Pokhara (Nepal) - the touristic center of the Annapurna Conservation Area, a city where starts the famous Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Pokhara - the city where Annapurna Circuit Trek starts....
Today it is hard to imagine that this bustling city until the end of the 1960s was a small place almost completely unknown to the international community.
Accessible only by foot it was a mystic, hidden on the maps little spot.
The massive influx of tourists and trekkers to Pokhara seems to be unstoppable despite the fact that the Siddhartha Highway since long lost not only its appearance but also in many places its form, shape and pavement.
On top of the challenging climate (pouring monsoonal water), the biggest impact on the road have heavy trucks (Tata and Mahindra Motors alike) used to carry merchandise between India, Nepal and Tibet.
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Although Pokhara has a small airport having daily connections with Kathmandu, given the current state of the Nepalese aviation, like most tourists I took the road. Not because it was a “safe heaven”, but rather expected as a lower risk path.
On the road to Pokhara along the Kali-Gandaki river.
Numerous waterfalls along the road and tumultuous river's water tells it all - frequent land and mudslides, falling rocks are all well known "attractions" you may face when taking the road in Nepal.
That assumption was later seriously challenged not only by the fact that the road was closed for few days due to the massive mudslides blocking the section of the road but also by a general feeling that traveling by car in Nepal is an adventure by itself.
Add to that thick clouds of “dark matter” or if you want exhaust gases from almost “anything that moves on the wheels” and you can qualify any road trip in Nepal as a “heroic” achievement.
However once you reach Pokhara you will quickly forget “nuisances” on the road….You cross the gate to the heavenly place…..
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Left - Pokhara's Valley landscape.
On the right - View on the town of Pokhara and the Phewa Tal (Lake).
But the best is still to come (on the next set of pictures....:-)
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Annapurna massif in all its beauty and power - that is the main reason to visit Pokhara!
However before we reveal pictures of Annapurna at sunrise, let's have a tour of Pokhara, to calm down after the adventurous road trip.....
In the south, the city of Pokhara touches the calm waters of the Phewa Tal (Lake), the second largest lake in Nepal. Seen from the top of Sarangkot (a 1600m summit on the north side) the lake greatly adds to the harmony of the Pokhara Valley’s landscape encompassing all major relaxing elements.
Hotel Barahi in Pokhara - what better can describe tourists' fascination with Pokhara if not these writings on the cafeteria's walls?
Peaceful Phewa Lake waters dotted with small islands, enormous “rocks” of the Annapurna massif closing the valley with the imposing Fishtail peak in the first plan and the abundant lush vegetation generously fed by rains.
What else you may need?
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Phewa Tal (Lake) waters and shores....
Phewa Tal (Lake) and Barahi Temple
Phewa Lake with its surface of about 4.5 km2 (1.7 sq. mi) is the largest and the most visited lake in the Pokhara Valley. Due to the massive influx of the rain water carrying sediments from the surrounding mountains the lake is relatively shallow and at risk of silting up. Its average depth is only about 8.6m (28 ft) and continuously decreasing. To counter this destructive process a dam was built slightly raising the level of water in the lake and as a result enlarging its surface.
Boating on the lake is a favorite pass time for tourists trying to relax after physical and emotional challenges of trekking. Little wooden boats with a boatman can be easily rented along the shoreline so all you have to do is to take a comfortable position and get into the mood. And there is a reason for that….. Lake’s still waters dotted with islands, closeness of thriving vegetation along the shores and the best of all – reflection of the Fishtail Mountain (Machapuchare) create the truly mystical ambiance.
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The sacred temple of the goddess Ajima
No wonder that the Barahi Temple found its place on one of the islands in the middle of the lake. The temple is dedicated to the Newars’ goddess Ajima represented there in an incarnation of a boar called Barahi. (For the clarity - Newars are descendants of Medieval inhabitants of Nepal).
See you soon in Nepal. Remember, NEPAL = Never Ending Peace And Love !
Goddess Ajima is venerated by all casts and sects of both Hindus and Buddhists. As this temple is an important center of worship you are likely to see either preparation for the week-end celebrations or on Saturdays flocking devotees carrying animals for sacrifice.
To finish with Pokhara lakes it is worth to mention that to the east of the valley there are few smaller lakes – the largest being Begnas Tal and Rupakot Tal.
OK, you need the sunrise in a clear day – and that is what you do in an early morning at Sarangkot. That is the place where tourists are gathering at around 5am to watch fabulously scenic rocky towers of the Annapurna massif being slowly flooded in the coming-up sunlight. Believe me, this is one of those moments that will stay with you for long if not for a whole life….
Just few “technical” notes - you can get by taxi to the first lookup point, at about half way to the Sarangkot summit. But do not worry - it offers truly spectacular vistas on the valley with the Annapurna’s massif in the backdrop.
The massif is only about 30 km away from Pokhara, adding to that usually good visibility of the early morning air and you have a recipe for a fairy-tail scenery in astonishing colors, shapes and shades of light.
The Sarangkot summit offers 360 degrees panoramic view on Pokhara’s surroundings but it takes about one more hour of walk along the steep path to reach the top of the mountain.
Those determined to conquer the Sarangkot must start their day very early, well before the sunrise to fully benefit from being on the top of the summit. Usually during the day the air visibility decreases taking out a lot of visual (and emotional) pleasure from visitors.
To continue the tour of Pokhara and see stunning Davis Waterfalls click:
Pokhara Nepal Waterfalls
If you came to the Pokhara Valley to find the inner peace then see World Peace Pagodas and surrounding nature by clicking:
Pokhara Peace Pagoda
if you wish to see Annapurna from Sarangkot then click:
If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)
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