Bacchu wakes me up so I can see the sun rise.
5AM. It’s not easy for me to get out of bed, but I’m certain it’ll be worth it. I am not normally a “Sunrise” type of person, but it certainly was gorgeous one and I’m glad he woke me up for it. We ate some breakfast and then we were off!
Trekking through villages in the early morning has a wonderfully tranquil feel to it.
The view is shrouded in mist and fog to make its mountain valley presence even more-so mystical. Animals are awake as farming life begins to stir and nature begins to chirp.
By around 7am, farming activity takes shape. Villagers carry baskets and farm in their lovely sculpted fields of rice and grain. Life can be hard for the farming community out, but life must have some rewards. I imagine their labors softened by the beauty of waking up to their own lush surroundings. I have never seen anything like it! These mountains are the most… “breath-taking” by far.
Mountain children and schooling
The children here seem happy everywhere you look.
But it’s not easy being a kid in Nepal…
Here in the mountain villages, life doesn’t seem any easier when you’re a kid. Mountain children get up early to help their families farm. Because mountain families are often poor, few of their children get the privilege of going to school and if they do, often they must walk miles to get there. It’s a bit heartbreaking.
What ethnicity is Nepali?
The faces here receive influences from neighboring countries of China and India. Beautifully exotic, facial features here appear either an “Asian soft-and-round” due to a strain of Mongolian or exacting due to the Indian population. Overall however, the Nepalese consider themselves neither/nor. They consider themselves “Nepali”.
‘Yes’ is the main religion
If you ask a Nepalese person if they are Buddhist or Hindu, their response will be “Yes”.
The major religions and the celebration of religious festivals are a cross-pollination of both. While Nepal may not have the same name for its festival as Hindus in India, the celebrations honor the same (ie. Dusain Festival in Nepal and Dussehra in India; both, honor Durga Puja).
How do you tell which house honors which religion?
Passing through villages, I see doorways marked with decorations. They announce what kind of house religion it is. Hindu houses can have a spattered tikkas above their doorway followed with a picture of a Hindu god. Meanwhile, Buddhists tend to have ornate markings of Bodhisattva eyes or Buddhas.
While there are slight distinctions as such to let you know what religion a family may belong to, the inter-marriage between the two religions knows no segregation. A Buddhist may marry a Hindu and religious affiliation is less a concern than caste.
Along the way, we come across some locals traveling upon the road. The local (stranger) and Bacchu will strike up a long and passionate conversation in Nepalese, walking together as if they have known each other for ages (which is good as it allows me to stop every once a while to take pictures and then run to catch up with them and act as if I never left).
“Friend?” I ask Bacchu.
He answers that he did not know that person. They just met.
I guess that is Nepali friendliness!
Finally, we reach Sankhu Village and I’ve reached the end of my trek. Time for Bacchu and I to catch the bus back to Thamel.
Trekking tours are definitely one of the best ways to explore the countryside and farmlands and for all of $60, I’m extremely pleased with all that I’ve seen in beautifully-patterned rice fields, streams, sunrises, early morning mystic mountains and a farming community their a friendly but relentless worker spirit. The next time I’m here, I would love to take a longer trek to explore more of these mountain village/farming regions. It’s been an exhilarating, eye-opening and heart-warming experience for me.
This is a memory I will keep with me for times to come!
To contact my awesome guide, Bacchu, directly for a personal or group trek, his contact information is below or you can find him on Facebook:
Bacchuram Tamang ( bacchu)
email: [email protected]
cell # +977 9803 327937