by David Woollan

Global Mark : to come

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 



Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.

Description & Comments ?
  A fascinating old Newar town at the foot of a nearby hill, some 32 kms east of Kathmandu. Many of the houses in the old part of the town suffered serious damage in an earthquake in 1934. For the most part they haven't been repaired and they're still lived in as damaged. Dhulikhel is rightly famous as a mountain viewpoint and for excellent day walks. At 1450 metres above sea level, it is a little cooler than Kathmandu but not as cold as Nagarkot. The Narayan and Harisiddhi temples in the old part of town are both beautifully adorned with intricate wood carvings. Because the tracks linking Dhulikhel with other towns are not paved but still well defined, this town would be an excellent place to spend a few days mountain cycling.

What to do ? Discover Newar architecture / Wander the local temples / Buy a painting at the art gallery / Walk to the Kali shrine to see the mountain views at sunrise or sunset / Make a circular day walk to Namobuddha and back / Walk to Nagarkot and back in one full day (if you're fit) / Wander around the Kathmandu University Campus / Pay R10 to enter the recreation ground and wander the tracks and enjoy a picnic.

Where to stay ? 
There are quite a few "resort" style places on the road that leads into Dhulikhel from Bhaktapur, but they tend to be very expensive. The following lists budget accommodation either in the town itself or the dirt roads around the Kali shrine.

  • Nawaranga Guest House and art gallery. (tel. 011-61226) Also a restaurant selling good, low cost food. Just east of Mahendra Chowk. Very friendly owner. Very basic rooms but kept clean. Primitive common bathroom facilities. Sgl R125, dbl R200, Trpl R300, common room R75.
  • Snow View Garden and Guest House (tel. 011-61229) 1 km east of Mahendra Chowk and close to road to the Kali shrine. Beautiful garden restaurant setting. Quiet, carpeted rooms. Sgl/dbl R300 with common bathroom. Sgl/dbl R600 with attached bathroom. Excellent views from the rooftop.
  • Panorama View Lodge and Restaurant. (tel. 011-62085) Just below the summit of the Kali shrine hill known as Dhulikhel Heights. A kilometre from the next building - if you like living in isolation this is for you! Basic rooms with attached bathroom Sgl R250, dbl R350/400.
  • Mountview Guest House and Restaurant (tel. 011-64039) Very close to Mahendra Chowk. Rooftop garden affords good view. Noisy. Very basic but clean with attached bathroom. Sgl R150, dbl R300.
  • Silkroad restaurant and Guest House. (tel. 011-64116) Next door to the above. Basic rooms with common bathroom. Sgl R150, dbl R200.
  • Dhulikhel Royal Guest House (tel. 011-64097) Near the bus park but still a fairly quiet place. Nice garden area. Restaurant. Movie shows. Clean and tidy rooms with common bathroom, Sgl R200, dbl R350. With attached bathroom, Sgl R300, dbl R500.

Communications ? Post office near Mahendra Chowk. Internet facility 100 metres east of Mahendra Chowk; DCI Communications and Services. R5 per minute.

Some walks you can make ?

It is possible to walk from Dhulikhel across paddy and minor roads (as described below) to Banepa and from there up to the hill station of Nagarkot. Total walking time is about 6.5 hours. The walk down is about 4.5 hours. Thus one could do the round trip on a long summer's day. (I did this walk some years ago and will describe it shortly here once I've walked it again). Or you can stay overnight in Nagarkot where there is plentiful accommodation and walk back the next day.

  • Dhulikhel-Srikandapur-Banepa-Dhulikhel (3 hours) :

Hardly a day walk, this is one you can make to get to know the suburbs after you've had a good look around the town!
Walk west out of the old part of the town and hit the road that is signposted "Dhulikhel hospital" (This is an Austrian-sponsored hospital that brings an expatriate volunteer community into the area). Walk in front of the hospital, passing it on a track which is also used as a public latrine. Walk through the thick scrub and descend onto paddy. Cross the paddy until you reach the distinctive buildings of the Kathmandu University. Hit the track left that takes you to the village of Srikandapur. Visit the temple and then pass across the flats to join up with the Panauti-Benapa road . Unless you are lost, you'll meet the road at a new SOS Children's Village. Turn right and walk along the minor road until you meet the urban settlement of Banepa. Turn right at the main road intersection that goes to Dhulikhel and follow it a km or so until the turning on the right marked "University Chowk". Follow the road through the campus until the main road ends, turn left and walk toward the hospital you can see in the distance. Cross the paddy, pass by the hospital and join the road into town.

  • Dhulikhel to Nagarkot via Banepa and Nala (about 5.5 hours) :

Walk to Banepa by taking the route described above. At the Banepa intersection turn left and walk along the Arniko highway out of town. Just before you get to the traffic police post, turn right and take the road to Nala. (Two interesting temples in this sleepy village). Turn left on the track that leads to Bhaktapur and after about 500 metres turn right onto the track that leads to the settlement of Tukucha ("Kun Tukucha jaane bato ho?" - "Which is the track to Tukucha?") Work your way uphill for about 3 kms to arrive at the Nagarkot view tower at 2150 metres above sea level. Turn left and follow the ridge into Nagarkot. 

  • Dhulikhel to Bhaktapur via Banepa and Nala (4 hours) : 

Arrive at Nala by following the routes described above. Pass by the Lokeshwar temple and keep left on the dirt road to Bhaktapur. The road meanders a bit and you'll pass through the villages of Nalachhap and Yangdol. As you approach Bhaktapur you'll pass several brick kilns, brick making is a major industry of the city of Bhaktapur. 500 metres before the city gate you pass Maheshwari Temple by the Tabyakhusi River. You can enter the city for a payment of US$10 or turn left onto the main road and walk through the urban sprawl a kilometre or so to the Arniko highway where you can catch a bus to Kathmandu.

  • Dhulikhel-Namobuddha-Panauti-Dhulikhel (circular trip of 7-8 hours) :

Exit Dhulikhel by walking uphill 40 minutes to the Kali shrine. Take the first left turning and follow the dusty road through the village of Kavre. Cross the newly constructed Japanese funded road (that will eventually link Dhulikhel to India) and follow the dirt road through the settlement of Sinduli, Bardibass, Faskot and Phulbari to the Buddhist Stupa of Namobuddha. This is a famous pilgrimage site for Tibetans, undertaken in February and March. If you like you can scramble up a steep path to look at the monastery and to look at a sculpture that explains the legend behind this site. Then walk back to the Stupa and take the road that descends to Sangkhu. Pass through the settlements of Etay, Naubise and Sunthan and after a couple of hours you reach the very interesting Newar town of Panauti. Here is a good place to stop for lunch (if you arrived too late there is even accommodation here). Wander around the temples and then follow the tracks across paddy to the settlements of Subba Gau and Chaukot. Now you can see the outskirts of Dhulikhel again. Join a newly constructed road and pass nearby the hospital into the old part of Dhulikhel.
From Panauti to Dhulikhel there are many other tracks that can be taken to Dhulikhel. Just ask; in any event the Panauti-Dhulikhel part of the trek can be made in about an hour.

  • Dhulikhel-Kampani-Laamidaada and back (1.5 hours) :

A nice, small walk to start the day with. Take the road out of Dhulikhel that leads to the Kali shrine but instead of taking the right fork to the shrine keep on the other dirt road. You'll pass by a major resort and, after 15 minutes the road turns a sharp right (at Kampani) and you are now looking south into the valley behind Dhulikhel Heights. Follow the track down to the tiny settlement of Laamidaada. Retrace your steps to Dhulikhel.

  • Dhulikhel - Dhulikhel Khola - Nala and back (6.5 hrs) :

With the aid of a map there is no reason not to custom-build your own walk or look over an area from a good vantage point and plan a destination. For this walk, leave Dhulikhel at the path that passes the Dhulikhel Lodge Resort, near the bus park. Descend steeply and head for the Dhulikhel Khola (river) that is no more than a stream in the dry season. You may notice several fields of marijuana growing in the wild. Follow the river and ascend the hill to its northern side. Pick up the track and follow it until it becomes the main road into the village of Rabi. Keep on this road until the next village of Opi. Head on this track to the red and white painted electricity pylon and ascend to Sumara and then Tusal villages. Pick up the main road that goes to the small settlement of Nala. Make sure you have a look at the impressive Bhagwat Mandir. The Nala-Banepa road is now paved and from here you can either walk or catch a bus back to Dhulikhel.

If you want to do more walks in the Dhulikhel area, try finding a copy of the booklet "Ten walks around Dhulikhel", written by Paul H. Drinkwater. The walks described are all circular walks.

Getting there and away ?
Buses for Dhulikhel leave the Kathmandu City Bus Park every 30 minutes and take about 1.4 hours. Fare is R18.
From Dhulikhel buses can be caught to Tatopani and the Tibetan border crossing point of Phuma Bhanjyang.b