Hiking from Nayapul to Ghandruk
Naya Pul – Birethanti
2nd Jan 2010
Anuj Bhandari, Anuj Khadgi, Babins Shrestha, Barsha Poudel, Bharat Satyal, Chandani Shrestha, Nikesh Shrestha, Prabash Jha, Prajowal Manandhar, Rajendra Subedi, Roshan Sharma, Sameer Tuladhar, Sangita Manandhar, Sanket Shrestha, Shreejana Prajapati
It was a new year eve, a group of 16 people had a huge dinner at the office cafeteria, feed the van with diesel and hit the road for pokhara at 9:30PM. The speakers of the van were playing annoying songs, so everybody (not exactly) decided to play antakchari. Ram dai was concentrating on the wheels and others were concentrating on remembering the songs they could. I was concentrating to sleep but get myself busy listening to the sound of Barsha didi and Sangita didi. Some guys were sleeping on each other’s shoulders, Ram dai was pushing Sanket dai away coz his head was on Ram dai's shoulder. That antakchari ran up to 1:00AM till the wheels stops for tea break in Mugling. After having tea, the van headed towards Pokhara.
January 1st, 2010 (Day-1)
We reached at the hotel at 5:30AM, but due to the new year occasion hotel guy couldn't provide us room at that time. Due to the earlier sleepless night I got slept on the chair for few minutes. Finally we got room to rest and rushed into the room and had a quick sleep there.
Everyone had breakfast and went towards lake side. Group was divided into three, one going for boating, another going for Stupa and other doing nothing. On the way to Stupa, Babins dai get injured his leg and Chadani didi was also not feeling well.
All were gathered for lunch at a restaurant, I was starving. After waiting a couple of hours our lunch was ready. That was the worst lunch we had ever have but I had two full plates of that. That was a waste, but I proposed for cycling to Pame. Five guys joined me and we went for the search of cycles. Searching a whole hour, we found cycles for four.
We (Sameer dai, Nikesh dai, Bharat dai and me) headed towards Pame. At the mid-way bharat dai asked us “Why are we going pame?”. We replied “For fish!”. “But I am vegetarian!” he screamed.
At the evening everyone went for popular street-fest at the lake-side, some were buying stuffs and some were just roaming around. We had a great dinner and went for sleep.
January 2nd, 2010 (Day-2)
Rajendra dai knocks at our door at 4:30AM on new year morning to alarm us everyone is ready. We geared up and rushed into the van and left Pokhara for Naya Pul. After a couple of hours bumping along rutted roads by the early morning light we're gathered by the roadside restaurant for breakfast in Naya Pul. Babins dai was pretending he can go ahead but guys were convincing him to stay. We left Naya Pul at 8:30 AM heading towards our destination Ghandruk. Babins dai and Ram dai were with us across the suspension bridge to Birethanti. Sangita didi(with fear) was shouting the guys who were shaking the bridge. We left Babins dai and Ram dai and start to hit the trail.
The trail starts at the bottom of river valley and passes alongside the Modi river and rice terraces. The thing I love about hiking in the mountains is the uncertainty of the views that lay ahead and every climb is made with anticipation of what lies beyond.
As soon we left Birethanti, we were greeted by the sprawling view of Mt. Machhapuchhre. After an hour walk from Birethanti we stopped for photograph under the beautiful waterfall along the trail. From there, our group splited into three teams depending upon how fast they are or vice versa.
Around 10:30AM we reached at the base of Syauli Bazaar, where Sanket dai proposed to rest for a while. We recharge ourselves with cheese slices and glucose water and prepared ourselves for the slightly tough part of the hike (started from Syauli bazaar).
We followed the man-made stone trail for 2353 steps from Syauli bazaar to reach Kimche, where we learnt that we had walked 8848 steps from NayaPul and have to walk 4252 steps for Ghandruk. After an hour walk we pop out into a break from where we saw the bright view of Mt. Annapurna South. All along the way Sameer dai was delivering cracking jokes and Sanket dai was asking for more jokes. I was describing the taste of Jhyie Khatte(Mustang Coffee) and Sanket dai was very excited to taste that.
All along the way I noticed the donation boxes for establishing school at the rural areas. I saw the children playing Chungi in the terraces. I saw the packs of supply horses and donkeys moving along the path by their owners with packs and sacks of provisions and gas cannisters. I saw a man collecting plastic bags lying on the trail. I wonder why I noticed them.
At 1:00PM we reached at the gate of Ghandruk, a large & prosperous Gurung village is beautifully set against the backdrop of Annapurna South (7219m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Mount Machhapuchhre (6993m).
We called Shreejana didi to ask the name of the hotel we were going to stay. After getting the name “Annapurna Plaza” we started searching the hotel with that name. After moving the steps up and down, the name turns out to be “Annapurna Guest House”.
We took a hot shower and went to the terrace of the hotel and sit against the backdrop of the mountains and under the warmth of sun. Another team arrived and they hit the shower and joined us on the terrace of the hotel. Everyone was sitting around and chatting what they had experienced, suddenly I noticed that Sanket dai was snoring. I had never seen a guy sitting and snooting at the same time. Another team arrived holding sticks and were looking exhausted around 3:00PM.
We all wanted to devote time for sightseeing only so we been to museum with lots of expectation but the museum was not up to mark. Sanket dai noticed the menu in the nearby restaurant and figured out that Jhyie Khatte was available there. He ordered five glass of it, his expectation level went to negative scale as soon as he swallowed the first sip. We stayed there for few hours watching the changing colours of the mountains and twinkling jewels in the sky indicating the start of night.
We returned at the hotel, had a dinner and I fell asleep. But the group had a fire camp and enjoy the moon rise and captured it into their cameras...I am jealous for them.
On the same day down from the Naya Pul, Ram dai and injured Babins dai went to Baglung Kalika temple.
January 3rd, 2010 (Day-3)
Sanket dai was already awake and was shaking me to watch the sunrise but I refused and went asleep. Around 6 O'clock everybody gathered on terrace waiting for sunrise, but they were not lucky enough. They only saw the rays of sunlight falling on the Himalayas as if snow were about to turn into golden completely. The crisp and cool air at morning seems as air was blowing its own freshness into them.
After breakfast we made our way out of the valley, climbing down the fallen rocky terraces, down the mountains, through the woods, across the river and back to civilization. Another successful hike on the first weekend of a new year.
Anuj Khadgi’s Recollections:
I heard a lot and read in books since my childhood about the land of heaven, i used to wonder how the heavenly place would look like and to my surprise, i found Ghandruk to be one of such places. During the hike all my dreams, expectation and to enjoy the natural beauty, to feel the smell of the annapurna and machhapuchare ended up and all those dreams lying inside me felt like turned to reality. No doubt the moments i spent there is the finest and will be treasured as the most beautiful days of my life.
After one night stay in Pokhara early next day was our schedule to leave for Nayapool from where we start our trek. This was another beautiful day with lots of expectation and planning. Everyone in the team were full of enthusiasm which is clearly seen in their faces. With some light breakfast in nayapul we headed for Ghandruk. I took this hike as a challenge because i never had tendency to walk even a mile this was not easy for me to compete with pro hikers like Rajendra, Sameer.The route was somewhat tough and the obstacles were those thousands of elevated steps yet our trek filled with full of excitement and dreams goes on.
How could we miss to caputure the stunning natural beauty in camera? Every step we move ahead lies ahead of us the beauty of The Himalayas standing tall and calm seems as if observing the whole world. Our excitement knew no bounds. We were divided into sub groups left behind are the weakest four of us Prabhash, Prajowl, Bharat including myself were in one group though we were not good hikers we realized that we are good entertainers We enjoyed talking all the way and cracking jokes, talking with people along the way it was really wonderful and moments to treasure all my life.
I was like a used battery without charge inside it but the glimpse of the Himalayas was so refreshing that i instantly charged up...everyone was stunned to see the beauty of nature. We shared our eatables and head for the awaited destination in no time we were on the top. The view was incredible We could see mountains all around. The crisp and cool air passed by my face and cooled my body and the Himalayas lying as if i could touched simply by a single jump couldnot stop my excitment.Finally we shouted ...wow !!
We were all busy taking pictures, we shoot the himalayas from every angle. We walk around ghandruk and went to see Museum where tradition of Gurungs could be explored. At night we campfired, sang song and viewing the himalayas in full moon was a different experience, with lots of memories to cherish we moved to our room and had a nice warm sleep.
Early next morning we gathered on terrace waiting for sunrise...But we were not lucky enough that day to see it. We only saw the rays of sunlight falling on the himalayas as if snow were about to turn into golden colour completely. The crisp and cool air we felt in the morning seems as air blowing their freshness into us. Finally we had our breakfast and left ghandruk to end our hiking trip.
Finally want to say thanks to the organizers (Sangita and shreejana) for making such well organised trip and a memorable hiking destination. I remember one saying "In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks".The beauty of nature is so simple and undemanding that we often fail to perceive it. Modern man is deluged with artificial things that cut out his awareness of nature.
However, these couple of days that i made for hiking was a big moment to peek on the country's beauty from closeness and could gathered all the bookish knowledge which i had, practically by self glancing....Thank you all hiking members including Ram dai more making this trip a successful one.