White Gumba, or Seto Gumba, is a Buddhist pilgrimage site set on top of a hill just outside the main ring road, northeast of Swayambhunath. A massive structure, complete with soothing monk chants, offers a peaceful spot for contemplation. The calming ambience, amazing valley view, and beautiful structure of Seto Gumba are what makes this ride from Kathmandu to Seto Gumba a perfect mountain biking adventure. The climb up to the Gumba is fairly strenuous, though it’s a short ride over black-topped roads.
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Route Description for Seto Gumba
The ride to Seto Gumba starts from Halchowk along the ring road. From Balaju Chowk, ride west for 2.5 km before taking a right opposite the three iconic statues of Lord Buddha in Halchowk. From here, with the view of the concrete jungle of Kathmandu and the Armed Police Headquarters on your right, you’ll continue up along the trail, a mix of paved and gravel roads with a gradual ascent.
You’ll steadily work the legs as you pedal the 1.7 km from Halchowk until you reach a fork in the trail. Continuing straight ahead will take you to Ichhangu Narayan Temple, a holy temple of Lord Bishnu, while taking a left will lead you to Seto Gumba. Make a left and resume pedaling, waving to the locals working in the corn fields where they greet you as you ride past. Cycling for another 300 m, the road forks, take a sharp right, from where the steep ascent to Seto Gumba begins.
Test your strength and endurance as you make the climb. Take breaks and hydrate often. Considering Seto Gumba is only 2.0 km from where the hill begins, it is a tough ride to reach the summit and takes about 1-1.5 hours. Stop for a rest about halfway up the hill and enjoy the unbeatable panoramic views of the valley, Swoyambhunath Stupa, Rato Gumba, and Nagarjun.
This 2.0 km stretch up to Seto Gumba is paved. The higher in elevation you climb, the more breathtaking the views become. You will see thousands of prayer flags fluttering in the gusty wind as well as Buddhist monuments and structures as you near Seto Gumba. As Seto Gumba is only open on Saturdays, note there will be crowds to contend with, however, its peaceful ambience more than makes up for it. To enter the temple, you’ll have to pay a fee and leave your mountain bikes outside. Explore the monastery at your own pace to find your inner peace.
If you’re in the mood for lunch, there are numerous options outside of the monastery. Afterward, continue west for another 600 m to reach the small Gurung village of Kallaghari. Known for their hospitality and food, it is highly recommended you stay the night in one of the many homestay options on offer by the Gurung people. If you decide to return to Kathmandu, make your way back by following the same trails you took earlier.
Insider Hints for Seto Gumba
- Take advantage of the rest stop halfway up the steep incline to Seto Gumba and enjoy the sweeping vistas over the Kathmandu Valley.
- Stay the night in Kallaghari to take in the striking sunset and sunrise and immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the Gurung people.
Getting to the Seto Gumba Trailhead
To get to Halchowk, ride for 2.5 km west from Balaju Chowk.
Seto Gumba Elevation Graph
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Seto Gumba Reviews
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