Introducing Nagarjun Hill (Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park)
On the hill behind Balaju is the walled Nagarjun Forest Reserve (admission per person Rs 10, per car/motorcycle/bicycle Rs 100/30/10;
A winding unpaved road and a much more direct footpath lead to the summit (2095m), which is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site (the reserve is named after the Buddhist saint Nagarjuna). There's a small shrine at the summit to Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan) and a viewing tower offers one of the valley's widest mountain panoramas, stretching on a clear day all the way from the Annapurnas to Langtang Lirung, via Machhapuchhare, Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal (a plaque at the bottom of the tower identifies all the peaks). There are also grand views of Kathmandu and its valley laid at your feet to the south.
It's possible to make an enjoyable two-hour cardio-hike up to the summit from near the main gate but there are some security issues to consider.
An excellent sign by the main entry gate specifies an entry fee of Rs 100 if you want to bring an elephant into the park.