Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal is the home of 2,122 plant species, 129 species of Mushrooms, 24 species of Mammals, 106 species of moth and butterflies and 318 species of birds.
And it is one of the best and nearest hiking trail in Kathmandu which lies inside Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. It is
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park covers a total area of 144 KM2 and spreads among the parts of Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk and Dhading districts for central Nepal.
The head office of the National Park is located at Panimhuan, Budhanilkantha municipality of Kathmandu.
The clean and fresh water from river and streams of this National Park is delivered to the residents of Kathmandu Valley (30 million liters of water per day).
Facts of Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hike:
Region of the Hike: Kathmandu
Maximum Altitude: Shivapuri Peak (2,730M), the top of Shivapuri National Park and second highest place close to Kathmandu Valley
Hiking Grade: Easy
Starting and Ending Point: Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal
Hiking Distance: 18 km approx.
Maximum Walking: 5 – 6 Hours
- Visit few cultural shrines (Hindu and Buddhist Culture) along the trail (Nagi Gumba – 2,340 m)
- Bird watching in Shivapuri National Park
- Scenic view of Kathmandu Valley, Forest Environment and Religious sites
- Spiritual Fitness and Spend a day in wildlife/nature
- Observing dense forest, wild life, waterfalls, cliff and the beautiful landscape
- Wild animals like deer, leopard, wild cat etc. and many varieties of butterflies and birds can be seen if you get lucky.
Route to Sundarijal from Budhanilkantha:
Chakrapath – Budhanilkantha – Shivapuri National Park – Nagi Gumba – Tare Bhir – Mulkharka – Sundarijal
How to reach Budhanilkantha?
On a Public Vehicle
Get a bus to Chakrapath (Maharajgunj), then get off there. From Chakrapath, get a bus, micro or tempo to Budhanilkantha/Narayanthan.
You can also get a direct bus or micro bus to Budhanilkantha, Narayanthan from Sundhara (Kathmandu Mall) and from Kalanki route.
On a Private Vehicle
Just drive or ask a driver to take to you Budhanilkantha, Shivapuri National Park Gate. You can use google maps or maps.me for offline map.
And if you like interacting with locals then you can ask locals for direction.
2 days before the hike me and a couple of friends to go for a hike on New Year’s Day. And finally a day before we decided Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal route for our hike.
New Year Day
It is 1st January 2020 and our hike day as planned the day before. I woke up at 6:00 A.M. called my friend, Amir (lives nearby) and then went to the washroom to empty my stomach, brush teeth and wash my face.
Then wore proper clothing i.e. full sleeves inner, sweater, wind cheater, inner trouser, track pants, trekking boots.
And packed my bags with a bottle of water, sunglasses and wallet (We were buying food for the hike on the way).
By now it’s already 6:30, So I woke up another friend (lives with me) but replied that he didn’t want to go.
So from home, I left alone towards Amir’s house. He made coffee for both of us and brought some croissants (bread). We ate and then Amir gave his Camera and a water bottle to keep in my bag.
At around 7, we left Amir’s house and moved towards Dhungedhara chowk to catch a bus to Budhanilkantha. On the way, we called our friend who was supposed to go with us. And he said he was on the way and will catch up a little ahead.
Then at 7:15, we took a bus to Budhanilkantha and on the way we met our friend. And finally, our group of 3 was complete.
Budhanilkantha – Start of our Hike
After riding the public bus for about 30 mins, we reached Budhanilkantha. This place is famous for Hindus. There’s a statue of God Bishnu lying on a pond.
But to start our hike, we had to go up, towards Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. If it’s your first time, then you can ask locals for the way to Shivapuri National Park gate.
Here, near a temple we bought some bread from a mobile bakery shop, which was on a van. And kept on our bag to eat on our lunch. On the way we also bought a litre of juice.
Then continued our walk towards the National Park gate. After walking for about 30 mins we came near the ticket counter to enter Shivapuri National park.
Breakfast Before Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hike
But before starting our hike officially, we decided to have a light breakfast. So, we went on a small tea shop and asked for available breakfast. Since it was early morning, only fried potatoes were available at that time.
So we asked her to make 3 cups of tea and a plate of fried potatoes. After 15 minutes, we were served tea and a large plate of fried potatoes. Here, we decided to customize our fried potatoes. So asked for a packet of Wai Wai instant noodles and sprinkled over the potatoes.
Now, it’s more delicious and interesting to eat with different textures and flavors. Crunchiness of noodles, softness of potatoes, salty noodles, hot and spicy potato, It was like a flavor bomb in our mouth.
And with our tea we had sweet breads that we bought earlier. It was the perfect combination for our breakfast.
For this amazing breakfast (3 cup of teas, 1 plate fried potatoes, 1 Wai Wai noodles), we paid 210 Nepalese Rupees (NPR) and continued to walk towards Shivapuri National Park gate.
Here, we bought tickets to enter the National Park Area which cost us NPR 125 each.
We took a leaflet from the ticket counter which had the information about the National Park, plants, animals and birds found inside and a map of the National Park. Then registered one our details on an Army booth for security purpose (And it’s mandatory).
Here, you can even get a guide, if you need (at an extra cost).
Officially Started our Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hike on Visit Nepal 2020
Inside the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park gate, we saw large information boards about the available flora and fauna (plants and animals). There was also a small army barrack for the protection of National Park.
As soon as we left all the materialistic world behind, we could feel the different vibe in nature. It was so clean, fresh and quiet.
The chirping of different birds welcomed our journey.
We were amazed to see such an amazing place, just a few kilometers from buzzing Kathmandu city.
On the way we took different photos for our social media and this blog and climbed uphill. The path was good, a vehicle (Jeep and Vans) could easily move but was inclined as we had to climb the hill.
After walking for a while, we were stopped by sign board. It was showing directions for different places we could go from there. Beside this, We also loved a quote written on it.
“Keep the Earth clean it’s not Uranus”.
Head of the Barley
After taking a few photos with the sign, we continued to walk. And at around 9:24 we reached a place called Kodako Thaplo, which was a bit funny.
Because, In Nepali Kodo means Barley and Thaplo means Head, So Kodako Thaplo means Head of Barley. This place or surrounding place might be famous for Barley production and got its name, but there was no one to ask for a meaning.
So we assumed it and continued our journey. Here the path was really steep, so we walked slowly.
But the chirping of birds, the sound of small spring waters flowing down the hills, fresh and clean air and the view of the valley below energized us and motivates us to continue our journey.
Off to Nagi Gumba, Religious place for buddhists, More than 100 nuns live here
Walking for around half an hour took us to a place where the path split. And the sign board said straight path would take us to Tare Bhir and the left steep stairs would take us to Nagi Gumba.
So we decided to take the steep stairs first and then come down and go towards Tare Bhir. After walking for about 20 minutes from this point, we reached to this beautiful Nagi Gumba (Monastery).
In this monastery, around 100 nuns study and live here. And the monastery is really beautiful, as it is within the clean and fresh environment and almost untouched by the materialistic living world and less distraction as it gets less visitors.
We spent quality time around the monastery, took some photos and videos and filled our water bottle. Since we were not allowed to enter the monastery, we prayed from outside from our heart and decided to move towards Tare Bhir.
While I was packing my bag after refilling my water bottle, I didn’t see the camera bag in there. So I asked if Amir had taken the bag. And then, he realized that he had left the camera bag somewhere on the trail.
After thinking for a while, he confirmed that he had left the camera bag at the place where we had breakfast (Shivapuri National Park Gate).
And our endpoint was on the other part of the National Park Area, so he decided he will come later to get the bag and we continued our journey.
Lost while exploring Nagi Gumba
When you are visiting a new place, would you go to the same place twice? Won’t you explore new places?
Yes, we also wanted to explore a bit more. And thought there might be an alternative route to reach the place/path where we split earlier.
And we asked a man about the shortcut to reach the road, and he said there’s a path down the house which would take us to the road.
So we continued to walk down the house. Though there was no actual path, with our gut feeling we continued to walk down through the bushes with thorns. And at the end of that path we saw a road but we had to jump off that ending.
We carefully jumped and reached the road.
Earlier, before splitting we were climbing the hill, so we assumed we had to climb up. So we continued to walk upwards on that road.
Wait, there’s a shortcut. We thought we found a shortcut through the jungle, and agreed to go that way. After walking that way for 15 mins we could see familiar buildings. And on carefully looking at those buildings, we found out that we were on the back side of Nagi Gumba.
So, foolishly we returned back to the road. And realized that the road was not the actual road to Tare Bhir, instead it was the road ways to Nagi Gumba.
So, we started to climb down and finally after walking down for 15 mins we reached the junction which was the road split of Tare Bhir and Nagi Gumba. And here we took photos on the sign.
Elderly Female Solo Hiker on Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal route
While we were taking photos, we met a lady who was walking alone. So we said ‘Hi’ and asked where she was headed. She smiled and replied back and said she was going to the monastery. So we wished her Happy New Year and continued or journey towards Tare Bhir.
After walking for about 20 mins, we decided to stop for a lunch break, as we were feeling hungry. So, we searched for a spot and found one. It’s just below Tare Bhir. But we had to climb a little bit from the road and had no actual path.
Lunch at Tare Bhir
Anyway, we made our paths and climbed up. It’s clean and with rocks where we sat. At this time, it was already 11:30, so we were really hungry and started to eat what we had brought i.e. cakes, breads, juice and water. The sun rays were directly over us, so it kept us warm as well.
After our lunch, we recorded a happy new year wish message to our dearest who moved to the United States and Australia recently. The actual plan was to video call them, but the network was not available. So, we recorded offline video message to send it later when we are back home.
Then we packed our backs, now it was lighter as we ate everything we brought, and climbed down that spot.
Added to the Bucket List – Hike to the top of Tare Bhir on Shivapuri National Park
Then we started moving forward. On the way we took a couple of photos of the scenery, some cool photography tricks and continued. After walking for a few minutes, we arrived at the military check post.
Here, we had to show our tickets that we bought while starting our hike and then register our details there.
I also asked one of the army personnel about the path to the top of that Tare Bhir. And he replied that, there was no official path to get there, but one can reach if he wants through small foot paths.
And he suggested not to go right now. So, we moved forward towards Sundarijal but to climb that hill, Tare Bhir is now on my bucket list.
Wait! Spotted a Deer
Walking for about 15 minutes from that check post took us to a small village. So, I asked one of the villagers about the name of that village. And she said, it’s called “Tare Bhir Village” and most of the people were of Tamang caste (one of the indigenous ethnic group of Nepal).
From the road we looked down to the village and saw many small houses, farm lands with vegetable and livestock like goats, cows, chickens, etc. And then we moved forward.
After walking for a couple of minutes, we saw a small open ground from where the valley could be seen. So, we rushed towards there to take a photo. While our friends were taking photos, I heard some noise in the jungle, down the road and a bit ahead of us.
So, I moved quietly towards it and saw a deer grazing in the woods.
I called my friends silently and they rushed towards me. Luckily, they also got a chance to see that amazing creature. As it was far from us and there was no other way to reach near it, our camera couldn’t capture its photo.
We looked at it quietly, before it disappeared among the woods and then we continued our journey.
It was a majestic moment to see this beautiful creature in its natural habitat, not caged in Zoos.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to recognize Birds: An Idea
Now, it was already 12:30 here, so we started walking quickly than before. On the way we saw a variety of birds.
And I shared an idea of making an app using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence that would recognize any birds. And if it made any mistakes or failed to recognize the bird then we could correct it so that it can learn from us.
As an IT guy, I know it’s possible and may make similar app one day or hope to see someone making this app and I would love to use it.
Talking about random but possible ideas, that would make travel more informative, valuable and interesting, we continued our journey.
Dense and Scary Forest on Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hike Route
Now the path was leading down the hill, so it was easier to walk now. But the forest was getting denser than before. And sometimes it was scary as there was no sound other than ours and birds. We even joked of getting attacks by Leopard which was a possible thing as we were walking inside a National Park.
We even stopped sometimes to take some photos in that dense forest and took some dramatic cinematic footage for our travel video. And continued to walk.
Now, we saw a river which was bigger than any other streams we saw till now. And as we climbed down, it was getting bigger. And it was the time we realized that the river was the origin of famous Sundarijal (End of the Hike) Waterfall.
While climbing down, we even found a spot which was a natural swimming pool. It was big, clean and fresh water, which provoked us to dive and swim for a while.
But it was almost 5-6 degree cold and we were not prepared to swim. So, we did not take a risk to swim in that cold water but decided to come later during autumn or summer. We said goodbye to that place and continued our journey.
Sundarijal Dam – Water Supply Station
Now, we could hear people talking and after walking for a while, we saw some people and realized that it was a water dam that I saw on a blog.
We also went to that place but the dam was dried and under maintenance and found out that the people of Kathmandu were drinking water from there.
In search of Mulkharka Village
On talking with a local, we found that a little up from that dam is a village called Mulkharka, where one can find a restaurant to eat food and can also hike to the top of the village. So we also decided to go up there and see what it has.
Within 15 minutes we reached to the top of the Mulkharka Village which was small but beautiful with farmlands mostly. After staying there for a couple of minutes we climbed down and went to the road ways.
Here, we saw a sign board showing another hike route. And we planned to take that route next time and returned back to the dam.
End of Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hike
From the dam we went towards Sundari Mai (Goddess) Temple. It was just a couple of minutes down from the Nepal Scout National Training Center.
We roamed around there for some time, took some photos and continued to walk towards Sundarijal.
From there it took us just a couple of minutes to reach Sundarijal Waterfall. We did not stop there and continued to walk down.
And as we were getting hungry we decided to stop at a tea shop. So, we ordered 3 cups of tea and a packet of Cookies there. The place was really nice. It had small cottages made out of bamboo and dried grass roof and the view of the river was mesmerizing as well.
Within 15 minutes, we were served tea and cookies. It was 3:30 already, so we ate it to boost our energy as it would take another 2 and a half hours to reach home. Then we paid for the snacks and continued to move towards the bus park.
Way back Home
Since there were no buses that would take directly to our home, we got on a bus to Ratna Park at 4:10. And we had to get off at a place called Chabahill and take another bus home.
On the second bus, one of our friends said that he would take to a place near our home, where the best MoMos (dumplings) is served. And we agreed to go there.
But at first, they had to go to bring the camera bag where they had left (Breakfast place near Shivapuri National Park gate) early in the morning. So, they get off on the mid-way to take a friend’s motorbike. And on a motorbike, they would go to bring camera bag and come back.
Best MoMos (Dumplings) in K Town
But I continued to move on the same bus and went directly to home.
Finally, at 6:00 P.M. I reached home, took shower and stayed warm in my bed. And at around 8:00, guys came to my house and we went to have those dumplings. Those Momos (dumplings) were really good. And we may even come back again to this place to have these yummy MoMos.
At around 8:30 P.M. we cooked food at my place. But unfortunately, Sunil (one of my hike team) had to leave. So, the rest of us ate good food on New Year’s and slept early as we were really tired from our hike.
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Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hiking FAQs
Why should I go for a Hike in Shivapuri National Park?
Because It is the home of 2,122 plant species, 129 species of Mushrooms, 24 species of Mammals, 106 species of moth and butterflies and 318 species of birds.
You can also visit the cultural shrines of Hindus and Buddhists. And see the Scenic view of Kathmandu Valley, Forest Environment and Wildlife.
Where is Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park?
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park lies on Central Nepal covering area of 144 Km2 and spread among Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk and Dhading districts.
And the head office lies on Panihmuhan of Budhanilkantha municipality, Kathmandu.
Budhanilkantha – Sundarijal Hiking Route
Chakrapath – Budhanilkantha – Panimuhan – Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park – Nagi Gumba – Tare Bhir – Mulkharka Village – Sundarijal
Other places to go for a hike in Kathmandu
- Hiking to Jamacho through Queens Forest
- Hike to Jamchen Vijaya Stupa from Budhanilkantha
- Champadevi Hiking Trail
What’s your favorite Hiking Route in Kathmandu?Recommend Us in the Comment below.