On the Road to Tibet

Every weekend Tri’s office goes for a hike somewhere in the hills around Kathmandu Valley or occasionally somewhere a few hours away. Sometimes we get the chance to go, and yesterday was one of those days. We went with about 10 other people from his office to a place called bahra bise, which means “twelve times twenty.” It’s apparently 240 km from somewhere, although we weren’t sure where. Bahra bise is along the road that leads from Kathmandu to the Tibet border. It took us about 4 hours to get there from Kathmandu, and apparently it would take another hour or so to reach Tibet. I’d love to go there someday. We were told that if we drove further along the road we were on, towards the mountains above, we’d make it to the border.

The bus came to pick us up at around 8am yesterday morning, and we reached bahra bise at almost noon. Then we started walking from the little town in the valley up a steep set of stone steps. However, before we got to the long path of stairs that we were about to embark on, a few kids started throwing water balloons at us from their roof. It seems the Holi festivities have begun.

The first part of the hike was quite shady, but soon the trees gave away to farmland, and we could see all around the valley. The hills were spotted with houses, some clustered together to make small villages, some spread out, each house on its own. As we walked along, we met villagers hanging out or heading somewhere, and shortly after starting, we met a woman with a feverish baby. She had gone to a hospital a few hours away in the base of the valley and was returning to her village in the hills. At the beginning of our hike, we were walking and talking with her, but I soon realized there was no way we were going to keep up. Even with a baby on her back and several bags to carry, she quickly outpaced us.

The views were incredible as we got higher, but the smells are what I loved the most. Rural areas and farms in Nepal (and I assume other places) have such particular and wonderful odors that are so completely different from the city. There’s wood smoke and a rich grassy smell, the smell of damp leaves and animals. I feel sort of weird to admit this, but my favorite smell comes from cow dung. It’s got this intense, earthy aroma that doesn’t remind me of poop, just of something organic. As we were passing one of the houses early on, I even picked up the sweet scent of local rakshi (alcohol).

Here are a few pictures we took on our way up the hill…

A view of the valley from above

A boy carrying branches

A woman in her home

A man making a straw mat

Tri and I have been on a few hikes around and outside of Kathmandu since we got to Nepal last summer including our two trips to Namo Buddha, our hike in Pokhara, and a trip to Ichangu Narayan. Although this hike wasn’t the longest, it was definitely the most difficult, mostly because of the trail’s steepness. It was almost straight up until we eventually found a flat road that curved around the hill. We took that for a while but soon found another steep trail to follow and went up that way. After about 3 or 4 hours of almost constant up up up, I couldn’t go any further and called it quits. Some of the guys had stopped before us and were resting in a little grassy area out of sight, and some of the seasoned hikers kept going onto the next hill top.

Tri and I decided to rest on a little ledge for a while. We couldn’t hear any voices, just the rustling of leaves. The sun was beginning to lower in the sky but was still shining brilliantly on the valley below us. My legs were aching but I felt more relaxed than I have in a long time, and with the wind blowing gently in my hair, I nearly fell asleep. Here I am on the ledge…

After enjoying those few minutes, we walked just a little bit further around a bend in the hill and sat there for a bit. Then one of the guys who had gone to a further hill met up with us on his way back. We walked downhill a ways, met up with more of the guys and finally started down towards the valley base. It took us another two hours to get down to the town where we relaxed and had dinner. On the ride back, we got stuck behind a stopped truck for a few minutes but other than that, there were no complications. I completely conked out on the way home, and we got back to the house around 10pm.

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11 thoughts on “On the Road to Tibet

  1. I would love to visit Tibet some day. Perhaps if we ever have a chance to live in Nepal for a few years I will find a way to finagle. Sounded like a nice trip! Does Tri’s work have something to do with the outdoors that the office organizes hikes or is it more of a social outing?

  2. Cow dung huh!…that’s what the village homes in Nepal are cleaned (or you may say painted) with….those houses have floors made of mud, so it gets dusty very soon, but if you plaster/paint with cow-dung it really looks clean and yes the smell is good 🙂 Its not permanent however, you have to keep doing it every week or so.

  3. Pingback: One Foot in Tibet | nepali jiwan

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