Monday, July 16, 2018

Monsoon Hike (Kapan Gumba-Tare Vhir- Sundarijal)

Kathmandu, the capital city of Himalayan kingdom Nepal is heaven for hikers as it is surrounded by hills on all sides. You can hike in any hills in any direction that surrounds the capital city. One of the popular hiking routes is Kapan Gumba – Tare Vhir – Sundarijal. This hiking route is the best hiking route for beginners with very fewer steeps and no challenging routes. The routes are very clear and there is very less chance that you will miss the destination as there are small villages appearing in every hour who can act as your compass. The route is blessed by the scenic view of Kathmandu valley, dense forest with river curving.
Rains are excuses for the majority of people for not traveling but for those travelers who ached for visiting new places, rains are the motivation that will harvest new experience in their series of traveling. For me, nothing can stop me from traveling hence the monsoon in Kathmandu did not bar me from exploring the hills of Kathmandu.

Kapan Gumba was the starting point and is easily accessible by local bus. Kopan Monastery lies in the outskirt of Kathmandu and is a monastery of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery offers an excellent view of Boudhanath. We started to trail towards Tare Vhir through the beautiful forest of coniferous forest and UN Police training center. The forest soothes your mind and compels you to praise the beauty of nature. The soft grass beneath your hiking shoes and the shades of the tree above your head gives you a heavenly feeling. The path through the forest ascends at each step and is a very good warm-up for your legs and body as it prepares you for the rest of the hike.
You walk through the forest all the time with the beautiful view of Kathmandu City and the airport runway that is exactly perpendicular at one point. When you reach the foothills of tare vhir then you forget all your exhaustion. The beautiful view of the valley with the backdrops of blue sky and white clouds truly mesmerizes your mind, body, heart, and soul.

After tare vhir, you walk along the Nagarjun National Park. At Monsoon, there are a lot of leeches and snakes crawling around. The snakes walk just a foot away from me and you may have leeches clinging on your skin and sucking tiredness out of your body. The path is generally damp as it the sunrays are blocked by the shades of trees.

This is a truly amazing trail for beginners as you just walk straight with trees on either side.
The whistling of Sundarijal river will relax all your body parts. The feeling that you get when you deep your tired feet in the cold water of Sundarijal is heavenly. Then you start to descends downwards towards the dam and scout training center. The stairways will lead towards the bus park from where you can catch a bus to enter the valley again.

Special thanks to DM Photos and Gud Kush Photography for capturing these moments.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

So close yet so far

Tasharpu area of Dhading district is so close to the capital city yet so far in terms of development. Every year I travel twice to these area to contribute back to the society for what it has given to me via Himalayan Children Charities Nepal where I work as a General Secretary. During our visit this September, we constructed computer labs for four different secondary school consisting of 20 computer each with the support from The Prem Rawat Foundation, Himalayan Children Charities Nepal, Prem Sagar Nepal and Microsoft Innovation Center.
With an aim to provide computer education to the students of government schools, the government has included computer course mandatorily till lower secondary level. But, this decision may have been carried out without doing any homework. The secondary schools so close to Kathmandu do not have enough computers then what can we expect in schools at distant area. The situation is so pitiful in Bageshwori Secondary School of Makwanpur that 80 students has to use 4 computers for practical classes. The situation was same in other secondary schools of Thakre, Ratmate and Thaha VDC.
On our side we cannot even be happy as we cannot assure that these students will learn to use computer. There are no qualified computer teacher in all these schools. It may be hard to believe but the computer teacher are themselves scared to use the computer. They do not have any idea on basic usage of computer. Now, you can imagine yourself the situation of students. One year, English teacher walks in during the computer period and next year some other faculty member walks in to teach the subject. Even though we had come across these scenarios during our study, we had to donate half-heartedly with a little hope for the improvement.
The computers may sit idle in the laboratory collecting dust with doors and windows locked as there is no one to teach and operate them. There will be no improvements until and unless government scrutinizes the curriculum and make changes. The non – profits and non – governmental organization’s effort have not been able to yield any fruits to make Nepal a computer literate country.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A visit to Chitlang

The weekends are for travelling and on 2nd September, the team was heading to Chitlang for a night stay. As goes the old English saying, early bird catches more worm, the 13 travelershad already cross the border of Kathmandu Valley while the sun was just rising. It’s never a bad idea to fill up your stomach with some foods before starting an uphill hike. The hike would be 3 hours long. The food may have gone a fast metabolism as all the hikers were full of energy. Climbing the hills as fast as possible. If the same had continued then the journey’s duration would be brought down into half. Sadly, that didn’t happened. The hikers were divided into two groups – slow and fast hikers. Hence, it should always be a steady and continuous walk while hiking and rushing is never recommended. The shoes had now changed the color to muddy as there trail were slushy from the last night’s rain. Some places, you had all your shoes dipped in forcing you to take them out and clean them.
The mud would be perfectly fine, if there were no leeches sticking to your body. The situation was now from pancake to the fire. Hiking won’t be adventurous if your shoes does not get dirty and if you will not get leeches. While facing the problem, the scenic view of green hills freshly bathed from last night’s downpour would strike directly to your heart giving you the rare pleasant feeling which only the natural views can invoke. The fast hikers had to wait for the other teams to arrive on top of the Champadevi hill. While waiting, photographs were taken with people trying weird poses. The breakfast was fast digested with everyone ready to have second breakfast within a span of two hours. Chitlang was 1 hour walk away from us. After an hour walk, we were at Chitlang ready to serve us with goat cheese, Asian peers and the most welcoming home stays. Sour is compulsory for you to have a fun evening. After being freshened up, the team headed to the pear tree garden which provided the best view of the hills and villages lying in the vicinity of Chitlang. A night stay won’t be fulfilled without barbecue and famous musical game Anatashiri( A game played between two teams where a team has to pick a song from the phonetic of song last sung.)
 Next morning, we had to head back home via MarkhuDakshinkali and bus ride to home. The morning was foggy preventing us from glancing the gorgeous views. While walking down, the suspension bridge and Lake Indra Sarowar can be a good place to fiddle around which can be reached by walking 2 hours. No one wanted to miss the opportunity hence everyone surfed around the lake with snacks served on the site. After walking for two hours, there was micro bus waiting for us. On the way, there was Thakali dinner served. There is no best way to spend week end than this.
A version of the article also appears at Bucketlist Nepal.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ride to Nuwakot Durbar

Top View of Nuwakot Durbar
Kathmandu was just waking up when I was packing up to leave Kathmandu. I was supposed to be on the road by 5:15 where my friend Babin Karki was supposed to pick me up. As per our phone conversation, he had told me that he would be 101 percent sure that he would be on time and he was 1 minute earlier. The road was clear but there were much more traffic than expected. It just took us 15 minute to reach Kalanki – junction point where all of us were supposed to meet. No one had arrived and we had to wait. While waiting, the aroma of tea arrived from nearby and we could not resist. Sipping local milk tea, we waited for others to arrive. By 6:00 am, the team was complete with all the bikes and scooter filled with full tank of petrol. We were riding to Nuwakot Durbar.
Author enjoying the scenic view
The journey began. In order to avoid traffic caused by night buses entering into the valley, the bikes entered the alternative road of Kalikasthan. It took us around 45 minute to reach nagdhunga. Those on bikes reached their faster and waiting for our scooter to arrive. After arrival of all team members, the bike went downhill – out of valley at 6:50 with a plan to meet at Galchhi bachhar. The road was empty and the bikes were flying. It was 8: 30 when all the riders met up at the break point.
Now, the road was narrow with construction going on. Also, were sand trucks all over the highway hence requested the bikers to limit their speed and drive carefully. We would meet up in Devghat bazaar for breakfast. Nearly after an hour ride through muddy and slippery road and over taking hundreds of sand truck, it was time for breakfast. The riders galloped whatever was available and headed towards Bidur – the district headquarter of Nuwakot.
After overtaking more sand trucks with wheels slipping every now and often in the slushy road and passing major towns like ratmate, jilling and battar; we arrived Bidur at around 11:00 am. Right from the district police headquarter of Nuwakot, there goes the road to Nuwakot Durbar. All the bikes headed up occasionally stopping for photographs. By 11:30; we were at Durbar located at the top of the hill.
Rider Ashim climbing uphill
The seven storey Durbar from where the founder of modern Nepal – late King Prithivi Narayan Shah ruled his kingdom was awaiting renovation from the damaged caused by the earthquake of 2015. The palace was locked and was not allowed to enter. There were no signs of palace renovating soon. The wooden beams used to structure the palace were lying piled up in the courtyard where once the army of late king Shah carried out marched pass. When the tour was complete, now we headed towards the view tower which was located in greater height than Durbar.
It was the most fun filled time of the ride. The scooted could not climb up and the bikes were slipping continuously. There were instances when the bike completely made a U turn after tires slipping in the mud. More than 12 centimeters of the land was dug by the tires being trapped in the land. All these were worthy when we reached the tower. The view soothed our eyes and mesmerized our mind. The whole valley of Nuwakot was visible. There were greenery all around.

After spending an hour, the bike went downhill with a motive to get back home. On the way, we were caught in rain and the ride became more adventurous.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Unsuccessful Journey

The WiFi transmitter notorious for breaking down so often did the same this month. The tower located at the roof of government in school in Khalte, Patle, Dhading Besi showed problems and there was no internet signal being transmitted to the other side of the hills. The project initiated by Himalayan Children Charities Nepal to connect rural schools to internet have been benefiting many schools of Dhading region of central Nepal allowing them to surf the internet and enabling information technology for learning.

Author on the way to the WiFi tower
Being a project coordinator, it was my responsibility to fix it so that thousands of students studying in other side of the hills will have WiFi signals. Hence, along with Suryaraj Timsina - IT Manager at Deerwalk Institute of Technology packed our gears and headed to the wonderland as we had never been there earlier. The bus from the Western Outlet of Kathmandu dropped us to the district head quarter of Dhading. After consulting the locals and numerous phone calls, we started our hike to Patle with no estimation when we will reach there.
Suryaraj fixing the transmitter

We walked along the green hills with the river whistling beneath it. Every now and then, there occurred green paddy fields with women pulling out the weeds. The environment was silent and completely natural. We could hear insects cricking, wind whistling and birds chirping. There was no disturbance except for the walking sounds made by our foot. This calm hike suddenly turned into adventure when the clouds above us decide to shoot us with the heavy downpours. The rain was so hard that our umbrella could not block it and was successful in giving us a on clothe bath. After walking through the rains and climbing hills for about 3 hours, we reached the roof where the tower was fixed.

Suryaraj with good knowledge of networking started to check the router, transmitter and receiver. The problem was hard to detect and the weather did not favor. The wind started to blow more strongly and rain started to come down more heavily. There was no option rather than to abandon and take shelter in some place to spend the night. Our first plan to return on the same day got flopped.

The night when the whole country was drowning in flood, we were drowning in our tent. All our bag packs, quilts and mattresses were soaked with rain water making it impossible for us to sleep even after the tiring day's walk. We hoped for the rooster to give signal that the dawn was beginning. Finally, it arrived with goats bleating and crows crowing. Still, it was drizzling but we had to sort out the problem and head towards the capital city that day as my colleague had his office next day and I had to prepare for exam. We fiddle with all the equipment, yet the device was not communicating with the device in next hill located some 20 kilometers away. It was already mid day when we figured out that the transmitter had some physical problem, we packed up our equipment to come back another day.

We walked downhills for two hours and rode back to the capital city with two unsuccessful experience. Firstly, not making home on the same day and next failure to provide signal to all those students eagerly waiting to connect to internet. While going to bed in my room, I prayed and apologized for postponing students dream of using internet to the almighty.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cycling around Kathmandu

It was my third week in Deerwalk and the cycling form was circulated among the students. I love going out so I filled the form. Only the few selected randomly would have an opportunity to attend the event. I felt very excited to see my name on board. We were destined to Lele and the cycling day would be on December 19, 2015. Early on the cold winter morning, the cyclists gathered on the premises of college. We were to start at 7 a.m. After some group photos, my first outing from DWIT was on a go.
We stopped at Baneshwor to buy snacks and were supposed to cycle through Sankhamul-Patan-Jawlakhel-Bhaisepati and leave the valley. It was at Jawalakhel that I and my classmates missed the route and that resulted to report writing. We finally caught up with the group at Ekantakuna where the hiking club president and the coordinator were waiting up for our arrival. We apologized!!
At the very first hour; the inclined road of Bhainsepati tested our cycling capability. The road was tough but we had to be tougher. But, my toughness was no good and as I had to drag my mountain bike GTA all the way up. The route was perfect-Pitched, graveled, slushy, uphill, downhill, stream and everything that would make the journey adventurous. After three hours of continuous cycling, we stopped at tea-house in Champi for breakfast. We cycled and crossed through the Nakkhu river and rode all through its bank. It was a comfortable ride and we came across a beautiful waterfall. Some of the cyclists who had already been there tried to mimic the photo that they had taken during their last trip.
CyclersWe huffed and puffed to climb the uphill. At some point we even dragged the cycle. Our legs were giving up but our hearts wanted to continue. There is always a sunshine after the rain. We had finished the most difficult part and had the easy going downhill. To enjoy the success of climbing we had some snacks at the top that gave a pleasant view of the unknown village. After some safety instruction from our seniors we rushed down the hill. It can be best described with the verse from the poem of Henry Charles Beaching.
Swifter and yet more swift
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lung laugh, the throat cry:-
“O bird, see; see, bird I fly.”
We cycled through the hills and bumpy roads. Took many photos and videos. We tried to take all the fun that we could through the journey. With aching legs, we were all destined to complete the journey. Some of my friends were starting to have problems. The seniors were so helpful and co-operative that without their support it would be very difficult to complete the journey. Finally, crossing all the hitches we arrived at Satdobato where we had a delicious lunch. With appetizing stomach everyone was gulping their food. We succeeded as a team. Thanks to all the senior members for being so co-operative and nice to us. It was a great opportunity for us to know each other. It was one of the best moments of our lives.

Driving in rain

If you have not tried it then you got to. Driving in rain is one of the rare experience that most people do not try. Accidentally, many people get wet while driving to and fro from the office but only few people take the opportunity to enjoy the moment. The instance would be even more fabulous if you can drive around the capital city of Himalayan kingdom Nepal. Why Kathmandu? The city with many world heritages site located in between 5 kilometers makes the journey enjoyable and memorable.
Image result for biking in rain
The feeling is different and clears your mind. There are no words to describe and experiencing by oneself is highly recommended. The whistling wind slapping your body, the falling rain dripping in your body makes you feel that you are in a different world. The site of people rushing to avoid rain, vehicles speeding up to reach the destination faster, people squeezing in bus stop to  avoid getting wait will be a pleasant site to the eyes.

The experience that many people avoid will actually turn into a fun event. When it rains next time then just try taking this opportunity.