Volunteering in Nepal: Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park

Now that my language class and sightseeing have finished, I’m working at the school to teach English. More about that later, because I want to write about last Sunday first. This was a free day again as usual, and I thought I’d follow some of the other volunteers again. This time Brigitte (New Zealand), who doesn’t live with me in Sugandha’s house, decided to to visit some kind of forest. Some other volunteers such as Collin (USA), Alien (Dutch), me, Franne (Dutch), Charlotte (Dutch), Rineke (Dutch), Kim (Dutch) and Didi (Dutch) (yes, Pepsi Cola is really a Dutch enclave in Pepsi Cola) decided to follow.

First we took the bus to Thamel so some shopping could be done. I bought a nail clipper, as I had forgotten to take one along, and took a look at some maps of Pokhara because I might want to travel to Kaskikot which lies not far from there. I’m considering to teach at the school there in the next month, because I’m interested to see a different part of Nepal, more authentic than Pepsi Cola.

Then we proceeded the journey to this forest. Things didn’t go smoothly, and after some surprises it turned out that we couldn’t find this forest. Brigitte apparently improvised to visit something else which was interesting, and we continued on a long walk through Kathmandu’s dusty streets. At this time I was getting annoyed and hesitant as to where this trip might lead to, but at the end of the day I was so glad I didn’t decide to turn back.

After a long time of walking, we arrived at the entrance to Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. We had to pay 250 rupees for entrance. We decided to take the shortest trip, six kilometers to Shivapuri peak.

This trip turned out to be at least five kilometers of stairs. While we climbed the stairs we saw some Nepalese workers not far from the entrance who were repairing or expanding the stairs, which are made out of blocks of stone. Apparently they carried the stones all the way to up themselves.

Climbing these almost endless stairs is not an easy task. I, Rineke and Collin could manage, but most of the others had to reduce their pace, so we split into two groups, with the second group reaching the summit a bit later. Brigitte was the exception however, not even breaking a sweat while she was taking the lead of our first group. I suspected Brigitte wasn’t the average person, and when I inquired about it she confirmed my suspicions. She is a marathon runner, and every morning, including the one of that day, she runs a few kilometers in the vicinity of Pepsi Cola to practise.

The trip to the summit was tough and long, but finally we arrived at the watchtower and the Buddhist temple at the top. We were able to see Mount Everest from this location. This temple had a lot of prayer flags flowing in the wind, as you can see on the photos. The top provided an ecstasy-inducing view over the Kathmandu valley, which easily surpassed the view from Swayambunath, with this top being much higher. The weather was great on summit during the afternoon, and we took our time to enjoy the experience completely. I have never seen anything like this before in my life.

Prayer flags on Shivapuri's summit

View from Shivapuri's summit

After the sour comes the sweet, as some Dutch politicians like say, which is so true in this case as well. It wasn’t an easy trip and early on I became quite demotivated, but when I got the end result I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. It’s also good to feel exhausted again, because last months I haven’t done much strenuous physical activity.

3 thoughts on “Volunteering in Nepal: Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park”

  1. Hey Alexander,

    ik lees hier dat het daar erg bijzonder moet zijn! wat heb je al veel gezien en beleefd zeg! ziet er mooi uit, al die foto’s!
    ben je ondertussen al aan het lesgeven, of komt dat nog.
    en lukt het een beetje met de taalles die je hebt gehad?

    leuk dat er ook nog meer vrijwilligers bij hetzelfde gastgezin zitten, zijn het ook nog aardige mensen allemaal?
    ik kijk alweer uit naar je volgende verhaal hoor!

    groetjes, Marita

  2. Yes, I’m already teaching at the school, and I will write about that and the other volunteers later. The language classes are okay, I can use some words to buy food in stores and restaurants but most people know English anyway. Yes, every volunteer I’ve met so far is nice.

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