Some people want quantity and goodness, I want quality and greatness. I wanted to applause on this statement but then, I don’t wanna kill the moment of a great man who's trying to unleash his inner thoughts, our lovely host in Dhulikhel.
My buddy informed me that we’re leaving Kathmandu after three days of exploring it to go to Dhulikhel, I gave him my go-ahead-whatever smirk and just went along. As always, I didn’t bother to check out our meekest itinerary nor did I try to google about it. I’m the laziest traveler there is. I don’t wanna be bothered by what-to-do’s and where-to-go’s for I really don’t wanna pre-empt what I must do and what I should feel which also is not good when you’re pressed with time for you really miss out some “important” things to see. But I really love that though, getting lost and stuff. I digress.
After checking out from Hotel Ganesh Himal, we headed straight to the Kathmandu Bus Station (near Ratna Park) and searched for the bus that goes to Dhulikhel. We got in the first bus we saw and settled on the last row. We paid 100 Rupees (US$ 1) each for the fare and enjoyed the two-hour ride with occasional catnaps on our way. I specially love the view from final half hour of the trip.
|Bus terminal near Ratna Park|
|Our non-AC bus from Kathmandu to Dhulikhel|
First in order was to look for a place to stay at. Walking around, we saw a huge signage in front of a house, Nawaranga Guesthouse and Art Gallery (Southeast of the main road leading to the Shiva Temple); I was intrigued with the gallery and informed my buddy that we are so staying there. A front yard with a mini garden and lounging areas greeted us as we got inside the gateway.
Namaste! I called out from the guesthouse’s main door (I was so getting used with Nepali greetings that it became habitual). A gracious grandpa-like man emerged from the screen door and greeted us, it was the owner.
The ground floor of the guesthouse serves as the lobby, restaurant and art gallery. Artworks from local artists are displayed, some of which are for sale. It’s cozy inside, the brick walls provided a relaxed and homey feel to the place. It's like we're trapped in time and all I wanna do was to settle in some of the chairs and stare at the quiet neighborhood as seen from the glass windows of the guesthouse.
Purna Man Shrestha, the grandpa-like owner, showed us the guest rooms (on the third and fourth levels of the structure). The third floor houses the Single and Double rooms (starts at 600 Rupees/US$ 6 per night with shared toilet and bath) while the topmost floor holds the Family room (starts at 1,000 Rupees/US$ 10 per night with en suite toilet and bath).
The rooms are just basic, nothing fancy, with just a bed, table, chair, and some drawers/cabinets. There are no AC or fan coolers, you’ll not need any though for Dhulikhel has this all-day, chilly weather; thick blankets and duvets are the must-haves during bedtime.
|Family Room that could fit 4 - 6 persons|
We’ve decided to get the Family room (at a very discounted price) that could fit in at least 6 persons; we were sold with the en suite toilet and bath. Its location on the topmost floor was also the deciding point for we had a great view of the neighborhood over at the rooftop. The room was ok. Electricity was erratic. Hot shower is provided (through solar panels) during daytime. Free WiFi connection is also available. I also had the chance to do some laundry work one sleepless night, the clothesline are just a few steps from our door.
The initial plan was just to stay overnight but because we immediately fell in love with Dhulikhel, we decided to extend for one more night.
We usually had our breakfasts at the guesthouse (tables were adorned by fresh flowers from the garden every morning). I was totally digging their Fried Rice, Masala Omelet, French Toast and the nice pot of Nepali coffee. The authentic Nepali dishes were just a plus for the nice chitchat we had with Mr. Purna every morning (and every chance we had). We would ask him about his past and he’d gladly share bits and pieces of his life. What I love most are the stories about his people (the Nepalese); their struggles and feats, the traditional versus the contemporary, and the story of Ganesh and Kartikeya (which I totally love). We were so privileged to have been shared with these priceless chronicles from a very lovely man.
|Really good Nepali coffee|
I also adore the stories Mr. Purna shared about the humble beginnings of the guesthouse. Nawaranga Guesthouse opened in the 70’s and provided some shelter for travelers and visitors of the town. It was meek and unassuming, just a roof under your head and with the company of the best hosts in town.
|We bought some art pieces from the gallery|
|And with the best host ever!|
Socials were usually done at nightfall. Guests from different parts of the world merge at the mess hall or the roof top to share some travel stories and play games while downing some few bottles of beer.
Forget about comfy beds and lavish resort-like facilities, Nawaranga Guesthouse and Art Gallery is the essence of what traveling is. It’s digging into the core of a place; its treasured thoughts and dreams.
Leaving Mr. Purna and his wife was the saddest; it’s like leaving your old folks behind. And just as we're about to leave, he gave me a fresh flower and I hugged him in return. Just tell me, how can you leave that old man eh?
Nawaranga Guesthouse and Art Gallery
Dhulikhel-3, Kavre, Nepal