Inmid rainy season, I planned to go for a day hike for newly identified hiking route around Kathmandu hills. Rainy season in Nepal is considered as slack period where there is minimal movement of hikers and trekkers. Due to rain there is a potential threat of natural calamities like flood and landslide across the country. Which may have disturbances in connectivity and potential risks for tourists safety and security. Despite of these natural risks, I enjoy traveling in rainy season as far as practicable to experience the mighty uniqueness of mother nature. Every season has their own features, Autumn is preferred most in Nepal because of favorable weather (not hot nor cold) and clear visibility of Himalayan ranges. Like Autumn, Rainy season has also its features in this season greenery is the best gift by nature despite of poor visibility due to rain, fog and cloud. Autumn forests are predominant in the geography of Nepal. For the same reason hills and forest remain dry in winter season. In contrast in rainy season every terrain is covered with greenery, water sources starts bursting, river, streams and waterfall have good flow of clean water. Frequent movement of clouds and fog through hill and mountain adds more beauty in this season. The combination of green (forests, hills) and white (cloud) color looks majestic and soothing specially form hill top destinations. While hiking to hill top destinations, the bird eye view of cities, villages and field look breathtaking. As a nature lover this unique features motivates me to wander during rainy season to experience the authentic flavor of nature. People like me around the globe rainy season destinations many be in their bucket list. So our country can also attract these types of tourists even in this season. For that different concept should be identified, formulated and implemented to get rid of seasonality issues.
One day, while sitting on the balcony of my house. My mother is interested to know about the surrounding hills of Kathmandu. For her knowledge I pointed Shivapuri Height, Jamacho Chowk, Chandragiri, Champadevi all the way to Chovar. Suddenly, she asked me question to name the hill between Chandragiri to Champadevi range. I was answer less because I did not know the exact name. This incident put me to acquire more knowledge about this particular hill. As a traveler enthusiast I already hike to Chandragiri and Champadevi hill. The missing terrain then become my opportunity as a newly identified destination. After primary and secondary research I came to know there is a hiking trail to Chhpa Bhanjyang which further leads all the way to Chandragiri hill. Chandragiri and Champadevi are popular destinations and many of you might familiar about these destinations. Knowing this new destination kept me excited to discover this particular place. Eagerness and enthusiasm continued, I share this information with my cousin-brother. We two immediately decided to hike this place despite of weather challenges whatsoever. We developed our own Itinerary to hike from Matchhegaun to Chandragiri hill via Chhap Bhanjyang.
Due to the devastation of COVID -19 pandemic, Nepal government has again resumed its policy to enforce odd and even rules to vehicle. We, Two brothers embarked our journey initially by Motorbike ride till Matchhegaun visiting Matchnarayan Temple in between on 9th August, 2020 at 8:00 am. We have a very basic hiking gear along with homemade cooked food in my bag pack. As a pillion rider I enjoyed the outskirt environment of Katmandu till Matchegaun. We parked our bike at a local teahouse on the top of Matchhegaun, which is also the starting point of hiking to Chhapbhanjyang. There was a standing hill in front of us, later I know top of this hill called Chhapbhanjyang and it takes continuous Two hours uphill hike to reach there, form Local tea shop owner. After a short break in local tea house we commenced our hike at 9 o’clock in the morning with overwhelming excitements.
Along with earthy smell of trees, plants, soil we entered into the lush green dense jungle. There was a steep climb however, the trail was nicely constructed as a staircase laying the stones. You might know leaches are found normally in Nepalese Jungles during monsoon season so does happened there. After a few minutes hike we were heartily welcomed by the attack of leeches. Alertness and cautious to avoid leaches attack now become a regular activity for the entire trail. Luckily, it did not poured on that day but drizzle continued to till hill top. Light rain along with fog added value to our forest bathing experience. I was so eager to view the Kathmandu valley under the cloud and fog but my expectation did not fulfill until climbing for One and half hour. Finally, beautiful Kathmandu valley along with greenery and partial fog pouches was revealed through the thick cloud just below the Chhapbhanjyang. That was spectacular view and I like this types of scenic view very much. In that wild we Two brothers are there with mother nature, no human moment we found till the hill top. This gave us extra satisfaction because nobody was there to disturb our nature walk. The chirping of birds, whistle of blowing wind, sound of droplets from trees and hide & seek game for sight seen with clouds were the hallmarks of that specific hike. In different context, I was heartbroken to see plastic litter strewn along with the trail. As a responsible traveler wherever I go for travel I manage my waste myself. So, it’s my humble request to every traveler to manage their own waste properly while visiting to destinations.
After Two hours of continuous uphill hike we reached Chhap Bhanjyang as told by the owner of local tea shop down Matchhegaun. I found the place more delightful than I imagined. It is located as the connecting point of Champadevi, Chandragiri, Simpani Viillage and Matchhegaun at the height of 2,275 meter from sea level. From here, It takes Two and half hours to reach Champadevi on left and One and half hours to Chandragiri on right respectively. While reaching to this place I felt we were greeted and welcomed by the mother nature’s cloud veil on it. Perhaps, this might be my belief as a nature lover. There is only one good quality tea shop along with lodging and fooding facility in this point. Young entrepreneur Mr. Bishal Tamang is the owner of this tea shop. We had nice and fruitful conversation with him. According to him this place is best to hike from October to April. In this time leaches will disappear and due to clear visibility hikers can enjoy the panoramic view of Himalayan ranges. This is the perfect point to have a lunch after climbing Two hours. We brought food form home because of not knowing the proper information within this trail. But, if you are planning to hike in this rout, I recommend you to start hiking by having breakfast at your home and reaching this place Chhap Bhanjyang for lunch. For that you can contact the tea house owner by dialing 9741517062, 9861757673. For nature lovers it is must visit destination where they can camp too by identifying the suitable places.
We were extremely hungry due to our continuous Two hours climb. So we decided to eat food brought from home at Mr. Tamang’s tea shop with his consent. Really simple food (chapattis and vegetable) tested very delicious. At the same time Mr. Tamang’s father Mr. Madhav joined our conversation. He is very friendly in nature and eager to learn from travelers. We had discussion about the opportunities and challenges of Chhap Bhanjyang in point of tourism. He said there is a problem of drinking water As I mentioned in my earlier travel memoir of Champadevi, this place has the same problem of water. But here there is a source of water beneath to this point one the way to Simpani village where water has to be brought by oneself. He, further said very few people know about this place and its beauty that is why this place remain uncrowned through the year.
As result of our friendly conversation with Mr. Tamang he decided to take us Chandragiri. We got more encouragement and excitement when a local joined our hike. He took us toward Chakhel deurali describing the local temple and cave found within this area. I like to honor him for his contribution toward the tourism management from his level. He showed us the signage board placed by him in the various parts of dense jungle. He said this might help travelers to properly navigate inside the dense forest . Really such types of information is very useful specially when we are traveling into the wild. For me I have lost my direction many times while hiking or trekking by not getting proper information. Further, his contribution to make trail clear by trimming bushes was highly appreciable. He did this things while hiking with us too. Really I would like to salute him from my bottom of heart for his contribution. You can watch his activities in this video.
From Chhap Bhanjyang to Chakhel the trail passes through the edge of hill. Surprising fact is that this trail separate Kathmandu and Makawanpur district. Time to time Mr. Tamang used to crack jokes saying you are in Kathmandu I am in Makwanpur lets shake hands. The road was muddy, slippery and through bushes in some places. This ridge trail is unique to view panoramic view of Himalayan range said Mr. Tamang. Although, thick cloud covered the open spaces but I imagined the mirroring mountain view from this trail. The joy of traveling through the dense jungle was truly magnificent. The view of the various wild flowers blooming along the way was supernatural and beautiful which made our journey more attractive. Meanwhile we reached to the slightly sloping landscape between two hills, which was covered with wild booming flowers along with meadow so spectacular that took our all fatigues. In the meantime, seeing my fascination with those flowers Mr. Tamang told to me something amazing facts relating to those wild flowers. The fact is that the species of that particular wild flower die after blooming like bamboo. Did you know that even bamboo die once it bloom ? We spent some time here indulging purely into the nature and continued our hike.
Next stop form Chhap Bhanjyang is Chakhle pass which is connected by Kulekhani-Pakhel-Matatirtha unpaved road. We crossed this point and headed towards Chandragiri. Many people who go to Chandragiri via cable car might not be aware of this trail. The hike till Chandragiri Hills was mesmerizing. But, the ahead trail was man-made artificial. I don’t like artificial structure specially in natural places. I am a nature lover so I except natural places to be in its original form. Exploiting nature for vested interest is unbearable to me. Last but not least after 5 hours hike form Matchhegaun we reached Chandragiri Bhaleshowr temple at 2:00 Pm. And return via same route, altogether it took us 8 hours to complete that hiking trail.