Whenever I meet my friends, a common thinking emerges; a common idea: let's go visit somewhere! We all love to visit new places. It doesn't need to be a place far away. It doesn't need to be a well-known place.
It doesn't need to be a place you can spend the entire day. A place just big enough to spend an evening with two or three friends would be enough. A place where a few of friends could spend a quality time during evening would be enough.
'Let's go somewhere', my friend Akash told me over phone.
'Where?' I asked.
'Come over. We'll think.'
To be honest, I had no idea where to go. So, I waited for him.
Even after turning on the engine of the bike, I had nothing in my mind. 'Let's start biking. I'll think on the way.' I thought to myself.
Yes! That hill! The hill that we see from our tea-junction in Totitole.
Totitole is a small village on the way to Naagdhunga from Purano Naikap. Right at the corner of a junction on the way, there's a hut constructed out of zinc plates, a famous 'tea-junction' for youngsters. Youths and teenagers alike gather there in the morning and in the evening for tea. The location is the primary factor for that teashop to be that famous. Chandragiri hill is exactly in front of it. The small cable cars could be seen running through the ropes across the towers up to the top of the hill, towards the Valeshwor Mahadev temple.
I had seen a small hill towards the south-west from the hut. And whenever I went there for tea with friends, I always wanted to go to the hill. The Y-shaped dead tree on the top of the hill seemed to be calling me. The green grass there seemed like a carpet ready to offer me a place to sit for a warm cup of tea. But I had been ignoring the call. Not today!
'You see that pink house? We'll stop our bike there and walk from there. I don't know how much we have to walk, but I hope not much.' I said while he hit 50 kmph mark.
The cold air coming from the direction of the hill already seemed to welcome us. And it wasn't long before we found the stairs to climb towards the hill. A mere 7-minute ride from Purano Naikap took us to the 'pink house'.
He stopped the bike, adjusted it to park. I was already mesmerized by the beauty and simplicity of the place and we had yet to reach our destination. The alley on the left with the stairs seemed to be a bit repulsive but the opening at its other end seemed to be the entrance to a whole new world.
We started the walk through the alley. The stairs must have been slippery during the rainy season. But now, it's dry lichens. The flowers of the autumn on the either side made the initially repulsive alley a way to paradise. After about two hundred steps upstairs, we made it there! The view of the western Kathmandu Valley was enthralling. The air isn't getting any less polluted. But the beautiful valley isn't losing its beauty anyway.
The hill we were standing on wasn't the highest among the ones around. But it was high enough to give you the 'Lion King'ish feeling. "Everything the light touches is our Kingdom". And we felt as if we were the rulers of the place. Except that there already were a couple of people. Nevertheless, I did feel that I conquered what I wanted to for so long.
The name of the hill is Ghatte Danda, which we found out later, while returning, written on the sign board of a shop. And later I thought that it could be a nice hike up to Indrathan, a place where I reach frequently, though through a different route.
Nevertheless, the joy of conquering the hill will be the memory of the day. The journey of hunting for new places will continue.
By: Rakesh Khatri