Above it all as the Lights Come On

Where am I Issue 214 Sep, 2019
Text by Sudil Joshi

Standing atop a hill high above the valley, looking across the city buildings below, I feel myself breathing a sigh of relief. From dusk to sunset the wait begins for the mystic view of the cityscape; time passes slowly and the waiting game begins. One after another the lights start to glow, moving from one building to the thousands, and I begin to wonder just how people are spending their day to day life, each one of them with something different to do. This is where your thoughts go as you look down at the amazing view of the Kathmandu Valley.
Starting off from Balkhu, head towards Chovar Danda (south of the Kathmandu V alley) along the pitched road and then the trails to Taudaha Lake, on your left side. About 500 meters after passing the lake you’ll see a Pipal tree ahead; this is where you take a right. And again the journey from pitched to dirt road starts. A few more turns, right and left, before you reach this clifftop, overlooking the valley. This hill, shortly before Champadevi, is very steep—I am doing it by motorbike, but it also makes a great hike.
Just a few minutes’ drive from Taudaha Lake, I feel like I have already left the valley’s dust and pollution far behind for a peaceful and clean rural environment. Riding higher, finally I can see a glimpse of the valley view. Every time I get to the top, I find the fresh air and the feel of looking at the city from above the clouds just impossible to describe in words. Sitting at the well-known restaurant on the cliff, enjoying my food, I can see the city turn bright at night. The highways, buildings, the lake, even the international airport, the Swyambhu stupa, forests, and more of the city’s landmarks: you can see them all from here. The combination of lights, road, greenery, the silent environment and fresh air—it always brings me peace.