A Day’s Hike to Phulchowki
Phulchoki Hills (2782 m) is the highest point around Kathmandu Valley. The literal translation of the name is ‘the hill of flowers’. The peak of the hill also includes a stone shrine of the namesake Goddess – Phulchowki Bhagwati.
The most popular entry point of Phulchowki is from Godavari, a place about 14 kms from the centre of the city. There are other entry points to Phulchowki too – like Lakuri Bhanjhyang, Bhardev and Namobuddha. However, the most popular, frequented and best entry point to the hills is from Godavari.
Entering the hills from Godavari has another advantage – you can visit the Botanical Garden in Godawari which has thousands of species of plants and flowers housed inside a sprawling stretch of land. Moreover, Godavari is a famous tourist destination in itself and has great facilities for breakfasts and trek related last minute shopping.
Since Phulchowki is the highest point around Kathmandu valley – the walk to the top of the hills is grueling, compared to other nearby hikes but the reward is also unparalleled. The area around Phulchowki are well known for endangered flora and fauna.
Walking along the ridge of the hill and through the dark green woods you will encounter many rare birds including Woodpeckers, Kalij, Stork, Spiny Babbler, Tibetan Siskin, Drongos, Cuckoos etc. It must be noted that many bird watchers from all across the world come to the Phulchowki hills to watch bird species that are not found in other parts of the globe. There are more than 850 species of birds found in Nepal and many of them are native to the region alone.
The forests of Phulchowki Hill is also home to many species of wild animals like Sambar Deer, Black Beer, Spotted Leopard,Jharals, Bengal Fox, Pangolin, Jackal, Hyena, Langur and Barking Deer.
A few hours of hike will take you to the top of Phulchowki hills. There is a base camp of Nepal Army at the top of the hills. The shrine of Phulchowki Bhagwati goddess is also located nearby the army camp. Since Phulchowki is the highest point around Kathmandu, it also offers the best view of the Himalayan range. Mountains from the Dhaulagiri range in the west to the Mahalangur range in the east are visible from the Phulchowki hills. This includes popular peaks like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Jugal, Ganesh, Langtang and Everest, the highest peak in the world.
If you are planning a hike to Phulchowki in winter, then special care must be taken in terms of protection from the cold because the peak of the hills is freezing cold during this time. It often receives snowfall in peak winter. Even if you are hiking during summer, wearing a thin jacket is mandatory.
After spending a few hours at the top, we will start a slow descent towards Godavari. The descent is much easier compared to the ascent and the spectacular view of the three ancient cities of Kathmandu Valley in front of our eyes make our journey even less tiresome.