Sunday, 05 November 2017

Best View Points in Nepal

Nepal is predominantly a Himalayan state. The best view points in Nepal are the highlighted features of many amazing trekking journeys. Eight of the ten tallest mountain peaks of the world are situated in Nepal. Moreover, Nepal is also home to some of the tallest Himalayan ranges on the planet, including Mount Everest- the tallest Mountain Peak. While visiting Nepal, the one thing you do not want to miss is the chance to witness the mountains. The sight of the colossi cerulean peaks make spectacular backdrops against the valleys and green hills. The panorama of the jiggered rising pinnacles are quite fascinating to see. Luckily, there are certain vantage points from where the panoramic views of the mountains are absolutely breath-taking! Some are situated close to the capital Kathmandu, while others are scattered throughout the country. Many of them are highlights on certain trekking journeys as well. The prospect of witnessing grand views of the Himalayas is always very appealing. Here are some of the best view points in Nepal that offer wonderful panoramic views of the Himalayas-

Kalapatthar- one of the best view points in Nepal for witnessing the Everest massif

Everest View from Kalatattar

Kalapatthar is perhaps one of the most famous view points in the country. It is certainly a hallmark of the Everest Base Camp Trek as well. The word “Kalapatthar’ translates as “Black Rock” in Nepali. It is a notable landmark that is located on the southern ridge of the Pumori above Gorakshep. Although Kalapatthar is not a proper mountain, the ascent is very popular to Kalapatthar as it is one of the best view points in Nepal in the Khumbu region. Close up panoramic views of the Everest massif seen from here are truly extraordinary. Even the base camp of Mount Everest itself does not provide views like Kalapatthar. This is mainly due to the fact that due to the structure of the Everest massif, its high summit is blocked by Mount Nuptse from much of its surrounding areas, except from Kalapatthar. The views of Mount Everest, the Nuptse, the Changtse and the rest of the range are quite breath-taking from Kalapatthar! There are glimpses of the northern flank and summit of Lhotse as well from here.     

In general, the ascent of Kalapatthar begins from Gorakshep, the last stop before the Everest Base Camp. Gorakshep used to be the original base camp for Mount Everest. After a brief plunge to an ancient lake-bed at Gorakshep, the trekking trail to Kalapatthar makes its way up a series of steep switchbacks before leveling off to the eastern side of the mountain. The trail then becomes steep once again until it reaches the wind-swept summit ridge. From there, it’s a five-to-ten minute’s hike over the boulders to reach one of the best view points in Nepal- Kalapatthar. From Gorakshep, it usually takes about 2 to 2 hours to reach.

Being a minor summit on a ridge leading to the Pumori, Kalapatthar’s height has many different variants of measurements. It is easily recognizable as well, as the ridge is usually festooned with many colorful prayer flags.  In December 2009, Madhav Kumar Nepal and the Nepali Cabinet also held a short cabinet meeting at the base of Kalapatthar as a response to climate change. The view point can be reached without much strenuousity and the ascent to Kalapatthar is usually done early in the morning before dawn. Trekkers visit here to witness the dream-like moment of the rising sun from amidst the Everest Mountains.  

The Gokyo RI

Gokyo Lake

Another viewpoint of the Khumbu, the Gokyo RI is a lesser known and relatively lesser visited viewpoint. It is a bit farther from the Everest Base Camp and lies at the elevation of 5,483 meters. It is located on the west side of the Ngozumpa glacier, which is the largest glacier in Nepal and is reputed to be the largest in the whole Himalayas. Gokyo (4,750 m/15,583ft), at the base of Gokyo RI, is a small hamlet of a few stone houses and one of the highest settlements in the world. From Gokyo RI, it is possible to see four 8,000-metre peaks- Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. The Gokyo Lakes are also in the area.

The Everest Gokyo Lake Trek is a fairly popular trekking route, an alternate to the more famous Everest Base Camp Trek. The route itself ends at Gokyo RI, and trekkers typically turn around at this point and retrace their steps back to the trailhead. Some trekkers even say that the Everest Gokyo lake Trek is even more beautiful than the main base camp trek as well. The famed Gokyo Lake is situated at the base of the Gokyo RI ascent.

Pikey Peak

Declared as one of the best view points by Sir Edmund Hillary, the Pikey Peak at 4065 meters is a small mountain located in the lower Solukhumbu region. Pikey presents sweeping views of nearly all of Nepal’s Himalayan ranges. It is a destination of a relatively quiet yet famous trek- the Pikey Peak Trek. Sir Edmund Hillary has said that the view of Sagarmatha from Pikey was his favorite in all of Nepal. It was only recently opened as a trekking destination as well. Pikey, pronounced Pee-Kay, has two summits, Goley-Pikey and the Chawa-Pikey. These names are derived from the Sherpa language and refer to the deities of different local Sherpa clans.

Pikey Peak provides the opportunity of a lifetime to see Mount Everest and six other peaks over 8,000 meters- the Everest South Summit, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, Annapurna and Manaslu in the west and in the east- the third-highest peak in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga. Additionally, the views of Mount Thamserku, the Numbur Himal, the Gauri Shankar and the Langtang Range are also quite fascinating. Pikey has breathtaking sunrise and sunset views. In addition to the peaks, Monasteries like the Thupten Chholing (where there are more than 500 nuns) and the Tolu Monastery, the second oldest in Nepal are also experienced.

Tengboche

Tengbuche

A famous village of the Khumbu and another highlight of the Everest Base Camp Trek, Tengboche is another one of the best viewpoints to witness the sights of mountain peaks. During the winter, the snow peaks of Mount Ama Dablam, the tip of the Everest that glows from the Nuptse ridge and several other peaks form a picturesque landscape from Tengboche. In the village is an important Buddhist monastery as well- the Tengboche Monastery, which is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region. Tengboche has a panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the well-known peaks of Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. Tenzing Norgay, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, was also born in the area in the village of Thani and was once sent to Tengboche Monastery to be a monk. Tengboche is a midway station on the trail to the base camp for the mountain climbers of Mount Everest and other peaks of over 8,000 meters (26,000 ft) elevation.

Nagarkot

Nagarkot is located 32 km east of Kathmandu. At an elevation of 2,195 meters, it is considered one of the most scenic spots in the Bhaktapur District and one of the most famous viewpoints of Nepal near the capital. It is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas including Mount Everest as well as other peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a very popular hiking route as well. Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley. 8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 can be seen from here. The ranges include the Annapurna range, the Manaslu range, the Ganesh Himal range, the Langtang range, the Jugal range, the Rolwaling range, the Mahalangur range (Everest range) and the Numbur range with views of the Kathmandu valley and the Shivapuri National Park. You can also do Paragliding with Everest view in Nagarkot. Situated in a strategic location, Nagarkot was an ancient fort of the Kathmandu valley built to monitor the external activities of other kingdoms. Later, it became a summer retreat for the royal family before becoming popular as an international hill station.

Poon Hill

Poon Hill

One of the most visited and famed Best view points in Nepal in the beautiful Annapurna region; Poon Hill is a highlighted destination of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. It is reached from the village of Ghorepani. It provides a spectacular panorama of the entire Mount Annapurna Massif. Trekkers visit this vantage point early in the morning to witness the sunrise views. It is a relatively easy ascent to Poon Hill from Ghorepani. Located at an elevation of 3,210 meters, Poon Hill presents amazing views of the Dhaulagiri as well as the Annapurna Himals.

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