Chitlang, located 22 kilometres from Kathmandu, lies on the oldest route connecting the nation’s capital to the rest of the world.
It is a short trip from Kathmandu; a leisurely 2 hour walk uphill from Thankot through the Chandragiri pass will get you there. The hike takes you through beautiful forests, and lucky trekkers get to see the Himalayan range in the background.
A trip to Chitlang is memorable for the unique experiences it offers. Promoting community based village tourism, locals have set up homestays where the accommodations are comfortable, the food is homecooked, and the hospitality is unending.
The village boasts Nepal’s first goat cheese factory. The factory now has homestay options for visitors as well. Products from the factory can also be purchased on Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market at 1905 Restaurant in Kantipath. You can also enjoy locally-made pear wine, not available at the Farmer’s Market, just in Chitlang.
The Newar village’s participation in Nepal’s history is visible on the roofs of some of its houses. Since it was the only route connecting Kathmandu to the rest of the world, Nepal’s royalty used to stay overnight in Chitlang on their trips.Tin containers carrying their biscuits have been recycled by the villagers, and can be seen in the form of roofing in the old houses in the village.
In another era, porters could be seen walking up from Bhimphedi, through Chitlang, carrying cars to Kathmandu, where they would be driven by the valley’s elite. The road is yet unpaved, and lets you recreate that experience.
Things to see in Chitlang include an old tap (gurjudhara) where Nepal’s famed poet, Laxmi Prasad Devkota wrote his poem titled “Yatri” (traveler). There is a homestay here.
Other sights include an Ashoka chaitya, and an old stone inscription from the Licchhavi period in Nepal, and a Shiva temple with 3 gajurs.
The best way to discover Chitlang is a 2 day hiking trip that takes you from Kathmandu to Chitlang, via Thankot. You can stay overnight at the village, and return to the valley through Kulekhani and Dakshinkali.
On the way back, you will see Indra Sarovar, a lake formed by the Kulekhani hydropower dam. The rest of the hike is along the serene and pretty lake.
There is also another homestay here if you want to extend your trip. Fishing and boating options are sometimes available on the lake.
Once you reach the Kulekhani dam, you can catch a jeep to Kathmandu.
A list of homestay contact numbers and their profile will be available soon.
By: Mamata Pokharel
Photos: Jeevan Ale