ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TRAVEL DIARY


  This article is not to advertise what I did or expose myself but I am writing this article with a hope that this information will be helpful to all the people from all over the world to know about the Annapurna circuit trek and make their own travel plan.  Yes, there are travel guide books and also travel and trekking agencies around Kathmandu and Pokhara where you can go and pay some money and get services and information. You can even hire guides as well. No guide books and information (including this one) is absolute and complete but the thing is that it is good to have reliable information before you make your travel plan. And I wish this free of cost infomercial will help you a lot to make your travel plan.

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I took this photo as i crossed Humdi. I was on other side of the river and was seeing caravan of mules coming towards the river. On the backdrop lies Annapurna (most probably).

Annapurna region has different trekking routes and here I have attempted to give some ideas on popular Annapurna circuit trail through Thorang Pass – the biggest pass of the world. Another popular trail is Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) which you can travel starting from Pokhara and is not as long and challenging as Thorang pass.  Previously Annapurna circuit was 20-25 days long route but these days bus route has been opened up-to chame (district headquarter of Manang) and muktinath on the Mustang side. So, the Annapurna circuit trekking has been reduced in number of days it takes to travel. Despite all these, you will find people who took different number of days to complete the Annapurna circuit. Travel time duration depends on many things like: your stamina of walking, weather conditions, your travel plan, external factors like the socio political situation of Nepal. The best time to travel in Nepal is between October to December as the weather during this period is clear with no rain and clouds, mild temp with average temperature between (20-30)0 C. Travel plan to cross thorang-pass does need some preparation and I suggest everyone to make your own plan because information provided by other people or popular guide books don’t exactly fit your personal conditions. They provide you only some rough ideas and yes it is good to have good deal of information before you make your travel plan. For example I did it in 7 days – one of the worst way of travelling Annapurna circuit. It is good to make a travel plan of at least 10 days. This way you will stay longer in beautiful places and enjoy the beauty of nature and the most important thing is that longer you stay in high altitude areas more time you get to adapt with the climate. Otherwise, you will fall sick and have to cancel the whole trip. Generally people get caught by altitude sickness beyond the height of 2500m from sea level. But this happens very rarely. The most challenging factor in crossing Thorang-pass is altitude sickness and weather conditions. Regarding weather conditions, you won’t have much problem if you choose right seasons I have stated above (October – december). Regarding altitude sickness, the best way to avoid it is to travel slow and steady with some preliminary measures. Thorang pass is at an altitude of 5416m and at this altitude everyone finds it difficult to breathe due to the low concentration of oxygen at this altitude. When you get caught by altitude sickness you feel like vomiting, you get dizzy and sick. A lot of people talk about altitude sickness in the route. But remember very old lady who are 80 yrs old also cross Thorang pass. So, don’t get psychologically overtaken by rumors. Walk slow (about 4-5hrs a day), drink enough water, take enough rest and sleep well. Don’t walk in a way that makes you exhausted. Remember you have to walk for about a week long time, so don’t drain out all your energy in a single day. After you reach thorang phedi (around 4500m), stay there for a day if you get exhausted so that you get acclimatized and take enough rest. In case you get caught by altitude sickness or feel difficult to breathe take rest and descend to lower altitude. There are medicines (like acetazolamide) for altitudes sickness but they don’t work absolutely once you feel difficult to breathe. So, the best thing to do is to descend down to lower altitudes where the concentration of oxygen becomes high. In case you get severely ill you can find horses to carry you and up-to manang motorbikes are also available. If the situation is worst and totally out of control helicopters can be asked for help. Daily several flights are made by copters in manang. People rarely cross thorang pass from the muktinath side because you have to climb steep mountain (2000m) in a single day in doing so and there are no lodges to stay from muktinath until you reach high camp crossing thorang pass. So, almost all visitors start their trek from Besisahar.

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View of Mt. Manaslu as seen from Teemang Besi.

 

Day -1

23rd  October, 2013                                                                                    6th kartik  2070

Departure from Kalanki, kathmandu at 7: 50 AM

I started my journey from Kathmandu. You accordingly plan your journey based on where u start from. One can find bus from Kalanki, Kathmandu to Beshishar (district headquarter of Lamjung) easily on regular basis starting from early in the morning.

Day 1 expenses

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Microbus fare (from ktm – Beshishar) 450 Bus fare differs for larger type of bus.
Food (Dal – Bhat)Banana (2pcs) 13010 Cost of food taken along the prithvi highway generally don’t vary much.
Jeep fare from Beshisahar to chamje 650 (Nrs 800 may sound too much but once you start to travel this bumpy road you will say this fare is reasonable) Generally proposed fare from beshisahar to chamje was Rs 800. Fortunately I got discoutnted fare of Rs 650
Vaseline + Water Bottle + Biscuit 25 + 25 + 20 = 70 These items were bought in Beshisahar.
Breakfast (Chicken + Beaten rice & tea) 115 Breakfast was taken along the route from Besisahar to Chamje
Fooding (Chicken Rice) + Lodging  Cost 250 I stayed at Chamje on the first day of my trip and fortunately Lodge owner charged only the cost of food. Bed was free with bread.

I reached Besisahar at around 2:30 PM.   Kathmandu to Besisahar is about 6-7 hrs ride on a bus and the road is black topped.   I left Besisahar at 3:30 PM and reached chamje at 8:00 PM.  Annapurna circuit trekking starts from Besisahar and some tourists love to start walking right from Besisahar but these days one can access small jeeps and take a ride. Though the road track has been opened upto Chame (District headquarter of Manang) the road is totally rough and bumpy. Since the road is built only by just digging rocky hills it is not reliable and frequently gets damaged at any section between Besisahar to Chame section. For those who have travelled hilly areas of Nepal starting to trek from Besisahar is not  that exciting so most of the tourists take ride on a jeep to the farthest point as possible.  Note:  Chame and Chamje are two different places

Total cost of the day 1:  NRs 1675

 

Day 2                                                                    24th  October, 2013

7th  Kartik 2070

Departed from Chamje at 7:00 AM

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Breakfast (Tea + Tibetan bread ) 20 + 80=100 At Chamje
Roti + Samosa + Tarkari + Tea 20 + 15 + 15 + 20 =70 At place called sital danda
Sel roti , Samosa , Tarkari 25 + 20 + 20 = 65 At thanchowk
Tea, Half Plate Mo Mo 20 + 45 = 65 At  Chame (District headquarter of Manang )
Fooding + Lodging 350 At Dhukurpokhari

On the second day of my journey I started walking at 7:00 AM in the morning and reached Dhukurpokhari  at 7:00 PM in the evening. This is the worst way of doing long trek like Annnapurna Circuit. So, I don’t recommend anybody to do it in such a foolish way. Walking 12 hrs on the first day of Annapurna trekking is the worst decision one can make. Due to this reason my knees were aching so much that I could hardly fold my legs at knees. There are a lot of beautiful places like  Tejang, Danaque, Dharapani etc  to stay at. It is better that you walk 4-5 hrs a day so that you don’t get exhausted and choose beautiful spot to stay at night. After you leave Chame there are no spots to stay at, until you reach Dhukurpokhari except one at Bhratang (even Bhratang  only has 1 or 2 houses and that too with no good facility of lodging and  fooding). It takes about 4-5 hrs to reach Dhukurpokhari from Chame and this is the only section where you don’t find lodging facilities frequently and this section also contains about 1 hrs of jungle road. So, if you arrive Chame after 2 PM it is better to stay at Chame.

Total Cost of the day 2: NRs 650

 

Day 3                                                                  25th October, 2013

8th Kartik 2070

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Apple 3 pcs 45 (Rs 15/pc ) Locally grown
Roti 20 Roti (chappati) is not a dry typical Indian one but the one made in oil.
Food (simple Nepali Dal Bhat) 200 Had my lunch at mungji, station near Manang
Brown  + Sweet Bread 50 + 70 = 120 Bought these bakeries at Manang (a minitown)
Handkerchief 150 In Manang you can buy stuffs you need for trekking like stick, jackets, caps etc.
Fooding  +  Lodging 550 At Ghunsang

After crossing Dhukurpokhari you get to see panaromic view of beautiful mountains and desert like valley.  I suggest you to enjoy your trekking after crossing Dhukurpokhari to the fullest. From here starts the door to heaven on Earth. Manang is like a mini town en-route to Thorang pass/ Tilicho Lake. Trekking route to Tilicho lake separates from Manang.

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Down flows the Marshyangdi river and up flows the trail of Annapurna circuit

Generally most of the tourists/visitors prefer to stay at Manang because it has bakeries, restaurant, hifi lodges and even a mini movie theatre. Mnungji is near to Manang and Milarepa cave (where Milarepa – the highest Buddhist guru ofTibetan Buddhism is believed to have meditated) and Ice lake lie around here. So, visitors generally stay at mungji or manang for a day and go to visit these places.  Ghunsang is about 2 hrs walk from the Manang and from no other stations you see mountains as beautiful and nearer as you see from Ghunsang. So it’s worth staying at Ghunsang.

Total expenditure of the day 3: NRs 1085

Day 4                                                             26th   October,2013                                                                                         9th  Kartik 2070

Departure from ghunsang:  8:10 AM

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Lunch (Nepali Dal Bhat) 350 At  Ledar
Black Tea (small cup) 20 At Thorang Fedi
Food (simple Nepali Dal Bhat + egg) 640 At high camp

 

Reached high camp at 5:00 PM

As you go farther beyond Manang you don’t get to eat meat because of the transportational difficulties of chickens. Besides, other dishes are also available that you find in restaurants in big cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara.

There are two methods of corssing Thorang-Pass. One is that you stay down at Thorang Phedi (around 4500m) and wake up very early next morning at around 3/4 AM and start to climb uphill. This way it will take you around 4 -5 hrs to cross the Thorang Pass provided that you remain fit and fine. Remember, beyond the Thorang Phedi the trail is steep and difficult.

The other method is that you stay at high camp rather than to stay at Thorang Phedi. This way things will be easier another day but if you come walking long way than it is difficult to adapt at high camp which is at an altitude of about 5000m. People generally fall sick if they walk long hours and reach high camp to stay there for the night due to high altitude. I myself found it difficult to breathe at that altitude though luckily I didn’t fall sick. Thorang pass is 2-3 hrs from high camp.  Wise decision is to stay at least 1 or 2 days at Thorang Phedi or high camp and get adapted with the climate and cross the pass. This part of crossing the pass is the most challenging part of the Annapurna circuit.

Total expenditure of the day 4: NRs 1010

Day 5                                                                          27th  October, 2013

10th  Kartik 2070

Departed from High Camp at 6:00 AM                  Reached Thorang Pass at 8:00 AM

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Morning breakfast  (Tea + Pancake) 380 At High Camp
Apple juice (supposed to be made locally) 150 At the base of thorang pass on Mustang side
Fanta(small plastic bottle) 100 At Muktinath
Muffler 300 Bought at Muktinath as a gift item
Chocolate cake 150 On the way to kagbeni from muktinath
Fooding (chicken rice) and Lodging 600 At  kagbeni

Reached Kagbeni at 6:00 PM

The trail after you cross the Thorang Pass  is vertically downhill i.e. you reach Muktinath (3500m)  from Thorang Pass (5416m) descending  about 2000m. Muktinath to Kagbeni is about 2 hrs walk though you can find jeep from Muktinath onwards if you don’t want to walk anymore. Muktinath, kagbeni, Jomsom all belong to lower mustang area of Mustang district but the real and typical mustang i.e. upper mustang is about 4-5 days walk from kagbeni to the north.  Muktinath temple is highly revered by both buddhists and hindus and one of the most go religious pilgrimage especially for hindus.

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Far beyond is a view of stretching Himalayas as seen from Thorang Pass (5416m)- the biggest pass of the world

The road from Muktinath to Jomsom is quite good in context of Nepal though it is not black topped. There are different rumor about crossing the Thorang pass. But the fact is that the weather condition is highly unpredictable at an altitude of 5416m and so different people have different experience about the pass. Popular saying is that you can’t cross the pass after mid day because of strong icy wind that blows but this is not always true. On the day I crossed the pass I met people who crossed the pass after midday also. I myself crossed the pass at 8 AM in the morning starting to walk at 6 AM from high camp. Sometimes it is difficult to cross the pass even after 8 AM as people say. All these are not an absolute truth. The truth is that weather conditions rapidly fluctuate at mountains so everything depends on the weather. However, even on the day when weather is very fine, icy cold wind blows around the Thorang- Pass  and you can’t stay there for very long time due to cold winds and there is no reason to stay there for long time because Thorang Pass is only to cross, take some photographs and that’s  all.

Total cost of the day 5 NRs: 1680

 

Day     6                                                                    28th  October, 2013

11th  Kartik 2070

Departed  from Kagbeni at 8:00 AM                            Reached Beni at 8:00 PM

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Morning breakfast  (Tea + Toast + Porridge) 280 At Kagbeni
Jeep Fare (Kagbeni to Jomsom) 150 Kagbeni to Jomsom is about 1 hrs on jeep and two hrs on foot.
Gift Items (Marpha’s Apple Brandy + Apple) 350  + 90 (per kg) At Jomsom
Samosa  Tarkari  & jeri 80 At Jomsom
Black Tea 15 At Marpha
Bus fare (Ghasa to Beni) 390 Ghasa to Beni is about 4 hrs ride on a bus
Fooding (Chicken Rice) + Lodging (attached toilet with single bed & TV) 230 (food) + 350 = 580 At Beni (District headquarter of Myagdi)

After crossing Thorang-Pass, trail is vertically downhill until you reach Muktinath. From Muktinath onwards bus and jeep services are available these days though the road is not black topped.  From Muktinath onwards is the another half of the Annapurna circuit. But due to the availability of the bus services very few visitors do it on foot. Still, walking along the wide sandy bank of Kali-gandaki river is quiet exciting until you reach Jomsom or Marpha. Very few visitors walk up-to pokhara  from Muktinath onwards. The reason is that you don’t see panoramic view of mountains and beautiful hills as we see on the Manang side of the circuit. For people who are used to seeing hills around Kathmandu valley, route after tukuche  is not worth trekking.  Bus-road is generally built on the route where previously Annapurna trail lies and the road is all bumpy and rough and in several places dangerous too. Generally visitors stay at tatopani (hot spring) that lies in between ghasa to Beni. At tatopani there lies a hot spring and is a simple station with facilities of fooding and lodging.  As the road until you reach Beni is rough transportation is not as smooth as you imagine it to be in some big cities. Travelling by bus till you reach Beni therefore is an adventure in a different way.

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The stretching road at Humdi valley seems to be going to meet Annapurna III

Total expenditure of the day 6: NRs 1935

Day 7                                                                         29th  October, 2013

12th  Kartik 2070

Departed from Beni at 6:30 AM                                              Reached kathmandu at 4:30 PM

Expenditure Title Cost amount (in Rs) Remarks
Microbus fare (Beni to Kathmandu) 780 Road from Beni to Ktm is black topped and very beautiful.
Breakfast (Tea+Puri+Vegetable+egg) 75 At Lumle
Food 150 Near Kurintar

On the 7th day of my journey I was back to Kathmandu completing Annapurna circuit.

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This cute little girl i met en-route to Thorang Pass is thermally insulated by her mom to protect from icy cold winds blowing through the banks of Marshyangdi river.

Total expenditure of the day 7: NRs 1005

 

Cost Analysis

Total expenditure of the whole trip for 7 days: NRs 9040  (91 US $   approx) . At the time of this travel the exchange rate of US dollar was 1 US $ = 99 Nepali Rupees (around).

Travel cost per day = NRs 1292 = 13 US $ (approx)

Cost of goods and services do vary along with time and I suggest you to take notice of the time when this travel was made. For your convenience I have mentioned below the average cost of some items so that you can compare and analyze the costs at the time you travel.

All these prices are only approximate prices.  Prices do vary depending upon the time and places.

A plate of Mo Mo = NRs 100 = 1 US $

A bottle of mineral water = NRs 25 = 0.25 US $

A plate of plain Rice = NRs 150 =1.5 US $

Travel cost from ktm to pokhara (in microbus) = NRs

Cost mentioned here is almost double for foreigners because this is how local people earn their living and make money through tourism. Still the amount of money you spend is far cheaper as compared to other equally exciting places in Europe, America. Travelling Annapurna circuit (one of the top 10 travel destinations of the world) at such a low cost is a lifetime experience to everyone. (No doubt)

Necessary Items you need to carry while travelling

  1. Warm clothes (jackets, socks, caps, trousers etc). Until you cross manang the temperature during October-December is mild and you can even walk with tshirt and half pant during the day time. Temperature during the day is around 200C. During the night time if you stay at lodges they provide you enough blankets and beds. But if you are going to camp on tents you need to manage accordingly. There are facilities of camping also on several spots. Temperature above thorang phedi drops to minus during the night time and while crossing the pass icy cold wind blows so you need to thermally insulate your body.
  2. Sunscreen and cold cream to prevent your skin from crack.
  3. Trekking stick (if possible get 2 pcs if not at least get 1). You can find trekking stick for NRs (300 to 1600) around Thamel and in case you forget to buy one you can buy it in Manang.
  4. Toilet Paper. Generally Nepalese don’t have habit of using toilet paper but as you ascend higher using icy cold water becomes really challenging so don’t forget to carry it.
  5. Simple first aid items like medicines for headache, sickness, diarrhea etc. Gel for massaging legs, knees and body is really necessary because your legs and knees ache after walking hours long each day.  Don’t forget to carry your regular medicine if you are in some type of medication.
  6. Soap, toothpaste, shaving creams, menstrual pads (for females)etc.
  7. Cameras. Generally most of the stations have facility of electricity so you can carry your battery charger and other electronic goods with you. In Manang there is also a facility of internet.
  8. Last but not the least, don’t forget to carry a trekking map with you. You can buy it in stationaries or map house.
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Fortunately this Yak stood still as i was taking this snap. Yak serves both as a transporter and meat source in Himalayan region of Nepal

Of course you need to carry money (lol) and other requirements vary depending on people to people and you need to identify it yourself. Another important thing to remember is people generally either miss or lose their things due to improper packaging of bag-packs. Best idea is to have a single trekking bags where you can keep all of your things and carry it. Remember, keep your money, travel documents (if you are not Nepali) and goods you frequently require with yourself in a small bag, like you can use waist bag for this purpose. You load your trekking bag on the roof of bus generally so have a small bag with you to keep money and important documents with yourself. It is very likely to lose or miss your bags in the bus or lodge if you carry many bags and items.

Feel free to contact for more information at:   khadkaanoj@gmail.com

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A DROP OF OCEAN


जब सगर लेहेराकर किनअरोको अप्नी बाहोम समाजएगि
जब पवन हरा खेतोमे मन्द गतिसे सारी फसलको झुलाने लगेगि
जब गगनोमे चान्द बादलकी पर्देको हtaकर मुस्कुराने लगेगि
जब बारीस होनेकी बाद सारी धर्ती तृप्त होकर खिल्ने लगेगि

उस अनुपम घडीमे सारी दुनियको भुल्कर्
जब मे आप्की शिने मे आउङा
वो कोही साधारण मिलन के लिए मत समझ्ना
जिस महान घडीकी इन्तजार हजारो साल से किया था
आप्की अस्तित्वोमे खो जनेक
वो कोही प्यास बुझाने के लिए मत समझ्ना

अब समय हुइ हे क्योकी सारी धर्ती प्रेम से प्रफुल्लित हे
अब मिल्ना जरुरी हे क्युकी सारी जगत प्रज्ञा से जग उठे हे
ए मत पुछ्ना कि कब होती हे मिलन कि उत्तम समय
जिस समय चित्त प्यार मे डुब्ने लगेगी उसि छन्

सब चिज पाकर भि पाने कि आकान्क्ष्या अन्त नही हुवा
सब सुख मे भि क्यु मन्मे कुच चिज कि कमी था
कब रुकेगी ए चाह कब अन्त होगी ए अहन्कार्
कित्नी दुर हे अनन्द कित्नी देर के बaद अएगी निर्वान्

अब तो कोही चाह ना रहा ना रहा कुच बिचार
सारी दुनिया छोद दि बिलिन होकर यिस अस्तित्वमे

एक सुन्दर बचिकी मुस्कुराहat मे सबार होकर अएगी वो
सुबहकी पवनमे हिमालकी सितलता लेकर अएगी वो
दर्द से भरा आसुवोंकी बुँद मे फिसल्कर आएगी वो
मध्य रात्की सुनसान गगनकी शान्ति लेकर आएगी वो
पहाड्की उपर से बहनवाली नदी कि निस्चल्तामे आएगी वो

हा वो अब जरुर आएगी क्युकी अब सारी भ्रम समाप्त हुवा हे
चेतना कि दिप जग्मगाकर अन्धकारको रोशनी से भर रही हे
यिसी दिप कि प्रकास होकर परमात्मा कि अनुपम आगमन होगि
जैसे सुबहकी सुरज्की पेहेली किरन कि धर्ती मे आगमन होती हे

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TOUR DE – GOSAINKUNDA


बर्षातको मौसम्, बादल  आकाशमा पौडी  खेल्दै थियो, राती परेको पानीले जमिन चिसै थियो र माटोको सुबास हावाको बुइ चढेर घुमिरहेको थियो । एक बर्षको परखाइ र रहर पछी हामीलाई हिन्दू तथा बौद्ध धर्मावलम्बिहरुको महान तिर्थस्थल गोसाइंकुण्ड घुम्ने अवसर जुरेको थियो । धार्मिक उद्देस्य भन्दा पनि काठमाडौंको कोलाहल र दिक्दारिपूर्ण दिनचर्या सँग  केहि दिनकै लागि भए पनि पारपाचुके गरेर हामी गोसाइंकुण्ड  तर्फको यात्रामा रोमाञ्चित हुँदै अघी बढ्यौं । काठमाडौं माछापोखरी बाट छुटेको हाम्रो चार पाङ्रे मोटर कहिले नुवाकोट र रसुवा जिल्लाको नागबेली परेको पहाड्को बाटोसँग पौठेंजोरी  खेल्दै त कहिले तृशुली फाँटको सम्म बाटोमा चिप्लिदै राम्छे पुग्यौ । राम्चेमा पहिरोले बिगारेको मोटर बाटो हामी पैदल हिंडेर पार गर्यौं  र फेरी चार पाङ्रे चढ्यौं। मेला पर्ब परेकोले मान्छेको चाप अत्याधिक थियो अनि चार पाङ्रेको पाङ्रमा बाहेक सबैतिर मान्छेले भरी भराउ थियो ।बर्षातको समय भएकोले  बाक्लो कुहिरो र बादलले डम्मै ढाकेको माहाभारत  पर्बत सृंखलाको बाटो बाट हाम्रो चार पाङ्रे मोटर अगाडी बढ्दै जाँदा  हामी कुहिरोको काग जस्तै भएका थियौं  ।

रसुवा जाने बाटो बाट देखिएको तृशुली नदिको दृश्य

रसुवा जाने बाटो बाट देखिएको तृशुली नदिको दृश्य

मान्छेहरु सायद सही भन्ने गर्छन् कि जिन्दगी एउटा यात्रा हो र हामी पनि अनेकन घुम्ति, उकाली र ओरालीहरुलाई पार गर्दै राती एक जना तामाङ्नी बजैकोमा बास बस्न पुग्यौ ।

पहिरोले बिगारेको बाटोमा अघी बढ्दै

पहिरोले बिगारेको बाटोमा अघी बढ्दै

दिन्भरिको थकान र पानीले चिस्याएको शरिरलाई सायद घरपालुवा झोल नै उत्तम ओखती हुन्थ्यो होला तर नानी देखी नलागेको पिउने बानीका  कारण तामाङ्नी बहिनीले मिठो गरी बनाएर दिएको खानाले मन र पेट दुबै भर्‍यौं ।

पर्बको बेला परेकोले रातभरी जसोनै तिर्थालुहरुको ओहोर दोहोरको आवाज निन्द्रामा कता कता सुनिराखिन्थ्यो । हामी दुबै बिहान सबेरै उठ्ने मामलामा बद् नाम थियौं तेसैले अल्छि गर्दै भएपनी बिहानको आठ बजेतिर गोसाइंकुण्ड तर्फको पैदल यात्रा शुरु गर्यौं । टोनी बैनिले बनाएर दिएको तातो चियाले चिसिएको शरिर तताउँदै अनि डोल्मा बहिनिको मधुर अनि मन्द मुस्कान र तामाङ्नी बजैको शुभकामनाको भारी बोकेर हामी पैदल मार्गको यात्रामा अघी बढ्यौं । बर्षातले चिप्लो बनाएको बाटोमा होशियारी साथ अघी बढ्दै जाँदा कतै खोलाले संगीत सुनाउँथ्यो त कतै खोला माथिको झोलुङ्गे पुलले सानो नानीलाई डोलिमा राखेर हल्लाए जस्तै पिङ खेलाउँथ्यो । बाटोभरी तिर्थालुहरुको भिड कमिलाको लस्कर जस्तै थियो । पैदल यात्राको क्रममा थकानको साथ साथ रोमाञ्चक्ता, उमङ्ग अनि उत्सुक्ता पनि थपिंदै थियो ।बाटोभरी भेटिने छाप्रे पसलहरुमा खान बस्नको लागी काम चलाउ सुबिधा त छदैं थियो भने पैसा भएका हरुका लागी घोंड चढिको सुबिधा पनि।  IMG_6568

हामी भने कहिले कुहिरो छिचोल्दै त कहिले रोपाइं गर्न तयार पारेर राखेको खेत जस्तो हिलाम्मे बाटोमाथि खुट्टा गाड्दै अनि कहिले छाप्रे पसलमा चिया नास्ता खाँदै अघी बढ्यौं  । दुबै जनाको सल्लाह  बुद्ध मन्दिरमा बास बस्ने

घोंडा चढेर गन्तब्य तर्फ अघी बढ्दै यात्रीहरु

घोंडा चढेर गन्तब्य तर्फ अघी बढ्दै यात्रीहरु

थियो तर हिँडाइको असन्तुलित गतिका कारणले लुकामारी खेले जस्तै कहिले को अगाडी त कहिले को अगाडी गर्दै अघी बढ्दै जाँदा दुइ जना छुट्टियौं । सँगै बास बस्न गुँड तिर उडेका चराहरु छुटि्ए जस्तै भयौं । म चाहिं दुइ जनाको सल्लाह अनुसार नै तल बुद्ध मन्दिर मा बस्ने निर्णय गरे तर मेरो साथी निर्मल भने माथि कुण्ड तिरै लागेछन् । बास बस्नलाई सँगै हिंडेको साथी सँग छुट्टिदको न्यास्रोपना त छँदै थियो त्यसमाथि पातलो हावामा सास फेर्न परेको साह्रो गाह्रो र उकालो चढ्दा लगाएको पातलो लुगाका कारण चिसोले शरिर माथि  धावा बोली रहेको थियो।

मैले लेकम जाँदा अप्नाउनु पर्ने अधारभुत सावधानिको नियम मिचिरहेको थिएँ- साथम न्यानो र बाक्लो लुगा नराख्न्नु । सँगै बसेका अरु अल्लारे ठिटाहरु भने लेक लाग्छ भन्दै झ्वाँइ खट्टे खाँदै थिए । चार हजार मिटर अग्लो लेकको रातको चिसोनै शरिरलाई बिमार पार्न पर्याप्त थियो तर बिछोडिएको साथीको पिरले मेरो मनलाई अझ बिमार पार्दै थियो । जे-जस्तो भए पनि भोली त सबेरै उठेर हिंड्नु थियो, मन गह्रुङ्गो भए पनि गह्रुङ्गै कम्मल ओढेर म निदाउन थालें ।
भोली पल्ट भने म बिहान सबेरै उठेछु र बाटोमा मान्छेको आवत जावत शुन्य जस्तै थियो । मैले बाहिर खुला तर भिरालो परेको मैदानमा उभिएर एक पल्ट बिहानिको पहिलो प्रहर सँग साहिनो गाँस्न थालेँ । बर्षातको समय भएकोले आकाश पुरै सफा थिएन, सेता र काला बादलहरु गन्तब्य हराएको यात्री जस्तै यता उता उडिरहेका थिए ।

एक दिन भरी पुरै लगाएर चढेको चार हजर मिटर अग्लो उचाइको म बसेको ठाउँलाई पनि लिलिपुट्लाई जस्तै होच्याउँदै उत्तरतिर गणेश हिमाल र लाङ्टाङ हिमाल अजङ्ग् साथ उभिएका थिए ।  नजिकैको हिमाल देख्दा लाग्थ्यो कि हात अलिकती तन्काए भने त म हिमाल छुन सक्छु अनि कता कता मनमा एक पल्ट हिमाललाई अङ्गालो हालेर चुम्ने रहर जागिरहेको थियो । कोही भन्दै थियो- हो त्यो हिमाल पारी चाइना पर्छ भनेर र मलाई इतिहसकारहरुले भन्ने गरेको कुरा सजिब वास्तविकता जस्तै अनुभुती भैरहेको थियो कि यि अग्ला हिमालहरु हाम्रो सुरक्षाका लागी ईश्वरले बनाइदिएका प्राकृतिक परखालहरु हुन् । मैले सुनेको थिएँ हिमालबाट बगेको हावामा अध्यात्मिक शक्ती हुन्छ भनेर तर आज म त्यो अनुभुती गर्दै थिएँ ।

चट्टाने पहाड हुँदै गोंसाईकुण्ड जाने बाटो

चट्टाने पहाड हुँदै गोंसाईकुण्ड जाने बाटो

पारी डाँडाहरुमा भर्खरको बर्षातले उमारेको हरियो दुबो र घाँसले, पहाड हरियो पछ्यौरा ओडेर बसेकि,पूर्ण यौवनाले भरिएकी सुन्दर युवती जस्तै देखिन्थ्यो । यि हरिया अग्ला पहाडहरु साँच्चै नै जो कोहिलाई पनि रुमानी कल्पनाम डुबाएर सम्मोहित पार्न सक्छन् । सायद यही हरिया भिराला मैदानहरुमा चौँरी चराउँदै हिंड्दा कती तामाङ केटा केटीहरुलाई प्रेम गर्ने प्रेरणा मिल्यो होला, यि हरिया घाँसे मैदानले ढाकेको भिरालो पहाडहरुमा कती प्रेमका कथाहरु चिसो हिमाली हावाको सहारामा डाँडाकाँडाहरुमा ठोक्किंदै गुञ्जिरहन्छन् होला । यि सुन्दर अनि निर्मल पहाडहरु साक्षी हुन् यहाँका अनेकन् मार्मिक कथाहरुको । म कल्पना गर्छु – तल जमिनको सतह पनि नदेखिने यति अग्लो काहाली लाग्दो पहाडबाट कहिले काहिं चौँरी अनि गोठालाहरु खस्दा माथि गोसाँइकुण्ड्को पानी आँसु बनेर बग्दै तल भैरब कुण्डमा मिसिएर सँगै बियोग गर्दा हुन् ।

यस्तै कल्पना र रोमाञ्चक्ताको भारी बोकेर म हाम्रो यात्राको अन्तिम गन्तब्य तर्फ अघी बढ्दै थिएँ, अनि अग्ला अग्ला चट्टाने पहाडहरुले शालिनतासाथ सबैलाई स्वागत गरिरहेको थियो । करिब एक घण्टाको हिँडाइ पछी गोसाँइकुण्ड पुगियो । यहाँ आएर हेर्दा लाग्छ साँच्चै नै प्रकृती बिचित्रको छ । यति अग्ला अग्ला चट्टाने पहाडहरुको बिचमा यती ठुल्-ठुला कुण्डहरुको निर्माण गर्न प्रकृतिले कुन इन्जिनिएरलाई बोलायो होला ? बिहानि प्रहरको पारिलो घाम कुण्डको पानीमा ठोक्किंदा कुण्ड मोती जस्तै चम्किरहेको थियो, पर क्षितिजमा अलि अलि खुलेको निलो आकाशलाई भेट्न पहाड अग्लिदै गए जस्तो देखिन्थ्यो र ताल वरिपरिका पहाड्हरु तल कुण्डको पानीमा ऐना हेर्दै शृङ्गार गर्न ब्यस्त भए जस्तो भान हुन्थ्यो ।

शालिन मुद्रामा - गोंसाईकुण्ड

शालिन मुद्रामा – गोंसाईकुण्ड

प्रकृतिको फ्रेममा सजिदै

प्रकृतिको फ्रेममा सजिदै

धेरै ॠषिमुनिहरुले यस्तै हिमाल पहाड्को काखमा ब्रम्ह दर्शन पाएर मुक्ती प्राप्त गरे होलन् । साँच्चै नै यहाँको सारा अस्तित्त्वमा पर्मात्मले अनन्त सत्यको सन्देश बोकाएर पठाए जस्तो थियो । यहाँको हावा यता उता वह्ँदा कुनै तिब्बती भिक्षुले मन्त्र पढे जस्तो लाग्थ्यो अनि बिहानिपखको पारिलो घाम वरिपरिका पाखा पखेरामा ठोक्किएअर चम्किदा अन्तर्मनको चेतनाको दियो बले जस्तो अनुभव हुन्थ्यो । यस्तै अग्ला पहाडहरुमा अवस्थित बिशाल जल भण्डार बाट साना साना खोला बग्दै नदी बनेर बिशाल समुन्द्रमा मिसिन जन्छन् रे । युद्ध बाट बर्षौं पछी फर्केको योद्धाले जस्तै यि जल भण्डारबाट अबिरल बगिरहेको जल धाराले पनि सायद हजरौं माइलको दुरी पार गरेर यहाँको कथा ब्यथा समुन्द्रलाई लगेर सुनाउँदो हो ।

शिवजिले गाँजा खाएर धुँवा उडाए जस्तै, जसै बिहान छिप्पिदै थियो कुहिरोले वरिपरिको पहाड्हरुलाई ढाक्दै थियो त्यसैले हामी हाम्रो यात्राका भोगाइहरुलाई सम्झनाको मालामा उनेर फर्किने तयारी गर्दै थियौं । छपक्कै छोपेको कुहिरोले गर्दा बाटोमा हिंड्दा कहिले काहिं सुन्यमा उडे जस्तो अनुभुती भैरहेको थियो भने अर्कोतिर यती सुन्दर ठाउँलाई सम्झनामा मात्र बोकेर फर्किनुपर्दा मनमा असजिलो महसुस भैरहेको थियो । कता कता मनमा लागिरहेको थियो यतै एउटा तामाङ्नी केटी सँग गणेश हिमाल साक्षी राखी मन साटेर बसुँ अनि यहाँका अग्ला पहाडहरुको घाँसे मैदानमा चौंरी चराउँदै, हिमालको टकुराबाट बगेर आउने हावासँग सुसेल्दै अनि यहाँको पाखा पखेरा, खोला नाला सँग मित लाउँदै म पनि मेरो सपनको घर यतै बसाँलु कि भनेर । तर मैले जती रहराउन सके त्यती हिम्मत गर्न सकिन मेरो सपनाको संसारलाई साकार पार्न।

पृष्ठ्भुमिम- गोंसाईकुण्ड तलपट्टी अव्स्थित भैरब्कुण्ड ताल र वाक्लिदै आएको कुहिरो

पृष्ठ्भुमिम- गोंसाईकुण्ड तलपट्टी अव्स्थित भैरब्कुण्ड ताल र वाक्लिदै आएको कुहिरो

ए खोला मेरो पनि एउटा बिन्ती छ तिमीसँग कि मेरो कथा पनि तिमी आफुसँग बोकेर लानु अनि तिमीले बाटोमा भेट्ने सारा वटुवाहरुअलाई सुनाइदिनु र अन्त्यमा समुन्द्रमा लगेर सेलाईदिनु ।

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On sexuality and morality


Sexuality and morality remained deeply interconnected for centuries and still continues to do so. Sexuality and morality could not be departed and treated individually for centuries and the social construct of present day society still adheres to this centuries old ideas with chasms being observed in some sections of modern society. Why is sexuality and morality so deeply connected? Is it in itself and interconnected issue or these two phenomena of sexuality and morality met each other and tied the nuptial knot in the due course of time? Will sexuality and morality continue to be engaged in a deeper relationship or the chasm appearing in their relationship will eventually break them apart? If yes than what are the forces and factors that will lead to cause this fragmentation? How will the social and moral construct of society look like after the divorce of sexuality with morality? These are some of the deeper questions that will help us to know the global picture of the world we are living in. Before diving into these deeper questions associated with sexuality and morality it would be a safer ride to be clear on what sexuality and morality is. Sexuality is not only the phenomena of sexual intercourse between two agreeing parties (may be either gay,  lesbian, heterosexual etc) Sexuality in a broader sense is any behavior that involves sexual organs primarily and emotional feelings associated with sex organs. Sex organs don’t necessarily mean male or female reproductive organs but other organs as well which causes sensual and sexual sensations. Your sexual or sensual desires and emotions do no always arises due to either of the male or female reproductive organs. Sometimes your eyes excites desires sometimes hair style, the way you walk, the way you talk and so many others. Female has overpowered male in this regard and has got many means to arouse sexual/ sensual desire.

Morality on the other side is a set of rules norms or social codes created by any particular society to create stable order and guided behavior in that society. Morality is always created by society and morality is both global and local. For example extra-marital affairs is condemned by almost all the societies of the world and it is a case of global morality while inter-caste marriage is condemned only in some societies of the world and this is locally accepted morality. Morality involve broad spectrum of social behavior but here we discuss only sexual morality.

While digging back to the historical origin of interrelationship between sexuality and morality, it has only been few thousand years when sexuality and morality started to journey together joining their arms. In pre-historic age sexuality and morality were totally a separate issue. Pre historic human had very less or almost nothing to do with morality. Their sexuality was like that of animal totally guided by sexual emotions and hormonic regulations in the body. Pre historic man never thought that she is my sister/ relatives so I should not have sexual intercourse with him as people think today. Society existed in the form of group of nomads whose sole aim was just to keep themselves alive by hunting and gathering foods and protecting themselves from wild animals and natural disasters. More or less pre-historic humans were similar to animal and the shadow of morality upon the sexuality remained completely absent. Their sexuality was completely driven by emotional desires and biological needs not like that of present day human who thinks: what other say, is it right time and place, does my religion or culture allow it and many other questions arises. i.e. the shadow of morality always tries to find its way in the route of sexuality in some way for present day people . How then did morality succeed in building up relationship with sexuality as we see in present day society? Before answering this question it is necessary to know how society evolved. In short society evolved and kept on changing its form continuously since the time of origin of human civilization. Sense of security in combined or group stay, enhanced production and gathering of foods, end of nomadic life due to discovery of fire and agricultural tools and farming brought pre-historic humans together and group of random wanderer eventually vanished. People started to settle in group and this led to the formation of society. Karl Marx categorizes social evolution into five major categories as:

  1. Primitive Communism
  2. Feudalist Society
  3. Capitalist Society
  4. Socialist Society
  5. Communist Society

Karl Marx has proposed these five major stages of social evolution of society in human history and presently the world is in capitalist era with an exception to some tribal societies. Detailed discussion about these five major types of society is not our focus here but the argument is that human society continuously evolved and people started to gather and live in groups in different forms of societies due to above mentioned reasons. Your suspicion may be what has social evolution to do with sexuality and morality which will now be discussed. As societies evolved scattered groups of hunters gathered and started to leave together. These groups of people got more organized and connected along with the passage of the time and inter-dependence grew among the members of society. Needs and necessity brought and bound them together and made them interdependent upon each other. This led to the formation of social morals and rules. When large number of people started to live together rules and morals became inevitable in order to maintain stability and order. For example if you live alone in a jungle it won’t be a problem if you die because there are no other people to suffer but in a society where many people stay together the dead body starts decaying and foul smell and germs may affect other people too so ritual of cremation has to be created to avoid this suffering. In a similar fashion rules and norms are created in society and same is the case with the morality.

Sexual behavior had to be created to control the sexual disorder in a society. Sexual disorder is not only the problem of society because with the sexual disorder comes the other complementary issues such as violence, ethnic clashes social exclusions, restlessness etc. Let us take an example of a society where very few males are available for females for the purpose of sexual intercourse. In such case females will have to remain either sexually starved or many females should be engaged with one male. This leads to the system of polygamy (single husband may wives). The case may also be reverse. Society then makes the rule of polygamy and the morality of that society becomes one man should marry many woman and in such societies it doesn’t become a sinister act. In essence, morality is created to control the restlessness and social disorder in any society so as to keep society stable and harmonious, any attempt to hinder this balance causes social unrest and disorder. This is one way how morality evolved along with the evolution of society and overshadowed the human sexuality. Another route through which the morality got engaged with the sexuality is religion.

Religion has been so intricately designed and used by the religious gurus (not all) to control the world system and they designed the morality and used it as a tool to enslave human minds emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. Religion also appeared in the scenario when society evolved. Religion is one of the most sophisticated and inescapable net which has successfully trapped the human civilization for centuries. Religion has been used as a means of social control and a tool to make human a slave. Religious Pundits created religious norms and values and imposed upon the society to control it. Leaving some tribal groups almost all the religions have set the morals regarding sexuality and sexual behavior of human. It was necessary because without it, it would be difficult to control the society. Let us imagine a society where morality is absent in sexuality than how would the society look like- a complete chaos. No son, no mother, no sister no daughter every boundaries would be broken and man would be like an animal regarding their sexuality.  So to maintain social order and stability religions designed morality and kept sexuality under its shadow. Question arises why did than religion attack sexuality. The answer is: because sexuality is the most efficient and sophisticated tool. The strongest sensation that can be ever produced is of sex and it is one of the strongest desires human of all civilization and time period have experienced. So, it is the best tool to control people universally and regarding sexual morality religions have got common type of rules and norms such as rejecting adultery, rejecting homosexuality etc. Question arises, is it good for religion to control sexuality keeping it under the shadow of morality? This can be a next topic of debate and discussion but my focus is on why religion used sexual morality as its tool to control societies. Religions have been used by religious pundits and vested interests groups to control the larger sections of societies and the way religions were and is practiced failed to fulfill the purpose of core religious objectives. Religions have been run as a political party or as a business firms by religious leaders to remain in power and influence using religious values and norms as a tool to recruit massive number of religious cadres whom they call followers. Follower is an illusory name. Followers are born out of self-conviction and realization but people today are Christian or Muslim or Hindu because they are influenced, persuaded or motivated to do so as are done to recruit party cadres. Very few people are followers who follow religion and followers are born out of the self-realization of core religious values and the meaning of religiousness in essence. Now, an answer to a question of why religion used sexual morality as a means to control human it is because to control human you have to either benefit him/ her or enslave psychologically. It is not possible to benefit all the people worldwide materially so the finest way to recruit religious cadres is to wash out their brain and enslave them psychologically and create an emotional attachment. The easiest and most sophisticated way to enslave people is through sexual morality. How?  Because sexual morality fragments the human mind and fill it with fear and once it is filled with fear and fragmented you can enslave it. When you associate sex with sin than human remains in a constant fear of committing sin because our biology demands it but religion forbids it and this way the whole humanity is in constant restlessness. And a restless mind and fearful mind can be easily enslaved or motivated because religions say that with religions all your sins and fears will be forgiven and eliminated. So the human easily fall prey to the religious doctrines and religious leaders with hope that their life will be washed away of all sins because now you are gods people. This is how religions designed sexual morality to enslave people and assigned set of behaviors that are allowed and considered to be pure. All these things are nothing but just an illusion and a way to run the political party like religious organizations. We never try to observe our mind and explore how we fall prey to so many things. The whole system has been so intricately designed and coordinated that common people get lost in it and always remain in the confusion.

Next way the morality evolved and succeeded to move together with sexuality is the rapid growth of productive means and forces. Marxist view that along with the rapid enhancement of means and modes of production and distribution, societies started to reshape and smaller group of village dwellers were forced to move to urban areas and nearer to the industrial areas. This rapid growth of industrialization ended the traditional style of living and agrarian society shifted to an industrialized society. This led people to live in larger cities of million residents. The resultant effect of this was that people had to change their life style and adapt themselves as per the new system designed by capitalist society where people became a mere labor power and everything is saleable and purchasable goods in capitalism, even the human values and norms. So, sexual behavior of human could not remain an exception to this force of rapid industrialization and capitalist mode of production and distribution.

People living in larger cities and from different cultural backgrounds were forced to reorganize their sexual behavior and it led to the formation of new set of sexual morality and behavior. So, in such cities sexual morality changed differently and you can see premarital sexual relations, brothels, porn literature and business have become common in larger cosmopolitan cities. Even government allows the religiously condemned sexual behavior/morality to occur or practice. So, the change in means and mode of production and distribution along with the advent of capitalism redefined and reshaped the sexual morality. Industrialization or say capitalism’s sole motive is to earn profit and re-invest it to multiply profit. So, capitalism either strides a deal or eliminates any resisting forces coming on its way, sexual morality could not resist the momentum of capitalism so the sexual morality got changed itself to support capitalist force. This can clearly be observed in leading societies adopting capitalism as its tool of progress. Western societies are accepted to be sexually more liberal than eastern societies for which the birth and growth of capitalism is a dominant responsible factors. In capitalism sexuality is a profit earning business. Sex business should not be misunderstood as a porn industry of billion dollars as it is already mentioned that sexuality doesn’t imply only the sexual intercourse. Investments in sexual business include other related business or investments which has the end of its tunnel at sexuality or human sexual behavior. For example sex-related business includes porn literature (print and electronic both), dress designing industry, drugs enhancing sexual behavior (i.e. pharmaceuticals), consultancy services on sexuality, cosmetic industry etc. Billions of dollars are invested in these industries and they directly boost the capitalism and have helped in changing the sexual morality. For example in traditional Indian Hindu society girls/women were not allowed to wear dress that didn’t cover most of her body and if we see Muslim society (hardcore followers) women are not allowed to display any of her body parts. But along with the advent of capitalism everything changed. Industrialist invested on textile, fashion designing and pushed forward their products to sale in the markets. For this aggressive and attractive marketing strategies were and are adopted so as to convince or motivate women that they looked beautiful in new dress with new cosmetics (such as lipsticks in their lips) and with enough sex appeal in their attire. Commoners are easily motivated to believe and accept it though few more time may be required by some hardliners. So, this eventually redefined the sexual morality of traditional societies and this is just one simple example of how growth of capitalism changed sexual morality. Our discussion here is not on whether this change was for good or bad. That can be another topic of debate but here we are focused on how sexual morality transforms.

Now to answer the question on whether sexuality will come to an end or not I would say no. Sexuality won’t come to an end until and unless the whole of the humanity extinct. As long as human civilization remains, sexuality surely will remain for biological reasons and emotional reasons. Biologically sexuality is important to continue the human civilization so the process of reproduction may not cease. On an emotional part, besides biological reproduction sexuality is only the most easily, readily and naturally available means of entertainment to all class of people of all societies. So this universality of presence will keep it alive and will continue to exist till the end of human civilization. However sexual morality will continuously keep on changing along with the flux of time. Sexual morality has been constantly changing since the past and will continue to do so. So, then how will sexual morality change?

It will change in correspondence with the changing patterns of society. It will have to adapt with the social construct, so will change as per the society requires it. For example at some time in the future marriage may be as outdated tradition and perish away, than at that time sexuality will be an agreement induced habit  i.e. any couple need not wait marriage for sexual intercourse just agreement between the two would be enough as it is of common occurrence in some present day societies too. Similarly gay marriage, lesbian rights, has become an emerging issues in todays’ society. This is an example of changing sexual morality. Gay marriage which was at some point in history and even today in many societies considered to be a sinister, immoral, barbaric behavior. But western societies now view it as an issue of social justice and fundamental human rights to get married with the one whom you love irrespective of his/her gender. This is a changing sexual behavior. How will the sexual morality change?

Capitalism will force sexual morality to change in way an individual demands. So, sexual morality will change in an individual centered manner not society centered manner. It is easy for capitalism to control an individual than to control large society consisting large mass of people. So, individual will keep on changing his/her sexual morality and capitalism will approve or disapprove it accordingly as per the help or hazards received by it due to such change. The trend of change will be that sexual morality will change saturate and again change and saturate to other successive stages continuously.

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CHISAPANI: A SHANGRI-LA NEAR BY KATHMANDU VALLEY


Everything in this city is jammed-up – from the road traffic to internet traffic, civil service to communication network, electricity supply to water supply, individuals’ brain to constitution writing and what not- this is what most of the Kathmanduites complain and you will hardly find any things that is not jammed. The circulatory system of this whole city perhaps needs some lubricants otherwise Kathmandu will continue to suffer regular system failure for an unknown period of time in future. Everyone here in this valley needs a release, a catharsis, an outlet and a moment to get relaxed. So, why not leave this crowded and rowdy city and release ourselves at least for a single day or more.

Chispani with snow-capped himalayas in its background

Chisapani with snow capped himalayas in its backgroundAre you the one who share this feeling in your heart but is still jammed up again inside your office, school, workplace, Business and continue to suffer? If yes than come on wake up, kick out these jamming  stuffs and get ready to move. Do you know for how long has been Chisapani inviting you in its lap?

Many seasons have passed away, a lot of political changes have occurred,  Kathmandu crowd has risen exponentially, hi-5 era has jumped to facebook era but the magnificence of Himalayan ranges to the north of Chisapani still is so vibrant as it was in the days of ancient saints, the chirp of birds in Shivapuri conservation area sounds as melodious as your personal favorite- Lata Mangesker or Aruna Lama , air in Chisapani still is so fresh that it can re-energize whole of your body and majestic hills there are so persuading that at least for one moment you will stop walking, calm down your heartbeat and say to yourself ah this is the sort of place I always wanted my dream house to be located.

Chisapani is an awesome place lying en-route to Gosainkunda trekking route to the north east of Kathmandu valley but for those interested for short trip Chisapani can be the best option. Chisapani is a   single day trip for a motorcyclist and cyclist but for those who are walkathon runners or hike-lovers it’s a two day trip. You can reach Chisapani form several entry points such as Nagarkot, Sundarijal, Kapan, Muhan pokhari.  Among these routes, through-shivapuri route to Chisapani is suitable for hiker and adventure mountain biker but cycling this route demands a real tough guy; an average cyclist should not risk cycling this route. You can fetch a bus up to muhan pokhari either from NAC or jamal or chakrapath as per your convenience and you will be on winning side as early as you make your trip. Chisapani is at a height of 2200m (approx) and the climatic condition is not much different than that of the ktm-valley except a little bit chills you will experience there. As this route covers a jungle trail you are wisely informed not to make a one man trip and remain safe throughout your jungle safari. Regarding fooding facilities you won’t find any type of shop (may be teashop, restaurant, grocery) until you reach Chisapani along this trail as it is completely a jungle safari with an exception that babaji and mataji above Bagdwar (source of Bagmati river) may offer you with tea and that too free of cost provided that they be present there in their hut where they have been staying in solitude. On some occasions you won’t find them if they are out of the station and other likely people you may meet through your hiking/trekking is fellow hiker/trekker like you or a fire-wood collectors and grass-cutters from along side villages. Shivapuri is about three hours walk from the gate below to an average people. You can reach Shivapuri through two ways one from Nangki Gumba (a nun monastery) which is comparatively easier to walk but costs you an extra forty five minutes and the other is a step-road that you will meet after about 25-30 minutes walk from Shivapuri gate and this way is difficult to walk but saves your time by about forty five minutes. If you want Shivapuri peak (a place where Shivapuri Baba meditated) to be your final destination than you can return back to your nest in a single day but if you want Chisapani to be your final destination than you be prepared for one night stay. It almost takes about 6-7 hrs walk to reach Chisapani starting from Shivapuri gate at Muhan pokhari. You should always be careful not to conduct any anti-wildlife activities (like destroying vegetation, setting up fire, killing

A small lake within Shivapuri conservation area

animals, etc) as this area belongs to Shivapuri Conservation Area, rich in biodiversity and is frequently patrolled by army personnel. Chisapani, a small retreat station for hiker and trekkers lies at a beautiful location from where you can view the Himalayan ranges as if you are looking into the mirror to the north-eastern side and panoramic view of green rugged hills all around. You can find lodges to stay and they offer quite good place to rest. Lodges there in Chisapani offer rooms starting from Rs 200 to Rs 500, high priced room being provided with attached toilet and bathroom and plain nepali dal, bhat, curry costs somewhere around Rs 150.  There are few restaurants offering you with popular dishes like mo-mo and chowmein and some local flavor of fermented drink.

Chisapani is purely a hillside trip and one can follow different routes to return back, some of them include exits through Sundarijal (the shortest one), Sankhu through Jhule (it takes about 3-4 hrs walk up to Sankhu and bus-ride thereafter),  Kakani (this route is a longer one and will take one more day), via Nagarkot (this route requires 6-7 hrs long walk and bus-ride thereafter but if you get late you won’t be able to catch up bus at Nagarkot

Panoramic view of himalayan range

which means you will have to stay there). Though you can make a single day trip if you ride on any engine-gadi this will prevent you from catching up the glorious view of morning sun emanating golden rays, holy fresh air of dawn that blows all the way from Gosainkunda and Himalayas and above all silent and innocent looking night sky full of stars that you can’t view from ktm-valley due to exclusive presence of artificial lights all around.

As there are several entry points (Sundarijal, Kakani, Muhan pokhari, Nagarkot, Sankhu), you can choose and make your travel plan according to your convenience. If you seek help of engine-gadi than you can make a single day trip (remember the road leading to Chisapani is not black topped one but is a kacchi sadak) through Sundarijal, Sankhu and Nagarkot entry points but hiking plan should be made of two days if you are wise enough. As the weather generally remains clear for few months starting from October until February the best time to travel is in the months of November/December when weather is mild, sunny and sky remains clear.

So what are you waiting for? Is that tomorrow? If yes than remember tomorrow never comes, if not now than never so pack up your bags and move don’t just register Chisapani  in your things-to-do list, it’s not worthy of postponement.

Anoj Khadka

khadkaanoj@gmail.com

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Mystery behind the white clouds


What is the mystery beyond these white clouds?

Shiva-puri peak lies inside a shivapuri conservation area to the north of Kathmandu valley, a place where saint Govindananda Bharati (popularly known as Shivapuri baba)  stayed and meditated during his later age . It was just an ordinary day when I decided to make a short trek to the peak with a desire to get lost from this hustling and bustling city of Kathmandu. Gathering all my passive energy and daring to make hours long walk through the thick jungle I left my room by 9:00am and it was about 12:00 in the noon when I was about to begin my hike after the completion of bus-journey. With mixed emotions of fear, excitement, adventure and spiritualism I walked up the hill through the dense jungle leaving behind a noisy Kathmandu father and farther with each steps I moved further and further. Sometimes being frightened by the strange noise of falling leaves and twigs and sometimes being enchanted by the chirp of birds I kept on walking when my legs stopped moving forward after I reached a small hut just above the bagdwar (source of Bagmati River). My short trek ended there for the day and stayed there with a hermit who is popularly known as ‘todke baba’ (name todke was given to him for the reason he meditated on a tree hole and todko means hole in nepali). Sun had already started to crawl down the western hills when I reached there after few hours of walk. Baba (hermit) offered me with a glass of tea which helped me a lot to warm my body and forget the fatigue of the journey. As the stars started emerging in the night sky it was time for dinner, a simple menu: rice and vegetable. We sat encircling a fireplace to protect ourselves from the bitter cold of high altitude hills and touching unheated water during the night time demanded a real courage to anyone.

Time after dinner was a gossip time and many things entered inside our debate like meditation, tantra, yoga, world, frustration, sex, sensual pleasure, ultimate freedom, love, infatuation, power, politics, spiritualism, hypocrisy, etc. As we came out of the fireplace to go to bed clock had already traveled a circular walk of nine and half hours. The night was noisily silent with only voices that could be heard of were of nearby water source and insects. Night was absolutely natural and as I looked up at the sky it was glittering with stars with no artificial source of city lights to light up the surroundings and the sky. It looked really beautiful with no human or human related noise to interfere and the only thing that one could experience was a real darkness. It made me feel that night is not only an absence of sun in the sky; experiencing night in the middle of dense jungle far from a hustling and bustling city is something different; a real night where you can have a first hand experience of natural night with no street lights, house lights, honking horns of vehicles, deafening noise of TV serials or energy filled noise of disco or party music, no hangover of office meetings or daytime dating, no relationship tensions, no whole day events or news updates, no SMS or time for phone calls, no facebook, no twitter, no homework no lessons to prepare for tomorrow. That’s the beauty of wild jungle, togetherness in loneliness and forgetfulness in consciousness. I tried to meditate before sleeping but proved to be of no help so thanked almighty lord for all the things s/he created and laid down. I don’t really know whether almighty god exists or not but my mind has been brought up in this culture of worshipping gods which gets reflected when situation demands.

It was 7:00 in the morning as I woke up and the chilly winter has cooled the whole environment for the whole night. After regular chores of the morning time I went to see a nearby monastery that has been deserted long time ago. Statues of Buddhas and butter lamps were covered with dust and waiting for some generous hands to be cleaned up. It was already time to leave when I returned back to the hut. So after having lunch I left the place bidding farewell to the hermit. Alone but together with the noise of jungle and occasionally blowing breeze I walked down through the trail of jungle with the only things to see were trees, grasses and steep hills.

After sometimes I reached a plane ground with no tree and so was open and wide. With a desire to take short rest I laid on the ground keeping pillow of my bag. As there were no trees around that ground one could clearly view the sky above and surrounding hills around and thick forest around. The environment of the surrounding was pleasing with no noise to disturb except the noise of breeze and birds and moving leaves and branches of trees. I laid down watching the blue sky with patches of moving white clouds. The sky went deeper and bluer as I kept gazing it on/ The day was sunny, air was fresh, sky was deep and blue and I was silenced by all these not only my mouth but my mind too. I just kept watching the blue sky and frequently changing shapes of white clouds. The whole existence was flowing constantly in some type of musical rhythm. As I watched on and on I was pleased to see the small patches of clouds appearing out of nowhere and flowing and disappearing in nowhere in the same blue sky. In this way rhythmic appearance and disappearance of clouds continued within the sky under the scope of my eyesight. I don’t know where these white clouds appeared from in the blue sky and where it eventually disappeared within few moments. Just few moments ago the sky was completely clear suddenly white clouds appeared, continuously changes in shapes and disappears nowhere. Nowhere it came from and nowhere it went. But I was sure that this cycle of appearance and disappearance of white clouds within the blue sky kept on happening. Where did it come from? Where did it go?

I don’t know. Maybe science can well explain this phenomena but I am not concerned with the science but with the epistemological questions of this whole universe. Can something appear/come out of nothing?  Can something disappear in nothing? Does this really happen or is this the only way how universe functions? I had heard about big-bang theory that hypothesize the creation of the universe or leave alone big-bang  where did this whole existence come from?  God!  Then where did god come from? Did god come out of nothing just like those white clouds, suddenly out of blues? Can this happen ; god forming without intercourse of two opposite sex or without undergoing scientifically explained biological phenomena?  Or is it that we so called intelligent human beings are  not intelligent enough to understand the mystery of creation or how universe works? If white clouds can appear out of nothing and disappear in nothing than why can’t the phenomenon called god be? Did this universe also emerge in similar fashion?  “Something can come out of nothing and something can disappear in nothing”. Is this the basic underlying mystery of universe and universal matters. If white clouds can appear out of nothing in the blue sky and disappear in nothing silently than why can’t it be that our universe (long time ago in the unknown/distant past) emerged out of emptiness and will (sometime in the distant/unknown future) dissolve in the emptiness just like those white clouds. Can it be that the phenomenon of appearance and disappearance of white clouds is just a simple manifestation of the basic functioning law of nature or universe or the whole of this existence? If not then what is the mystery hidden behind these white clouds?

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Charismatic Kalinchowk


On our way to kalinchowk we climbed up the steep hills sometimes drinking chhyang in the roadside hut and some time smelling rhododendrons. It was a summer day and the hill was challenging when we were temporarily stopped due to rainfall that force us to take shelter in one of the hut where we drank some tea and had some noodles. Energized by hot tea and dried yak meat we scaled up the high hills of Kalinchowk and finally reached Kuri our base camp. We took our dinner there and some of our friends were exhausted due to long walk and went for sleep while some were busy in camp fire. Altitude effect on weather could clearly be observed while touching water there which was ice cold.

Preparing to leave Kuri for kalinchowk


The next day we woke up early in the morning and climbed up to the kalinchowk temple which is located at the top of the hill from where one could get bird’s eyeview of the surroundings areas. Having visited kalinchowk and taking some snaps our journey concluded there and we returned back to kathmandu remembering and locking all the sweet events inside our hard disk.

On the way to kalinchowk

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