On traveling

On traveling

There’s something amazing about reaching new places and seeing things for the first time. When you see a stunning sunset, when you see the clouds beneath your feet, or when you’re amazed by the magic of cosmos, overwhelmed by the volume of vastness around you, you get this thrill of being; and at the same time, you feel pity for your own insignificance. If you’re lucky enough, you have this epiphany: if there’s anything to do before you die, it is to SEE! And to KNOW. And to EXPERIENCE. More landscapes and sunsets, rains and moonrises. More cultures. More perspectives. It is all there in this barrel to drink from. Going Places I want to be in places, Walk their pavements and stairs, I want to see faces, Eye to eye, heart to heart. I want to be the one with their sundry beats. Forests, dark, I’d love to cross, I want to strain myself horizons afar, I want to kiss sunset, get high on its hue I’d like to find if what’s said of the earth is true. That’s why sometimes I wander. Away from the irregular regularity, Far from noises Away from shame and pity, of senseless voices. Wandering I find, At times from hill-tops, the river runs both ways. Other times I find It’s just twelve hours, as the world snores by, before sunrise, darkness pays. In clouds and snow-flakes, In white rivers and blue lakes, Wondering, I see, myself and my reflections. But I still can’t say which one’s which. So I want to be in more places. Or rather, I need to be. I have always...
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...
A quick escape into wilderness; Bethanchowk, Narayanthan Hike

A quick escape into wilderness; Bethanchowk, Narayanthan Hike

Introduction: Bethanchwok, located on the southern hills of Kavrepalanchwok, is believed to be the highest peak of the Mahabharat Range. Located at an altitude of 3000m from the sea level, it boasts different views of the hills and Himalayan ranges. Some places of Makwanpur and Janakpur can also be seen from Bethanchowk.  Hilltops in Nepal are one of the best place for sightseeing in Nepal many offering views of Tibetan peaks on the North and Indian plains in the south. Bethanhowk is one of them. Actually, this whole mountain is called Bethanchowk Narayanthan, named after the small temple, Narayanthan, enshrined at the hilltop. Narayanthan is crowded with devotees during the Fagu Purnima every year. The peak is usually known as Narayanthan rather than Bethanchowk. People also refer it as the King of the Hills. The suitable month for visit is Mangsir according to the villagers. How to get there? According to the locals of Kavre, there are several trails to reach Narayanthan, one from Dhungkharka, one from Kavre and  another one from Makwanpur. We went from Dhulikhel. Dhungkharka is about 25 kms away from Dhulikhel and 55 kms from Kathmandu. From Dhungkharka, it takes about 5-6 hours of uphill hike to reach the top of Bethanchwok. Must Have Stuffs: The essentials are season dependent. They vary according to the season you are going there. As we visited on the month (Jestha), below are the must have accessories for the hike. Hiking shoes or comfortable sports shoes. Wind cheaters, Thermo coat and down jackets (in winter). (40-50) L Bag. Dry foods, instant energy provider such as chocolates. Min a couple liters...

Manaslu Circuit Trek, Video (Itinerary)

This April, we trekked to the tough trail of the Manaslu Circuit, crossing one of the longest and the toughest Passes of Nepal, Larkye La. The journey was tough but totally worth it. Tsujan walked despite fevers while one of our travel companion had to return halfway through the trek due to injuries. But the journey continued, and we’re glad we did. We made some wonderful friends on the way, witnessed the culture and were lucky to see avalanche in the Frozen Lake. The people are amazing and the area is comparatively less crowded. Wildlife is abundant, and the locals very friendly. Highly recommended trek to anybody who’s looking for a great trekking experience in Nepal. Please like, share and leave your thoughts on the video. For more videos like this, do subscribe if you haven’t already. Itinerary Day 1: Kathmandu -Sotikhola Drive 9/10 hours Day2: Sotikhola -Machhikhola (Trek 8hours ) Day 3 : Machhikhola -Jagat 7 hours Day4: Jagat -Dang 7 hours Day5: Dang-Namrung 8 hours Day6: Namrung -Shyala 6 hours Day7: Shayala -Samagon 2 hours Day 8: Rest in Samagoan  Day9: Samagoan-Samdo 3 hours Day 10: Samdo -Dharmashala 4 hours Day 11: Dharmashala -Bhimtang via Larkye La Pass 9 hours Day 12: Bhimtang -Goa 7hours Day 13: Goa to Dharapani 3hours and drive to Besisahar Day 14: Beshisahar – Kathmandu   P.S., this itinerary excludes Tsum Valley which also falls under the circuit. Tsum Valley will require an additional one week....
Journey to Poon Hill, Nepal

Journey to Poon Hill, Nepal

Travel is my passion; I love adventure and the mountains. On this winter vacation, I chose the Poon Hill Trek. The Himalayas fill Nepal, and Poon Hill Trek is among the most popular trails in Nepal. At 3,210 meters, Poon Hill is the highest point of the trek, which offers excellent views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges. It was a dream come true for me to finally view these mountains at such a close distance. This trip is an excellent option if you are looking to start trekking around Nepal, and if you are short on time, as it can be easily completed in four or five days. Since this is a popular route, there are lots of hotels and tea houses throughout the route, and you will meet fellow trekkers all along the way. You can complete the trip without a guide, even if you are a foreign tourist. I did the trek in five days with my friend Sanjeev Thapa Magar. Our journey started from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Day 1: Kathmandu to Pokhara We set off from Kathmandu to Pokhara early in the morning at 8 a.m. to catch a Jagdamba tourist bus. The tourist bus was really luxurious, with an attached European-style washroom. During the trip, we enjoyed good service and hospitality from the bus crew. We were provided hot coffee, cold drinks and a light lunch. The drive mostly follows along the Trishuli Riverside. There were changing landscape views to enjoy from the window. After reaching Pokhara City at 4 p.m., we went to “Hotel Blue Heaven” at the lakeside village and...
In the lap of nature; Godawari

In the lap of nature; Godawari

Eyes that my lens seek for the beauty. The beauty it wants to observe from outer world. I can connect my eyes with the beauty of nature by seeking and travelling to the place that my heart whispers. Godawari ,a fine place to be. The greatness of the nature is widely present there. I took my equipment and headed off to Godawari. Godawari has always been a good choice for many people. A short distance from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. I caught a bus from Ratnapark. After a cup of tea and some light breakfast at Lagenkhel, I headed to Godawari. After an hours ride from Lagankhel, I reached my destination. As the weather was chilly, I had another cup of tea. Then I started my walk. Godawari is a place of refreshment for everyone. Away from the pollution, away from the noise and crowd and away from the suffocation. It was Saturday and the place was quite packed. As I entered the gardens, it was an entirely different world. Nature has been very gracious to Godawari. I saw many people with families, friends and couples enjoying. I smiled to myself, life is so much enjoyable. I took a long breath in the open air. I was fortunate to meet lot of photographers over there. The weather at noon was quite hot compared to the morning. But luckily, it was cool inside the garden. I took many photos as memories. The chirping of  the birds, the pleasant sound of rivers and streams and the pleasant environment inside the garden, were the things that I loved the most. I suggest everyone to visit this place. A short destination from Kathmandu, for sight seeing...
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,...
राजधानीदेखि रारासम्म

राजधानीदेखि रारासम्म

काठमाण्डौ विश्वविद्यालयको (Computer Science) तेस्रोवर्ष को स्नातक तहको सेमेस्टर बिदामा हामी २५ जनाको टोलिले यसपाली नेपालको मध्यपश्चिममा अवस्थित राराताल को भ्रमण गर्ने निधो गर्यौ। बसन्त ऋतुको आगमनले होला वातावरणले पनि निकै साथ दिएको महसुस हामीले गरेका थियौ। करीब हप्तादिन भ्रमणको घुम्ने योजनार तालिका तय गरेपछि हामी बैशाख ५ मा राजधानीबाट,मुगुको (हुटु) मा पर्ने राराताल को लागि अगाडी बढ्छौ। कसरी र कहाँ बाट जान सकिन्छ त रारा ताल ? सामान्य जसो राराको लागि नेपालगंज बाट ताल्चा (मुगु) को हवाईयात्रा नै प्रचलित एवं सजिलो मार्ग हो । ताल्चा बाट ३-४ घण्टा को पैदलयात्रापछि तालमा पुगिन्छ। तर हामी स्थल मार्गबाट जाने भएकाले, रिजर्भ गाडी लिएर गएका थियौँ  । पछिल्लो समय हवाईमार्ग भन्दा बढी  बस,बाईक,निजि सवारीबाट हुटू(रारा) पुग्नेको संख्या ह्वात्तै बढेको स्थानिय बाट जानकारी भयो र हामीले देख्यौ पनि । आजकल निजी कम्पनीहरुले पनि रारा भ्रमणको प्याकेज सुरु गरेका रहेछन । जुनबाटो भएर गएपनि निकुन्ज भित्र सवारी निषेध गरिएकोले २-३ घण्टा हिड्नु पर्दोरहेछ, जुन घुमफिरको बेग्लै मज्जा नै हो । ताल सम्बन्धि छोटो जानकारी इतिहास वि. स. २०२० मा स्व. राजा महेन्द्र जुम्ला गएका बेला हिँडेर मुगुको राराताल अवलोकन गर्नुभएको रहेछ । त्यस पछि मात्रै यो तलाउ रास्ट्रिय तथा अन्तरास्ट्रिय रुपमा चिनिन पुगेको रहेछ। त्यसपछि २०३२ सालमा यो क्षेत्र लाई निकुन्ज (रारा रास्ट्रिय निकुन्ज) स्थापना गरि सिमसार क्षेत्र घोषणा गरिएको रहेछ । त्यसताका रारातालको किनार मा छाप्रु र रारा नामक दुइ गाउँलाई नेपालगंज मा पुनर्बास गराइएको कुरा पनि जानकारी भयो । त्यसको करिब तीन वर्ष पछि नेपालीसेनाको दुर्गा भंजन गुल्मले निकुन्जको रेखदेख हालसम्म गर्दै आएको छ । यो ताल राजा महेन्द्रको माध्यमबाट चिनिएकाले कहिँ,कतै महेन्द्र तालको नामले पनि मानिसहरुले चिन्ने रहेछन। तालहरुकी रानी मानिने राराताल मुलुककै ठुलो र गहिरो तालको रुपमा सुपरिचित छ । कलकल र निश्चल पानीले...
Traveler’s Tale: Trip to Kalinchowk, A Heaven on Earth

Traveler’s Tale: Trip to Kalinchowk, A Heaven on Earth

Introduction Located at an altitude of 3842m above the sea level and 150 kilometers away from Kathmandu, Kalinchowk is a quick city escape which lies in Dolakaha district, Kalinchowk VDC. It is about 132 kilometers from Kathmandu to Charikot, 18 km off road up to Kuri Village and an hour hike from there. Kalinchowk, being one of the most visited local destinations in this winter, we also decided to give it a try. This trip to Kalinchowk was our weekend getaway. For people who want to experience snowfall, high altitude, sightseeing and light adventures with less effort, this is the perfect option. In addition to that, it is also famous spiritual or pilgrimage site for Hindus. Day 1 Excited about the trip, we got up early in the morning and took the local bus from Kathmandu to Charikot at 6 am. However, Kalinchowk can also be reached via private vehicles or through Travel and Tour Companies with special packages. As the bus started moving, we slowly left the urban chaos and started to feel the serenity of misty hills, rivers and streams on our way. After four hours drive, the bus stopped at Kharidhunga for lunch. An hour later, we reached Charikot, which is also a beautiful tourist destination. After having some refreshments, we left Charikot at 2:30 pm. We reserved a jeep and headed up from MakaiBaari route. A 6-7 hours hike through the forest trails is another good alternative to reach Kalinkchowk. As we were passing through the lush green pine forest, we saw traces of snow on our way.  The altitude was increasing gradually so was...