At Naikap High Above the Smog

Getaway Issue 159 Feb, 2015

I was born and brought up in Kathmandu. And until last week I thought I knew it like the back of my hand. 

Kathmandu manages to take me by surprise every day. Some days it is a fast-paced city, other days it is a quaint valley.

On the ground it is a smoggy hazard, and from a few hundred meters up it is a shimmering gemstone. One of those few pleasant surprises Kathmandu has kept hidden in her crevasse is Naikap. Just a few minutes drive upwards from Kalanki Chowk is the secluded village dotted with mud houses, thatched roofs, fresh air and whiffs of uncannily welcoming stench of cow dung. And amidst it all is a resort that perfectly balances rural and urban sensibilities, all the while offering a magnificent view of the entire valley. 

The Resort
Naikap Village Resort is some 20-minutes drive or an hour and a half hike from Kalanki Chowk. The spiral road leading up to the resort is an off-road trail which, although not the most comfortable, is something to be grateful for. The road allows cars and buses easy access to the resort and the rest of Naikap. 

Nestled in a huge area of land on a hillside, the resort looks like blocks of white legos from a distance. It looks peaceful and quaint, but you really don’t know peace until you finally make a stop at the resort’s parking lot and listen carefully. I heard birds, and nothing else. I had forgotten what silence meant until I heard them chirping and that music trees make when the breeze passes through their leaves. The very moment you enter the resort, you find serenity and know that your stay here is going to be positively rejuvenating.  

Opened for service only seven months ago, the manager here, Bishal Pandey tells me that the resort is yet to be completed. With three buildings standing side by side that house nine fully furnished rooms, and a restaurant that dishes out tantalizing dishes from a limited menu, the resort is already in full swing. The rooms are all comfortable with modern amenities at hand and the friendly local staff are always at their heels to assist you with anything you need. 

What they have to offer
A Day Off: This is no rocket science. It is a resort and a relaxed day is guaranteed. 
Billion Star Hotel: There is no better way to spend a night away from the valley than set up camp under the night sky filled with billions of twinkling stars. And Naikap Village Resort avails its guests with the same experience upon prior booking. A tent, a mat and a sleeping bag will be arranged for any number of guests upon booking so that they can get a taste of the wilderness.  

A Lost Gem – Kathmandu: I truly believe that this is the highlight of the stay at Naikap Village Resort. Just an hour away from the main city, this destination unearths the marvel that Kathmandu has always been, but has always remained hidden underneath the smoggy sheet. The resort’s terrace unravels an uninterrupted view of the cityscape, which gets better as the sun settles down and the first of CFL bulbs light up in the valley. Add to the view, the cold breeze rolling down the hill magnifies all your senses. It is truly a surreal experience.

The Morning Star Unveils the Himalayas: Naikap is probably the most underrated places when it comes to witnessing the early sunrise. With nothing obstructing the view of the golden ball of fire resurfacing from the nook of the hills on the other side, the experience can only be called beautiful. On any clear morning, the snow-clad Himalayas on the left slowly turn amber as the first light of day kisses them and then your face. All this beauty lies in front of you while you are still cocooned in the warmth of the blanket.

Things to Do When at the Resort
Since, the resort is still in the making, there are not too many activities on offer except to bask in the sun during the day and to enjoy the view by night. While this might be an ideal off-day at a resort for many, why not explore the surrounding for a change. Who knows what surprises you may encounter in this land? 

Naikap Gumba
If people know about Naikap, the gumba is probably the main reason. Situated right across the resort, you definitely want to visit it when here. 

Rustic Village
The resort is sandwiched between villages. Whether you decide to go uphill or downhill, there is a typical Nepali village waiting for you. An evening walk down to Kankali Mandir welcomes you with a gorgeous sunset, if you make it on time. A tour uphill is better saved for a morning hike.

Bindabasini Temple and Switzerland Ground
15 to 20 minutes uphill hike from the resort takes you to a religious heritage site – Bindabasini Mandir. Just behind it is a famous picnic spot, endearingly named “Switzerland Ground”. Sadly, it is no Switzerland, only a ground and terribly littered too. Legend has it that, this is where Prithivi Narayan Shah set up his base camp before marching east into Kathmandu Valley. 

This is a cultural and religious landmark that is closely associated with the festival Indrajatra in Kathmandu. Every year this place sees a lot of pilgrims at the onset of the jatra. It is a half an hour hike away from the resort. 

Kalu Pandey’s Resting Place and a Stupendous View
When you finally reach the top of the hill, what awaits you is a jaw dropping view of the valley in the east, the Himalayas in the North and the endless fields and a few brick kilns in the west. And while the gust of cold wind sweeps across your face, you realize that it is no wonder Kalu Pandey chose to be buried here. This is where he rests, relishing in the stunning view of Gorkha and Manakamana. 

Back to Naikap Village Resort
An uphill hike to the top of the hill from the resort and back takes some three hours. When possible, the resort will send one of their staffs to guide you on this trip. Upon return you can put up your feet and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. Whether you decide to stay for the day or not is entirely up to you.

 Our verdict is that Naikap Village Resort makes for a refreshing weekend getaway from the valley. Whether it is some alone time you are looking for or some quality time with your family, the resort makes for an ideal destination.

Location: Purano Naikap
Contact num: 6922648, 9741310847
Note: Naikap is a haven for cyclists. Take up the challenge if you dare to.