Chandragiri Hills is a viewpoint at the fringe of Kathmandu Valley. It is one of the four major passes of the valley – the other three being Fulchoki (or Phulchoki), Nagarjun, and Shivapuri. The sub-tropical jungle is home to a number of birds and a few sparsely populated wild animals. Located at the south-western edge of the valley, it is at an altitude of about 2547 meters. Just 16 kilometers from central Kathmandu, the actual drive to the base of the hill takes about an hour to reach. From the base, you have options to take a cable car, do a trek, or drive to the top of the hill.
The cable car is around 2.5 km in length, taking about 10 minutes depending on the wind direction. As the gondolas pass over forests and hills, you can have stunning panoramic views of the mountain range on a clear day above the valley crammed with houses. Notably visible are the Langtang and Ganesh Himal mountain ranges with peaks such as Api, Dorje Lhakpa, GauriShankar, Kanchanjanga, and Makalu among others.
Easy as it is, most people choose the cable car to go up and down Chandragiri Hill. However, there are some who choose to drive the broken trail. On an off-road vehicle, driving up the hill is a test of your skills behind the wheels; and once on top, you are guaranteed to celebrate the day’s accomplishment in Bar@2520.
Another option is to trek up the hill. Popular among hikers, climbing Chandragiri is an easy walk that takes about four hours with multiple stopovers for photography, drinks, and snacks. For extended trek, Orbit Alpine recommends the Matatirtha – Chandragiri – Thankot hiking route with possibility of going into Chitlang of the adjacent Makwanpur district. Hiking around Chandragiri is surely a good trekking option in less challenging terrain.
A trip to Chandragiri is a popular day tour in Kathmandu Valley. The pollution-free environment and the surroundings (with bells ringing on the temple of Lord Shiva) will immediately invigorate you, and will literally make you feel like you’re on the top of the world! You can visit alone by hiring a private car, or join a group traveling to Chandragiri Hills.