Manjushree Trail: An Account Of Struggle
Before I begin, I want to let you know that the success of Manjushree Trail has everything to do with our lovely contributors, sponsors and my hiking buddy, Sujan Shrestha. The circuit trail was a dream since 2017 and it would have stayed the same if it were not for them.
Day 1: Hattiban Resort — Deurali Bhanjyang
Our Day 1 started with a lot of enthusiasm until we had to hike up to Hattiban Resort. Our bags were heavy, 25 kilos. Couple of steps and we would sweat and run out of breath.
The trail is very well marked. It is a ridge trail all the way to Bhasmasur dada. There are a lot of steps to be climbed and a heavy bag only slows you. The trail then slopes down until Deurali Bhanjyang and this will be your stop for Day 1. Before reaching the Bhanjyang, the only place you can find water is in Jeevan Hotel which comes after Bhasmasur Dada. We ran out of water at Champadevi but fortunately, we met hikers who spared us some water.
After reaching Deurali, we concluded to stay in a hotel because we were so tired. We had underestimated the trail. An open ground in front of the hotel suitable for camping but the wind was very strong and cold at night but the view of Kalanki road is just mind blowing.
Day 2: Deurali — Kalanki
Actually, we were supposed to reach Bhimdhunga but we took a wrong turn and reached Naubise. There is a trail going down from Deurali to Gurjudhara which I would recommend instead of hiking to Chandragiri because a new road is getting constructed so the trial is plain boring.
If you are going to follow the same route as us then there is a hiking trail behind the toilet at Cable Car station going to Chitlang Bhanjyang. You will find three more roads at Chitlang Bhanjyang, the right one will go to Thankot, the left one will go to Dhading and the other will take you to Toplang. The trail is very quiet. You will appreciate it.
We started to get frustrated as we were diverging away from our destination. We reached our boiling point when we had to spend 3 hours walking down from a hill to Naubise. We took a bus back to Nagdhunga hoping to find a hotel but there wasnt any. Then we walked up to Thankot and no hotel there too. So we took a bus up to Kalanki and stayed in the hotel.
Morale was very down. We were a day late. We walked 12 hrs and so tired. Our shoulder started to swell from carrying those heavy ass bags. Good to see my friend not giving up.
Day 3: Kalanki — Ain Dada
We expected the hike for this day to be short but boy we were wrong again. We walked up to Naikap and took a bus below Dahachowk hill. Why? Because it is just plain heavy settlement all the way. Too much deforestation on the Dahachowk hill trail, hated it.
The road at Bhimdhunga is very dusty, felt like walking in a dessert. Walking up to Ain Dada was a challenge with a heavy bag. Friend left his swiss knife so he went down the hill to get it.
We were denied access by the guards to enter the National Park so we setup camp near the school. Friend walked down again to get us some nice Daal bhaat.
Day 4: Ain Dada — Tarkeshowr
Another day of walking for hours and hours. Went to ask the guard for permission to enter the park but was denied again. We started moving from the border. It was amazing. We found a waterfall on the trail and there is also another huge waterfall up the trail. Kafal trees on the trail.
Reached Tinpiple and it was not what we had expected it. Not a suitable place to camp, so we pushed forward and forward until we reached Tarkeshwor. I could feel the skin on my feet tear with every step I took. It was freaking awful. My friend kept encouraging me to walk.
Awful and rude homestay but screw it we were tired. Our shoulder turned black and blue because of the heavy bag.
Day 5: Tarkeshowr — Suryachaur
I developed blisters on my feet. Changed my shoes to Goldstar and it felt so comfy. Our first encounter with a sadhu after hiking in the woods for so long was very spiritual. He invited us for a tea and we left him some muesli .
Walked only 5 hrs and camped at Surya chour. Setup camp and started collecting fire woods. Heavy wind at 9 and we started digging water line around our tent. So tired that we both felt asleep through the storm.
Day 6: Surya Chour — Bagdwaar
This was one of the most scariest trail. A very thick jungle and full of wild life. We knew that we would be going through one of the most dense part in the whole Manjushree Trail, so we started hiking as early as 7. The weather from morning was weird. Strong winds and dark clouds over west. The starting point of the trail looked so dark and ominous that we pushed to Shivapuri Village Resort instead and waited for the rain and dark clouds to pass.
At 10, we drew our knife, played music in full volume and started walking in the trail. The trail is seldom traveled and nearly abandoned. Hard to trace the trail. Trail filled with dead leaves and rotting woods. Follow the ribbons but the at some point there will be no ribbons so you better have an online map with you.
Witnessed so many barking deers, pheasants, flying squirrel and monkeys. The scariest trail, I have ever hiked. It snowed a little at Shivapuri Peak. Met a group of hikers who shared their food with us. Ate dinner at Todke Baba’s Ashram. So cold.
Day 7:Bagdwaar — Jhule
Very well marked trail.While my friend was taking shit behind the bushes I realized that for the last 6 days we had been mostly shitting in the wild.
This was an amazing day. We met our hiking family, hike4lyf, on the trail to Chisapani, then another group of cycle toli on the way to Dhaap.
Surprisingly, we also met 2 campers who were camping at Jhule. We campped together.
Day 8:Jhule — Dhulikhel
Something felt weird from the time I woke up. I started missing my parents and my home. I was getting home sick. Told my friend about it and said he was feeling it too.
A very boring trail. Too much settlements and not much trees. Walked slow and steady up to Dhulikhel and stayed at my friend’s relative.
Day 9: Dulikhel — Balthali
A new friend joined us in our hike up to Namo Buddha. She was pleasant to have. Not going to write much because it is a very popular trail.
At 4, we wanted to stay in monastery of Namobuddha but man it was out of our budget. We pushed to Balthali and found a place to stay at 7. Was so tired.
Day 10: Balthali — Gurdhum
We walked along the canal and up to the dam. From there we kept taking the villagers trail up to Kushadevi where we hiked up to Nagi Dada. At Nagi Dada, it started raining so we took cover in a hut where the family invited us for Masu Chuira. We departed by leaving them some muesli.
We called it a day when we reached Gurdhum dada and stayed in a homestay because we could not find a suitable camping spot. It is cold up there and the wind is strong too.
Day 11: Gurdhum — Godavari
The trail before dropping to a thick forest is a ridge trail. To reach Pulchowki, you will have to go through a section of dense jungle. Monkeys on the trail. Staying alert for leopards.
We got invited by Major Umesh Adhikari for lunch in the barrack then got a lift up to Godavari. It started raining so we planned to continue the hike tomorrow.
Hotel was very expensive but it was the cheapest there.
Day 12: Godavari — Hattiban Resort
It rained most of the time yesterday and I was pretty sure that there would be leeches on the trail. We started walking from our hotel up above the marble factory where a narrow trail diverged from the pitched road into the deep woods. Again, we drew our swiss knifes and started playing music in full volume.
A few minutes into the trail, I noticed a Tiger leech on my shoe about to suck some blood off my foot. The trail was intense. It was the second most dense wood we hike in the whole trail.
The jungle trail is somewhat easier to navigate but I am not sure if it would be the same during rainy season because the vegetation would cover up the whole trail. After Manakamana maii lele temple, it is just walking on the road till Tika Bhairab and from then on, take villagers trail to Dukuchap hill.
We did not planned to reach the resort in the same day but it turns out, Pharping was not very far from Dukuchap so we kept pushing.
After we reached the resort, we setup camp, started a fire and roast some chicken. A security guard from the resort joined us and helped us start the fire.
13 days of hiking the whole KTM Valley was detoxing. We ate with sadhus and armies, hitched a ride, camped in the woods, met a lot of nice people. I loved every fucking second of this trip.