07 Apr 2017
6 min read
Sanga, a bucolic village 20km away from Kathmandu, never really makes it to the top of most travel wishlists. More often than not, Sanga is overshadowed by its neighbouring towns, such as Dhulikhel, or even Nagarkot, which have over the years gained a reputation for being blessed with great vantage points for witnessing breathtaking sunrises. But here are some reasons why you should visit Sanga if you want to make a short day trip. And if you do want to add more value to your trip, you could still include Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel in your itinerary.
Kailashnath Mahadev statue
The Kailashnath Mahadev statue is the primary reason why people today stop at Sanga instead of speeding along to places like Dhulikhel or beyond. Opened to the public in 2010, the 144-foot tall statue is visited by an increasingly large number of people—more than 5,000 visitors make their way there during Hindu festivals, it’s been said. Getting to the statue is easy. As soon as you reach the Sanga Gate, just take the road to the north that winds upwards. A five-minute hike later, after passing rows of khaja ghars and shops that sell various assortments of pau, you will reach the entrance to the statue area. It takes Rs 100 to enter the premises directly, but that cost can easily be avoided if you take an alternate road: just walk down the sloping, gravel-topped road to the left of the entrance, and after about 50m of downhill walking, you should see a path that leads straight up to the direction of the statue. Take it, and you will find yourself at the bottom of a flight of stairs—both sides are covered with lush green gardens dotted with red, blue and yellow flowers. Start climbing, and the steps will lead you directly up to the magnificent monument. Once there, you’ll probably get awestruck by the sheer size of the statue. Take in the spectacular view of the neighbouring hills, refuel at the eatery nearby, or purchase merchandise with the Rs 100 you saved (if you took the alternate route).
First time visitors to Sanga may find the place uninteresting and may think that the place has nothing more to offer except around a dozen bhattis and a few kirana stores. But if you take a closer look, there is more to Sanga than meets the eye. Visitors often miss the extensive fields sprawling across Sanga that serve as drying spaces for pau. The sight of women basking in the sun and filling up plastic packets with pau, or spreading processed lapsi onto wooden boards is common here. Furthermore, Sanga is the starting point for some underrated hikes such as the Sanga-Panauti hike and the Sanga-Nagarkot hike.
Kathmandu Fun Valley
If you have some time to spare on your return journey home, the Kathmandu Fun Valley in Palase, Bhaktapur, is a good place to stop. This water park can be spotted easily while driving towards Sanga—the full-fledged amusement park lies in between farms and green fields, and it might even look slightly out of place from the road. Once you enter the compounds of the park you will feel like you are in a world that’s all about fun—the fun park boasts a huge variety of attractions such as the relay tower, water slides and pools, the dragon coast, go-karts and the Columbus ride, among others.
The place is meant especially for visitors travelling with their family and friends. It also has its own restaurant, but visitors also have the option of eating in the small resorts around the fun park.
After your stop at Sanga, you can make a detour to Bhaktapur, the ancient Newar city known for its traditional pottery, woodcraft, temples, monuments and traditional Newari dishes. Juju Dhau, a traditional brand of yogurt, is one of the most popular food items here. The sweetened, thick yogurt, served in small mud pots, makes for a great creamy dish.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Once you are in Bhaktapur, visiting the well-known Durbar Square is a must. There are enough cultural, religious and historical monuments to explore, such as the Nyatapola Temple (the tallest pagoda-style temple in Nepal) the 55-window palace and so on. You could even spend some time observing artisans working with wood, throwing pottery and so on. Not only is the Durbar Square a great sightseeing spot, it is also surprisingly devoid of the dirty air and noise pollution that plague the highway.
The thousand steps
If you have some more time to spare, you can just head to Dhulikhel, an 18-km drive away from Sanga. The quaint town of Dhulikhel is famous for the picturesque views you can get from there of the Himalayas, which crown the distant hills. And the best place in the town to view the snow-draped peaks is from the top of the thousand steps. You can reach the top by either climbing the 1,000 steps or you can just drive to the top. It is highly recommended that you do the former. The stairs are neatly laid, and they will take you deep inside a forest. The steps then give way to a flat land, from where you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the town of Dhulikhel, the Panchkhal Valley, rows of green hills and panoramic mountain ranges. There are restaurants at the top,and a hotel or two, if you choose to stay there for the night.