The Shivapuri Nagi Gumba Day Hike is one of the best short, easy, and memorable hiking journeys in the Kathmandu Valley, as picturesque and gratifying Himalayan foothills trekking trips. This trip is ideal for travelers who wish to experience the Himalayan foothills without committing to a multi-day expedition.
The journey commences with a 45-minute drive to Budhanilkantha Temple which is nestled at the foothills of Shivapuri. This Hindu pilgrimage site is also called Narayanthan Temple, where there is a giant sleeping Vishnu statue on a pond and is worshiped by Hindu devotees. A short drive further from the temple is the entrance to the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park where the hiking begins.
The first portion of the hike is relatively easy on a desert road before climbing above the steep stone stairs to Nagi Gumba in the northeast. It is a 2 hours hike to Nagi Gumba from the entrance. Nagi Gumba is a Buddhist monastery on Shivapuri Hill dedicated to the nuns. Meditation is highly practiced here by the locals as well as the foreigners. The fluttering prayer flags and the nuns chatting and working in the neighborhood will immediately identify the monastery. The monastery also offers a panoramic view of Kathmandu and the Langtang Himalayas on a clear day.
The trail from the monastery goes uphill through oak and rhododendron woodlands. The greenery becomes more verdant as we climb higher. We might get a glimpse of some unique birds and herbs as the Shivapuri National Park has a diverse range of flora and fauna. There are around 177 different bird species, as well as numerous unique orchids. This is also one of the valley's last remaining regions of primary woods, and the forest is teeming with monkeys, leopards, and bears.
The hiking continues while soaking in the numerous views of the rising mountain peaks. There is a place called Baghdwar en route to the Shivapuri Summit, nearly 700 meters above the Nagi Monastery. Bagh means "tiger" and Dwar means "portal" in Nepali and it is a worth seeing site. We can see a little tiger-shaped gargoyle, situated where there is constant water flow. This is the main source of the holy Bagmati River and is also the biggest water supply to Kathmandu valley. A few yogis and sadhus can be seen around this area where you can interact with them and learn about their lifestyle.
Finally, 200 meters uphill from Bagdwar on a steep trail is the Shivapuri Hilltop at an altitude of 2563 m. Shivapuri is located to the north of Kathmandu, and is the second-highest hill surrounding the valley, after the famous hill - Phulchowki. The summit of the hill provides us with a spectacular view of the mountains such as Mt. Ganesh Himal, Mt. Langtang Lirung, Mt. Langtang Ri, and Ganjala Peak, as well as Mt. Gaurishanker and many other summits on a clear day. A flat field marks the top of our goal, where we eat our packed lunch while taking in the fresh air and wonderful scenery.
Shivapuri Nagi Gumba Day Hike Highlights
- Hiking to the second tallest hill around Kathmandu
- A great opportunity to immerse in nature
- A spectacular view of the Kathmandu valley, Langtang mountain range, Mt. Manaslu, and nearby summits on a clear day
- Walk inside the Shivapuri National Park and witness unique flora and fauna
- Worth seeing sites such as Budhanilkantha, Nagi Gompa, and Bagdwar, along with Shivapuri Hill itself
How difficult is Shivapuri Nagi Gumba Day Hike?
The Shivapuri Nagi Gumba Hike is a short day climb in Kathmandu and is rated as an easy hike within the Shivapuri-Nagarjun national park. The trail is well-established, well-maintained, and comfortable. Stairs are located throughout the hiking path to assist you in walking even if the terrain is treacherous.
Hikers with a moderate degree of fitness and a strong mental drive can easily accomplish this hike. Throughout the route, the hiker should walk gently uphill and downhill for over 6 hours.
Note: Hiking alone inside a national park is strictly prohibited; you must be accompanied by a guide (city/trekking guide). But, if you are walking alone, you must hire a nature guide on the spot, which costs an additional NPR 2000 to the national park entry fee.
When is the best time to do Shivapuri Nagi Gumba Day Hike?
Shivapuri is a short and easy climb near Kathmandu that can be done at any time of year. As a result, walking to Shivapuri can be planned at any time of year. However, the greatest season to hike Shivapuri is from September to early June.
The weather and temperatures are pleasant; the scenery is breathtaking, and the skies are mainly clear. Throughout the trekking trail in the spring (March to May), you will be greeted by rhododendron and other seasonal flower blossoms.
During the rainy months, particularly July and August, you may encounter slick stone steps but the hike is possible. Winter is also a great time to hike to Shivapuri Hill to experience the snowfall around the Kathmandu Valley.