Sundarijal is a village in Gokarneshwar Municipality to the north of Kathmandu, and on the edge of the Shivapuri National Park. Sundarijal means “beautiful water,” and the area is known for its waterfalls. Many visitors come to Sundarijal while hiking and mountain biking in the Shivapuri area.
Sundarijal is a popular destination for a day trip from Kathmandu, or for a longer stay in the region. It makes an ideal base to explore the waterfalls, or the trails of Shivapuri National Park. Sundarijal is also home to a number of beautiful temples: the Sundarimai, Ganesh, and Krishna Mandirs. In addition, many visitors come to Sundarijal to start longer treks around the edge of the Kathmandu Valley, either independently or with a guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is a small hydropower project here that can be viewed by the public.
- The entrance to the waterfalls is a 30- to 60-minute hike uphill from the village.
- Foreign visitors require a ticket to enter the waterfalls area, and are sometimes asked to show their passports, too.
- Travelers with young kids may want to skip the hike, as it can be slippery and uneven.
How to Get There
Sundarijal can be reached by private taxi (the more expensive option) or local bus from Kathmandu’s Ratna Park bus stand. The journey takes about an hour, depending on traffic and road conditions. Alternatively, it’s a 20-minute journey from Bhaktapur.
When to Get There
The village is busiest on Saturdays, the day of rest in Nepal. The temples in Sundarijal are particularly busy during major Nepali festivals, such as Dashain, which usually falls in October. The waterfalls are at their fullest during the monsoon (June to August) and immediately afterward, and they’re beautiful subjects for photography at this time of year.
Inside Shivapuri National Park is the sacred spring of Baghdwar. The holy Bagmati River that runs through Kathmandu originates at Baghdwar. As it gushes pure and cold out of the mountain, surrounded by lush greenery and ancient temples, it couldn’t be more different from the toxic sludge that winds its way through central Kathmandu. A hike in the park to Baghdwar makes a good day trip.