27 Nov 2017
3 min read
Just a little north of Boudha, after a 25-minute bus ride via the Jorpati-Sundarijal road, you reach Fulari Gumba, a beautiful monastery situated on top of a small hillock in Jagadol village.
To make the most of my day off, I, along with a few friends, headed to the monastery on a fine, sunny morning. There are two routes to get to Fulari Gumba: one takes you directly to the gumba via Jhanda Park in the south, and the other takes you through the north of the hillock, via a metalled road that runs past scant settlements (we picked the former route). But as we started our short walk to the Gumba from Jagadol, the weather started to change. Gray clouds started to mottle the once-blue sky, and we were soon shrouded in thick fog.
After 10 minutes or so, we were atop Jhanda Park, where a big flag of Nepal had been erected by local people. En route, we saw terraced fields, gardens, the Gokarna Sahid Smarak Park, and had magnificent views of Boudhanath Stupa. Jhanda Park is a big, open space from where you’ll get a panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley in its entirety; the view is especially beautiful during the evenings, when the valley lights up slowly at first, and then, all at once in a million reds, yellows and whites. In the park, there are benches, a big Peepal chautari, and a few local eateries. To the north-west, you can see Fulari Gumba perched atop a hillock. We took in the view here for a few minutes and resumed walking towards the north, where we came across even more terraced fields in the Chunikhel-Suntakhan area.
Fulari Gumba, one of the most famous Tibetan monasteries in Kathmandu, is a beautifully designed monastery, with immaculate marbled floors and red walls adorned with numerous Tibetan thangkas. Inside the monastery, there is a huge meditation hall—which is filled with the aroma of incense, reverberating sounds of mantras being chanted and the warmth radiated by hundreds of burning butter lamps. However, outsiders are not allowed to enter the hall during the day. Outside the meditation hall, there is a long, wide passage, a big mandala courtyard and a strikingly beautiful garden. Visitors can take a stroll around the monastery, meditate in the garden, or observe young Buddhist monks studying and going about their daily routine.
The reverie we’d lost ourselves in was broken by big fat drops of water hitting the courtyard’s floor—it had started to rain. So we ambled around inside the Gumba for about an hour. When the rain stopped, we started to make our way back to Kathmandu. On the return journey, we came across numerous tea houses and local eateries that provided lunch and snacks at affordable prices.
- Near the Gumba there is a big pine forest and a park named Gokarna Sahid Smarak Park, a popular spot for picnics and camping (it costs Rs 10 to enter the park). The park is well maintained and has many picnic areas, drinking water facilities, clean washrooms, benches and gardens.
- If you have spare time or if you are interested in ancient art engraved in struts, then visit Gokarneshwor Mahadev Temple, which is in the vicinity. And if you want to hike more, then you can hike to Sundarijal. On your way back home, you can even pay a visit to Boudhanath Stupa in the evening and do a couple of koras.
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