Every year you can ask me “Which is that one destination that you want to go with your hubby?” and each time, you will get a different answer from me. Proves that I am only human for as I discover places, I find some special ones to be shared with him. Last year was no exception. From Pangong Tso in Ladakh to Penang and more, there were quite a few that I wish I could head back to with Ash but the one that I pick for today is Nagarkot in Nepal.
We were in Nepal on invite by the Nepal tourism board to witness their Indra Jatra Festival. It was already over a week and we were at the fag end of our tour, with Nagarkot as our end destination. All of us were down with a bad throat resulting from the Kathmandu dust and our endless travel. Nagarkot was almost like a doctor’s prescription to our ailments. There is something therapeutic about this place that set off feelings of serenity and peace within each of us.
The celestial romance of the sun with the mountains & valley in Nagarkot set off vibes that filled the whole atmosphere with warmth. Had Ash been with me, there would have been an additional tug on my heart. As a destination, Nagarkot surprised me of how much you can do and yet not really do. It is one of those places that slows down your pace while ensuring you don’t get bored. Take a peek at what makes Nagarkot one of the key places to see in Nepal.
Introduction to Nagarkot
30 odd kilometers from Kathmandu, is a quaint little hill town called Nagarkot. During its early days, it served as a fort for the Bhaktapur kingdom but after seeing the beauty of Nagarkot, the royal family turned it into their summer retreat. Still pristine and beautiful, this town serves as a good weekend destination for people from Kathmandu. And for travelers – it is a heaven, especially if you like nature and adventure with that slight touch of heritage.
Quaint Village Feel in Nagarkot
Nothing prepared us for the clean, refreshing atmosphere of Nagarkot. We were so used to the dusty lanes of Kathmandu that when we entered the green pastures of Nagarkot, we were pleasantly shocked. Cute little cottages amidst green fields welcomed us cheerfully as we drove past them along the winding roads of the town. Nagarkot gave that quaint village feel in the dark evening that we arrived.
The whole village seems to be under a cheerful spell for not only will you find people along the roads waving at you but even the brightly colored flowers greeting you. Fresh winds carry the scent of the fields to you and if you are lucky as we were, a bout of rain will allow you to witness the glory of that lush green cover.
Mountains of Nagarkot
They say that Nagarkot has the best view of the Himalayan range and I agree with them. 8 of the thirteen Himalayan ranges can be spotted here including Mount Everest, Manaslu, and Annapurna range. On a clear day, the Everest appears like a dot but is clearly visible. Someone from our hotel mentioned that today was that clear day and you could see the Everest on our left. Excited, we went clickety-click, only to have our bubbles burst. It was Langtang-Ri that we had spotted. Another promising peak turned out to be Dorje Lhakpa but the Everest seemed to elude us.
Frankly, it did not feel disappointing despite that the fact that we had a better view of Annapurna from Pokhara. I guess, it was the classical beauty of the green valleys enclosed by the snow clad Himalayas that made Nagarkot a better destination to see the mountains.
Sunrises in Nagarkot valley
Every place has their own special sunrise but the epic passion between the mountains and the sun at Nagarkot makes the Sunrise here extraordinary. The burst of light at the break of dawn kisses those icy peaks, making them blush a gorgeous pink. This strange intimacy between the Sun and the Himalayas fills the valley with passion felt by some as serenity and by the others as a torrid state of their hearts. No words can really describe the feeling – for the Sunrises in Nagarkot Valley have to be experienced.
Scenic Hikes of Nagarkot
With its rich forest feel and high trails, Nagarkot struck me as a place for adrenaline junkies – especially hikers. Correctly so, my hotel staff informed me of many trails that one could take to enjoy the scintillating views of the place. One trail to the Nagarkot Tower took the hikers to the views of the Himalayas while another took them past the village to a UNESCO site – the Changu Narayana temple. An easy trail called the Nagarkot Panorama trail along the periphery of the town allowed even the kids to enjoy a round view of the valley. For those who needed a higher dose of thrill, mountain biking is quite famous here.
Me? I did nothing for a change. I know that is the first that you might have heard but I did miss Ash sorely enough to do nothing but take in the views.
Stay in Nagarkot
Nagarkot has plenty of hotels to suit your budget and taste. In my case, we were spoilt at the Mystic Mountain Hotel, that overlooked the Nagarkot valley. This was part of the reason that I ditched stepping out and missed Ash for the hotel was just perfect. The rooms were comfortable and the best part of it – they overlooked the same Himalayan range that people come here to take in. I literally saw the first ray of light that the Sun send out from my balcony.
The Infinity pool was a perfect point to enjoy the cool water while you took in those valley views. The views of Nagarkot did not leave us for even one minute for even the dining area of the hotel faced the valley. It seemed just perfect to make the most out of our short stay at Nagarkot.
Though we were at the end of our 10 day trip to Nepal, and we were wanting to get home, we felt the pull of the place enticing us to stay a day more. We could only delay our departure by a few hours but when we left, it was with regret. In retrospect, it was just as well for getting back here with Ash is a hope I still have. One that will get me back to experience the magical romance of the Sun and the mountains with Ash in Nagarkot.
- The nearest airport to Nagarkot is Kathmandu, at 32 kms
- You can get to Nagarkot via a bus from the Bhaktapur depot or hire a private taxi for the same.
- For the SAARC nationals, there is no fee to visit Nagarkot but the non-SAARC nationals will have to pay a minimum fee of Nepali Rupees 300 or so to enter here.
- Anytime of the year is great to visit here. March to May is great for those who want to embark on an adventure trail.
- Warm clothes are advised for evenings and early mornings. If you are visiting in Winter, you might need heavier jackets too.
- Try staying here for at least two nights to experience the best of Nagarkot. It is a great place to unwind.
- Book your accommodation well in advance.
- Take the help of the locals or the hotel when heading for one of the nature trails. Best to get a guide to accompany you so that you can keep safe
- Please keep the place clean for it is still quite unspoiled.
P.S: I was here by invite from the Nepal Tourism Board. However, this has no bearing on my opinions, which are truly and honestly my own.