Bungmati Khokana Trek is a day long trek that commences from an ancient town of Kirtipur which moves forward to two superannuated Newari villages of Bungmati and Khokana. Direct bus is available from Old Buspark in between Kathmandu and Kirtipur. It takes nearly an hour long drive to take you to Kirtipur from where you will move forward through green thickets to a vantage point which offers the panoramic views of Bungmati village.
The trek from Kirtipur pursues the rustic procession route lined with chaityas all the way to village of Bungmati. Though the official establishment of this village has been dated to 16th century, locals believe this village to have exist in 7th century under the name of ‘Bugayumi’.
Walking in Bungmati takes you through several traditional houses typical to Newar where wood carvers can be seen hand crafting the sculptures and masks which they sell at a bargain price. Bungmati infact is popular as the village of wood sculptors. Women around here perform the hand-sewing, weaving and knitting act where they can be seen weaving Hakupatasi- a traditional Newari Saree of black color bordered with red lines. Long string of chillies can be seen hanging outside the houses which are left for drying.
Facts about Bungmati:
Bungmati Village is established around the Bungadyo temple considered as the winter residence of Red Machhendranath- the god of Rain.
The village is jam- packed with several temples, stupas, monasteries and lakes which gives it a medieval look.
Temples worth visiting:
Red Machhendranath Temple:
It is the shikhara- fashioned temple which abodes the god of rain- Red Machhendranath throughout winter. The shrine is shifted to Patan for chariot festival in summer during which whole village actively participate in this annual festival.
Karyabinayak is the temple consecrated to the elephant headed god- Ganesh who is taken as destroyer of obstacles. The site serves as the vantage point which provides the best view of Bungmati Valley.
Getting to Khokana:
We need to head north and pursue about half an hour long track through Karyabinayak temple to make it to our next trekking destination of Khokana Village.
Khokana- an antique Newari village established on 16th century which is located about eight kilometers south of Kathmandu on the outskirts of Patan is a village with tremendous tourism potential. Khokana has been retaining its ancient traditions untouched by the modern way of living. Even the settlement pattern here has never departed its ways from medieval approach which gives it the name ‘ Living Museum‘. An introduction to Khokana never gets complete without mentioning its mustard oil industry where oil is squeezed out of mustard seeds by crushing them with a heavy wooden beam. Oil extracted here is known to have medicinal value.
Farming is the chief occupation adopted. Women can be seen spinning wheels throughout the village while playing marbles is the popular pass time for kids.
Facts you should know about Khokana:
Acknowledging the beauty of this vernacular village, Khokana has been nominated to enlist in World Heritage site.
The main street leading to the village was broaden to the great extent during the renovation when this village was adversely effected by earthquake in 1934.
Khokana is popular for two things- its mustard oil and red chillies.
Sikali Mai Temple
Sikali Mai Temple is a huge three- storey temple existing in the middle of main street which abodes Sikali Mai-the guardian mother goddess of Khokana.
Sikali Jatra is a 5-days long celebration unique to Khokana during which Goddess Rudrayani along with other deities are worshipped. The Jatra coincides with Ghatasthapana- the first day of Dashain- the great festival of Hindus which commemorate the victory of Divine power over evil.
This Jatra is believed to have begun during the reign of King Amar Malla in 336 Nepal Sambat to protect the village from bad omen and evil spirits. Sikali Jatra begins by sacrificing three He- buffaloes in local temple located at Bakha. Dancing, feasting and worshipping are inseparable parts of this Jatra.