Nagarjun Hill is where three of Nepal’s most popular tourist activities take place: hiking, sightseeing and religious pilgrimage. There are not many modern tourist structures to see in Nepal, but the country does promise so many natural treasures and ancient sites to choose from. Found in the district of Baitadi in western Nepal, Nagarjun is about seven kilometers away from the capital city of Kathmandu. One of its major attractions is a Buddhist stupa on top of the hill. The hill is quite steep and difficult for a few tourists, but to many, climbing it is part of the adventure. The stupa on the hill reaches a total altitude of 2,128 meters.
A typical hike package to this popular destination involves the following activities. As tourists or hikers arrive in Kathmandu, they normally decide to spend a day touring the city first before leaving it for the outskirts. There are many attractions to see in the capital city as well. Kathmandu, of course, is the center of all economic, religious and tourist activities within Kathmandu Valley and around Nepal. The most popular tourist spot in the city is the Kathmandu Durbar Square, not to be mistaken with the Durbar Squares in Patan and Bhaktapur, sister-cities of Kathmandu.
After a day in the city, tourists typically proceed to the hills the next day. It takes only about 30 minutes to reach the base of Nagarjun behind the community of Balaju and an additional hour of journey to the top. Hikers who want to take in the view much longer may hike at a slower pace for a two-hour climb on foot. Once there, tourists get to enjoy the wonder of nature at its best. On the hill, tourists may enter the walled Nagarjun Forest Reserve for a minimum entrance fee. Also known as Rani Ban or the Queen’s Forest in English, this lush forest reserve is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and only until 5:00 p.m. in the winter. It features monkeys, pheasants and deer. There are also a couple of interesting military posts within the reserve. The Queen’s Forest is one of only three untouched forest reserves in the entire Kathmandu Valley. The other two are Gokarna Park and Phulchowki. Also on top of the hill is a viewing tower so that visitors could get their best sightseeing experience in Kathmandu. The panoramic view from the tower covers mountains from the Annapurnas to Langtang. Below the viewing tower is a plaque that identifies all the mountains in sight. Sightseers also get to enjoy a view of Kathmandu Valley to the south of the tower.
Finally, Nepal is known in the Buddhist world to have a number of sacred ancient temples that regularly draw hordes of worshippers and devotees, as well as curious tourists. The Buddhist stupa on top of Nagarjun Hill is definitely in the list of leading Nepali religious destinations. The entire hill and forest are named after a Buddhist saint, Nagarjun. The climb to the stupa is difficult on foot and by car since the road is unpaved. Accompanying the stupa is a small shrine that is dedicated to Padmasambhava, a Tibetan guru.