Wednesday, January 23: After breakfast and a shower at Hotel View Point, I meet my guide for the day, Prakash Bhattarai of Gurka Encounters. We begin our hike from Nagarkot, at 1950 meters, at 9 a.m.
We first walk downhill for a couple of hours to Tellkot, passing terraces planted with mustard and wheat. Some terraces are simply brown dirt where farmers will plant potatoes and millet in the warmer seasons.
At some points along the route, we can see views of the Himalayas, snow-capped like some apparition, with the terraced Central Hills in the foreground. There is a bit of haze in the air, so the view isn’t perfect, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.
We walk through the front yards of colorful painted houses with Nepalis squatting on their front stoops, doors open, cleanly swept dirt floors inside. These homes seem surprisingly tidy, swept clean both inside and out. Goats and cows are tied to posts, dogs are barking, and chickens and roosters are crowing. The air is crisp and cool — a perfect day for hiking.
I have a small pack, the size of a purse, and a larger backpack holding my overnight stuff. Lucky for me, Prakash offers to carry it for me through the whole hike. I should have insisted on carrying it myself; if I ever want to do the Camino de Santiago, I’m going to have to get used to carrying my own stuff! Admittedly, it’s quite pleasant for me not to have to carry my pack. 🙂 I determine to tip him well for his hard work, which I do when we return to Kathmandu.
It’s lovely walking in companionable silence with Prakesh. I so enjoy a walk out in nature without having someone constantly chattering. We pass one small Hindu temple that seems quite off the beaten track.
At the end of our hike, around 1:00, we can see Changu Narayan, an ancient temple complex, perched on a 1541 meter ridge ahead of us. Our destination is in sight! Prakash tells me we’ve walked about 15 km, although Rough Guide to Nepal says this hike, all the way to Bhaktapur, is about 10 km.
This was one of my favorite days in Nepal, close on the heels of my lovely lake walk in Pokhara.
More on Changu Narayan to follow….