Beautiful Far West

By: Pankaj Thapa

I was sitting outside a small hut, the sky was blue, and not a single cloud hovered above me – just a wide expanse of vast openness. In the distance, the Seti meandered – near its banks were thatched houses in bright red. Vast open green farms formed a perfect contrast – like that of a painting. Inside the open kitchen, an elderly couple was frying some fresh fish. “Recently caught from the river”, my friend from Bajhang explained to me as I stretched back and relaxed to take in the view that surrounded me.

Bajhang was surreal, almost like a dream!

Okay, first let’s rewind.

To begin with, Bajhang is far – really far, and perhaps that’s the reason why it is called the far-west. I took a flight to Dhangadi which was little over an hour, and a twelve-hour jeep ride to Chainpur – the district headquarters.  

Leaving the plains of Dhangadi, and after briefly touching upon Doti, we arrived at Dadeldhura district. Once at Dadeldhura, Arjun, our travel companion suggested we eat some local kheer (rice pudding) at the famous BajeKo Kheer Pasal. It was drizzling outside, and the weather was cold – all the more reasons to say yes to the lovely delight. We gulped down the delicious kheer – only then realizing how famished we were.

Moving onward, we crossed Dadeldhura and entered Baitadi, after which the landscape slowly began to change – terraced farms illustrating different shades of green made a picturesque view. As we traversed through Baitadi, the weather started getting colder, and within minutes we found ourselves navigating through snow. We continued, enjoying the sight and stopped at Shribhawar for tea. A small highway settlement, Shribhawar was blanketed in snow.

“The first time this winter”, a local remarked which made me think about a report I had recently read on how Nepal had experienced the least amount of snowfall in thirty years this winters. 

We did what we had to – took plenty of pictures, and enjoyed the view with a warm cup of tea in our hands. The sun had begun to set after we left Shribhawar, and there was not much we could see. We arrived at Chainpur, Bajhang late at night.

The next morning, we explored the small town of Chainpur. Situated along the banks of the Seti River, Chainpur is a mix of modern and traditional buildings, which comes alive in the evenings with traders, elderly, children, all out on the streets.  

In the afternoon, we left Chainpur, pursuing the Seti River north. The weather had cleared up, and it was a beautiful day. The road we were pursuing was the same road that led to Saipal – western Nepal’s second highest mountain which is famed for its beauty. But Saipal was very far away, and we were content with the view that lay ahead.

The Seti River, gushing and beautiful was a permanent fixture to our right. Vast green paddy fields sprawled along the banks with the occasional village settlements. The villages, with a few dozen homes comprised of black thatched roofs and red walls suggested that modernity was yet to touch the lives of rural Bajhangis. Children ran the narrow alleys, while the elderly sat outside in the garden watching the world go by – and they seemed content.

We stopped at a place, high up from where the grandeur of the valley could be seen in a single frame. The homeowners began to fry some fish they had caught in the river as we sat to enjoy the view – the sky bright blue, green pastures until the eyes could see, and black thatched homes – it was like a postcard.

And it wasn’t a dream!

A soft wind caressed my face as the homeowners brought the fish out. “Did you know, the ruins that you can see just above this home used to be a fort of the Bajhangi Raja (King)?”

I remember thinking to myself; this place does not stop amusing me. With so much history, so much culture, and so much beauty – how could so many of us have missed it?

We returned to our hotel late in the evening, and settled down for a quiet dinner. The next day, we were supposed to travel to Masta Rural Municipality. The day was as beautiful as yesterday, and the journey was long, deep in the confines of the district.

I chose to hike this day. In the distance, the mountains of western Nepal were gleaming. The road was dusty, and houses weren’t as frequent as yesterday’s. But the walk was serene – just me and nature. I relished every bit of it. I remember stopping at one point where the view was particularly stunning and read one chapter of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”, hoping to connect the same way as he did with nature.

It has been over a month since I left Bajhang, but I am still drawn to the places – to that exact moment where I sat atop a hill to enjoy the beauty of Bajhang, and another as I sat on a rock with not a soul in sight.

I am determined to revisit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Customize Your Trip

We at Khempalung Adventure specialize in making customized trips to suit the needs of our guest. These trips are tailor made for individual travellers, friends travelling together, family holidays or private groups.

The itinerary will be designed focusing on your choice of interest that will suit your time frame and any other special requirement’s as required.

Contact us to make your Dream Holiday come alive.