the walk to Changu Narayan

by Annalise on December 23, 2009

Having fully enjoyed the hospitality of the Nagarkot Farmhouse Resort, we set out for a lovely long walk descending from the rim of the Valley to a Temple north of Sankhu and then to stay the night at a recommended guest house in the small traditional village of Changu Narayan.

The day was lovely and quiet. We walked along the road ways for short portions of our day but mostly we were on the many trails that lead through the forest. There are several pockets of wooded reserved lands within the valley and they are a true haven. The blend of the local softer pine tree varieties, shrubbery, wild banana treas and so many birds made for an absolutely gorgeous walk. Most notably we were in an area where we could no longer hear the ever-present horn blasts of buses and taxis. We luxuriated in the slow descent of this walk throughout the morning; being at the edge of or with in this forest reserve and then down through the terraced farm area once again on our way to Sangku.

We decided to check out the Buddhist temple just north of Sankhu but were all surprised and exhausted to find ourselves on a seemingly endless climb up the stairs leading to this lofty temple. It was beautiful and there were indeed very few tourists (just like the guide book said) and now we knew why. We stayed a while to enjoy the sites and the monkeys which are present at almost every temple you visit here and then enjoyed our descent with the promise of drinks at the first stop we saw.

Our final destination lay another few kilometers away and across the river. We had stopped to take photos of a some of the friendly villagers in the area; a woman carrying her heavy load in the traditional head-bearing basket arrangement and a small group of kids eager to try out their English. They stopped to say hello, introduce their baby brother and then want photos taken. The kids here are so fun and they love for you to see the babies! The children under the age of about two often have their eyes made up with a line of what looks like black eye liner. They believe that the application of this coloring wards off evil spirits and protects their little ones.

Leaving Sankhu, this time to the south and west, we made our way to the river crossing which consisted of a line of carefully placed stones across the river. We headed out the first time in single file but got stalled as Sophie and I tried to switch places on the rocks and could just hang onto each other in unstoppable laughter. The men working on the river bank stopped their work to stand and laugh at our ridiculous collective attempts to cross. One man in the end just came over to walk beside us barefooted should we need a hand in our crossing. Poor goofy westerners and their hiking boots!

Our final stretch up again to Changu Narayan was lead by this same man who had appointed himself our guide and we were too tired to resist. He was a very quiet and patient soul as it turned out and the 50 rupees it cost us was well worth his assistance.

We arrived at Changu Narayan just as the sun was setting and found the guest house which had come so highly recommended. The accommodation was relatively humble and shared a bathroom between our rooms but it was clean enough. That evening we sat on the roofdeck restaurant wearing pretty much everything we’d brought and enjoyed dinner in the company of the only other guest who was a delightful, retired French teacher from France. Alina spoke such gorgeous French that even those of us, for whom French is a distant high school memory, understood most of what was being said. It was also a great exercise for Robin to dust off his French. We sat there in the candle lit evening laughing and sharing stories in the stew of all present languages.

When we left the restaurant and headed for our beds, our tonges stumbled between merci beaucoup, danhubhad (Nepali for thank you) dank u wel and thank you… not certain which to say. They all applied!

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