Nepal, rich in natural resources, is captivated by its natural beauty. Among all the popular destinations, Phulchowki is one of them. It is heart-warming to visit Phulchowki in Lalitpur, which is important from a tourist point of view. It is a famous tourist destination of Lalitpur district. This place is located about 10 kilometres southeast of Patan. Located at an altitude of 2,765 m above sea level, this place is the highest point in the Kathmandu Valley. From Phulchowki, you can see the scenery from the mountains to the Terai. There are towers of Nepal Television, Nepal Telecom and Hawaii on Phulchowki hill. Godavari is located at the foot of this peak which is also the reason behind the tourist attraction.
The main attraction of Phulchoki is that you can see the smooth plains of the entire Terai at an angle of 360 degrees on all sides without any hindrance to the sky-scraping Himalayas in the north. Other attractions include varied flora and fauna. This place is home to a wide variety of butterflies, more than 250 species of birds and even leopards and deer. White, onion and red rhododendron and a variety of goldfish attract tourists towards Phulchowki. This place is even named as “Hill of Flowers” because of the colorful and fragrant atmosphere present here. At present, more than two hundred people visit Phulchowki daily.
Not only natural beauty lovers, but the pilgrims also visit Phulchowki. There is also a small temple of Phulchowki Mai next to the tower. There is another temple of Phulchowki Mata at Godavari behind St. Xavier’s College. Thousands of visitors have flocked to Phulchowki hill with the belief that their heart’s desire will be fulfilled.
Maximum altitude: 2,765 meters
Hiking distance: 18 km
Trip Grade: Easy to Moderate
Hiking Route: Godavari Kunda-Latta Bhanjyang-Phulchoki-Nau Dhara
Phulchoki is the highest hill in the valley. No one can go hiking in Phulchowki easily, which is why it is considered a ‘tough trail’. Hiking in this place is relatively rare because of the solitude and difficulty. The hiking trail starts from Godavari and the same route is used on the way back. There are forests of different species of Sunakhari and Rhododendron. Phulchowki is also known as a place to play with the snow in winter. Mount Everest, Gaurishankar, Ganesh, Langtang, Manaslu and Annapurna range can be seen from Phulchowki hill.
Phulchowki has become a popular choice for hiking as it snows in winter. With the onset of winter, Kathmandu residents start to wonder when it will snow in Phulchowki so that they can visit and play with snow. For the people of Kathmandu, Phulchowki is the nearest destination to enjoy snowfall. Every year thousands of people enjoy athe snow.
Godavari is the gateway to the Phulchowki hill. To reach Godavari from Kathmandu, first you need to take a local bus from Gongabu Bus Park to Satdobato. Then, you will find multiple buses that depart to Godavari from Satdobato. The condition of the road from Satdobato to Godavari is tough as most roads are unpaved and bumpy. Likewise, the ride may also take a long time because of the heavy traffic. So, it is better to travel there via private jeep/car/bike. After getting to Godavari Bus Stop, head towards south by following the black-topped road. The hiking trail is asphalt for 1km, but later it is a gravel path.
Remember to pack the lunch either from home or Godavari bus stop as there are no tea shops or restaurants throughout the trail.
The hiking trail passes through the green tropical forests. The higher you climb, the clearer the view of Kathmandu valley can be seen. There are lots of shortcuts trails available for Phulchowki hiking. Make sure to take breaks and hydrate yourself to complete the journey without any difficulties. In the middle of the way, you will come across a small area decorated with the prayer flags and wheels, which will remind you about Buddhism. At the final section, you need to climb around 600m, which covers the total distance of 5km.
Once you come closer to Phulchowki, you will be going through some tough climbs so make your pace slow. As you approach the top, you will see a check post where you need to provide your details. Army members go through your identity to make sure that you are not an illegal person. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy the stunning views of the mighty Himalayas such as Ganesh Himal, Gaurishankar Himal, and Langtang Himal. If you plan your trip to Phulchowki during March and April, then you can participate in a month-long annual festival organized at the shrine of Phulchowki.
After spending some memorable and beautiful time at the top of Phulchowki, return by following the same route. On the way back, you can stop at the army canteen to enjoy a mouth-watering meal and drink.
Best Time to Visit Phulchowki Hill
One can visit Phulchowki throughout the year; however, spring (March, April, and May) and autumn (September, October, and November) is considered as the best time to visit Phulchowki. During these seasons, you can be part of the pleasant environment covered with blooming rhododendron and enjoy the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. Try to avoid the monsoon (June, July, and August) because the trails are slippery and wet due to heavy rainfall.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal