For some reasons, I had not published my earlier blog written on Nepal, and it's unfortunate to see such a great country being damaged by the powerful earth quake on 25 April 2015. My prayers go to the people whose lives were taken by the natural disaster.
I had purchased the ticket back in November last year as my husband wanted to go during Lunar New Year. One month before the planned departure, he told me that he could not go but thankfully, my two distant cousins agreed to come along via Singapore. The two cousins arrived earlier than my flight via Kuala Lumpur which landed at midnight. The airport pick up arrangement had saved the hassle of negotiating taxi fare which usually was not fixed upfront, and it is up to the passengers and taxi drivers to negotiate. It compensated the less comfortable ride in a rather aged, box shaped car, which I failed to recognise its brand. We stayed at the Shambala Hotel, where black out was a norm that caused my cousins to be stuck in the elevator - in horror - for a few longest minutes of their life earlier during the day.
correspondences with the owner of High Asia Tours (P) Ltd, Dave, we decided to go for a two nights tour to Pokhara by car. This way, we got to see the scenery along the way and could stop wherever we wanted to. We were told the car ride took about six hours, but it took us more than six hours to reach Pokhara. Our driver was not very pleased by our decision to have many breaks along the way as he wanted to reach Pokhara soonest. Ignoring his restlessness, we could not help admiring the beauty of Seti river curving among the green hills and greyish black pebbles. From a distance, we could see a few colourful rafts floating on the river. How envy I was and how I wished I were in that raft! As expected, the people who live in the nearby villages have a simple life, relying heavily on the agriculture, growing vegetables as their main source of income. Sadly, we had to skip going to a temple on the top of the hill by the river, which could be reached by cable car but our driver said we would not have sufficient time.
before dusk and arriving at our hotel, Atithi Resort, we at last got the glimpse of the Himalayas from our doorsteps. What a magnificent view! The weather was cool, and it was a perfect evening to have a stroll to a neighbouring shopping area. Shopping was my cousin's middle name, so we spent a great deal of time going through nearly every single shops on the street before heading for our delicious dinner (this time, it was our guide who was grumpy for not getting his dinner on time; we resolved the situation by sending him to a nearby pub for his beer consumption, while we continued our shopping).
The next morning, we were told to wake up early as we would need to catch the sunrise at Sarangkot Hill. We had no idea there were that many people who were heading to the same spot and caused the traffic in the small and curvy road to jam, and we had to partially walk to reach the top, and at last, got the unforgettable view of the Annapura.
Situated at 2,700 feet from sea level, Pokhara is one of the most picturesque spots in Nepal. Despite the crowds
covering every corner of the look out spot, it felt surreal as we could feel the magical vibes of the Giant Mountains. I could not help imagining those climbers who spent months not only in preparation but also in acclimatising themselves while climbing. We had wondered if the people realised that they lived in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We didn't see any one paragliding (and had no intention to ride one either), but saw a few Ultra Light Flights making rounds above us.
When every one started to leave, we decided to go back to the hotel and got our breakfast before heading to our next destinations, Bindhabasini Mandir temple, one of the most visited temples in Pokhara. Interestingly, we saw some worshippers resembling gypsies carrying life cocks as their sacrifice. In the old days, the cocks were slaughtered in the temple as their sacrifice, but today, they were mainly blessed by the priest and brought back home. Out of my curiosity, I googled the origin of gypsies and my suspicion was confirmed. According to the Times of India, the gypsies across the world originated from India and worshipped Goddes Kali. We had visited a
Tibetan settlement nearby where visitors could purchase hand made Tibetan carpets, but it was closed for the Lunar New Year Celebration.
After the magnificent sight of Annapura in the morning, the rest of the places visited afterwards became less interesting such as the Davis Falls created by the current of lake water as well as Geti Gandaki Gorge, some part of which runs through underground the city. We didn't go inside the Gupste Shor Mahadev Cave which had stalagmite and was linked via a tunnel to Furse Khola. From here, we took over and changed the itinerary and headed to Fishtail Lodge for our lunch. It is probably the best hotel in Pokhara as it is surrounded by Phewa Tal lake and to reach the hotel, the guests must take a rope drawn raft. We skipped taking the boat in the river and decided to go for our foot massage at a nearby spa as it was cloudy and we would not be able to capture the reflection of Mount Machupuchre on the water. Our evening was the happiest part of the day as we continued our scarfs hunting and found a great shop called Zaroo the Greatest, which
offers quality scarfs from Kashmir.
The following day, we decided to take a flight back to Katmandu to safe time but in this part of the world, weather played a big role in our itinerary. The incoming flight was delayed for three hours due to poor visibility, and we left Pokhara only at noon in a small propeller plane. The view from the left hand side of the plane was stunning as long the way, you could see the rugged peaks of the Himalayas above the white clouds.
This time, we decided to stay at the most classy hotel in Katmandu, Dwarika Hotel. According to its website, in the late 1950s, the founder, Dwarika Das Shrestha bought the land and built his family home, which was later on converted into a hotel. A few notable people who have visited the hotels were Prince Charles, Demi Moore and Selena Gomez.
We made use of the remaining time by visiting Durbar Square, Patan and Bhouda Stupa and spent quite some time there; unfortunately, this place along with many other historic places were ruined after the earth quake. Under normal circumstances, this was the best place to get either singing
bowls or healing bowls.
The next day, while my cousins were still asleep, I sneaked out to visit Pasupathinath temple located near the hotel, and was struck by the sight of a few cremations along the river by the families, before heading to the airport and caught my flight back to Singapore.
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