Dirty your Hiking Boots this Spring

With its pleasant afternoons and balmy evenings, spring tempts even the most ardent bench-dwellers to the outdoors. Fr!day lists three easy hiking routes around the valley for the first-timers.

Text by Archana Shrestha

Bhaktapur-Changunarayan

Lush trees, reviving sunrays, vast farmlands, and an easy walk of just three hours define the hike from Bhaktapur to Changunarayan.

Starting from Bhaktapur bus stop, walking up a graveled jeep-road, you will see a slow-growing town with a mix of modern concrete houses midst the shelters typical to Bhaktapur. Leaving behind the sounds of the city, you will ascend further to a slope of beautiful glades where the sunlight peeks from the umbrage of opulent vegetation. The stone stairways lead to an entrance of and UNESCO world heritage site monument, Changunarayan Temple, a couple of small tea shops inside, with long wooden benches where you can quench your urge for a glass of local tea.

The temple, left victim by the infamous earthquake, stands quite proud overlooking the scenic Bhaktapur city from all directions. Coming down the steps towards the bus stand, you will see local souvenir shops and small art gallery stores that ends your hiking experience on an artsy note. You can then take a bus back to Bhaktapur bus stop or walk down the road way towards the city.

Sundarijal-Shivapuri

For a perfect retreat in beautiful springtime away from the humdrum of the city life, all you need to do is dirty your hiking boots on the trails of Shivapuri. The rhythm of chirpy birds, rustling leaves, and your leisurely gait uphill altogether makes a fulfilling hike on an ideal spring day.

The rumbling waterfalls of Sundarijal stays with you as you walk up the stony stairway that guides you up towards the noted dam-side before reaching the roadway at Mulkharka. The remarkable Okhreni village treats you with terrace lands and flimsy wind that helps soak up your toil that took you to that very spot.

Extending your steps further towards the top, you will be surrounded by the views of majestic mountains from the Shivapuri peak that will make you want to stay longer. Descend the long stairway, passing by Nagi Gompa, which will take you to Pani Muhan gate near Budhanilkantha.

Nagarjuna Hill

Nagarjuna hill lies abreast to Kathmandu Valley and is home to resplendent flora and vibrant birds, Buddhist monasteries and the remarkable Jamacho view point that lies at approximately 2000 meters.

Starting off from the Nagarjuna gate that is a kilometer away from Balaju bypass, the stony steps with delectable forest on both sides, adds a meditative aura to your hike. You feel closer to nature as the sounds of birds and crickets mingle with the sound of you breathing. On your way to the ridge, you will see the thick canopy of huge trees shifting to bamboo shrubs, which is equally gratifying. After you reach the Jamacho view point, you will be amazed by the scenic beauty of incredible Himalayan peaks like Mount Ganesh and Langtang, and Swoyambhu atop its hill that seems smaller from where you stand. Hiking to Nagarjuna leaves you with a calming sense of mind and lightness to your feet as you can witness the placid monastery without hastening to reach and to return.