The driver steered his van down the corrugated road outside of the National park, with us bouncing along on the back seat. In front of a gate he wobbled to a halt.
The surrounding was cold; wraiths of mist wandered between the big trees.
Waking up early in winter is definitely not my cup of mocha. After many attempts, my alarm finally woke me up at 6:30 a.m. I stumbled in the washroom and quickly geared myself for the hike. The plan for the rest of the day was unpredictable. All i knew was, we were hiking through Northern hills of Kathmandu Valley, a well known hiking trail to Shivapuri. The hike started at 8 a.m. We walked in excitement! We walked past some fellow hikers who were also on their way and also few elderly people who just came to enjoy the nature. As our hike continued, evidence of human and civilization began to fade. Where there used to be tall towers and urban heat trapped within them, there were trees in which trunks were completely covered in vines and the brisk wind was blowing, sending chills down our spines. The sound of engines running in vehicles and the human noises were gone, replaced by the sounds of hikers walking, twigs cracking, and wind blowing. Everything in the shade of nature was different. It felt as if we were walking into a beautifully painted picture.
It took us two hours of continuous hike to reach the Nagi Gompa; a Buddhist Monastery. Such a beautiful sight to witness; the peacefulness that surrounded the area. Our observation was sharpened;nothing escaped our eyes. We sat beneath a tree and enjoyed our lunch. A sense of euphoria invaded us. We had no work worries, no fear of examinations, no anxiety about the home chores. We had the leisure to stand, to walk and talk. The open air had a bracing effect on the mind. The congestion of the city, the uproar and tumult, the intolerable noise of traffic, the depressing daily routine all these were forgotten and the mind was at liberty. The excitement of climbing up to the
top of a hill, the adventure of climbing down a slope, sun-rays peaking from the trees, imparted a charm to our hike. We then felt like running, leaping, singing and laughing. How merrily we traveled mile after mile in the company of friends. The feeling of unlimited freedom made our hearts leap with joy. The opportunity of small conversation with the strangers we met on the way added flare to the hike. When was the time we really enjoyed a conversation with an unknown person? We met all kinds of people in the course of a long hike. We were interested in chatting with them just as they welcomed exchanging ideas with us.
By the time we came to the end of our journey, we were as hungry as a hawk and relished the meal that we ate in a small shop. Being on the top of the hills, was like an escape from the chaotic lifestyle we had; the human noise so distant, the city far away, I was at peace with everything around me. The reward was spectacular and I thought, this might be how being in heaven felt like. And as I was ready to get on a bus I carried a feeling of satisfaction like no other.