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Ravi M Singh is 66, will be 67 this September 2019. 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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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 […]

Turmeric: Know this golden healer from your kitchen

We all know about ground turmeric, besar in Nepali and haldi in Hindi, simply because it is a mainstay of Nepali as well as Indian cookery. Needless to say, the vivid orange coloured condiment adds colour to curries and pickle–but did you know it has a distinct flavour and aroma? Some say this aromatic herb is ‘gingery bitter’; others […]

Shiitake: The crème de la crème among mushrooms

“Ravi,” someone called. I looked back to find a familiar face smiling at me.  That was Pawan and we had met after some six years. Pawan Kumar Ghimire, now a resident of Dhapashi of Tokha in Kathmandu, was into shiitake mushroom growing when we were neighbours then. Curious, I asked him if he was still […]

From great struggle to emotional victory: 16th Nepal National Mountain Bike Championship

March 2018 marked a special day for the dedicated aficionados among the mountain biking fraternity in Kathmandu. The day heralded the most eagerly anticipated the 16th Nepal National Mountain Bike Championships (Trek 16th Nepal National Mountain Bike Championship XCO, March 25 ) and the 8th National Downhill  Mountain Bike Championship (March 27) organised by the Nepal […]

Mushrooms: Five reasons why they are called gift of god

From a creamy soup and an Italian risotto to simply stir-fried, grilled, sautéed or used as a topping for that pizza you love to sink your teeth into, there is nothing like the succulent edible mushrooms as a culinary wonder. They go superbly well with just about any foodstuff: meat, vegetables, pasta, spaghetti and . […]

Steeped in history and legend: Palanchok Bhagwati

The Palanchok Bhagwati temple lay swathed in bamboo scaffoldings when I visited the famed pilgrimage site in the first week of March 2018. Obviously, the structure was undergoing repair and restoration in the aftermath of the damage caused by the massive April 2015 earthquake. This incidentally was the second quake the structure miraculously pulled through […]

From the hills of Kavresthali to Goa, Manali and Bristol: the ‘Pandy’ story

It goes without saying that you meet a lot of people in your daily life. You find most of them no different than the mundane tasks like shopping for food and doing house chores or as commonplace as the quotidian traffic of the Kathmandu Metropolis–but some stand out from the rest. You are more interested […]

Meeting ‘Mr Pandy’ on Kathmandu’s picturesque cycling trail

We were riding on the Mudkhu-Teen Piple-Jitpur-Phedi-Kavresthali-Sangla circuit, a 25km round-trip which happened to be one of my frequent spins on my mountain bike. This route is also favored by many riders of Kathmandu. Ours was an odd bunch. There was Lisa, a British lady from East London. She came to Kathmandu to do a […]

Own a mountain bike in Nepal? Here’s how you ought to take care of it

  Beginners, let me first congratulate you for launching yourselves into the sport of mountain biking. Take my word for it, you will never regret it. The benefits of mountain biking are much more than you can imagine.  It challenges both your body and the mind to keep you in good trim, physically and mentally. […]

Fishing for a cause in Roshi: How we saw a river depleted, degraded and violated

Fishing has always been an abiding passion for me. So, I jumped at the idea of a fishing trip (some seven years back) to Roshi Khola (river) when my teammates planned it. It was, however, a different kind of fishing–electro-fishing to be more exact. And it was more a mission than a fun trip. Electro-fishing […]

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 […]

Got yourself a new bike? Eight tips to hit the trail

Hello beginners, you followed me through the last two series with basic info on mountain bikes, gears, outfits and tips on how to use the brakes, shift gears as well as mounting,  dismounting and a few others.  I presume you have had some practice rides done around your neighborhood during this time.  Now, it’s time […]

Mountain Biking in Nepal: Know when to brake, how high to saddle

Hey, guys, I am back again to share with you the basic tips on mountain biking, which every beginner should master before doing some serious riding. They worked for me and I strongly believe they will for you to make you a better and safer rider. Consider yourself lucky because I and my co-riders did […]

Taking up mountain biking in Nepal: The first steps

If you are keen on taking on mountain biking in 2018, there is nothing more fun and exciting than pedaling your bike to the countryside, the distant hills and the woods connecting yourself with nature. The rides will whisk you off the maddening crowd and the din of the metropolis, something we have been denied […]

Why cooking should top your list of New Year resolutions

Do you enjoy cooking? You don’t have to be a chef de cuisine or a master chef to enjoy cooking tasty meals. You may be a doctor, a painter, an engineer–or simply a retired guy like me, but if you wish and try, you can concoct culinary delights, and the New Year can be the […]

How good is dal-bhat for your health?

My fixation with our traditional Nepali staple food, dal-bhat is nothing short of phenomenal. I am, in truth, obsessed with it. No less than one meal of dal-bhat each day is a ‘sine qua non’ for me.  Call it my ‘monomania’, it went through the ceilings and I was virtually driven to a point of […]

Mystery yet to be cracked: Know secrets of human brain

Once my car broke down and I had to visit an auto-repair shop. As the mechanic worked under the open bonnet twiddling around with the maze of wires and conduits, my attention was drawn to a small black box. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I asked the mechanic what it was. “That’s the brain of […]

Watch out! The veggies, fruits in your kitchen may be contaminated

On Nov 24, 2017, a news report published on onlinekhabar.com caught my attention. It referred to the widespread use of pesticides on vegetables and fruits we buy from the market. Unaware of this startling truth, the information made me recoil instinctively. Then suddenly it hit me hard that we at home (I believe in most […]

The tree of life: Moringa Oleifera

Yes, it is a tree highly spoken of as the Tree of Life or the Miracle Tree. The Nepali word for it is Sheetal Chini and Shobhaanjan or more commonly Sahijan in Hindi. Curiously, this plant seems to have won more acclaims in the recent years than any other species of green perennial plants. “It’s […]

Amala: Here comes the widely available ‘superfood’

While surfing the net trying to uncover the myths surrounding so-called superfoods, also widely marketed as internet-hyped ‘miracle foods’–from açaí berry, sumac, quinoa to cocoa and Ceylon cinnamon, which they claim can make you “live longer and cure and prevent all kinds of diseases”, I stumbled upon the name of a commonly known  wild berry […]

A Nepali man’s encounter with an American ghost train

I literally stumbled upon the story when I visited the town of Republic, in Seneca County, Ohio during my brief stay in the United States of America. The story, it turned out, had an eerie history. I visited the United States in 2015 and during my five-and-a-half month’s stay in the big country, I hopped around […]

Mata Syaeema Pass: The lamp that kept burning

It’s no secret that male dominance has been a norm in Nepali or for that matter Asian culture from days of yore.  Women have had a miserable time coping with this social stigma. Some fought their way through; most just bowed down to it. This story speaks for itself. “Mata syaeema pass, mata chyakeema fail”. […]

Dehydration: Know the fatal condition which you can prevent with just a bottle of water

Some two years ago, I was participating in a mountain bike race in Kathmandu. The day was hot, the race grueling. No sooner I finished the race than words got around that a mishap had taken place–a 22- year-old young contestant collapsed during the race. Next thing I heard–he died on the way to a […]


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