Archives for category: Conservation

Tal Talaiya is another watershed that has been converted into a popular picnic spot, much like Betana.  Located on the fringes of Itahari, the crossroads of Eastern Nepal as all roads lead to Itahari here in the East, it is the starting point if one wants to get anywhere in the East.

All Roads Lead to Itahari (from Google Maps)

Tal Talaiya has struck a chord with the locals, in a place where picnics and parties seem to be synonymous. During my visit to Tal Talaiya, it all looked and sounded like a big party with several loudspeakers playing loud Hindi music and people drinking and dancing. An entire ecosystem of hotels, restaurants and mini-grocery stores revolves around the subculture of partying on the territory of Mother Nature. In addition, Tal Talaiya itself has a wonderful ecosystem of its own, several species of birds and animals, which to be witnessed, will require one to divorce himself from the partyanimals at the heart of the Tal Talaiya and makes his way into the wild.

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Tal Talaiya Ennui

Modernity Encroaches

Modernity Encroaches

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A Foggy Evening at Tal Talaiya

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A Local Hotel/Restaurant with an Amusing Premise

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Just Another Sunset at Tal Talaiya

Phulchoki is a hill in Lalitpur district and falls within the Kathmandu valley. My father and I decided to go to Phulchoki for a picnic. We drove from Satdobato to Godavari from where the road to Phulchoki begins. We passed St. Xavier’s School at Godavari where my father went to school as a kid and it lies right on the bottom of Phulchoki hill. My father told me that in his St. Xavier’s years, they used to have an annual Phulchoki day where they used to scale the hill on foot. He viewed the hill with a certain sense of nostalgia which intensified my curiosity. The hill is foggy throughout the year. Even the occasion that I had chosen wasn’t that auspicious, the hill was lost in a thick fog. The gravel road was  intermingled with patches of black-topped road and it was steep and rough most of the way. But even then, the road was quite scenic with mother nature at her most brilliant. On the way, I saw rhododendrons, the national flower and a hummingbird which I tried to photograph but it was too fast for me. Phulchoki is also rich in iron ore deposits and purple colored rocks are scattered all over the road. When we reached the top, we found a communication tower which plays a crucial role in the telephone and televisions networks as with as civil aviation of Kathmandu and the whole country. And as a result there is an army regiment garrisoned on the top of Phulchoki which safeguards the tower. There is also a small temple dedicated to the local Phulchoki Mata. A temple, a tower and an army regiment, we found them all gathered on top of Phulchoki. “This is different”, he murmured as the military encampment went against his expectations. We had our picnic nearby the small temple, as my father began drowning in his past recollections of the hill as he’d known as a kid at St. Xavier’s Godavari. I ignored him and watched the tower which was beleaguered in the mist. I observed the siege that the mist was carrying out on this hill. A serene moment of perfect silence as I felt the chains of civilization break. And this is the reason why I love traveling.

St. Xavier School at Godavari

The Uttis (Atnus Nepalensis) Forest at Godavari

The Rough Road to Phulchoki

A Pond near the Top of Phulchoki Hill

Phulchoki

An Army Truck Delivering Water to the Army Regiment

The Communication Tower in the Midst of Fog

The Tempe on Top of the Hill

The Temple Again

Danger Sign and Barbed Wires Bordering the Army Barracks

Tibetan Prayer Flags

A Hollow Tree on the Way to Phulchoki

A View of Kathmandu

A Hill Scarred by Marble Quarries Opposite of Phulchoki

A Traffic Island

The Lonely Road to Phulchoki

More pictures of the balconies of Dhankuta.

A Gumba in Hile with Tibetan Style Balcony

Tin Strikes Back

From Biratnagar, I wandered off to the hilly district of Dhankuta. The hill town of Dhankuta is the capital of the district that it is named after and nearby is the town of Hile, an entrepot in which traders from Dhankuta, Tehrathum, Bhojpur, Sankhuwasabha, western parts of Taplejung and Panchthar district gather. I have always regarded Hile as the Timbuktu of Purba. The traditional houses of Dhankuta have their own flavor, they are generally made of mud or wood, are multi-storied  and narrow and have wooden balconies . The Balcony is the nevus of the Dhankuta house. With cement and concrete devouring the old mud/wood houses, the balconies are finding themselves on the path to oblivion. In the era of apathy, I decided to be empathetic to these forsaken balconies of Dhankuta and Hile. Nepal is on the road to oblivion too due to the ruthlessness of our apathy. As the clouds of modernization and urbanization gather over Dhankuta, I wonder what little will remain of our identity, as manifested in small details like the balcony of a house.

Newari style window

Newari Style Window Balcony in Dhankuta

Insidious Steel Rods Creep into This Newari Balcony

Another Newari Style House in Dhankuta, with Flower Pots

The Titular Wooden Balcony (Above Kirana Dukan)

Rarity Even in Kathmandu: A Cast Iron Balcony with Wooden Framework. Possibly Imported from Calcutta

Two Storied Balcony House (Mud and Stone House with Cement Plaster)

Double Storied Balcony with Contrasting Construction Materials (Tin and Wood)

A Balcony Influenced by Mithila Art (Mud and Stone House)

Wide Angle View of the House in the Last Picture

Deep Purple

A Balcony without Railings Used to Showcase Flowerpots

Compartmentalized Balcony, (A Manifestation of Anshabanda)

This House Has Got Them Blues (Located in Hile)

The Rise of Tin