Set on a ridge northeast of Bhaktapur, NAGARKOT (1950m) has a classic panorama of the Himalayas. While the view isn’t as expansive as from Daman, and the area not as interesting as Dhulikhel, Nagarkot is easy to get to from Kathmandu and you don’t have to stay in an expensive hotel to get a fantastic vista from your window.
The first tourists to visit here are thought to have been a troop of Punjabi mercenaries recruited to defend the Valley against Prithvi Narayan’s troops. Stationed at the now-vanished ridgetop fort, they quickly succumbed to the “mountain air”, proving drunkenly incapable when the Gurkha invaders finally arrived. Since then, numerous guesthouses have sprouted along some two kilometres of ridge. Taking in the sunrise and sunset views is the standard activity, though there’s also a wealth of hiking and biking opportunities.Read More
The view from Nagarkot
The view from Nagarkot
Most hotels in Nagarkot have good views, but they’re even better from the view tower at the highest southern point of the ridge (2164m), an hour’s walk from the centre along a tarmac road. When you get here you’ll understand why Nagarkot has been the site of a fort (kot) since Rana times: this hilltop controlled the eastern entrance to the Kathmandu Valley and the vital trade route to Tibet. There’s still a large army training base here, though relations with the community are strained after a drunken soldier killed eleven locals in 2005.
The view is dominated by the Langtang range, which on good days looms alarmingly close above a wall of dark rock. Haze usually obscures anything west of Ganesh Himal, though you can sometimes see Himchuli and even Annapurna. The view to the east is even more weather-dependent, and the mountains of Khumbu rarely appear as more than a rose-tinted dawn haze. On a good day, Everest can be seen, but only from high up, near the view tower: it’s the second peak left of the rounded M-shaped mountain.
On peak-season mornings the area becomes something of a tourist circus; for more peace, and equally good views, stop off at one of the grassy mounds just short of the tower. Nearer to the hotel area, there are good views from the tiny Mahakali shrine, from where the only obstructions are the ever-growing towers of Hotel View Point and Peaceful Cottage: good viewpoints themselves, they are accessible to non-guests, generally for free.