Tangting and Krapu Dada - Lockdown Series Ep 3 ताङतिङ र क्रपु डाँडा
Bhupal dai's invitation was a pleasant surprise. We had been drawn to Tangting the very first time we had visited Sikles. We had also heard a lot about Krapu hill and we were excited. We were pretty exhausted after our Meme Lake and Kori hill treks.
"Just wait, I will deliver this same dialogue in your wedding." "Husband's home or where?" "No I won't go." "Why won't you marry?" "No I will bring husband to my home." We spent 2 pleasurable days relaxing in Sikles. On the third day, we said our farewells. Our host and their daughter Yumika bid us farewell with Tika.
Maila dai escorted us all the way upto Miteri bridge. "So long Maila dai." "Oh the rope is loose." "Godspeed." "Ok see you again." "Lots of love." "Let's meet soon in Pokhara." "Anyhow in Thulakot." "Rishav, go well." "Don't cry Maila dai."
"Oh it's just like I"m saying goodbye to my sweetheart." "One is coming from above. Another one from below." "So which one is the jeep which will take us to Tangting?" Welcome to another episode of Ghumante. We are in the middleof a forest right now.
We are waiting for the jeep that Bhupal dai has sent for us from Tangting. There are two jeeps headed our way so we are not sure which one's here for us. So yeah, welcome to Tangting video. We had to wait for our ride a while.
As we loaded up our stuff and hopped on the jeep, we could see the brightly lit houses of Sikles. We had a feeling akin to homesickness on seeing it. We reached Bhupal dai's Annapurna Cottage at around 9PM.
"We have come back home to our village." On the morning, the skies were stunningly clear. The first time we had stayed here was cloudy. The scenery in front of us on this clear morning was spellbinding.
Annapurna and Lamjung mountain range stood tall above beautiful Sikles. Our coffee tasted so sweet as we enjoyed the view right from the yard. Whether the sweetness was due to the generous sugar or the scenery in front of us, we couldn't tell. Our host Bhupal dai had to go to Pokhara on some urgent errand.
Even though he was not here, his would call us frequently to say "my brothers please feel at home." "Is this pork?" "What a surprise!" Our morning meal was another delightful surprise. Since our Meme trek, all the villages were of Gurung community so we had no chance of getting pork items.
So all of us were having this huge craving. But what a surprise, here in Tangting we have pork curry for lunch special. We had planned a rest day in Tangting as well.
The chairperson of the village Ekajung was pretty excited to give us a tour of the village on that day. So we headed to his office after our lunch. We met a lot of people from the local youth groups, women's group and other active villlagers. Krapu is a special hill because it is the top of all the villages in this region.
In our Gurung language, Kra means "head" or "peak. So it's called Krapu meaning the head of all lands. All the villages of Lamjung, Kaski all are joined on its top. A lot of people here including older generations have gone abroad for employment, such as British Gurkha services.
So, our village has received all kinds of support from not only the Government but our own people too. As you see this building where our office is located, the contribution of local people is double that of the Nepal Government. A lot of donations was raised through local women's group, youth groups, migrant workers and other village well wishers. Our assembly hall alone fits upto 300. Our women's group in Tangting was not so active even say 3 years ago. In the monsoon of three years ago around 2017, we formed a committee of mother's group.
And I feel that organizing like that has brought a lot of changes to us women in Tangting. All the mother's groups here are now very active socially. I was able to acquire Nrs. 1 lakh (USD1000) for mother's group in last year's village assembly.
And then all of us group members called a meeting to discuss how best to use this fund. We decided to plant flowers and so we planted some annuals. We divided ourselves into 3 groups and invested the money in the flowers. And we were able to earn about Nrs. 4 lakh (USD 4000) by selling the flowers at the end of the year. So after learning the value of flowers, many mothers started growing flower in their own yards. And now, some have made incomes such as NRs. 5000, some Nrs. 10,000 by selling them.
The mother's group here has also become active in resolving disputes. They are now called upon wherever their are family or group disruptions, conflicts. We've also made some rules recently, like no businesses should be open after 11 PM at night, and we have decided to ban gambling. The gamblers didn't heed us. But when the mother's go to their den, all the people flee. People fear the mothers more than the police.
All of us- the homestays, the hotels, the mother's group, youths and locals - talk constantly about how to promote our village. And we make collective effort to develop our village and its tourism opportunity. I think we have also changed a lot for the better because of our group effort. We also heard about Tangting's past, present and future dreams. Hearing these made us feel closer to Tangting. Right now, we are at about 20 minutes walk away from Tangting in this road turning. And this is the best view point of Tangting. You can click a selfie with the mountains in the background.
Or you can angle this way and take a shot of the village. This is a place you should not miss when visiting Tangting. "Look at the dedication of Aashish." "His feet are sore walking barefoot. But still he persists."
We spent 2 days just relaxing in Tangting because our exhausted bones had not recovered fully yet. Meanwhile Bhupal dai was back with a new friend from Pokhara- Jiwan. It's 1 PM now. We start trek to Krapu today. We've just had lunch and all the team is here. Getting ready. Now, Krapu is about a 1000m altitude gain and about 4 hours walk. For your information, during winter when the road conditions are fair, you can take about halfway.
"Double socks." "All ready as our war with leeches continue." "Don't say final battle just yet." "Ammo for leeches." A lot of you ask us, are there leeches in monsoon? And what to do about it? And we are also kind of learning on the job.
From salt balls to double plastics on our feet. And today, we also learnt of this mixture. You have to be careful not to let it touch your skin. Leeches don't come anywhere near you due to its smell. "Where you guys headed to?" "Krapu." "Where will you stay tonight?" "In Krapu." "Oh so you will make it to Krapu today?" "Yes."
"Is it very far, grandpa?" "Umm, we old people wouldn't make it. But you guys can." "How long will it take?" "What time is it now?" "It's 1.30." "Then maybe you guys will reach there around 5.30-6." "Where are you coming from?" "I have a shed up there. So I had come to see what's going on there." "Ok see you." In Tangting, we organize a ritual ceremony twice a year to ward off evil, to wish for good fortune, to pray that no diseases spreads in the village.
All of us villagers raise funds and sacrifice a sheep in the beginning of fall and spring. This area is where we do the ceremony. This ritual has continued since the day Tangting village existed. This place is called Nauchu Fijyu. It's a stretch of about 10 minutes walk. This is a sacred place so it's prohibited to litter, spit, or uproot even a single plant. It's a dense rhododendron forest. But you cannot pick the flowers. It is believed that if you violate any of these rules, then evil like rain, hailstorm will befall the village.
The Nauchu Fijyu woods were very beautiful and clean. Even though it was not very big, it felt surreal walking through it. We have just reached Nauchu view point after crossing the sacred forest of Nauchu Fijyu. We came across a wide meadow right after the woods ended. It's been a hour since we left Tangting.
We've already gained about 300-350m. This is where we hold our "earth worship" ceremony. Above those tree groves, no one is allowed to go except the head priest. Many people come here on Wednesday/Thursday, worship and have lunch and then go back. Us Gurung have worshipped the earth, sky, stones, trees, woods, hills, all natural entities from ancient times.
Many of our rituals are worshipping natural elements. We sacrifice sheep here too on occasion. Right now, our trail intersects with the newly dug roads from Tangting to Krapu. We can see that the rains have caused landslides in many sections and the road is blocked. There will be no maintenance until the monsoon is over probably around September end.
This Krapu trek is our final one for the Sikles-Madi area. We had also made a request to make it special. So, it has been luxurious in a sense because while we were resting here our chairperson sir offered us this donut. I don't think we've done any trek with so much eating done yet. If you miss cream in your donut, you can always carry some from Bhupal dai's bakery in the village.
If you bring hot water in a flask and tea bags, you can make your own tea as well. It will be good in this chilly weather. "How's it going?" "All right." "When will we arrive?" "We're already halfway." "We'll hopefully reach in about 1.5 hours." We're finally at Krapu hill. The view point is just a little above us. It took us only 4.5 hours even with such a leisurely pace.
But the altitude gain is somewhat higher. Our total ascent was about 1200m but due to some downhill, we gained about 1000m net. If the weather opens up tomorrow, we'll head to the viewpoint some 100m above us. But for tonight, this is our stop. This shelter house. "Let's not talk about the uphill climb."
Maybe the old route was gentler. I had come here in a jeep before. I expected the uphill to finish at every turn. But it never ended. I thought the uphill would end in 2 turns but maybe we crossed 30-40 such points.
Oh looks like I will have a bad thigh cramp. So I'm just sitting here relaxing my pained body. The first night spent in the shelter was fun. Since it was close to Tangting and monsoon time, we had made all the preparations for long stay. Chok and other friends attended to dinner while Bhupal dai started barbecuing some chicken wings.
It was raining heavily outside while inside we were having a grand time enjoying our food and conversation. Everyone's now ready for bed. 1,2,3....good night.
The weather didn't clear up the next morning. Annapurna gave us a brief glimpse from inside thick cloud. But we were not anxious this time as we had learned about patience from Kori and Meme trek.
Since Krapu was so close to the village, we were feeling extra reassured. We had food stock for about 3-4 days. On top of that since Annapurna cottage had its own bakery, we also had lots of freshly baked breads. After breakfast, our Tangting friends and chairperson started cleaning the shelter without a second's delay. We are cleaning this shelter because it will be more comfortable to visitors if this is periodically cleaned.
Even though I'm an elected government official, I have a habit of doing things myself wherever I go. I don't worry about dirtying my hands. I specially clean any structure, public places wherever I go. I had that nature from a small age. And so I start. And then seeing me, my juniors are forced to do the same. This shelter was made by a local husband-wife couple from Yangibot village.
Mr. Rasbahadur Gurung and wife Chandi Gurung had constructed this both of whom have passed away. They had a daughter but now even she is no more. So its upkeep was ashtray for a while. So, for the past few years, us villagers from Tangting have taken it upon ourselves to maintain it.
This shelter has also provided us much comfort and support as we make our way to and from Tangting. "Where are guys you off to?" "We are going to check out another viewpoint." "It's about 20-25 minutes walk from here."
"We're looking for possible take-off points for paragliding." "Oh so there are chances of paragliding starting here then?" "There's a high chance of paragliding thriving here as it's a large valley. So we are studying the possibility. Let's see how it goes." "Best of luck." "Thanks." A new trending word in Nepali social media "raila" was applicable to our situation. Which loosely translates to goofing. We spent two days in the shelter just goofing off as we were tired from our back-to-back treks and since the village was so close.
On the third day, the weather was relatively better. We all gathered in the viewpoint above the shelter to enjoy mountain view. "But Aashish is taking a bath even in this cold. He said he couldn't do without a bath."
"Taking advantage of the sun." We are changing camp for our Krapu stay. We will camp in another shelter about 30 minutes above us right in the viewpoint. Hopefully we can shoot some footage tomorrow morning or evening if the weather opens up. We had assumed it would take us 20-25 minutes, but we're here in 10 minutes.
It's very near and the meadow here is bigger. The view point is just over there. "It took only 10 minutes?" "Maybe not even that much." "I didn't feel like we even walked." "Oh spirit of Krapu, bless us..."(Gurung language prayer)
In the new shelter, chairperson Ekkaraj first prayed to the deities after lighting the fire. He said that it is necessary to request the natural spirit, woods and deities to give safe passage to all who stay in that place. "So the dialect of Tangting and Sikles is different?" "We understand each other because it's the same language but yes it's spoken differently." "I think it's just the intonation that is different. I've lived in both villages and I think all else is similar." The weather that had opened up briefly in the morning didn't let up. So, we goofed up some more in the new shelter.
The weather is against us in Krapu. But since we've come this far, we decided that we need to check out the highest point as well. So we'll go to the main view point. Observe the surrounding views even though it's cloudy. And then we are heading back. This is our Taujha deurali. In the old days, shepherds use to pray here.
Nowadays, we clean it periodically. Clean the weeds growing out. We pray here that no one suffer from disease or altitude sickness. We pay homage by offering some money, flowers, prayers sometimes. One can reach Krapu from Tangting in an hour's drive or 4 hours of walking.
We stayed here for 3-4 days. The views didn't open up but yet we're happy with our camping. Putting Krapu in our bucket list for next time, we are now heading down to Tangting "It's not that hard like in Kanchenjunga, is it?" "No. Luxury." "Good view point."
"Yes. And we've postponed our wish to see the houses hidden by clouds for next time." We talked about the future plans for Krapu with the chairperson as we headed down. There were plans to build toilets, lodging and food facilities, and upgrading the roads. But the lockdown had put everything on hold. "What is the name of this place, aunty?" "Nhoju." "So you have a shed in Nhoju and you are Bhupal dai's aunt?" "Yes. I'm his own aunt. His father's sister."
"Oh I just wanted to tell the world that you treated us with curd." "Bye auntie. The curd was the best." We are very close to the village now. We are walking through the "virgin woods".
The sacred woods of Nauchu Fijyu. And you've already heard from our chairperson. It is prohibited to spit, litter or even fart, or urinate in this area.
So while walking through these woods, I was already feeling like I was walking through a very clean holy place. But I want to add something else. Many of the woods, trekking trails of our country are also a kind of Nauchu Fijyu. We shouldn't litter in them as well.
We shouldn't throw plastics or garbage even there. In here, there's a religious restriction. But in those other places, we should understand it ourselves. If we practiced no littering diligently, our trekking routes, villages and forests would be so much cleaner. The weather gods played a good trick on us.
The skies that didn't open up in our 4 days stay in Krapu opened up majestically the next morning in Tangting. We enjoyed our breakfast from the yard of Annapurna Cottage while feasting our eyes upon the view. We had no complains that it didn't open up in Krapu. To quote superhit song of Narayan Gopal, "what a difference a friend's company makes in your life."
We had company of not one but 8 friends. We had earned love of people of Tangting. So what was there really to complain about? Thank you so much to Bhupal dai and Chairperson Ekajung for the invitation and their company throughout our stay. Bhupal dai has come back to his village determined to do something here even though he had a successful business in Pokhara city. We salute the energy, friendliness and dedication of the village chair Ekajung Gurung. We formed a close bond with him in the 4 days of Krapu stay.
We have to say honest, dedicated and approachable elected representatives like him are rare in our country. A new friendship began with our old wellwisher Jiban from this journey. We became fast friends with him within such a short time. Many thanks to 4 other companions -Chok, Khim, Bel and Bin Gurung. Thanks to the chef of Annapurna Cottage Lalit Tamang for all the delicious food. Thanks to Bakery Chef Milan Gurung. Thanks for the support Dilu and Sapana as well.
And last loads of love and good luck to all the residents of Tangting. Wishing a long life to respected Pasro and Dev Gurung- the eldest living members of the village. Tangting -just 2 hours away from Pokhara- is rich in Gurung culture and natural beauty Krapu just an hour's drive away and the periphery carries a lot of tourism potential. We are confident that Tangting will be hub of tourism in near future.
With this, our Krapu and Tangting video comes to an end. We want to thank the team here for the support. Chairperson Mr. Ekaraj Gurung. Khim here, runner dai Chok Bahadur, Bel and another brother Bin. Many many thanks to Bhupal dai as well.
If you liked this video, please do "like share subscribe." "Always stay like this my brother. Always bloom like this flower."