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.
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.
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.