Today I awoke to a breath-taking 360 view of the unspoilt Taudaha Valley! It’s a grand feeling… a gift!
Exploring Kathmandu Valley and Chobar Village is one of my biggest highlights of Nepal. The countryside is rich with mountain scenery, small villages and a slower pace. While I have a small room in my guesthouse cottage, it’s the lull of tourist season so momentarily, I am its only guest, so the exquisite view of the valley is all mine!
Traveling solo has it’s trade-offs and perks. To experience a landscape of great magnitude, brings on an accomplished feeling. It’s the feeling that I challenged my worst fears of loneliness and self-doubt to get yourself this far.
The guesthouse I stayed at was an old three-room renovated ancient Newari house. The first night I was in a larger room with a queen bed and balcony and was perfectly designed and spacious.
But being a woman alone, the room felt too grand with the luxury of space and being one body in a large bed, it got a little cold. So the next day I got a smaller, cozier room, next door to it. It was perfect for me. The bathroom in the house is large.
Regular power outages and blackouts
There are regular power outages throughout Nepal in the evening, from 6 PM TO 9PM . During these times, you live in darkness or by candlelight. Businesses in Kathmandu attempt to remain open and everyone works around this blackout issue. However, in the countryside, all goes pretty dark.
My guesthouse provided me with an electric lamp, which allowed me an extra hour of light. I loved it. I found it made me think of time in a different way.
Being alone in the countryside, there’s not much to do during blackouts. I found it’s nice to have nights of contemplation. With no one to talk to or entertain me, I could only read, meditate or listen to music. Sometimes, the guesthouse cafe downstairs was open and I could eat by electric lamplight. It’s a different kind of romance.
Nepalese food made from scratch
Being a vegetarian traveling in the Nepalese countryside, there was a concern that I might not be able to get food I can eat. But my guesthouse had a wide selection of food. The food was all prepared fresh, so everything was filled with flavor! My two favorite dishes in Nepal (or at this guesthouse) so far, are the tomato soup and momo dumplings. The soup has a wonderful tinge of garlic and subtle spices and is great for those cold nights and the dumplings… continues to make my mouth water. This is saying a lot. I’m not a foodie so I have many times where I don’t think I even like eating. But the food here really changed me. The cooking at my guesthouse has actually inspired me to cook when I get home. T
Chobhar Village is a small quaint village
Chobhar Village is not like a quaint French village, the hick farm regions of Virginia Beach or the backwoods territory of Upstate Catskill in New York. Instead it epitomizes the barest sentiment of the word “village” in its understanding of country living and simplicity. The village stands on the old and slightly rural side, approximately 15 minutes from Kritipur. To get to it from the country road and bus stop, you must drive up a semi-steep hill which by car would take 5 minutes, but by foot, more like 10-15 minutes.
The guesthouse I was staying at (which has since closed) was the only accommodation for travelers. There are no shops or stores here. To buy shampoos or snacks, you’d need to travel to one of the nearby larger towns.
What does Chobhar have to offer? Warm local faces and a sense of hearth as villagers as they go about their day.
The rural conditions in Nepal can make for bad teeth and people’s clothes can be as brown as their sun-tanned skin. Most things like laundry are done by hand and laid out to dry upon neighboring bushes, rooftops, balcony rails and anywhere one can create hanging room. Baskets off chilis, lentils and corn bathe in the streets in front of open-door abodes.
A boy gets his haircut sitting in a chair in the middle walkway between houses. An old woman sits on the porch while a neighborhood friend applies henna from a bowl over her graying hair. Little babies and children with runny noses run around barefoot and bottomless. Some women go off to work in the quarries. Yes, women work in the quarries, chipping down rocks and transporting them.
Meanwhile, the older men of the village seem to pass time by not paying attention to time pass.
Each seems, if not at home or busy at work, to have his own lounging spot amongst fellow male companions either at the local “cafe” or in pairs and threesomes under shaded areas where it is cool. Village animals – ducks, dogs, chickens- aren’t nearly as concerned with staying cool but sun-bathe where there is comfort and companionship, oblivious to each others’ differences.
Every man, woman, child and animal lives in harmony with its surroundings, crossing borders of space and living a life without invisible walls.
Despite the lack of modernity, the simplicity of Chobhar Village all makes it a charming place to experience and to make your launching ground for other nearby towns. It’s the idyllic place you go to, in order to escape the craziness and pollution of Kathmandu, to reflect on life, write in your journal and take some photos.