Whether you go to Nepal to climb the Himalayas or to experience Hindu and Buddhist culture, you’ll certainly spend a couple of days in Kathmandu. When you’re exhausted by the constant commotion of the city, a day-trip among the villages south of Patan (to the south of Kathmandu) is an incredible way to get in touch with the authentic lifestyle of the Nepali countryside.
To reach the villages of the Kathmandu Valley, you can rent a bike at one of the many centers close to the new Labim Mall and cycle all the way to and from the hinterland. Alternatively, if you are not in a mood of pedaling for a whole day, you can do as I did: take a taxi from Patan to the closest village, Chobar, and from there wander around the countryside, ending the walk in Kirtipur.
In less than ten minutes, a luxurious taxi brought me all the way from Sanepa to the junction at Chobar, on the Dakshinkali Road. The driver dropped me right at the main crossroads below Chobar and from there I walked to the center of the village in fifteen minutes.
Chobar is situated on a hilltop and has terrific views over the southern part of the Kathmandu Valley. Once I reached the village, I climbed picturesque streets, the houses of which all had small vegetable gardens and corn cobs hung at their windows. I meandered among the colorful houses and gradually approached the center of the village, where the Adinath Lokeshwar Temple dominated the square. It is a three-tiered Newari temple, where both Buddhists and Hindus worship. Its courtyard is adorned with metal items displayed on walls for the happiness of young married couples.
When I left Chobar, I activated the GPS on my phone and chose to go to the closest inhabited area, which claimed to be Kirtipur. I went down the street that started at the back of Chobar’s main temple and headed towards Panga, another small village in between Chobar and Kirtipur. I passed countless traditional houses, most garnished with dried yellow corncobs. Nepalis worked the fields and winnowed the grain, two men loaded with blankets tried to sell them door-to-door, and dogs carefully guardeed every household.
I went down through Panga until I passed a small temple at a crossroads. From there, I could see the small town of Kirtipur in the distance. When I reached it, I headed towards the historic center situated on a hilltop. The town had a tumultuous history over the centuries, being attacked many times by Prithivi Narayn Shah until it finally fell. Nowadays, it is a remarkable mix of the old and the new.
Climbing some stairs to the center of the town, I passed through squares where Nepali women dried rice spread out over large areas. In the main square, the terrace of the Bagh Bhairab Temple has magnificent views over the Kathmandu Valley. On a clear day, the Himalayas can be seen glistening in the sunlight, acting as a backdrop to the city. From the main square, I walked up along narrow streets until I glimpsed the three-storied pagoda of the Uma Maheswar Temple. A few Nepalis rested in the shadow of the pagoda and admired the Kathmandu Valley.
The way back to Patan was even easier than bargaining for a taxi, as I took a yellow minibus from Kirtipur’s Ring Road directly to the Lagankhel bus station. A short trip through the less touristy sights of Kathmandu Valley is interesting, especially when dealing with public transportation. Marveling among traditional households and old temples is a delightful way to witness the local lifestyle and feel the authentic atmosphere of these places.
Inspired? Learn more about similar kinds of trips that Royal Mountain Travel can offer:
If you are interested by this itinerary, find out more at CommunityHomestay.com and Inside Himalayas: Hiking Through the Villages of the Kathmandu Valley