05 Feb 2018
3 min read
A lot of people know about Changu Narayan Temple’s historical and religious importance. But only a few know about Trishul Danda, a hillock neighbouring the temple. The place makes for a great hiking destination (which takes only about 30 minutes to reach from Changu Narayan), and offers hikers a panoramic view of around 20 different mountains to the north and a landscape view of the valley to the south.
Recently two of my friends, a local guide named Suman Gopaju Shrestha and I visited the place. After strolling around Changu Narayan Temple, we started walking uphill to Trishul Danda. To reach the hillock, you have to take the gravelled road on the eastern side of Changu Narayan Temple. The route is quite easy, especially if you are an avid hiker and are used to hiking on tough terrain. Along the route, you will see people living in scattered Newar and Tamang settlements going about their day. “Though the locals live on the hilltop, they have fields on the northern slope, where they grow potato, wheat, millet, buckwheat, vegetables and lapsi,” our guide, Suman, told us. “Farmers either sell their produce in Sankhu, or they transport it to markets in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.” The houses along the trail are usually two-storeys tall, and made of stones or wood.
We met warm and hospitable people who were ready to serve us drinking water, homemade curd and lassi. Along the trail, you will also find multiple local eateries, where you can enjoy the taste of local dishes, including local chhyang. After walking from Changu Narayan Temple for around 30 minutes, we reached Trishul Danda.
Trishul Danda, locally called Mahankal, is a famous religious spot for the people of the Changu Narayan municipality, since it is a shrine where most locals perform the annual Kulpuja. The place holds a lot of historical importance as well because it is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Kathmandu Valley, and it is built in an architectural style that predates those employed in most temples in Nepal. The hillock is covered in rhododendron forests and kafal bushes. The southern side of the hillock is flanked by small, dispersed Brahmin, Chhetri and Sanyasi settlements; and the eastern side of the hillock connects to the pine forests of Telkot, a village that lies midway on the road to Nagarkot.
On Trishul Danda, you will find a big trident, an idol of the five-faced Ganesh, many shiva lingas, the Gorakhnath Temple and other smaller shrines. The caretaker of the temple is Kali Baba—the sage of the establishment. He also takes care of the 20 stray dogs that call the temple their home, and performs daily pujas in the temple. He even provides accommodation to travellers, if need be. If you are looking for a picnic spot near the temple, you make use of the big, open ground, which locals use as pasture land.
“Trishul Danda is famous as a sightseeing destination,” says Kali Baba. “The picturesque view of the valley and the local settlements and the panoramic view of the mountains and the terraced fields in the valley is what travellers come looking for.” He added that many people stop by at the temple during their hikes to Nagarkot. The place is also the starting point of many other hikes and mountain-biking trails.
After spending almost two hours at the hillock, just as the day was coming to an end, we decided to start our return journey home. Our guide directed us to go to Chihan Danda, another hilltop near Trishul Dada, where we watched the sun set behind a seemingly endless horizon of hills, before calling it a day.