Dhulikhel gives stunning views of the Himalayas that can rival Nagarkot. It is a classic old Newari town. In the West, at a height of 7227 m, the gorgeous Langtang Lirung peaks unfold through Dorje Lakpa (6966 m). Gauri Shankar (7134 m), Melungtse (7181 m) and Numbur (5945 m) can be seen in the East. It is located on the East side 32km away from Kathmandu.
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Places to Visit in Dhulikhel
Located 2km southeast from the town square's bottom, the Shiva temple is located at the turn off of the Kali temple after passing an open field. Beyond the junction, at the bottom of a gorge, a gorgeous tiny Shiva temple sits whose path is marked by a Ganesh shrine and a little stream that flows by.
With a metal dome top with four nagas stretching down from the pinnacle, the temple idolizes a four-faced lingam. With statues of a royal Malla family scattered around, you will find sages (holy men) offering spiritual advice.
Located on a hill, this temple is a 30-minute climb up a series of concrete steps. You can get an exquisite view of the mountains from up here. Shanti Ban which is a massive golden statue of Buddha will be passed along the way. And if you do plan to go to Namobuddha, it falls on the way so you can save some time.
The temple is dedicated to the manifestation of goddess Durga as Kali, who is the goddess of change, time, power and creation. A trident of Shiva is in the front as he is her consort.
While we do know that the temple was reconstructed by King Jagat Malla of Bhaktapur in 1647 CE, we do not know when it came into existence. Known as one of the tallest temples in Kathmandu, it is helped by the fact that it was built on some platforms of the highest point of the town. Small birds and curved corners decorate the lower roof while the upper room is identical to the lower one but it is made from gilt copper and the birds are exceptionally small. The temple is dedicated to the manifestation of Lord Durga or Parvati in the form of Bhagwati. Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva and a huge trident has been made across the courtyard in his honor. A small brass lion holding a trident is Durga's mount which is etched in the stone column next to the trident.
While the houses nearby the temple were completely destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, the temple is comparatively faring well than the houses. The courtyard is dominated by the golden Narayan temple's three tiers. A Vishnu shrine and two columns that have a winged Garuda kneeling in front of Krishna and Narayan are in front of the 17th-century temple. The roof is decked with gilded birds and the courtyard is surrounded by the locals who enjoy sitting in the rest stop or handling small stalls.
This tiny three-story temple is located behind the Narayanthan temple and can be entered by the painted archway around the wall. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Harisiddhi and the origin of the goddess is in India. It is believed that Vikramaditya, the Indian emperor, brought his beloved goddess when he came to Nepal with him. He is also the founder of Bikram Sambat.
Along Dhulikhel Bazaar's route, there are several smaller temples scattered along but there are no monuments of note. While efforts were made in the 1960s to make Dhulikhel a tourist destination, it never took off. Saraswoti Pokhari is at the end of the bazaar where a statue dedicated to the goddess of art and knowledge is situated.
Saraswoti to Kali Shrine Hill Walk
After leaving the main bazaar, continue on the main road until a grassy fenced area which has a large tree nearby in a large junction is reached. You should take the path leading to the upper right which will take you to the red brick archway which continues on to many steps. The authenticity of the 1000 steps is questioned here but you can tell that there are lots of steps to get to the top. Gates to Shanti Ban are at the midpoint of the way. At the top, a dirt trail will appear which will lead to a junction. From there you should be on the lookout for a small blue hut. A signpost pointing to the steps to the Kali Shrine or to the Namobuddha trail is present here.
Restaurants in Dhulikhel
While the cost of accommodations is expensive in Dhulikhel, there are not many restaurants. Local restaurants of various standards and types are by the Saraswoti Pond.
The Pizza Hub Restaurant is regarded as the best one there but pizzas are not Nepali cuisine. There are a few local items on the menu available though. Love Bird and Newari Kitchen which are tourist-centric establishments are opposite the Pizza Hub Restaurant.
Accommodation in Dhulikhel
There is an abundance of accommodation available in Dhulikhel. Most of the accommodations are located near the main road towards the bus stop and Kali shrine. While the hotels do claim they are a resort, not all of them are. The hotel options are very limited in the old city and guest houses are even more scarce.
While choosing a hotel, you have to be careful about the location. Hotels often claim that they are located in Dhulikhel but sometimes they are nowhere near it. Here are some of our recommendations:
Dwarika’s Resort - It is one of the most genuine resorts that offer the best facilities and services in Nepal.
Nawaranga Restaurant & Guest House - It is the best budget range guest house and has been running for a long time. A mini art gallery is on show in it. It is run by a couple, Purna and his wife and is a short walk away from Saraswoti restaurant.
Panorama View Lodge Resort - This hotel gives us a stunning view of the Himalayan mountains and is located near the Kali Shrine. While the rooms are old, the stunning view on a clear day makes up for it.
Getting to Dhulikhel
Depending on your budget and schedule, there are plenty of ways you can get to Dhulikhel. Every 15-20 minutes, buses leave Ratna Park bus stop to go to Dhulikhel. While these buses are often packed, they're more budget-friendly. It does take a longer time to get to Dhulikhel.
You also have the options available for taxis but they are quite expensive unless you're looking for a two-way ride. Private vehicles are also available but they usually have to be pre-booked.