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White Gumba – Kathmandu’s Hidden Gem


In the vibrant, bustling city of Kathmandu, one would hardly expect to find a quiet corner that offers serenity and a stunning panoramic view. Enter White Gumba, or as it is traditionally known, Seto Gumba. This is not just a tourist attraction, but a spiritual haven that promises peace, tranquility, and a touch of Nepalese culture and Buddhism. In this comprehensive guide, journey with us through the winding roads of Kathmandu to this exquisite monastery and understand what makes it so special.

1. Historical Significance and Background

White Gumba, officially named the Druk Amitabh Mountain, is a relatively modern monastery with deep historical roots. Founded by the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism, its aesthetic white structure and serene setting attract both spiritual seekers and tourists alike. Its existence is a testament to Nepal’s rich tapestry of faiths and its commitment to preserving and promoting them.

2. Architectural Marvel

Stepping into White Gumba is like entering another world. The intricate carvings, vibrant murals, and impressive statues showcase the best of Tibetan architecture. Notably:

  • Stupas and Shrines: Adorned with prayer flags, they not only accentuate the monastery’s beauty but also stand as a testament to its spiritual significance.
  • Main Prayer Hall: With intricate wooden carvings and a giant statue of Amitabha Buddha, it forms the heart of the monastery, inviting visitors to meditate or simply soak in the tranquility.

3. Panoramic Views and Natural Beauty

Perched atop a hill, White Gumba offers an unparalleled view of Kathmandu Valley. Whether you’re capturing the sunrise, sunset, or simply enjoying the panoramic landscape, the view from this monastery is breathtaking and worth the visit.

4. Spiritual Retreat

Beyond its architectural beauty, White Gumba is a place of learning and meditation. Monks and nuns, draped in their traditional robes, can be seen performing rituals, chanting, and meditating. For those looking to dive deeper, the monastery occasionally offers meditation sessions and teachings that tourists can attend.

5. Getting There

While the journey to White Gumba can be a little challenging, it’s worth the effort. There are two primary routes:

  • By Road: Opt for a cab or drive yourself. Remember to start early to avoid the city’s notorious traffic.
  • Trekking: For the adventurous, a trek from Sitapaila is an exciting way to reach the monastery. The path is dotted with local flora and offers glimpses of local life.

6. Best Time to Visit

While White Gumba is open throughout the year, it’s best visited during the clear skies of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). These periods provide the best views and pleasant weather.

7. Essential Tips for Visitors

  • Dress modestly: Respect the religious norms by avoiding sleeveless tops and shorts.
  • Photography: While capturing the monastery’s beauty is tempting, ensure you respect the “No Photography” zones, especially inside the prayer halls.
  • Respect the Silence: Remember, it’s a place of worship. Maintain decorum and silence.
  • Stay updated: It’s always a good idea to check the monastery’s official website or contact them directly for timings, as they may vary.


White Gumba, with its striking architecture, panoramic views, and profound spiritual significance, is undoubtedly one of Kathmandu’s must-visit places. Whether you are on a spiritual quest, an admirer of architecture, or simply a traveler seeking new horizons, White Gumba awaits with its open arms and serene ambiance. So, the next time you are in Kathmandu, make sure to carve out a day for this hidden gem and experience the tranquility it promises.

Nagarkot: The Himalayan Gem for Stunning Sunrises and Hiking

Nestled high in the Himalayas just 32 km east of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is one of Nepal’s most popular destinations for enjoying breathtaking mountain views and spectacular sunrises over the Himalayas. At an elevation of 2,175 meters, Nagarkot offers panoramic vistas of the Langtang Range, Rolwaling Himal, Manaslu Peak, Ganesh Himal, and on clear days even Mount Everest.

With its cool hill climate, scenic hiking trails, and abundant accommodation options, Nagarkot has become a favored getaway for those looking to escape the chaos of Kathmandu. Whether you’re planning to relax in the tranquil setting or partake in adventure activities, Nagarkot caters to all tastes and budgets. Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect Nagarkot holiday.

How to Reach Nagarkot from Kathmandu

Nagarkot is an easy day trip from Kathmandu, with buses departing early morning to ensure you catch the dazzling Himalayan sunrise. Alternatively, you can hire a private taxi or join a guided tour. The scenic one-hour drive passes through terraced farmlands, rustic villages, and rolling forested hills before climbing up to Nagarkot.

Buses leave Kathmandu from the Bhaktapur Bus Park between 5:30 to 7 am, taking 1.5 to 2 hours. Tickets cost around Rs. 200 one-way. Taxis can be hired for Rs. 3,000-4,000 roundtrip. For sunrise tours, prices range from Rs. 1,500-2,500 per person.

Top Things to Do in Nagarkot

Watch the Sunrise over the Himalayas Nagarkot’s biggest highlight is undoubtedly its magical sunrise. Wake up early and head to View Tower or Hotel Everest View for an unobstructed view of the sun peeking over the Himalayan horizon, bathing the peaks in golden hues. On clear days, you can see towering peaks like Gauri Shankar, Melungtse, Numbur, and Everest illuminated in the distance.

Go Hiking and Exploring With a number of hiking trails leading through Nagarkot’s pine forests and rhododendron woods, hiking is one of the best ways to soak in the area’s natural beauty. Easy 1-2 hour hikes take you to neighboring Tamang villages like Changu Narayan and Nala. For more experienced hikers, the 8-hour trek to Dhulikhel via Bhaktapur offers stunning mountain scenery. Other scenic day hikes lead to Sankhu, Sundarijal and Shivapuri National Park.

Explore Nagarkot’s Historic Sites Nagarkot has some fascinating historic and religious sites worth visiting like the ancient Nagarkot Fort, said to date back to the medieval period. The strategically located fort near Nagarkot Hill was once an important lookout. Also worth seeing is the serene Indreshwar Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The small Vishnudevi Temple also draws Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.

Enjoy Local Culture and Cuisine Nagarkot offers many opportunities to experience Nepal’s indigenous Newari culture. Take a stroll through the bucolic villages surrounded by rice terraces. Intricately carved temples and buildings highlight traditional Newari architecture. Drop by rural farms growing mustard, potatoes and maize. Don’t miss trying authentic Newari cuisine like juicy buffalo meat, wo and aaalu achar pickles.

Go Paragliding for Incredible Aerial Views Adventure seekers shouldn’t miss the chance to go paragliding over Nagarkot for thrilling bird’s-eye views. You can sign up for paragliding tours and take a tandem flight over the valley with experienced pilots. Float above the lush forests and villages before landing at Nala village, an exhilarating way to marvel at Nagarkot’s scenery.

Best Time to Visit Nagarkot

October to May is the ideal time to visit Nagarkot to enjoy pleasant weather and optimal Himalayan views. During summer monsoon (June-August), the mountains are often obscured by clouds and rain. Spring (March-May) brings clear skies along with colorful rhododendrons in bloom. Autumn (September-November) is similarly gorgeous with Himalayan peaks visible at sunrise. Evenings can get cold in winter (December-February), but the days are pleasant.

Where to Stay in Nagarkot

Nagarkot has abundant accommodation for all budgets. Upscale resorts like Club Himalaya and Mystic Mountain offer lavish rooms, spas, restaurants and sunset views. Mid-range hotels like Hotel Country Villa, Peaceful Cottage and Hotel at the End of the Universe provide modern amenities in a scenic setting.

For budget travelers, plenty of lodges and homestays provide simple rooms under $10/night. The Naga View and Himalayan Villa are popular backpacker choices. Staying in Nagarkot village allows you to witness Buddhist monastic life and sample authentic Newari cuisine at local eateries.

Travel Tips for Visiting Nagarkot

  • Bring warm clothing as temperatures can get chilly, especially at sunrise, sunset and winter.
  • Hire a guide if trekking to avoid getting lost, as trail markers are limited.
  • Travel light with day packs for hiking and exploring Nagarkot’s attractions on foot.
  • Carry cash for entrance fees, food, and shopping as ATM services are limited.
  • Charge devices before arriving as electricity supply can be erratic.
  • Avoid the monsoon period from June to August when views are often obscured.
  • To beat crowds, visit Nagarkot during shoulder seasons like spring and autumn.

Nagarkot makes the perfect refreshing escape from crowded Kathmandu to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Himalayas. With sweeping mountain vistas, outdoor adventures, and rich cultural heritage, this peaceful hill town lets you experience the quintessential highlights of Nepal in one easily accessible destination.