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.
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 the chilliness. After one and half hours off- road ride, we reached Kuri Village at 4pm. When we saw snow covered hills, wooden houses and quaint settlement, for a moment, we couldn’t believe such a magnificent and serene place was such a short trip away from Kathmandu.
Kuri is a small village located at right below the Kalinchowk hill. As we wandered around the Kuri village, we picked a local hotel for our stay and left our backpacks there. Then, we were all set to have the first snow experience. We played snow for an hour, in the sloppy and slippery hills around the Kuri village. We realized the possibility of Skiing in Nepal. We also watched the setting sun at dusk.
As the temperature was freezing and it was getting darker, we felt we needed some heat to warm ourselves. We returned back to our Hotel and setup a campfire. As a remedy for the freezing weather, we tried the ‘Tongba’, a popular local millet brew and ‘Jhwaikhattey’ (local wine tampered with a few rice grains fried in ghee) with Yak’s Sukuti or dry meat. We wrapped up our first day trip after dinner. Interior of Hotels were mostly built with wood and stones which was a kind of mandatory design for the villagers in Kuri so that they withstand the weather and climate.
With the aim of watching the sunrise from the top of the Kalinchwok Temple, we got up early in the morning at 4:30 am and left Kuri by 5:30. As we climbed higher, we felt the increasing altitude was making it harder to breathe. Luckily, we were all set to beat the altitude with the medication that prevents altitude sickness. After about an hour hike in the pitch dark snow covered sloppy stairs, we finally reached our destination.
As planned, we reached the top at the right time to view the majestic sunrise. The warmth of the rising sun and the cool breeze from the hills welcomed us. The temple was crowded with national as well as international tourists, some were there for religious purposes and some for adventure like us. We came to know that thousands of devotees visit the temple during ‘Janai Purnima’ festival. Seeing the clouds floating below us, we were dumbstruck by its beauty. The destination offered a panoramic view of snow covered hills and various Himalayan ranges such as Gaurishankar, Jugal, Ganesh, Langtang etc. Surrounded with such captivating view, we couldn’t help ourselves from taking photographs and selfies. After two hours of sightseeing, we headed back to Kuri Village.
We reached our hotel and had breakfast. We cleared our bills. The hotels at Kuri are very reasonable in terms of prices. The food was between Rs 200 to 250 and room charge per night was about Rs(400-500). After our payment, we bid farewell to Kuri village and Kalinchowk Temple. We got into our jeep and returned to Charikot where we had our lunch. Finally, we caught a local bus to Kathmandu.
Must have stuffs for the trip
- A pair of Gloves, Goggles.
- Two pair of socks.
- Warm clothing such as Thermal Coat in winter season.
- Down Jackets and windcheater if possible.
- Trekking shoes if possible.
- Medication for altitude sickness such as Garlic, Timur, ginger.
- A thermos if possible for hot water and high calorie foods and snacks.
- During seasons other than winter, we can normally hike with the comfortable outfits.
Wrapping up, Kalinchwok trip made us realize that the trending slogan, “Heaven is myth but Nepal is real” is a bonafide slogan, literally. We noticed that the number of internal tourist had increased significantly which is also a good sign for the Nepali tourism industry.