Last week, the Everest uncensored team wanted to explore the natural beauty of Okhreni. It is a bhanjyang (pass) lying approximately at the altitude of 2000m above the sea level. From the vantage point of deurali, the northern ridges of Phulchowki range can be seen rising from Panauti along the banks of Roshi and the trail from Sundarijal to deurali at Okhreni village is one of the best that the north of Kathmandu has to offer. The mountains Langtang (7246m), Dorje Lakpa (6988m), Dome Blanc (6830m), Gan Chenpo (6397m) are seen at the north. A mane (shrine of religious significance) can be found at deurali presumably constructed by Lama Priests. Furthermore during the month of Chaitra, it is said that a religious fest is organized. At the bhanjyang, there is an expansive lawn aptest for a camping ground. However a solo endeavor is not recommended due to ample stories of cattle being dragged by tigers and leopards from the Shivapuri National Park. Not to mention wild boars that can give a good chase when provoked.
Figure1: The thrill of crossing Bagmati on foot and the ecstasy of its purity.
The team began its hiking essentially from the bus stop at Sundarijal. After a mild fifteen minutes walk through stone steps, we reached an army check-post. A fee of twenty rupees (as of October 2006) has to be paid per person at the entrance to continue the rest of the journey. After leaving the army post, in just few minutes we arrived at a junction where three trails converge. We could see a massive building that served as a summer palace during the Rana regime but now owned by Nepal Scouts. The trail to the right leads to few picnic spots in the local vicinity. The trail straight onwards leads to the famous Sundarijal reservoir. However there is a small trail to the north-west that leads to Okhreni. There is even a small placard that says “this way to Okhreni,” in devanagiri script.
Figure 2: way to Okhreni
This is not the only trail from Sundarijal to Okhreni. One can walk past the reservoir all the way to Mulkharka and then take the gravel road to the left. However, this north-western trail is highly recommended and not without good reasons. Foremost this trail follows the river Bagmati from at the point where it pours into the reservoir to its origin near Baghdwar. The trail moves through lush woods, is pleasant, and not at all steep. After starting on this trail for a few minutes, an old decapitated building is encountered. It has an eerie appearance and with all sorts of writings on the walls. Walking past this building, one meets Bagmati slowly moving towards the reservoir. It brings joy to see the river this clean without any trace of pollution whatsoever. And along with this joy also hope for the future. After crossing Bagmati by foot, the hike began towards Okhreni village.
Figure 3:People at work in the millet field. It is the harvest time for millet.
The hike to Okhreni actually begins when the trail meets the gravel road. The most prominent feature of this junction is the bridge over Bagmati, and an old picnic shelter. When one is walking towards the bridge, a small trail can be seen towards the right. This trail is the one that leads to Deurali. As one continues on this trail, Bagmati can be seen flowing to the left, silently and slowly. By and by she swerves into the heart of the Shivapuri forest away from the hikers, who continue on the upward assault. And after sometime she is seen no more. By this time the scanty houses in the Okhreni village start to appear closer and closer. The ripe kodo(millet) and mustard fields, blooming Marigold, green hills, deep blue sky and warm October sun brings the mind to a standstill. One of the markers of this trail is the Baghdwar primary school which can be recognized by its cemented white structure and cyan colored windows. Unfortunately there is no sign board bearing the name of the school. Older children from this village go to the Okhreni Secondary School at the foot of Sundarijal, some forty five to thirty minutes walk away.
It takes approximately one and half hours to get to deurali from the primary school. And not more for us as well. At the top, two more prominent trails are visible. The one on the right passes through the dense forest to meet Borlang bhanjyang from where, one can hike down northwards to Chisapani. Another trail continues straight downhill and connects to the gravel road some fifteen, twenty minutes later. Once at the gravel road, if one walks to the right, the lodges at Chisapani come to sight. Moving towards the left side takes one to Gurje Bhanjyang.
Figure 4: Leave the ridges
Figure 5: What does she ask for?
Figure 6: Descending
Figure 8:Taking pics.
Figure 8: The valley in the morning
Figure 9: The team
Figure 10: Old but lovely house
Figure11: A close look
Figure13: I am gonna fall
Figure14: Peculiar flora
Figure15: Butterfly on the stone
Figure16: Towards the height
Figure17: The beautiful village at the lap of the peak towering to the sky
Figure18: Is it a gorge?
Figure21: . In between
Figure22: How clean: The Holy Bagmati
Figure23: The village
Figure24: The Houses
Figure25: A wider view
Figure26: Which is more beautiful: the water, the flowers or the rainbow?
Figure27: The Dense forest
Figure28: Muddy path
Figure29: Steep but green
Figure30: The habitats: for human beings and the animals
Figure31: Yet not so old
Figure32: But getting cold
Figure33: The flower bed
Figure34: Will those flowers be used next Tihar?
Figure35: The ripe millet
Figure36: Clean and green
Figure37: An UTTIS tree
Figure38: The yellow and the green dense
Figure39: Millet: Ready for harvest
Figure40: Are they for sale? No boss.
Figure41: . Lovely but difficult trail
Figure42: Close to the destination
Figure43: Up and up
Figure44: The Himalayas at the north
Figure45: Wider view of the Himalayas, but under the fog
Figure46: Now descending
Figure47: The rock
Figure48: Lunch is over.
Figure49: We too are taking
Figure51: The peaks at the sunset
Figure52: The sloppy hills
Figure53: The blue sky and the moon
Figure54: The shadow and the light
Figure55:Inside the corridor? Not at all
Figure56: The high mountains
Figure 57: The hills and the Mountains
Figure 58: The moon in the sky