The one-day hiking trail to Pilot Baba is a quick dive into nature to the top of the hill in the countryside.
Six kilometers south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square lies a famous Ashram is known as Pilot Baba. Apart from the historical, cultural, and traditional aspects of the city, the trail to Pilot Baba serves as a totally another feature of Bhaktapur. It is a quick dive into nature to the top of the hill in the countryside.
Pilot Baba is the name of an Indian spiritual guru who was previously known as Wing Commander Kapil Singh. Kapil Singh was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. During the 1962 war, fighter Kapil was in action at the NEFA border when his plane lost control and contact with the base, and he did not know where to land. The authorities had lost all hopes of connection with the commander and had given up. Right then, according to Pilot Baba, his spiritual guru – Hari Baba, appeared in the cockpit and guided him to land the aircraft safely. The incident became the turning point of his life, and after ten years, at the age of 33, he retired from the Air Force to pursue a spiritual life. After seeing all the effects of the war and human conflicts, he decided to choose this path in search of true peace. He has set up ashrams in many places in India as well as in other countries like Japan and Nepal.
The start point is a 10-minute walk from the Suryabinayak bus stop on the Bhaktapur road. The hiking trail is not so difficult, and one can easily reach the destination in about approximately 2 hours of hike. The path is to the top of the hill is accompanied by a spectacular view of nature. It is filled with babbling brooks, trees like bushes like needle-wood, rhododendron, sal covering the surrounding. Most of the landscape is covered with dense woods, and one can have the view of terrace farming beautiful lined. One can feel the cool breeze passing through the face, filling the way with freshness and giving a special kind of contentment to the soul. Amid the forest, one can also have a view of the local village people collecting fodder and grazing their goats in the jungle.
The path connects to a road, which after walking for a few kilometers, one can see the Pilot Baba temple – the destination of the hike. After about an hour hike, the entrance of the Ashram is reached. After a 5 minutes' walk from the Pilot Baba Ashram's entrance, there is the Suryabinayak temple. There will be local vendors waiting for the hikers with snacks and locally grown cucumbers, radishes, etc. A small entrance fee has to be made that is used for the maintenance of the temple. Entering the temple leads to an open stone-paved yard with a Shikhara style temple of Lord Shiva, known as Somnath Temple. Inside, there is a big meditation hall. The backyard of the Ashram is open to everyone, and one can have some rest there. The peaceful place gives a feeling of calmness, and the hike feels worthwhile on reaching the Ashram. The hilltop serves a spectacular view of the three cities – Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur.
On the way back, one can make their way through the Ghyampe Danda, taking a right after the gate. The route is surrounded by houses and is a pleasant scenery.