Nagarkot : A final sunset farewell to Nepal.

Nagarkot Travel Blog

 › entry 84 of 268 › view all entries
Stevie & Kala at her meditation centre "self love... self love...self love" is the mantra. I promise I made no crude jokes about my capacity for acts of 'self loving' ;D

My time in Nepal is nearly at an end. “Sob sob!” Time just enough for one more slice of awe and wonder so today I will head east of Kathmandu to the hilltop village of Nagarkot, one of the highest points within the Kathmandu Valley. First though, a quick social call. Yesterday I was very kindly invited to an afternoon dinner appointment with Kala, one of the 70 odd anthropology and sociology students from the all female P.K.Campus college who I had stayed with at the Eden Jungle Resort in Sauraha some days ago.

Some of the gang, teachers & Radha at the P.K.College Campus.
A very smart, generous and socially engaged lady who aside from her studies and dedication to the learning and eventual teaching of meditation also works part time in an office for the ‘rescue’ and social and educative rehabilitation of victims of enforced child labour in and around Kathmandu. This is apparently a significant social ill in Nepal, and perhaps an inevitable one in a nation with such notable poverty indices. One of my only regrets in Nepal is having run so far out of time that there is no opportunity for me to spend a day or so with Kala and ‘her kidz’ to get to see a little of the excellent philanthropic work I sense goes on in this good-hearted nation.

So, first stop today is a visit to P.K.Campus which resides on the lunatic-busy Bag Bazaar road to the east of the city centre where so many of Kath’s colleges are to be found.

Play, 'spot the lady' ;)
Standing outside the gates I am spotted by Radha, one of Kala’s pals and recognisable also from the Sauraha party. I am escorted by her inside where Kala and friends are sat upon the courtyard grass. An all female college of 8,000 students, my presence strolling onto the campus grounds causes quite an amused stir to say the least. Lots of smiling, giggling, pointing and no doubt Nepali innuendos are cast in my direction. Luckily a few of the male teachers I had chatted with in Sauraha recognise and come to greet me too so I am not left entirely to drown in a sea of curious oestrogen. A long line of girls string across the recreation ground queuing to donate blood. It amuses Kala that she and I are the same blood type and I state I am glad that she can one day save my life maybe.
Saroj, my host at the Lost Horizon.
A sugary black tea is offered me and the girls and I have an amusing hour or so’s chat before Kala must get to her office and I am getting itchy to keep my appointment with Mount Everest & Co. Kala kindly mopeds me up the road to the tiny side street that acts as a bus station in Bag Bazaar where for the ridiculous sum of 25 NPR ($0.30) I have my ticket outta town.

Public buses. G.Love ‘em. They’re always an experience that’s for sure. But one I’m coming rather oddly to enjoy. You somehow just feel that little bit closer to People & Place when your jolting and junking about on one of these old engineering rust-relics. The roads of Kathmandu are a no-holds barred, horn blaring labyrinth of madness so it takes us a fair while to bounce about and break free of central Kathmandu and to get out to the outer hub town of Bakhtapur from where a 2nd public bus must be caught further out across the rural fields, past military bases and up the winding, turning ever inclining road to Nagarkot, the last stop.

Part of the Langtang mountain range seen from The Loast Horizon Guest House.
This too is a ridiculously cheap 27 NPR, meaning that my journey has cost me a total of 52 NPR ($0.60) as opposed to the 350 NPR ($4.55) each way it would have done on the A/C tourist buses. I know this isn’t money that’s gonna change the world people, but if you want a journey to last as long as possible - as I more or less do - then if you could make a decision that saves you 85% every time you’d be laughing all the way several times around the globe. And the ride was soooo much more interesting I’ve no doubt!

Nagarkot is a high up, hill top village whose economy rests on the twin props of agriculture and tourism. It’s main draw for the latter is that from it’s high up easterly vantage point it affords some of the most incredible views of the awesome Langtang Mountain range and even further distant to the east, on a good clear day, it’s is possible to snatch a glimpse of the upper reaches of the all conquering Mount Everest far, far away in the Eastern Himalayan range.

Sundown & barbed wire: owing to its high geographical/ strategic value most of the hilltop range of Nagarkot is given over to military training camps & installations.

The tourist season is firmly beginning to grind to a halt in Nepal with the coming winter months now and this can be sensed in the merciful sparseness of tourists visible here. Stepping from the bus I am quite happy to be led by the very personable Saroj who walks me the 15 minutes or so to his tiny little 3 room hill-perched guest house ‘The Lost Horizon’. Again, the season nearly out, the place is totally abandoned but I kinda like this. It has a balcony and outside seated area that offers a wonderfully secluded and astonishingly full view of practically the entire, vast sweep of the Langtang range. It’s just an awesome sight! I can never it seems get my fill of mountain-vista magnificence on this journey, and this is quite the crescendo to end my time in Nepal with.

Nagarkot viewing tower... more a kids climbing frame than anything else :)
Stretching from west to east I have before me Langtang itself (7,245m), Gan Chenpo (6,397m), Domeblanc (6,830m), Dorje Lakpa (6,988m), Lenpo Gang (7,083m), Purbi Chiyuchu (6,637m) and Kharane Tippa (5,647m) amongst others. Everest would not be visible normally in the distance from here, but can be glimpsed usually only by the clear light of a sun-spotlit dawn. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Eager to get the best views possible of both the Langtang range and the full sweep of the Kathmandu Valley, it’s an hours stroll back through Nagarkot village centre and along the hilltop ridge and up to the Nagarkot viewing tower. Along the way you pass many barbed-wire fences and roads leading to military training camps and bases. The strategic benefits of this high up area so near to the nation’s capital are obvious and so much of the hilltop expanse is out of bounds, for military use only.

Stevie, Nagarkot & the Langtang range.
I sporadically encounter small groups of soldiers doing their evening hikes and jogs and larger groups being shouted at… probably “GET DOWN IN THE DUST AND GIMME FIFTY OF THE BEST YOU MISERABLE WORMS!!!” in Nepalese, but I pretty much only know “namaste” so I couldn’t say for sure J

The viewing platform once reached is quite an indecorous scaffolding rig. A glorified playground climbing frame rather than anything else and rather appropriately it has 4 or 5 local kids clambering all over it’s iron bar skeleton like the dexterous little monkeys they can be. Grinning and laughing all the while… especially when I so clearly nervously clutch-for-dear-life and ascend the ladder to the summit. The entire structure is wrapped, roped and spider-webbed to the ground and surrounding trees by the ubiquitous Nepali rainbow coloured prayer flags.

Dig the badge man!
Whilst lending quite a captivating aesthetic quality to an otherwise moribund, rusty structure they are here a bit of a curious obstruction to the point of the whole viewing platform concept, I.e. unfettered and elevated access to one of the most impressive viewing points in the whole of Nepal. Oh well!

The kids scurry and play all around me. Bursts of laughter and conversation and coercing portrait photos out of me. All their spinning and whirling around up here is making me a little nervous and dizzy at height as I timidly step about the wooden plank flooring and cling to the railings for support… but I try not to let on. Kids are just so darned fearless! Aside from me and the Kidz the only other people up here are a young man and his wife. They sit on rocks at the base of the platform tending a boiling tureen of water from which they hope to sell and serve sweet teas for next to no money at all and to tired mountain-gogglers or offload rolled up laminate posters of the Langtang Range.

Posing couple at sundown.
This deep into Season business is obviously slim to non-existent. Sunset is beginning to pour its rose and gold tinted hues all over the Langtang range. This is THE time of day to be here but I am the sole foreigner right now so business must be hard for them. No one to buy the 10 NPR teas ($0.13) the lady’s so keenly tended all day. To amuse themselves the couple tease each other and play around the dusty hilltop summit. Play fighting, running and near-dancing together. They run and giggle and swirl around and into each other. A blur, a sari-swathed blend of cuddling and struggling and joy. Almost as if they had forgotten the presence of the kidz and I. Almost as if they had forgotten their undoubted hardships too. They affectionately carry on in this manner. Such happy-go-lucky joy and physicality between couples, a rare site indeed in Nepal.
Sun burning down on Stevie's travels once more :)

It’s an absolutely beautiful moment of human happiness to bear witness to, high up here. For they are still young although having moved through plenty of hard years together I’d guess. Clearly still deeply in love with each other, having managed to maintain that fresh and initial first bloom of affection through tea-selling and tears. And it doesn’t matter how few teas they have sold today or this week, or where the next meals will come from for they have one another. No photos my friends… most of the time I feel I know which moments not to violate with my camera lens! The kidz shatter the moment anyway by laughing out loud in an bawdy, innuendo-laden manner that recalls the couple to their senses… but only momentarily. I think some of them may be their kids anyhow.

Part of the Langtang range (L-R) Langtang, Gan Chenpo, Domeblanc, Dorje Lakpa seen from Nagarkot viewing tower.

My, my, I had almost forgotten hadn’t I?! The mountains and the sunset. Well, what’s there to say that I haven’t already worn so tired and threadbare in this blog already with a lack of new and inspiring words to describe the play of sunlight on mountains be it at dawn or here now at sunset? The sun dips behind us. Fir trees in silhouette with the coloured prayer flags flapping in the evening breeze. Some of the thin layer of haze in the distance lifts further as the evening air cools and the mountains are brought even clearer into view. The low angle of the sun casting chiaroscuro shadows upon their flanks, better defining their shape for the eye and lens. This view is truly an appropriately jaw-dropping one for my final mountain sunset in this fabulous country of such repeated and astonishing opportunities to admire Nature’s majesty.

Barbed wire & solitary star (abstract)
A few more people turn up, having timed their walk up a liiiittle too late to capture the full beauty of it all. But Stevie is content as he climbs amidst the jibes and jabbering of the nimble young monkeys, who accompany him, swinging on bars back down to the ground.

A stroll back to town that gently drifts into darkness. My new L.E.D. headlamp band a godsend in this situation for the stars start to pin-prick points of light through the night’s blue-black mantle but they are not enough to light my way. Some of them even get caught in the barbed wire.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Stevie & Kala at her meditation ce…
Stevie & Kala at her meditation c…
Some of the gang, teachers & Radha…
Some of the gang, teachers & Radh…
Play, spot the lady ;)
Play, 'spot the lady' ;)
Saroj, my host at the Lost Horizon.
Saroj, my host at the Lost Horizon.
Part of the Langtang mountain rang…
Part of the Langtang mountain ran…
Sundown & barbed wire: owing to it…
Sundown & barbed wire: owing to i…
Nagarkot viewing tower... more a k…
Nagarkot viewing tower... more a …
Stevie, Nagarkot & the Langtang ra…
Stevie, Nagarkot & the Langtang r…
Dig the badge man!
Dig the badge man!
Posing couple at sundown.
Posing couple at sundown.
Sun burning down on Stevies trave…
Sun burning down on Stevie's trav…
Part of the Langtang range (L-R) L…
Part of the Langtang range (L-R) …
Barbed wire & solitary star (abstr…
Barbed wire & solitary star (abst…
Stevies Chitwan/ Kathmandu buddy,…
Stevie's Chitwan/ Kathmandu buddy…
The far east Kathmandu Valleys see…
The far east Kathmandu Valleys se…
The Langtang mountain range with t…
The Langtang mountain range with …
Shivas trident at a heavily grafi…
Shiva's trident at a heavily graf…
Approachin the viewing tower atop …
Approachin the viewing tower atop…
Monkey-kidz!
Monkey-kidz!
Nagarkot prayer flags.
Nagarkot prayer flags.
Sunset at Nagarkot.
Sunset at Nagarkot.
Barbed wire (abstract)
Barbed wire (abstract)
Barbed wire &  tree (abstract)
Barbed wire & tree (abstract)
Nagarkot
photo by: RJawad