Situated on the southwestern rim of Kathmandu Valley, Chandragiri overlooks the ancient trail connecting Kathmandu to the plains. The 2,500m ridge commands a view of the Valley and the central Himalaya beyond, offering a hike for city folks seeking respite from the urban chaos.
History buffs know Chandragiri as the place from where Prithvi Narayan Shah first set eyes on Kathmandu Valley in 1760, saw the golden roofs of the temples and made up his mind to conquer the kingdoms. The once thick forests of Chandragiri fell victim to charcoal vendors who sold the fuel to the brass and silver craftsmen of Kathmandu. In the last 25 years, the woods have regenerated thanks to community forestry.
Pics: Gopen Rai
Now with Chandragiri Hills Ltd operating cable cars from Thankot to the summit, it is making a name as a tourist destination perfect for a family outing and a weekend getaway that Kathmandu much needed. The 2.5 km long ride takes the riders from a height of 1,564 m to 2,520 metres in about 14 minutes.
The cable car facility has 38 gondolas and already caters to around 3,000 people on weekdays, during public holidays the number of visitors double. Nepalis and visitors from SAARC countries have to pay Rs 415 for a one-way ride and Rs 700 for round trips, foreigners pay $13 and $22 respectively.
Once on top, Chandragiri offers spectacular panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley, lush green forests and the Himalayan range. The sweeping panorama of the northern horizon stretches from Dhaulagiri in the west to Mt Everest and beyond in the east. A tower with a 360 degree view is also being constructed as a part of the project, and plans are underway for an amusement park, boutique resort, shops and a theatre.
“Our aim is to promote Chandragiri as a tourist destination complete with facilities that meet international standards,” said Abhishek Bikram Shah, general manager of Chandragiri Hills Ltd. He said the company is also looking at paragliding and zip line adventures.
As for now, visitors can dine at the cafe or sit down for drinks at the bar in Chandragiri Hills, and there is a free playground with a climbing wall, swings, slides and other fun activities to keep the children entertained for hours.
Chandragiri Hills Ltd
[email protected], (01) 4312515/4311719
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