The Himalayas of the Hills — Kalinchowk

Kalinchowk. Since, we had planned it was going to be it. It was a bucket list kind of thing. I had been hearing about the place every time we talked about travelling. It was a bit unbelievable that being so near to us, we had never been able to visit the place.

Now let us quit the blabbering and go to the main theme here.

Few of my colleagues had been planning to go to a nice place during the New Years and with some discussions, we finalized on Kalinchowk.

The day was here. We had planned to meet up at Koteshwor, Kathmandu and decided to grab a vehicle and get to the way. After meeting the team of other 4, we five were ready to start the trip.

Day 01 : We arrived at Koteshwor Chowk at 6 in the morning. It was dark. We had some tea there. We had missed a bus which left at 5, so we had to wait a whole hour for the next one. We waited and got on the next bus which was going to Jiri via Charikot which was where we would get off and start our trek.

We had been talking about our little adventure on the bus and since, no one on our group had been there before we were trying to get much information that we could. And as said

Advice is free, so you always get a shitload of it.

People around our seats were not believing that we had decided to walk from Charikot to Kalinchowk and suggested that we take a vehicle from Charikot and ride up to the Kuri Bazaar and then walk from there. But, as we were over-energized bunch of five guys , we focused on hiking.

The roads were under construction after Khadi Chaur. It was not a good view to see the devastating condition of the people who were still living under the harsh conditions post-earthquake. Besides that, and the over-whelming welcome by the dusty roads and construction projects around every corner starting Dolakha, it was a nice ride. We got off at Makaibaari (cornfield), though I saw some small paper industries on the way. There we had some tea and eggs & chowchow on the hotel beside the Highway and left for Kuri Bazaar around 12PM.

We were walking around the dusty roads and getting sweaty already after just walking for half an hour. There we tagged along with a old man and a child and who were going to Deurali and decided to follow them incase we missed the road. I had listened my friends talking that People were lost and lost their life some years before on the way to Kalinchowk. I later realised, we were not even close but why take a chance? We rested more than they did and gradually were at Deurali around 2:30 in the afternoon. We had some spicy Thukpa and the local Tongba. The hotel owner was a military man in the past and gave us some advice before leaving, which was walk better.

Then, it was the jungle way from there. We took shortcuts and made our way through trails. It was beautiful as higher we got. We were keeping up with the sunset since we were climbing continuously. At some point called , we stopped and viewed the magnificent hills and finally said the sun goodbye for the day.

It was getting darker. We had been calling a Kalinchowk Guest House for a room for five people and the guy was calling us for the food order. We said we would be there in an hour or two and ordered the food. After a walk, we got to a place called Gairi. It was getting dark and there was a hotel. We had some tea and some biscuits. We were getting hungry then. Just as we were enjoying our tea, a tripper( truck used for constructions works) arrived from top. The driver hurriedly came up to us and said it was snowing in Kalinchowk. We had been expecting a bit of rain because of the weather forecasting but after listening to the driver we became even more excited. Talking with a old man who was around his sixties and was a bit drunk, we finished our tea and left for Kuri.

It was around 6 PM and still 5 km to walk. We did take the main road since we did not wanted to get lost in the jungle and it was much darker. The vehicles were getting denser as the night started to fall. There were some guys on the road whose bikes did not perform well because of the dust and steep uphill. We asked for lift as it had been dark and we were kind of thinking that the rooms might get packed even thought we had called and booked. It was getting darker, colder and tiring, as we had been walking for 7 hours. Well, we started seeing some lights some time after. But, as we walked even more the lights were not coming nearer. The bikes passed, bus passed, jeeps passed but our destination was still some way ahead. We walked on the dusty road for around 1:30 hours and then reached to a buspark. There were around half a dozen buses on the place. Few jeeps and few bikes too.

We were two people to get there at this time. 3 of our friends were 10–20 minutes behind us. We thought to ask for lift on one of the jeeps which was going to Kuri but the driver said the road was slippery and we would be better to walk it. We did not argue. We had already walked a lot and few minutes of ride was not going to make much of a difference then. Now we had to climb downhill. As soon as the first turning, we were astonished by the view. We had checked the weather, listened to the driver of the truck about the snowfall but actually seeing with our own eyes was way above some mere words. We walked for a minute or two between the snow as the road or even the trails on the road was the only thing not covered in snow.

We had to walk carefully since we were going downhill and it was slippery as hell. Just then, the previous jeep came beside us and signed us to get in the vehicle. We got on and the vehicle started as usual. After some time we realised that it was much difficult for the driver to watch the road because of the fog and vapour on the windshield of the vehicle. We guys started to look at each other thinking if we had made the right choice by getting on the jeep after all. He( the driver) was looking at the road via his side window and of course was very cautious given that the road was as slippery as it could have been. Within a couple of minutes of ride, we reached Kuri.

It was marvelous what we saw there. Though dark, but but whats left of it was no less than a wonder to witness. We then started searching for the hotel we had booked earlier. We called but the signal was not so good. Then, we started asking the locals for the Kalinchowk Guest House. After some time the phone was picked up and then only we did realise that we had called the Kalinchowk guest house which was located in Charikot, the headquarters of Dolakha. We felt confused and then asked a nearby hotel for a room. Fortunately, a group which had booked a large room was willing to share a room. They had booked a six bed room but some of their friends would not be there that night. Out of options we had to agree and decided to get the room. We got only two beds for five person. It was going to be cozy as hell.

Then we got comfortable and waited for our other 3 friends to show up. We ordered food for us and stayed in the dining room for the drinks and food. After a while, our friends arrived. We told them about the hotel room confusion and about the booking. Considering the place and reservations everyone was “okay” with it. We were tired mostly and got ourselves some Tongba ( a local alcoholic drink made by drinking water mixed with barley through a straw). It was good. As the place was cozy and full of guests who were waiting for their food to be served, we went to another bar kind of room in another cottage. It was great there. A big bonfire was keeping the people there warm. Luckily, another group had a guitar with them. A guy there was singing and we were kind of singing with him. We talked about ourselves. It was a great experience. Sharing drinks, experiences and being there in a magical time was something to be cherished and we did. After a dozen songs and two empty bottles, we were called for the dinner. We were tired and just got under the blankets as soon as we finished the food.

It was an uncomfortable sleep. But somehow we got some sleep and were ready to welcome the new day. We got up around 4 AM. Everybody was up early so that we could witness the sunrise so had to get up. We then got washed up only to find the ice on the bucket. We broke the top layer of ice and got some water. Then we had some warm water to drink and filled our one bottle and started climbing again. It was dark out there. We used a small torch on the way and later on, it was not required. When we arrived at Kuri, it was dark already so I could not see the things around. Only the morning after, I realized it was quite big than I expected.

We had about one hour of climb. It was cold out there and with all the snow and hundreds of people it was more difficult to walk out there. People were walking, sitting on the benches kept there, taking pictures, selfies and some breathing like Asthma patients (I hope they were not). It was incredibly long line of people climbing together to see that morning sunrise. I was quite in the middle of my group. Two of my friends were ahead and two were behind. I was huffing and puffing and wet with my own sweat, coming from my forehead. The higher we were, the slippery the trails were. Any how, I reached to the top of the hill and was a few seconds late to witness the entire sunrise. It was still amazing though. One of my friends captured the entire sunrise.

Here’s the link just in case :

After the sunrise, we clicked some pictures and stayed there for some time more. My feet were still cold due to the snow lying all around and I kept roaming there just to make them warmer. There was a nice fire burning just inside a hut but it was a difficult task to get a seat there. So, we decided to roam around a bit and return to Kuri. I was watching a man performing pooja, and just then I lost track of my friends. I went to the another hill we talked about but they had not been there. It was so difficult to walk there because there were no road trails. We had to walk on the snow, and since my shoes sole were not so grippy, I was sliding and falling now and then. Then I got hold of a big stick and it somehow made me balance myself.

So, Grab a stick, during trekking; it makes it much easier to walk on the slippery or sometimes even on rough surfaces.

Climbing downhill was difficult compared to climbing uphill because of the snow and slippery trails. Because of the sun, the snow was beginning to melt making the road muddier, hence slippery.

We arrived at Kuri after an hour. We waited beside the same bonfire we were the previous night. Co-incidentally, those guys from the last night were there drinking tea and singing. In fact, we joined them again even though feeling kind of hungry. The food was served. The service was a bit lousy mostly because of few employees and a shitload of guests. We had to wait a few minutes for every item to be brought from the kitchen. All in all, we were hungry and we ate it.

Even the view of snow melting from the roofs of the houses was mesmerizing. The droplets were cold and still could not feel our hands though. We checked out from the hotel. We were done with the hiking for then, so we searched for a bus or a jeep. Just then we found a bolero which was used for goods transport so, there was no back-seats or even cover. We held on to the rods and stayed as stiff as we could just not to get our heads bumped into the steels. Our little adventure did not go as planned. It was nearly a half an hour ride from Kuri to Charikot but it felt like a lot. We were covered nearly in half a kg of dust for each one of us. We looked like the trees on the side of a dusty roads and until our walk to the hotel in Charikot.

And just like this, our little trip was over but was staying in our memories forever.

But still.