Hiking has consistently served as a means for us to forge a connection with the natural world, revitalize our spirits, and attain inner serenity. On this occasion, our expedition led us from the sacred terrain of Namobuddha to the picturesque town of Panauti in Nepal. What made this particular trek exceptionally memorable was the presence of my longtime hiking companions, Pappu and my brother, Gaurav. In October 2021, both Pappu and I ventured from Sikles to Kori, and now, after a two-year, we find ourselves reunited for this brief hike. It’s a bit of a hiking reunion, I must say. In addition to these two hikers, Aarav, Gaurav’s son, also accompanied us. At just 8 years old, this marked his impressive 10th hiking expedition.
Three of us departed from Bir Hospital Bus Park at 7:30 am and collected Pappu from Koteshwor en route to Panauti. There are no direct buses from Kathmandu to Namobuddha. The ride cost us 90 rupees per person. After arriving at Panauti Bus Park, we boarded another bus to Shankhu Khola Culvert, which also cost 50 rupees. We enjoyed local breakfast in Panauti.
“गधालाई भारी पुगेन भने हिड्न सकिदैन” (If the donkey doesn’t load heavily, it can’t bray). Even though it’s a short hike, I carry a backpack. It isn’t necessary for this trek, but I’m practicing building strength for upcoming treks. During my Gosaikunda trek, I encountered a small issue with my backpack.
We commenced our journey at the Shankhu Khola Culvert. From there, we opted for the old hiking route, a short-cut path surrounded by lush greenery, with scarcely a house in sight. Suddenly, Gaurav exclaimed, “आठाता पोल्यो, सिस्नो छ हेरेर हिड” (Watch out for the nettles)”! We captured a few photos and recorded videos. One of the most heartwarming elements of this route was the boundless enthusiasm of our youngest member, inspiring us all. After a thirty-minute walk, we encountered a road, and another 15 minutes brought us to Namobuddha.
Historical “Den” of Mother Tiger & Her Five Child
According to Buddhist tradition, over six thousand years ago, there lived a prince named Ngindui Tshenpo. This sacred site marks the spot where the prince selflessly offered his body to a starving mother tiger and her five cubs. He was reborn as Gautam Buddha in Lumbini. Later, he returned here with his disciples, Syaribu and Maao Gyalgi Buku, circumambulated the stupa thrice, and offered prayers, saying “Sangke da Fyafulsa.” This place was then known as Sangeka da Fyafulsa. Eventually, it came to be known as Namo Buddha, where all who visit may find the end of their troubles through the grace of Lord Buddha.
While exploring Namobuddha, we encountered the same story from multiple individuals and responded with an “Oh, really?”
Namobuddha, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal, is known for its historical significance. Today, visitors can explore its spiritual and cultural richness. We spent an hour inside Namobuddha and indulged in delicious red kiwis, priced at 200 rupees per kg.
During our exploration of Namobuddha, we took photographs with the monks. They conversed in Tamang and Tibetan languages. My friend Pappu chatted with them in Tibetan, a language he had learned two decades ago. Whenever I visit places like this and interact with monks, it reminds me of the books “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and “Think Like a Monk.”
In “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” lawyer Julian Mantle sells all his luxurious belongings, including his red Ferrari, embarking on a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation.
“Think Like a Monk” is a guide to living a better life using the wisdom and practices of monks, helping you find peace, purpose, and happiness in daily life. These two books hold a place on my bookshelf.
Back to Panauti
We continued hiking for an additional hour along the same route before taking a Tuk Tuk ride to Panauti. I recommend this approach as it allows for more time to explore the village of Panauti and engage in conversations with the locals.
Panauti, a picturesque town in Nepal, has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It was originally established as a trading center and a significant stop on the trade route between Tibet and Kathmandu Valley. It boasts well-preserved architecture, ancient temples, and a serene river. Visitors can explore its rich culture, bustling markets, and traditional Newari heritage.
We explored this historic town for over two hours, making stops at the Indresara Mahadev Temple, the museum, Durbar Square, the Brahmayani Temple, the Panauti River, the ancient streets and alleyways, local markets, and finally, had lunch at the newly opened local restaurant, “Paaha Chen.”
We enjoyed a Newari khaja set, sapu mhicha, khaago, curd, bara, yomari, thow, and aaila (local whiskey). In comparison to local Newari cuisine in Lalitpur, Kathmandu, and Kirtipur, this one surpassed our expectations. However, the local drinks didn’t meet our expectations. We’ll return next time. Goodbye!
Exploring Namobuddha and Panauti allows travelers to experience both spiritual serenity and historical richness. Namobuddha offers a tranquil retreat into Buddhist spirituality amidst natural beauty, while Panauti beckons with its cultural heritage and architectural splendors, creating a well-rounded journey through Nepal’s diverse landscapes and traditions.
Travel experiences based on October 2023 Namobuddha to Panauti Hiking