Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Nepal and is located on the northern fringe of Kathmandu Valley. The major attractions here are the unbeatable views from the Shivapuri Peak at 8924ft and the culturally significant Nagi Gumba, a monastery dedicated to the nuns. The hike up to the Shivapuri summit offers superb views of the Kathmandu Valley and towering Himalayan peaks.
Get to Budhanilkantha by bus from Ratna Park Bus Stop in Kathmandu. You can also book a taxi.
|When to do|
March to May and September to November
Route Description for Shivapuri
This is a massive day out, with a lot of elevation gain. Although a bit arduous, the descent down to Bhagdwar and Nagi Gumba is rewarding.
The starting point of this hike is Budhanilkantha, which is also one of the gateways to Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. Budhanilkantha is home to a Hindu pilgrimage site that features a reclined statue of Lord Vishnu floating in a coil of snakes. Take a bus to Budhanilkantha from Ratna Park Bus Stop.
The entrance to the National Park is about a 1.4mi uphill walk in a north-easterly direction from where the bus drops you off at Budhanilkantha. You can have light snacks and a cup of tea in one of the local tea shops en route.
Buy your permits to enter the national park area at the army checkpoint for about Rs 500 (~$5 USD) for foreigners and Rs 50 ($0.05) for Nepalese.
Once you have entered the national park, the first few hours of the hike consist of mostly dusty roads before the trail climbs above the steep stone steps to Nagi Gumba in a northeast direction. After walking for almost 1.2mi along the tree-lined trail, you’ll reach Nagi Gumba. You’ll instantly recognize the monastery by the fluttering prayer flags and the nuns chatting and working in the area. Enjoy the terrific view of the valley below if the weather is favorable.
Take a rest at the monastery and have a cup of tea or coffee at the tea shop. The next section of the hike is a vertical incline to Bhagdwar and then to the Shivapuri Peak. Follow the stone steps north from the back of the monastery. While the trail is straightforward, it proves tiring as you have to walk mostly on stone steps. The total climb from Nagi Gumba to the Shivapuri peak is about 2953ft.
Continue along the trail while taking in the frequent views of the emerging mountain peaks. The trail leads you through the dense forest all the way to the summit. As you walk higher, the vegetation starts to become more verdant. After trekking for 2.8mi, you’ll reach Bhagdwar, where Bhag means “tiger” and Dwar means “gateway” in Nepali. Encounter a small gargoyle shaped like a tiger here—it is installed where continuous water flows. This is also the place of origin of the Bagmati River. You will see a small green and stagnant pond with a Shiva linga at its center. A couple of yogis and sadhus stay in the monastery area in Bhagdwar. You’ll have the chance to interact with the sadhus to discover their customs.
From here, climb another 656ft, following the same stone steps, to summit Shivapuri. A stone decorated with prayer flags at the peak lets you know you’ve reached the top. Enjoy the excellent views (weather permitting) of the Langtang range. Stay awhile to recuperate from the day’s hike before heading northwest along a different trail with stone steps. For around 6.2mi, you’ll pass a series of villages, like Dada Gaun. Eventually, you’ll arrive in Budhanilkantha. Have your permits ready as you’ll come across several army checkpoints. Continue to follow the paved road down for 2.5mi to return to the Budhanilkantha Bus Stop for your bus back to Kathmandu. After such a challenging walk, reward yourself with tasty eats and a round (or two or three) of drinks.
Bring cash with you, as local shops rarely accept cards
Slow, steady steps and occasional water breaks will help you maintain some energy until you reach the top.
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