Cycling along the Himalayan trails is a demanding activity, but the effort is worth the rewards- lovely panoramic views of the mountains and countryside, and flexibility to capture the views in the camera. Many such trails meander through the Kathmandu Valley. The Kathmandu-Sankhu-Nagarkot-Changu Narayan-Bhaktapur-Kathmandu is one of the popular trails in the valley. The trail not only unfolds sweeping views of the mountains but also gives an opportunity to explore ancient religious and secular monuments.
Start from Chabahil Chowk on the ring road in Kathmandu(1,300 meters). Continue on Boudha Nath road until Sankhu (1,328 meters), a Newari town on the ancient trade route between Tibet and Nepal. It is about twelve kilometers ride.
About 10-kilometer long dirt road, winding through the countryside dotted with terraced fields, connects Sankhu to Nagarkot (Naldum) at 2,300 meters in the Kavre District. Nagarkot is more an army camp and a touristy place than a village. There are several guesthouses and hotels to cater to travelers from all walks of life. The village commands gorgeous views of the Himalayan range including the Langtang, Ganesh Himal and Kanchenjunga. You can even spot the Everest on a clear day. Occasionally, you may be able to see AnnapurnaI, II, III and S, and Himachuli. Sunset and sunrise on the snow-covered peaks are mesmerizing. You can even enjoy views of the Chok and Indrawati rivers. You can visit the view tower, connected to the village with a tarmac road, to capture the best views.
In August , you can enjoy Shaman Festival in Nagarkot. During the festival, Shamans will assemble at Mahadev Pond in the morning and perform traditional rituals to invoke spirits in the courtyard of The Fort Resort in the evening. The pond is about an hour’s walk from the resort.
About nine kilometers long trail between Nagarkot and Changu Narayan (1,500 meters) lends itself to the views of the Sankhu village on the east and Bhaktapur on the west. Changu Narayan is one of the seven cultural heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The Changu Narayan Temple, the most ancient Vishnu temple in the valley, has an imposing double roof. The temple built on a steep hill is known for its exquisite stone carvings and a pillar with ancient inscriptions.
Cycle for another six kilometers to reach Bhaktapur from Changu Narayan. Bhaktapur, a conch-shell shaped city of devotees at the altitude of 1,401 metersis also inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO for its rich cultural heritage. Do not miss the complex of two temples and a royal palace at Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
When you have explored all the monuments of Bhaktapur, start cycling towards Kathmandu. It is about fourteen-kilometer long trail, partly along the Arniko Highway that connects Kathmandu to Kodari (Tibet border).