If you are planning to go to a destination that’s not too far from Kathmandu, but still has snowy views all around then Daman is the right place for you. Just 77 km south west of Kathmandu and only a three to four hour drive, it is one of the best weekend getaways for people living in the Kathmandu valley.
On the gorgeous hill station of Daman, you can enjoy a snow ball fight, build snow man, play games and at the same time enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayan range extending from Dhaulagiri in the west to Everest in the east. Visit the Mountain Botanical Gardens there, where Rhododendrons bloom in many different colors. Take a short hike a little further through the forest to reach a tiny but very sacred temple of Lord Shiva, Shree Rikeshwar Mahadev Mandir.
Daman is one place that rightfully boasts of the most spectacular, panoramic view of the Himalayas. However, if snow is all you want in Daman, it is better to visit a day immediately after rainfall in the valley during winter.
Kingdom of Lo
Known for its rugged and jagged landscape, Mustang is not just a remote district of Nepal, but the former Kingdom of Lo. It was once ruled by Raja Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista. However, Kingdom of Lo officially became a part of Nepal in 1950. So this winter, if you are going to Mustang, Muktinath is one of the popular destinations to visit, besides the many renowned places of historical importance.
Muktinath, Kaagbeni and Jomsom are three places of interest in the mysterious Mustang district. Many tourist every year visit Mustang from within and outside the country and leave with a lasting impression of ancient Thakali and Tibetan culture, their warm hospitality playing an important part and of course the spiritual aspect of holy Muktinath temple which is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, Buddhists and followers of Bon Po.
But Lo Mathang is where you ought to be. Once the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo, it has many monuments and stupas of historical importance including nine corned five storey palace of the Kings build around 1400 AD. Most houses here are built up of white washed mud bricks; the important monasteries are: Jampa Gompa, Thubchen Gompa, Chodey Gompa and Choprang Gompa. Their culture still remains intact, untouched by modernisation even today.
If you just have a day to spare, head for Phulchowki which is just 14km from the city of Kathmandu but you must go there when it snows and that’s not often. It is the only place on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley that receives snow each winter. Other times it is just one more beautiful peak where you can trek and enjoy the spectacular view of Kathmandu valley.
Known to be surrounded by oak trees and rhododendron, Phulchowki is a very popular destination for short hikes and nature tours such as bird watching. The very popular picnic spot for all who grew up in Kathmandu, Godavari Botanical Garden lies at the foot of the hill of Phulchowki. So, after a long day a hike and playing in the snow you may want to spend some time inside the botanical garden.
One of the most beautiful hills surrounding Kathmandu, Phulchowki is undoubtedly a place every Kathmanduite must go at least once in a lifetime. The flowers, the birds, the view and also the snow give you one of the most memorable experiences in a day long trip.
Most popularly known for its gorgeous views of sunrise and sunsets, Nagarkot is one of the favourite weekend getaways for Kathmanduites. You also get the grandest panoramic view possible of the Himalayas from here, making it the most scenic spot near Kathmandu.
Besides being awestruck by the view from Nagarkot’a viewing tower, you can also have a snowball fight with friends or family, take nature walks along Nagarkot’s wonderful hiking trail s and ride a mountain bike along the steep roads around Nagarkot and Dhulikhel. Or ride up to Namobuddha.
Although Nagarkot is the preferred getaway throughout the year where you can go to relax and relish the beauty of nature you can’t find snow all year round. So, if you want snow, winter is the time and make sure you get your timing right.