Introduction: Sunrise from Nagarkot and Changunarayan Hike
Nagarkot has been a fort since the Lichhavi dynasty in Nepal, and King Pratap Malla welcomed the first Europeans, Father Grueber, and Dorville, who arrived in Nepal in 1661.
Nagarkot (Kangra), located at an elevation of 2100 meters and 30 kilometers from Kathmandu, was an old Kathmandu valley fort intended to watch the exterior actions of neighboring kingdoms. It then became a royal family summer resort before becoming prominent as an international and national hill station. When the weather is clear, Nagarkot is one of the most famous hill stations for its beautiful dawn vista of the Himalayas.
Nagarkot has one of the most expansive vistas of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley (8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 from here). The Annapurna Range, Manaslu Range, Ganesh Himal Range, Langtang Range, Jugal Range, Rolwaling Range, Mahalangur Range (Everest Range), and Number range are among the ranges providing views of Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri National Park. Nagarkot also provides a spectacular view of the Kathmandu Valley.
Changunarayan, one of Nepal's most visited temples, is a pygostyle Hindu temple devoted to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan. It is around 22 kilometers east of the Kathmandu valley. Changunarayan is Kathmandu's most important holy sanctuary in terms of original, religious, social, and historical value.
This holy sanctuary houses a diverse collection of creative Lord Vishnu relics dating back to the fourth century. In Nepal, this area has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
NOTE: If you're planning a trek in Nepal, then going towards Changunarayan for a day hike after a sunrise in Nagarkot can be a really good preparation for stretching and getting introduced to the terrain of Nepal.
Where does the Trip Begin and End? What Should I Expect During This Trip?
The trip begins with an early morning ride from Kathmandu to Nagarkot Tower, where you will witness the majestic view of sunrise. After seeing the sunrise, you can go down the stairs. and have some local tea and breakfast, and after that we will be heading down towards the Nagarkot buspark and begin a walk from there towards Changunarayan, which is a pleasant walk from there; it’s a silent trail where there are fewer shops. and once we reach the valley of ChanguNarayan, we see the main shrine from there, and after taking the ticket and entering inside the shrine, we see the old valley of the residents, which resembles Nepali art and architecture. There are many cafes and tea shops selling unique flavors of tea, and after entering the main shrine and coming out from there, we have a different experience, which makes us realize how the old ways used to be. Our elders used to go from Nagarkot to Changunarayan to pay a visit and receive blessings from the god.
Are Permits required for Nagarkot Sunrise and Changunarayan Hike?
Yes, we need to get a permit at Changunarayan, and the amount we pay goes for the reconstruction and development of the palace, while we don’t need any permits for going towards Nagarkot and witnessing the sunrise.
NOTE: Before starting the trek, it is recommended to get a good pair of trekking boots, a water bottle, some breakfast, and some energy bars as well.
Weather and Climate around Nagarkot and Changunarayan
The climate and weather in Nagarkot will have a significant impact on the degree of enjoyment you may receive from the region's panoramas since clouds are frequently observed obscuring some of the greatest views of the hills and farmland. As a result, the months of October, November, March, and April are regarded as the finest months to visit Nagarkot.
Spring (March – April)
The spring season is one of the greatest seasons to visit Nagarkot. The frigid winter temperatures begin to rise, giving place to a nice atmosphere with a colorful and blossoming valley and breathtaking vistas of the hills. Most daytime activities, such as paragliding and hiking, are also popular during these months.
Summers are not the greatest season to visit Nagarkot since the heat makes outdoor activities and exploration difficult, and the monsoon rains make for an unpleasant tourist experience. Even when it isn't raining, the black clouds hang low and thick, blocking much of the views that are meant to be the highlight of a visit to Nagarkot.
After the monsoons have passed, there is a brief period of chilly weather with a clear sky known as an autumn episode. The month of October has great temperatures and a pure environment, making it ideal for seeing the Himalayas and slopes. However, temperatures begin to fall fast after November; the high levels of humidity that continue all year are responsible for a lot of mist and fog, especially in the mornings, which dramatically impair visibility around the mountains and valleys.
Speciality about Nagarkot and Changunarayan?
Nagarkot, a tranquil hill hamlet about 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is a welcome respite from the bustle of Nepal's metropolis. It's best recognized for its tranquil ambiance and breathtaking mountain vistas - on a clear day, you can even see Mount Everest in the distance.
Observe the dawn Even if you're not a morning person, it's worth waking up early to view a spectacular sunrise - the scenery will undoubtedly make it one of the most unforgettable you've ever seen!
To obtain the finest view, you'll need to pick a decent place, because if you're on the wrong side of the hill, you'll see very little. Many hotels may provide scheduled tours during peak season, but otherwise, you can inquire locally and it'll frequently be a short walk.
Put down a tree at the Buddha Peace Park. A delightful hour's stroll from Nagarkot gets you to the Buddha Peace Park, which features a big golden Buddha statue surrounded by an open park. It has a beautiful view of the valley and is a great place to relax. They will assist you in planting a tree to honor a lost loved one and to contribute to the environment for a nominal price (about 350-500NPR), adding a special moment to your trip to Nagarkot.
Why Should you Visit Nagarkot?
Nagarkot will enchant you with its beautiful mountains, wildness, and natural landscapes and scenery. Nagarkot is a spot for high-altitude explorers to acclimate, intellectuals to listen to the sounds of stillness, and couples to romance nature. Nagarkot is a place to unwind your mind and body, reconnect with nature, learn about Nepal, and flee the frantic demands of city life... all in the luxury and elegance of a high-class resort in a spectacular environment.
What makes Changunarayan Special?
Changunarayan is a two-story pagoda-style temple devoted to lord Vishnu, surrounded by antique sculptures and statues. It is considered to be the oldest Hindu temple still in operation in the Kathmandu Valley, having withstood devastation in 1702 and 2015. The temple is devoted to Vishnu and is located on top of a steep hill about seven miles straight east of Kathmandu. It also has temples to Lord Shiva, Ashta Matrika, Chhinnamasta, Kileshwor, and Krishna.
Some of the finest sculptures in the Kathmandu Valley adorn the main temple. Outside of the National Museum of Nepal, the statues encircling the temple are the greatest you'll see. The diagonal beams that support the temple's two pagodas are intricately carved with images of Vishnu's ten avatars and different multi-armed Tantric divinities.
Meanwhile, stone lions, griffins, elephants, and Sarabhai protect the temple's four doors (part-lion, part-bird creatures from Hindu mythology).
The collection's jewels, though, are the sculptures and carvings sprinkled about the courtyard, the oldest going back to the Licchavi period (400 to 750). The statue of Garuda, the fabled bird that served as Vishnu's mount and dated back to the fifth century, faces the temple's west entryway. And nearby lies the Kathmandu Valley's oldest stone inscription, a statement engraved in 464 that recalls the story of how a monarch persuaded his mother not to commit suicide when her spouse died.
Inside the temple, you are allowed to wander the grounds, but only priests are permitted to enter the main temple.