After spending 2 days in the imperial city of Kathmandu, this is our journey to imbibe the natural beauty of Nepal. To Pokhara, the paradise of Adventure Lovers.
The journey commenced at 6.30 am on a pretty good bus, filled with tourists. I found myself sitting with Anna from Tasmania who was on a solo expedition around Nepal. The 7 hour journey was comfortable, except for the flat tire, some 1 hour into the journey. The natural landscape of Nepal countryside was indeed gorgeous. We arrived at Pokhara by around 1.30 pm and was surrounded by hotel and taxi brokers like bees around a beehive. After some negotiation, we got into a vintage – looking taxi, which I’d bet a 1000 bucks that its older than me, to the lakeside. The whole lakeside road was frolicking with tourists and every alternate shop that one sees is an adventure sports stall.
The 1st challenge was to find a place to crash at night. From Kathmandu, we had obtained the address of a hotel in Pokhara; Hotel Lake Diamond, supposedly offering an awesome view of the lake. It’s nearly 600m from the lake and trust me, you won’t be able to see the lake even if you stand on top of the water tank!! After a brief bargain, we settled for NR 600 for a cozy little 2 bed room with an extra bed. Every street near the lake is filled with Hotels which claim amazing views of the Phewa Lake. But I can assure you that 90% of them won’t even give you a look at the street, let alone the lake that lies beyond it.
The first thing that we did after getting ourselves a room was to find a map of Pokhara. We also had our lunch and headed out to the lake. As luck would have it, it rained in Pokhara. Stuck in a leaky stall on the banks of the lake with no umbrella, all we could do was hope that the rain would stop soon. And to make matters worse, the cool breeze made me shiver as I left my jacket in the hotel room. All we could see was the beautifully misty Phewa lake and tourists trying to outrun the rain. The local people told us that rainy season ended a few weeks back and that it wasn’t supposed to rain that day. And they assured us that the weather would be clear tomorrow.
By the time the rain settled, it was almost sunset. So all we could do was walk around the dark unlit pathway around the lake. And then we strolled down the streets bustling with business. One observation about Pokhara is that, you can get booze even in a stationery shop. It’s not a big deal for people coming from the west, but its a very rare sight for Indians. This place kinda reminded me of Goa.
After an up and down walk, we decided to try the local cuisine for dinner. The Thakali meals. Even though, I settled for Tibetan meals, my friends tried the Thakali thali. And it sure tasted different, but you can be the judge of that.
So, after a washed out day, we had a chat with the hotel caretaker about plans for tomorrow. The sunrise at Sarangkot was the prime attraction. We also struck a deal for a trip around some of the important tourist sites in Pokhara. Since we were to have an early day tomorrow, we slept as soon as we got back in our room.
Most of the hotels in Pokhara have wi-fi’s and I found it really useful. I hate to criticize people, but the attitude of the hotel owner was very rude. He reminded us of a “mafia don”. Even though we are students and we have zero knowledge about the place (well, except some internet and travel guide info), this is certainly not how one would expect to be treated in a hotel. He kept reshuffling our plans as per his convenience and when we suggested changes in the itineraries, he kept “threatening” that he would not help us. So, if you ask my opinion, I will not recommend this hotel.
Since this has been a short post, I’ll include the sunrise point at Sarangkot as well.
We set out to Sarangkot view-point at 4.30 am in the morning. It was about 12 km or so from our hotel and as we climbed the hill, we could see numerous tourist vehicles, all eager to watch the acclaimed sunrise over Pokhara. We reached the middle viewpoint (Based on height where they are located) and the view was splendid. The sky had a bright reddish-orange hue and we could make out the outlines of the Annapurna Range to our left and the Phewa lake to our right. And it was very cold as well. One of us climbed all the way to the top most view-point, which was pretty steep climb. Me and my friend decided to stay in our place.
We were informed that the sunrise would be at 5.45 am. But due to some unknown technical problems, the sunrise occurred only at 6.30 am. But what we saw next, was indeed worth the wait. The golden shades on the Himalayan mountains and the beautiful bright orangish sun over the hills was a view that any tourist will cherish for a lifetime; Breathtakingly beautiful. Once the sun attained sufficient altitude, the Annapurna Range and the Phewa Tal was a sight to behold. Our cameras had no rest, as we tried to capture every ounce of that beauty into a silicon chips.
Refreshed and inspired, we set out to explore the rest of Pokhara. And I did a little shawl shopping at Sarangkot as well.
Our next destination is Bindhyabhasini Temple.