Someone who travels to Nepal, would like to see the high mountains. Someone who has limited time and looks for a local gem will find a worthwhile and non-touristic possibility in visiting Kalinchowk (3.747 m) in Dolakha district.
Within three or four days travellers await a mixture of adventure, fascination, and Nepali lifestyle. There are superb views to Gaurishankar mountain range, Rolwaling Himal with Melungtse (Tibet, 7.181 m) and Numbur Peak (6.958 m), Jugal Himal with Shisha Pangma (8.013 m), Tibet and Langtang Himal.
The mountains seem to be within a hand´s grasp. Breath-taking sunrises and sunsets. A sea of ascending mist with high white mountains in the background. In springtime, the flowers of the countless rhododendron forests spell an additional touch of colour into the landscape and on the souvenir photo. Kalinchowk is a holy place. Many locals from near and far pilgrimage to this site. The temple area Kalinchowk Bhagwati is located at the top of the highest elevation of the ridge. It is dedicated to Hindu goddess Kali. The black terrible goddess, evil manifestation of Parwati, wife of Shiva.
During a journey from Kathmandu to Charikot, crossing Dhulikhel, Balephi, Karichaur, Mure and Karidhunga, visitors embrace the lush green landscape on the way. This idyll somehow makes the current dusty road works more bearable. Charikot is a typical lively district capital city, with magnificent views to the Himalayas. Many simple, but also moderate hotels and accommodations are placed in Charikot. Hotel Charikot Panorama Resort, which lies above the city centre is very recommendable. For the ones who have left some time after arrival it is nice to stroll around the bazaar and plunge into Nepali city life.
As nowadays a simple gravel road leads from Charikot to Kurikharkha (3,345 m), it is easy to drive by jeep. The side grips in the vehicle acquire a high importance for the occupants during unstoppable shaking back and forth. Nevertheless, an adventurous journey by jeep is much preferable than hiking on the dusty unpaved road with some traffic. Sunset view and fantastic vista to the majestic Himalayas at the view point just before Kurikarkha compensate the arduous journey. The looming contribute to a mystical atmosphere as well.
Kurikharka is a small settlement with several lodges and guest houses located below Kalinchowk. The striking formation of Kalinchowk, placed on the ridge can be seen from there. Someone who wants to enjoy the sunrise at the top of Kalinchowk must get up very early. Hiking from Kurikharka up to the temple area takes approximately 2 - 3 hours. A good and bright flashlight should not be forgotten. Someone who is not good at walking or wants to sleep a bit longer can also drive by jeep up to the first viewpoint with a parking lot. From there a narrow path leads along the ridge to the top. The last track is quite steep, but the concrete stairs with railing make climbing easier. This hike takes about 1 - 1 ½ hours. Reaching the height of 3.747 m, visitors are welcomed with a sea of Trident, bells, and prayer flags. The high snow covered mountains and the reflections of rising sunlight is heart-warming. A truly holy place which invites the visitors to stay. The rituals and offerings of pilgrims are interesting to observe.
A cup of tea or coffee in one of the teahouses below the holy place is warming before descend. After an extensive breakfast at Kurikharka it is possible to return to Kathmandu or to Charikot. The Druk Choeling Nunnery is a bit hidden, on the side of the road to Charikot. The nunnery with a beautiful monastery is worth a visit and offers amazing views to Ghaurishankar Himal.
Those who take time enjoying the fresh and clean air after these great experiences can spend another night in Charikot or Kurikharka.
Those who choose the journey back to Kathmandu can take the road via Manthali to Khurkot and then BP Koirala Highway via Nepalthok and Dhulikhel to explore a different side of Nepal. BP Koirala highway was built with Japanese support and enables a convenient travel. Tama Koshi and Sunkoshi river with their white sand banks, lush grass, green terrace slopes and a hilly countryside of red earth contribute to a diversified landscape.
During this tour and within a short time, you can collect great impressions and traverse six different Nepali districts (Kathmandu Bhaktapur, Kavre, Sinduphalchowk, Dolakha, Ramechhap).
Travel route for 3 / 4 days of travel:
Kathmandu - Charikot (2,088 m) via Dhulikhel, Karichaur, Karidhunga (approx. 6 h), recommended Hotel: Charikot Panorama Resort, overnight in Charikot
Charikotay 1: - Kurikharka (3,345 m) (approx. 2 - 3 h by jeep), recommended lodge/teahouse: Kalinchowk Country Villa, stop at the view point just before Kurikharka for sunset observation, overnight in
Kalinchowk - sunrise observation, walk from Kurikharka up to the temple district (approx. 2 - 3 h) or drive by jeep from Kurikharka up to the first view point with parking lot (3,550 m) (approx. 20 min ride, 1 ½-hour hike up to the temple district) Kurikhara - Charikot (approx. 2 h), visit Druk Choeling nunnery on the half way to Charikot, Option A: Charikot - Kathmandu via BP Koirala Highway or Option B: additional night in Charikot, recommended place to visit: Bhimeshwar Temple in Dolakha, overnight in Charikot
Charikot - Kathmandu (approx. 7 - 8 h) via Manthali and further on BP Koirala Highway via Khurkot, Neaplthok, Dhulikhel to Kathmandu
Sabine Pretsch is a Journalist, Autorin and Writer. She can be reached at: Nepal-Spirit: email@example.com, www.nepal-spirit.de.