Chitlang, the nearest greenfield tourist destination from the capital of the country Kathmandu, is mainly focused on agriculture. Most of the vegetables that we consume inside the valley come from this place, and with a Goat Cheese Factory the locals more engaged in animal- husbandry. The most hyped, and most visited place near the valley didn’t miss our eyes too, and like always, we decided to go to Chitlang at the last moment. We were a group of 6 friends pulling this plan off to hike from Kathmandu to Chitlang (but did we really end up there?). And as per our little research, it would roughly take us about 6 hours of walk to reach Chitlang from the last bus stop.
The next day early in the morning, we started our journey. We had fixed Kalanki as the gathering point, and from there, we took a local bus to Godamchaur, the last bus stop. The fare per head of the ride was about Rs 30. It took about an hour and a half to reach Godamchaur due to the road expansion and traffic at Kalanki.
The route from Godamchaur was unknown to all of us. As we all were new to the place, it added some energy throughout the hike. Consulting a local, we found out that we didn’t have many checkpoints going up the hill, and our next halting destination would be Bhanjhyang. We didn’t have contact details of the hotel at Bhanjhyang but only had a rough estimation of how much would it take to reach there.
About 11 in the morning, we reached Bhanjhyang. We had our breakfast and took some fresh air. The sky was extremely blue, unlike the sky we see from Kathmandu. The color combination of nature didn’t leave any chance to excite us. Finally, the next stop was Chitlang. We called the hotel, which we had decided to stay at, and asked for the directions to reach his place, and also about other places we could wander along on the way. He told us that we would reach Chitlang in about 2 hours from Bhanjhyang.
Our plan was to reach Chitlang and explore the vegetable farms and the cheese factory. The trail to Chitlang was full of tall pine trees and pine cones all around the ground. Walking through the narrow trail surrounding yourself with the most vivid shades of greens, blues, and browns, we felt much relaxed and contained.
From the point where we could locate the village, we saw large vegetable farms, and on the way, downhill, was Satdhara, one of the major attractions of Chitlang. We stopped there to take some photographs and headed to the hotel where our lunch was waiting for us.
We reached the hotel at about 12:30 and had our lunch. Directly after our lunch, we started to explore the place around our hotel but, we didn’t find much to do there. Chitlang was not as we had expected it to be. We were quite unhappy with the decision we took to stay here overnight. Then we came up with another plan which was to go to Markhu. It is a famous tourist attraction which has the largest, human-made lake of Nepal, Indrasarowor. Honestly, Markhu was in our mind, and we also had collected the contact details of one of the homestays. We called the owner, asked if it had rooms for 6 of us and, when the reply was a yes, we started walking towards Markhu, our new destination.
It was just the time for the school students to go back to their homes. Within no time, we were accompanied by small school students. They had an uneven dress code, wide smile, jumping, and running all along the way. I had never seen such an expression of excitement in the eyes of any student before.
The sun was above the hill and was about to set. We still hadn’t reached our destination. Tired and exhausted, we were no longer able to walk at the same speed as what we had started. After 15 more minutes of crawling, we see gorgeous Indrasarowaor from the top of the hill. That mass of water was enough to energize us. In no time, we reached Markhu Bazar, not missing any glimpse of Indrasarowor from the point we first saw it. We called the homestay’s owner and came to know that the homestay was on the opposite bank of the lake. As it was quite dark, the owner was sweet enough to offer us a boat to take us till the homestay but we denied because we didn’t have an extra expense to pay for the boat ride.
We then walked for about an hour and a half to reach our homestay, and as soon as we got there, we came to know that the boat ride was for free, that was quite an experience. With no energy left, we went straight to our rooms. The silent and calming Indrasarowor was just beside us. The chills of Indrasarowor had some vivid energy. Within no time, we were all about the place. The scent of wildflowers, the fresh breeze, took all the tiredness away. Truly the moment we stepped Markhu, it felt very homely. It was like this place was waiting for us for very long.
We had our dinner and bought some wooden longs and lightened it. At the bank of Indrasarowor, we were all warm and cozy, having our best experience.
The next morning, after watching the best sunrise, we were off to the place which had excited us throughout our way to Markhu, the hidden waterfall. The road was not that easy, it was all covered with wild grasses and thorny plants. But, the view was worth the effort. The waterfall was extremely gorgeous, and its sound was more pleasing. That moment we realized our decision of not staying at Chitlang was the best decision ever taken. We were all in love with the place, the hospitality of the locals, lovely children, and the Indrasarowor following us everywhere we went.
We returned to our home-stay and had our lunch. This time we took the boat ride back to the Markhu Bazar. Then, we got our bus back to the busy and always hustling Kathmandu.
While traveling, don’t expect things to go as you have planned.
Always be ready to walk a few extra miles to satisfy yourself.
Try a bit harder to find places that have not been much on the internet, trust me there are a lot of these places.
Some places can still feel like home, even if you are away from it.
लेखक : Santosh Lamichhane
मिती : November, 2018
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लेखक : Laxmi Prasad Devkota
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लेखक : Santosh Lamichhane
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