Friday, March 16, 2012

A Day of Cycling

Our money saving tip: Buy an air pressure gauge if you plan on doing any cycling while you are here in Nepal. People tend to get a lot of flat tires and I believe I‘ve discovered the reason. People, even some mechanics, do not have an air pressure gauge so the tire is fine when they fix it, but after the person drives a while the air gets hot and expands. Driving on over inflated tires is not good, especially when the roads are filled with pot-holes and rocks; it’s a flat tire waiting to happen. 

My suggestion is to have an air pressure gauge and keep the tires inflated properly. Even if you are taking a motorcycle or scooter it’ a good idea. Save money on petrol, get a better ride and have the added safety of not getting a blowout. 
Bike Route from Kapan:
Breakfast: 4 cup carafe of organic coffee for two, 120 Nrs., French toast, 80 Nrs., 3 eggs with potatoes and toast, 185 Nrs. Mountain bike rental for two in Kapan:  600 Nrs., Entrance Fees: 15 Nrs. for the park at the pine grove, 20 Nrs. for tour of historical jail site, Water: 20 Nrs., Lunch: 290, Tea for two with packaged cookie: 30 Nrs.

Starting in the morning at Azizz Restaurant & Rooms we had a lovely breakfast that included Nepali, organic brewed coffee.  Next, we set off on a very peaceful bike route for a day trip beginning at the Azizz, which is across from Ani Gumba Nunnery in Kapan. We rode past beautiful stair-stepped farms along the hills and primitive villages never to be far from a monastery or temple. I was surprised to see a man and woman along the road selling water and a few other packaged items. It is interesting to see how the culture, nature and spiritual pursuits all come together to provide a lovely day out; the make-shift store was just at the entrance of the temple/park grounds.  

As we approached the hill we could see three monasteries in one view. We went up the hill to the grounds of the famous Kopan Buddhist monastery and park, but unfortunately, just as we entered we got a flat tire so we relaxed for a bit in their pine grove and proceeded to repair the bike. It was very nice and quiet. Even when we had the flat tire we didn’t need to push it far before finding a tire shop. Notice the children in the photo at the tire shop. They were actually the ones that changed the tire. It was only after the job was done that the adult came to air it up and collect 380 rupees for the service and new inner tube. 

 As we made our way up the hills the road began to become worse for a short stretch. We came to a lovely temple grounds of Shiva where we got to play with the monkeys and relax some more. It was quite nice with a picnic area along the river and very peaceful. One monkey ran up the Shiva tree and started playing with another monkey so I took a few pictures of them and then as we were leaving I turned to take a picture of the beautiful tree. When I uploaded it onto my computer it had blue lights and blue shadows in the tree as if Shiva Himself was there playing with the monkeys. It is a lovely gift from Lord Shiva so I pass it on to you to copy and use. 

I had so much fun feeding one of the monkeys. They were very different from the monkeys at the other temples I’d been to. These monkeys were much calmer. I may have been the only tourist there that afternoon.  It’s funny how every tourist wishes all the other ones would go home and that’s how I felt, like I was the last tourist standing.

We also stopped along the way at the Sundarijaal area jail site where famous democratic freedom fighters, D.P. Koirala and his colleagues were held during the 1940’s. It was here that they were jailed under house arrest for quite some time. It was all in Nepalese so it didn’t really interest me, but the grounds were nice.

At the end of the bike route you will come to a set of stairs going up to Sundarijaal Village. Sundarijaal is at the beginning of the Langtang and Helambu Trekking Routes. The Bagmati River runs through this village, which begins at Shivapura Hill in the north part of Kathmandu. This is the oldest part of the Kathmandu Valley and Shivapura Hill is where Lord Shiva meditated.    

As a side note, this is also the beginning of a lovely hiking route to Shivapura Hill. It takes about 2 hours going up and at least an hour to come back down. You can see where the Bagmati River begins, a temple dedicated to Shiva and a lake. This is actually in the jungle/forest reserve. The charge for the trek is 250 Nrs. Be sure to bring two photos and a copy of your visa for all the national parks. I suggest in my book to bring some from home so you don't have to worry about finding electricity when you need to buy a permit, license, SIM card, etc.

Just prior to the steps you will see an island restaurant to the right. It is lovely but a bit over priced. This is where you can see evidence of one of the legends of old in Hindu history. It was uncanny to see how the actual evidence supports the story in this and one other place on this bike route. Gokarneshor, the first temple we saw that day was equally as religiously significant. It has a bridge where we could see where Manjushree cut the stone so the lake could drain and the Kathmandu valley could become such a wonderful place for farming and commerce. This is the second story of how the Kathmandu valley was once filled with water and how Manjushree drained it. In this, the second place, go through the outdoor restaurant and sit on the sofa at the far end of the property. This restaurant has very lovely, well manicured grounds and as you sit there sipping over-priced tea you can look down and see where Manjushree stepped and it looks like he got stuck a bit. There is a huge broken rock that lays beside what look like footprints. The rock is broken in three places and you can see where he may have put his hand to pull his foot out of what has since become stone. There is a similar place in Texas, about 50-100 miles south of Fort Worth, where you can see dinosaur footprints in what looks like this type of stone.

If you are in need of either a room for the night or a delicious, home cooked meal give Azizz Restaurant & Rooms a call at +977-1-4812915. It is a convenient starting place for this day. Take a look at their home page at Bedycasa at:
Shameless commercial: If you would like a copy of three important lists from my book, “Nepal On a Budget,” just send me an email with “Three Lists” in the subject line. The lists are: What to do prior to leaving home, What to bring from home and What to leave at home. For example, I almost bought a universal adapter for my PC for about $40. Then after I got here I found them all over town for only 300 rupees or less. You can get one with a surge protector for a few dollars more. Please, if you are coming to Nepal you need to read these lists. They will help you throughout your stay.  If you would like information on purchasing the book please send an email and I will forward the link when the book is published. It is an e-book.

These were some people dressed in traditional clothing living pretty much as they have for thousands of years.

These are the steps at the end of the route.


 Naba and the young mechanics. Notice the older one that we almost missed here.

  This is at the end our our ride and this part of the Bagmati River is very clean and this part is good for swimming after the monsoon season.

 This is Naba and me sipping tea at the end of the ride. I hope you enjoyed our blog. Please leave a comment and subscribe.

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