Kathmandu Valley Bike Tour: Bungmati, Kirtipur, & Khokana

Group of mountain bikers in the Kathmandu Valley
First, you'll ride to the twin villages of Bungamati and Khokana dating from the 16th century and styled in ancient Newar architecture. The villages are south of Kathmandu, following a rutted dirt road dotted with chaityas. Bungamati is said to be the winter home of the Red Machhendra god of Patan who resides every winter in a powerful, Shikhara-style temple. Its spacious courtyard is used for spreading grain to dry in the sun at harvest time. Khokana lies next to Bungamati and in between the two villages is the temple of Karya Binayak.

Like Bungamati, Khokana is a small village with a wide main street running through it. In the middle of the street is the temple of Sikali Mai, Khokana's guardian mother goddess. Khokana has long been famous as an oil-pressing center where mustard seeds are pressed using traditional methods. If you're lucky, you'll see traditional weaving being done by elderly ladies in the sun on the street and courtyards.

Finally, you will ride to Kirtipur, a very old village perched on a small hill. The village has many ancient monuments, including the famed temple of the tiger-faced Bhairva. In the past, the town was enclosed by 12 gates and parts of the old city wall still remain. It was the first place raided by Prithvi Narayan Shah when conquering the Kathmandu Valley and the villagers' resistance was so fierce (and retribution so dire) that a tower was erected in the Kathmandu Durbar Square in honor of their valor. Most residents of the town are either weavers or farmers, so it is a great place to see traditional crafts practiced in traditional surroundings.

From here you will take small back roads back into Kathmandu.