Nepal Series: Nagarkot to Changu Narayan on Foot

Changu Narayan

April 8, 2012, at half past seven in the morning, I checked out at Nagarkot Guesthouse and started walking to Changu Narayan.

Changu Narayan is the oldest and most revered temple in Kathmandu Valley, an epitome of culture, religion, history and faith since its establishment in 4th century A.D. One of its attractions include a Vishnu stone carving with ten heads and ten arms. It is approximately 15 kilometers downhill from Nagarkot and according to some blogs that I’ve read, it can be reached for three hours by foot. For me who loves walking, three hours is just a walk in a park, not to mention, it is a great way to burn some fats.

Changu Narayan
The long and winding road from Nagarkot to Changu Narayan reminds me of Sagada 🙂

So I decided to walk. At first it was easy, the cold weather and the striking scenery were great relief. Walking along the main road passing by locals who were generous with their smiles. I lost count of how many “namaste!” greetings I received and gave in return. Sometimes, a greeting was followed by questions and small talks – “where are you from?“, “where are you going?“, “you alone?“. Every conversation ended with the direction to Changu Narayan. The people of Nagarkot made the walk fun and easier with their kindness and hospitality.

Changu Narayan
Locals are so generous in giving their smiles 🙂

After two hours of walking, I finally reached the main junction and from there the road became a test of endurance. It was mostly uphill, unpaved and rough. Without a guide, unfamiliar trekkers will surely lost in the trails. I was lucky that there was an American tourist and a local guide ahead of me, also going to my destination. I just followed them.

Changu Narayan
I followed the American girl and her guide from the junction to Changu Narayan

Exhausted and tired, I reached the gate of Changu Narayan after an hour of walking from the junction under the scorching heat of the sun. I paid 100 Rupees for the entrance fee.

I stopped at a store selling drinks and rewarded myself with a cold soda before going up to the temple. While at rest, I had a conversation with the store attendant, a Nepali guy in late 20’s who happened to know some Filipino words – “kamusta“, “pare“, “salamat“. He used to work in Dubai and learned a little of our language from his Filipino co-workers and friends. I bid him goodbye after I finished my drink.

Changu Narayan
Stores selling Nepalese and Tibetan arts and paintings are lined up on the street going to the temple

I leisurely walked to the street made up of granite steps leading to the temple, occasionally stopping at the shops along that are selling Nepalese and Tibetan arts, paintings and other memorabilia.

When I entered the temple, I was amazed once more of the unique and beautiful architecture of the ancient structures inside. I was out of words and my eyes were wide, completely bewildered. Who would have thought the Nepalese ancestors would build magnificent structures in a remote village of Kathmandu Valley? Changu Narayan is truly a beautiful world treasure.

Changu Narayan
The temple of Changu Narayan, the oldest and most revered in Nepal
Changu Narayan
Changu Narayan temple is adorned by some of the best specimen of stone, wood, and metal craft.

I sat on a shaded corner of the compound and spent some time resting while marveling at the amazing scene in front of me. Before noon, I decided to leave the temple and head back to Bhaktapur. Good thing that there are buses at the gate that leave every half an hour going there. I boarded the one that left at half past eleven, and by noon I was already in Bhaktapur.


  1. Angela

    I’m leaving for Nepal this Sunday. I’m thinking of hiking from Nagarkot to Changunarayan and Bhaktapur. I’m hoping to do this on my own but as a female traveler I have some concerns. Did you feel safe hiking solo? Any tips will be appreciated 😊

  2. Rosie Pasimio

    Hello Gel,
    This is indeed a wonderful hike, can we do this on our own? We also plan to start in Nagarkot I am travellng with my husband but we are in our 50’s but active pa naman, is this trail safe without a guide? we wont be carrying heavy pack because we intend to go back to Nagarkot by way of bus to Bhaktapur and bus again to Nagarkot…Anong oras kaya last bus papuntang Bhaktapur goin to Nagarkot…makaya pa kaya namin umikot sa Bhaktapur Durbar square before going up to Nagarkot
    thanks ,

    1. Lakwatsero

      Hi Rosie, sorry for the late reply. I think you can also do the trek on your own although may part ng trail na medyo nakakalito, but my Google Map helped me and I also followed the tourist with a guide, hahaha! It is quite a long trek though from Nagarkot to Changu Narayan, it took me 3 to 4 hours. There are locals along the road who offered me motorbike ride but I declined and I didn’t ask how much, so you can ride motorbikes too 🙂 I am not sure of the last trip of the bus from Bhaktapur to Nagarkot, but I remember taking the 2PM bus. I’ve read somewhere that there the last trip is at 3PM. So if you will trek to Changu Narayan, then go to Bhaktpur Durbar Square and go back to Nagarkot, your itinerary might be quite hectic and tight.

    2. Lakwatsero

      You may also opt to hire a private car or taxi from Bhaktapur to Nagarkot, just a 45 minutes ride. But I do not have an idea how much 🙂

      1. Rosie Pasimio

        We will be in Nepal by mid March after our trip in the Rajastan area in India, we also intend to get a double entry visa in india because of our trip to Nepal.I definitely want to do the trek,my husbands concern is the safety of the trekking trail also ,meron bang water source along the trail? i guess we have to do Bhkaapur on our way up to Nagarkot..
        thanks Gel for your info…we are now followers of LAKWATSERO

  3. […] 4 (April 8): Sunrise at Nagarkot+ Trek to Changu Narayan + Wandering Around Bhakthapur (9510 NPR / 4800 PHP) 0430H: Call Time 0430H – 0500H: Proceed to […]

  4. Nice series. Hindi ka BA na “temple fatigue” after a few days? It’s hard to remember them all. When I went years ago, Wala pa digicam, so tipid ako to take shots. You guys are lucky. 😉

  5. Riz

    ang galing namn ng trip mo Gel! sana ma experience q din yan. 🙂 nice ang temple 🙂 exercise na rin sa pag akyat haha

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