Kalika Village Development Committee- 3, Kaski, Nepal
Kaphalghari, 7 km east of Pokhara, lies on the lap the gorgeous Himalayas, with the towering mountains of Annapurna and Machhapuchre close by. The restive hamlet is powered by the enchanting Bijayapur river. Amidst greenery and natural beauty, Kaphalghari is still a remote village of Kalika VDC Ward No. 3. The other villages in this ward include Fedi, Tari, Pipaltari, Siddhipur, Ghimirethar, Nishanthar and Tamlekh. Kaphalghari is around 900 meters above the sea level. It is four hours walk away from Begnas Lake.
Kaphalghari is named after bayberry (Kaphals) trees. People still say there used to be many bayberry trees some years back, but there are only a few left now.
Either in the morning or the evening, the breath-taking view of Mt Annapurna and Mt Machhapuchre can lure many visitors. Kaphalghari falls on a Royal trek, a trail marking the trek taken once by Britain’s Prince Charles. But this nature’s beauty remains largely untapped, and nothing much has been introduced in Kaphalghari to turn into a tourist destination.
Three/fourth of the area of Ward-3, the host of Rural Media Gufa 2014, is covered with forest. Some of the famous temples in the area commemorate the Hindu deities, such as Ram, Radha-Krishna, and Shiva.There is also a Dhananjaya Gotriya Kulayan Temple in the village.
It is estimated that people started living in Kaphalghari some three hundred years ago. The total population of Ward-3 is 572. The total area of Ward- 3 is around 25 sq km.
Maize, rice, wheat, potato, cauliflower, cabbage, ginger are the major crops cultivated in the area. Agriculture remained a major profession for many years. But things have changed a lot in the last few years in Kaphalghari. People have joined various professions, including journalism, law, medicine, teaching, banking, the army or the police, etc.
Drinking water, supplied from Chhahare river, was made possible only in 2031 BS. Before that, villagers had to walk a long distance through the jungles to fetch water from available natural sources. Improved drinking water supply from Rolakokhola was made in 2050 BS.
The area is still surrounded by forests, sometimes with wild animals, such as monkeys, irritating people by stealing their foods and fruits. The village has limited access to the market and because of the lack of road facilities, they have to walk all the way to the city areas.
Though Kaphalghari is not very far from central Pokhara, it still faces similar problems like any other Nepali rural villages. There is no bridge over the Bijayapur river and the road is not good. The absence of sustainable bridge over the Bijayapur river has created problems during summer to many villagers in the area. Some have lost their lives while crossing the river. Public transportation is not available in Kaphalghari, so the villagers have to walk nearly half an hour to get a public bus.
Children of the village have access to school education. There are two primary schools in Ward-3: Dibeshwari Primary and Siddha Primary. However, in recent years, enrolments in these schools have decreased. Since there are no higher education institutions in the village, the youth of the aera opt for nearby colleges and campuses for their further studies.
Despite such constraints as well as the lack of library for the public, Kaphalghari is largely a literate village, reflecting the regional literacy trends. For instance, the district of Kaski has a literacy rate of 82%, according to the census of 2012. Over the years, some students graduating from these schools have successfully established themselves in modern professions like journalism, law, medicine, engineering, banking, university teaching, and geology.
Electricity was first introduced here in 2049 B.S. It was that same year Kaphalghari had its first TV set. Villagers then used to walk hours to gather around their new gadget in order to watch a program on screen. Although technology has made inroads here, there is no cable internet facility in Kaphalghari yet. Even the Ncell/ NTC internet connectors give limited internet access.
People from the Brahmin, Chettri, Gharti and other ethnic backgrounds reside in Kaphalghari. Majority of the residents are Hindus. During Ram Nawami and Shivarati, the Shivalaya temple just near Kaphalghari see huge congregations of religious devotees.
The village is socially spirited, with the local youth working for various causes through clubs. Divyajyoti and Survemaidan are major local youth clubs. Similarly, women are also engaged in social activities. The local Mother’s Group was established in 2053 B.S. for women empowerment and development.
Published literature about the village is limited. Two of the notable publications from Kaphalghari include Dhananjaya Smarika (2068 B.S.) by Bhandari Samaj, and Chandrakanta Guheswari Smriti Granta (2066 B.S.) by Chandrakanta Guheswari Smriti Prathisthan 2066 B.S.
Ward-3 is known as the native place of some prominent people, including from the Bhandari, Gautam, Timilsina, Ghimire, Tiwari, Bhujel, Adhikari, Paudel, Ranabhat communities. Most notable here are the Bhandaris. For example, Kushma Raj Bhandari (1963-2037 B.S.) was a famous astrologer in the Western Development Region. Likewise, judge Manoharsa Bhandari (1959-2030 B.S.), jittha Chunamani Bhandari (1961-2040 B.S.), and mukhiya Bamdev Bhandari (1950- 2031 B.S.) were also prominent figures in the history of this place.
In recent times, the new generation of Bhandaris have made their marks in agriculture and sports. For example, Gokulraj Bhandari, 67, a farmer, has won a national award for well-managed rice farming production and storage in the village. Similarly, Bishwonath Bhandari, 48, is a national winner in 1500 meter race (2045 BS). In an international athletics championship organized in Singapore, he won a medal in 1500 meter race.
Kaphalghari was a main route from Pokhara to Lamjung until 2040 B.S. when a road was constructed through Begans area. People from Kaphalghari participated actively in the major political movements of 2007, 2036, 2046 and 2062 B.S. The construction of the local road, school building and drinking water management system was possible only because of public participation.●