Friday, September 2, 2011

Nepal - Gorkha and Pokhara

Vibrant with colors; bubbling with life - EXUBERANT is what I would describe the journey. Each place is unique; people and culture so strikingly different. Devotion, art, colors, peaceful, hospitality, reverence; I did my best to capture them all in my photography. 

People are not pushy at all; as Kavita mentioned in her comment in my previous post. They revere guests as God. They revere the mountains; for them its not Mt Everest but Sagarmatha; the Goddess of Sky. She stands silent watching over the valleys. They dont talk about 'conquering' her - aah man how ego he could be. 'Conquering' - I hate that word. 

One of the highlight is the Manakamana temple in Gorkha district. Its not the temple but the journey to the temple that is mesmerizing. A 3.5 km long cable car ride across hills and deep down you can see the Trishuli river seem to be flowing silently. Its amazing to see an entire town up there

The temple; shrouded by fog. One a clear day; one could see the Himalayan ranges.

Old wooden carvings along the temple roof.

In devotion; I ring these bells

Devotion - sacred threads tied around on a wooden plank.

The temple and the priest.

Remember the Nepali calendar being ahead of us? See the Mfg date here.

The cable car infrastructure.

The view from the top.

Cable cars

The entire stretch of cable car ride is filled with such a scene. It was never enough; others sitting with us in the cable car kept repeating the words "Jannat"

On the way to Pokhara. Pokhara valley is famous for its tranquil surroundings and lakes. Three of the 10 highest mountains can be viewed very closely from Pokhara. Its also the base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit.

Lakeside - along the Phewa lake; lined with busting bars, coffee shops and clothing shops - lively. We hired bicycles and explored the Lakeside.

Array of T-shirts

That night; there was a Nepali folk song and dance show.

They wore costumes of different ethnic groups.

Here is Velu having fun. We danced; they let me go but the girl in this picture wanted Velu to stay on and dance.

A Newari thali - rice, curd, spinach, dal, aloo and gobi curry, pickle.

Sarangkot is a village located on the mountainside at an altitude of 1600m with a great panoramic view of Himalayas. One can see Daulagiri, Annapurna ranges. Its like a pilgrimage to nature lovers to view the gorgeous ranges; provided the sky is clear. But it was not the season; the sky was hazy and shrouded with clouds. We went as early as 4 to watch the sunrise; very soon the crowd gathered. Waited till 7 but the clouds didnt clear and we couldnt see the ranges. The below picture was clicked at around 4:30 AM; the city of Pokhara

The only and the best view was this.

When we had to witness this!!

Anyway; disappointed yes; but we cant command nature isnt it? Bridge across the Seti river gorge. This river runs right through Pokhara city. Its also called White river due to its color. .

The river is just 2 metres wide but gushes by more than 40 metres deep down street level. It has carved a deep but narrow gorge through the middle of the town; and it roars and gushes; turning the water milky white in the process

Yup; so we accepted out fate and reminded ourselves that nature follows its course and its stupid to be expecting a clear blue sky. After Sarangkot and Seti river; we were heading back to hotel for breakfast; when the driver stopped on the main road and said "Sir; mountain dekhiye". It seems he saw in the rear view mirror. We just turned back and the excitement soared. Asked him to bring the vehicle to the halt; jumped out and ran towards the middle of the road; not caring about vehicles passing over us and were literally jumping up and down like kids. People were laughing at our madness. For them; its a daily affair but for us? Here was the most beautiful mountain as if just hung from nowhere.

This will give an idea from where we were viewing it. This is Machhapuchhre - "fish tail" mountain in the Annapurna range. The peak is shrouded by cloud. It is revered by locals as sacred to God Shiva and hence no climbing allowed. It has never been climbed to its summit. 

Davis Falls - the water travels through natural tunnel. Its name has an interesting story - Davis Falls

The gorge is deep and the rush so strong that water droplets can be felt on your face.

Gupteswor - a cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Stalactite formation inside the cave. Its just a stone's throw away from Davis Falls

Photography is prohibited in the first part of the cave which has a Shiva temple inside.

The International Mountain Museum. Had it not for the clouds; we could have seen Himalayan ranges in the background. I keep saying this - you probably understand my disappointment.

I liked this picture of man and woman pointing to rest rooms.

The museum talked about various ranges; the conquering stories, equipments used; way of life of mountain people - their dresses; food habits, languages and lot more. School children group taking a look at a very large Thangka

The serene and calm Phewa Lake - jewel of Pokhara. People were para gliding along the hills around the lake. A local travel agent told me that the winds would be strong and it was not a good idea to para glide. I so wanted to; maybe sometime later somewhere else :)

5 kms away from main town was a quiet village on the banks of Phewa lake was Happy Village. The name of the village went so well with the feeling. A lazy evening with a hot cuppa to indulge and pass away your time.


  1. An excellent post. Learned a lot.

    The best picture is where you say beautiful mountain just hung from nowhere..

  2. Hi
    I missed some of your posts.have to catch up.
    Your pictures are exceptional.So sharp and colorful.This is way beyond my idea of the place.That looks out of this world.So beautiful !

  3. B, I wondered why you have been silent and not exuberant on the blog, now for a while. There used to be at least four postings a week! And I also wondered why you have not come out with the full version of the Nepal odyssey.

    Now here at last!
    I still feel that since you have a distinguished camera , you can play more around with light to make the pictures more in-depth and striking.It's my opinion and a lay one .

    The usage of the word "conquered" in matters of Nature is besides being egoistic is audaciously ridiculous.It is mans ignorance at its best.It is only the benevolence that Nature shows that take man on to where he has set foot. I guess man was arrogant and egoistic even from his early days . The fable of the "tower of Babel" tells us much of mans arrogance!

  4. Gorgeous pictures ,beautiful narration.I had tied threads there in Manakamna Temple wishing for something very precious .I need to go back to untie those now that my wishes are fulfilled.The ride was an amazing experience.I remember going to that cave temple .Only thing that i missed was the museum .

  5. A,

    Thanks so much. For someone seeing them for the first time; it was just that feel. It was hanging from nowhere!!


    Thanks, glad to have you back; take your time
    Couldnt do much due to lack of sunlight; but nevertheless the place was beautiful


    Work!! Work has taken a toll on me; I am not finding time to write. Earlier I would blog after work from home; but off late I have back to back conference calls to attend once I am home.

    There is lot of information I picked up on my travel to Nepal. I want to share each one of them and thats why doing it in parts.

    I agree on the pictures part. However in Nepal; couldnt do much; I didnt get to see the sun shine even for few minutes. It was cloudy and foggy throughout - most times the pictures were clicked when it was raining - it was difficult to be clicking and saving the camera from water at the same time.

    I did not use flash in most places for 2 reasons

    1. esp in temples as I didnt want to disturb others. The inside of the temples were usually dark; with only the aarthi giving some light.
    2. Did not want to fake light the environment when it was beautiful as it was - foggy, cloudy and dull.

    However I do have few portrait pictures that I have saved for now. It will form a separate post :) Thanks a lot for your suggestions; it sure helps me to take better pictures.


    Thanks a lot. Oh! you did? I didnt tie the thread; just admired that wooden panel and took pictures :-|

    You gonna go back? Wow! I am jealous. The museum was good but lot of information to grasp. You easily need 3-4 hours if you have to explore everything; we didnt have that much of time.

  6. Anil,

    I missed to respond to your comment about conquering

    I totally agree with you. It also pained me to read how Everest got its name. The mighty mountain being named after a British surveyor is sad. I thought they should encourage even the Westerners to use the name "Sagarmatha" and "Chomolungma"

    Yes, nature has showered more than its share of generosity towards man.

  7. Nice read Insi,with fabulous pictures..Meaningful one to always remember.Thanks.

  8. You made us to felt as if we have visited Nepal-Gorkha and Pokhara by your photographs and narrations.

    Best of Best photograph are "most beautiful mountain as if just hung from nowhere" and "Davis falls natural tunnel".

    Hope, Mr. Velu had lot of fun while dancing.

    Toilet board is the funny one. This should be shown to our Tamil and Telugu film people to create a comedy scene in their pictures.

    Excellent post, keep posting.

  9. Amazing narration and pictures. That rest room photograph reminded me of Kavi's post on loo. Looks like we should start a new category called loo photography if it already doesn't exist! :P

    I wanna visit nepal now!

  10. Lovely pitures.
    This is one place I have yet to visit.

  11. Crisp pictures matching crisp words! That view of Macchapucchre is awesome! From Pokhara there is an interesting journey to a place called Muktinath temple, did you do it?

    Happy Village ! So serene and peaceful!

  12. Melange,

    :-) Thanks, glad you liked them



    Naidu sir,

    Thanks a lot. Even my favorite is the mountain pic sir.
    Velu had lots and lots of fun

    thank you sir


    Thank you. Yup; as soon as I saw the rest room direction photo; I got reminded of Kavi's post on the same. It is interesting and yeah good idea! We should have a new category of look photography.

    You should visit Nepal; now is not the right time; after October to January is fine. You can see the mountains clearly :)


    Thanks a lot. You should visit when possible.


    Thanks a lot Balan. I am glad you liked the pictures. The place was such :)
    No Balan, Muktinath was not possible due to lack of time and the rough weather.

    Happy Village was very happy :)

  13. Yes B, the naming of the great mountain peak after a white man was done by them, the colonialists.
    The Nepali government could revert back or choose any name that is in sync with the Ghorkha culture. Why they have not thought of is a wonder. May be the brown skins continuing awe of the Whites or the pale skinned.

    Perhaps "Mont Blanc" will be renamed Ghorkha peak or something similar? And alas the British have no peak worth naming in their country and that will pass the status of a hill.

  14. Amazing pics and the views wow. The 2068 thingy is so amazing :D

  15. Abhinav,

    the views were enticing. The 2068 thing freaked me out as well :)

  16. This is so impressive and nice title of Gorkha and Pokhara . I am always searching such type of content that gave some useful knowledge and relax our mind.


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!