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Published: December 19th 2009
Although the strike had been called off on Monday, still there was only limited bus services yesterday. I decided to visited Tansen instead of Nepalgunj. No bus would depart from the bus station today to Tansen, had to wait by the road side see if there was any service. After 1 hour waited people told me to boarded one of the approaching bus, "is that the right bus" I tried to get final confirmation from him, he just nodded his head sideway without a word. It really need time to adapted to this kind of expression, why couldn't he just said a single word" "yes!" which I would be more solid before got on the unknown bus. Anyways...as long as it was heading the right direct, passing Damside and we were off Pokhara town. Seem like there were no straight road in Nepal, it curving around followed the contour of the mountain, and its moving in a rather high speed as well. I was sitting in front and still find myself shifting from left to right, I wondered how the people felt on the back? We rolling up over 1500m pass and down as low as 400m, sometimes it
was foggy but sometimes we could see the snow mountains once we over a hilltop broke through the cloud. The farther we travel we saw more paddy field, some created lovely pattern of terrace. The rolling journey seem no end, everytime we drove through a town but it still wasn't Tansen. I didn't expected it would be that far from Pokhara. After our lunch break right outside of Pokhara region, "1.5 hours more" someone told me. Rolled on again I saw many buses parked along this Siddhartha Highway, yes...since yesterday, no buses was allowed to travel further west from Butwal due to the unstable situation. Finally the bus let me off at the road junction of Bartung, from there a share jeep cost 10 rupee each would drove up the last 6km road to Tansen(@1300m). Surprised to find a tourist office hidden inside the old town. No...if I had the Lonely Planet then I would had no surprised at all. It was run by Mammohan Shreshta, a Newar old man, out place was written in the Lonely Planet, the latest version" he proudly told me while show the paper copy of those few pages from the guide book. Anyway...he was
full of knowledge for this area, handed me couple of leaflets but cost 20 rupee each, but it was well colour printed trekking map with description, I gladly brough all, and here he could arranged home stay in local family, in fact...his house upstairs also took up travellers, a German couple was there at the moment(room rate range from 300 to 500 he said). Anyways...with the map awhile I already knew what my plan for the next few day.
Tansen was a nice town stood on a the col right underneath the Shreenagar hilltop(@1450m), the small lanes within the old town was a mazes, but I enjoyed it too much being lost inside there the whole day. People were friendly and nice, hassling free while wandering around. This Newar town still got many nice old houses, finely engraved window frames and handrails, unique small shrine on outer-wall. Many temple dotted in different corners of the town, also couple of monasteries could be seen, there were some christian church in town too, again...different religion mixed harmony together. but I wasn't interested in any of them. Nepal favourite fabric the Dhaka was come from this region, the Nepali Topi hat and many
dresses for women were made with the material, you could still see woman weaving the clothes sometimes in the old town, and there were some shop selling the products in the bazar too. The climbed up to Shreenagar Hill offered a good view of the whole valley, a 360 panoramic view they would exclaimed. Also on a good cleared day you could see all those snow mountains in the north, unfortunately it was so hazy these day, no chance at all, but I did saw them all up close week ago, right?! Still up there were full of tree, a great place for picnic. In this kind of hill town you find yourself either climbing or again climbing, the only straight flat street was the main Bazar in front of the Tansen Durba, The Palace. But it was destroyed by the Maoist attacked on 31st Jan, 2006. And now the place was under reconstruction, I mean a total re-build from ground Zero! After I knew of the LP then I wasn't surprised to seen other travellers in town, still...there wasn't that much neither, most of the hotel were right near the bus park, couples were by the old movie-hall, beside
the home-stay, further uphill only 2 more hotels on each end of the Shreenagar Hill, near the trail head for Ranighat Palace. Beside the standard momo and choumin places in town, the only restaurant was the Nanglo, right next to the Tansen's landmark, The Shital Pati, they also had a good bakery next door too! But I still enjoyed cheap local diner, again find one served great suo-gu-ti, they also made good omelette with onion. And the fish was ok, at least they didn't had so many small bones like the one I had in Kathmandu, "it was from the local river" the owner told me, right, and that what I'd like! Sunrise was great with sea of cloud hanging on mid-hill in the valley this morning, if not the misty air, it would be magnificent I was sure! Will tried it again tomorrow...earlier!
Tansen was a busy town, kind of like Jiri in the east, only without the porters scene, instead you seen jeep and trucks transferred people or materials uphill, nothing better than seat on the balcony of my room by late afternoon, looking at the world went by underneath my feet. as my hotel was right next
to the bus park, the center of action. All sort of noise, car engine, horning, people shouted to their cellphone, suddenly a huge roaring from the football pitch on the left, the school team were playing, I could see little figures running with trails of dust in the air. A splashed exploded took my attention back, a drove off jeep dropped a pack of tomatoes in the middle of the road right underneath my balcony, no one seem to care, but couple of sheeps took up their position for dinner, but not for long before the big truck came running over their meal! Getting more dark and people began to thin out from the street , only the vendors with their laid out merchandise stay behind. Fire light grow up in the dark as some vagabonds burnt paper on the street to kept warm, but also with plastic as well, and the smoke smell real bad. should went back indoor and kept the door sealed I guessed. Time for food again and I wouldn't mind to have the tasty suo-gu-ti again tonight!
Bus Pokhara to Tansen 200 rupee,take more than 5 hrs.
Tansen weekly market fall on
The sky at least cleared up a little bit, according the the pictures on the leaflet I could made out the shape of Manaslu, Lamjung and Annapurna II out there in the middle of the sky. You know what...I started trekking again today, but like the man in the tourism office said, "it will be easy if you had already done the Everest and Annapurna trek", so here I am this morning following the small map and go. It wasn't that difficult as the trail was easy to located and villages were plenty along the route, many places actually could accessed by bus, not many spectacular scene, a small part of terrace could be great when filled with water in later season. The Palpa area lived mostly Magar people, so you find them in every village mixed with Bhraman and Chetre people. After climbing back up from the valley to Deurali, the trail became flatter, and by the end before descending down to Ranighat, the view from the ridge was great, the Kali Gandaki river curving in the middle of the valley, with the second longest hanging bridge in Nepal(222m long) flied over it. The Ranighat
Palace was built by the Palpa Governor, Khadga Shamser in 1892 in memory of his wife Tej Kumari, and is often called the Taj Mahal of Nepal. But nothing would came near to the Taj!!! In style, in scale or in material, but the spirit could be the same, and the location was quieter. The Palace door was wide opened all the time, no guard no ticket, without any maintaining, children play ground it was now. And great place for graffiti I guessed, as 2 Nepalese came(looked like tourist with day pack), the first thing they did was wrote something on the wall, and departed after a few minutes. Anyways...there was nothing left inside the building excepted the shell. It wouldn't last forever but the KaliGandaki might still flowing in the valley. It was said to be the holy river for the Hindu, so I at least dip my feet in there and washed myself by the riverside. A small lodge right next to the Palace whichwas suggested by the tourist office for stay the night. But if they wanted charged 100 rupee/bed they should at least made it a bit more homey than a store-room style. If not to
honor the old guy in the tourist office I could easily walked all the way to Ridi in a day without staying here. Nevertheless, it was rather relaxing and quiet to be here after all.
A steep 80m ascend was a tough starter for the morning, but then the trail leveled out and soon a pretty view over the Kali Gandaki unrolled underneath before arrived to Cherlung, a big village occupied a flat hilltop for cultivation. Carried on I reached the pretty village Artunga on an easy path, the Magar village was full of beautiful mud huts, very tidy within green paddy. Then the trail became wider as it was already good for vehicles although still under construction, it was a boring walked and I was marched out the mountain together with the local school football team, the players came out from different location along the trail, and heading out for a match in Argali some 5km away. I was wondered how could they played against the opposite team if they spent great amount of energy from walking out there before the game??? But then...who said the other team were not walking out from another mountain, perhaps
more greater distant???!!! We said goodbye at the road junction before Argali and I wished them luck. Now walking on the motor highway was the most frustrating moment when trekking, 2 more kilometres I arrived Argali village, grasped some snacks in a small diner so I could dropped my backpack there and went up the local tourist attraction, The Muslow Hill. But before get there you need to accepted the 500 steps to ascend 300m! But...it was worth every sweat I'd shed. the panoramic view was great, the whole valley unfold itself while the sun broke through from the thick cloud, my favourite graphic of terrace and paddy fields, the criss-cross lines created multi-diagrams with different colour tones in each sector, its gave me a lot of opportunities to played with my camera up there. Satisfied and gotto back on the motor road again for my last leg to my destination for today. Luckily there was still short cut kept me out from the main traffic most of the time, and one later I reached the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Ridi Khola, Hindus pilgrimages from different places would came to bathed here as they believed it was a holy
river. Crossed a tiny wooden bridge I was entering Ridi Bazar(@450m), also into another district, the Gulmi district. The single street in town was nicely paved with stones, in the old section still stood traditional Magar buildings. Couples of hotels situated around the bus park, stood on the other side of the river was the most famous temple in Ridi, the Rishikesh Mandir, was established by Mukunda Sen, King of Palpa., probably the most important site for Hindu pilgrimages, especially during mid-January when the Makar Sakranti festival was on. again I took the recommendation from the old man in the tourist office, The Riverside Hotel, on the other end of the small town, "quieter" that was the remarked of the recommendation! But I would still stay there as all the other 3 lodging were rather under standard and charged the same rate...200/room.
Ridi can be reach by bus from Tansen
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