Travelogue |Trip to Khumai Dada: What I saw, what I felt

Khumai Dada is a great destination but the people associated with the hospitality business should do more to attract tourists.

Sugam Gautam

  • Read Time 6 min.

My friends and I were drinking tea at our regular junction. It was late evening–an ideal time for everyone to meet for tea.

After the usual chattering, our conversation started getting serious.

“It’s been a while since our last trek. I have nothing to do sitting at home,” one of my friends said. “Yeah, I also want to travel somewhere. To some hillock,” said the other. “I have just finished my exam. It would be a good refreshment.”

It was my turn to respond. Everyone looked at me. “I can manage a leave of 2 days,” I ventured. In that casual fashion, we made a plan for an expedition to Khumai Dada. Khumai Dada has become a popular trekking destination in recent times. Located on the north side of Pokhara at 3245m above sea level, it offers a panoramic view of the Mardi, Machhapuchhre, and Annapurna ranges, among others. Those who love to hike have either explored it already or keep this place on their to-go list. We planned a 2-day hike considering everyone’s schedules. We were a group of five. We gathered at Ratna Chowk and bought packed items we would eat on the way. Since it was a short trek, we had brought only one trekking bag; apart from that, everyone had carried a regular backpack. I had read somewhere that drinking water might be scarce, so I suggested that everyone take extra water bottles. Our next stop was Srijana Chowk. We boarded a small van from Srijana Chowk to Hari Chowk. It was 10 in the morning, and we hadn’t had breakfast yet. We might have gone for anything except daal-bhat if it weren’t for the trekking. The plan was to gobble up a heavy diet before heading for the destination. At Hari Chowk, we struggled to find a good eatery. My friends went to the bus stop to ask about the timing of the vehicles. Even after they returned, I was unable to figure out the right place to eat. “The van is leaving in 40 minutes. We have forty minutes for breakfast,” said a friend. We had to find a clean-looking hotel quickly. The roadside hotels looked so filthy you wouldn’t dare to enter, let alone ask what they offered. We walked back from the bus stop and covered some good distance, only to settle at a spacious but carelessly organized hotel. We ate a good portion of daal-bhat for the sake of our strength. After that, we got on a crammed van to reach Ghachok. 

Ghachok was the place from where we were to walk on foot. The sky was overcast when we left Pokhara. We had felt that the rain would pour anytime, so we made sure to buy plastic raincoats. On reaching Ghachok, I made a joke that the weather was acting really funny. It was boiling, and I prayed the sun would hide behind the clouds. I guess my prayer had been heard. As we continued walking, the weather got favorable. A cold breeze blew past my face, soothing my skin and instilling freshness in my body. The air was far better than what you inhale in the city areas. 

I turned back to observe what Ghachok looked like. You could see fields, mud houses, and greenery everywhere. I recalled what Pokhara Valley looked like from the nearby hills. The buildings pressed against each other, countless vehicles plying the road, the buzzing of the crowd, and the mad rush. Pokhara was undoubtedly a beautiful place, but it would have been more attractive if there had been more greenery. 

Making fun of each other and talking about random things, we reached a big, green pasture, where we stayed for a while. When we got to our feet, we could see a downpour of rain in the distant hills. We had no other options than to walk and find shelter if it rained. We walked with long strides, and after some intense walking, we spotted a small hotel that served tea and noodles. A shooting crew was there for a music video. Wooden logs in the form of benches graced the hotel’s small garden. Just below the garden, you could see clumps of marijuana. Although its cultivation is illegal in Nepal, the people around the hotel had fostered it with great care. We ordered tea there. While waiting for tea, a middle-aged man came around our table. “Off to Khumai Dada?” he asked. He said he owns a hotel at Khumai Dada. His kind voice sounded trustworthy, so we listened to him as we waited for tea. 

“You’ll be staying in my hotel. I’ll give a good discount to my brothers,” he smiled. We asked about the package, and he gave us a good deal.

 “Since I will accompany you throughout the journey, you will have no difficulties. It looks like it’s going to rain. Have you brought raincoats?” 

After drinking tea, we progressed toward the destination. The man stayed back, saying, “Keep walking. I’ll catch you on the way.”

While waiting for tea, a middle-aged man came around our table. “Off to Khumai Dada?” he asked. “You’ll be staying in my hotel. I’ll give you a good discount.”

At first, it was only a drizzle, but it started raining heavily once we entered the dense forest. One of our friends, who is slightly overweight, found it hard to keep up with our pace. We constantly had to wait for him. The tall trees prevented our bodies from rain to some extent. Slippery stones and jutted roots of trees added to the challenge, and we slipped on a few occasions. The narrow trail got steeper with time, but we kept walking steadily. At Hile Kharka, we did some photography and replenished our water bottles. The next stop was Chichimley. We stayed there not because we were tired but because walking in the heavy downpour was impossible.

Half an hour later, the downpour stopped but it was still drizzling. I feared slipping and tumbling on the hills, so I walked as slowly as possible. After ascending the slope of Deurali, I noticed the rhododendron trees on both sides of the trail. I imagined how beautiful the hills would look in the season when the rhododendron blooms. We reached the plains of Khumai Dada at around 7 pm. Since it was overcast, we couldn’t see the mountains clearly. It was freezing, and I put on a jacket before warming my hands against the fire set by the hotel owner. The dinner was horrible and, if I’m being honest, I must say that every item was bland. I even peeked inside the kitchen; heaps of tomato lay on the floor; the countertop looked dirty; there were no lids on the container. The hotel owner could have done more to keep the place clean. 

What I must appreciate is the friendly nature of the hotel staff. Soon after dinner, the music ranging from salaijo to dohori filled the air, provoking everyone to at least get on foot and swing their arms.

The other group was also from Pokhara, and we got along really well. The hotel owner, whom we had met on the way, was a great dancer. His ever-smiling face put everyone at ease, and when he waved his hands at you, it was hard to hold back from dancing with him. 

The next day, we had to wake up at 4 am to observe the sunrise from Korchan. Korchan was a 2-hour walk from Khumai Dada. We slept at 11 pm, keeping in mind that we ought to wake up early in the morning. Unfortunately, it rained the whole night, and it was still raining when we woke at 4 in the morning. 

It was still raining. The clouds obscured the mountain, but we captured some photos regardless of the cloudy background. We couldn’t manage the ideal sightseeing, but still, the journey was worthwhile. We descended Khumai Dada at 10:30 in the morning and reached Pokhara at 3 in the afternoon. I think Khumai Dada is a great destination, but the people associated with the hospitality business should do more to attract tourists. There are three hotels at Khumai Dada, and one of the owners said the next hotel would be opening soon. When I visit Khumai Dada next time, I will love to see good hotels and a good view of snow-filled mountains. I also won’t mind a bit of snow falling on me.  

Sugam Gautam is a writer based in Pokhara.