Nuwakot, Nepal

Photo: The Rural Heritage
Photo: The Rural Heritage

Last April, an earthquake rocked Nepal. Nearly 9,000 people died. An avalanche destabilized Mount Everest. Historical sites, temples, and entire villages were flattened. While aftershocks continued for weeks. Your thoughts have been returning to Nuwakot ever since.

You visited Nuwakot (Nine Forts) during your last visit to Nepal. The “city of nine hills,” southeast of Trishuli Bazar, is an undiscovered gem. It was the capital of Nepal for a few years in the late-18th century. A fortress and numerous temples surround Durbar Square. Small farms, a meandering river, terraced hillsides, and snow-capped peaks are beyond them. Plus an old manor house—and two nearby cottages—were converted into a lodge for travelers looking to add a traditional element to their trip.

That lodge, the Famous Farm, sits at the end of a long winding road. It overlooks the village’s terra-cotta roofs, the green valley, and the Langtang Himal mountain range. The manor house has carved furniture and an open kitchen. Wooden beams, low doorways, and traditional fabrics fill the bedrooms in the cottages. All three buildings surround a courtyard that has plenty of nooks in which to relax. Add organic crops, flowering vines, and baby goats for a picture-perfect setting.

Photo: The Rural Heritage
Photo: The Rural Heritage

It was easy—and necessary—to decompress at the Famous Farm after landing in hectic Kathmandu. The first few days, you didn’t wander very far. You sipped coffee in a rocking chair and watched the fog rise from the floor of the valley. You visited the farm animals, hung out in the kitchen, and sat by the fireplace on the terrace. You ate healthy meals in the courtyard and listened to other travelers’ stories and suggestions by flickering lanterns late into the night.

You walked into Nuwakot to find a city lost in time. You explored the Saat Tale Durbar, the fortress where the Shah lived and, eventually, died. You saw the beautiful carved gates at the Taleju Temple, the golden roof of the Bhairab Temple, and the breathtaking view from the Kalika Temple. Then you started hiking by alpine lakes, Buddhist monasteries, and playful gray langur monkeys in Langtang National Park.

Much has changed in Nuwakot since your trip. Families are now displaced and grieving. Rubble lines and, in some cases, blocks the roads. Though the manor house was damaged, the Famous Farm is still receiving guests, just fewer of them. And as you watch the news about Nepal’s recovery, you still dream about going back. Make that a promise.

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