somersby

Ravi M Singh is 67. After college, he got into business, all sorts—from chicken feed, furniture, catering to real estate. It worked for some time, but eventually, he gave it up all.

“Looking back, it seems I’ve always been an outdoorsman, lost in his own little adventures. My, interests?  It used to be hunting; it stopped during the Maoist insurgency. Then came fishing followed by mountain biking. So, my passions are writing, mountain biking and fishing.”

“I had the ambition to ride my bicycle to Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang. I dreamt about it. Finally, I did it in November 2018. I have not set any goal for the oncoming years. Who knows, the Thorong Pass, Manang, could be my next? I leave that to my Karma.”

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An odyssey to a hallowed wilderness: Surma Sarovar Yatra (Final Part)

(Read Part I and Part II) As the trio–Shishir, Bijay and Amul–ploughed on, the highlands with lush meadows, blossoming flowers, and foliage seemingly appeared endless. Shishir guessed at the many species to be the invasive alien species.  Nepal’s eastern and western highlands abound in those species. Bountiful nature Nature knows no boundary. Apart from almost […]

An odyssey to a hallowed wilderness: Surma Sarovar Yatra (Part II)

(Read Part I) The next day, it was already sundown when the main priest was done with the puja ceremony.  Thunder sounded, and a slight drizzle began. At long notes of a bevy of conch-shells, the journey began. As the mass of devotees led by the main priest set off amidst a thunderous cacophony, the […]

An odyssey to a hallowed wilderness: Surma Sarovar Yatra (Part I)

Can you imagine trekking to a remote destination in the rugged hills to an elevation of 14,157 feet (4,315 m), crossing a snow-laden pass en route at 16,043 ft (4,890 m)—and no kidding—on bare feet? I cannot—but some do. I called an old friend, Shishir, to know, if he had set his sights on a […]

Cycling from Bhim Dunga, Switzerland Park to Kalu Pandey Memorial Ground (Part II)

(Read the first part) Despite the grand-sounding name, Switzerland Park in Dahachok hills failed to measure up to our expectations.  Shayeet and I did not in all seriousness relish the idea of turning once unsullied hillside into a picnic spot. The gravel road after Switzerland Park looked graded, offering a smooth ride. We learned from […]

Cycling from Bhim Dunga via Switzerland Park to Kalu Pandey Memorial Ground (Part I)

Kathmandu offers every mountain biker bountiful to explore outdoors—intimate hills, lush woods, laidback countryside, a breath of fresh air, and by far, nature at its best. No sooner you are done with one fascinating jaunt than another awaits you. It’s all yours for the taking. All you got to do is make your mind up, […]

Shantidham: After lockdown, visit this hallowed site in Kathmandu

I thought I would be strong enough in a week to ride my mountain bike again to Shantidham snugly tucked away amidst lush woods in the verdant hills of Kavresthali. The little mishap I had in the last ride prevented me, however, from riding for almost two weeks. Some 50 yards before the holy site, […]

Dolakha: A village-town that never tires to lure visitors (Part III)

Forget Covid-19 and think of places you can visit after the lockdown Perhaps some of you have been tired of hearing about the coronavirus crisis and its impact on daily life, time and again. Obviously, it is important for you to get aware of what’s happening in the world due to the newly discovered virus […]

These foods won’t cure Covid-19, but prepare you to fight such diseases

 “Anything that makes your heart healthy, your lungs healthy, and kidneys healthy, will make your immune system healthy.” –Professor Marc Pellegrini The widespread proliferation of Covid-19 seems to escalate each day across the globe. Currently, there is no known vaccine to stop the infection or boost our immune system against this deadly virus. In trying […]

Covid-19: In this grim situation, here are a few down-to-earth precautions that you can take

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Dolakha: A village town that never tires to lure visitors (Part II)

“Syau-dai,” with that word someone called. I turned around. A smiling young woman in her early twenties coyly bowed her head down before me as she uttered the word; a faint blush tinted her cheeks. I did not even know who she was. I took a little courage and asked and learned that she was […]

Dolakha: A village-town that never tires to lure visitors

Curiously, it seems a humble little hill town just 135 km away, or a six-hour bus ride to the northeast of Kathmandu, never ceases to lure visitors. “I’ve been to the place four times,” shared a Newar resident of Kathmandu with me. I met another, who seemed hung-up on driving his motorbike to the town, […]

Slugging it out on two wheels: the Langtang ride III

(Read the first and second parts of the story.) “Adventure never ends. There is a lot of adventures out there, waiting for us to live them!”  In Kyanjin Gompa village, a cluster of what looked like more than 30 blue-roofed houses—some as tall as four-storied, standing almost nose to nose in the sweeping valley, was […]

Slugging it out on two wheels: the Langtang ride II

(Read the first part of the story.) At daybreak, the burgeoning Sherpa Gaun (2,563m) looked like in the making of a miniature town. Blue corrugated zinc-roofed houses seemed to replace the once slate-roofed hamlet. And, as the village turned into a frequent stopover for the Langtang Valley trekkers, the place seemed marked by much life […]

Slugging it out on two wheels: the Langtang ride I

There is nothing like taking a holiday break, to escape the daily grind, the urban chaos, the stifling greenhouse gases, and to say the least to raise your spirits, down in the dumps. Some even like to inject a dose of adventure, too, into such escapades. For some, it’s just plain sightseeing tours to new […]

The ancient trail to Kalinchok: Memoir II

  The sheer remoteness of the place, the raw unsullied environs, the element of suspense, and adventure, the mystical identification with the entirety, and the absolute bliss of nature missed out on all the later trips. None compared with my first. It was the ultimate and unparalleled—period. For me, the night at the three-tiered cavern […]

The ancient trail to Kalinchok: Memoir I

I journeyed to Kalinchok several times but none compared with the one I did the first time, which, today, has become little short of a memoir. Consecrated to Goddess Bhagwati Kali, Kalinchok, the Hindu shrine nestles on a soaring bluff 12, 605ft (3,842m) above the sea level. Regarded a holy pilgrimage, the deity hugs a […]

Four destinations to start out mountain biking in Kathmandu

Hey guys, I expect my previous three-story series on mountain biking (mtb in short) has helped you get the hang of the basic bike skills and handling; and you must have pulled off quite some off-road short rides to the backcountry. Maybe you would now like to try some challenging rides.  Let me help you […]

Sixth sense: Myth or fact?

What I saw in the dim light, less than a foot behind the bull-cart, made the fine hairs rise on the back of my neck and arms, and I started shaking like a leaf. Sight. Hearing. Touch. Taste. And Smell. The Greek philosopher Aristotle identified these five senses in humans. What’s more, for eons, an […]

The buried kingdom of Simraungadh

In 2012, I visited Simraungadh, a quintessential Terai town, some 160 km south of Kathmandu. The trip was not planned but a last-minute decision—no more than one of my little quirks. But, much to my astonishment, it turned out the little-known town once prided as a thriving capital city of Mithila kingdom in the 11th century […]

Does your body need potassium?

Potassium? You may have heard about it but cannot precisely put your finger on it.  Physicians advise on taking 3,500 to 4,700 mg of potassium daily. WHO (the World Health Organization), too, recommends an intake of 3,510 mg per day.  Hang on, this does not mean you pop into your mouth a potassium pill every […]

Once the rightful natives of the jungle — now wander as refugees

It took 400 million years for Earth to evolve. The epic journey was tough, grueling and harrowing for both humans and the denizens of the wild. The biggest challenge for the animal kingdom has, however, been the hominoids—the ‘thinking ape’ as they are sometimes referred to.  If the evolutionary history of the early primates is […]

Beasts that surpass all in intelligence

Of all the wild animals in the world, they are said to be the most sensitive by nature—nothing short of humans. They play, cry, and . . . laugh, too! They are “powerful, sentient, intelligent, sensitive, naughty, playful, emotional, perceptive, resilient, intuitive, compassionate, intimidating, curious, complex, and loyal to the bone.” Jaws drop. Heads turn. […]

Angling the water tigers: A breakthrough in adventure tourism

“There he stood, the Mahseer of the Poonch, beside whom the Tarpon is a herring and he who catches him can say he is a fisherman.” Rudyard Kipling (Jungle Book, 1894). Virtually, cut off from the rest of the world until the 1950s, Nepal saw the dawn of tourism after an intrepid duo set foot […]

The Himalayan gamefish that rewrote history

Smashed rods, mangled hooks, broken lines and shattered reels are not uncommon, particularly if the angler fails to handle the big mahseer that decides to dash for the nearest rapid. And you are just left wondering how the hell that happened! An angler once equated grappling the big ‘beast’ with a 10-round bout with no […]

The Black Gold: Pepper

It gives heat and depth. It seasons food. Just a pinch of it enhances flavour. . . and exudes a tantalizing aroma, into the bargain. Yes, black pepper as a condiment delivers, the entirety. Any cuisine the world over—oriental or continental, black pepper, by far, helps the dish into a culinary delight. Popularity Labelled a […]

Monsoon musings of an avid angler

  The monsoon is upon us. No word sounded lovelier when in mid-June the vast sky opened up and slaked the parched ashy-grey cityscape generously with the rains after the long spell of fierce heat the metropolis dished out during the last week of May. It came belatedly, only on the 20th of June as […]

Hiking the Tarkeshswor shrine

Vines, wild ferns, creepers, lush foliage, dense undergrowth, and an occasional fallen tree greeted us as we climbed up the steps. The damp places showed rocks encrusted with lush green moss. The mingled smell of the damp earth, the pines, the rotting fallen leaves, decaying wood, the dead foliage intensified by the ‘petrichor’ brought in […]

The Catmandu Lovers: A home for the orphaned

“I’ll make no secret of my dislike for cats; frankly, never liked them.  On the one hand, I love dogs, even had them as pets. For me, the reasons remain simple–they obey. Tell them to come–they come. Ask them to go–they go. Command them to sit–they will. They are just wonderful– but cats–no way! I […]

The legendary Khadga Jatra of Dolakha

I stood mesmerised. For a moment, I had an eerie feeling that the figure before my eyes was not the Rameswor whom I knew, but a complete stranger . . .  like someone possessed. “Am I seeing a god?” I asked myself. Suddenly, a chill went down my spine and the hairs on my arms […]

Red Wine: Is it good for your health?

Ravi Man Singh There is nothing more enjoyable than drinking wine, so say, wine lovers. They might even advise you to drink wine suggesting that it’s good for health. As if to complement it, the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote: “No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.” […]

Danda Gaon: The getaway that feels so near yet so far from Kathmandu

Yes, if you go to Danda Gaon and peer over the wooded hillside to your south, the sprawling valley appears literally at a stone’s throw distance. But the proximity to a pristine forest, the towering Shivapuri peak and the quiet moments spent with nature and her bounties leave you with the impression that you have […]

The mystique of the Seti trail

The ‘Lake City’ Pokhara never tires me although I have been to this beautiful city for the umpteen times . . . and the sight of Seti River gorge never ceases to haunt me every time I see it. What is so amazing about Seti is its bizarre journey across the city of Pokhara. The […]

This new year try walking backwards: It pays

One fine morning, when I saw a couple walking backwards, I thought that they were out of their minds. You might also have the same opinion if you see people doing that. But in the course of my morning walks, I kept seeing people walking backwards, albeit every so often.  So I decided to do […]

Dating death for a living: The bamboo-rafters of Sun Koshi

What really amazed me was to see those intrepid rafters’ “natural ability to turn hardship into promise, to find humour in deprivation.” “What on earth are these guys doing on this boulder-ridden fast river . . . surfing?” I asked myself incredulously, as I watched the distant two figures floating down the river—on their feet! […]

Farewell to the enchanted kingdom

Our last day in Lo Manthang was set aside for a tour of the Walled City and a visit to the Chhoser village to see the Jhong cave and the Nyphu monastery. We decided to take a walk around the city, letting our bikes take a break. The weather in the morning was cold but […]

Exploring history, culture and religion in the fabled kingdom

At Tsarang, in the warmth of Maya’s Inn’s dining room, I never felt jauntier after those four grueling days on those wind-blasted dirt roads breathing in a ‘ton’ of dust and grit and almost succumbing to a disastrous experience at the Dajongla Pass on the second day. They were of a little matter now when […]

Dreams are meant to be lived: to the enchanting Kingdom of Lo Manthang on two wheels

At Gheling(3,570m), despite the cold high wind, my three companions decided to take a stroll around the village, still close to an hour left before dark fell. With a mild headache and fever-like chills, I chose instead to rest, huddled before the iron stove in the dining room of the lodge.  Sonam, the hostess, and […]

Lo Manthang: The challenging ride to the land of the Lowas

For me, the evening of day two at Samar proved tortuous. None but I was to be blamed for my near collapse at the Dajongla Pass that afternoon.  A full-blown diabetic, I knew I could not go on an empty stomach for longer periods, especially during a gruelling ride. Even a hardcore biker is supposed […]

The story behind chaku: A sugary treat to mark winter’s end

Sweet, hard, crunchy, chewy like a candy, with a strong smoky flavor and chocolate-like color—chaku entices as much with an appearance as it delights with taste. Kids clamour for it, adults find it hard to resist, and it serves as a condiment for some Newari dishes and an indispensable item for festivals, such as Maghe […]

Lo Manthang: Exploring the Lost Kingdom on two wheels

We were done with lunch at Kagbeni at around 1.00pm. We rested a bit–a useful rule of thumb for every mountain biker to follow after a meal (dal-bhat is reasonably a large meal). It was almost 2 pm when we hopped onto our bikes. The itinerary for the day was Chele. Since we had to […]

High-on-fat foods can be really good for your health

Sounds contradictory? Is it simply something of a red herring? That kind of statement could give you a queer look from health-conscious folks. A preposterous idea, they might think. The truth is we cannot do without fats in our diet to survive–to fuel our body and help nourish our brain. Believe it or not, a […]

Lo Manthang: Cycling to the lost kingdom on the other side of the Himalayas

“If you can dream it, you can do it”— Walt Disney At the age of 66, my mountain biking trip to Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang, not only made me realise my dream and rise to the daunting challenges put up by the punishing and unforgiving terrain, but also curiously helped me rediscover my own strength […]

Budhinandha Tal: As isolated and wild as it can get

Over the past decade, trekking in Nepal has witnessed a dramatic upsurge with foreign tourists taking the larger slice. Curiously, recent times have seen more and more Nepali enthusiasts venturing out to far-flung destinations such as Gosaikunda, Muktinath, Upper Mustang, Annapurna circuit, Tilicho, Langtang valley, Phoksundo, Annapurna base camp, Mardi Himal . . . you […]

Chitlang: The historical valley on the Rolls Royce trail (Part II)

The next day, the Chitlang valley appeared verdant green in the early April morning with a glorious sun to match the country landscape. From where we stood, thick forests blanketed the hills to the North, East and the West, while to our South the view spread out into expanses of terraced field and a dirt […]

Why green vegetables are a neglected gold mine, especially during Dashain

“Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the main course.”– Bobby Flay We have an expression in Nepali: what are you, a “bhat bahadur” or a “sag bahadur”? Good-humoredly, it questions what type of a person are you: the one who prefers rice and cares […]

Chitlang-the historical valley on Nepal’s Rolls Royce Trail

Yes, curiously, it also came to be known as the ‘Rolls Royce’ trail as the first ever automobile (in 1934), and subsequently, others owned by the Kathmandu’s royalties, foreign dignitaries and aristocrats were transported by this route–not on wheels but shoulder-borne by porters. The villagers thronged to watch the spectacular sight as the porters carried […]

Chisapani: Nepal’s untamed far west

I could not believe my eyes! It was a pure work of art! At Bunghat, the Karnali water had scoured the big boulders eroding them into an exquisite piece of sculpture–as if, an artist had taken great pains to carve them with his chisel and hammer. The fast flowing turquoise waters of Karnali and the […]

From cauliflowers to goat milk: The story of Nepal’s pioneering cheese factory

One wintry morning, a couple in their mid-twenties prepare their load on their dokos (conical-shaped dry bamboo strip hand-woven baskets) laden almost to overflowing with cauliflower from their farm. The man carried a bigger basket and the woman a slightly smaller one. They heaved the load onto their backs and started from their home in […]

In search for the ‘water tiger’ in eastern Nepal

Our team finally arrived at Mai Beni after a five hours hike. The last stretch included a stiff climb on a steep hill with a scary knife’s edge trail hardly a foot wide with Sun Koshi on one side and Arun to the other. In all honesty, with no head for heights, I literally crawled […]

In eastern Nepal, a quest for the ‘water tiger’

The golden mahseer of the Himalayan Rivers, with its streamlined body and resplendent hues of olive green, silver, and yellow with a golden tinge, is a beautiful creature to behold, and a formidable challenge to bag. This little adventure of mine meant a lot to me because it successfully motivated a group of veteran anglers […]


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