The Poonhill Trek Day 1- Nayapul to Tikhedhunga : Annapurna trail in Naturally Nepal

This blog is the account of the first day at the Poonhill Trek in Nepal, famous internationally for the astounding views of the Annapurna range viz. Dhaulagiri and the awe inspiring fishtail pinnacle of Machhapuchhre.

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Machhapuchhre aka Fish tail. Annapurna Range. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

It was a relatively easy day made difficult by the harsh sun. We passed through green pastures, gurgling water streams and charming villages. The sudden rain changed our mood and I fell in love with Nepal. Again. You will never see me posting, “The mountains are calling and I must go!” I think it’s a narcissistic statement. If mountains could speak at all they would have requested us to leave them alone. Never mind. I have deep respect for the mountains and it was lovely to rekindle my secret love affair with them. It was the first real trek I did after the Everest Base Camp trek in 2015.

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Ordinary start of the trek. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

The mere drive from Thamel (Kathmandu) to Nayapul brought back memories of the Everest Base Camp Trek I completed successfully in Nepal in 2015. Ignoring the mental flashback from my last visit to Nepal, I geared up for a new adventure in Nepal. The previous day, I had an exciting day in the voluptuous Trishuli river in Nepal, indulging in white water rafting. Here is a time wise and day wise account of my adventure packed vacation in Nepal in chronological order: (Pictures on this blog are also shared in chronological order)

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Shivaling. My co trekkers Nitesh with Prasanna (in red), the trek leader. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

8:40 a.m. The first day of the Poonhill Trek was a relatively easy day which started at a village in Nayapul. While arriving at Nayapul, the fishtail pinnacle of Machhapuchhre gave us constant company. Since I was sitting on the right side of the mini-van. , I got good views of Machhapuchhre.

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The first suspension bridge. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

As we maneuvered the uphill road, we made a pit stop 30 minutes into the drive. The views were better from here. Clouds would take turn to hide and reveal the Machhapuchhre to us. We stared at the mountains to our heart’s fill and headed to Nayapul, still 45 minutes away.

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Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

10:05 a.m.: The trek started at an unimpressive market selling everything from grocery to trekking gears to medicines, footballs and tiger balms. Noisy construction work went on at several places.

After 20 minutes of walk on the dusty road, we stepped on a downward rocky stair which marked the start of the trail. It promised us 4 days of traffic free paths bereft of dust, heat, pollution and crowd.

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The aggressive duck, guarding her caged off springs. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

10:35 a.m.: As soon as I descended upon the first few steps, a voice on the left

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We took left from the bridge as the board read ‘Way to Ghorepani’ . Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Naturally Nepal

requested donation from me in a cheerful voice. Advised by my trek leader Prasanna to avoid the trap, I moved towards the first iron bridge that we came across during the trek. It was the smallest of the many iron suspension bridges which we would see throughout the trek. Before stepping upon the bridge, a massive Shivalinga and a Trishula hijacked my attention on the right. Clearly, the much revered Hindu symbols worshipped by millions in India also have fans in Nepal. The other side of the bridge took us to a sparsely populated nondescript village. Domestic hens fought for grains, while an aggressive duck attacked anyone who came nearby the wicker basket which housed her offsprings. A dog sat outside a hut nearby, sang-froid and least bothered with all the conflict.

 

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Modi river. Spot the bather. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

11:00 a.m.: We arrived at a large cement and iron bridge built over the Modi river which gurgled through most part of the first leg of the trek on Day 1. There was a pucca road on the right which gave access to the vehicles. We ignored it and climbed up a stair following the sign which read, “To Ghorepani/Poonhill”. Hindu temples and cute local kids greeted us as we entered a village.

11:35 a.m.: We passed a waterfall, another suspension bridge and a wider river, strewn with big boulders to arrive at a local juice vendor. Every time I am in Nepal, I make it a point to drink Chaba juice. I think it’s a Thai product but very popular in Nepal. The taste is distinct and it is not available in India, so I always drink it when in Nepal.

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We came across many suspension bridges like these. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

12:10 p.m.: The trail is still an easy one, most of it being a walk on flat surfaces. The hot sun was the only deterrent. Most of us from the trekking group decided to hang out for a while in a shallow water stream. After 20 minutes of slapping our faces with water, spotting fishes and photo ops, we increased our pace to reach the lunch place early.

 

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The Chaba Juice woman. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

12:33 p.m.: We had our lunch at the Mountain Lodge and Restaurant set in a scenic location. Mark, a co trekker from England quipped, “It is like an English garden!” Except the locked Ram Temple, I guess. I was curious to peep inside the Ram temple and was delighted to see that it was exactly like its Indian counterpart. Statues of Lord Ram, his brother Laxman and Sita stood in a row while Lord Hanuman sat and bowed. A horse grazed in the sprawling lawns and dogs played, oblivious to my ‘grand epiphany’. As we rewarded ourselves with carbohydrate rich pizzas and apple pies, it started to rain. The corn plants swayed in the field as rain gently washed away the dust from the foliage. We stared at the fields, romanticizing about the scenery in silence as one of the trek mate showed a selfie he just clicked with a marijuana plant nearby.

 

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Notice the Ram Temple behind. At Ramghai. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

2:30 p.m.: We waited for the rains to stop. We finally left the lunch place when it was obvious to us that the rain Gods were not really listening. Some of us carried a rain coat while most of us were not. Nobody anticipated rains and clouds as the trek started under a harsh sun. Our enterprising trek leader got each of us large plastic bags which when slit on one side, turned into a raincoat. ‘Jugad’ as they say in India. From here it was mostly climbing up rocky stairs, though an easy one. Rainfall and an overcast sky had turned the seemingly lackluster landscape into a dreamy paradise. Local dogs joined us till they found a new distraction. An old lady struggled to reach her home near our lodge when my co trekker Swati helped her reach her home. She bid us adieu with the quintessential pure smiles you find on the mountains of India and Nepal.

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Vistas like these. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

5:00 p.m.: As I sipped ginger lemon honey tea in the comfort of the lodge, I trained my eyes on the beautiful vistas from the (Soul) window – passing locals, mules, rain drops, the works! The comforting silence was suddenly broken by the terrified scream of my co trekker, Charlene from Malaysia. She just discovered a leech on her feet. God alone alone, since how long the leech was devouring the blood off her feet! Within minutes, she discovered another leech on her feet. It was followed by removing the leech with care and a man hunt on leeches through every one’s clothes and bags. Post a sumptuous dinner of pizza, delicious Swiss potato Rösti and passable custard we moved to our rooms. Me and my co trekkers gathered again on the terrace, allowing light drizzle to fall on our bodies. We bonded over giggles, Nepal stories and anticipation of the next day (Toughest in the itinerary) in pitch dark. Is that what they call a perfect day!

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That’s how you enter Tikhedhunga. Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

 Let’s talk facts:

  • Lunch break at Ramghai: We ate at Mountain Lodge and Restaurant. It’s a beautiful place. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the 4 cheese pizza. The apple pie was passable.Stick to Dal Bhat.

        Phone: 9745047089, 9746075301, 9806113542

  • Where I stayed in Tikhedunga:

Laxmi Guest House: Its setting is lovely. Our lodge was a colorful building, nothing

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Laxmi Guest House. Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek

fancy but a basic place to spend the night in. Buddhist Prayer flags swayed from the balcony. The bamboo grove housed a wooden sit out area supported on stilts. It was the perfect place to sip a coffee as the rain made music on the tin roof. The rooms are basic. The first floor rooms are better. There is a common balcony which guests can use. The toilets are common. Their tiny café offers delicious Rösti. They have hot shower for extra price. Charging gadgets is free. There are 2 common toilets. Western style in first floor. Indian style in ground floor. Paid Wi-fi available.

 

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Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal.

  • Trekking Time from Nayapul to Tikhedunga:

I started in Nayapul: 10:45 a.m.

I reached Tikhedunga: 4:50 p.m.

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I stayed at Laxmi Guest House. Tikhedhunga. En route Ghorepani Poonhill Trek. Naturally Nepal

(My trekking time is more than usual as I took time to compose pictures and videos and matched pace with co trekkers. Usually this stretch takes around 4 hrs)

  • Distance between Nayapul to Tikhedunga via trek route: 13 kms.
  • Date: 25th May 2017 (Winter is a better time for this trek)
  • Height gained on Day 1 of Poonhill Trek: Nayapul: 1060 meters.Tikhedunga: 1540 meters.
  • Grade: Easy

The views from my #SoulWindow get better as I moved.

You would love these related blogs on adventure sports (Pls click to read):

Day 2 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani

Day 3 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Ghorepani to Tadapani

Day 4 of Poonhill Trek in Nepal- Tadapani to Ghandruk and Kimche

Guide to Tiger’s Nest Monastery aka Paro Taktsang

6 Exciting monsoon treks in Sahyadris, Maharashtra

Great shoes for treks- Wildcraft’s Amphibia Sphere Outdoor Adventure and Trekking Shoes

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Body surfing in Jim Corbett National Park

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Ladder Climbing in Jim Corbett National Park

 

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26 thoughts on “The Poonhill Trek Day 1- Nayapul to Tikhedhunga : Annapurna trail in Naturally Nepal

  1. Your post gives such detailed information from Nayapul to Tikhedhunga. Despite the leeches, the trekking seems to be so interesting. I’ll definitely go to this place if i have the change to visit Nepal.

    Like

  2. Wow..through this trek you definitely passed through some of the most wonderful landscapes of Himalayas. It was good of you to mention of the donation scam. Unfortunately there are many like this all over the tourist places in the Indian subcontinent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My My… There are quite a few things I discovered in this post that fascinate me. The fish tail effect looks phenomenal. There is a MODI river in Nepal? I never knew that. And the Chaba juice. I shall keep this in my mind to try when I visit Nepal. And finally the leeches. I never anticipated there could be Leeches on a trek in the Himalayas. I only thought they stick to the rain forests of the Sahyadris 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the Modi River spot looks so beautiful. This sounds like a great trek to experience for all levels. it’ always great to see the natural environment and scenery on a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like that you wrote the entire post in a sequential pattern and also attached the pictures that way. Now we, the readers of your blog will know better what to expect from this trek. Leeches are frightening creatures but I have heard they can be defeated by salt! I have been to Pokhara in Nepal and the fishtail peak was such a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is very good that you developed an affinity with mountains. I always love mountains/hills and for me “Mountains are always calling me”. Very detailed description of how you did your trek from nayapaul to tikhedhunga. Modi river area is amazing and those suspension bridges are my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely post about a lovely experience. The Poonhill trek is indeed one that is soothing to the soul. The mountains look really endearing, no wonder you have developed a soft corner for them. Yes need to watch out for leeches, had a similar experience like Charlene on another trek. You never realize that these creatures are sucking your blood, till they have had their fill!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing your trekking experience. You have showcased the beautiful scenery well. I especially loved the Modi River – I bet it is a nice place to take a break!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an adventure!! We always travel with the kids and I know they would be fascinated by the bamboo cage for the duck babies. Beautiful scenery – the kids are getting old enough for an adventure like this one! Can’t wait for a hiking trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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