Ever since I was a kid I always had fascination with the hills surrounding the capital. And why wouldn’t I or any kid who grew up watching these hills and mountains change its picturesque image with every season. I could not wait to reach the top of the hills and see what’s actually there besides the obvious forest and what I would get to see from up the peak. My parents were strict and didn’t want me go hiking around Kathmandu for fear of me getting injured. They worry a lot! So this was going to be my very first time hiking around Kathmandu that I always wanted to and dreamt about.
When my friend in college said she was going hiking in Nagarjun (2128 m) with her family and asked me if I wanted to come along. Without any hesitation I said YES! Even though it meant for me to stay at her uncle’s place for the night, that would also be my very first time spending the night away from home. For this I had to do a lot of begging and at some point I cried too! Finally, they came around and let me go on the hike. I promised them I would not worry them by getting injured or anything like that and I would be very careful and if I could not do it I would come back home. My first ever hiking experience without even knowing what it was that I was actually doing, assuming, it was just walking up the hill, how difficult can it be, no big deal, I said I would do it and if I had time then I would also observe the festival of Balaju Baisdhare Mela OR that’s what I thought.
So, I spent the night at my friend’s uncle’s house. I didn’t get much sleep expect for three hours that I dozed off from staying awake for most of the night because of the excitement for the journey and probably also I didn’t want to be the one to wake up late because we had to get ready and start the hike (or The Walk, that’s what I was thinking, what was wrong with me?!) at six in the morning.
We started off from the Nagarjun Forest Reserve after buying the tickets along with hundreds of people who came here for both religious and hiking purposes. The park rangers asked everyone if anyone had brought matches or lighters with them and if they had then they need to hand it over to the park rangers for safety reasons as not to start forest fire because of our negligence and damage the national park forest.
The climb started off pretty easy for us but soon it began to get harder for me as I wasn’t prepared for it. Nevertheless, I kept going and after a little while later, I found my pace for walking uphill and got used to it. When we reached at a flat area atop the hill, everyone took rest there, some just lying on the ground, some taking in the marvelous view while other started unpacking home-made meal, drinks and snacks to boost up our fatigued bodies. From there we could see the Nagarjun peak or Jamacho peak as the local called it and hundreds more people on their way to the Buddhist stupa as well as hundreds coming from down below to where we were to take a breather.
With revitalized souls, we made our way up the steep slopes and stairs slowly and finally found ourselves standing right on the top of Jamacho! We said our prayers to the god and looked around for quite a while at the beautiful mountains right in front of us playing hide and seek with us through the clouds. Many climbed on to the tower to have a better view but seeing the line of people waiting to climb on it made feel I was well off being on the ground and the view wasn’t any less majestic.
We said our goodbyes to the gods and the magnificent mountains, leisurely descending the hill slopes through the forest. This was my first time hiking in Nepal so, I wasn’t in a hurry to get down or to get injured in the steep downhill slopes. We felt so silly as my friend and I watched these two amazing middle-aged women bouncing off downhill without any fear and here we were two young healthy girls treading along like we were made of glasses!
Then what! Seeing them gave us confidence that we could do the same and both of us picked up our pace leaving behind the family stumbling our way downhill and reaching the bottom of the hill where we waited for them to join us. After which we got back to town had some water and juice distributed by the locals for those who had gone for the pilgrimage in Nagarjun.
If you need a to get away from the busy city life even for just a short time to unwind and looking for things to do in Kathmandu, especially, hiking trips around Kathmandu, then, you can definitely go for hiking in Nagarjun. The hike presents steep hills to climb but all that hardship would be erased by the wonderful scenery awaiting you at the top.
As for me, I was more than ecstatic with this short and sweet 3 hours hike and thus, began my addiction to hiking in Nepal!