Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bye Bye Budhanilkantha

This is Day 4 of Nepal Travelogue (May 16, 2013)
It was our last day in Budhanilkantha, where we stayed for 4 nights and found this small no-frill Kathmandu suburb green and serene!

During the stay, we used to trek daily to the yoga resort, located at the brink of the surrounding Shivapuri Hills, which was actually a great opportunity for us to refill our pollution hit lungs with the fresh thin air! From the trek, we could also overlook the smog covered capital to pat ourselves for the decision of ditching the downtown and coming to this mini-hill station directly from the airport!

In the otherwise laid-back precinct, there was a cultural twist also. It was due to the Temple of Sleeping Vishnu and its nuptial significance that the ambiance was happening and colorful. And on top of everything, the spicy street-food – especially those flavorsome Gol Gappay – was something we, especially wifey, would like to revisit Nepal!

So the place which was not even on our traveling map ended up to be a great less-beaten explore! Another pleasant surprise indeed.

More About Nepali Gol Gappay
Halfway on the trail to the yoga venue, just before Taulung village, we used to stop by the vegetable shop run by a lady living in the attached house, for a plate of her homemade spicy snack!

After we would order, she would first peel an already boiled potato and mesh that with the spice mixture. This mixture would be filled in one of the hollow Pooris. She would then dip it in that typical herbal water and handover the loaded ball to us, one by one, which we had to fit in our mouth before it leaks. A matter of split second!

Due to the difference in the serving style, the whole process was quicker than what we have in our hometown. We also found that hydrating, maybe due to the spicy water which was fresh and did not contain cheap citric acid, or tatri, common in Karachi. 

Before visiting Nepal, I never thought that Gol Gappay, alias Paani Poori, can be such an important topic! And after coming back, we are carving for the taste and could not find one here despite effort. So please do recommend to me if you have your own favorite 'thela' around!
Budhanilkantha is Both Laid-back and Colorful
Street Food outside the Temple of Sleeping Vishnu!
This is 'Papar' on the Right but What's the Other Snack?
One of the Many 'Gol-Gappay' Vendors Around!
Even Fruit-Selling is not an Easy Job There
This Shot is Dedicated to Vegetarians
This is How You Extract Juice Out of Pineapples
PCO's are Still in Vogue
Today’s Bills – in Nepali Rupees

Milk, Snacks, etc
Bangles for Urooba's Yoga Fellows
Mortein for Chitwan
Halwa Poori!
Coloring Book for Kids
Hotel Food Bill for last 3 days
Hotel Room Charges - Balance Amount
Total for May 16, 2013

Total for 4 Days

So, we spent ~2,500 per day, i.e. PKR 2900/ USD 30 during the initial 4 days, excluding air travel and pre-trip expenses.

Coming Next: Jungle Experience
On Day 5, we would travel to Chitwan National Park – famous for Nepal’s flagship one-horn endangered rhinos. We would spend next 4 nights right beside the big jungle among elephants, crocodiles, and creepy insects – details of which will be coming soon!

Traveler’s Tip # 8: Say No To Thamel
After landing in Nepal, almost all the independent travelers find it obligatory to visit Thamel, mainly to sort out onward travels. But in my opinion staying in Thamel defeats the very purpose one would visit Himalayas as this chaotic district is not only noisy but also full of touts. Alternatively, I would recommend staying in Patan - much peaceful - if not at one of the surrounding hill stations like Budhanilkantha.

Although it is possible to travel independently in Nepal, and more economical also, but sometimes it becomes inevitable to contact an agency or to buy trekking gear, most of which is Thamel based. Even then I would recommend staying elsewhere and visit the place early in the mornin.
Avoiding Thamel also saved time for us because to-and-fro from the downtown would consume a lot of time, mainly due to traffic jams.

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