My Chitwan Diary: A trip to Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium

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Image courtesy: Aatish Regmi.
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A few years ago, when I dedicated myself to the field of tourism, Chitwan for me was Sauraha. A 2 night 3 days package for tourists with encouragement from my side to follow a scheduled itinerary. Tharu cultural dance, canoeing, bird watching, jeep safari around the national park area that was what I offered them and sold 100 packages to Chitwan. I remember my short stay at some hotel and back to the office at my work in a span of 2 days. After many years, I decided to take a ride in my motorbike some 175 KM (as suggested by Google) to begin a journey of my trip to Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium(GBICS).

It took me 6 hours excluding (short bio breaks)via adventurous roads that led me to a beautiful hotel, all thanks to my brother and colleague Bishal, who did all the arrangements for the stay there in Chitwan. For the 1st time, my ears made my brain believe that apart from Sauraha there are places in Chitwan.

Paras bus park and Bypass road were two major places that I had to come across. The occasion was also special for my only reason to visit the place, it was the eve before the final of the Gautam Buddha Cup. I was keen to go and see the result of grit and determination of an individual Sitaram Kattel, Dhurmus of the Dhurmus Suntali foundation who took an initiation to built a stadium for the cricket players to uplift the Nepalese players for achieving so much with so little available for cricket in a country like Nepal.

Gautam Buddha cup might just have been a warm-up match comprising of the players of the camp of the national cricket team and a few outsides of it. It was a part of the dream fulfilled for Sitaram Kattel who has dedicated his life for the sake of the development of the people of Nepal and pride for every Nepalese. Kunjana Ghimire, the Suntali of Dhurmus Suntali foundation has given her partner the perfect support and motivation to bring their wholesome idea of the development of cricket in Chitwan and Nepal as a whole.

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Courtesy: Queens Event Management Pvt. Ltd. during the promotion of the Gautam Buddha Cup.

Their partnership along with the support of the People of Nepal residing inside and outside Nepal, local governments, the Mayor of Bharatpur district, the Provincial government, private sectors, and groundsmen as well as workers have been a pivotal part of their journey so far. I personally felt satisfied when I saw the 1st DPR of the stadium, it was like yes we can build our own stadium with different types of pitches and boundaries then what we have in hand currently.

The deteriorating condition of the pitch and stadium in Kathmandu is making life difficult for our budding batsmen who are lack confidence because of the lack of runs. Yes, not many of us notice it before blaming or dictating our terms from home, we lack proper pitches and conditions for batsmen to enhance their confidence in major tournaments. There I was in this beautiful stadium that looked massive from the outset as here in Nepal we aren’t used to the feeling of being inside a stadium and it’s massive periphery.

The organizers of the events made sure that the area would look decorative with its tinge green appearance where the cup was being played. Later on, I had a chance to see the humorous part of the story of the greenery that the ground offered in a short time through the man himself, Dhurmus. He explained how the chicken excreta were used and reused from the neighboring village which wasn’t rocket science but something taught by the experience of hardships that Dhurmus and his team went through.

Courtesy: Bishal: The Photographer during Gautam Buddha Cup

The story of the grasscutter that wasn’t made available for months of a request made him arrange that grass cutter from a nearby supplier and self-made roller was something that fascinated me about this generous man who is giving his all to Chitwan and Nepali cricket fans.

In the middle of the game he cracked jokes about someone telling him about the pitch being a batting paradise and being bundled out for very less score on the board. His sense of humor and timing of injecting laughter makes him such a popular man around.

The pitch was exceptional offering extra bounce to the pacers and batters like Kushal Bhurtel who loves to hit through the line and on the rise, the bounce of the pitch could be trusted and yielded some memorable stroke play. It wasn’t about the distance the ball traveled as boundaries were on the shorter side but the way skipper Gyanendra Malla lofted Karan KC over extra cover and long-off, as well as Aarif Shiekh’s lofted cover drive for four against Abinash Bohara, reflected the quality of pitch made by the curators and staffs at GBICS. I would like to add that flick shot from Sharad Vesawkar which was just picked from his toes which made my day sitting in those decorative stands.

Courtesy: Aatish Regmi with his surreal skills via his Drone in Gautam Buddha Cup.

The place looks vibrant from the way go. after you enter from that main door of the stadium you see happy faces around even in their off days. Actually, there is no permanent off day in the stadium with people happily dedicating their hours to the development of cricket, and that what makes this place wonderfully beautiful.

It was a blessing in disguise for me to chat about the development of cricket in Chitwan and to hear the plans and vision of someone who didn’t belong to cricket originally. A man from a totally different field of entertainment, Dhurmus has been such a pivotal figure and he admits he would sell everything whatever he got for the sake of this dream of making a proper cricket stadium for the players and people of Nepal who have given everything for the game to prosper.

Courtesy: Suresh Timsina, this is the most iconic picture at GBICS.

Yes, the former skipper and the synonym of Nepali cricket Paras Khadka, the spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane was missed heavily by the crowd, the name Kushal Malla vibrated all through the stadium. Also, the eruption of relatively less number of people that were allowed to witness the final, to welcome Karan KC was a sight to remember for someone like me who always wished to see this game to prosper a long way.

I find myself lucky to be able to witness the development inside out and Bishal and Suresh along with Dhurmus Suntali Foundation allowed me to get into the main stadium. The newly constructed stadium had foundations made from common dreams and beliefs of the people. That was reflected in the work and amount of dedication put into from the groundstaff and workers who are there available day in and out.

The first thing you want to do before you step into the main stadium is bowing your head as you will smell the freshness of the soil that the periphery of the place will offer. In the middle of the ground, you will find our national flag flapping high as the place deserved that flag to be proud and witness the development going around.

The drone view if you all remember the fantastic work put in by Action Sports HD and Aatish made the ground visible to everyone following the game. The excitement of the drone shot and his dream being witnessed by millions of people through the creative workforce of Bishal, Aatish, and Action Sports HD made Sitaram Kattel more determined and hopeful for the project being completed on time.

Courtesy: The iconic Drone shot, 1st of its kind on national television by Action Sports HD. All thanks to Aatish Regmi and his drone shot.

He had humor for this too, according to him now the main stadium is just one sneeze away. Here I sneeze and there the stadium will be ready to go was the joke cracked by this amazing human being who was the reason why the environment around him was vibrant and happy.

Lush green outfields, proper deck, balanced ground in fact square ground with more than 80-meter boundaries with colorful para-fit. A long dream of the fans and players to play in a packed stadium with 30000 people chanting their names will be fulfilled with the completion of the project which has some quarters of the job still to be done. Our generous efforts have already reflected in the stadium and its progress but still, a lot is needed to make this effort shine sky-high. The generosity must be still on as I felt the people of Nepal along with the government have done a unified job amazingly well and the work must go on for the dream to be fulfilled.

The kitbags are packed already and the direction from every corner of the country is towards the Southeast where a beautiful city has got a chance to shine itself in the global arena with a full-fledged stadium just a whisker away. The curator, who has recently made one of the finest pitches in the country already in the practice ground that looks awesome than most of the currently available grounds for cricket players throughout the country is determined to give back something to the people with his experience. His Midas touch has already turned the bushes and jungle into the playable ground. Shishan Kumar Mandal, a man from the era of Zee in Nepal has given his everything but never wants to see himself in the media or news.

Courtesy: Bishal: The Photographer, the men behind the lush green outfield specially Shishan Kumar Mandal and his dedication for Cricket grounds since decades.

Let the generosity continues and the donation needs to flow for us and every player that have dedicated their efforts and life for cricket. Also, for the people of Nepal and fans of Nepali cricket who have stood for the development of the game with wholehearted effort on and off the pitch. As most of the countries that we play against describe our crowd to be the 12th man, now it is our turn to showcase our presence with the completion of this dream initiated by an individual. Let the spark of the people of Nepal shine in this noble job of setting an example for the people at the higher level to act correctly in the right direction.

Courtesy: Bishal: The Photographer, Nepal’s 12th men cheering for the national team.

Next time my Chitwan Diary will feature the 1st game of the newly completed stadium and that will have more memories, incidents, and senses of humor of Dhurmus and Suntali in tandem. I am a firm believer that this diary will be rewritten and the people of Nepal would help in the completion of this mega project of Dhurmus Suntali Foundation. Salute to all the helping hands and special thanks to Dhurmus and Suntali for bringing it all together.

Here’s the detail to donate to this noble cause for the development of cricket in Nepal.

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