Kalinchowk Bhagwati, famously known as “Kalinchowk”, is one of the popular hiking destinations for hikers in Nepal. While just a few years back this place wasn’t that popular, recently it has been able to prove it’s worth of share in the list of travel destinations in Nepal.
Initially, Kalinchowk was famous among some Hindu fellows because of the temple of goddess Bhagawati located at the top of the hill and later due to the mesmerizing view offered by this place, people started making trips to Kalinchowk.
Kalinchowk is still an unexplored territory for most foreigners who come to Nepal and it is mostly a hiking destination for local tourists only.
Located at a height of 3842 meters, Kalinchowk provides an amazing 360 degree view with over 180 degree view of pure Mountains. One can see a clear view of wide range of Mountains from here like “Rolwaling Himalayan range” and other majestic Himalayas of Nepal. During the winter, snowfall is also expected which adds more beauty to this place and is another reason for Nepalese to visit Kalinchowk in winter.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that Kalinchowk is definitely not an easy destination! If you are planning to visit this place, you have to be well-prepared and in this article you will learn about 8 things to keep in mind before going to Kalinchowk.
1) Going To Kalinchowk From Kathmandu
Kalinchowk is quite far away from Kathmandu. If you decide to take the entire route on bus or a jeep, the jeep from Kathmandu to Mudey takes about 6 hours and from Mudey to Kuri (which is the base of Kalinchowk) takes about another 3 hours. That’s like 9-10 hours just sitting on the bus. To make things worse, most of the roads are not well built and are nothing but bumpy, dusty and stony ride.
If you are taking your own vehicle, then decide only if you have a high clearance vehicle which can run off road smoothly. Unless you want to break your silencer pipe on the way, do not plan to go there on a small Maruti or an old TATA Sumo.
If you are planning to hike from Mudey, which will be about 6-7 hours of uphill hike, do not waste too much time on the way so that you get there before dark. However, if after walking for a few hours you think you can no longer walk anymore, do not worry. You should be easily able to find a jeep to rent or hitchhike on the way as well as long as it’s not late at night.
2) Two Days Or Three Days?
If you can manage, then the best option is definitely three days trip to Kalinchowk. If you plan for just two days, while you can manage to get there the first day, stay there overnight and return next day, you will be spending most of your time just on the bus. You won’t able to enjoy the trip fully on two days. If you have three days, then you can add an additional night enjoying the remote but lively city of Charikot on your trip.
3) Finding A Hotel
While there are quite a few hotels in Kuri and you should be able to find a decent one when you arrive there, to be on a safe side, you should make arrangements for hotel booking beforehand. Specially if you are going to Kalinchowk on some special occasions like New Years or other festivals, the place could be crowded and you might not be able to find the best deals when you get there.
Another advantage of booking a hotel beforehand is that if for some reason you reach Kalinchowk quite later than the expected time, you can be assured that you have your hotel booked. The hotel guys are also helpful as they can arrange for emergency rides if needed if you have contact with them
So, always book a hotel from Kathmandu itself.
4) What Kind Of Clothes To Take?
Well, to answer this question, consider this: the water is usually at a freezing point in Kalinchowk; you can hardly wash your face with that cold water! While the hotels do provide blankets, a warm fire and winter foods (including Tongba) to keep you warm, you should be well-prepared with warm clothes. Also, prepare to carry shoes that you can use in snow if you are going around mid-January time.
Ladies, get those winter wears. Gentlemen, carry your favorite drinks! It’s going to get really cold up there.
5) Going To Kalinchowk From Kuri
The best view from Kalinchowk is right during the sunrise. Therefore, it is important that you reach the top of the hill before sunrise. While the hike from Kuri to Kalinchowk is a short one which is only about 1 and a half hour long, due to the steep inclined rise of the hill, it could be a challenging hike for many people.
So, to reach before sunrise, one should prepare to start hike around 4:30 in the morning. That way, you should reach the top by 6 am and get time to enjoy the magnificent view of sunrise colors that begin from the horizon which slowly light the dark mountains and the valley.
6) Altitude Sickness
3842 meters of height is not a small altitude. Specially during the early morning when the sun hasn’t come up yet, it gets painfully cold and your body would want to resist it. One could feel numbness in the fingers, painful headaches, nausea and also vomit.
If you are not used to climbing hills and have no prior experience of hiking, it is strongly recommended that you prepare your body by exercising at least 15 days before taking this trip to Kalinchowk. At Kuri, do not drink too much the night before. Get plenty of sleep and also take some hot tea and light snacks before starting the hike.
Yes, you do not want to forget bringing your camera if you are going to Kalinchowk.
If you love photography, Kalinchowk offers you with a wide array of mountain ranges posing for your lenses. The serene view of stars at night, the valley of Kuri, the majestic mountains and the green hills; everything is worth capturing.
If you are a selfie lover, do not forget to bring your phone with a fully charged battery. Also, one important thing to note is that, at higher altitudes, mobile phones drastically lose their charge because of a sudden drop in temperature. For that reason, it is advised to turn off the phone during the night or when not needed so that you can save battery for the camera when needed.
8) Coming Back To Kathmandu
Again, recall the trip going to Kalinchowk from Kathmandu. It’s pretty much the same. The journey on the vehicle is going to be a very long one. Make sure to get a good vehicle which is capable enough to travel without breaking up on the way. Make sure to find comfortable seats for yourself. You do not want to be standing and hanging for the next 9-10 hours! You can find both local buses as well as Tata sumo jeeps from Charikot. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages which you should consider.
Also, many local buses have “No Break Time” policy! Be prepared with a good meal before jumping on that bus. If you get on those buses, you might even have to forget the idea of using restrooms altogether! The best you could get is 30 seconds break somewhere amid the highway which you have to make the right use of.