Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing
By Tek Gurung
Don’t blink your eyes, it kills me Jhim jhim sanu najhimkau pareli bhuttukai hunchhu ma, this song, with the mesmerizing voices of mothers, hypnotized us. Mr Yadu stood voluntarily to dance and we clapped giving an extra music to Madal and Harmonica. It felt so good to sing and clap with the mothers and, at the same time so exciting to see different kinds of dances performed by different people. The village courtyard was all blown-up with the cheers and joyousness.
With an objective of promoting Yangjakot as Homestay and village tourism destination, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal , Western chapter Pokhara (TAAN), with the financial support from Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), a one night and two days home stay program was conducted at Yangjakot village from 18 to 19 June, 2010. A total of 36 members from different tourism related organizations took part in the program. The group consisted of the intellectuals, journalists, Tourism experts, Trekking and travel operators, writers and tourism analysts.
On the mid day of the 18th of June, the invitees started gathering at TAAN office. Our bus was already standing there waiting for the passengers. At around 2 o’clock, we moved for Yangjakot from TAAN office. The bus, with the musical noise of the team members slowly crossed Kahukhola, kaseri, climbed beautiful hill and finally stopped at Jyamdu where the trial to Yangjakot splits. The big suspension bridge was swinging on the right which we had to cross to go to Yangjakot. After all the members of the trip got ready, we crossed the bridge and started to triumph over the sharp ascent that finishes at Yangjakot. The first half an hour was too strenuous for not only the aged and female members but also for all of us. Madhav sir, the chair person of Mechi-Mahakali media society and Dammar Kumari Didi, Chair person of the mother group of Lwang Village confessed that it was so exhausting for them. It was hard and tiring, however, we, being little younger than them, buried our weariness within ourselves and pretended that it was nothing for us. In the hot afternoon, the sun was straight above us and piercing our skins which made us sweating from head to foot. After 15 minutes of walk we reached the village named Kushkhon where the mothers welcomed us withsel roti and tea.
We spent about an hour with the mothers at Kushkhon and then proceeded our walk to Yangjakot. Singing and making fun of the friends, we kept walking even in the hot day. All the way-up, we mostly talked about the world cup and the hairstyle that basureplicated from Lionel Messi of Argentina. We made fun ofBasu too; however, he looked so dashing in the hairstyle. Leaving Syarchok on our left we kept heading toChyandanda Chautara where group of people was waiting to welcome us in their village. Traditional music was playing which we could hear while climbing the ascent. We were fascinated immensely by the music but Pasang, who, due to his chained phone calls could not walk faster. We left Pasang, Narayan, Hira and others behind and ran faster. When our group reached at the Chyandanda Chautari, beautifully dressed panchakanyas (5 young maidens) were standing with the bunch of flowers and khadas, mothers were busy preparing food to serve us and traditional musicians were playing romantic music that easily could fascinate us to dance. We took photographs until the last group of our team arrived. Once the last group arrived, the villagers bestowed abir, mala and khada to us. It was such a warm welcome which could not be forgotten throughout the life. Every host was smiling with hope that their village will be promoted as home stay and village tourism destination.
With the musical procession, we headed towards the village where many others were waiting to welcome us. We were buried under the garland and khadas. At Dobato, the main entrance of the village, Mr Som Thapa divided us into 7 groups. We then dispersed to the assigned houses where our beds and foods were ready to be served.
Our group stayed at Nisha’s house. They served us local chicken, local juice and vegetables. Home-made raksi with pickle and chicken roast was also consumed in a large scale. We were informed about the dance to be taken place however; it was cancelled due to the heavy downpour in the evening. So, everyone sat comfortably at the allocated houses and enjoyed the local foods and beverages. We slept at around 1 am in the morning.
The next morning, we did not hear any cock-a-doddle-do as the cocks were killed in the previous evening. So, we slept until 7.30 in the morning. As planned, we went to Chhapa danda where the mother group of Chhapadanda had arranged breakfast for us. At the camping place, we were served Jhilinge, Gundruk ko achar, raksi and tea. We spent few hours at the campsite as it was really nice place as sight seeing venue. We saw breath taking views of mountains, southern part of Pokhara valley, Madi River, many villages to the south, Sarangkot, and villages located to the north.
After the break fast at Chhapa, we came to the main village where an interaction program was held. The interaction was about to make people aware on homestay and village tourism. Mr Giridhari Dhakal of Tourism Office, Madhav Sharma, Chair person of Mechi-Mahakali media society, Mr Som Thapa and I spoke about the subject matter. After the short interaction, the music started and people stood to dance changing the environment drastically into musical aroma. This dance program was organized by all four mother groups of Yangjakot to honor us. However, we also danced with the mother group members following their dance steps and yelling the song……….jhim jhim sanu najhimkau pareli, bhuttukai hunchhu ma…………..
Our minds were never ready to stop the music but it was getting late to leave. At around 1 pm, we left the beautiful village espousing sacred and emotional love of the villagers deep into the heart. It was so emotional when one of the mothers said to me that this farewell garland never makes us separate but ties us every time when we need each other. Now, on the way back, we had no enthusiasm to sing, no eagerness to dance and no interest to talk to. We did not even made fun of the friends; neither sang nor talked about world cup. Hallucination of the songs we sang, dances we performed and funs we made ruled over us all the way-down.
Yangjakot, which is situated at the altitude of 1473 meter, is one of the biggest Gurung villages with around 200 houses. This village hosts different traditional and cultural facets. Among them, Ghantu, Chhyatu, Krishna Charitra, Sorathi are the major ones. Warm hospitality of the villagers is another strength that can attract internal and external tourists in the village. Moreover, the picturesque views that can be seen from the village can also support the village to be promoted as home stay and village tourism destination. In short, Yangjakot needs no verbose explanations, it is perfect in itself. The only thing is- we all need to go there to experience its’ perfectness.
By Tek Gurung