Sunday, May 4, 2014

Field Hike Day 1 : Ghyaampedada

This Saturday took us to right into the mixture of Urban-Suburban-sub rural areas within a few kilometers from the highway. The aim was designed in such a way to explore the Urban Wildlife of that particular area. I was accompanied by two of my friends for the reconnaissance survey. We started out late, well one because I took the wrong bus first and then the bus which roams around the city before exiting on to the outer road that touches that connecting road to Bhaktapur. My friends, both Environmental Science majors joined me on the way. We the got off at Bhaktapur then started walking towards the Suryabinayak Temple. The temple is, may be about a Km away from the main road. The road to Ghyampedada and pilot baba aashram lies on the left side of Suryabinayak temple. For the first few minutes you walk through a completed black pitched road, few minutes into the road and we’re enter a community forest, and slowly the pitched road starts fade, leaving the muddy “Nepali” style of road! The most striking part about that first few minutes was that, it was still slightly urban area, and even with those disturbances I had already seen bunch of different species of Butterflies! I had never heard about that place before, and hearing about the butterflies’ diversity of that place is out of the question. But I was overwhelmed after seeing such a diverse population of butterflies in such a short time span, and they were everywhere, plus the forest seemed so dense and undisturbed! The most common trees were
Dhale Katus : Castanopsis indica- Chestnut
Falat : Quercus glauca – Ring cupped Oak
Musure Katus : Castanopsis tribuloides – Chestnut
Seto Kath : Myrsine capitellata
 Chilaaune : Schima wallichii

Also lots of Rhodoendron
We walked through the dense forest for about an hour, it would take less if you just walk without looking around the diversity in the forest but we took our time with it, photographing every strange or unknown leaf to trees and mostly butterflies and caterpillar. After walking for an hour we finally reached Pilot baba’s aashram. The aashram sits on top of a peculiar landscape, the aashmram lies in Bhaktapur and a steep slope south to the aashram drops into the southern face into a small valley separated by a river into Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. The slope had considerable number of Aiselu (Rubus sps.). The aashram resides on a very peaceful location with a touch of cold breeze even in the middle of a hot day. The temple premises are well maintained and extremely clean, and the garden is well managed as well with plenty of species of Roses, which I’m really acquainted with or else I’d write down the types or genus of those roses as well. While we were busy trying to take the photographs of the rose garden, the clouds had other plans and all of a sudden they broke into rains and started to pour down on us, draining our hike as well as my survey. We rushed to a small tea house right on the door of the Aashram.

We waited for the rain to end with a cup of black tea. While we were having tea, a foreigner walked into the tea shop all drenched in rain. She asked the shopkeeper for “Dudh Chiya” , again her wish of having a Dudh chiya was drenched by the shopkeeper just like the rain had drenched her, he replied with NO Milk tea! Only Black! She said, it’s fine; I’ll have the black tea. Then shortly we started to have a conversation, she was from Spain and had been to Nepal twice, then the conversation went along, while we were about to leave, I asked her if she was travelling alone, and she was,  so I asked to join us if she wasn’t in a hurry. She wasn’t, she joined us and then we walked towards the Ghyampe Dada, few minutes away from Pilot Baba Aashram. On the way she asked us what we were doing there and I told her that I was there on field visit and I was looking for some Leopards, she didn’t understand it at first, then after I explained to her she said “Ohh Leopaaarrddoooo” in Spainsh accent! She thought I was joking at that time! While having the same conversation we reached Ghyampedada. Ghyaampedada has number of houses and local hotels and as we learned that day that it was famous for local alcoholic products as well as it was a scenic hotspot from where, on a clear day, a wide range of mountains could be seen, but since we were walking in faint rain we didn’t see anything but a blurred out Bhaktapur city below the dark clouds. On the way back we took photos of lots of butterflies, saw one extremely beautiful butterfly, chased it for about 20 minutes but still couldn’t get a shot because the butterfly wouldn’t rest at all! Slowly and gradually we walked down the road and it started to rain again! We only had 1 umbrella and 4 people but we managed somehow, and kept on walking down the road, we did miss out on lots of butterflies because of the rain. But it was extremely fun trying to walk in the muddy slippery roads while it was raining cats and dogs! Finally the rains subsided and we reached the Suryabinayak temple. We had few cup of teas and Waiwai noodles and then had some Sapanish and Japanese lessons! Then as we moved into the urban part of Suryabinayak I had to ask some local few questions regarding my Thesis work, we found a shop where a and elderly man was sitting alone, so we picked that shop and went in to ask him few question. It was as if he was bored to death, he invited use like we were his family member, he was that happy even before I told him why we were there, he asked us to sit down and then I told him what was I looking for, and the pulled out a chair and started talking endlessly. He told me about everything I needed to know regarding the Leopard- Human conflict in that area, as per him, in recent years, there hasn’t been much conflict when it comes to human, because according to him the Leopards come into the urban area to feed on the Dogs! And since, no humans or other cattle’s are harmed there exists no conflict in recent years. That was an interesting insight for my research. He also told me that the Urban wildlife of those areas were, Leopard, the most common one then there were deer (Spotted Deer Axis axis) as per his description, Rabbits, Wild boars, Mongoose etcetera. I did learn about possible habitat and future conflict scenarios from that person, he was extremely helpful. And this is when our Spanish friend believed that we were there for field study and really looking for the Leopaaaardoo! Then we bid him farewell, thanking him for his time and sharing his knowledge. Then as we took a bus, and asked our foreign friend where she’d get off she told us that she had no idea where to get off because she had come to that place last night and had no idea where it was, she knew it was not in Thimi but outside of it, Thankfully she had phone number of that place, so we called them and asked for the location and it was such a location that even my local Bhaktapurian friend had no idea where it was, so we got off with her, asked the locals for the direction and dropped her off at the location. And as it turns out, the place where she was staying was a beautiful garden almost could pass for a Botanical garden with old style Bhaktapurian houses. It’s was an Organic farm plus guest house for peace lovers!

On my personal experience, for a short term hike that place is ideal, with a different cultural blend to natural scenic places to vast diversity of butterflies and birds! Take your time and hike the route!!

1 comment:

sapanakhaiju said...

HI friend, I have read your personal notes, it was good. I was shocked that you had done on human -leopard conflict anyway got the good experience of hiking to our beautiful place but you missed the place called 'Ranikot' and Baghbhaav from where you can feel the scenario of kathmandu valley and the beautiful scene of Godawori hills and hills of Kavre as well. Well I would like to say here the deer you named was actually not spotted deer it is barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak).

There was an error in this gadget