Situated at the foot of Phulchowki, in the Godavari area are located the Botanical Gardens; the Department of Medicinal Plants and a fish farm. The garden houses thatched-roof picnic shelters, lily ponds, rushing streams and beds of seasonal flowers. It has a notable collection of orchids, ferns and cacti. A clear spring that emerges from a cave, known as Godavari Kunda, is revered by Hindus. Every 12 years, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come to bathe in the Kunda which is believed to have magical powers.
Lying 20 km south-east of Kathmandu, Phulchowki is the tallest hill in the Valley. It is triple-peaked and measures 2,762m in altitude. Phulchowki means ‘flower covered hill’ in Nepali and it lives up to its name during spring, when pilgrims climb high in search of orchids, clematis vines and rhododendrons – to offer them to the Mother of the Forest, Phulchowki Mai, in whose honour there are two shrines on the mountain.
The view from Phulchowki’s summit is simply superb. To the north, the whole of Kathmandu Valley can be seen and beyond the valley, the snow-capped Himalayan range provides an incomparable backdrop. To the south you gaze across valleys of the lower hill ranges that lead to the terai lowlands and India. Phulchowki is one of the important sites for bird watching.