Hiking Theme: 2008 Dec – D2Hawkeye Hiking from Changu Narayan to Nagarkot
Hiking Route: Changu Narayan to Nagarkot
Date: Sunday, 14 December 2008
Participants: BinitaV,ShilpaS, ShreejanaP,ManikM,SanjeetB,RajivS,NeerajD,MaheshK,PratikJ
Photos: PratikJ, RajivS,ManikM, ShilpaS
Report: BinitaV, ShilpaS, NeerajD, PratikJ
Creative Support: Dijup Tuladhar/Pallavi Sharma
If you ask me to describe the hike I would say it was an arduous walk … an endless, arduous yet a worthwhile walk .An experience to the summit and the majestic scenic beauty of Nepal – the cool refreshing breezes from the mountains, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan range and the panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley from the top of the Nagarkot tower.
We started off the hike with the blessings from Lord Vishnu at the Changu Narayan Temple, one of the World Heritage Sites built in the 4th century A.D. – The oldest temple in Kathmandu Valley. The major attractions of the temple are the idol of Lord Vishnu with ten heads and ten arms and the sculpture of Lord Vishnu seated on Garuda (Garudasana Vishnu). This image of which appears on the Nepalese 10 rupee note.
As we moved on, the hike offered us an excellent opportunity to interface with exhilarating village life and the hardships within. There were scattered houses – most of them build from soil, hay and straw; very few cemented ones. Almost every house had either hens or chicks fluttering around the garden (we had a good time chasing some of them J) or a mini animal husbandry with goats/ buffalos (the sight of jet black buffalos, apparently Yamaraj’s ride, reminded some hiking folks of the most celebrated snack – the mo:mo and we named them “Yama ko Mo:Mo”). And the houses without the animals had ladies and old women busy in the process of making “gundruk” (gundruk.. the name itself does some chemical simulation and causes salivation in my mouth ) and some were busy preparing the white beer – as informed by the chief chef preparing the liquor it was made of wheat which is apparently stronger than the more common rice beer (may be we should call it the “wheat beer”!). Throughout our walk via the village I noticed women at work – some carrying bunches of dried tree twigs probably fuel for their dinner, some preparing gundruk and wheat beer while others taking care of their poultry and cattle. There were either women at work or children/youngsters going to school – I wondered where all the men had disappeared – probably majority of them were out to the cities earning or out of country risking their lives in the Indian/British army – away from their spouses and families, working hard to make lives better.
By the time we were may be 90% done on our way I was totally exhausted and gasping for breath. I wondered if we had climbed so high (we had been climbing for 5 whole hours!) that the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere had started declining or maybe it was just my respiratory system malfunctioning – whatever it was I needed to gulp-in more oxygen and I needed to lie down and rest. My body had suddenly become too heavy for my feet and I had started to lose balance. Thankfully one generous soul (one of the hikers) called our dear Ramdai who gave us a ride to the tower (hats off to the guys who made it till the end!).
The cool breezes and the majestic view of the snow-capped mountain range from the Nagarkot tower took away all the fatigue and refreshed us. I did not feel like climbing down the tower and spent quite some time up there feeling the breezes and the eye-soothing views. All the pain walking up there was worth the feeling.
When Manik, the co-coordinator of hiking this time, was assigning responsibilities to everyone, he randomly asked me to write a report on hiking. Of course I had the option of saying no, but I thought I’d write something around a paragraph, just for the sake of writing it. But as I begin recollecting it, I realized that there were so many things I could cover. Besides, it was my report so I had all the freedom to present it my way.
Hiking- like everyone knows is a regular activity that happens at D2. Every one talks about it and has been recommending me of it from the very beginning. I had always wanted to go for it but for some reason I had been putting it off. I guess for me, being in my comfort zone was also equally important. So when Manik told me that he was co coordinating it, I felt like I found my reason to go this time. In fact I was told to come to office on Sunday but I decided to work on Saturday and make myself relatively free on Sunday for hiking.
When Sunday finally came, many people who were supposedly in the original list dropped out L and that got me a bit disappointed. In fact when we left from office there were only 4 people in the van (can u beat that??) but as people joined us on the way, the total number of hikers rose to 8. Feeling fresh (and a little sleepy) we headed to Changu first and after breakfast the hike began. One thing different about this hike was that no one knew the exact way. So we kept asking the local people and kept hiking and hiking. Some led, some followed and the roles changed frequently. Everything about the journey was refreshing, including the hills, the spectacular view and the people around. One thing that happened constantly, regardless of how tired people were, was posing for the snaps. What was supposedly a 2-3 hour hike took us 5 hours. It was mostly the girls who were exhausted before others. Yet, we kept trying and trying until a point where we could go no more and we gave up.
Finally when everyone arrived at the spot, we climbed the much hyped Nagarkot tower. I loved being there and wished I never had to get down. The view, the nature and just about everything was so untampered and so laid back that I thought it was probably one experience we have probably been missing out. Living in a city like Kathmandu, we have probably forgotten what nature is.
If I had to summarize the entire experience in one word, I think it would be memorable
I joined the hiking team at Koteswor. They were waiting for me patiently. I was really looking forward to this hiking as it was my first one.. With Ram Dai on the driving seat and with his skill that would even make Lewis Hamilton jealous we moved towards our starting point, Changunarayan. On the way we picked Srijana in Sallaghari. We were cruising smoothly and were on our way when we realised that no one knew the road to Changunarayan. Luckily there was Ram Dai to rescue us from the situation.
We finally reached Changunarayan and after taking blessings in the temple we started our real hike. We started walking and i am pretty sure that no one expected to reach Nagarkot because no one knew where we were heading for. With Manik assuring us that Bhaktapur on right and Himalayan range on our left would surely lead us to our destination, we kept on walking. On our way we met lots of friendly villagers who were always ready to guide us to our destination. With the locals informing us that Nagarkot was only one hour walking distance away, we kept on walking for another two and half hours. Had it not been for the nature -beauty that enthralled us, we would surely have returned but that’s why we go hiking for, to enjoy the creation of Nature and to know different people and places.
Capturing few of our moments in camera we walked and walked laughing and making jokes of each other. Rajiv even showed us some of his folk dance skills on the way. The moves he had done on Novafest ’09. We met an interesting elderly man on our way. He offered some refreshments and we gladly accepted. After the refreshment we thanked him and other villagers present there and were on the road once more. Finally we reached Telkot and then when we saw a mark which said “Nagarkot 3Kms” our happiness knew no bounds. Even though the battery of the camera was losing it’s power, we were not. With only a few kilometers left to reach our destination we thought of not backing down and decided to walk all the way. We reached Nagarkot. after a gruelling hiking of nearly five and half hours we finally reached there. We climbed the famous Nagarkot Tower and the view from there was simply breath taking. Such a long walk seemed worthy because we witnessed a majestic view of the mountain range.
Because it was my first hike along with few others it was a memorable one.
It was really good experience to participate in yet another hiking program coordinated by Manik. The route was to go Changunarayan by Van and start hiking to Nagarkot Tower. After reaching to Changu Narayan we did ‘Darshan’ at Temple of Changunarayan. Then we started the hike at 10:10 am from Changunarayan center and moved ahead towards the jungle and continued for 2 almost 2 hours to reach Telkot. On the way we had great photo session with Chinese art and rock climbing. After reaching Telkot, took a walk through steps in order to reach the Shiva temple. On the way our few hunks and girls tasted the local wine popularly known as “Tongwa”. Then we moved for a long walk to reach Nagarkot tower at almost 3 pm. It was more than 5 hour long walk so funny and interesting. Then we had small photo session on the top of the tower and we went back to Nagarkot center by the office van which was waiting for us at Tower. Then we ordered special lunch over there at 4:30 and completed our lunch at 5:30 pm. It was quite confusing to me that was that a lunch or dinner because we had that at 5 pm. Then after taking deserts we left Nagarkot at 5:40 pm. The snake shaped way and travelling by the van causing some movement on the stomach of our friends. After all Manik and Pratik could not hold and thrown away all the lunch materials out of their stomach, which was a terrible scene.