Nagarkot is only 25 km from Kathmandu, but it feels like another world. It’s a bumpy ride, but once you get there it’s all worth it. Crisp air, lush green hills, birds chirping – it almost feels like a cliché.
Upon arriving we headed up to the Jalpadevi Temple for stunning views over the valley. Even now in monsoon the panorama was breathtaking. Just imagine what it must be like when there are no clouds and you can see as far as Mt. Everest.
From the temple, it’s only a 10 minute stroll to the Community Homestay. We went for the shortcut, wandering through corn fields before arriving at the village of Bastola Gaun. At the homestay, our wonderful host family was already awaiting us. They welcomed us into their home by performing a traditional welcome ceremony – everyone was given a gorgeous little flower bouquet and a tika on their forehead.
After a lunch of Dal Bhat – Dal Bhat 24 hours power – we set off on a hike to explore a waterfall. The hike was fun: tranquil forests and lush greenery, and just enough leeches to make it an adventure. After about an hour we reached the waterfall and it was absolutely stunning. It’s a hidden gem and we had this paradise all to ourselves. Some people from our group have been to Nagarkot multiple times, but even for them it was the first time at this gorgeous spot. The water is chilly, but that’s just what you need after a little hike – the ideal place for a break.
The hike back lead us through small villages and there were lots of super cute baby goats along the way. This is as authentic as it gets.
We got back just in time before it started bucketing down – it’s still monsoon after all. Our host greeted us with a variety Nepali snacks – popcorn, soybeans and gundruk. The only thing you really need to know about gundruk is, that it is hands down the best snack of Nepal. Basically, gundruk are dried fermented vegetable leaves, generally used are mustard leaves, radish leaves and cauliflower leaves. It might sound weird, but I promise it’s absolutely delicious.
Just a tiny bit tired from our hike, we enjoyed drinking masala tea and listening to the rain falling on the tin roof. Yes, tin roofs are not pretty, and no, tin roofs are not traditional, but they are authentic. The village has been badly damaged in the earthquake, and tin roofs have been a lifesaver right after the earthquake. Still, even now three years after the earthquake, the local families are rebuilding their old homes without tin roofs.
Dinner was again Dal Bhat, the national dish of Nepal, consisting of rice, lentil soup and a variety of veggies. I’ve had more Dal Bhats than I can count, and it’s usually not really exciting, but Laxmi knows how to make a seriously good Dal Bhat!
The next morning, we enjoy the views and a quick cup of tea before it’s time for our morning yoga session. The yoga lesson really wakes me up and I feel like we’re actually earning our breakfast. Talking about breakfast: is there a better way to start your day than with some fresh fruits? Locally grown organic fruits, yoghurt, roti, eggs and typically Nepali chickpea takari – breakfast made me incredibly happy.
After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to our host family… they saw as off with a tika blessing and gave us some flowers from their garden. And off we went on another hike!
The hike to Sanga starts off with a short descent to an artificial waterfall and and then comes a steep uphill section through the forest. Gotta get up to get down! Once you’re up, it’s all worth it though – the views are absolutely stunning. Walking through villages, passing monasteries and wandering though rice fields, we finally reached our destination, the village of Sanga after 4 hours. Arriving at Sanga sadly marked the end of this amazing overnight getaway.
I’m sure to come back to this charming little village to unwind and explore more hidden gems.