tour of Nepal gives travellers a great introduction to their time in Nepal. It includes time in colourful Kathmandu, wildlife safaris in Chitwan NP, rafting options and the stunning mountain scenery around Pokhara.
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With Encounters Travel you can expect to travel in comfortable, fully equipped and specially designed expedition vehicles, giving you a great vantage point from which to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.