18th March 2023, Saturday after a hectic week at work. This is the day we chose for our hike. Shiva Tripathi had invited me for the hike. Apparently, they were two people short for this trip and me having no weekend plans readily accepted. I was looking to get away from the city and this seemed like the perfect getaway for me.
We planned a trip starting from Hattiban Resort in Pharping that would end at the top of Chandragiri Hills. We were directed to reach the Deerwalk Complex premise at 7 am sharp. We had our energizing breakfast that included sel, aalu-chana, eggs, and tea at 109 degrees restaurant. We were a total of 8 hikers with our gear and our raincoats ready. The forecast predicted slight rain in Kathmandu valley that day and we were really hoping for a sunny day. The rain could be averted but we had no provisions to avert leeches. Eeek!! Deerhold shuttle left at 7:30 am and we reached Hattiban resort at around 9 am. Our hike began, with soft sunshine and cool wind breeze amidst nature. We took a lot of shortcuts avoiding the main trail as we walked upward to save some time that we would have spent walking along winding trails.
We went deeper and deeper, crossed hills, we would go up and then go down again go around some turns, and then again through the thick trees. We met other hikers going to the same destination and some returning from there. We also saw a lot of honey bees on our walk to Champadevi. This was a good omen as they are a symbol of good luck, wealth, and prosperity. At the same time, it could also mean bears are around looking for honey.
We reached a major landmark, Champadevi at around 11 am. There we took a short rest and made prayers to the goddess. It definitely had a spiritual vibe as we could see a lot of people meditating. We then started stretching because this was only 35-40% part of our hike. I found the trail after Champadevi to be more serene. We were not walking on cliffs anymore and it had a lot of signboards pointing us in the right direction.
Then that is when the clouds started rumbling. Was that a raindrop that we felt on our cheeks? We started questioning each other. We started to pick up our paces searching for shelter. Shiva was the fastest one among us. He was already way ahead of the rest of us. As the rain started to pour we stopped in our tracks and put on our raincoats. It was cold but wasn’t anything we could not handle. Then something hit me, it felt like a prick and then it continued. ‘Asina paryo’ Sandeep dai shouted. We were trying to get to Bhasmasur Hill which was our next stop. We would only find shelter on the resort located there. We walked slowly to avoid slippery trails, we were also soaked, and our raincoats could only protect us much. We marched slowly but steadily. We were so centered on locating our resort so that we could eat a proper hot meal, that we completely missed Bhasmasur’s statue at the top of the hill. We only realized this after we walked miles past that post. There was no turning back so we collected ourselves towards the resort. By the time we reached there, Shiva was already there sipping tea and warming himself near the fire. We took off our raincoats and started basking in the heat. This dried our shirts a little and warmed us from the inside. We had lunch here and waited for the rain to stop.
The rain would continue for an hour or so as we rested there. We picked up our bags and started walking as soon as it stopped. Now we had to walk steep stairs as we move along Chandragiri. I hated every minute of it. It’s one thing to climb a hill but to do it on stairs was complete torture. At the end of the stairs, we reached Chandragiri hills resort. The resort had maintained good cemented roads near the premises which were a lot easier compared to the uphill stairs we just walked. We reached Chandragiri hills an hour’s walk from there.
The view of Kathmandu city from Chandragiri hills was amazing. We took a long deep breath enjoyed the view and visited Bhaleshwor Mahadev. Now, all we had to do was book a cable car for our way down as it was getting dark. The plan was to hike down to the base station but due to rain, the trail was too risky to hike down. The moment we stepped inside the cable car, we were exasperated with joy. It is about 8 minutes of ride to the bottom from there. We could see all the hills that we walked from there. It gave a sense of accomplishment as these small victories are what keep us going as humans. Sandeep dai had already notified Suman dai to come to pick us up. That is where our trip ended and our van took us straight to Deerhold premises. The hike was a complete success enjoyable and fun.