Shivapuri National Park is an incredible place to run for many reasons. The contrast between its clear air and rampant green nature, and the sprawling mess of Kathmandu which begins outside the park gate, is one such reason.
Recently we’ve been learning about new trails which don’t appear on the maps available in Kathmandu and decided to try them out.
Today’s run started and finished at the National Park gate, where we parted with Rs. 250 to enter.
As for the route, we begin by trying untried steps just a kilometer or so from the gate. These led steeply up to rejoin the trail from Nagi Gompa to the Bhagdwar, the source of the Bagmati river. We were hoping to find a trail right to the summit, as shown on the map, but that exploration will be for another time.
Before reaching the Bhagdwar, we’d seen a deer, various substantially-sized, loudly rattling insects and a luminous green gecko. We’d also found the dog from Nagi Gompa who followed us for the rest of the day.
From the Bhagdwar, where you can drink fresh Bagmati water from the mouth of Shiva, we greeted the Babas and climbed up towards the 2700m summit. Just a 100 metres or so below the summit, we turned north, decending along the ridge which turned east towards Borlang Banjyang and further to Okhreni village. This is the main watershed of the Bagmati river and we headed on sinuous trails down to a bridge straddling a living, energetic, crystal clear, freshwater mountain river. Just a few kilometres further on the populous of Kathmandu would be emptying its toilets into this holy torrent.
The final leg of the route involved a short bit of climbing on a good, old trail, before contouring along the south side of the forest, again past Nagi Gompa, before returning to the gate.
Highly recommended, fabulous running trails, incredibly lush forest, wonderful nature. A 5 hour run here, while exhausting, is like a short, intense holiday away from the grey cement and vehicle horns that overwhelm Kathmandu.
Final note: the orchids are coming. In the next few weeks (perhaps September), Shivapuri is going a riot of delicate colour.