Day 1: Kathmandu to Tato Pani

Distance Traveled: 120 Kms

Travel Time: Almost 5 hours. Left Kathmandu at 9 AM and reached Tato Pani around 2 PM

The big day had finally arrived. After all the uncertainty that had preceded this day, we were all exited to be finally leaving on the yatra. Here is the road map from Kathmandu to Tato Pani.

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Even though the distance covered was not great, mountain roads do take time. The entire road is beautiful and very scenic which made the hot and humid weather bearable. The last stretch before Tato Pani, as seen from the map, is an evergreen forest eco system and is prone to land slides. Travellling in a not so great bus was slow but we made it to Tato Pani around 2 PM without encountering any land slides.

Tato Pani means “Hot Water” and it gets its name because of the hot springs that is found in this place. Legend says that the great rishi Rusha Shrunga, used his yogic powers to produce hot water amid the snow covered mountains and did his penance at this place. To this day, this hot water spring offers much needed relief, not only to tired travelers, but to most of the locals as well.

After traveling about 40+ kms from Kathmandu, the road to Tato Pani is right along the Bhote Kosi river or one of its tributaries, that flow in these regions. All the snaps below are of Bhote Kosi. Bhote Kosi means “River from Tibet”. Bhote = Tibet and Kosi means river. Tibetians call this river Rongshar Tsangpo or Shishapangma Chu. Also, this is one of the main feeder river into Ganges.

From Tato Pani onwards, Bhote Kosi is what marks the international boundary. This photo was taken while standing on the Nepal side, where as the opposite bank of the river is actually Tibet, or China rather. You can actually see some solar panel and cameras mounted by the Chinese.

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One of the many falls found in these ever green forest eco system. This falls joins into the Kosi river as well.

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Couple of boys from the local community were seen fishing in these white river rapids.

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Tato Pani is a small town along the Bhote Kosi river. All the lodges are right along the river and we stayed at a hotel called “Little Heaven on Earth” and we were not disappointed. Balconies from our room opened to beautiful views of the river and the roar of the river  was a constant companion even when we were inside our rooms.

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All along the journey from Kathmandu to Tato Pani you will find numerous hanging bridges, the life line that connects people staying along the river banks. Here is one such bridge, at the very beginning of Tato Pani.

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The photo below is on the other side of the bridge shown above. People living and farming at mountain slopes like these. If we had tried to walk up this path, it would have probably taken me couple of hours easily. Wonder what they would do if they run out of coffee or sugar 😉

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Following are snaps of a Buddha temple, found right in the middle of Tato Pani :

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I spent the entire afternoon walking up and down the narrow roads of Tato Pani and enjoyed my photography session. It was drizzling a bit, but not hard enough to force me indoors. The location is such a delight for landscape photographers. So had no issue what so ever in spending the entire afternoon photographing the river and the town. Late evening we went to the hot spring and had a fantastic bath. Standing under the natural how water shower, when the ambient weather is so cold is such a great treat. Then had a good dinner at our little heaven on earth and then slept like a baby, listening to the river roar by our hotel rooms. A day well spent!!!

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