Everyone had a story to tell. I can recollect a few of them.
A group of young boys had lost track in the jungle for two hours. They were heading to KalinchowkBhagwatitemple from Charikot on foot. We met the boys on our way to Gairee. The boys were determined not to lose the track again.
A group of around seven girls reserved a vehicle to go to Kuri from Charikot. The girls had stayed at Charikot for the night, and started their travel at 3:30am in the morning. Their vehicle got stuck in middle. They had to find their way in the jungle in the dark wee hours on this part of the earth. It was the least expectedevent to happen for them. On their way back, after offering prayers to Goddess KalinchowkBhagwati, they waited for three hours in the cold for their vehicle to pick them up to return to Charikot. They made fire for some comfort. They were just in time at Charikot that afternoon to board a super express bus, which would then take them to Kathmandu. We boarded the same bus.
On our way back, we saw vehicles stranded on the dirt road, leaving the devotees undecided whether to continue their journey or return from half way.
I also heard of stories worth mentioning but needing verification. The devotees had to walk, looking for shelter at eight in the evening, unable to find hotels. In another instance, the devotees had to pay a heavy amount of money for transportation but still could not make it to the destination that night because their vehicles got stranded on the road.
The main cause for these stories was the rain that poured on the last day of 2071. It had made the dirt road difficult to traverse.
Our story is a bit different, but not without excitement. Rukamanee, Suresh and I decided to travel to KalinchowkBhagwati temple to celebrate the Nepali New Year. We had prepared ourselves to walk for sometime to offer our prayers to the Goddess and return home the next day.
We left Kathmandu at six in the morning by a super express bus. We reached Charikot around eleven. Most of the fellow passengers in the bus were traveling to offer their prayers to KalinchowkBhagwati. This is where we got introduced to the seven ladies and the four young boys. We shared common interests and we chatted at ease.
Once we failed to nail a deal with the vehicle owners we decided to hike till Kuri from Charikot. We thought they were asking unfair price and trying to exploit our adverse situation. Little did we know that the hike would be of around seven hours when we started. We had underestimated the trekking trail and the distance that needed to be covered. We didn't pay heed to the dissuading suggestions that were offered to us. There were also people who encouraged us to trek the route.
There were Deurali and Gairee, where we could eat food after leavingCharikotand before reaching Kuri. We had our lunch at around 9:30am at Mude, before reaching Charikot. We left Charikot at 11:30 am. After walking for almost two hours we reached Deurali. We decided to have a cup of tea there. We didn't know Gairee would be at a distance of four hours from there. Had we known it, we would have eaten something. After walking for sometime, the pangs of hunger gripped us. I even started imagining having dinner at one of the restaurants at Durbar Marga. I was feeling my empty stomach.
The jungle trail was pleasant.There were pleasing sights of different varieties of rhododendron throughout the trail. If it had a few more tea shops on the way it would have been a perfect hike. But there was nothing, not even water, to be found for three hours. We followed proper instructions given by a local lady and there was no chance for us to miss the trail. We could meet one local only walking that trail, probably because otherswould choose the comfort of vehicles.
By the time we reached,Gairee we were tired and starved. We were offered a fireplace where our noodles and 'sukuti' were being prepared. Had Gairee had a lodging I would have suggested we took shelter there that night. But we had no option but to walk two more hours to reach Kuri.
Kuri appealed to me at the first sight. It has enough hotels and some of them are more appealing than the others. We had booked our room at Onchyu Hotel. It was modest and clean. Our stay there was comfortable. We were attracted to the fireplace like moths are to the light. We chatted with another group of devotees, whose jeep had been stranded on the road. The little time I spent at fireplace restored my energy and enthusiasm. We had delicious dinner that evening.
Next morning we had to leave early to offer our prayers to Goddess KalinchowkBhagwati. It was an hour of uphill walk. TheBhagwati temple is situated at 3800 meters,from where the mountainslook mesmerizing. Looking at the mountain range, the first thing that Rukamanee said upon reaching the top, was that it was worth being there. I spent sometime with the aroma of burning incense, the magnificent view and the peaceful environment every temple offers.
After about 45 minutes of walk, we were back at the hotel. Hungry, we ordered noodles and boiled eggs to eat. We had given up the idea of trekking back to Charikot once we knew the real situation.
On our way back,we were offered the back of a pick-up jeep for five hundred rupees per person. We readily accepted. The ride has been a memorable one. It wasn't a comfortable ride, but neither a regrettable one. In about one and a half hour we reached Charikot. We saw plenty of vehicles stranded on the way. This made us realize that our decision to trek the day before was a wise one.