There is a great joy in walking and slowly watching the world unfold around us in bits and pieces until it finally creates a beautiful picture and an invigorating experience.
City life can be tiring; days can pass without anything to separate one from the other. The restlessness of the day, the impatience in the traffic jam and the incessant noise can be as burdensome as carrying a load in our backs that does not seem to recede. It is during these moments we seek an escape. It may be in the form of walking to the top of a hill, of sitting in a roadside hut and enjoying a steaming cup of tea or it may as simple joy as watching a baby goat strut along its mother.
Photo Credit: Aakrish Lama
There is a great joy in walking and slowly watching the world unfold around us in bits and pieces until it finally creates a beautiful picture and an invigorating experience. For some people, it is a joyful escape from the monotone routine that so often plagues our life, from the dusty acrid air reeking of freight cars and rusted steam engines, the shrieking honks of vehicles and sometimes just the meaninglessness of life. But in the midst of nature, in the winding paths that seem to twist like grape vines, in the gay singing of birds somewhere far away, under the cool breeze of forests that wisps past us, things suddenly become clear. The thoughts that muddled our minds below in the city suddenly become clear as the light of dawn.
Photo Credit: Mahesh Mahat
While some people not only for the refreshing experience, choose to separate their day for the physical benefit that hiking provides. Walking is always a good exercise to stretch the taciturn muscles that lie dormant throughout the week. Research suggests that hiking for one hour burns up to 370 calories and reduces risks of heart diseases. Secondly, if hiking is done with close friends and acquaintances, the experience can be a pleasing one.
Photo Credit: Aakrish Lama (Left), Mahesh Mahat (Right)
While asking some travel passionate people why they separate their time for hiking and their favorite places to do so I came across many interesting answers. Here are just a few:
'Hiking is an easy weekend micro adventure to escape the drudgery of busy life. Walking over the hills with friends is always fun. Also, when we go for hiking, the health benefits come attached. The continuous walk makes our muscles and bones stronger and flexible. The uphill climb gives you a lot of sweat, meaning it burns a lot of calories. Similarly, hiking is good for brain and heart too. Top of all, hiking is being in nature. And, nature is always relaxing, refreshing and peaceful’.
‘Hiking is all about being close to nature and its beauty. A place called Bishakot in Mangalsen, Achham with its magnificent panorama of mountains blew my mind. It's immense sidewalks and waterfalls refreshed my mind and reduced fatigue leaving behind energy in its wake. Also, hiking is such a great tool for research, to find out more about a new place and a great way to enjoy a pleasant time with family and friends. In my opinion, hiking is such a great activity because it refreshes the mind, body and soul and makes you value the beauty of nature’.
‘Every teen loves to go and party on weekends, but my idea of club and enjoyment has always been being amidst nature. Although it involves a lot of physical exertion making me tired nothing beats happiness when you reach the destination and watch the view from the top. There is peculiar serenity in nature that isn’t there in the clamorous city, often giving a perfect opportunity to have clear thoughts. It is here I like to reevaluate my life; from my relationships to career in an unforeseen clarity’.
‘I am in love with nature and hiking provides that chance to be amidst it in such closeness. When I am hiking I become myself, away from all the stress I face in my life and when I return I am filled with energy and positive vibes. Having travelled to so many destinations, my favorite is a place called Chilaune which is 2 hours away from Sundarijal. When you reach that place, a natural stream awaits you to relieve you from your fatigue. Although it is a bit risky to hike alone there, it is definitely worth it among friends.’
If you are indeed interested to go out there and do a bit of exploring here are some of the best hiking spots around Kathmandu to start you with:
Situated just on the outskirt of Kathmandu, this teeming forest with visible trails is perfect for that Saturday hike to detox and be among nature. One can either take a short hike (2-3 hours) through the Bagh Dwar filled with tiny waterfalls on the way or opt for the long hike up to Nagi Gompa, a Buddhist monastery with a stunning view of the city below. Either way you will receive a handful of the best view of nature be it bird watching or the magnificent snow capped Himalayas.
2. Godawari to Pulchowki
There are some hikes that are best done with friends, this is one of them. Taking up to 4-5 hours the hike will start from the Botanical Garden and will reward you with a pleasing weather, cool but not cold devoid of the dusty humidity of the city at the top. Pulchowki is the highest hill situated in the South of the Kathmandu valley, giving you more reasons to observe the thick tropical forests and the eastern range of Annapurna to Gaurishankar on clear days.
3. Kathmandu to Chispani
One of the shortest treks to the north of Kathmandu, the hike will nonetheless reward you with the most stunning beauties of nature, of the magnificent Ganesh Himal, meandering rivers and beautiful Nepali villages that will smile as you pass by, to name just a few. Depending upon one’s capacity the hike can be extended to greater distances like Nagarkot and Changunarayan.
4. Hattiban (Pharping) to Matatirtha
For the adventure savvy person, this hike is enough to challenge as it can take up to 8 hours via Purundi. Although it can be tiring you’ll be surrounded by the sights of religious temples like Darshinkali where thousands of devotees flock every year. Another pilgrimage you’ll come across is Chapadedevi hill having a Buddha stupa and a Hindu shrine on the top.
Shuvekshya Limbu is a Content writer at Nepal Traveller.