We were off to another city of Nepal known for its laid-back atmosphere created by the breathtaking sceneries comprised of a lake and green Himalayas surrounding it. In a clear sky, the snow-capped Annapurna mountain range cast its shadows on the waters of Phewa Lake that makes the view more appealing. Many tourists visit the centrally located city of Pokhara not only to enjoy its landscapes but also to venture on several activities including adrenaline sports such as paragliding and zip flyer, to name a few. This mega city is also the gateway for trekkers heading to Annapurna circuit. Here, several tour companies offer trekking packages ranging from easy to difficult trails.
THINGS TO SEE AROUND POKHARA
It was a 2 hour smooth ride going to Pokhara from Bimalnagar. Before proceeding to the main city of Pokhara, our guide decided to stop by Begnas Lake. It was already in time for lunch when we get there so we checked the menu of a nearby restaurant to fill our hungry stomach. I was starving then that I just chose anything that I ended up unable to consume my food.
We walked by the lakeside and took our seats on the benches while engrossing ourselves with the peaceful vista of the lake and its environs. I admired the calmness of the place without the crowd of people expected of a tourist attraction. Only few were rowing boats and others were at the edge of the lake fishing. Definitely, to experience ultimately the beauty of the lake, we must try boating. In the middle of the day when the sun was directly overhead, we boarded a yellow-colored boat and sailed for an hour along the lake. Despite the scorching heat of the sun, I enjoyed the stillness of the waters and the serene setting. But I think it was more relaxing if done in the evening.
After allowing our exhausted bodies to rest at Dandelion Hotel, we went for a walk in the evening to see Phewa Lake. This place is more touristy compared to Begnas Lake, though the views were equally spectacular. At the middle of the water, is an island where a Hindu temple called TAL BARAHI is situated.
We rented a wooden boat locally called “Doonga” to reach the two-storey pagoda-style temple. The ride was relaxing and staying on the island to visit the temple and watch the landscape around was amazing. There were pigeons scattered around the temple and tourists enjoy feeding the fishes around the island.
Stretching on one side of the lake are restaurants were people go to unwind with good music, appetizing food and of course superb ambience.
SETI GORGE / SETI RIVER
We had a quick visit to the deep and narrow Seti Gorge and observed the milky white water flowing through it. We walked around the artificially-made canals and looked closely into the white-colored water gushing through it. Afterwards, we continued walking for few minutes passing by small communities until we reached the long suspended bridge over the Seti River. I loved walking on the bridge and it feels completely safe. Most of all, the views were fantastic!
GUPTESWOR MAHADEV CAVE
The water coming from Davis Falls passes through a nearby cave called Gupteswor Mahadev Cave. The cave consists of two chambers with many shrines dedicated to Hindu deities mainly Shiva. Photography is strictly prohibited inside. The main entrance was still undergoing some repair when we visit the cave temple. As I went down the spiral staircase, I saw water dropping from the roof because of the recent rain. It was wet inside but the cave is equipped with lighting and a staircase was constructed with handrails so it is safe to walk around.
I found a cow shed in a small tunnel in one corner. I thought there was a live cow inside but instead I saw a statue of a cow that dispenses milk after giving some donations. In another corner down is the main Shiva temple. There was still another chamber further down that we failed to enter because it is closed during monsoon season due to overflowing water.
We had a short visit to Pokhara’s underground waterfall named after a Swiss tourist who accordingly drowned in its waters. The waterfall is enclosed inside high metal fences to prevent people from accidentally falling or intentionally jumping off the cliff. It was after a heavy rain when we paid a visit to the falls so I got the chance to appreciate the heavy flow of water down to the bottom spraying mist as I get closer.
WORLD PEACE STUPA
Right after we had our satisfying lunch on a restaurant just across the Davis Falls, we drive directly to the hilltop of Ananda. This where the World Peace Stupa is positioned, overlooking Phewa lake and the verdant Himalayan mountain ranges. This World Peace Pagoda is the seventy-first pagoda constructed by the Japanese Buddhist monk around the world and the first in Nepal. This monument serves as a symbol of world peace and an inspiration for people in search for unity and harmony.
I climbed up the white pagoda on the middle of the day with my umbrella that somehow protects me from the harsh rays of the sun. I removed my shoes and walked around the peace stupa. I was delighted with the sceneries from the top. This is a good viewpoint of the city of Pokhara.
After taking some photographs, we started to hike down the hill. The hiking trail was easy with steps that gradually descend. It could be slippery on a rainy day though. On the middle of the trail, the rain poured and luckily there was a restaurant nearby where we took shelter until the rain stopped. Then we continued our hike down to the lake where we rented a boat to cross the other side.
It was raining heavily the night before we drove to Sarangkot to watch the sunrise. I woke up at 4 am and I could still hear the rain pouring. I was thinking to cancel our trip but at 5 am when the driver showed up at the hotel, the rain started to subside.
It was still dark when we ascend towards the hilltop of Sarangkot known for the panoramic vistas of the Himalayan peaks such as Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhare, and Annapurna. I was still hopeful to catch a glimpse of the Himalayan giants on an early morning of August. However, when we get there, the residents told us that it has been a month since the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains showed up. Recently, thick clouds cover the sky hiding the mountains expected during the monsoon season. Still, making it to Sarangkot was bliss. I was entertained with the white sea of clouds swaying above the valley of Pokhara. Hearing the sound of those Tibetan singing bowls displayed on souvenir shops was calming; and trying to play it by my own hands by striking the bowl with a mallet then rotating it around the bowl’s rim was lovely.