22 December 2015
It’s time to get out of Kathmandu and see a bit of the valley- I need to get away from the noise and other tourists. Before making my way to Bhaktapur, I’ve decided to visit an ancient pilgrimage site and a hilltop… all located in the Kathmandu valley.
Changu Narayan (300 Rs) is a relaxing and quiet place and is known as the most ancient pilgrimage site of the valley. It’s situated at the top of the hill. 18 km east of Kathmandu city and 1541 meters above sea level, the site dates back to the 3rd century. Back in those days, it was a metropolis city with 700 houses. According to legends, Changu Narayan temple existed as early as 325 A.D. (it’s the oldest temple in Nepal) and it contains the country’s earliest inscription (3rd century)- it shows that it already had been established as a sacred site.
It’s a site most popular with local schools and not so much with tourists.
It is a stunning Vaishnavite temple surrounded by statues, pillars, carvings and other structures…some dating back as early as the fourth century.
It’s a nice uphill stroll from the parking area to the main temple. Local stores, restaurants and houses are evenly laid out along the way and apart from the main Changu Narayan temple area, one can take a stroll around the surrounding area filled with stone spout, ponds and other stone structures. This is my ideal site- filled with history, not too big, walkable, quiet with only locals and no tourists (due to bad bus connections). Stroll at you own leisurely pace and soak in all the history.
My next stop – > Nargakot. Located only 32 km northeast of Kathmandu, it offers great views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. It can be the starting point of a nice trek and is also a nice spot for lunch. Nothing historical at this hilltop- just a quiet place to think.
I arrived in Bhaktapur in the late afternoon and saw the damages left behind by the two earthquakes. Still charming ~ especially as candles replaced the afternoon light and music filled the evening air.
This is the real Nepal.
The day trip was made possible with the generous help of Mr Chij Gurung from Adventure Land Nepal Tours & Travels (+977-9841225155/ nepaltourinformation.com). Hassle-free and always on-time.