Text and Photos: Prajwal Maharjan
Kathmandu’s urban sprawl and congestion is frustrating at its Saturday best and downright soul-crushing during a Monday ‘office-time’ traffic jam. You may love this chaotic city, you may hate it, or you may love-to-hate it, but one thing is for certain, any prolonged stay in the Capital gets you yearning to leave its hypnotic chaos behind. Which is why, the entire perimeter of the Valley is dotted with settlement and outlooks that welcome hordes of city-dwellers every weekend.
A horse grazes in a water-logged field in Timal Danda.
Verdant vistas seen from a scenic outlook at Timal.
While Kakani, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and Godavari may have their varied charms, sticking to the road a while longer and truly meandering out of the larger Kathmandu Valley pays its worth back in gold. Any weekend émigré travelling to Markhu, Namo Buddha or Dolalghat will attest to the pleasure of truly leaving the Capital in earnest. Now a new destination, the verdant and enchanting Timal Danda, looks primed to cash in on its novelty chip and draw in the crowds this fall.
A shrine commemorating Padmasambhav
Timal Danda, in Kavre, is a 75 km ride east of Kathmandu via the Araniko Highway. It can be reached either via an off-road dust track that split off the main highway at Dhulikhel or through a longer route through Panchkhal. The site where the venerated Padmasambhav meditated before moving on the Pharping, Timal is dotted with religious sites and peculiar caves that commemorate where the ‘second Buddha’ meditated. Its meandering switchbacks and mesmerising views of the Kavre countryside and Ramechhap and the Himalayas beyond, ought to further provide manna for your wanderlust. That coupled with the booming infrastructure, expedited by the flourishing local Bodhichitta plantations, make Timal Danda a worthy option to quench your travel bug this autumn.
Local shamans partake in a traditional ritual.
Close enough for a day-long trip, and far enough to feel like a real escape, now with the monsoon on the wane, Timal is calling out your name.
Get there before the rest of the world does!
Embers from a bonfire waft into the night. Timal Danda has great potential as a camping site
A young girl dresses up in traditional garb for a community function
One of the several caves in Timal, where Padmasambhav is said to have meditated.
Locals separate Bodhichitta seeds from the fruit.
A boot-shaped formation in one of Timal’s caves.
Cultivating Bodhichitta has reaped great rewards for the locals at Timal Danda.