Trek to Namobuddha and Balthali
1,000 steps aren’t so bad once you see what’s at the top. Savannah, Nick, Suman, and I began our two-day backpacking trip from Dhulikhel to Khopasi by climbing the 1,000 steps. The ascent was long and tiring. We were able to stop part way up at a giant gold statue of Buddha, but the real treat was at the top of the steps which was an amazing view of the Panchkhal valley and then up further to Namobuddha.
This beautiful gold, red, and blue painted monastery is perched on a hillside overlooking the valley and the Himalayas beyond. Many monks live at the monastery and wandered through its corridors as we entered. Because it was Losar (Tibetan New Year), there was chanting, which hummed and vibrated along the hillside.
Two monks showed us around a couple of the rooms in the monastery where we were able to see some of the intricate carvings, statues, and paintings. A true celebration of Buddhism! We then walked over the hillside where thousands of prayer flags were hung connecting the hillsides and creating a canopy over the trail where we walked.
Down steep ravines, and then up steep hills, we continued our journey until we arrived at the magical little farming village of Balthali. The dark green fields contrasted with the women farming in red. The hotel we stayed at is located at the highest point in Balthali, so we continued through the village.
Children in their school uniforms ran over to us smiling and practicing their English, as women carried stacks of bricks up the hill and greeted us as they passed. The children asked me my name and allowed me to take photos of them as they continued on their way home.
Cows, chickens, and goats also crowded the streets as we made our final ascent up steep steps to the hotel. The sun was beginning to set over the hills surrounding the farms and we exchanged card games and ate delicious chicken noodles before heading to bed, all of us exhausted after our long day.