Holidaying in the Street: The echoes of Patan

Holidaying in the Street: The echoes of Patan

Mountains are always inviting, the hills are always welcoming, the plains are truly vibrant, but many a times in life, we are bound by the concretes. The city just does not let us go anywhere. While trekking, hiking or camping would ideally come to our minds for a recreational vacation and exploration, the city and its spaces through its concretes can also provide sufficiently to celebrate a weekend in a unique way. Kathmandu Valley is both profane and sacred. While this city seems so indifferent and is sandwiched between the ugly towers and its shrinking rivers, the city has its own unique charms to keep you awestruck, if you are really willing to stand and stare a bit.   Once we stand and stare, we will actually realize that this city that we often find struggling for its visibility between the dust and its sloppy streets, actually oozes with ancient fragrances and offers vibrant colors of our day to day lives. Kathmandu Valley unveils its treasures in the narrowest of its lanes. Three major Durbar Squares – namely Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are its life lines, which keeps its tangible heritage alive and where Gods and Goddesses come alive. I am today talking about a Saturday in Patan Durbar Square. One of the most intriguingly structured spaces of the ancient city, Patan Durbar Square and its adjoining lanes offers you the most vibrant theatrical experience you can earn within a matter of few hours. A Saturday in Patan Durbar Square Wear your comfortable casual outfit, carry average money – approximately 500 rupees and...
A Journey in Lower Mustang: Jomsom – Kagbeni – Muktinath

A Journey in Lower Mustang: Jomsom – Kagbeni – Muktinath

“Jomsomai bazaar maa 12 baje hawa sarara”, a famous song from the Pokahreli Band Nepathya, describes the main market place in Jomsom (2700m) – the district headquarters of Mustang. Jomsom indeed is a place to be in the mornings until noon. The street vendors are all out in the center of the city, selling their best products. Fruits and vegetables (among them the famous Mustangi apples), the classic Marpha (apple brandy), hand-made handicrafts and hundreds of other what-nots are carefully placed on the stalls, glittering on the gentle sun and fresh breeze, and waiting to be bought. Yak hearders are leading their furry animals through the main street and out of the town for food, their bells producing a melodious Himalayan symphony. As headquarters of the district and a fairly visited place, Jomsom has everything – an airport, a hospital, excellent hotels (both more luxurious and budget options), restaurants serving delicious food for all tastes and last but not least spectacular views of Mount Nilgiri, for which you have a feeling that it is just above the town. Jomsom is also a starting point for many trekking trails, among which the one to the ancient village of Kagbeni and Muktinath. Mustang is a fascinating area with a landscape very similar to the one of Tibet, one of a highaltitude desert. However, unlike in Tibet where travelers have to go through a lot of restrictions and travel only in tourist groups, individual travelers are welcomed in Mustang. Mustang has remained an autonomous kingdom even after the fall of the monarchy in Nepal, partly thanks to its seclusion from the rest of the...
Adventure of a Life Time, the Rolwaling Valley!

Adventure of a Life Time, the Rolwaling Valley!

Rolwaling, a Himalayan Valley; lies northeast of Dolakha District and west of the Everest Khumbu Region. It is the East-West valley below the Mount Gaurishanker (7145m). The valley is surrounded by steep cliffs and giant snow peaks. Bordering with Tibet , it is an ethnic Himalayan region. Only a handful trekkers reach the valley each year.Thus it is an isolated and a culturally diverse area. The route is truly adventurous, its magnificent forests and views are among best in Nepal. We took the Kathmandu-Charikot-Singati-Gongar Khola to reach this beautiful valley. After the walk from Gongarkhola to Chet-Chet and the hike through steep steps, we arrive at Simigaon. Simigaon is situated at an altitude of 2100m and offers the beautiful rhododendron forests and closeup views of Mt. Gaurishanker. After Simigaon, the walk turns into a thrilling experience as you pass through the dense forest. There are numerous waterfalls inside the forest and a lot of wooden bridges to cross them. The trail continues to Surmuche –Calche – Dongang(2800m). These three stops on the way offer home stay for travelers. But, it’s rare to find another trekking group. Its better to stay the night at Dongang  and start fresh in the morning on the way to Beding. The walk from Dongang to Beding takes about 7 hours and there are no houses or people on the way. The path is very steep and the hike continues towards uphill terrains from here. A small village called Nuware comes an hour before reaching Beding.  Sherpas live in three villages around here. The Sherpas live a tough and interesting nomadic life. In Winter they live at Neware. In the beginning of March till April, they move to Beding. And after...
Langtang

Langtang

Mark Twain once famously quoted “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”   This line has a great impact on me so did the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, I think its my passion to explore dream and discover, while traveling to new places, its like attending a new class. You learn so much from it, there’s whole wide world in front of you and there are so many places to explore. I have always felt travel broadens one’s horizon as you get to see new culture, new people and places which in turn makes you more matured and understanding. The 1st week in November, I got a call from my close friend from Boston, USA saying, “yo buddy I am coming to Nepal, we should explore the mountains of Nepal.” Being a mountain lover and an avid photo enthusiast, there was no chance I would say no.   We decided to go for a 10 days trip to Langtang National Park. Langtang is one of the nearest trekking destinations from Kathmandu and is an unparalleled combination of natural beauty and cultural riches. Langtang lies about 130 km north of the Kathmandu Valley close to the border with Tibet, China. It is Nepal’s first national park, and lies between the Himalayan ranges to the north; fewer tourists visit this area and the trek here is more adventurous.   Apart from...
Hike to Gosainkuda

Hike to Gosainkuda

As they said “Respond to every call that excites your Spirit”. Six people, four days. Goodly hills were already welcoming us with smile in their eyes while we were on course to Dhunche. Tiredness we felt during jumpy bus ride went hiding somewhere when we saw red rhododendron filing the hillside with its charm.   A quick call to start the hike from Dhunche resulted walk of 5 hours in lofty trails. Walk on those trails was hard nevertheless seeing Deers roaming around freely made us forget leg pains we were having. We called it a night when we reached Dhimsa at 7:30 pm. The night was surprisingly cozy with oven to warm our hands and place to rest our physically tired body. Potatoes were delicious there. After taking a good rest, we continued our hike to Gosaikunda at 6:30 am. A day long hike welcomed us with snow covered steep slopes . Hiking in those snowy trails were never an easy since you would go down upto your knees while walking, it was amusing though. Drinking typical mountain tea with yak butter energized our hiking spirits. Thanks to warm hearted dai, working in Cheese factory, Chandanbari. We would meet trekkers returning with happiness in their eyes excitement in their words of seeing the beauty of frozen lake,the frozen trail.   Houses and Stupas were rare only to be seen after a long walk, where we would stop for a while, catch our breath and walk on. After continuing trail with just your leg to fit in width, life threating view down the trail, small frozen kundas resting in...
Kalinchowk – An Adventure Pilgrimage

Kalinchowk – An Adventure Pilgrimage

Situated at the top of Charikot, Dolakha, Kalinchowk proves a must go destination for religious pilgrims and travel enthusiasts. The trip offers scenic views all along the ride and the best part begins when one starts the uphill journey from Khadichaur. The road upto Charikot is blacktopped and a comfortable ride except the U-turns typical of hilly highways. Dolalghat, Mudhe, Kharidhunga and Mudhe are some of the few spectacular stops on the journey. Once reaching Charikot, the road is a steep offroad uphill ride. The drive is almost like a X-bike racing event due to the tough terrain. Some turns of the road rarely see sunlight and are full of slippery ice all-year round. Dusty roads are another hassles. Despite all these, once you reach Kuri, also the basecamp for Kalinchowk, all is forgotten. The place itself offers majestic views and a serene landscape. The hotels around this remote area offer surprisingly amazing service and hospitality. Many prefer to stay the night in Kuri, and begin the ascend to Kalinchowk the next day, early morning which is a 30-45 minutes uphill trek. Staying in Kuri also helps in acclimatization as the altitude is over 3000 meters above sea level. Plus, it’s fun, the hotels offer cozy halls with campfire, dinner, drinks and music. Some can be seen enjoying Barbecue besides the fire. People start the ascent of Kalinchowk early in the morning without eating anything as it is considered pure in Hindu Religion to offer prayers. The time to reach the top depends upon individuals. For some, it’s a 15 minute walk , and for some it’s a tough...