30 Jan 2018
3 min read
Our hike to Kalinchowk Bhagwati temple (a Hindu shrine) began from a small village called Kuri in Dolakha, 149 km from Kathmandu. The village, with its rustic cottages and paved walkways, is surrounded by towering hills on all sides, and can be reached in just a day from Kathmandu. To reach the place, you can either take a bus to Charikot and then hike from there to Kurióthe hike alone will take you around 10 to 12 hours. If you do not want to hike, then you can take one of the many jeeps that ply from Khadichaur to Kuri. The drive will take you around two and a half hours, but I must warn you: the condition of the road makes for a bumpy ride. Another option you have is to hire a jeep from Kathmandu to take you to Kuri, which is what we did. It is a more expensive option, but it will save you quite a lot of time.
From Kuri (3,365m), the Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple, which lies at an altitude of 3,842m, is an hour-long hike, i.e., if you walk non-stop. We started the hike at six in the morning, with the goal to reach the top of Kalinchowk Temple to take in the sunrise. But the trail was steep and the gain in altitude rapid, which made the hike quite tough. For the first 25 minutes of the hike, stone steps made up the trail. There are stops placed on regular intervals along the trail, for people to rest or just to sit on while they take in the view.
As we neared the shrine, the sounds of temple bells got more pronounced. We reached the temple at 7:30 am and there was a large group of people praying to the temple's main goddess, Kali. There were several tridents placed all around the temple. Once we reached the top, we worshipped the goddess and spent time watching the sun's rays changing the colours of the many facets of the mountains.
Accommodation and food
Because Kalinchowk has today become very popular among hikers, many hotels in Kuri have started springing up in the area. A night at the hotels cost from Rs 800 a night for a room to Rs 6,000 a night. We put up at one of the newly constructed hotels. The rooms held all the essential amenities--we were provided with two blankets each, which were enough to keep us warm at night. That said, the rooms were warm to snuggle in for a cosy sleep, but during the snow season, you might consider a little more layering. The hotel that we stayed at offered a very limited menu. But their dal bhat thali was actually quite good.
Winter is the best time to travel to Kalinchowk, as it offers you clear skies, and if you want to see the snow, late January to mid February is the time for you. But remember to take lots of warm clothes, because it can get terribly cold up there.
For those of you looking for a quick escape, Kalinchowk is the perfect option. Two days is enough to get you there, spend some time at the temple, spend a night amidst nature and get back you back to Kathmandu. If you want to become a child again and experience the wonderful world of snow, follow the media weather bulletins and then make a beeline for this lovely temple devoted to Goddess Kali.