Kathmandu, being the smoggy city that it is, often has us looking for places to get away for weekends and holidays so that we may get to breathe relatively fresh air, and be in a place that is away from the city’s grime and other urban delights.
Thankfully, we are located so that it is usually possible to be out of the smog zone after a short drive to places like Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and suchlike. These are some of the many places that we count on as amongst our getaways, but closer to the city - yet in its location a world away - is the cottage that Steve Webster and his wife Neeru have built. Called the Shivapuri Heights, it’s a comfortable getaway from the city, and is easy to get to also.
Perched on the Shivapuri watershed area to the north of the city, Shivapuri Heights is located slightly to the north-east of Budanilkantha school and is on a spur, almost directly behind the Hare Krishna establishment in Budanilkantha.
A short drive from the city center to Budanilkantha in the north, and a short albeit steep walk once the motorable road ends brings you to this place. The cottage is located more or less in the middle of two acres of land and stands alone in the middle of this section of the hill. The style of its construction is Nepali and so it blends harmoniously into the general landscape of its location. Its only distinction from afar being the deep red color that it has, that marks it out from the other cottages on that hill.
At a height of 6000 feet at the edge of a protected area, the land was acquired by Steve and his wife a few years ago and the cottage was built with the original idea of celebrating the millennium new years eve. Although it did not get completed in time for this event, Steve says he still managed to hold a very successful celebration there on that evening. Once completed however, it became an ideal getaway for him, his family and his friends, and so the Websters thought of opening it up to paying guests. Thus the cottage is now open to guests, and costs 1850 Rupees per person for a nights stay with dinner and breakfast included.
This comfortably appointed cottage has three bedrooms, with two of them being cozy lofts and with one located on the ground floor. This means that six people can be comfortably accommodated here but the rooms have potential for accommodating a few more people, although the cottage itself is quite small. There is also a furnished living\dining area, a well-equipped and well-stocked kitchen, and a nice bathroom attached. The best part about the place however is the small lawn outside the cottage from where one gets rather nice views of the city and the hills to the south. A caretaker is present at the cottage and takes care of cooking and cleaning and all one need to do really is relax on the lawn, play any of the many board games that are stocked around the house, or do anything else that leisure time permits. Although it’s in a rural setting, the place has all the trappings of a well-appointed city house, but if one is addicted to cable TV, then one will find it lacking.
But TV is one of the last things one need here because there are many healthier ways to spend time, especially for those not inclined towards lazing around (which this place almost begs you to do). It’s a great place for starting or ending day hikes in the Shivapuri National Park and there are also walks of several lengths and levels of difficulty and the athletically inclined as well as the nature lover will find plenty to do in this place.
So if you are looking for a place that is not too far off from the city, offers great views and clean air, is easy to access and a good place to relax, then Shivapuri Heights could be the place. How and when one may use the premises can be tailored according to ones requirements, and enquiries in this regard may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It dawned upon me after completing a Patan heritage walk recently that there is so much more to this area...