Monday, September 27, 2010


More than 200 people turned out on Saturday the 25th of September for a fun filled adventure to discover the ‘Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail’ (KVCTT). The day covered the leg of the KVCTT from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel. Trekkers covered the 12km distance in around 4 hours, soaking up the spectacular monsoon green views of Panckhal Valley and the hills beyond. The weather was perfect for the day, nice temperature for hiking and made for a relaxed atmosphere. The main aim of the event was to promote the KVCTT and health and recreation.

The day started from 6:30am with a bus ride from the Nepal Tourism Board in Bhrikutimandap. Once all aboard, we left the chaos of the city behind and climbed up the winding road to Nagarkot. Everyone relaxed as we left the city behind and the green hills opened up in front of us. On arrival at Hotel Club Himalaya, we had a scrumptious breakfast laid on by the resort. The relaxed garden court yard was the perfect setting for the start of our days trekking.

People had come from all over Kathmandu to join the hike, Ex Pats, Government Personal, Embassy Workers, Hoteliers, INGO/NGO staff, local community members, local youth groups, media and press representatives and many others turned up for the event. Spirits where high and cameras clicking as we left Club Himalaya and preceded on the hike.

This section of the KVCTT, begins by following the main road that goes to the Nagarkot view tower for about 15 mins. Passing the army camp and a set of tea shops the hikers turned off the main road and the real adventure of the trek began. Hikers where awed as the mist cleared and valley view’s opened up and it was hard to keep eyes on the narrow trail! The trail passed through towering fields of maize and alongside small farmhouses. The hiking group spread out along the route with some choosing to set a fast pace and others content on a relaxed stroll and taking in the environment. The trail joined a wider jeep track and curved high above the valley through some native shrub to Rohini Bhangyang. Hikers took advantage of the NETIF rest shelter and took time to rest and enjoy this tiny village. The map and sign markers pointed out our onward trail.

Soon hikers where treated for an adventure as we turned off the jeep track and followed a newly made single track through pristine jungle. For about 1km we followed this trail, seeking out different kinds of jungle plants, mosses and mushrooms. The cool air and sweet smell of the jungle made everyone feel fresh and rejuvenated. Emerging from the jungle a different valley view opened up before us of Nala and the green rice fields around Banepa. The next NETIF rest shelter/view deck was a good place to take in the views and sip some water. From here the trail dropped steeply down and everyone was grateful of the newly built stone staircase thanks to the support of NETIF, The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Tourism Infrastructure Development Project and the local community on what would of normally been a slippery & dangerous decent.

On reaching Kashi Bhanjyang, many people commented on the stunning views and almost everyone was relieved to take a rest. Locally prepared snacks of hot, fresh shellroti, channa, pokodas and juicy sweet guava was lapped up by everyone, filling the hole in our bellies and giving us the energy for the climb to come. Most people choose to relax a while in Kashi Bhanjyang and some even indulged in a chilled beer to savour the moment. The atmosphere was jovial and it was clear that everyone was having a splendid day. At Kashi Bhanjyang, volunteers had also set up a toilet facility and a medical post to treat any injured trekkers, fix minor scrapes and generally make sure everyone was in good working order.

So with full bellies and rested legs, hikers climbed up through picturesque fields of neatly rowed potatoes and purple flowering aubergines. Steep and narrow, the climb was a challenge for some but a breeze for others. The sun was shining by now and there was sweat on everyone brow! A welcome rest was taken at the small, yellow painted Buddhist monastery at the top of the hill in Tanchowk. From here the trail was super narrow, almost like a goat track, and zig-zagged its way down the hillside which was scattered with Tamang and Brahmin farms to Opi. At some points this was a real adventure, and we have to thank the guides from the Kavre Guides Association for marking the trail and making sure none of us got lost.....good job boys!

Passing Opi the trail climbed again steady up through some pine forests and finally made the last descent down to Dhulikhel. Hikers where warmly welcomed at Hotel Himalayan Horizons and happily accepted the welcome tikka and khadha. Tired but happy hikers then retired to the lovely gardens of the Hotel for welcome drinks and rest.

Once the last wary bunch had strolled in it was time for the celebrations of the great day to begin. A lavish feast of local cuisine was laid on and plates piled high as guests settled down under the evening sky to enjoy a cultural dance program performed by local group The Gauri Shanker Dance Club. The dance group put on a selection of traditional dances from the many different ethnic groups of Nepal. A very bright and colourful performance and many of the guests also got up and danced along. Gauri Shanker Cultural Dance group is a local business incentive program which NETIF helped to establish, providing training, costumes and instruments to local youths. The Group is now their own self supporting and fully registered business.

As the sunset on this amazing and successful day, the buses headed back to Kathmandu full of satisfied hikers, all having experienced rural Nepal at its finest by discovering the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail.

Special thanks has to go to all participants, event organizers, volunteers, medical support, local communities and hoteliers who lent a hand to make the day such a great success.

Stay tuned for NETIF’s next big adventure!!

1 comment:

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