Dhulikhel, the old town of gods and traders—not so far from the capital, and close to nature—these attributes are what make it one of the most exotic destinations to visit. Many super hit songs were sung in the 1990s in admiration of this place, one of which goes like this: Ghumnajaun, ghumnajaun, ghumna Dhulikhel….! (Let’s roam, let’s roam, let’s roam Dhulikhel…!).
Dhulikhel, one of the most preferred overnight destinations,has so much to offer despite its relatively small size. The panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks, lush green vegetation, cool breeze, ancient monuments, Newari craftsmanship, narrow streets, and warm hospitable people never fail to enchant visitors. Also notable is, this place has been the trade center between Tibet and Nepal since time immemorial.
If you are among those who believe that going out during the monsoon is a bad idea, we strongly recommend a safe ride to Dhulikhel; the place comes to life when it is drizzling. The 30-km ride from Kathmandu on the Araniko Highway is a worthwhile experience. Here a few of the must-visits when you are in Dhulikhel.
Located on a hill above Dhulikhel city, Dwarika's Resort offers panoramic views of the mountains from a peaceful location. The stunning views include the extended Langtang range of the Himalaya. With its relaxed atmosphere and awe-inspiring views, this is a wonderful place for both domestic and international tourists.
This pagoda-style temple, which holds great historical, cultural, and religious significance in the locality and neighboring area, is situated at the top of the western part of the old town. Hindus from all over the area gather here during festivals such as Bada Dashain and Bisket Jatra. The temple, rich in Newari architecture, is one of the better-preserved and well-kept temples in Dhulikhel's old town. Narayan and Harsiddhi Temples are also two other significant temples here.
Gaukhureshwor Mahadev Temple
Hidden from the hustle and bustle, this temple lies on the east of the town near Tundikhel Recreation Park. This is one of the must-visit temples in Dhulikhel for several reasons; first, for it being a replica of Pashupatinath, and second, for its setting. The temple houses the sacred linga, holy symbol of Lord Shiva. Locals believe that the story of Gaukhureshwor Mahadev's origin is also similar to that of Pashupatinath. They believe that a sacred cow once went down to the place where the lingam was buried, and poured her milk on top of the soil, leading people to wonder what was it that was buried there. When they removed the soil, they found the beautiful shining lingam, and started worshiping it.
If I were to recommend only one place to go in Dhulikhel, it would be Dhulikhel Viewpoint, for sure! It is an uphill ascent of thirty minutes from HazarSidhi's entrance. You can either climb the stairs, or drive from a sideway, to reach the viewpoint. Located at a high altitude, it offers you panoramic views of the majestic mountains and the green valley below. The cool breeze, the splendid views on the horizon, and the mesmerizing sight of the rays of the sun touching the hills are breathtaking. You can either drive or take the stairs to the viewpoint.
The food and the restaurants here have survived the temptations of Westernization. You should not expect fine dining treatment and posh restaurants at Dhulikhel (except for the resorts), but the best of Newari delicacies are served here. Local eateries, plenty in number, offer you an array of delicious Newari cuisines.
HazarSidhi ( Thousand Stairs)
HazarSidhi, the one thousand steps to the top of the hill, is one adventure to indulge in when at Dhulikhel with your friends and family. You might be out of breath, and your feet might want to give up, but the ascent is worth the pain. Midway to the top, you will see a mesmerizing huge Buddha statue, where you can sit and catch your breath and rest. Besides the stairs are many vendors selling bottled water and snacks to ensure that you are well energized. On the top of the stairs is the Kali Temple, from where you can enjoy jaw-dropping views of the valley.