Around Kathmandu: Champadevi Hill [काठमान्डू वरीपरी: चम्पादेवी डाँडो]

A woman carried a brick to build a temple at the top of Champadevi hill.

A woman carried a brick to build a temple at the top of the Champadevi hill.

[This is a bilingual post. यो पोस्ट दुइ भाषामा छ ।]

नयाँ वर्ष २०७१ को दिन म साथिहरूसँग २२८५ मिटर अग्लो चम्पादेवी डाँडो गएँ । हामी किर्तिपुर नजिकैको र चम्पादेवीको फेदमा अवस्थित मच्छेगाँउमा रहेको पुष्पलाल स्मृति पार्कबाट उक्लियाै । बाटो साँघुरो थियो, धेरैजसो ठाडो उकालो र दुइतर्फी अावतजावतकालागि चुनाैतिपूर्रण । तर हिड्नै अप्ठेरो चाँही होइन । बाटो धेरैजसो ठाउँमा झांडीले छोपिएको थियो जसले गर्दा कुनै सुरुंगमा हिंडेजस्तो भान हुन्थ्यो । घमाइलो दिनमा त सुरुंगले गज्जवको शीतलता प्रदानगर्ने नै भयो तर उपत्यका र हिमालयको दृश्यबाट चै त्यसले बटुवाहरुलाई बन्चित तुल्याउथ्यो ।

नयाँ वर्षको दिन चम्पदेवी जाने सर्वाधिक उपयुक्त दिन थिएन  किनकी त्यो दिन चम्पदेवीको शिखरमा लाग्ने जात्रातिर जाने या त्यहाँबाट फर्किने मानिसहरूले बाटो भरिएको थियो ।

हामी गएकै बाटो फर्किएनौं । हामी हात्तीवन हुँदै फर्पिंग झर्यौं । यो बाटो चैं राम्रो थियो– फराकिलो, खुला र कम उकालो . साथै त्यति चर्को घाम पनि लागेको थिएन जो गज्जव थियो ।

योजना चांही फर्पिंगबाट सार्बजनिक बस अठ्याउने थियो । तर सबै बसहरु दक्षिणकाली मन्दिर या चम्पदेवी डाँडोबाट फर्किएका मानिसहरूले पुरै भरिएका थिए । तेसैले हामीहरु थप ४-५ किलोमीटर हिड्न बाध्य भयौं पिच बाटोमा– गाडीहरूले फालेको धुलो र धुँवा खाँदै । त्यो रमाइलो थिएन ।

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On the New Year Day 2071 BS, I went to the top of the Champadevi Hill (2,285m) with friends. We started the walk from the Pushpalal Memorial Park located at the base of the hill (Machhegaun village, near Kirtipur). The trail was narrow, mostly steep and challenging for a two-way commute but not difficult to walk. It was covered mostly by the bushes giving the feel of walking in a tunnel. In a sunny day the ‘tunnel’ provided a great shade to hikers but blocked the view of the valley and mountains. Continue reading

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Ghansi Kuwa

A girl and a well

Bhanu Bhakta in the middle. Ghansi on the right.

Bhanu Bhakta in the middle. Ghansi on the right.

Despite traveling on the Prithvi Highway that links Pokhara with Kathmandu several times I had never stopped at the Ghansi Kuwa to see the famed well built by the grass cutter who inspired Bhanu Bhakta Acharya to write poems and translate the Ramayana into Nepali. When I reached there a little girl was taking out water from the grass cutter’s well. In a nearby makeshift shop a lady sold bottled mineral water to drink. It was evident that today’s travelers didn’t need the water of the Ghansi Kuwa. That explained why the kuwa wasn’t in a good shape. There was a small park in need of good care nearby that had two separate statues of Bhanu Bhakta and the anonymous ghansi.

For those who don’t know the story behind the grass cutter’s well, here’s a brief background: Bhanubhakta was a young boy from a wealthy family and was leading a luxurious life. He met a poor grass cutter who inspite of his poverty wanted to build a well (kuwa in Nepali) to help the travelers to quench their thirst and be remembered even after death. This made Bhanu Bhakta realize that despite being a wealthy and educated person, despite being “Bhanu Bhakta” he wan’t doing anything good for the public. This encounter is said to have inspired Bhanubhakta to do something remarkable in life.

भर् जन्म घाँसतिर मन दिइ धन् कमायो
नाम क्यै रहोस् पछि भनेर कुवा खनायो
घाँसी दरिद्रि घरको तर बुद्धि कस्तो
मो भानुभक्त धनि भै कन आज यस्तो ! Continue reading

Bandipur

Bandipur

This trip happened during Dasain festival last October therefore the sights of pings (swings) of different types- linge, rote and jaanto. It was my second trip to Bandipur village that is located just above the highway that connects Pokhara with Kathmandu. Many find it beautiful but I have no such conclusive opinion about Bandipur. I thought new concrete buildings had damaged the authenticity of the village that still had some nice-looking traditional houses. A Bhaktapur Darbar Square-style ban on traffic on the main thoroughfare felt like a sensible thing to do. On a clear day the village offered a beautiful view of the Himalayas.

Rukumkot’s Sisnu Festival

Rukumkot’s Sisnu Festival

A day after Maghi there were no signs on colors in Rukumkot village. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see young boys and girls in Rukumkot hitting each other below the knees by stinging nettle. Dozens of boys and girls had gathered around the Village Development Committee building in the afternoon. Most of them held bunches of sisnu wrapped by pieces of paper or plastic to save their hands from sting.

Elderly people, mostly women, watched the teenagers play the game of sisnu. It was, like the game of colors in Holi, primarily a game between girls and boys– girls trying to attack boys and vice versa. The rule was that you couldn’t hit above the knees. I learned from the elders that the sisnu festival was a tradition in the village. Actually some women were surprised that I didn’t know about it. One of the girls hit me and an elderly woman, showing much sympathy, suggested me to massage my calves with ghee in the evening.