Travel Notes from Shreenagar Hills, Palpa, Nepal
I know i've lost some weight eversince i left Manila. My belt has 2 free loops more whenever i use them, and i feel lighter. When you're in Tansen, it's inevitable for you to lose some pounds. This walking town is all about stamina. The many times i walk up and down has made my knees stronger and my lungs tougher. I see many young kids hike up mountains in a breeze, so muscle strengthening begins at a young age.
The days pass by here so much quickly. You lose sunlight fast so, i rush towards the viewpoints for one last look of dying sun. Again, my time here in Tansen has been extended. When you're paying only 600 rupees which is about 6 dollars for a genuine Palpan bedroom, who am i to complain? I could totally live here in a month and i still have more rupees. Only that my visa will expire end of February, and i have almost complete my journey here in Palpa.
Now that i have spent too many days here, I've realized this municipality has all the landmarks of a booming tourist juggernaut, only that it has not been established yet.
Yesterday, i hiked up Shreenagar hills to get to the view point with the hopes of seeing the Himalayas from afar, only to find out that the tower is under construction. It made me piss off because i'm not a trekker, and spending countless number of steps to get to a construction site is not really funny. However, i found the stroll along pine trees to be rewarding. Heck, i think the hike up was even more grandeur than the hyped view deck. I was there, alone, with only sounds of vultures spreading wings from a far, and gentle sways of trees coming from the south, are my soundtrack. That's when i first realized, i was brought here to meditate. I found myself here, sitting in one of the lone rocks, watching nothing but feeling everything.
The Thundikel has the makings of a good launch pad to view the Mahabarat mountain areas, only that there are so many trees covering the would be awesome view. It didn't help that it's part park-part army camp so soldiers come from left to right. And imagining myself being mistaken for something else would be my greatest fear. Still, i find it fascinating to go to, if only for the obstructive view. There are many temples littered from the east and west of town, but none of that has impressed me more than the kindness of the people. It's that genuine smile you get from people passing by. People know every person here, and a newcomer is surely the apple of the eye. Seeing kids come to school is a sight so precious. In this country where people live poorly, yet education is something they cannot forego. It's this mindset that will make this country prosper. Take my word for it.
Going back to the walking country, there are so many places around Tansen that's free from people. If you find yourself already feeling the foreigner fatigue, you may contemplate on one of the hills. You just need to choose which view to see.
The problem is the lack of restaurants around. Sure, there are a couple of eateries but none of those seem to whet my appetite. I've tried the restaurants of the popular hotels here. The fried rice and chicken spring rolls from Hotel White Lake were just okay, and definitely not as expensive. The chicken cutlet set with chips and rice was delicious from Shrinagar Hotel. i wanted to stay at this hotel, and just cuddle up in my bedroom because the views seem to be amazing. i was there during sunset, and it was already great, imagine for sunrise. However, i felt a little sad going here. There's no guest checked in at that time, and i feel uneasy staying at a big hotel up in the hill with nobody.
In the photo above, i took it from one of the hill up north of the town at the lap of Shreenagar. It was a short hike up but very steep. After conquering my fear, and making sure i don't fall flat in my face in front of school kids coming out, i rested my tired legs and watch the town below me. It was a good spot to contemplate on how far I've come, and how many more places i will visit. I feel thankful for i have experienced tremendous amount of memories which i will treasure forever.
After seeing too many places, i spent the very best of my afternoon inside my room here at Horizons. I only have a bit of a view from my room of the valley below Tansen, but my neighbors keep me company. I see men brushing their teeth, a live rooster a few feet away, and some farmers laying out their harvest on the roof at noon. This place gives me the feeling of actually living in the neighborhood.
After too many Dahl Bats, the novelty subsides and i am desperately looking for food familiar to my taste bud. In this landlocked country, poultry is your main dish. Back home, i fancy eating the freshest seafood which we don't have here in Nepal. I was looking for canned sardines around, but pity me, there's none. It doesn't help that i don't know how to describe canned fish in Nepali. How?
Again, i had chicken today stuffed in a sandwhich which was just enough to stop my tummy from complaining. Tomorrow, i will go and look for the canned fish in some other sellers. I know there's one in town somewhere. People need to eat fish.
The ultimate trip in Tansen is the Ranighat Durbar, called Taj Mahal of Nepal. Yet, i will forego going here because the trek takes 7 hours. There's no road linking Tansen Bazaar with this place. The trek going down is blissfully easy, imagine how it is going back. During his trip, i realized not all places that are hard to reach are worth it. I felt that the hike up Shreenagar Hills view point was pointless. My neighbor here, a couple of blocks away, has the best view of white lake in Tansen. I feel that we're just exaggerating instances in our life. You don't have to feel pain to end your suffering. Much more, you don't have to be sad to feel happy.
Tomorrow, i hope to get up early to catch the bus to Ridi Bazaar. After too many postponements, tomorrow i shall visit this place. It's a holy place for most Hindu pilgrims, as it's where the holy river meet, and old people come here to die. Just like in Varanasi and Pashupantinath where i felt the solemness of the place in a very unexplained way, i am gunning for Ridi. It takes about 2 hours to get here by public bus, and i couldn't stay longer because the last bus bound for Tansen is scheduled less in a day. The day after that, i will pack my bags and get ready for Butwal, Bhairahawa and finally Lumbini -- the birth place of Buddha.