Fri, 01 Mar, 2024

Hike to Namo-Buddha

By Sushil Awale

Cold wind gushed through the windows of the Micro van as we set full speed to Panauti, our start point for the hike. A total of 18 students from all four batches, left the Deerwalk Complex at 7am to begin the day long journey of excitement, fun, and adventure. The Monsoon season was in top gear with heavy rains throughout the day in the past couple of days. All of us were in full gear, ready to drench in the monsoon rain, but luckily it didn’t rain that day. In fact, it was the perfect weather for a hike – sky full of clouds and no sign of rain or sun. We reached the Panauti Bus Station after an hour long drive, and everyone gathered around to set the feet into motion. For the first 30 minutes of the hike, we hiked through the main road, which was not what I was expecting. Huge lorry tracks drove past us pushing us towards the edges of the muddy road. After walking for the half-hour, we finally took an off-course up into the mountains. Our final destination was Namo Buddha, but we wanted to take a detour through Balthali. Along the way, we asked the local people about the Balthali-Namo Buddha route, but many of them suggested not to take the route as they feared we might get lost. But, despite their warning, we were determined to take the detour and set in along the route. After a certain distance, we abandoned the muddy track and took the trail through the mountains. As we walked up the steep and slippery trails, I thought to myself, “Finally, some real hiking.” As we moved along the trail, we traveled up and down many mountains. We walked on narrow trails carved around gigantic mountains. The paths were very slippery due to the rain in previous days. Each one of us planned our every next step to avoid slipping. “One wrong step, and I would end up in the stream 100 meters below.” I thought to myself. Along the trail, we came across many local women cutting grass for fodder. Occasionally, we asked them directions and we were greeted with smiles. We also came across a herd of goats, who walked along with us for some distance. Untitled2 Up in the mountains, we were awed by the majestic beauty of the mountains in the monsoon season. The mountains were covered lush green trees, grass, and paddy fields. It was soothing to the eye. Halfway through the route, we stopped by a flat land to rest and have snacks. There was a locally made swing tied to a tall tree, and some of us gave it a try. After dwelling for an hour in the location, we again set into motion. Our destination, the Namo Buddha Monastery was visible across a couple of mountains. After the light snacks and rest, and seeing the destination up close we felt energized and excited to reach the destination. The route was all uphill from that point and most of us got tired very soon. We climbed up the lush green grass covered mountains until we came to a small community school. We interacted with the students over there and clicked some photos with them. The monastery seemed closer from that point but we still had a couple of mountains to climb across. Some of us started feeling frustrated. The destination seemed closer but yet far. After the ascent of two mountains, we finally reached the monastery. When I saw the majestic monastery for the first time, I felt the hardship was totally worth it. As we stepped into the monastery, the first thing most of us noticed was how clean it is. After some clicks in the premises, all of us went to the prayer room on top of the Monastery. The big hall was decorated with “Thanka” Paintings, and beautifully carved sculptures on the pillars and ceilings. Upfront, there were three big gold statues of Buddha, and the room was circled by prayer desks. All of us prayed in the hall and wandered around with awe gazing at the artwork and felt in peace with the serenity of the place. After spending some time, we finally set back to Kathmandu. We walked down the hill until we met the main road, where the Deerwalk vehicle picked us up. Image: DWIT Hiking Club