After doing the Poon Hill Trekk in Ghorephani, Bea and I returned to volunteering with Worldpackers. We chose the Mount Mahabharat Homestay in Dhunkharka. This was our first eco-farm project.
Bea & I reactivated our Worldpackers accounts and decided to volunteer again together. We finished our Poon Hill at the end of Mai 2023 and returned to Kathmandu. We wanted to work on farms this time and decided to go to Mount Mahabharat Farm & Homestay.
We took a cab from our hotel near Lalitpur to Ratna Bus station or sometimes called by the local’s old bus station. In front of the hospital, we took a local bus for 90 NRs per pax to Panauti. The drive was about two hours. In Panauti, we changed to another bus which cost 95 NRs per pax and drove up to Dhunkharka. We got off after ninety minutes at Dhunkharka Bus Station. We carried two heavy bags with us, and our host’s son came to pick up the luggage by motorbike. We hiked up to the homestay for about one hour. Bea and I got a shared room. The next day, there were two additional volunteers, and we were welcomed by the owner with a small ceremony which is usual in Nepal.
In the rainy season, there has to be more work done in the field. We mainly did harvesting potatoes and vegetables in the mornings. When there was intense rainfall, usually in the afternoon, we returned to our room to edit the footage we took during farming. We assisted the host in improving his portfolio online—our Canon camera and drone we always carried to capture the best moments.
In the morning, breakfast is served at around 08:00 AM. The meal includes chapati, oatmeal, milk tea, vegetables, and sometimes potatoes. After that, we were free when we wanted to join the locals at the farm. At 11:30 AM, everybody helped out to cook lunch. At 01:00 PM, food is ready, dhal bhat with more varieties of vegetables. At 02:00 PM, when the weather was still good, we returned to the farm or stayed at the homestay. Usually, there was heavy rain and hail fall. Bea & I worked on our footage and editing skills.
A small snack like popcorn is sometimes served around 04:00 PM with masala or milk tea. At 08:00 PM, the last meal is ready to finish the day.
Mount Mahabharat Hike
One day you can get up early in the morning to hike Mount Mahabharat, which peaks at 3’018 m altitude. Take with you small snacks to get energy. It takes about two hours to reach the viewpoint. The sunrise can be a phenomenon. It can still be quite cold, and bringing at least a windproof jacket is good. The temperature is acceptable, but the wind can be pretty nasty!
During the cooking session, they need help cutting vegetables like mustard leaves, potatoes, beans, and spices like onion and garlic. Goma and her mom are the ones who cook for the guests and volunteers. One of the cooking sessions we had was making momo. There are a few vegetables that we need to ready, like; potatoes, cabbage, onion, and garlic. We need to prepare the dough too. After cutting all vegetables and the dough is ready, we wrap the vegetables using the dough we made and then steam them. Once it’s cooked, momo is ready to eat. It was a good experience; all volunteers helped, and everyone enjoyed the momo.
Overview of volunteering expenses at Mount Mahabharat Homestay in USD:
Bus ticket from Kathmandu to Panauti (one way, 1 PAX)…………….$0.70
Bus ticket from Panauti to Dunkharkar (one way, 1 PAX)……………$0.75
Homestay Fee (1 PAX Daily)………….$9
This includes Wi-Fi, hot shower, three meals, tea breaks & much more.
We stayed up to a week at the homestay, which was good to try out everything and learn something new each day. Goma and Kamal are lovely hosts and provided the best possible experience for us.