Disclaimer: This is a diary of, three unregistered engineers, and a patrakar, who took off from the concrete city to get a taste of what it takes to be a dreamer, and please read it out loud! i dont verbally mean loud! i mean read it.
I have had always admired Taj Mahal, for its creepy romantic story about Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, I had no idea nepal had one so called “Nepali TajMahal”. Having spent most of my childhood outside Nepal, and a mere 2 months vacation a year in Nepal, taught me nothing about the hidden paradise.
I was at awe, when Isha called me up and recited me the plan about Nepali Taj Mahal.
I have a decent job, i had no plan to take a leave and enjoy four days of utter silence in some place called palpa, but i was excited to see Nepali Taj Mahal.
Questions were pinhard on me. Well Dude! if nepal had a taj mahal, why isnt it listed in the World Heritage? “something” wonders of the world!
4 of us set off the next day, at 7, from Naya bus park in Gaushala. The bus ride was pleasant i think, because half of the time,we we’d doze off in extreme tiredness, of the uncomfortable seats.
When i was awake, i was on a heavy duty of bugging Isha, and asking her how far till we reach our destination, and then the bus ride was taking an entertainers turn, a guy with a ‘sarangi’, singing some “made up” song, tried to entertain everyone with an open palm, asking for how much ever the passangers could offer him.
I was all kinda bored, so i asked him to sing us “Waree jamuna, paree jamuna”. He played the sarangi, and then in his tone, started singing the song, which was very much different then what i remember the song sounded like, nevertheless i handed him Rs.20, the highest note he got that day and started singing songs for all 4 of us, and by this time Isha was all blushing around for no genuine reasons!!
we finally reached Butwal, and as per Isha, we would have reached Palpa, about 1.5 hours later or so, which ofcourse we dint! it took nearly, another 3 hours for us to reach.
Our slunken tired eyes could speak no more, after having dinner, the best palpa dinner @ Isha’s cousins home, we freshend up and took off for the bed, and finally the 4 of us were in utter silence, we could hear the insects murmuring now, after a long day of travel, unaware of the road yet to explore, where tiredness, nature and lots of sun were eagerly waiting to unwrap itself….
“Wake up! we have to leave”, isha’s sister started mumbling in her dream, i guess.”What!! hell no, its still dark outside!!!!”, isha mumbled back, she was the one suggesting us to move @ 5 from “tansen” to our first stop “barangdi”, a small village, and look at her snoring like a sleeping beauty, infact no, she was complaining on her own plans.
Well at the moment all i cared about was the restroom.So I Counted my name in the first place and rushed to it, khusboo second, isha third and dikshya fourth, Well oh yea! Dikshya over here was our “Miss EBC”.
We got ready and took off from tansen @ 7, courtesy Isha.( ). We took trails, slippery paths, first it was downs and downs, we cried out for ups, since we explained eachother that the routes going up were more easier to climb then to detrail downwards, and finally we were climibing upwards and again we cried for routes detrailing downwards, explaining how the sun was such a curse for a trek, and it would be better downwards, always finding an excuse to sit, talk and take snaps of amazing greenary and steeps around for a while. We walked for 2 hours and reached Barangdi @ 9 AM, a small decent village, carpeted in lush steeps, dusts, and iron-ore, they were scattered all over the dusty road. We halted in isha’s aunt’s place, a perfect village grass roofed cottage, I, coming from a concrete city, having had grown up in pollution, fermented odours, acid rain, and unhealthy smoke, was blazed and at content to see and feel the fresh environment around me, and i wondered yes indeed, nepal is a beautiful heaven! All i could think about myself was, why didn’t i come here before! Ah! well better late than never. If i knew the consequences of coming to Palpa would make me fall in love with Nepal all over again, i would have done that a year or two before, while i was independent in my college days, now i have to work! and i hardly get chuttis. But Praise the lord, here i was sitting in a perfect paradise, surrounded by cows, cow sheds, mountains all over, green green stuffs, ah you call it trees! and not to forget cow dung!!! well anyways they smell better than the fermented odours around streets in kathmandu.
We ate a hefty meal, and took off from Barangdi @ 10 AM, isha’s aunt guided us to Rani Mahal. We walked along dusty roads, and walked across village chores, walked along steepy trails and climbed up the hill and then down simultaneously. Some had umbrellas with them, while some like me! i had my hood on! to bar the 12:00 scorching sun above our head, we had walked now for 3 hours and we finally got a glance of Rani Mahal from atop the mountain we were in, the Mahal was indefinitely small, extremely small to be precise! And we knew we still had a long way to go.
We halted on the way! a nice huge tree! provided us shade and some fresh air, we sat and looked below at the river flowing beside the Rani Mahal, and it looked amazing. We moved again, because we had to reach there before 1, we had a long way back too.
So we started again and finally reached Rani Mahal @ 1.15 to be precise.
It did look appealing, the outer view, not that appealing but yea it was not worth a 6 hour walk.
As we moved forward, we stepped on some beach sand, and then climbed the stairs up to the mahal.Heck the site was pathetic! no way was it like a mahal.
The worst part was the palace was a total mess, Nepal had no idea what it could do, and now look at this place, it looks like a total mess, no way! no way was this a bit closer to Taj Mahal.
It looked more like a place where young guys would come and enjoy drugs.
I, along with my three friends were totally depressed by the sight of the site.It could be made so much better was all we kept mumbling and felt sorry at heart. Manju, isha’s sister who guided us all the way from tansen to barangdi, and who like me was excited to see Rani Mahal, as she stayed a decade in Delhi and was well acquainted with the importance and the beauty of Taj Mahal, was even more depressed and promised she would renovate the mahal, when she started earning well and would name it “Manju ‘something'”.
The place was a disaster, the government could atleast spend some thousands to renovate it and again! earn double of those expenses, but it was a dissapointment.
Huh!they call it the Nepali Taj Mahal, for the story OK! but before comparing it to one of the 7 wonders of the world, someone who named it that way, please have a look at both the sites, and then name it appropriately! that way you’r just critisizing Taj Mahal. In no way it look and feels like Taj Mahal. Infact they should not name it Rani Mahal too, nepal would just feel lame if they called it Rani Mahal and blah blah.
Neither has the government even tried a bit to keep the villagers acquainted with its importance neither the nepalese people have a sense of “civilization”.
The walls were painted with foul words and names and dates, for what! to let the poor ghost of the mahal haunt you in your dreams? or to let the people know that you walked hours to get to this unimaginable mahal. I wouldnt back on the first thing, but yea! the second option sounds normal.
Uh! while we were obviosuly not enjoying the scene, a khaire walked inside, and looked all around, he must be thinking this used to be Maoists ko adda, and we “Maoist?”, or why would anyone dare or even try to come to this racked hell.
Ok it sounds totally harsh! go and check it out. you’d say the same. We looked around, the only thing good about the place was the river, kali gandaki. Amazingly calm, beside the racked mahal and looking at the river seemed worthwhile, the long 6 hour walk. As we strolled inside the mahal, there were used whisky bottles and mouse shit all over. Open rooms, thank god there were doors!
The government painted the mahal once re, and even the villagers dont remember when? The place was suitable for cremating rather than site seeing. While we were there, there were some people, who’d come there for cremation.
Well after a heartening look at the once beautiful mahal (i guess), we moved towards the river and feeling sorry about the place, we dipped our sore legs in the river, by now the khaire was swimming in kali gandaki! Oh how we wished we bought our swimming suit!!Ofcourse i dont have any! bcuz i donno how to swin! that was for Isha and khusboo i was sure they’d felt that way! Oh! wait i donno if khusboo knows how to swin too.
Anyways! the water was very inviting and we moved and played splashing each other with the tasteless gandaki. with drops of water dripping from our wet clothes, we moved to go back.
We bid the place good-bye! never to see it again, until someone renovated it and turned it into a resort or something i wasn’t coming back, I would come back, but else, anything else, i wont!!
The way we took back, was amazing! waterfalls all over, cool and shady trails, blocks off huge stones, isha was sharing her environment knowledge, telling us the age of the stones, by looking at the layers. We took photographs, and stopped to see the scenes, the trails we took back were better than the trails we came into. There were streams, waterfalls and dharas, chilled waters, for a moment i was at bliss again, now the mahal dint matter, the exact moment did! because i was witnessing some amazing sites, the nature. The forms nature took here were better than what we witnessed near the kali gandaki.
We had to take a steep hill upward, i intended to grab a branch when i grabbed sishnoo, still drills down chills through my body! that whole day my fingers couldnot breathe.
Latar, patar k k gardai! we finally reached barangdi again, tired and sullen with thought of never going back to rani mahal, again(yes untill it was made into a resort).
Gundruk bhat khae pachi, we went to sleep! only to realize this place had electricity and no loadshedding! NO LOADSHEDDING ever.
Day 2, ended on a tiring note, we din even have time to think of what things should we be thinking. zzzzzzzzz!!!! lights out, eyes shut, and dreaming.