tiyul number 13 – India and Nepal – part 2

by Aviv Blum on July 31, 2011

Here is part 2 of my trip report on tiyul #13 – to India and Nepal! You can find part 1 here.

Day 10, Sunday, April 10th, trek day number 4, from Ghandruk to Deurali

today was one of our hardest days. As usual we woke up at 7:00 breakfast at 8:00 and were out by 9:00. We set off out of the village of Ghandruk and we climbed some stairs to the exit.

Breakfast in Ghandruk

For 2 and a half hours we were hiking in a beautiful forest with rodedendrum’s and so many different types of flowers and trees and it was just absolutely beautiful. After 2 and a half hours we got to a small village called Tadapani which we ate lunch at. Then we had a choice of or to go on or to sleep there. So we decided to go on but if i knew what was coming i might’ve considered that option again. We started to hike and we went down into a valley and climbed a big hill again. Then we got to a village and it started to rain so we had to stop there for about 3o minutes. Then we kept going after the rain got a little lighter and then we got to another village and we had a choice whether or not to sleep or to keep going but we still kept going. This is when it got rough. The next part we were warned that it was going to be tough but we weren’t expecting enough. We started climbing up a lot of stairs and then the rain came, and then the hail came, and it didn’t stop.

Rain cascading down the hill

The climb took about an hour and a half and over the coarse of the whole day we climbed about 1,000 meters in altitude. We finally got to Deurali and believe it or not, the rain stopped right when we got there. Not only that it was raining, we also had to climb about 600 meters at the end of the day when we were already tired. So we settled into our freezing cold room because believe it or not, we were already 3110 meters in altitude. So i took a very warm shower but freezing cold after effects. And then we all bundled up in our sleeping bags trying to get warm.

Day 11, Monday, April 11th, trek day number 5, from Deurali to Ghorepani

today was a very short day but at the same time very tiring. We had to wake up at 5:30 to go up to a mountain called Gurung hill to see the sunrise. But our guide had to wake up half an hour earlier because he had to go up to the mountain and make sure it wasn’t cloudy. It took about 15 minutes to get up but it was so cold and everyone was half asleep. When we got to the top there was this little tower which gave us a better view.

Sunrise at Gurung Hill

Now i’m not going to lie, the view was pretty damn good but in my opinion, poon hill had a better view which we will get to later. So we hiked down and ate breakfast an hour and a half later and started the hike at 9:00. but the hike was only 2 and a half hours so we were lucky. The hike was mostly in a forest and it was also mostly flat. We saw many water buffalo’s but only 1 yak. When we were close to Ghorepani we saw poon hill and we thought that it wasn’t that much but we would have to see about that. We got to Ghorepani very early, like noon or 12:30. and then as usual, right after we came in the rain started to fall for about an hour. And it was hail for about an hour and it was the strongest hail i ever heard in my life. And after the sun came out we got to see a double rainbow.

Hanging clothes on the central heater in the dining room of Ghorepani

The best part about this hotel was that it had a big chimney type thing in the middle of the dining room and there was fire burning inside it and it heated up the whole room. After dinner we headed to bed early because we had to go to poon hill for sunrise again.

Day 12, Tuesday, April 12th, trek day number 6, poon hill, from Ghorepani to Tatopani

it turned out that only me and my brother went up to poon hill. We woke up at 4:30 and we had to bring our headlights because it was still dark. Poon hill is basically a huge hill which you climb 400 meters in an hour and then there is supposed to be the most beautiful view and sunrise in the world. So we started to climb, and of coarse the whole thing was stairs. After climbing about 100 steps there was a sign saying welcome to the poon hill climb.

Welcome to Poon Hill

The climb was not as hard as the day before because maybe we weren’t as high in altitude. As i was saying, the whole thing was stairs. The climb wasn’t hard for my muscles but i had to stop a lot because i couldn’t breathe so well. We finally got to the top and let me tell you, this was the most spectacular, amazing view i have seen in my life. Especially because of the clouds, the sun rays poked right out of them and that part was awesome. So we enjoyed the view, took some pictures and headed back down for breakfast.

Sun peeking through the mountains at Poon Hill

Then at 9:00 we set off on the longest day of the trek. There is not much to say about it except 7 hours of going downhill. My knees hurt so much after this day i could barely stand it. Then we got to Tatopani, which was where the famous hot springs were which was basically relaxing in an outdoor Jacuzzi. Then we settled in to our hotel.

Jacuzzi! Well deserved after a long day

Day 13, Wednesday, April 13th, trek day number 7, from Tatopani to Jomsom to Kagbeni

today wasn’t as hard of a day then the day before. We had to take a 6 hour jeep or bus ride which turned out to be a jeep in the end and the ride was 4 hours because we took a shortcut.

Our jeep (with Santos, Kaldan and Krishna, our porters)

We left Tatopani on the jeep at 8ish and we set off on the bumpiest rode in the world and i’m not just saying that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the driver would fly off a cliff at any second. On the way we stopped at a place called Marpha which had the best apple pie in the world, actually, i would die for another one of those.

Best apple pie in the world (really)

We finally got to Jomsom after the worst jeep ride of my life. Jomsom was the village which we would fly back to Pokhara from. Then we walked from Jomsom to Kagbeni. The walk was very flat on the same jeep road that we took to get there. The walk was about 2 and a half hours long and it wasn’t very interesting either because once we left Tatopani we reached a desert terrain for the rest of the trek. So it was basically a lot like israel just with snowy mountains in the background. We got to Kagbeni and it was quite cold so we went into our rooms and then we ate dinner and then we went back into our rooms.

Day 14, Thursday, April 14th, trek day number 8, from Kagbeni to Mukhtinath

today was our last day of trekking but we were not aware of that because we were meant to hike another day but in the end we decided to take a jeep so we could tour. We woke up at our normal times and after breakfast we went for a little tour of Kagbeni which was quite interesting.

Ancient Kabeni

Then we started on the biggest ascent of the whole trip. Over the course of the whole day we climbed around a kilometer which is 1,000 meters! The whole day was on a jeep road but luckily we had an amazing view of the mountains in front and in back of us. The road gradually went up and it wasn’t as hard as most days because it wasn’t stairs and when your walking on a wide jeep road you don’t have to concentrate on what your doing as much as you do with stairs.

The jeep road to Muktinath

The trail gradually went up and after about 2 and a half hours of walking we got to a place called Jarkhot which we ate lunch at. Then around an hour and a half later we set off for a more steep climb. It wasn’t that much steeper until the end but even on the non steep parts i was suffering because i couldn’t breath so well, by then we were already 3,700 meters in altitude. We walked up and up until we got to our final trek destination which was Mukhtinath. We settled in and froze up that night.

The gate to Muktinath

Day 15, Friday, April 15th, touring in old Mukhtinath and jeep ride to Jomsom

today we got to get a tour of old Mukhtinath. We first had to walk up about 100 meters to old Mukhtinath and i was amazed when we got there because the whole place was surrounded by a white wall and it was very cool. We went up the stairs a bit more and we got to a very cool spot which was basically 108 water fountains with animal heads and water coming out of their mouths.

In front of the 108 fountains

Then since my mom and sister were very tired and they wanted to shop a little bit. me, my dad and brother parted them and went up 200 meters to a bridge which leads up to the pass which is basically 2 huge mountains which come together. And the bridge was huge, i threw a rock off it and i could’ve sworn i saw it splatter into 1,000 little pieces. And then me and my brother thought it would’ve been really cool to go up to a patch of snow about 50 meters off the trail and we got so excited because there is never snow in israel. I even carried some back in my hat for my mom and sister to see.

I finally got to the snow

Then we packed our suitcases and walked over to where our jeep was waiting for us to take us to Jomsom. The jeep had room for about 12 people or so and we had to sit in the back sideways which was terrible.

In the dusty jeep

At one point i felt too nauseous so i had to move up to the front. The ride was about 1 hour or so and when we got to Jomsom it was so windy, we couldn’t believe it. The planes from Jomsom only take off in the morning because it’s so windy. So we got to our hotel, the Trekkers Inn. And we settled in and had a very tasty Shabbat dinner and then we got into our sleeping bags for one of the last times.

Day 16, Saturday, April 16th, Shabbat in Jomsom

today we all got to sleep in. Me my brother my mom and my dad had a late breakfast and then we had lunch at around 12:45 or so. After lunch we decided to go on a little day hike which was a bit out of Jomsom. We started walking but my mom sister and brother had to turn back because it was too windy for them but me and my dad pushed on. There was one point on the hike where we had to cross a cliff on the side of the cliff and we knew that at any second the wind could’ve blown us off. The walk in total took us about 2 and a half hours and then we went back to the hotel and had a nice dinner and we got into our sleeping bags for the very last time that trip. 🙁

Day 17, Sunday, April 17th, flight back to Pokhara and drive back to Kathmandu

today we woke up very early to catch the 7 o’clock flight to Pokhara. The flight was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you look you were really close to land or on the same level of snow and stuff like that. When we got to pokhara we had to take a six hour car ride to Kathmandu which was the most hottest most boring ride in my life. The roads were all paved so that wasn’t a problem. But the air conditioning did not work in the van and my earphones broke so when i tried to sleep i would just be too hot. When we finally got back to Kathmandu we were back at the Tibet Guest House which was the same hotel we stayed at before the trek. But we did get upgraded to a presidential sweet which was pretty nice even though it was a 2 star hotel.

The Presidential Suite at the Tibet Guest House

Later that night we went out to this nice green organic place which had very delicious food.

The sign doesn't look like much but the food was amazing

Then we went back to our hotels and got into cleaner blankets then on the trek.

Day 18, Monday, April 18th, touring and Kathmandu and the passover seder in the Yak and Yeti hotel

today was a touring day and the famous passover with 1,000 israelis sitting in a big hall. We went outside and we had to find 2 taxis, 1 holding 3 people and 1 holding 2 people. We drove to a place called Patan which one of the 3 kingdoms in Kathmandu. It was basically the same thing as Bakhtapur so it wasn’t so interesting to me.

A day in Patan

Then we had had lunch and went back to our hotel to shower and get ready for the passover. We first walked over to the chabad house but then we found out that everyone would be at this hotel called the Yak and Yeti. So we had to walk another 20 minutes to the Yak and Yeti. When we finally got there i was amazed at how huge the hotel was. Everything in it was fancy. We got ourselves into the big hall which was huge! It fit about 500 round tables with 6-10 people in each table and the chandeliers were amazing, especially when they turned the lights on in them. But the seder was the fastest seder in my life. They got from the beginning to the main meal in 50 minutes. After the meal we left. It was defiantly an experience but not one i would do again.

Day 19, Tuesday, April 19th, chag in Kathmandu, Nepal

today we finally got to sleep in. Unfortunately we didn’t get to sleep in that much because we were awoken by the hot water generator which was right above our celling which, later on, we found out it’s piece fell off and it was bouncing around in the tank. We had a little breakfast of fruit and matza and at 12 we head off to the Chabad house where we would be eating lunch. We got there about half way through dovening and within an hour or so we were all seated on 3 big tables. The meal wasn’t much. The main meal was maybe 2 dishes or less, the Matza was still plain old Matza. We got through the meal in about 3 hours and then we headed back to our hotel and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Day 20, Wednesday, April 20th, touring day in Kathmandu, Nepal

today was a very interesting day. First we took a half hour walk to a place which is nicknamed the monkey temple. You first have to climb exactly 365 steps to the top and along the way there are monkeys everywhere. When you get to the top there is a fantastic view of all of Kathmandu which is also the highest place in Kathmandu there are also a bunch of ruins as usual.

They don't call it the "monkey temple" for nothing

Then we walked down a different way from where we came and then we walked another half hour to our lunch stop and then i decided to rest in the hotel because i had a terrible rash and could not walk so i could not tell you what was on the rest of the day.

Day 21, Thursday, April 21st, flight to Mumbai, India and Tel aviv, Israel

we finally reached the end of our trip. We left the hotel to get to the airport at around 9:00. our flight was at 12:00. we safely landed in Mumbai, India. Then we had a 8 hour layover in Mumbai! So we watched some movies bought some food and before we knew it (just kidding!) we were getting on the plane to Tel Aviv. And of course, how would i be writing this if we didn’t land home safely.

The end.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen van Stelle August 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Aviv, the trek from Ghandruk to Deurali sounds like it was a nightmare! I imagine you were very relieved when that day was over. The sunrise on Poon Hill looks like it was amazing. And how cool that there was a Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, complete with actual monkeys! 🙂

It’s been really fun to read your tiyul blog entries and see what you have been up to. Are you planning on writing another blog now that you’ve finished your tiyulim, or do you think you’re done with blogging for now?

Safta August 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Hi Aviv,
I loved your pictures and your writing, once again. The sunrise on Poon Hill was spectacular. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a wonderful sunrise as I can never seem to get up that early in the a.m.
My favorite part of the article, the part that made me laugh out loud, was the caption under the picture entitled, “They don’t call it THE MONKEY TEMPLE for nothing”!
Continue your wonderful writing and some day, you may be published!

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