Just a few hours from Kathmandu and untouched by its clamour, this quiet village nestled among hills provides visitors the best chance to soak themselves in nature and a quaint lifestyle
There’s something great about road trips; whether they are long or just for a few hours and even though the road might be a bit bumpy it nonetheless leaves you with a lot of good and sometimes unforgettable memories. As you go higher toward the hills beyond Chandragiri you will leave behind the constant buzz of the city and the high buildings that once were too high to look up to now look like painted cardboard boxes left behind in a child’s playroom.
Seldom will you pass by smiling women with wicker baskets in their backs and children who will giggle at you while hastily chasing your track. Suddenly the air might get lighter, newer and less tired, you might want to look up at the sky and see all the figures on the clouds passing by. That’s the thing about long rides they make your senses wonder like a toddler at all the great things that stumble across your path.
But nothing beats the sheer happiness of reaching your proposed destination; ask any hiker or a travel junkie. In this case, Chitlang was a tiny village that lay between so many hills and when you see it from the last one it is a sight to behold. The tiny one and two-storey brown houses cascade down in each step of the hills, otherwise surrounded by lush greenery wherein goats leisurely graze in silence.
The place is not devoid of visitors who seek a getaway from the city. If you need help with directions locals will happily point towards the direction you are seeking. But considering its small size, Chitlang has a lot to offer to a traveller who finds beauty even in the simplest things. Perhaps you will find joy in these acts of exploration:
1. Explore the neighbourhood
The charm of Chitlang lies in its hushed neighbourhood, home to different castes of people you will experience numerous cultures and lifestyles as you step into yet another part of the village. Some part of the village will greet you with old brick structured houses with dried chillies and maize hanging in the window sill; as if taken straight out of a Newar settlement in Kathmandu, while others are coated with brown organic paint. Either way, you will have much to explore in this quaint village; from hidden waterfalls, to abandoned old houses you will not be bored by its surprises.
2. Get close with nature
One of the first sights that will repeatedly follow your vision in Chitlang is hills, teeming with greens. Unless you are living under a rock; this famous landmark of the place- intriguing Pear farms is a common sight in social media.
But it is without a doubt that here you will enjoy peaceful walks at the break of the dawn, as the light of the light slowly chases away the darkness and makes the surrounding hills breathtakingly green. If this isn’t enough you might want to venture into the nearby forest, which is home to a wide species of birds. Bird watching is definitely one of the activity not to miss while in Chitlang.
3. Discover unknown temples and monuments
Although an unknown fact, Chitlang has a lot of unknown historical significance. Ancient inscriptions found here date back to the Lichchavi period. In fact, Chitlang falls upon the oldest road connection to Kathmandu, and the first car in Nepal is believed to have been carried through this very village. The Ashoka Chaita a few minutes’ walk from the main road was built by Emperor Ashoka when he came to Nepal during the Kirant period. And the Satdhara still retains its charm between the forest that resounds with celebrations on various festivals.
4. Take a tour of the organic farm
It would be an understatement to say that Chitlang is green because every individual in this quiet village seems to live by this motto and their lives is continually surrounded by this very idea. Almost every family there practice either one or the other type of farming. It is a lovely sight to witness pears growing heavily on their trees, chillies glistening red in the daytime sun and so many tiny goats grazing in the green pastures. Yet one particular farm is the first goat cheese factory of Nepal that is open to visitors for tours and information. Mr Ashok Kumar Thakuri the initiator of the cheese farm recounts his experience of learning this art in France almost 20 years ago where he neither knew the language nor the people.
But he says arduously that cheese making is a delicate process and making one to perfection takes almost three months. He now caters to the finest hotels in Kathmandu.
5. Hike to nearby places
The real beauty of Chitlang though isn’t limited to its boundaries but the path it leads to other wonderful places. An hour hike will take you to this marvellous green country taken as if straight out of the green pastures of Switzerland.
This is the goat farm of Chitlang and you might have seen this lone tree in the background of that travel junkie friend. The spot makes for a perfect resting and posing spot. And another half an hour walk will take you to Khulekhani, one of the largest dam of Nepal which is almost seven kilometres long. An hour boat ride can definitely add to your experience and give you a chance to explore its unusual tiny green islands.
Shuvekshya Limbu is Content Writer at Nepal Traveller.