Dhulikel is the perfect place to begin your travel in the Kathmandu valley. It is. Here’s why : it is an hour’s drive from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu; it is a real Newari town, not just a tourist destination; if you are to spend a lot of your holiday in the hum and drum of Kathmandu city, might as well start off with your senses rejuvenated; you could easily get to Nagarkot Wildlife Sanctuary from here and if you are going to Tibet (wish list, wish list), this is the road to take and a perfect stop over. To top it all, for the perfect views of the Himalayan mountain ranges and a quaint, red-rich Mountain resort that elevates you – at 1550 m above sea-level, that’s true, literally and metaphorically.
I reckon any of the reasons I stated is good enough. Given our limited time, the Himalayan landscape clinched it for us.
From the moment I saw the archway of the resort, I was lured. The rich red earth made for the perfect welcoming. The lovely cottages built with rendered red bricks and authentic bamboo and thatched roofs reflected local architecture beautifully. The interior decor of its cottages – modest, warm and welcoming.
We spent the evening in the earthy surrounds of the Resort’s restaurant dotted with geraniums, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, carnations and so on and basked in the verdant views of the rugged Himalayan mountain ranges featuring Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Gauri Shanker and the Everest region.
Come nightfall, cricket calls accompanied us to the restaurant where we met a bunch of travellers returning from a soulful trip to Kailash Manasoravor. We chatted as we dined a sumptuous sattvik Nepali fare.
The Mountain Resort and Dhulikel itself, is perfectly positioned for day treks and hikes. M and I headed out on a hike in the morning, taking a path to a little heritage village higher up in the mountain. On the motorless road, we walked along side hurrying school children of various ages. We saw people tending to their vegetable patches on the terraced gardens and saw glimpses of everyday life in the hinterlands of Nepal. Life in these terrains can be challenging to say the least with no motor transport and schools and supplies a good walk away.
We wrapped our morning hike with a walk in the garden at the Resort. The perfectly curated garden has a variety of native plants, flowers, orchid, herbs, an organic fruit orchard and umpteen pathways. I was lucky to be taken on a tour of this bountiful garden by none other than its maker : the gardener who’s been working on it for over 40 years!
So, by all means, if you are going to Nepal, go to Dhulikel. If not as a starting point, stop over at some point. You will like it here.
Mists descend, as we ascend. Thankfully they cleared!
The archway of the Dhulikel Mountain Resort by the roadside on Arniko highway, the gateway to Tibet
Now, look at that red!rich!earth!
An open-air reception seating area. I’ll say, I love it!
Look at the rich!red!brick!architecture!
The outdoor restaurant, the arena for watching the Himalayan spectacle
Mountain view like no other
Our cottage for the evening
Closer look at the cottage
A religious tree called Swami under which no one is allowed to speak ill, smoke or do any bad deeds. So says the gardener on his tour of the Resort’s verdant garden.
Flowers, flowers, catch my sight!
The gardener and his landscape
Another view of the cottages at the resort