– Milan Tamu Gurung
Kholasothar, a popular and fascinating Gurung heritage site is a recent tourist destination about 200 kilometers far from Kathmandu which can update you on Gurung history, civilization, traditional cultural dances, music and delectable indigenous foods.
So, the initial visitors who were lovers of cultures visited these Gurung villages where the facilities of homestay suffused with natural beauty are already on the rise. Some of the main features can be described as given below:
Key Features of Kholasother
- Ghale village, Bhujung, Pas village, Siklesh and Tangting country Gurung villages can be fascinating for the tourists while touring this heritage site.
- Gurung traditional cultural dances like Ghantu, Sorathi, Krishna charitra, Pachyu, Ghyabre, etc attract foreigners.
- Enchanting sight of blooming rhododendron in the greenery-laden mountains, panoramic glimpses of Himalayan mountain ranges, live flora and fauna, birds and crops swaying in a mirthful manner are unforgettable sights.
- Sharing the pastoral experiences of hill shepherds by chatting with them closely can be very exciting moments for the tourists
- As a photojournalist, I had the opportunity to visit this village along with 28 members of UK situated Tamu Dhi. The six-day tour package we enjoyed can be very relevant for any other tourists. So, I mention the itinerary as below:
On first day our team reached Lamjung’s Ghale village( Ghalegaun). It takes nearly 6 hours’ travel in a vehicle to arrive at Besisahar, the major town of Lamjung from Kathmandu.
Popular Ghale gaun arrives after one and half an hour travel in a jeep upwards from this main town. At the homestay, the tourists were welcomed with garlands, music and light snacks.
In the evening, we enjoyed the exciting view of sunset and glimpses of Himalayan ranges at an angle of 360 degrees. Ghale Gaun has not only its pristine cultural heritage to share with the outside world, but also has beautiful natural surroundings and settings that make it a unique site to visit.
Gurung dances and music are also typical to observe here. Traditional dances like Ghantu, Sworathi, Krishna Charitra, Pachyu, GHabri lulled us to sleep. We visited the statue of Ghale king as well.
On the second day, we headed for Bhujung. So, we trailed along the hills of Nayu. Let me remind you that this Nayu is the birth place of Nepali, but Australian multi-millionaire Mr. Shesh Ghale . We had our lunch at Bhujung. Bhujung village has a cluster of nearly 500 houses, which are worth seeing. Music and welcome ceremony continued here too. The joy of descending to the Midim river and trailing up towards Kharka was quite different. Sight of variety of rhododendron at Kharka was quite enjoyable. That day halted at Samiro area.
Today is the special day for us because we have to climb a 3300-meter-high mountain and see the sight of mountain ranges here besides eye-catching sight of rhododendrons. Today’s stay will be at Nashi Kharka. Cow sheds can be used to stay here but since we were a big team, so we had carried our own tents.
Today is the day to reach Kholasothar. We are very much eager and anxious to reach this site. Who might not be willing to visit a place which was made cultivable by his ancestors? On top of that Cambridge University had already done research on its historical and archeological significance in the past.
By afternoon, we reached Kholasothar. I was very confident about the origin of Gurung civilization and history here by looking at the ruins. I am not an archeologist nor a historian, but I can say that all ongoing Gurung traditions are derived from this site. We were fortunate to stay here for the night.
The fifth day was to return from Kholasothar. We headed for Siklesh the first place to initiate homestay. The road was difficult and risky, but we were not deterred by difficulty. We descended to Madkyu river and then climbed up to reach Siklesh. When we reached Siklesh the same welcome ceremonial rituals repeated. The homestay dinner along with dances and music really gladdened and touched our hearts.
On this sixth day, you are left with two choices whether to return to Pokhara or to visit another Gurung village known as Tangting in case you have one day more in your visit schedule. If the itinerary is tight then you may return to Pokhara using Jeep via a road which is not yet concrete.
So, if you wish to see the fascinating view of Himalayas and know about Gurung civilization and cultures, your visit to Kholasothar will always be romantic, fascinating and memorable. However, you should go there prepared.
What is there in Kholasothar?
Especially, Kholasothar is made up of three clusters of villages. The biggest house ruins in the main village is called Chhoj-Dhee. In Gurung dialect, Chhoj means assembly and Dhee means house. Therefore, this Chhoj-Dhee is believed to be the royal assembly of Gurung King in history. To the west of a small village remains the royal palace of Gurung King. All clusters of Gurung villages have plenty of vestiges and ruins of the past houses which indicate the existence of Gurung royal palace here.
According to researcher Yarjung Gurung, Cambridge University had carried out intensive research here and discovered that this place had human habitation as old as 1200 years in the past.
The walls are made up of old stones. Remains of three water grinding machines, artistic windows made of stones can be found here. Ruins of stone pillar can also be found here which is believed to be pillar for binding knots of horse’s reigns or a pillar constructed in the memory of dead.
Just above the village, at a height of 3500 meters, there is a huge stone as if standing on three legs made up of stones. It looks like “Odan” (a three-pronged iron utensil used over a fire to cook things). According to professor Dr. Jagman Gurung this stone was used for seeing oracles in the past. Others opine that this place used for war practice.
And just around 3800 meters above there is a big cave. This cave is walled by stones and is habitable. It is believed that this cave might have been used for residence of Jhuma (Jhuma indicates virgin girls being dedicated to local deities, who had to remain pious here and could not marry).
A wide-open plan area can be seen at a distance where Ghale Kings are believed to have practiced horse riding.
This plain area can be used as helipad as well. The other site which cannot be neglected is the water tunnel for operating water grinding machine. This water tunnel has been brought from a distance of 15/20 minute distance. All these ruins indicate towards the commencement of Gurung heritage and history here.
How did Gurung arrive here?
There is a folk tale about how Gurungs initially arrived here according to researcher Ekindra Gurung. In the early phase, Gurungs had migrated from Tibet and settled at Kayhola place of Manang. Once two Gurungs went on a hunt after a deer and crossed Nagim valley. The deer was injured by their arrows. They followed the injured deer up to Kholasothar where they found the deer dead on the ground. They also found some grains of barley in the sheath of their arrows. They sowed those grains of barley on the ground. Next time, when the Gurung hunters arrived at the same place, they found the crop -barley had grown to be harvested. Then they carried this news to their fraternity and migrated to this area for further collective life.
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