Nagarkot : A final sunset farewell to Nepal.
Nagarkot Travel Blog› entry 84 of 268 › view all entries
My time in Nepal is nearly at an end. āSob sob!ā 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.
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 Kathās colleges are to be found.
Public buses. G.Love āem. Theyāre always an experience thatās for sure. But one Iām 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.
Nagarkot is a high up, hill top village whose economy rests on the twin props of agriculture and tourism. Itās main draw for the latter is that from itās 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, itās is possible to snatch a glimpse of the upper reaches of the all conquering Mount Everest far, far away in the Eastern Himalayan range.
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 āThe Lost Horizonā. 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. Itās 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.
Eager to get the best views possible of both the Langtang range and the full sweep of the Kathmandu Valley, itās 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 nationās capital are obvious and so much of the hilltop expanse is out of bounds, for military use only.
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 itās iron bar skeleton like the dexterous little monkeys they can be. Grinning and laughing all the whileā¦ 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.
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 supportā¦ 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.
Itās 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 Iād 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 doesnāt 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 friendsā¦ 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 sensesā¦ but only momentarily. I think some of them may be their kids anyhow.
My, my, I had almost forgotten hadnāt I?! The mountains and the sunset. Well, whatās there to say that I havenāt 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 Natureās majesty.
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 nightās blue-black mantle but they are not enough to light my way. Some of them even get caught in the barbed wire.