From the bustling start in Kathmandu to the tranquil grandeur of Gosaikunda's sacred waters, this trek encapsulated the essence of an unforgettable adventure
The adventure commenced in the heart of May, as we embarked on a bus journey from Machhapokhari, Kathmandu, to Dhunche at the crack of dawn. With buses departing hourly, we settled in for a seven-hour ride that traversed the rugged undulations of the terrain, ultimately bringing us to Dhunche, the administrative center of Rasuwa district. A quick break in Dhunche provided us with the chance to sip on tea, nibble on cookies, and freshen up before setting off on our hike around three thirty in the afternoon. The initial leg of the trail led us through quaint village houses, meandering toward the river through the surrounding jungle, an idyllic thirty-minute introduction before our first ascent.
Three hours of upward trekking ushered us to Deurali, perched at an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level, where a welcoming hotel awaited weary travellers. While many opt to rest at Deurali overnight—a prudent choice—we pressed on, continuing our ascent for another hour and a-half until we reached Dhimsa. My trusty torch came in handy as the daylight faded earlier than expected on that summer evening. The early start, combined with the arduous bus journey and steep climb, had taken its toll. It was time to call it a day at one of Dhimsa's two hotels, where a hearty meal of fresh local vegetables and a relatively comfortable bed could be had for NRs. 600 per person.
Our second day commenced at 4:00 a.m., a time when the morning air was crisp and invigorating. By the time the sun's initial rays kissed Chandanbari (known locally as Singompa), we were already savoring Himalayan tea at a roadside eatery. Singompa, an enchanting stop along the way, offered a fleeting glimpse into Himalayan life. With a handful of hotels, eateries, and a surprisingly adept coffee spot, Singompa left nothing to be desired. Notably, its highlight was the yak-cheese factory, where the genial proprietor enthusiastically showcased his wares and explained the cheese-making process. Investing in some of this cheese proved to be a wise move, as it furnished the energy needed for our journey. Our hour-long pause at Chandanbari served to rejuvenate our spirits as we continued our ascent.
A few minutes' stroll rewarded us with the first tantalizing glimpse of Mount Langtang, resplendent in the morning sunlight. A couple more hours of trekking brought us to Cholangpaty (elevated at 3,500 meters), roughly midway along the trail. Two hotels stood facing each other on either side of the path, and it was sage advice to indulge in a hearty breakfast and a well-deserved break here. Gazing at the glistening mountains worked wonders for dispelling our fatigue. Pressing on from Cholangpaty, the path grew steeper. The chilly climate dictated the scarcity of trees, exposing us to the sun's direct gaze and the caress of the cool breeze—a reminder for trekkers to wield sunscreen and moisturizers. Hydration was paramount, a fact that we duly honored by consuming copious amounts of water.
A two-hour ascent from Cholangpaty brought us to Lauribina (3,900 meters, also known as Lauribinayak). Lauri, meaning "stick," and bina, meaning "without," signify the endeavor of devout pilgrims to ascend this steep hill unaided by a stick. We, too, undertook this challenge, though not without its difficulties. This was followed by what was undoubtedly the most demanding stretch of our entire journey: an hour's climb to a modest Buddha Stupa at 4,200 meters, shrouded in mist and fog. Beyond this point, the trail eased somewhat. Yet caution was imperative on the narrow pathway, flanked by a precipitous drop to the right. Occasionally, we had to step aside to accommodate the passage of horses laden with supplies for both locals and fellow trekkers. A half-hour of navigating this trail, with Bhairavkunda and Nagkunda gracing our right-hand vista, led us to our ultimate destination, Gosaikunda.
Gosaikunda (elevated at 4,380 meters) stands as one of Nepal's most sacred lakes, steeped in Hindu mythology. Here, Lord Shiva is said to have found respite, releasing the poisons from his being into the waters. Additionally, the lake marks the birthplace of the renowned Trisuli River. Time seemed to suspend as we perched beside the lake, captivated by its serene allure.
Most sojourners opt to lodge lakeside overnight, setting out on the return journey the following morning. This strategy proved prudent, affording us a leisurely span to relish local fare and music. The lakeside lodgings, warmed by indigenous firewood, exuded a welcoming ambience. The return path proved relatively straightforward, and a night's halt at either Dhimsa or Deurali comfortably deposited us in Dhunche, primed for the morning bus ride back to Kathmandu. However, the descent, though ostensibly less strenuous, demanded careful footing, especially after dedicating nearly two full days to uphill exertion. Caution was paramount.
Our journey from Dhunche to Gosaikunda spanned a realm of emotions, landscapes, and challenges. The saga unfolded against the backdrop of Nepal's breathtaking panoramas, punctuated by moments of fortitude and tranquility. From the bustling start in Kathmandu to the tranquil grandeur of Gosaikunda's sacred waters, this trek encapsulated the essence of an unforgettable adventure.