"It’s just an hour walk from here" came the reply when we asked one of the locals how long it would take us to reach from the spot to the Changunarayan temple.
It was a lovely pleasant morning at Gokarna. A big relief from the excruciating heat, the temperature that morning was relatively low with a gentle, but slightly chilly, breeze. The sun was not up in the sky yet, and it was a perfect weather for a hike. We had started our walk to one of the most beautiful temples and a world heritage site.
Hiking is one of my newly discovered hobbies. I love the prospect of getting to see new places. And with very little hiking experience, I have already found out that Kathmandu valley itself has quite a number of beautiful spots to see around. Interacting with the locals and knowing more about them is one of the other reasons why I’ve grown fond of this new hobby. Listening to the people, hearing their grievances, and getting a first-hand account of their experiences gives you such an interesting and a delightful insight into their lives and make you want to do it again and again.
Our walk was relatively an easier one this time. I say this time because my last hike to Champadevi had one of the toughest trails and no source of water around. Gokarna to Changunarayan, I had heard, is one of the beginners’ trails. Passing by mud houses and thatched roofs, we started our walk enjoying the beautiful scenery around us.
"There has been no plantation even though today is Asadh 15," complained one of the locals when we asked him why the fields looked barren. While we were expecting to see beautiful scenes of rice planting on our way, we were quite surprised to find no such buzz. He blamed it all on the lack of rainfall. "If this continues, I do not know how we are going to survive," he added with desperation on his face.
We reached the temple after about two hours of walk. The early morning ambience amidst the resounding of bells was refreshing. As people were busy offering their prayers, a group of old heads was busy discussing politics and sipping tea while children were busy playing around. The first rays of sun had just begun to touch the temple. We walked around it appreciating its beautiful art work. Renovation was being carried out at one corner. Unlike other world heritage sites, it was good to see Changunarayan receiving the much-deserved attention.
Our way back was a one hour journey. By then, the temperature had already started to climb. We decided not to go the road further which would lead us to another lovely place, Telkot, and then to Nagarkot.
A little tiring but a rejuvenating walk it was, nevertheless. A Saturday morning well spent in the greenery of the Kathmandu's outskirts! No less a great experience than tuning in to the evergreen BeeGees numbers from the Saturday Night Fever.