backpacker, gokyo, Gokyo Ri, Himalayas, natgeo, nepal, travel, trek

Gokyo Ri (5483m) Ascended

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Of all the paths you take in life make sure few of them are dirt. So it’s never too late to take out your time from your hectic scheduled life and get lost in the wilderness of Mother Nature. Every vagabond knows by now that adventure is found in every nooks and corners of our country Nepal. Exploring Nepal is like carrying water in a sieve, no one gets enough of it. So to take a break from our nerve shaken mind we group of 9 started our trek to Gokyo. From what we heard Gokyo Ri route is an alternative path to Everest Base Camp (EBC), starting from Namche and then spreading to a different direction. Most trekkers visit Gokyo as a side trip on the way to EBC but for us Gokyo Ri was our prior destination. For trek enthusiasts, Gokyo trek is a full fledged package of serenity and adventure.

As for our journey, we began with a four and half hour flight delay sitting at TIA, waiting for our flight to board. We were both excited and intimidated by the thought of flying to world’s most dangerous airport that is airport of lukla. It was normally a half an hour flight from Kathmandu to Lukla but when we were travelling, there was air pressure complication in Lukla airport so the airplane was landed at Ramechaape airport at first for some minutes and then headed back to lukla (2804m). Although the flight to lukla is famous for being dangerous we thankfully had a safe and smooth landing. We then spent our first day of our trekking by hiking up to phakding from lukla. Phakding – a small but beautiful green valley which constantly blesses your ears with the sound of river flowing while you stay there. Next day we left phakding and surpassed small valleys like Manjo (2839m) and big town of the Khumbu region with most hustle & bustle – Namche (3440m) which is apparently the hive town of that region. Trekkers usually stay at Namche for few days to get acclimatized to the altitude of Himalayas but for us Namche wasn’t our stop that day. Walking past few suspension bridges, exchanging countless friendly ‘’ Namaste’’ and ‘’hellos” with our fellow Nepali and Foreign trekkers we reached Moung la and spent the rest of the day staying at a lodge. We could have seen spectacular panoramic view of mt. Ama Dablam (6856m) and mt. Thamasherku (6608m) the owner of the lodge explained, but sadly the weather was so bad that the fog covered all the beautiful views. On 3rd day we left Moung la and started the hike. On the way we were awed by the strength of the porters carrying so much weight on their back and still there pace was faster than us  so they were like our motivation for us to never give up while trekking. We rested at Dole for a while and boosted our body with lunch and again started hiking. After walking for 3 hours we reached Macchermo and stayed in a lodge at there.  I could only tell how hard it was for us to hike on this day because it rained on the way and we were soaked! We retreated to the dining room and kept ourselves warm near furnace in the center of the room which apparently they heated it with yak’s poo (fun fact). While we trekked up through these small valleys, besides obvious encounters with yaks and donkeys we saw pheasants, musk deer, and mountain goat and Himalayan wild deer as well. Along with that, we saw entire hill sides awash in Different colors of rhododren; it was an incredible sight to watch.

On 4th day of our trek the weather cleared out and we could see the beautiful and epic mountains the fog covered earlier. The mountains were standing tall and roaring its existence to us. The rendezvous view was so amazing that all the pain from walking was so worth it.  We left Macchermo and headed towards the trail to Gokyo. Our legs were beginning to grow used to the changes in elevation; our lungs were also beginning to grasp complexity of altitude. We passed through a number of treacherous icy stone stairways and thankfully avoided plummeting into the abyss!  When we saw the first gokyo lake which is Longpongo (4690m) we were all charged up with excitement and stars in our eyes. The sun shimmered right up to the crystal clear water of the lakes. Legend has it that all gokyo lakes are holy and hundreds of devotees both of Hindu and Buddhists religion worship these lakes and believe that one should never intent to harm the animals dwelling in the lake. Trekking in the shadows of colossal high peaks, besides turquoise lakes was one of the beautiful moments I brought back. Taboche tso was the second lake linked by a stream. Altogether we passed through 3 lakes before reaching Gokyo valley. From gokyo valley we can see the summit of Gokyo ri on the eastern side of the third lake which is Dudh pokhari. We had lunch so it was too late to head up to Gokyo ri that day so we just relaxed and hiked up to small ridge behind our guest house, which gave away to a stunning view of glacier valley and Ngozumpa glacier which is said to be the longest glacier (22 miles long) of the Himalayas of Nepal. Down onto Ngozumpa glacier below us we could hear the constantly creaking and cracking sound.

On 5th day of our trek we ascended Gokyo Ri early in the morning at around 5 am. The trail was like a knot of ribbons twisted all the way up to top of the hill. Generally it takes three hours to hike Gokyo ri but it may sound unbelievable to the readers that it took only 1 hour and 45 minutes for us to climb this hill. We were so glad about making it to the top, it was a great accomplishment for us. We took a seat on a stone and sat there stunned by the beautiful view of the legendary Everest (8848m). The view of the Everest and other famous peaks like mt. Cho Oyu (8201m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8481m) was like a reaward for climbing the Gokyo ri successfully to us from Mother Nature.  Along with the sight of these mighty peaks we also saw mini glacial pools, caves and crevasses. We lingered there for an hour or so admiring the beautiful view, capturing the moments and took pride in ourselves to have been born in such beautiful country. It took us half an hour to descend from Gokyo ri.

Around 11 am we packed our bags and left Gokyo. After walking for 8 straight hours from Gokyo we reached Phortse and stayed in that puny valley and decided to rest there.

On 6th day of our trek we woke up in Phortse by the sounds of river flowing, birds chirping and the sun was beaming between the mountains. How we wish that every morning of our lives was serene like that! We left Phortse at noon and the path was straight down 200m. It was steadily steep path up 400m to Moung la. While trekking back we looked back up all the trails we used couple of days back. Stopping by Moung la on our way back we saw the mountains we missed seeing before like Ama dablam (6856m), mt.kwangde (6809m), mt.Kantega (6194m) and Kangaroo peak. From Moung la the path was pretty much down slope and we didn’t even realize where Khumjung ended and Khunde started. Although we knew that Namche was quiet near because of the lengthy Mani wall we marked on the way before. We had decided before that we will stay at Namche for a day after ascending Gokyo Ri and that’s what we did. Being the hive town of the region Namche has pretty much every facility. The guest house we stayed at Namche was also best so far.  We needed to celebrate our victory for making it to the top of gokyo ri so we did raise cans of beers at Irish Pub (located at Namche so it will be fair enough to say that we visited world’s highest pub).

Day 7th of our trek we left Namche and followed our usual trail to Monjo, Phakding and hence Lukla. Some of us were peering into shrubbery on the way and taking photos and later I found out that there was a little musk deer close to the path. Deer being a deer, it was skittish so I didn’t have the chance to witness it properly. On day 8th , from lukla the group of 9 diverged as three of our members went back home by flight and the rest six of us seeking for more adventure and experience decided to not to take flight but jeep. It took two more days for us to return home. It’s always a shame to leave mountains behind but the rest of the trails were full of Jungles. From Lukla we headed towards Surkhe and stayed at a beautiful neighborhood at the end of the village called Kharikhola. The day was exhausting because we climbed a lot of up hills and climbed down several down hills, Dodging gazillion donkey trains.

Day 9th we left Kharikhola. After Kharikhola there’s a decent steep to make the final crossing of Dhudh khosi valley called Taksindu la which is approx 3000m. Hiking up to the trail along past salung it was getting dark , too dark to see so we kept walking flashing our torches and we finally found a jeep, a four wheeled vehicle after so long. We booked that jeep for tomorrow and stayed at Phaplu and called it a day. On this day we trekked the longest. It was 10 hours of walking.

On 10th day After 6 hours of travelling on a jeep, we finally reached our homes. Usually it takes 12- 16 days to complete this trek but we completed it in 10 days.



This is the following itinerary that we followed for our Gokyo trek:

  • Day 1: departed from Kathmandu (1300m) to lukla (2804m) and headed to phakding (2625m) – 3 hours
  • Day 2: left phakding and headed to Moungla dada (3979m)- 8 hours
  • Day 3: Left Moung la dada and hiked up to Macchermo (4,480m)-8 hours
  • Day4: left Macchermo and reached Gokyo (4,800m)- 5 hours
  • Day 5: Ascended Gokyo Ri and picked up the regular trail back to Phortse (3680m)- 7 hours
  • Day6 : left Phortse and headed back up to Namche (3440m)- 6 hours
  • Day 7: left Namche and hiked up back to Lukla (2804m) – 6 hours
  • Day 8: Left Lukla and reached Kharikhola – 9 hours
  • Day 9: Left Kharikhola and final stop Phaplu – 10 hours
  • Day 10: Left Phaplu and traveled back to Banepa – 6 hours

This itinerary may not be suitable for all the trekkers who are thinking about taking this trek. We were fast pacers so we didn’t have problem to acclimatize the climate up there. But it’s always better to take precautions than to be casualty later so my suggestions to the readers is that don’t ascend too quickly especially after Namche, you could end up with altitude sickness, potentially fatal and the only cure is to head back down to lower altitude. Listen to your body and descend if you start feeling the effects of altitude sickness which includes headaches, fatigue, and even insomnia. Depending on your pace don’t rush your trek. Also you don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay in .Numerous amount of teahouses, and guest house are in business over there waiting to serve you. However you won’t find all facility like hot showers, good toilets, some lodge that we stayed in only had squat ones, western kind like toilets were also available but that did not flush (you had to pour water into, to flush ). Also they take charge for every petty stuffs. All in all this trek was the best trek of my life so far despite having to eat dry foods and daal bhaat only for whole 9 days, we got lost out of the actual trail few times and found our way back, trekking in the rain, given the steepness at some point during climbing. Despite all these hassles we had wonderful time and it was a privilege to experience a whole another world within our country.  As I write this article I recall all the memories like stopping for some minutes or so to drink our special hot tang water and coffee, we couldn’t relish sitting around doing nothing so we ended up playing  games called mafia and Chinese whisper, the chats at night in the dining hall of every guest house we stayed in, looking at the roof of the world (Everest), prayer flags fluttering in the wind, the lakes, the shrines, and the people over there always had a warm smile on their face no matter how cold the climate was, maybe because of all these reason we felt like we were “home”even though we were miles away from our actual “homes”.

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The thrill of sitting right behind the cockpit!
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our plane first landed at Ramechaap’s airport.
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World’s highest airport Runway ! survived
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Mark the beginning of the trek

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starbucks
Starbucks at lukla !!!!!//Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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If there was no suspension bridges I wonder we would rock climb instead to get to the other side
porters
We salute you ! Porters the real heroes of Himalayas
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//Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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//Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Town hiding amidst the mountains, Namche Bazar
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We found unicorn, one without a horn though
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stairway to heaven ? //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
phesant
pheasant //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
mt kongde
Mt. Kwangde, 6194m //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
Himalayan Deer munching grasses
lll
Oh look, the deer got our attention! Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
1st lake
1st lake- Longpongo (4690m)
2nd lake
2nd lake- Taboche tso
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3rd lake- Dudh pokhari/ gokyo tso
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Gokyo valley on the shore of third lake // Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Cholatse from Gokyo Ri //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Everest from Gokyo Ri //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Gokyo Ri //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
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Himalayan Yak
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Manju and Ghore were there names.
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mini glacial pools//
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framed in blue lake.
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snow capped peaks against blue skies
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gokyo paths well trodden ? oh well //Photograph courtesy Sagun shrestha
team
Team of 9. Enthralled by what stood behind us !
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nepal, travel, trek

Nepal’s Kalinchowk Temple; Heaven on earth.

For backpackers and those who love to go on a trek which is short and inexpensive but full of wonders and excitement, I recommend trek to kalinchowk. As for my journey this is the most majestic place, I have ever traveled to. This trek was last minute planned, as my cousins called me if i wanted to go with them a day before they were going there. My friends, they already visited that place and told me it was beautiful place one should never miss out. Plus they said it was snowing there. So for a person who have never witnessed snow ever in her life what more reason did she need to take this trek. Without even thinking twice, I told them I will also be going and that was it.  I went to Bhaktapur first because my cousins are from there and they had reserved a bus over there. We headed at 4 a.m early in the morning in order to visit Palanchoke Bhagwati temple as well. Since the route was long we wanted to take blessings from Palanchoke goddess for our safe trip.We stopped at that temple had some breakfast and we were back on track. The road was pretty good up to Dolalghat so far but as soon as we entered the road of Khadichowr, it was bumpy and deteriorated. After the bumpy ride through Khadichowr, the road let to Mudhey. Mudhey is the place where you can take a break from long bus rides and stop by for a lunch because there are a lot of eatery. After having a minimal lunch there, the next place was Kharidhunga. You can witness tons & tons of limestone on the way there. The road was a lot bumpier there but since we were travelling via bus we surpassed it without much trouble. At around 2 we reached Charikot. We did not stay at any hotels in Charikot but went straight to Dolkha. Dolkha is a famous district of Nepal which is known for its temple known as Bhimeshowr temple, which is noted as one of the most popular go-to religious place. So in order to visit that temple as well, we stayed at Dolkha in a guest house which was near to the premises of the temple. The good thing that happened was the guest house where we stayed had a four wheel jeep which  was used for taking tourists like us for the tour to kalinchowk. So we booked the jeep and planned to go Kalinchowk the other day.

Day 2

We woke up early in the morning at 3 a.m, packed our backs. At around 4 a.m we left Dolkha on jeep. So the route to kalinchowk is ;

Makaibari-Deurali-Kuri-Kalinchowk

The kalinchowk temple is 18 km away from charikot. As I have mentioned earlier i had never seen or felt snow ever in my life so when we were going further I saw chunks of snow everywhere sticking to the ground. I was more than happy to watch that. The four wheel couldn’t go further because of frosted snow so we walked from there up to kuri. It was 1 km form the point where the jeep dropped us to Kuri. We hiked all the way up to the valley . Who could believe that behind all the rendezvous mountains there is a small but beautiful valley where people were living their own kind of lifestyle. It was around 5:30 a.m when we reached there. If you want to stay in Kuri and hike to the temple the other day, you can find numbers of lodges to check in. As for us, we planned to reach kalinchowk temple that day only. Kalinchowk is situated at 3700m. It was harder for us to walk because of the snow sticking everywhere on the ground, but despite all that, the view from up there was sooo worth it.Around 7:30 am we reached the temple. We stayed up there for a while, adoring the scenes, prayed for a while thanking the god. At the spur of moment I felt alive more than ever. The sun was gleaming when we were at the top of the temple. Around 8:30 a.m we headed back to to kuri. Because of the sun, the snow was melting making us even harder to walk downhill. I slipped couple of times. On our way back, a lot of people were just about to hike up to the temple. We gave our sticks to them because we knew they would need it. At 10 a.m we stayed for a while at kuri. People were playing snow fights, making snow mans and I was still questioning about the beauty that nature holds. This is the place where people will forget their struggles, their hardships of their life and focus only on  the part how nature can be that beautiful. We headed back to the place where our jeep was placed. This trek made me realize that truly heaven is a myth but Nepal is real. So much more places to  explore.

kuri
This is the beautiful small valley Kuri.
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some of more pictures of Kuri
kuri
some of more pictures of Kuri
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way to the kalinchowk temple.
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These are memorial stupas locals built honoring their ancestors… I made one to honoring my ancestors.
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3500 meters we reached.
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ongoing route to the temple.
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what a sight of snow fed hills !!!
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receiving blessings from the goddess, I’d say.
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path to go back to kuri from the temple.
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up there is the temple.
planchoke bhagwati
Sun almost about to rise. At palanchoke Bhagwati
dolkha
Tranquility at Dolkha.
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God in a tree at Dolkha.
Questions about life

Humans are the real Demons and the Gods are hiding from us.

Our guardians always told us to believe in god. Faced gods or the faceless ones doesn’t matter. Hold your two hands near your heart and wish for all the perky stuff you want in your life in front of a stone molded with a face. Before you read any further I would like to clear out your assumption that this article neither supports the idea of being atheist nor theist. In-fact I don’t have the mere idea about what to believe, what not to believe & who to believe and to whom we cannot believe.Have you ever wondered why gods are the tales and holy books only ? Why there are no evidences of the fact that there is the presence of superior healing powers? If you want to hear my theory I think that we are the real demons and we have invaded the earth where as the gods are so frightened with our demonic activities they are compelled to hide from us. We are the experiments of god which went wrong. Horribly if I may say. Gods who are supposed to be the saviors for the other creatures who they gave life to along with humans are hiding from us because of the cruelty that we are. I’ll let you evaluate yourself for how much cruel you are okay! This beautiful topography of earth doesn’t belong solely to us, yet we selfishly use all the gifts provided by the earth all to ourselves. We bully them just because we think we are the most intellectual creature in this world. Bullying them,prodding them, experimenting on them, cutting them  and eating them is all we have been doing shamelessly for years and still we are the most intellectual craetures among all. Forgive my impertinence because I have been writing all the bad stuff about human being a human. But humanity is the only thing missing from the word human. All I am trying to suggest is the air that we breathe is not only for us, the land that we walk in is not only for two-legged creatures like us but for all those four pawed friends. C’mon dogs and cats aren’t the only animals that seeks love or attention. Our lungs aren’t the only lungs which needs clean air. The heart is different chambered but still the love that all the creatures feel is the same. Give more and don not take from anyone. The saddest part of being a human is we have conquered the world from creatures who speaks different language and yet we are not stopping at all. We fight among ourselves now. Human to Human war. look around the world is cracking. still, we search for gods when you can count blessing from those who you helped. Coin that we throw inside the temples loses is value, instead, give it  to them who hasn’t eaten for days. When they’ll feel thankful towards you that is where blessings are originated. Feed your soul more about the surroundings rather than lurking in the footsteps of tales, and tradition created centuries ago. Cause that time is long gone and we don’t live in that time anymore. Help defines satisfaction, which is far better feeling than to be blessed. That is what matters the most now. We all are seeking the help and gods cannot provide that to us. We need to find the help all by ourselves and if we find it we shall pass it to others and one day help shall heal. Remember we, humans are the demons and gods are nowhere to be found.

doodle

Doodles

There’s this one time when I read an article about what your doodles really  say about you which was published by Dailymail. I read that there are so many different figures that they doodle like stars, faces,chess board, flowers, hearts,patterns, ladders, stick figure, zigzag and house. That is when it struck me, I doodle house all the time. like If I find even a small space in copy or paper i draw a house. It’s always the same, a one story house with a thatched roof and cute little doors and windows. I drew compound with a small gate as well. I always have admired houses with compounds.My friends, I never saw them drawing house ,they always doodled hearts,zigzag making a pattern, flowers and lines.I never drew any of these figures my hand always went out for the kind of house I have described earlier. So I read in that article why people doodle house and I found out that people who draw house seeks a secure a home-life. somehow I felt this fact so true and relatable  because when I was seventeen My mom and dad built a very beautiful house for our family. It was a great deal to us because we family of  four lived in a small room before. That small room was our bedroom,living room,kitchen, well  everything. We did everything there. In fact my childhood was spent there fighting with my younger sister,playing,studying, everything ! Because we all lived in that small room I never really bothered to invite my friends to my house because I felt ashamed. They had big houses and everything so I didn’t invite them. so you can assume when my parents decided to make our house of our own how  happy I was. Everything was rainbows and colors when my house started to construct.  My new house was three and a half  story and I had my own room. I always told my father that I would get to choose the color of the walls of my room. So I chose a Maroon red color for my walls. Maroon red because I always had a thing for photography and I thought it would look exotic if I were to do photo-shoots in there. I loved my very new,biggg house. I invited my best-friends for sleepover and fulfilled  my every desires of having a house of my own. Every brick, Every plaster, was made from my parent’s whole life savings. My mother sold all her jewelry  in order to built that home. My father  spent awful lot of time checking the construction of the house. We had to take some loan because we didn’t have enough money and that loan is the reason why we have to sell the house. My father couldn’t pay out the  debt  as he lost his one secured job because his boss didn’t supported the idea to built a new house. When my parents told me and my sister that we had to sell it our whole world was turned upside down again. At that point  in my life I felt I was the most  unlucky kid in this Topsy-turvy world. I always cried alone in my room thinking I had to leave the house where I stayed barely one year. I was in love with every corridor,nooks and corner of my house. Even though I was shattered that we had to sell our new house I never cried in front of my parents. I knew that they had a lot greater amount of emotions attached with the house than I had. They had put a much greater effort to built our house. So I always thought to cry in front of them was to make them cry .  I always acted like I was strong and told  my parent’s that I’ll work hard and make them a house even more beautiful than that. They always smiled and felt proud. I guess this is the reason why I doodle houses. I guess my sub conscious dwells in this desire to make a house for my family where my family’s legacy will live for forever and ever which will never have to get sold.