Lipe Lek in Lamjung : An excellent camping destination

16 August , Bishnu kanta Ghimire

Stay in a tent and cook for yourself. This is the fun of a camping trek.

I was in my village (Dordi Rural Municipality, Lamjung) for the recent election. We planned a get-together of school friends, meeting after 18 years.  Four of us decided on a short but excellent camping trek 'Lipe Lek'.

The trek started at Srimanjyang. We had to climb uphill mostly. After an hour's walk, we reached Devisthan temple which is popularly believed to have divine power. Devotees from far and wide come to this temple for special worship during the Navadurga. There is also a monastery on the temple premises. The goddess and lord Buddha are worshipped side by side.


We continued uphill; our pace slowed down while our heartbeats went up. The unique scenery and the cool atmosphere kept us motivated.


We crossed stone steps, forest trails and dirt roads to arrive at Okhari village, a dense Gurung settlement marked with old-style houses and undulating mountains. The place has the potential for rural tourism by promoting its homestays.


The journey uphill continued. Just 4 km away from Jornewe came across a jeep. Although not a part of our plan, since we were tired we took the jeep to Jorne. Those short on time can go up to Jorne by jeep before starting the trek.


We decided to stay the night in Jorne. The next morning we were lucky to witness a flock of sheep that had descended the previous night due to the cold weather. It was a beautiful sight. We were cheered up. The shepherd was not only grazing the sheep, but he was also weaving a “Dhakiya” from bamboo sticks; great multitasking.

Technology has made such a leap. The central and the local government spend millions on agricultural subsidies, but the shepherds were shearing the sheep with sickles!


At around 8 am, we left Jorne. The kind lady at the hotel had packed popcorn and roasted soybean for the road. We were excited by the prospect of reaching Lipe Lek that same day. As we climbed up, we could the Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna mountains!


After an hour's walk from Jorne, we reached the famous pilgrimage site of Ilam Pokhari. The clear water of the holy pond beautifully reflected the trees of the forest. There was a temple by the pond. Being a sacred site for the Hindus, a big fair is held here every Chaitey Dashain. For those who do not want to stay in a hotel in Jorne on the first night, Ilam Pokhari is a good place for camping.

We found the trekking trails damaged in several places. If the local level and the relevant agencies paid attention, the journey could be made easier for the tourists.


The water from Ilam Pokhari reaches Marsyangdi with the Kisedi river through Dordi. Since it is difficult to get water beyond the pond, we filled our water bottles before heading out. The road from Ilam Pokhari to Charne (base of Lipe Lek) is easy and mostly flat. From Charne, it is a steep climb. Our goal was to reach Lipe Lek in 4 hours from Charne.


We were out of water and parched. My friends Roshan and Samip went towards the forest in search of water. Prashanna and I started making plans for the evening's entertainment. Roshan found frozen water and brought it in a bottle. It tasted like nectar. We climbed up carrying some wood for a bonfire later that evening.


When we reached Lipe Lek, we thought we had arrived at the best place in the world. The wonderful views of Machhapuchhre, Lamjung Himal, Himchuli Himal, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal delighted us. When you reach the top of Lipe Lek, it feels heavenly. One can also see Shivpuri hill of Kathmandu from there. The peaceful and blissful Lipe Lek is a must-visit at least once. We quickly set up the tents, made a stone stove and lit a bonfire with the dry firewood we'd carried earlier. We really enjoyed the campfire.


Drinking coffee is recommended in the cold, but it takes 45 minutes just to boil the water because of the cold! For dinner, we had noodles mixed with Sayar (mohiko roti). There were only four of us camped at Lipe Lek. The white mountains in the North and the flickering lights on the settlements in the south reminded me of staying at Mardi High Camp. We had a strong wind blowing through the night. It was an unforgettable night.


The next morning after breakfast we packed our tent, cleaned the camping area and got ready to return. There were two options; return the way we came or take a different route through Damrang. We decided to take the western route via Damrang and reach Nautharshera in Dordi.


The trail mostly requires walking downhill through the Gurans forest. This trekking route should be promoted as 'Guras Trek'. Salvaging ice and eating the sour-tasting Chutro plant for energy, we reached Damrang Pond after a five-hour walk. We were happy to drink from the sheepfold beside the pond.


Damrang is a good destination in itself. A pond has been built in the middle of the forest. Wild animals and birds come there to drink water. A big fair is also held during the New Year celebration. Potatoes grown here are very tasty. Kafal and Ainselu (cherries) sprout in abundance during Chaitra and Baisakh. Damrang is currently being developed as a picnic destination in the Eastern part of Lamjung. The municipality is investing in it. The spot can be reached by jeep in about 2 hours from Udipur or Bhoteodar via Nauthar-Kamchak on the Dumre-Besisahar highway.


It is advisable to take some rest in Damrang. But after a quick lunch at a friend's house, we returned to Srimanjang via Kamchok-Thulakhet.


Points to Note:


Getting there...


Take a bus to Lamjung. Get off at Paudi Bazar, the border between Lamjung and Tanahun. There's a jeep going to Jorne Bazaar at 2:30 pm every day. Spend the night there and then start trekking the next day.


Carry with you...


Tent, mattress, sleeping bag, warm clothes, food and utensils, lighter, torchlight, power bank, water, first aid material, walking stick and dry fruits.


Do remember...

Since there are no hotels or settlements, camping is a must. It’s better to go in a group. It may be difficult to get water upstream from Ilam Pond. So, carry enough water.

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