While Travelling Ktm-dolpa-rukum-bardia-ktm
The journey began on august 26 with flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. As per plan, we were supposed to stay in Nepalgunj and fly to Dolpa early morning on 27th August.
It was the day before traditional ceremony called ‘Teej’. It was surprise for us, this city didn’t sleep whole night instead women’s danced in the beat of folk song and men were gazing those beautiful ladies in red traditional customs.
It was so difficult to survive. That hot air and temperature with mosquito buzzing around ear whole night.
On 27th, all bags were packed with the excitement to see beauty of Dolpa. We entered airport at right time. Unfortunately, we had to roam around departure room for one hour and were informed flight has been cancelled!! Back to hotel!! Survived one more day in hot city.
Next day, our adventurous journey started with the flight, Small mountain plane with capacity of 8-10 people. It was so small that space inside plane ended as it started. 35 minute journey to Dolpa airport was full of nervousness.
Breaking my nerves i thought we got into accident. Suddenly a turn from hill comes without pitched airport and plane lands. …WOOHH. An experience it was.
From there we walked to place called Rupgad. Big steep hills with green grasses and olive trees on north side while barren Greenland on other side with flowing river which divided these hills in the middle. The settlements were on both possible sides of the hills with very less agricultural land. We could see buckwheat in high altitude of the hills.
Hotel Blue ship “was place we stayed. As i thought this place being isolated with no direct connection with highways, people might be living a rural and poor life. As a day passed i learned more about this place. Cool atmosphere, mesmerizing environment, Bheri flowing by side that kept us in peace. Every facility was available in the place. The only difficult thing for people from out of the place is the price of the food products, which is three-four times more than anything we buy in Kathmandu. Since the basic income of people in Dolpa is through selling Yarshagumbha. People are very rich and live a good life.
The purpose of the journey was to gather relevant information about Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in agricultural practice to combat climate change effects in three ecological part of mid-western Nepal. We were pleased to meet great personalities from Dolpa as we had to gather information from government authorities, NGO’s and CBO’s and community of Chhteri and also a collect clips for documentary.
On 7th September as the work completed in Dunnai, we had some plan to visit Shey Phoksundo which took 2 days to reach by walking 10- 12 hrs per day. We walked through side of Blue River originated from Shey Phoksundo Lake, dense forest, hills, with heavy bags was very difficult. After 8 hours walk we reached to place called Syankta, where the atmosphere was cooler than Dunnai as we were heading high in altitude. Unfortunately, there was no room for us to sleep so we decided to stay in tent that we brought in rainy night. Next day, we walked towards Chepka in afternoon and reached Renchi in evening and stayed there and enjoyed evening.
Early morning, we started our journey to Shey phuksundo, i earlier said that we were team of 6, but here due to walking pace three of our friends were almost 4-5 hours before us.
In villages here, you will always find flags that determine the territory of village and after few minutes’ walk you will see Chorten (palce where they worship), then you can see village clearly but you need to walk 30- 40 minutes to reach village. In higher parts of Dolpa you will mostly find Tibetan communities that have been living here since ages. Village i am talking about was as beautiful as we see place in fairy tales, people as generous as i never thought. We had lunch at this place. The owner of house where we rested loved and cared me as her daughter.
After 4 hours walk in steep hills, we still could not see any sings of lake. In-between jungle we saw something which was blue in color and occupied large space. As walked nearer we knew that it was Shey Phoksundo Lake. We finally reached there to see the beauty. WoW pleasing it could be to eyes, mind and heart.
We stayed at Shey for two days. I had a cool bath in blue lake as well. Our plan was to capture full moon as it was in full phase making its mirror image in shey but it was so cloudy we couldn’t capture it as we thought.
Next day we walked towards Shreebinde bazar. Sky skippers hills almost 70-80 degree i guess. Hills were all made of stone that looked like marvels, small path was curved from that Rocky Mountains and thuli Bheri flowing cutting those hills from middle. Since it was rocky mountain, it was dangerous as rocks would fall anytime.
We reached Gotamkot in the evening. It was worst night in the journey. The house we stay looked good. But Me and my room partner almost stayed whole night outside room, room was occupied with Udus(local name).
Next day, paths were similar but had to encounter with several landslides on the way which didn’t had any way through, I was scared to pass across but I was always saved by one of the friend without whom i couldn’t have made to walk through all the way. Some of the point we thought this is it “we are dead”.
On the way we saw a hill which had snake curved structure and people has their own belief. We stayed in place.
4th day, walked along way and around 3 we took jeep which took us to Radijhula from Jajarkot. This place was memorable.
5th day early morning we took four wheeler which took us to headquarter of Rukum, Khalanga… this place is situated in top of hill, it looks like Kritipur. After many days as we were able to see concrete tall buildings, pitched road, buses. We stayed here for two days to collect information from government authorities. When i compared Dolpa, people, knowledge, care, environment conservation, Dolpa was way above Rukum in everything.
After collecting information from authorities, we went to Preetbang where we had to collect information from households. This place welcomed us rudely, later we knew all of them were treated very badly by Maoist.
Well in Rukum Indigenous traditional knowledge in agriculture used to combat climate change effects were, inter cropping, crop rotation, mulching, farmyard manure, homemade pesticide,.
Next day, early morning we reached Tulsipur and catch bus to Nepalgunj from where we took jeep to Guleriya, headquarter of Bardia district, now landscape changed from hills to terai. Here, information with authorities was collected. We stayed here for two days and went to Shivapur in village called Sundarbasti, Tharu community.
It was third visit for one of the friend so it is very helpful to stay. We stayed in same house as he had stayed before. This village was inside Bardia National park territory, in the middle of jungle.
We were cared and loved so well by these loving people, we got chance to eat different tharu foods and learned few tharu culture as we were just few days away from phulpati, Dasahin. They even showed fascinating tharu dance in which i couldn’t stop myself to dance. Tharu community is very rich in culture and indigenous practices.
We stayed 4 days but made us emotional while leaving this family. With promise to revisit again we went towards Dhangadi. Instead of heading towards Kathmandu we decided to stay in Dhangadi, as it was my birthplace and i had never visited since i was born. I never thought Dhangadi was so well urbanized but extremely hot. We enjoyed last day of our journey remembering we are going back tomorrow after exactly one month on September 27, 2014.
Whole way while returning back to Kathmandu the flash back triggered me, that lovely times and moments, that atmosphere, environment, people are going to be missed ever.