Hike to nunneries through Shivapuri-Nagi Gompa-Kapan trail
THE WEEK BUREAU
The Shivapuri Range is located at the height of 2,563 meters. The highest hilltop in the Kathmandu Valley, the Shivapuri Watershed area is a protected range and home to many endangered flora and fauna. The rare species that are preserved in the area, known as Shivapuri National Park, includes leopards, jungle cats and Himalayan Black Bears.
Nagi Gompa, a nunnery and monastery on the Shivapuri Hill, is also a perfect place for hikers who are looking for respite from city life. Extending your hike to another monastery at Kapan will definitely make a weekend dedicated to nature and peace.
You can take a public bus from Ratna Park or in front of the NAC Building to Budhanilkantha. The ride in public vehicle may take an hour. You can also choose to take a taxi, which will take half the time to reach the destination. After you get off at the stop at Budhanilkantha, you can visit the famous temple of Lord Bishnu (Buda Nil Kantha) before starting the uphill hike.
The journey to Nagi Gompa will start from the Shivapuri National Park gate. It’ll take around 2-3 hours to reach Nagi Gompa. After relaxing for a while inside the peaceful premises of the monastery and enjoying the refreshments, you can head to Kapan. The downhill walk to the Kapan Monastery will take around two hours. From there, you can either walk to Boudha for another hour or choose to take public vehicles available at the foot of the monastery.
Though the entire journey will take five hours to complete, you’ll be able to set aside your exhaustion as rhododendron flowers will follow you throughout the trail during this time of the year. The magnificence of this hill is also highlighted by the ample natural resources with the trail passing through bamboo groves and oak forests and occasional streams on the way.
From the Nagi Gompa, hikers will also be able to get wonderful views of Langtang Lirung, Dorje Lakpa, and Ganesh Himal and other mountains. Also famous for bird watching, the hike trail also offers ideal photographic opportunities.
The Kapan Monastery, on the other side, is an equally famous and beautiful Buddhist cloister housing up to 360 monks. Another nearby sister building, the Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery houses 380 nuns. The monks and the nuns come mainly from Nepal, Tibet and other Himalayan countries to receive good monastic education.
A visit to Boudha, one of two major Buddhist enclaves in Kathmandu, will then complete the whole monastery experience. An equally fascinating area with people of all ages circumnavigating the world-famous stupa in a clockwise fashion, you can also taste traditional Tibetan dishes at the nearby restaurants.
A day bag
Reasonable walking shoes
Light warm jacket
An extra pair of clothes
The hike is basically easy which can be demanding at some steep uphill and downhill parts. Though it’s recommended for people of all ages, the long duration of the hike, however, should be taken into consideration while planning.
The weather is temperate at this time of year. Mid-February to April and mid-October to December is considered as the ideal time for the hike.
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