Category Archives: Around Neal

Bajrabarahi and Chitlang Valleys [बज्रवाराही र चित्लाङ]

 

हालै मैले काठमान्डू उपत्यकाभन्दा पश्चिमको क्षेत्रका केही भागको यात्रा गरेँ । सहर छाडेर म ककनीबाट बाहिर निस्केको थिएँ, नुवाकोटको बट्टारमा रात विताउन । त्यसपछि म टिस्टुङ देउराली हुँदै मकवानपुर जिल्लाको नबिथोलिएको र विमल बज्रवाराही उपत्यका पुगेँ । चन्द्रागिरि र दामन डाँडाहरूको बीचमा फैलिएको यो बस्तीमा जान मलाई धेरै अघिदेखि मन थियो । बज्रवाराहीबाट एउटा सानो थुम्को चढेर चित्लाङ पुगेको म बडादसैँको विहान लालबहादुर श्रेष्ठको घरमा बिउँझिएँ । चन्द्रागिरिको पश्चिमी काखमा रहेको यो सानो र शान्त अावादीमा म यसपाली तेस्रोपटक पुगेको थिएँ । I recently travelled to the region west of Kathmandu Valley. I exited the city via Kakani to overnight in Battar of Nuwakot jilla. Next, I went to the pristine valley of Bajrabarahi via Tistung Deurali in Makwanpur district. I had always wanted to visit this area tucked between Chandragiri and Daman hills. From Bajrabarahi, I crossed over to Chitlang village to wake up in the morning of Dashain Day in the house of Lal Bahadur Shrestha. This was my third trip to the beautiful hamlet nestled at the western base of Chandagiri.

 

Surya Bahadur Gopali on his way back home in the Gahate neighbourhood of Bajrabarahi valley after making a leisurely trip to the bazaar.

Surya Bahadur Gopali was on his way back home in the Gahate neighbourhood of Bajrabarahi valley after making a leisurely trip to the bazaar.
बज्रबाराही उपत्यकाको गहते बस्तीका सूर्यबहादर गोपाली खुट्टा तन्काउन बजारसम्म पुगेर घर फर्किदै थिए ।

 

Gopali people live in the Kunchhal neighbourhood of Bajrabarahi valley. Fields and houses.

Gopali people live in the Kunchhal neighbourhood of Bajrabarahi valley. A recent Nepal magazine report by Sitaram Baral noted it’s the largest Gopali settlement in Nepal. I was struck by the varieties of colours seen in this image.

बज्रबाराहीको कुन्छाल टोलमा गोपालीहरू बस्छन् । नेपाल खबरपत्रिकामा सिताराम बरालको हालैको एउटा रूचिपूर्ण रिपोर्ट अनुसार यो नेपालमै सबैभन्दा धेरै गोपालीहरू बस्ने गाउँ हो । यो तस्बिरमा देखिएका रङहरूले मलाई मोहित तुल्याए ।

 

Harimaya Gopali of Bajrabarahi said her house suffered a minor damage in the April 2015 earthquakes.

Harimaya Gopali of Bajrabarahi said her house suffered a minor damage in the April 2015 earthquakes. Her relative’s house across the road partially collapsed. She said she makes a monthly trip to Kathmandu to sell things that are produced in the village. Those corns are kept that way because there’s not enough space inside the house to store them.

अप्रिल २०१५ का भैचालाहरूले अाफ्नो घरलाई सामान्य क्षति पुगेको बज्रबाराहीकी हरिमाया गोपालीले बताइन् । सामुन्ने सडकको अर्कोपट्टी रहेको उनका अाफन्तको घर अांशिक भत्कियो । गाउँमा उत्पादित सामानहरू बेच्न महिनामा एकचोटी जस्तो काठमान्डू जानेगरेको उनले बताइन् । घरभित्र भन्डार गरेर राख्ने पर्याप्त ठाउँ नभएकैले मकै त्यसरी झुन्ड्याएर राखिएको हो । अहँ, पानीले भिज्दैन ।

 

यो फोटो निबन्ध तल निरन्तर छ । तपाईँलाई इमेलमै पछिल्लो ब्लग, लेख र तस्बिर पठाउँदा म खुसी हुनेछु । बाकसमा आफ्नो इमेल ठेगाना हाल्नु होला । अनि अाफ्नो इमेल इन्बक्समा अाएको लिंक थिचेर कन्फर्म गर्नु होला । यो लेख इमेल इन्बक्समै पढिरहुन भएको छ भने केही गर्न पर्दैन । धन्यवाद :

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Man flies kite in Narayanhitti, Chitlang village

A man flew kite in the Narayanhitti neighbourhood of Chitlang village. Chandragiri hill separates Chitlang with Kathmandu.

म बज्रबाराहीबाट चित्लाङ् छिर्दा नारायणहिटी टोलमा यी व्यक्तिलाई चंगा उडाइरहेको अवस्थामा भेट्टाएँ । चित्लाङलाई चन्द्रागिरीले काठमान्डूबाट छुट्याउँछ ।

 

Fying kite in Chitlang

Flying kite in Chitlang

Continue reading

A lorry headed to China. An Airtruck or a roadplane?

An ‘AirTruck’. Headed to China.

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One recent afternoon I spotted a few beautifully decorated trucks not very far from the China border north of Kathmandu. They were stuck there. Mudslides had blocked a long stretch of the narrow road, or what we in Nepal unashamedly call a highway.

I asked a driver why his truck along with others had images of envelopes and the Nepal Airlines planes painted on their bodies. Some lorries had the flag of Nepal in various forms painted on them. “It’s just one of those paint templates available in the workshop in Kathmandu,” he said. “I like this one.” His truck had  a stretched flag of Nepal and the national flag carrier’s corporate emblem portraying the sky god Aakash Bhairav.

The Kathmandu-Kerung highway has become busier lately. The Araniko highway remains out of order since the April 2015 earthquakes. It means that business has shifted to Kerung, which brought along a large number of lorries on this road. As if that was not enough, the Indian blockade happened last year forcing even more trucks to run on this fragile, winding and difficult road. This is being expanded and improved. But that’s another story.

A truck driver waiting for the green light.

A truck driver waiting for the green signal.

I saw this lorry on Prithvi highway, near Kathmandu:

A lorry in Prithvi haighway

This one came from India.

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

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.

A walk to Mahat, from Thabang

It took us four hours to reach Mahat village from Thabang village. It was mostly a pleasant walk on flat land (just a couple of small uphill and downhill) that followed the Thabang river.

Rukumkot’s Sisnu Festival

A day after Maghi there were no signs of 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 among youngsters, 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.

Some images from Rukum

I saw that people in some villages of Rukum and Rolpa celebrated the Maghi festival like the way many in other parts of Nepal celebrate the Holi festival- by smearing their faces in colored powders. (See here how people of Thabang village celebrated.) A day after Maghi, after my return from Thabang, at Khabang Bagar a girl put abir (dye) on my forehead and jamara (barley sprouts) on my ear.