For years, I’ve explored the trails around Kathmandu Valley, especially the Chisapani route via Sundarijal. Witnessing both sunset and sunrise during overnight stays, the dense forests with their refreshing scent and vibrant green hues have been a constant. Despite the unchanged landscapes post-2015 earthquake, revisiting the same place brings a sense of peace, providing an escape from the busy life’s hustle and bustle.
In March 2014, accompanied by childhood friend Narendra Rai, Sunil Ghimire, and Subindra Shrestha, I embarked on a hike from Sundarijal Bus Park to Chisapani. We enjoyed a local breakfast at nearby restaurants and encountered a massive rusty water pipe along the way. The ascent to Chisapani included passing houses with small gardens. After acquiring entry tickets and undergoing checks, we marveled at Lord Shiva and waterfalls, explored Sundarimai Temple, took a refreshing bath in the river, and continued our hike towards Mulkharka via reservoirs.
The uphill hike from Sundarijal Bus Park to Mulkharka takes around 1.5 hours. Mulkharka, nestled in Shivapuri National Park, is a small village inhabited by the Tamang and Gurung community. It serves as a gateway to various hiking trails, including Budhanilkantha, Dhap Dam, Tarevir, Nagarkot, and Chisapani.
Rain Rain Go Away
After crossing Mulkharka, an unexpected heavy rain started, catching us unprepared without raincoats or umbrellas. Seeking refuge in a local restaurant, we decided to have lunch. Realizing we could purchase local raincoats, a small boy volunteered to fetch them for us. The raincoats, made of plastic, cost 80 rupees each, and we paid a total of 980 rupees, covering both raincoats and the boy’s fee.
With a long stretch ahead, we forged on uphill, encountering stairs and a challenging, slanted trail strewn with broken rocks. Each step demanded careful attention to prevent falls or twisted ankles. Suddenly, I stumbled, blood staining my mouth and legs. The relentless rain offered no respite, no steps or shelters for refuge. It was just us, the mud, and the rain, facing many hours before reaching Chisapani.
Despite the setbacks, our focus remained on reaching the teahouse, changing into dry clothes, and enjoying a warm meal by the fire. The rain persisted as we arrived in Chisapani, with few people around and darkness enveloping the place. After freshening up, we had dinner and called it a night, reflecting on the unexpected twists of our adventurous hike.
Waiting for the sunrise since 4 am after yesterday’s rain, the world is quiet. As dawn comes, the sky changes colors. The calm morning, without rain, makes me feel peaceful and excited, connecting me to nature and the promise of a new day. It brings to mind the Eagles’ song “Tequila Sunrise,” matching the colors and mood of this beautiful sunrise.
You Gave me a Mountain
Despite the rain ruining our hike yesterday, today brought a stunning transformation. The washed landscapes shimmered with life, clouds cleared, and breathtaking views of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, and Gaurishankar Himal greeted us with a smile. All the challenges from yesterday were forgotten in the beauty of the moment.
Post-breakfast, we said goodbye to Chisapani and headed to Nagarkot, showcasing our entrance ticket at the checkpoint. Mountains adorned the landscape as we traversed through Jhule and Chauki Banjyang, ultimately choosing to conclude our journey at Jaharsinghpauwa. The 7-hour trek, filled with ups and downs, led us to our destination.
Chisapani with Family
In April 2014, one month after my previous hike, I led a group consisting of my wife, 6-year-old daughter, and friends Subin Kushle, Biswas Shrestha with his wife and 3-year-old son. Doubts lingered about whether my 6-year-old daughter would enjoy the hike, but we successfully completed it together. Over those two days, she walked with us for nearly 15 hours.
As Nepali New Year (Baishakh 1) approached, Chisapani village was bustling, creating difficulties in finding hotel accommodations. Luckily, we secured a room and settled in. However, unlike my experience a month earlier, we couldn’t enjoy the sunset, sunrise, and the scenic mountains. The mountains were veiled in clouds, and the sun seemed to elude us.
March 2014: An Exceptional View
Despite visiting this place numerous times with various friends before and after March 2014, it was only during that specific month that I had the opportunity to witness truly mesmerizing views.