Kalinchowk Temple Trek - 5-Day Itinerary

The Kalinchowk Temple trek is an excellent, moderate short trek within easy reach of Kathmandu. You will experience local hill culture, forest and river landscapes, panoramic views of the Himalayas and the beautiful pilgrimage spot of Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple.

Highlights

  • Take a pilgrimage to Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple, full of little tridents
  • Enjoy a lesser-visited camping trek within easy reach of Kathmandu
  • Combine with a white-water rafting on the Bhote Kosi for extra adventure
  • Panoramic views of the Himalaya from Kalinchowk, including Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal, and Gauri Shankar

Overview

The pinnacle of this trek is the trident-filled pilgrimage site of Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple at 3780 meters. Besides the pilgrims, though, you are likely to have this route to yourself, as it’s a camping trek with little of the trekking infrastructure that makes other areas of Nepal so busy.

The trek begins a half-day drive from Kathmandu. As well as the stunning natural beauty, this trek is ideal for trekkers interested in local culture. The area is inhabited mainly by Brahmin, Tamang and Sherpa people. Along the way, you will pass through rhododendron forests (best in spring), and spot a variety of birds, including Nepal’s national bird, the danphe, if you’re lucky.

A major highlight of the trek is that much of the trail follows a high—and vertiginous—ridgeline. If you’re really scared of heights this might be a bit daunting, but most trekkers will find that the thrill is part of the fun!

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Drive Kathmandu to Charikot 1,515 m/5,101 ft; approx. 4 hrs
Day 2 Trek Charikot to Campsite 2,500 m/ 8,202 ft; approx. 6 hrs
Day 3 Trek to Kalinchowk Temple (3,700 m) then descend to Kuri Camp 3,450 m/10, 498 ft; approx. 6 hrs
Day 4 Descend to Charikot; overnight at Charikot Panorama Resort 6 hrs
Day 5 Drive back to Kathmandu  

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Drive Kathmandu to Charikot

Take a private jeep from Kathmandu to Charikot along the scenic Arniko Highway. The road climbs steadily up to 2,600 meters/ 8,530 feet, crosses the Bhote Kosi and Sun Kosi Rivers (two of eastern Nepal’s most important waterways), and then descends to Charikot. Arrive in Charikot in time for lunch, and spend the afternoon exploring the small town, which is the headquarters of Dolakha District, and home to the famous roofless temple, Dolakha Bhimsen. Overnight in a simple hotel.

Day 2: Trek Charikot to Campsite

After breakfast, start the trek up towards the campsite, via the town of Deurali. Most of the trail will be through forests—in spring, colorful Rhododendron flowers (the national flower of Nepal) will be in bloom, which can be a really impressive sight. You will also see a variety of birdlife, and perhaps even the colorful danphe, Nepal’s national bird. Overnight in a tent.

Day 3: Trek to Kalinchowk Temple, then to Kuri Camp

Today, trek up to the Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple, enjoying amazing views of Numbur Himal and Gauri Shankar along the way. The temple, located at 3,800 meters/ 12,467 feet, is important to Buddhists and Hindus, and it is a major pilgrimage site. It is particularly busy with pilgrims in August-September. But, it is said that once you leave the temple precinct you should never return—making this a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip! The panoramic Himalayan views from the temple are spectacular. The descent down to the camp at Kuri will take about an hour. Overnight in a tent.

Day 4: Descend to Charikot; overnight at Charikot Panorama Resort

Today’s trek is all downhill (about six hours), so make sure you have some trekking poles to take off some of the strain. You will retrace your steps on the way down, but at a much faster pace. End the day in Charikot, treating yourself to a comfortable night’s lodging at the Charikot Panorama Resort. The comforts will be well-earned, after the camping trek. (Although not a very expensive resort, if you’re on a tighter budget, low-cost hotels can also be found in Charikot).

Day 5: Drive back to Kathmandu

Drive back to Kathmandu.

Variations

While the itinerary given here is a shorter version of this trek, it’s also possible to extend it to around ten days. Starting at Bahrabise (around 4 hours’ drive from Kathmandu), trek via Ahgeri Karka, Bigu Gumba, Sighate, Junggepati and Kalipokhari on the way to Kalinchowk, and then return via Charikot, as per the shorter itinerary.

You can also combine the Kalinchowk Temple trek with white-water rafting on the Bhote Kosi, for a multi-action adventure. Stop at one of the several rafting camps along the Bhote Kosi on the way back from Charikot, about half-way between Charikot and Kathmandu.

Best season

As with other treks in Nepal, this one is best undertaken in the autumn (September-November) and spring (March-May) seasons. Views are also likely to be good in the winter (December-February) and the altitude doesn’t ascend too high, so with a bit of cold-weather preparation, this is a manageable trek in the winter too.

Getting there & away

This trek starts and ends at Charikot, about 130 kilometers/ 80 miles (4-5 hours) northeast of Kathmandu. Public and express buses are available, but it is much quicker and more comfortable to take a private vehicle, such as a Jeep, which doesn't make the mandatory stop in every village.

Accommodation & meals

This trek combines hotel accommodation in Charikot (low or higher budget), and tent camping along the way. Unless you are comfortable carrying your own tents and supplies, porters will be needed. Food will be prepared in camp when not staying in accommodation, so will be simple but tasty and nutritious.

Difficulty

This is a moderate-grade trek. Trekkers with average fitness and a sense of adventure for camping should be able to manage this. The altitude does not ascend too high, but as with all treks ascending above 3000 meters, it is necessary to be aware of the dangers of altitude sickness.