Kathmandu, the city that reflects Nepal’s culture, tradition, and civilization, is a tiny world in itself. Kathmandu is well known for its centuries-old temples, shrine, and bustling markets. Apart from affluent culture, ornate temples, and shrines, Kathmandu city lies under the shadow of majestic hills and mountains. If you’re considering experiencing the natural wonders that exist around Kathmandu then hiking is the best way to indulge yourself into the serene nature.
The valley surrounded by fascinating hills and mountains holds historical and religious significance. Likewise, the mountains and hills that ring Kathmandu Valley present some exciting walks with spectacular backdrops. The hike range from relaxing weekend strolls and day hikes to moderate ridge treks that can last numerous days.
Among myriad hiking trails in the valley, Champadevi and Chandragiri hill are one of the charming and spectacular sites amidst the verdant forest, snowcapped mountains swarming with birdlife which is a nature retreat that allows hikers to rejuvenate.
About Champadevi and Chandragiri Hill
Champadevi and Chandragiri Hills are adjacent hills situated at an altitude of 2,561 meters and 2,278 meters respectively. These hills are a perfect and exciting hiking destination of Kathmandu valley.
Champadevi is the third tallest hill around the Kathmandu Valley, with an altitude of 2,278 meters. Champa-wati is the real name for Champadevi, a place with a temple on the high verdant hill dedicated to Goddess Champa Devi one of the several manifestations of Goddess Parvati or Durga. It is believed that Champa Devi, the patron deity of the hill protects the forest and nearby areas from evils.
Situated towards the south of the capital, one can enjoy wonderful vistas of Kathmandu valley from the summit. In autumn and winter, the summit offers commanding views of the Himalayan range such as Gauri Shankar, Dorje Lakpa, Langtang Lirung.
Each year, a religious and cultural fair takes place at Champadevi on 1st Baisakh (April), the Nepali New Year’s Day. It is believed that worshipping the goddess shrine on this particular day fulfills the wishes of devotees.
Chandragiri hill nestled at the elevation of 2,551 meters above sea level on the South-West of Kathmandu valley, and seven kilometers by road from Thankot. This hill has been a religious and historical destination as well as the best vantage point for Himalayan views and entire Kathmandu covered with verdant blanketed forest.
According to legend, Chandragiri Temple is home to one among millions of Lord Shiva’s incarnations, Bhaleshwar Mahadev which is believed to possess wish-granting power. The temple of Bhaleshwara Mahadev is perched on the top of the Chandragiri hills overlooking the Kathmandu valley.
From the historical perspective, it was from the peak of Chandragiri hill that Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Gorkha first set eyes on the charming and prosperous Kathmandu valley in 1760 and was so mesmerized by it that he desired to conquer the three kingdoms.
According to myth, Prithivi Narayan Shah is believed to have combined spiritual powers for the unification process after undertaking arduous ‘sadhana’ or meditation at these very hills. The Gorkhali King veiled himself while climbing the hills so as to evade being recognized by the Malla Kings of Kathmandu Valley.
Indeed, snow-blanketed peaks of the Himalayas will take your breath away while down below is the charming valley of lush rice fields and the ever-expanding city. From here, you can see the commanding views of the mountain range, which comprises, Mt. Kanchanjunga, Mt. Makalu, to Mt. Everest and Mt. Api, from the east to the west. It was once the doorway to the capital city and rises above Thankot at the edge of the valley.
The combination of Champadevi to Chandragiri hike is an ideal hike for the novice, family with children, solo and school groups. The hill is easy to summit on a day trip making it perfect for those hikers who have limited time but need to experience the best of what Nepal has to offer –adventure, hiking, and almighty Himalayas.
You can try this hike by contacting Nepal Sanctuary treks. We arrange a guide, transportation, and packed lunch for the hikes and will also customize the hikes to suit your interests, needs, and preferences.
Champadevi-Chandragiri Hike Route
Champadevi to Chandragiri Hiking trail takes you not only through the rich serene environment but also through the picturesque hamlet with diverse culture and religion. To commence hike, we take an hour’s drive to Hattiban Resort where you will take a short rest before you start your hike to Champadevi Hill. Hattiban resort is a nice spot to take a tea break and savor the surrounding nature.
Hike from Hatiban to Champadevi and Chandragiri hill trail starts at Hattiban Resort and the route is easy to follow and well-trodden. We hike through the beautiful pine forests draped with vibrant prayer flags that give a good vibe while walking around.
The trail is well developed with the stone-paved path and stone steps all the way to the top with some part of the trail comprise of unpaved pathways. While hiking along the stone stairs, the knees might be painful so the walking pole can be your best friend or pain in the butt.
As we walk higher the landscapes open up to provide us the mystifying backdrops of Mountain range and massive hilly dunes. The summit presents breathtaking views of the mountain such as Shankar, Dorje Lakpa, Langtang Lirung. If the climate is favorable, you catch a glimpse of the complete range from Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world, all the way to Everest.
As the trail is precisely at the edge of a hill we will have 360 degrees sight of dense Kathmandu Valley and its adjacent hills, green fields, and scattered village. This is the exceptional opportunity for the hikers to experience totally different picturesque delight from a single place. Once you reach the summit, you can see the open shrine of Champadevi.
If you are planning to stay for a while at the summit then make sure you take enough water and snacks with you. As there is no shops and restaurant at the top. After relaxing and soaking view of nature, we continue to the next destination, Chandragiri hill.
From Champadevi we take a walk through flat terrain for about 15 minutes. Then continue walking up to Bhasmasur ridge for 2 ½ hours. Bhasmasur ridge (2,460m) is the highest altitude viewpoint that provides attractive view of both valleys (Kathmandu and Kulekhani with Himalayan range). After savoring the marvelous vistas, take a descent trail for approximately 11/2 hours through dense forests trails to a teashop. From teashop, there is an easy flat trail followed by several ups and downs and meandering trails all the way to Chandragiri hills.
Throughout the hiking journey, you are essentially in a different world, the sound of bird melody and swishing leaves lead to take a deep breath of fresh air. The chirping birds and leaf of pine trees make us forget the difficult route and appreciate the gift of nature. The cool and fresh air with a serene atmosphere makes us feel as if we are far away from the fast pace and bustling life
Along the trail, you can find 135 diverse species of medicinal plants and do a spot of bird watching too. There are several different bird species like Red-vented Bulbul, Great Egret, Grey Wagtail, Oriental Turtle Dove, Spotted Dove, and Steppe Eagle that you might be able to catch a sight of.
Once you reached the top of Chandragiri Hills you will be encircled with magnificent mountain views. When the weather is clear, a superb vista from the eastern part of the Annapurna range to Gaurishanker in the east welcomes you when you reach the summit. The viewing tower at 2,547 m above sea level provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the mountain ranges, adjacent views of nearby villages and the rich vegetation around them.
Next to the Bhaleshwor temple, you can observe many sculptures to commemorate historical figures, such as King Prithivi Narayan Shah who was the pioneer to unite Nepal into one kingdom.
Also, you can see a children’s playground and several restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops around. After enjoying the views and spending quality time at Chandragiri, you can take a 2.5 km long ride from a height of 2,520 m to 1,564 meters in about 14 minutes.
On a foggy day, you may get goosebumps as the cable car passes in the mist and a little later you are out of it. This ride is like no other adventure as it transports you into an enigmatic world inside a sea of white. Once you reach Godam cable car base station you can take a vehicle back down to the valley.
What do you see from the cable car ride?
During the ride, you will gaze over the verdant forest, vegetation, and panoramic vistas of soaring mountains like Ganesh, Manaslu, Lantang, Dorje Lakpa and sweeping views of entire Kathmandu Valley.
The ride mostly follows and overlooks the primeval trade route connecting Kathmandu to the plains. The trail is still observable in places, however, most of it has been tumbledown by a recent motorable road with numerous hairpin turns that ascend the impossibly steep sides to Chitlang Pass.
Before 1957, the construction of the Tribhuvan Highway, the first motorable road to the capital, the ancient route used to be a gateway to Kathmandu for a king, students, citizen, and soldiers. The Bhimphedi-Kulekhani-Chitlang-Thankot trail along which the Ranas had their first automobiles porter-carried up and down the steep trails is at this time is only a distant memory.
There’s still a relic of Nepal’s first cargo ropeway constructed by British engineers brought in by Chandra Shumsher Rana in 1922. Later in 1964, the American aided to build the 42km Hetauda-Thankot ropeway to transport necessary stuff to Kathmandu from the plains. The riders can observe the rusted ruins of both ropeway towers stand while going up and down from Chandragiri.
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- Comfortable clothes and shoes
- Refillable water bottle/ carry at least 2 liters of water
- Sunglasses and cap/hat
- Mosquito repellant
- Hiking pole
- Rain poncho (monsoon season)