प्रकृति को रमणीय बाताबरण छ हेर यहाँ

इन्द्रवती अटल छ जुगल हिमाल जहाँ ।

स्मरण आउछ सधै त्यहाँको पाखा अनि पहरा

कुहुकुहु स्वर कोइली को अनि वनजङगल लहरा ।


I am Suraj Parajuli from Sindhupalchok, about 70km north of Kathmandu, where I live and study now. Although I have been in the city for a few years, I still vividly remember my birthplace. I remember the lands where I learned how to walk, the Jugal and Ganesh mountains that I used to see from the windows as I woke up, the Indrawati river where I learned how to swim, the Belbote jungle where I used to graze the goats, and of course the people with whom I used to talk and spend my time. These are the images of my childhood, evergreen in my mind no matter how far away from home I am.

Above is a map I drew of my village, Katunjepani in Sindhupalchok. Katunjepani is like a valley, surrounded by mountains and hills, and about 1.2km down from the Araniko highway. There are about 20 houses near my own. Most of the people there are Brahmin and work as farmers while some are teachers. The farmers plant mostly maize, barley, and rice because the lack of proper irrigation makes it difficult to grow many vegetables. The small amount of vegetables that they do grow are fed to the livestock so that they can then sell the livestock’s products like meat and milk. But earning a livelihood in agriculture is getting harder these days and many of the young people have left, often going abroad seeking employment.

View of Katunjepani. Rohit Parajuli

My summer afternoons were occupied by grazing about five to seven goats and cutting grass for the livestock in the Belbote jungle, to the left side of the village. I love those times. The sweet sounds of birds put me at peace. The natural beauty of the jungle attracts everyone’s eyes, including foreign tourists who we would guide. We would feel proud when they called our village beautiful.


About one hour from my village is the Indrawoti river. The Jugal mountain, which can be seen from our own village, is the initial point of this river. Near the river, there is our rice field, where I would go to irrigate the rice. Above the river there is a Majhi village, whose people harvest the fish in the Indrawoti.


To the north of my village, you can see a school, Shree Jana Pravat Primary School, on map. Although it looks small, this small school is very important to me. Here, I learned the English alphabet, how to do arithmetic, and the basics of science. I studied up to class three in this school. But, today, this school is merged with another school, Shree Jana Vikas Secondary School. In Jana Vikash School, I studied for five years, from class four to eight. It has a big ground where I used to play volleyball and football after school and during holidays with friends Shikhar, Rohan, Rohit, Arbin, Sajjan, Sagar and others. When I played sports after school, I would return home in the late evening and my sister would scold me. I still remember these moment today vividly.


After completing class eight from Shree Jana Vikash, I moved on to Shree Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School to study animal sciences, a technical subject for class nine and ten. Located in Sangachok Bazaar, Shree Jana Jagriti is about 4km from my house.

from my house

The school where I completed my SLC. Photo taken from the school’s Facebook.

I had to reach school by 9am in the morning so I would have to be ready by 8am. After walking one hour, I would reach my school and stayed there until about 5pm. I remember the winter days, when returning home at 6pm meant it was already very dark outside. I would use a torch light to make my way home. This got more difficult so in the last few months of class ten, I stayed in a room close to the school.

Moving on to a new school was exciting. I had looked forward to making new friends and studying animal sciences. The teachers were friendly, as well, and I still miss them all today. It was challenging when I lived away from home because that was my first experience living without my family. We had to do all the work ourselves like cooking, washing clothes, and cleaning our rooms. Through this experience, I learned good lessons like how to cooperate and be independent.

Sadly, in the 2072 earthquake, this school building was destroyed. Local politicians and the school district had set up a temporary learning center for the students. They moved to a new building just a few months ago. Other areas in Sindhupalchok were also affected by the earthquake. Still today, there are many people living in cottages, without homes and reconstruction is only just beginning. Even though many things have changed in my village, I still consider it my home and I will always have fond memories of Katunjepani.

Suraj Parajuli  is a fourth cohort fellow. He comes from Sindhupalchowk. After completing his high school from Pentagon College from Science faculty, he is now pursuing his Bachelors in Health Care Management (BHCM), from Noble College in Kathmandu.