“… See and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.”
“But soon as the leech season is over, we will conquer the heights of Champa Devi for sure!”…….......... For almost three months now, this sentence had been reverberating in my mind and finally the day arrived, 12 December 2010, when for the second time we would try to conquer the Champa Devi hill. (And this time there will not be any excuses. It was now or never.)
With loads of zeal and excitement, all the Deerwalkers gathered at Kirtipur, an ancient and mystic city, around 8 in the morning. We bought some snacks, food and water for the hike. Then we had a light breakfast in a local restaurant there. The breakfast was delicious and after we had our tummies filled, we were all fuelled up and headed for Godaam Chaur (base camp for Champa Devi) in our Deerwalk Yatayat. We bid Adieu to our “Deerwalk Yatayat” promising to meet again.
And so our amazing, challenging and exciting journey to the peak of Champa Devi (2509m) began. We were quite unfamiliar with the route towards Champ Devi. To add to that misery, our Deerwalk Daredevils (Bikram, Saroj and Vinod) decided to explore new route instead of regular hiking trail. It turned out to be a cracking route, far more fun and daring than the regular hiking route could ever have been. There were thorny bushes, unexplored trails and slippery slopes. The only downer was we had to crawl and make our own path through those thorny bushes. But thanks to our Ironman (Bikram), who literally made the path for us using his bare hands. Almost half the path, we crawled and most of us were complaining about the route led by Deerwalk Daredevils. However, cracking of stupid jokes, laughing at each other and snippets of break, kept us from being frustrated. Poor Basanta was made scapegoat by the Daredevils whenever we would complain about the route saying, “Kaha hamiley choose gareko bato ho ra? Basant le dekhayeko bato po ho yo ta!”
The serene environment and greenery all around were also inspiring us to push ourselves and conquer Champa Devi using same unexplored path rather than return back and follow regular hiking trial. “Yo ta Prithivi Narayan Shah pachi, hamile explore gareko bato ho”, “Yeha ta Tudikhel cha, rest garna lai” and “Yeha ta Highway cha, Highway- hamro Deerwalk Yatayat pani yetai cha” are some of the two liners that still brings smile to my face when I think of the crawling path.
After two hours of intense crawling and steep hiking, we finally reached the top where we were rewarded with some seriously good views of Kathmandu and the mountains. And what a view it was. For urbanites like us, it was breath of fresh air and welcome change in our daily tedious life. We rested for some time, enjoyed the tranquil and peaceful Mother Nature, took some group snaps with mountains as our backdrop and had some food. Now we were ready for our descent, but we didn’t exactly know which path to take. Finally we agreed to take narrow bushy road. We were all surprised, when we encountered our actual destination, Champa Devi Mandir (Temple) on the same way. We took blessing of the God and continued our journey back to Taudaha.
Descend was not exactly as interesting and fun as the climb to the summit of Champa Devi hill was. Still the company of such enthusiastic and cheerful group made the descent worth remembering. After about one and half hours of descent, we finally reached Taudaha where we were searching for good cafeteria to end our hunger. Finally we found cozy restaurant where we ate till our tummies could take no more. At around 4 pm, our own Deerwalk Yatayat came to pick us and brought us back to Kathmandu with only great memories of the amazing hike.
To conclude the hike, I would say Champa Devi perhaps was the steepest and least accessible, but, apart from the paths being a little narrow and unexplored, it actually makes for a great day out with some great views both North and South.
Our fellow hikers share their experience as-
We had to conquer Champa Devi this time as the leeches failed our previous attempt. It was a beautiful cold winter morning and a great team; we embarked upon our journey with new vigor. Hardly we had begun our hike, Deerwalk Daredevils decided to explore new route instead of regular hiking trail and surprises were to come. Looking back it was fun struggling to crawl through the bushes and the relief in finding places where we could stand on our feet. Thanks to the Daredevils for making this hike a real adventure and a memorable one.
The route we took was like a blind date with Champa Devi, starting like a commando in training. Which way to go, this way to go - yes sir. Nobody was sure about the destination. We only knew that we had to reach top of the hill. Crawling through the low bushes and trying to solve the nature puzzle was troublesome. One of our friends remarked, for first time in my life I found the advantage of being not a tall fellow. At the summit, the view of the surrounding hills and mountain range was spectacular.
We came, we saw, we conquered.
Bikram Lal Shrestha
"Hiking after a long gap - DAMN I shouldn't have missed other ones, I just loved it. When reached at the base I was getting familiar with the names of giant hills proudly standing in front, probably laughing at us for attempting to reach their top. But did they know we were not amongst them who were going to be stopped by their steepness. We had Basant with us to encourage all to make to the top by suggesting to configure our own customized paths through the bushes. Companies of Vinod, Saroj and all were excellent to divert our mind from the complaints body was making. Cracking stupid jokes and making fun of ourselves, joyfully we reached the top under two hours - now who is laughing? Oh, yeah we reached our destination too - Champa Devi, quite surprisingly. Desperately waiting for another one."
Kanchan Raj Pandey
"Failure is taking the path that everyone else does; success is making your own path". We made our own path and reached Champa Devi top. The way was thorny and steep. We were crawling through thorny bushes like an army. Hiking in Champa Devi is a life time experience that we won’t forget soon.
GOD can I ever find a place where I can easily stand upright was the only question that wandered in my mind for the first half an hour of our hike...and to my relief we found some on the way to top. We were crawling through thorny bushes most of the time on our ascent and all the belongings that we had was kind of burden for us and the funny part was Basanta dai acting as if the binocular was not his to Sumit. The trail to the top that we left at the beginning of the hike was never meant to be met again and to our bemuse we reached top of the hill. Only we know how happy we were to get there. Surprisingly when Vinod ran away from Saroj dai’s small brother, he found Champa Devi temple as well ;). Downhill was not as exciting and fun compared to small army training we did for the ascent. But to be in the company of such jubilant and cheerful group is in itself the charm of our hike. I loved the villages, clean air and tranquility in surroundings when we were descending towards Taudaha. Learning photography with DSLR was part of my hike too and I enjoyed it a lot. I promise better pictures next time folks.
'Ham kis gali jaa rahe hai.. apna koi thikana nahi' occurred to me while we were slowly crouching like snake through the bushes. There was no way, no trails of civilization. As I put my hand I could feel thorny bushes bruising me, preventing me from moving ahead. We had no way to ensure where we were heading. No altitude, No Rain, No Leeches but still worse, because we became hopeless about reaching destination. They say walking close to each other reduces pain but here all we could get was beating from front partner leg. So, a good distance needed to maintain. Reaching the hill top changed every scenario. Human pathway was now visible. it was bright sunlight warming us. Reaching Champa Devi, I was still not sure about it but I was too tired to think so and argue about. It was our second attempt and I had to content with it. At last, I would repeat words from Basant dai 'Paths are made by walking, so do not worry about the paths, they form as we move ahead'.
The way was thorny and steep but it was so much fun. We had to make our own way through the bushes and we didn't know where we were going. We could only see the top of the hill and when we finally reached there we forgot everything we had been through. The vista was so beautiful with the Himalayas above and scenic path down below. It was memorable.
Real fun started with the wrong turn, except the top nothing was clear, Exploring the path and helping other hikers to pass through thorny bushes was really exciting, we crawled rather than walked to reach the peak. The cool breeze and scenic view from the top distorted all our anguishes and everyone was excited and posing to add a token to their photo collection. There was another excitement when "Champa Devi" was in front of us while passing the narrow bushy road, finally we were at the destination. After a short break, then we climbed down to Taudaha. All the guys were hungry: searching and discussing for a good cafeteria around. Discussion ended with “Thakali serves delicious food” and they really served us delightful foodstuffs. Finally the day faded leaving all the fun memories.