The Chepang Hill Trail
For those interested in village tours and treks, the Chitwan Chepang Hill Trail offers a rare combination of cultural and sightseeing experience. One of the most interesting aspects of the trek is getting a glimpse of the Chepangs and other local communities who live in this mid-hill region of Nepal. Accepting the villagers’ invitation to stay in their homes as guests and sharing their meals is a discovery in itself. The unique culture in this area adds to the natural charm of this place.
The Chitwan Chepang Hill Trail begins at Hugdi, between Mugling and Krishna Bhir in Dhading district about 80 km from Kathmandu, and ends in Shaktikhor. One can also start the trek from Chitwan National Park and end the trek at Hugadi.
Hattibang, a major stop on the highway, offers a pleasant view of the surrounding mountains and the pristine mid-hill forests. Here one can experience Magar, Chepang and Giripuri cultures at the community-run home stays and community-managed guest house. On request the community members will also perform cultural views for the visitors. Local handicrafts that are available here can be bought to be taken back as souvenirs. A tour of the village is recommended at Hattibang.
Siaruchuli (1,945m), one of the highest hills of Mahabharat Range, offers spectacular views of the mountains and magnificient views of the sunrise and the sunset. The view includes a wide range of Himalayan peaks such as Rolwaling, Gaurishankar, Langtang, Gorkha Himal, Peak 29, Himalchuli, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. The wilderness of Chitwan National Park can also be seen.
The trek to Siraichuli from Hattibang is challenging through rough landscape. Jyandala village on the trail is a Chepang settlement where tourists can gather a cultural experience. A tour of the village and accommodation at home-stay is village home stay is recommended. Next on the trail is Chisapanitar, which is a popular bird watching site. More than 250 varieties of birds are bird species are found here. The dense forest in this region is also home to other wild animals.
Another interesting place is Uppardang Gadi which used to be the headquartes of Chitwan until early 1962. The remains of a historic fort that defended the surrounding countryside are still here. The fort which sits at 1,275 m is one of the oldest forts in the country. The area also offers spectacular views.
The trek formally ends at Shaktikhor. The place gives ample opportunity to visitors for a wholesome cultural experience. Home-stays are also available here. Visitors can taste the food and be a part of the neighbourhood. Camping options are also available. Cultural shows are performed by the community members on request.
The Chitwan Chepang Hill Trail will stay with you, no matter where you go.