“Maathi maathi Sailungey maa”…A land of 100 hilllocks [Saya Thumkaa] – Sailung

“Maathi maathi Sailungey maa”…A land of 100 hilllocks [Saya Thumkaa] – Sailung

Exactly a year ago, my article, Trip to Kalinchowk, was published on ghumante. The trip to Shailung was already planned at that time because, after Kalinchowk, Shailung was our preferred destination in Dolakha for winter and snow. According to the plan, four of us, collegemates of Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel geared up for the trip, right after the awaited snowfall of this winter. FIRST DAY: We met up at 28 Kilo, Dhulikhel at 6 a.m. After breakfast, we caught a bus to Mudhe at 7. Because we didn’t book our tickets, we didn’t get any seats. Most probably because of the crowds of people flocking to Kalinchowk (major destination for snow fun these days). Anyways, we made it to Mude somehow. After getting there, we found out that there was direct transportation from KTM -Bhaise  (Sailung Gaupalika). We reached Mude (72 kms from Dhulikhel) at 10 a.m. where we had our lunch. We waited for that very bus from Kathmandu for about 3 hours to go to Bhaise of Shailung Gaaunpalika. Finally, at 1’0 clock, the bus arrived and we headed our way to Shailung via Lamche-Aahal, Maga Deurali. Sailung is about 25 kms offroad from Mudhe but due to snowfall, the bus could go only 15 minutes ahead of Maga Deurali (Shailung is about 4.5 hrs hike away from here). At one point, our bus got stuck in the swampy road and we, the passengers worked together to get it out, by shoveling some dry soil and pulled the bus with a rope which was worth it. This small effort reduced our hiking time. Our original plan was to get to Bhaise (the final bus stop during dry...
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...
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,...