The monsoon brings rain. Lots of it. Ususally it is in the afternoon, but not always. So of course, the day I decide to go sight seeing to Devghat, it has to rain all day. But! That did not stop me.
So after my mandatory chiya in the morning, I start my walk to Pakaudi from where a bus will take me to Narayanghad (Chitwan district’s second largest city). It will be from there that I can walk to Devghat (or that was my plan anyway).
So I get on the bus and sit down. many pot holes, a flat tire and the bus driving soaring 20 km/h it finally stops for the first time to let a lot of people off. I ask the friendly man sitting next to me if this was Narayanghad. With a smile, he shakes his head. We have a short conversation where one didn’t understand the other, but somehow kept it going for a while, actually making some sense.
I guess my Nepali language classes did help me after all!
So after my asking this man around 10 times if we had reached Narayanghad, and him finally laughing at me a little bit at my stubbornness of wanting to be in Narayanghad we do actually eventually stop in the big city. This time though, I do not bother to ask if we are here. I just look at him and he nods, smiles and motions me to get off. A friendly ‘bye! Have a nice day!’ and a wave later I’m off the bus, not knowing where to go next.
Shreeram drew me a map, but that hadn’t prepared me for this! A huge road, with many intersections. I knew I had to turn right at one of those…but which one?
So I just started walking. The rain started to pour down again and I shortly thought of buying an umbrella, but shook the thought from my mind immediately, thinking ‘i’m already wet…he umbrella wont help me anymore’. So I trek on. Asing at every intersection where Devghat would be simply by motioning in the direction I was going and asking: ‘Devghat?’
My Nepali teacher would not be proud of me…I should have just said: Devghat kahaane cha?’ but I didn’t.
Eventually I got to an intersection that was filled with busses, taxis, rikschas and people. I decided that I would have to turn right. Just to make sure, I asked another person. So I crossed the road and continued to walk on the sidewalk of the smaller road that was perpendicular to the large main road.
Shortly, I was amazed that this city had actual roads…bigger roads and more organized roads than Kathmandu.
I continued to walk until I came to a spliting of the road, so I asked again and was motioned in the right direction. I got to the Pokhara bus park and decided to ask a man who was standing outside a hotel where I would have to go to walk the 6 km to Devghat. I should mention that it was still raining. So the man looked at me, said: ‘it’s 6 k’. I could tell that he wasn’t convinced that I should walk just from his face. So I smile, and then a little sadly respond: ‘okay. which bus is it then?’
Instead of answering he asks me where I am from. ‘Austria’. To my surprise he knows exactly what I’m talking about. Usually people respond with ‘Australia?’ to which I then have to say: ‘no. Austria’ often they smile and nod, but don’t seem to understand the difference. This man however, was different. To my even bigger surprise, he started to talk to me in GERMAN. I found out he had lived in Germany for 14 years and that he liked it there and that he knew where Austria was and to go to the big tree and ask again about the bus there.
So I go to the big tree and ask ‘bus devghat?’ smiles and nods and motions to the right. I go there, to ask yet another person. This time in better Nepali: ‘Devghat bus?’ points. ‘Kati samaya cha?’ ‘tin minet’. So I had learnt that the bus would come to where he pointed in around thirty minutes.
I go back to the roofed waiting area to protect myself from the water that is still being thrown out of the sky in buckets, have a sip of water, and realize I really needed a bathroom. So I made a plan to wait to get to Devghat, find a restaurant (becuase I am SURE there will be a couple…it’s a holy sight afterall) go to the bathroom, maybe eat something and then continue the sight seeing.
Short intermission: there were no restaurants. But a surprisingly clean public toilet! YES. THANK GOD.
The bus ride was rather unspectacular, except for the fact that I DROVE THROUGH A JUNGLE! WHICH IS CONSIDERED TOTALLY NORMAL HERE!
I get off, cross the amazingly scary bridge just as it stopped to rain. The fog was rising from the two meeting rivers and I could see tips of temples inbetween the trees on the other side of the bridge. It really seemed like I entered a different world as I crossed the bridge. It became so much more quiet, peaceful and…dare I say, holy?
To my surprise, there weren’t really any ‘restaurants’ that looked like they had toilets…so I repressed my need and walked around a bit. I got told I was going the wrong way and had to go left to get to the temples. So I did. I walked through the small path that lead around little shops, houses and smaller temples until I reached a tourist friendly sign that said: ‘temple area 2 mins. ahead’. puh. I guess I WAS going the right way ^^
As I climbed the steps I saw a holy man walk next to me, dressed in his orange wrap skirt, with his one dread hanging out of his turban-like head covering, carrying a trident and a metal bucket. ‘Namaskar’ He smiled and responded ‘Namaste’.
The ticket counter was empty. So I waited for a minute until the holy man from before reached me. In almost perfect english he simply said: ‘come in!’ ‘Is i okay?’ ‘yes. please. come in!’ So I entered. walked to the temple, met some children, walked past the temple, turned around, walked back. turned towards the river walked on the smaller path and around in circles. Then I wanted to see the river again and found a roofed area where the holy man was sitting. ‘come in! come in’ so I entered. ‘please, sit’, so I sat down. I continued to have a talk with the holy man about me, and Nepal and whether or not I had seen the temples yet. It was quite amazing. Soon two other men came and I learnt that one of them operated the ticket counter. I laughed a little, took some pictures and left again. After walking around the area for another couple of minutes I leave, go to the ticket counter and ask the man (who was now sitting there) whether I had to pay. with a smile he said no, and waved me on. I guess he liked me, because just before, two other tourists had to pay.
I continue to walk around Devghat, through the village, out of the village on dirt road paths. It was so quiet. All you could hear were the voices of the prayers coming from the temples if you got close enough to them.
On my way back to the bridge I hear a ‘hello! come here’ So I turn around look and see a group of men and women standing in a shop, so I say hello and they ask me to come again. ‘Would you like some tee?’ as politely as possible, I refuse, but sit down. For a couple of minutes I have a chat with these people, who spoke english surprisingly well and learnt a lot about Devghat and its people. After promising to have tea with them if I came to Devghat again I finally did get up and left. After a short walk I crossed the bridge back into the normal world where loud cars and busses journey along. where people talk loudly and children run around. None of which happened in Devghat.
Devghat, the most peaceful place on earth. Or at least hte most peaceful place I have been to.
This place is so peaceful, that even the butterflies forget to be afraid of humans. While talking to the group of people in the shop a butterfly landed on my arm and leg just to have a seat. I didn’t move much, but talked. And it simply landed there to rest for a while. I think a place is truly peaceful, when even a butterfly forgets that man is his worst enemy. It is beautiful.