Nestled in the Himalayas, Kathmandu is not only the capital but the largest city in Nepal. Kathmandu has also been a cultural and art centre throughout history. The city is blessed with pleasant mountain climate and unmatched natural beauty that makes it a leading global destination. The best time to visit is between March and October when the city experiences wet summers and the flora is flourishing everywhere. The city’s culture, food, festivals and events are known globally and attract international tourists from all over the world to witness and enjoy the unique culture of the city. Kathmandu city in the lap of Himalayas is popular for Mt. Everest and its base camp trek. However, there are many more significant landmarks in Kathmandu that can’t be missed. Here’s a list of the top attractions which are the hidden gems of Kathmandu which you’ll really love.
1. Barun Valley
Surrounded by majestic ice-caped mountains on all sides, in the heart of the untouched natural beauty of Makalu Barun National Park, lies the gorgeous Barun Valley. The picturesque beauty looks like a setting straight out of fairy tales and is situated in a pristine location. In fact, it lies along the trekking route to the base-camp of Mt. Makalu in the Sankhuwasabha district Nepal. You can reach the destination only after days of trekking. The valley is home to a staggering 3000 different species with an equally diverse landscape to go with it. The waterfalls cascading down the mighty mountains is a true paradise on earth.
2. Taudaha Lake
The tranquil Taudaha Lake lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu and is a natural haven of exquisite fauna like fish, migratory birds and colourful flora. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery all around and the untouched beauty of this place is really relaxing and rejuvenating for the mind, body and soul. You can easily reach here in a car or use local transport if you like adventure and wish to get a feel of the local life. During winters, thousands of migratory birds make their way to Taudaha Lake, making it a great bird watching spot.
3. Chandragiri Hills
Set in the countryside, about 7 km (4.3 miles) from the nearest town Thankot, is the dramatic Chandragiri Hills. The hills are located about an hour’s drive away from Kathmandu city and its peaks are covered with dense greenery and flowers which draws trekkers uphill to enjoy the mesmerizing views along the trail as well as the peak. You will be awestruck with one of the best views of Kathmandu valley on one side and the majestic Everest on the other, standing tall behind a chain of ice-capped mountains.
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4. Balthali Village
The village of Balathali is located in Kavrepalanchok district, around 30 km (18 miles) from Kathmandu city. The village is self-sufficient on its own, thanks to the local communities’ development projects. Today the Balathali village resort is famous for peaceful stays with the experience of staying amidst terraced farms, mountain huts and scenic hills. The place is increasingly becoming popular among tourists who visit the Kathmandu valley and looking for tranquil farm life in Nepal.
5. Siddha Gufa
The holy site of Siddha Gufa is located around 130 km (80 miles) from Kathmandu, in Bimal Nagar in the Tanahu district. This scenic cave tucked in the mountains is the largest cave in Nepal and the second largest in all of South Asia. There are vehicles easily available that go to Bimal Nagar. From here the caves are located around 1.5 hours away on foot, as it is uphill. Steps and trails are present for hiking uphill to the caves. The place is also known for rock-climbing and attracts nature lovers and adrenaline junkies both.
6. Gorakhnath Cave
Located in western Nepal in Gorkha district is the cave of Yogi Gorakhnath, a four-hour drive from Kathmandu. The town was given the name since the saint resided here and holds immense cultural significance for Nepal and Hinduism. The cave lies hidden amongst a series of caverns and requires uphill walking to reach the point. It enshrines the statue of Gorakhnath Baba saint who is an eminent saint worshipped as God.
7. Bhotechaur Tea Garden
Located around 30 km (18 miles) northeast of Kathmandu is the Bhotechaur Tea Gardens in Sindhupalchok district of Nepal. The self-sufficient village of Bhotechaur is surrounded by smoky tea gardens on tranquil hills as far as your eyes can see, which you can’t stop admiring. Also known as Everest Tea Garden, the place has become a leading destination in Nepal and also popular for panoramic photo shoots, picnics and hiking. You can also simply go and relax in this natural retreat.
8. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
Established in 1987, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is the only hunting reserve in Nepal. The magnificent reserve is spread over three districts of Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung, around 10 hours’ drive west of Kathmandu city. From thick forests to green meadows, the landscape is as mesmerizing as the views from the reserve. The reserve is home to a plethora of endemic species of flora and fauna- flowers, animals, trees, birds, everything is unique at this reserve.
9. Rupa Lake
Nestled 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, in the city of Pokhara, lies the freshwater Rupa Lake, also known as Rupa Tal. This perennial lake, that is home to exquisite flora and birds, is the third largest in Nepal. Rupa Lake lies at an altitude of 2000 feet (609 meters) and the best time to visit is from March to October when the flowers are in full bloom!
10. Pullahari Monastery
The Pullahari Monastery lies in Gokarneshwor in Kathmandu city. The Buddhist monastery lies in a picturesque setting, with views of majestic Himalayas and surrounded by a colourful garden on all sides. It is a great place to relax in a calm environment and do some soul searching. As the place is not very famous, you will not find many tourists here. All you will find are monks who can enlighten you with a thing or two about life.
Be mesmerised by the beauty of Kathmandu
The Himalayan city of Kathmandu, together with the whole state of Nepal has several such hidden offbeat enchanting places that are yet to be seen and admired. Mountain lovers have nevertheless found their way to this undisturbed serene beauty of the Himalayas, with the world’s tallest mountain at the backdrop. As most of these places are located over 2000 feet (609 meters), you can be sure of having a jaw-dropping experience. If you have visited any of these or wish-listed them, please let us know by dropping a line below.
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