Road to Banakhe

You might be fooled by the title and think that this was some kind of an epic adventure journey to Banakhe, but it was only a simple and short trip. hahaha. But of course, it had it’s share of fun and memorable moments.

Banakhe lies in Shreenathkot VDC (western part) of Gorkha district. It is a small village (actually, a very small village) with three houses. One of those, belongs to my sanuba and his family. Saila ba and Saili ama are the only ones living there now, but the house was built way back in the days. It’s been some few decades since most of the family moved to the city.

I had never been to Banakhe and my cousin asked me if i wanted to come along. Why not? We left for gongabu bus park somewhere around 6:20 am on Friday morning (Feb 17), although our tickets were for 6:30 am. Turns out, they don’t really leave on time. No surprises there. It was slightly past 7 when we actually moved out from the bus park.

We went past Naubise, malekhu, kurintar, mugling to Anbu Khaireni, where the road to gorkha splits. We would continue to Pokhara, Lamjung, etc. etc. from the road that continues straight. For Anbu Khaireni you make a right turn.

WELCOME TO GORKHA was somewhere in between, i forget where. I was so sleepy and was dozing on and off in the intense afternoon heat.

We got to Bara Kilo at around noon. This is the main junction that divides into two roads, one that goes to Gorkha Bazaar (good road) and the other to Bhachyeck (bad road). We were taking the bad road to Bhachyeck. But I’m thankful that there is a road or else, we would have had to walk from Gorkha Bazaar which usually took 6 or more hours depending on your speed. Walking from Anbu Khaireni would have been some two days of walking.

We were getting off, a few stops before the final stop, at Chipletar. To be precise we were instructed to get off at Arubot jane bato before Chipleti. We were to call Saila ba when we reached Cheepre Pokhari, where the bus stopped for some tea and momo break. Yep, the names are interesting.

From Arubot jane bato, it was some one hour’s walk to Banakhe. Roads are finally being dug in these parts and we walked along the road and took detours through the old trails, when the roads got too winding. It is the same in Taji, Lamjung. Before we used to walk through forested areas but now with the roads being dug out, we take both the road and the forest trails – whichever is convenient. In a way it is sad because the forest ways are so picturesque and beautiful, especially on the way to Taji. But on the other hand, it is easier to walk along the roads.

The roads haven’t even been leveled out in these parts, seeing them black topped will take some more years. They are in the first phase of being simply dug out by huge cranes and dozers. They literally cut through hills, digging out huge rocks and tons of soil. We heard that they are coming back to level out the muddy roads soon. But for now, the bus rides are scary and during the rainy season, they completely stop running.

When we reached Banakhe around 6 pm, everyone was telling us that we had arrived early. Usually, it gets dark when the buses are late. The first picture was taken on our way. It was coincidence that I had been taken pictures of our gundri (mat), and I got to see how it’s made at Thati. Thati is a little village, some 30 minutes walk from Banakhe. They have some shops and the village school. We stopped to have tea at Thati before we took the uphill hike and reached home.

The fifth picture is of the house. It is very beautiful. I climbed up some terraces (fields) so that I could get a wider view. Tried to take a panorama picture but the quality isn’t that good.

The ninth picture of a flat piece of land is actually a soon-to-be basketball court!!! No not in Banakhe, but at another nearby village called Arubot. More uphill walk from Banakhe if you walk through the forest. Arubot is quite colorful. Almost all the houses are blue and green in color. On Saturday, we spent half the day in Arubot – we went to the mill, visited some people, one of whom was the old grandmother you see in picture 10. We called our bajai in Kathmandu so that the two could talk to each other. She was so sweet. hahaha

The next picture is a common sight in village homes. Everybody likes to put up pictures on their porch. Our grandparents have our pictures in Taji too. :-) It’s sort of a display area. hahahahah.  The last picture is of our walk back to the bus. We took another way when we returned from Banakhe. The Bhachyeck bus is quite unreliable and we would have had to walk for two hours uphill. We decided to take the downhill trail to Chahare Bazaar, where the road is much better and buses pass by every hour. But it was a walk of four hours and it was quite a bit of downhill. I fell once and nearly twisted my ankle twice. We left at 7:45 am and got to Chahare Bazaar at 11:45 am. We stopped for lunch and waited around for a bus to Bara Kilo.

At 1 pm we were on this crowded bus. I don’t mind standing but it was just incredibly hot and there was this annoying baje who wanted to sit on the floor of the bus when people didn’t have a place to put their feet on. AAAHHHH and yes, there was that loud loud loud dohori playing. the chorus part went sth like …tyehi din maile mero jyan phalne chu, timi jyanmara case ma parne chau…and another line was …lash bhetinecha nadi ko kuna ma, timlai lagne cha thuna ma. etc. etc. etc. oh my goodness. and they are soooo long. It was a 2 hour semi-bumpy ride to Bara Kilo.

From Bara Kilo, we switched to a micro to get to Khaireni and from there it was a car ride to Pokhara! Pokhara University convocation was quite an experience. We thought it was at 10 am but it started around 4 pm. I even took a nap while I was sitting around. But we had time to go to Begnas Taal and do some boating, eat some nice fish curry. . hahahha…ohoooohoooo…some timing people!!! We started our way back to Kathmandu at 6 pm and finally, reached home at 1 am.

and that’s where the adventure ends.

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