|Title||Hiking from Lamatar to Namo Buddha via Panauti|
|Route||Lamatar >> Lakuri Bhanjyang >> Panauti >> Namo Buddha|
|Date||30th June, 2012 – 1st July, 2012|
|Total Time||13 hours|
|Participants||Ishan Gajurel, Niraj Pokharel, Prasanna Pandey, Sumit Shrestha|
|Photos By||Niraj Pokharel, Sumit Shrestha|
|Report By||Niraj Pokharel|
|Captions||Ishan Gajurel, Niraj Pokharel, Prasanna Pandey|
|Creative Support||Dambar Thapa, Kanchan Raj Pandey|
|Edited By||Prasanna Pandey|
The day started with dilemma when we came to know that some of the willing members of the hike were occupied with the Futsal game and even after waiting for about two hours, the number of participants amounted to only four. Notwithstanding this temporary setback, all the members seemed committed for the hike and this removed my anxiety as it was my first hike from Deerwalk. After prolonged deliberations on how to make the best of the hike we settled to hike the route originally planned for ie. Lamatar to Panauti.
We embarked on the hike from the locale around Shuvatara School at Lamatar. There was some sort of function going on in the school and we could occasionally hear announcements drifting in with the wind or bouncing off the cliffs. The steep gradient of the hill made us stop and rest sometimes even against our will. On reaching the apex of the hill I felt as if I was somewhere – pushed outside of daily humdrum of controlled chaos.
It is really heartening for me to observe the livestock of people grazing around as if they have all the time in the world. I wondered how people managed to survive in such strenuous conditions. Before reaching Lakuri Bhanjyang, we had our first tryst with the blood-sucking leeches that appeared out of nowhere. We had managed to carry a bag of salt and were somewhat prepared for them. I would recommend covering one’s entire limbs in some sort of protective coating to keep these creatures at bay. I asked one bare-footed villager if there were leeches up ahead and he showed me where he was bitten. The leeches don’t mean a thing to the locals but we were apparently terrified of those little buggers.
At Lakuri Bhanjyang, we were attracted by a huge peach tree beside the roadhouse that bore red succulent fruit. We negotiated the price of the peaches and got amazed by the amount we received. Nearly two kilograms of peaches for just fifty rupees! We had broken through the vicious cycle of production and consumption by cutting off the middlemen at source. This made me realize that life in the hilly areas maybe not be so tough after all. We decided to explore a path that led to a cave called ‘Shringa Cave’. But before we reached the cave, we found that the trail was covered with leeches and had to return back to Lakuri Bhanjyang.
While descending towards Panauti, the team decided to take the path which was off-road. It seemed that the team just hated that thing which crawls on pitched roads. Everyone we met along the way suggested that we must continue our journey through the main road. Two women even guaranteed that we cannot cross the trail until midnight. Disregarding every other comment made by the villagers we decided to continue our trail through the path less travelled. We could see the Khusadevi Road across the rivulet and when we realized that it would soon be dark we had to abandon our trail and walk on the Khusadevi Road that facilitated an easy passage into Panauti.
We reached Panauti around half past eight at night and were anxious to find a hotel and somewhere we could have dinner. We found a room at ‘Hotel Panauti’ and headed out into the night in search of dinner. Almost all the eateries around the area had already closed for the night.
It is wise to arrive at a destination before sunset so that fooding and lodging can be properly negotiated. A shopkeeper who was in the process of closing down his shop came with us and guided us to a hotel which was open so we ordered dinner and rested for the night.
The city of Panauti is a small conglomerate of ancient temples and modern buildings nestled in the lap of green hills. It gives a glimpse of ancient Nepali culture. I wondered how hard it would have been for the rulers of ancient Nepal to conquer hills beyond hills forging paths with all their war gear. I had many questions to ask with that place but I was a time-constrained hiker. I was already committed with the group for Namobuddha hike. When we were heading towards the new destination some locals suggested that we can reach Namobuddha from Panauti in a single hour! We took their word but soon realized that it wasn’t applicable for us. It took us nearly four hours to reach Namobuddha. After paying our homage to the resident deities we returned to Dhulikhel that evening.