Khopara Ridge Trek – 2023

Six of us – Satish Khole, Mrugendra Behere, Shrikant Gurjar, Shashank Nerlekar, Ved Prakash Dubey and I went for the ‘Khopara Ridge’ trek in Nepal (28 November 2023 to 8 December 2023).

Warning: I don’t know if you have ever seen one of those old maps where they mark a spot with a cross and put ‘Here be dragons’ or ‘Keep ye eye skinned for hippogriffs” – but I issue this statutory warning that you have gotten into reading a rather long account. (BTW, the words are not mine, but of P.G. Wodehouse 😊)

The narrative is meant for me to browse over in the later years (when I won’t be able to do trekking). So, enter at your own risk!

This time, we had not done any practice climbs on Sinhagad, so we were a bit worried about how we would find this trek. But the spirit was high, so we recorded this on the hillock in Pune (Tekdi), a day before we left for the trek. Total shining 😊

We landed in Kathmandu, late afternoon on the same day. Again, the customary welcome by the team from Majestic Travel and Trek with garlands.

We have been using the services of Majestic for almost all our treks in Nepal and we highly recommend them. The person rightmost, is Ang Ghombu, our guide for this trek. He was also our guide for the trek last year to Gokyo.

Next morning (November 29, 2023), we left very early for Kathmandu airport to take the flight to Pokhara. We could see several snow peaks from the flight. It is a short (22 minute) flight.

Our assistant guide and 3 porters also joined us at the airport. We then got into two 4×4 vehicles to drive us to a place called Ghandruk. The drive was about 1.5 hrs (or a bit more). The road was almost non-existent for most parts (as you can see in the video). Our watches thought we were doing exercise and registered thousands of steps!

We reached Ghandruk and assembled our bones together. I had a feeling as if a couple of vertebrae had telescoped into each other and got fused 😊

At Ghandruk, which seemed like a taluka place, we had lunch. Our tryst with Dal bhaat had begun here. Mrugendra ordered Aloo Paratha, which apparently was very tasty. We started our trek from here around 1.45 pm and we had about a 3 hour walk to our destination, Tadapani. The initial path led through some scenic villages
Then started the steps. Endless steps, just going on and on.

While climbing these steps that went on forever (which Ved also called as स्वर्ग की सीढियाँ), we passed through some tea gardens on both sides of the steps.

After about an hour and half of climbing, we passed through a forest.

Again a whole lot of steps to climb. This had slowed us down. It was all very green and scenic. We finally reached a place called Bhaisikharka at 4.45 pm.

It gets dark around 5 pm in these parts, so we decided to stay at this place instead of going further to Tadapani. We had done three modes of travel today – air, road and walk and there was another 45 minutes to 1 hour to Tadapani – so Ang also thought it best to stay here.

We all had a nice hot shower at Bhaisikharka. It was quite cold and the hot shower felt really good. One person who could not have a shower was – Shrikant. He had forgotten to carry his towel. There were only 2 tea houses here and both did not have any towels for sale. Mrugendra, very helpfully offered him his spare towel, which he is holding here. After Shrikant rejected the offer, rather disdainfully, and mentioned some specific part of the body which he would clean with it, the offer was hurriedly withdrawn by Mrugendra 😊

Summary for the day –

Date: 29 November 2023
Segment: Ghandruk to Bhaisikharka
Distance: 4.2 kms
Total Ascent: 2100 feet
Total Descent: 410 feet
Net Ascent: 1690 feet
Next morning (November 30, 2023) , we could see flaming colours in the sky around 6.20 am or so, on the clouds. We started after breakfast for our next camp – Dobato.
We passed through some rhododendron forests.

When we reached Tadapani, we saw what we could have seen out of our window at sunrise.

There was one tea house, which was right at the cliff where we could have gazed at this for sunset and sunrise. Tadapani is also a slightly bigger place. Shrikant bought a towel (well, what we can call half a towel) here. We passed through a forest of huge rhodhodendron trees – weirdly shaped as they probably moved in search of sunlight.