Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park (SNNP) is the nearest park from Kathmandu valley covering an area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi). The name was based on Shivapuri peak (2,732m/8,963ft) which is the highest peak in the national park. The park used to be wildlife reserve in 1976 and was declared as Shivapuri National Park in 2002 that initially covered 144 km2 (56 sq mi). Later in 2009, it was extended by Nagarjun forest, covering 15km2 (5.8sq mi). Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park has the catchment area of Bishnumati and Bagmati rivers that flow through the Kathmandu valley providing 40% sources of drinking water per day. The national park is surrounded by 111 km long wall which is the only walled park in Nepal. There are two villages; Okhreni and Mulkharka neighboring the park. The park has exciting trekking routes which can be passed into Langtang National Park, Nagarkot, Helambu, and Gosaikunda.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park can participate in a variety of activities. Such activities can go for the nature hikes, trekking, mountain biking, bird watching, rock-climbing, bouldering, and canyoning. Also, there are religious and historical sites as well as hotels and restaurants nearby the park. Besides this, many local festivals are celebrated here in Bishnudwar and Baghdwar. The other popular shrines are Manichud, Nagi gumba, Budhanilkantha, and Bajrayogini. The national park can be easily accessible via Budhanilkantha, Sundarijal, Kakani, and Tokha.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park lies in the transition zone between subtropical and warm temperature. The temperature can cool down to 2°C during winter and raises up to 30°C in the summer season. The best season to visit the park in September to May for an exotic nature walk. The park contains five forest ecosystems; Mountain oak, Collinean oak, Castanopsis indicia, Schima wallichii and Pinus roxburghii where 465 species of plants are recorded. The mammal contains 19 species among which includes Himalayan black bear, Himalayan goral, leopard, wild boar, barking deer, golden jackal, squirrel, Hanuman langur, black rat, etc. Among the 311 bird species, it was identified as 227 residents, 48 migrants and 36 were both. Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is then worth observing wildlife, community plantation and other conservation activities throughout the visitor’s interest.
Some of the popular hiking found in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park are:
Nagarjun is the western part of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park that covers 15km2 (5.8sq mi) of the park. It has finest hiking destination at an elevation of 2128m. Legend has it, the Tibetan Buddhism deity Manjushree saw Kathmandu valley from this hill where the historical site is known as Jamacho peak. The hike starts at Balaju while visiting the ‘22 tap park’ considered as a holy tap. It takes 2 and half hours to reach the top along with finest flora and fauna. At top of the hill, you will observe the Buddhist stupa, the glorious view of mountains and Kathmandu valley.
Sundarijal is located south-east of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and is 15 km away from Kathmandu. The place was named after Hindu goddess ‘Sundarimai’, as there is Temple devoted to her in Sundarijal. SNNP covers a large amount of Sundarijal with an area of 5.18 km2 (2 sq mi). Sundarijal is rich in waterfalls, thus the area is famous for Canyoning. A large number of tourists and residents hikes Sundarijal every day. There is also trekking route in Sundarijal that leads to Chisapani and is 22 km long.
Kakani is located in the north-west of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and is 24.5 km away from Kathmandu. The highest elevation is 2,030 m (6660 ft) which can view most of the mountain ranges from Manaslu to Everest. There is a memorial park for victims of Thai Airways International flight 311 which was crashed here in 1992. The place is also famous for picnic spot where most of the Nepalese organizes in Kakani. A notable industry in Kakani is strawberry farming producing enough fruits than any other villages. You can access SNNP through Nagarkot for a warm hiking.
Nagi Gompa lies lower-center of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park where you will find a Buddhist monastery called Nagi gumba. The monastery is run by nuns while you can observe their lifestyles and knowledge about Buddhism. The hiking starts from Budhanilkantha that takes 2.5 hrs to reach Nagi Gompa, observe the Kathmandu valley sceneries, birdwatching and ending at Sundarijal. The trek from Nagi gompa to Chisapani is 18 km long with enchanting trails and natural beauties.
An attraction of the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is important for both tourism and locals living in Kathmandu valley. The park shares you wildlife, water production, pilgrimage, historic sites, monasteries, natural herbs, glorious mountain views, etc. It was recorded the park was visited more than 214,000 visitors in the fiscal year 2016-2017. Here is why Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is most visited and famous for outdoor activities. SNNP is a second highest hill near the capital city for hiking and trekking destinations. The foreigner meets Nagi Gompa for meditation. The first canyoning of Nepal was held in this national park highlighting the waterfalls. The trails for mountain biking is longest and finest in the park. The varieties of bird watching, wild animals, and mountain views will leave you nature loving fantasy.