Manang – Nar Phu (Phoo) Valley & Kangla Pass | Nepal

Manang – Nar Phu (Phoo) Valley & Kangla Pass | Nepal

Manang, the land beyond mountains. It is one of the favourite trekking destinations in Nepal for both domestic and international travellers. It is also renowned as the land beyond mountains after its neighbouring district  Mustang, Nepal. The majestic wide verdant fields, valley, waterfalls, beautiful crests, people, culture and etiquette is more than enough to dazzle anyone trekking in Nepal. Whenever one ponders about Manang, waterfalls, apple farms, outspread colourful fields with a parched hill that took over centuries to form comes to one mind. It is definitely a hidden gem behind the mountains. The trek starts from Besisahar (760 mt), Lamjung which is a subtropical zone (below 1,200 mt) then ascend gradually to the Arctic region (Above 4,400 mt). The initial part of the journey consists of several colossal and puny streams which will leave you awestruck. Imagine, witnessing cascade every after each turn, isn’t this majestic. And most roadside villages located just beneath the vast mountains. The trail follows the rapid of Marshyandi river. It isn’t over yet, all these fascinating places and terrains lead to the Phu (Phoo 4,080 mt), Magical Manang.   Phu valley trekking as its sounds is more exquisite when seen. Intersected by two small rivulets, the valley is situated like a plateau. This region is inside the ‘Annapurna Conservation Area’ so one can expect to see wildlife too. It is famous and explored by all voyager although this trek inside Manang is still in mint condition. By witnessing the valley, it feels like time has stopped. The pre-historic, houses, Chorten, stone-paved pavements and structure date back centuries and its secluded characteristic are what...
Waling, the heart of Syangja

Waling, the heart of Syangja

Waling Municipality, the heart of Syangja, is a small valley surrounded by hills. It is a small town in the western hills of Nepal, in the Aadhikhola valley in Syangja district, Gandaki Zone of Nepal. Waling bazaar is at the height of 800 meters from sea level while the municipality’s height varies from 731 to 1596 meters. Waling isn’t a place often visited by tourists/travelers but I decided to visit nonetheless. This place is immensely rich in tradition and culture. People of the Brahman and Chhetri ethnic group are major residents here. Most lands are cultivable and agriculture is the main occupation of most of the people. I stayed here for 4 days mingling with the people of this fascinating place. The people welcome you with their big heart and smile. The beautiful sunset and view of the valleys seen from the hills of waling are stunning. Bird watching holds a great scope here as the region abundant species of birds are found around the area. Nearby destinations are Pokhara in the northeast and Palpa in the south. During my four days of stay, the climate was so dramatic. 75% of the time, it was cloudy and the last day was a sunny day with clear blue skies and view of the mountains. Mt. Machapuchre is clearly visible from Waling. The Annapunra Ranges, Mt. Fishtail are seen up close from Amale village as if they are just besides the next hills. Exploring nearby villages is fun with the old traditional houses , farmers , children and beautiful views. As I had visited on October all the fields were full of paddy . People fishing in the bank of Andhikhola and working on...
Khopra Ridge Trek

Khopra Ridge Trek

Text: Dovan Rai Photographs: Sean P. Grady and Dovan Rai October 2016: Three of my friends were visiting Nepal for the first time and one of the interesting things they wanted to do in Nepal was trek in the mountains. Considering the tight schedule and their unfamiliarity in the terrain and my own, I picked the famous Poon Hill trek. But my friends wanted to go further and higher. So, we modified our original Poon hill trek itinerary and extended further north to Khopra hill. Khopra trek was not a well-known trekking route and I had my concerns. But I am very glad that we chose this lesser-known route. Within four days, we got to experience varied vistas: beautiful and breathtaking, heart-warming and humbling. Starting with beautiful villages and charming tea-houses, we walked through far-away forests and exhilarating ridges, taking elevation each day and feeling closer to the mountains. Our itinerary Day 1: Kade (1770 m ) to Ghandruk (1940 m) Day 2: Ghandruk to Dobato, Muldai Dhanda (3637 m) Day 3: Dobato to Khopra (3660 m) Day 4: Khopra to Tatopani   Day 1 Our hotel van drove us from Pokhara city and dropped at Kande. We started our trek from there. Since it was a peak trekking season, there were a number of people starting their trek from Kande. We also met a lot of people trekking towards us, probably concluding their trek. We walked through various cute villages. It was already dark when we reached Ghandruk. Day 2 Ghandruk as our starting point, we trekked up to Dobato as our destination for day 2. This was the most...
An Evening by the Lake

An Evening by the Lake

We Humans have striking accomplishments in our names. Be it diving deep into the ocean or climbing the highest mountains in the world, landing on the moon, and many more, we have done it all with astounding precision. Its our tendency to always try to do things that are never done before. Despite all these achievements, sometimes, this heart of ours still feels void. And that is when the heart needs a “Soulscape”. A soulscape is not a literal escape from the standard vocation, but rather an inquiry into self, “Who Am I ?”  Far from the uproar of  the city, into a place where we can rediscover ourselves spiritually. It could be climbing a  mountain or simply sitting by a peaceful lake. After coming back from Mardi base camp, I chose to spend few days in the Lake city. Individuals from all across the globe visit Pokhara to satisfy their spirit with the views of the Annapurana Mountain range and sail in the chill water of Phewa. Having returned from the mountains, I was very little intrigued into the sight of the mountains (which was not very remarkable in the trip because of awful climate), and, the entrancing dusk took my heart away. The breeze from the mountains in the waters of Phewa, caressing me was a fascinating feeling. Moreover, the mystical dusk was making the water appear fluid gold which was captivating. You can only see it but keep it in your recollections forever. With the experience of having visited more than 30 districts of Nepal, I can bet this is the best place to see the nightfall. Sitting by the lake, doing absolutely nothing, watching the sun take cover behind the mountains...
Karnali Diaries

Karnali Diaries

It was the month of October.  I was walking alongside the bank of Karnali river with Deepak Sharma, a guy from Nawalparasi and my travel companion, whose first name happened to be same as mine. Apart from the two of us, we were accompanied by porters (who were in turn followed by asses/mules with heavy loads packed in their backs.) We were travelling from Manma of Kalikot to Nanikot V.D.C. Nanikot falls on the Northern part of Kalikot and is a three day’s walk from Manma. Despite the long walking distance and heavy backpack, I was feeling glad. The lifestyle of the local people of Karnali, the clean and fresh environment was compensating my tiredness and making me feel good. On the second day of our journey, we came across a small boy of around 7 years old who was carrying his small brother.  I began conversing with him. After the thorough interaction, I came to know that the boy was going to school which was one and half hour walk up the hill, and it was his daily schedule. He covered this walking distance every day with his brother on his back. I was astonished by the way this boy was taking such a huge responsibility from such a small age. The boy made me compare the differences in lifestyles of this boy and the boys of the same age in the sophisticated cities like Kathmandu. The meeting with the boy made my heart heavy, but we had a huge distance to cover and we didn’t have time to linger. Thus, we moved forward without looking back. After covering a good distance,...
Trek to Imja Glacial Lake

Trek to Imja Glacial Lake

After waiting for over a week for the inclement weather to clear up, we couldn’t be patient anymore and decided to take our chances. Our journey towards Imja Glacier (5010 masl) began at 6 am early in the morning from Kathmandu. Crammed in a small jeep, we reached Salleri (the headquarter of Solu district) after 12 hours. Thankfully, the sky had cleared up after a week of incessant rain. After spending a night in Salleri, we kicked-off our journey towards Imja glacial lake at 06:30 am on 8th Sept, 2016. It was a tough walk on the path, mostly used for transporting goods on the backs of mules; the path was muddy due to the recent rainfall and it was difficult to find a good foothold. It took us 5 days to cross Nunthala, Jubhing, Kharikhola, Paiya and Surke – the entrance to Chaurikharka VDC – before we reached Namche Bazar (Namche VDC) to the North. The trek was tough, however, the lush green pine forests, the sweet fragrance of pine, numerous waterfalls, the giggling of Dudhkoshi – made it worthwhile! We witnessed the catastrophic landslides in Surke, which had swept away 3 houses. The locals, though, quickly cleared the trail. We were also fortunate enough to have a close view of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa’s home at Surke – the first ever Nepali woman to climb Mount Everest in 1993. All these villages (mentioned above) have primary to secondary level schools and micro hydropower. WiFi is avaialable in every lodge and hotels, so you are always connected to the outside world. Visitors can recharge their cell phones and camera...