There are several options for day hikes around Kathmandu. The hills surrounding the valley are excellent destinations for short hikes and nature tours. Phulchowki which means ‘Hill of Flowers’ in Nepali lies on the southern part of Kathmandu. Rising to an elevation of 2782m., Phulchowki Hill is the highest hill surrounding the valley. Situated just a mere 14 kilometres from the city centre, Phulchowki is a popular destination for day/short hikes and nature tours. The hill is filled with rhododendron and oak trees and several species of orchids and colorful birds and butterflies. Walking to the top of the hill takes about four to five hours depending on your fitness level. If you are a fast walker you can reach the top in lesser time, but it’s always great to walk slowly, savoring the wonderful views and ambience before reaching the top. The shrine of Phulchowki Mai, guardian goddess of the forest marks the summit of the hill. Breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding hills can be enjoyed from the top. Phulchowki is also the only place in the vicinity of Kathmandu to experience snowfall in winter. During winter or early spring one can enjoy panoramic views of Himalayan mountains. The descent takes less time and is an easy one. You can also explore the Godavari Botanical Garden which lies at the foot of the hill, before making the return trip.
Rough gravel road that leads to the top of Phulchowki
Hiking on snow covered road in winter
Outstanding view of surrounding hills
Shrine of Phulchowki Mai marking the summit of the hill.
"This may not be Everest but we are still standing atop Kathmandu's highest hill!"– Proud Phulchowki Summitteers
(Pics: Samir Shrestha)
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