Trip to Hemjakot

Text by Aniesha Shakya


Trip to Hemjakot

Hemjakot is a beautiful village lying about 19.5 km from Pokhara towards the north. It can be reached following an off-road that starts from Bhupi Sherchan Highway, a.k.a. Pokhara-Baglung Highway. The road to Hemjakot from Phedi is all gravelled. You need a good four-wheeler to get there. Most of the houses in Dhital Village Development Committee, where Hemjakot is situated, offer home-stay service. When you arrive at Hemjakot, you will soon find that the locals are very warm and welcoming. They will welcome you with tikas and garlands. If there is a large group of people, then another group will welcome you in a typical way by offering Bhangra (a white cloth worn criss-cross over your chest) and different kinds of flowers, aside from putting on a cultural program for the guests.

We could choose whichever house we liked to live in. The rooms seemed small, but were comfortable and clean, and had electricity. They offered us homemade Nepali snacks like sisno ko tarkali and kodo ko roti with mutton sukuti. The food was of typical taste, and quite different from what we had regularly. Later, for dinner, they provided the traditional Nepali daal bhaat. It was cooked from scratch over an open fire, with all the ingredients from local villages, and it was very tasty. The local-chicken curry, gundruk ko achhar, tomato pickle, saag, and other local vegetables were truly mouth-watering. Locally brewed millet liquor and rooster’s meat are also available in Hemjakot. And, they provide buffalo milk before going to bed.

For breakfast, they gave us Nepali pancake. Very dense, it’s very different from the other pancakes we usually eat. Made from eggs, hand-ground flour, and buffalo milk, it is cooked on an open fire with buffalo butter. To top it up, it is trisseled with fresh honey from the bee hive nearby. It’s really tasty.

Hemjakot is very quiet, clean, and organized little village, with beautiful traditional Nepali homes, where corn is hung from the ceiling, and smoke from the open fireplace dries and preserves them for the long winter ahead. The village is surrounded by beautiful green valleys and Himalayan peaks. If you go to Hemjakot in October, like I did, there will be some rain and clouds, but it will also be very green, and the temperature would be just about perfect. This area of Nepal is home to a large number of Gorkha soldiers.

There is a place called Kot Danda, just a 15-minute walk away from Hemjakot, from where we get a spectacular view of the surrounding valley. It was incredibly beautiful to see the misty clouds in the lower mountains. The views were breathtaking. We could feast our eyes on the majestic Fishtail Mountain and the Annapurna range. Exotic flora and fauna and some herbs can also be found in Hemjakot.

Spending some time in a village home-stay tour will change your definition of villages, and the villagers may also change their opinion about city people. You are directly participating with different native cultures of different groups. The duration that you spend in the village will be your lifelong experience, and when the time comes for departure, you will feel sad, because it will seem like saying farewell to one’s own family members. Taking the traditional meals, walking on the fields, enjoying the conversations, watching lovely sunrises and sunsets, and participating in local dances and singing are some of the good feelings that you will be taking back with you from your village tour.