Badimalika -- Adventure in the Grasslands
Badimalika is one of the new trekking trails identified and explored by Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN). Tilak Thapa Magar, joint treasurer of TAAN, was the leader of the exploration team. Offering some of the best natural landscapes, the trail lies in Bajura district in far-western region of Nepal. The major attraction of the trail is the temple of Badimalika which is situated on top of a hillock (4,200 meters). The place wears festive look during Janai Purnima festival (August). Thousands of people from different parts of the country as well as neighboring India visit the temple on this auspicious day. Bajura is rich in terms of culture and tradition of local people. They perform different dances like Deuda, Hudkeuli, Bhuwo and Thadi among others. The trail is operable throughout the year. But heavy snowfall during winter can affect trekkers. Though teahouses are available in lower areas, trekkers are advised to be self-sufficient on food and accommodation. As the area is relatively new, trekkers are suggested to hire local guides as the trail lacks signposts and other infrastructures. Other tourist attractions in Bajura are Khaptad National Park and Budhi Nanda Lake, among others. Similarly, the Rara-Khaptad Circuit Trek also passes through Bajura.
Starting Point: Dadeldhura, Kailai
Trek Starting Point: Jadanga, Bajura
Ending Point: Mahendranagar, Doti
Day 1: The journey begins with a flight to Dhangadhi (800 meters) – the business and tourist center of far-western region. From Dhangadhi, a drive of around 4 hours via Godavari will take you to Dadeldhura (2000 meters). Dadeldhura is known for its unique culture and tradition. The famous Ugratara temple, historical places like Amargadhi Fort and Alital are the major tourist attractions in Dadeldhura. The place offers breathtaking views of Api and Saipal mountains as well as surrounding hills. Don't forget to taste Dadeldhura's typical dessert – Kheer (rice pudding). Accommodation is in hotel.
Day 2: After breakfast, you begin a four-hour drive to Sanfe of Achham. Sanfe is a beautiful town with good hotels and restaurants. Two roads start from here – one to Martdai of Bajura and the other to Mangalsen – the district headquarters of Achham. After lunch, you take the first road which passes along the Budhi Gandaki River. A drive of around three hours will take you to Jadanga. Jadanga is a small village with few teahouses and a health post. Accommodation is in teahouse.
Day 3: The trek begins today. After having breakfast, you start walking through beautiful landscapes. The walk is mostly uphill. A hike of around three hours will take you to a small village called Krodh. You can prepare lunch here or order food at local teahouses. Krodh is a beautiful place with attractive landscapes, waterfalls, green forests and murmuring streams. The place is home to different species of flora and fauna. Budha Krodh (2,700 meters), our accommodation for the day, is the last settlement in the trek. You can only see buffalo sheds on this trail beyond Budha Krodh.
Day 4: After breakfast, you resume your walk through dense forest. You will see the first buffalo shed after a walk of around three hours. This is the perfect place for lunch. You can buy buffalo milk and curd from local herders. After lunch, the trail climbs up reaching the altitude of 3,800 meters. Trekkers are prone to high altitude sickness at this height. They are advised to climb slowly so as to adapt to and drink plenty of liquid to prevent altitude sickness. From here, the trail passes through big grasslands brightened with colorful flowers. A walk of around three hours after lunch will take you to a placed named 'Bhito' for night's halt. Accommodation is in tented camp.
Day 5: The uphill walk starts after the breakfast. You can see big grasslands, waterfalls and murmuring streams on the way. After a walk of around five hours, you reach Triveni (3870m) – your destination for the day. Triveni is a place of great religious significance. This small place is cramped with around 1,500 tents during major festivals like Janai Poornima. People take holy bathe in the nearby rivers early in the morning and walk toward the Badimalika temple. Accommodation is in tent.
Day 6: You can see people taking holy bathe in the morning as you wake up. People believe that holy dip in Triveni will help them get rid of sins. Some even pay homage to their forefathers at this place because of the belief that it will open gateway to heaven for the departed souls. A walk of about an hour from Triveni will take you to a place called Khetibeti from where the Badimalika hill can be seen. Here you can see plant resembling paddy growing naturally. According to myths, birds sow seeds of these plants. People believe that the plant brings good luck to whoever gets it. Accommodation is in tent.
Day 7: A beautiful morning greets you in Triveni. You can catch breathtaking views of surrounding areas by climbing up nearby hills. As there are no tea houses in the area, you will have to carry packed lunch. You can see beautiful plants and wild flowers along the trail to Badimalika. Locals believe that fragrance of these flowers create headache and vomiting. The temple of Lodibinayak falls on the way where pilgrims offer worship to Lord Ganesh. The place offers beautiful views of Badimalika temple as well as Triveni far below. Accommodation is in tent.
Day 8: Rise early if you want to enjoy the view of Api and Saipal mountains glittering in morning sun. The view of sunrise and widespread grasslands below cannot be described in words. Standing above the clouds atop the Badimalika hill, one feels like standing at the highest point on earth. Pilgrims have strong belief that Goddess Badimalika fulfills all their wishes. After lunch, you start descending toward 'Dhawalpur Lake'. As the trail is steep, it can be nerve-racking for some travelers. But once you reach Dhawalpur Lake, you feel rejuvenated. It is a beautiful place to spend your night.
Day 9: Dhawalpur Lake is a very beautiful lake located amidst a dense forest. Situated at an altitude of 2556 meters, the lake is spread over 500 sq meters. A walk of about three hours from Dhawalpur Lake will take you to the famous Natyashwori temple. The temple wears festive look during Janai Purnima festival, drawing people from far and wide. It is believed that one must visit Natyashwori temple after visiting Badimalika. People can be seen performing 'Deuda' – a cultural dance popular in the far-western region -- on the temple premises. A walk of about half an hour from Natyashwori will take you to Lamagadh for lunch. One can enjoy beautiful views of different landmarks in Bajura from Lamagadh. Accommodation is on home-stay in Lamagadh – the first homestay facility in Bajura.
Day 10: After breakfast, you begin your journey toward Mourya. On the way, you can see the confluence of Budhiganga and Malagadh rivers. The place is a popular stopover for visitors because of its natural beauty. After lunch in Mourya, we head toward Silgadhi – the district headquarters of Doti.
Day 11: While in Silgadhi, travelers must visit the famous Shaileshwori Temple which is highly revered by Hindus. As Silgadhi is located at a high altitude, it offers splendid view of Dipayal valley which lies at a drive of about half an hour from Silgadhi. The beautiful Seti River, which flows through the Dipayal Valley, has enhanced the beauty of this place. After breakfast at Silgadhi, you head toward Dadeldhura for lunch and then to Mahendranagar for the night. Mahendranagar has quality hotels where one can unwind after the exhausting journey.
Day 12: Shuklaphanta National Park is the next destination in your journey. After breakfast, you head toward the national park where you can see the largest herd of swamp deer locally known as Barasinga. You can also catch the sight of black bucks and other species of deer. After the visit to the national park, you travel toward the Mahakali River to see the longest suspension bridge in Nepal. The bridge links Chandani and Dodhara villages to Nepal. Now is the time to head toward Dhangadhi from where you catch flight to Kathmandu.
For pictures of the trail, click here