Everybody loves to be in the lap of nature. Peaceful, calm, soothing and fresh. Nepal is a land having pure beautiful landscapes. One can feel the purity of the nature while travelling in Nepal. One will be able to experience the beauty of mountains, the snow capped peaks, the freshness of water bodies and the lush green nature. Since, it borders the Himalayan Mountains, majority of the world’s highest peaks are in Nepal or on borders of Nepal and Tibet. The lifestyle of both regions is almost similar. While Nepal have more crowded cities and some busiest times, Tibet is calm. No hustle-bustle. Pokhara is one such town of Nepal which is calm and quiet. On the backdrop of Annapurna range’s snow capped peaks are visible from the city itself town of Pokhara has a true white lining which turns orange/red/reddish orange at dawn and dusk. Sarangkot is the place from where you can see the sunrise and the golden glow on snow peaks. If you are lucky enough, you can get to see the beautiful play of colours in the mountains. Otherwise you are engulfed into the thick fog at the visiting point. It is a bit troubling for many of them as one need to get up as early as 3 am and reach Sarangkot by 4 am. It is an 15 kms uphill drive from Pokhara. We got up early in the morning and started our uphill drive towards the hill top. It was pitch black and we had no clue how the road was, we only knew that we were going upwards because of the steep slopes the road offered. Our car was taking wild left and right turns against the pitch dark background. It felt like in the horror movies, only the headlights of the car are on and your car is the only one running on the road. The weather was chilly outside. After we reached our drop off point, it was a uphill trek for 15-20 minutes. Road signs are present but you need to be careful. At some points no railings and on the other side there is a considerable deep valley.
When we got up, it was dark and our mentor already started teaching us about how to create the silhouette effects in the photograph. After waiting for half an hour it started to lit up by the morning sun. Only then we realised about the height of our tabletop. Crowds of people started gathering around to see the golden glow on the snow capped tops of the the Annapurna range. From pitch dark, due to thick fog it started turning to white. We were eagerly waiting for the fog to vapourize, but to our disappointment it stayed. The fog was so dense and thick that we were not able to see the other person standing nearby. The weather continued till dusk. Still, as it is said ‘Don’t lose hope’, we stayed there but no luck seeing the golden peaks. This golden colour persists for a small period of time. Only few minutes, sometimes seconds and one need to capture the memory. There was a group of practising yoga. We managed to convince them to become our models for photo shoot and asked them to pose in the ‘asanas’. They readily agreed and we had some awesome portraits. We ended our sunrise tour and started descending.
Meanwhile, the day we reached Pokhara, we went to see Phewa Lake, but to our disappointment heavy rain started and made it impossible to capture the beauty of lake. We sat at our hotel rooms for the evening. But as the saying goes,’You always get what’s in your destiny’, my roommate was sitting in the room balcony and he called me in a hurry and showed the tip of Annapurna peak. For full 5 minutes, only the tip was visible and we reached for our cameras to capture it. After sometime the partial mountain range was visible to us. It was completely orange due to the dusk, but the colour did not last. The tangy orange colour covered snow and was shining for half-an-hour. We captured as many photographs as we can. Many of our colleagues were fast asleep to compensate for the next day’s morning sleep. When we asked them if the saw the mountains their jaws dropped as they had missed out the show. They were very eager to see the range in the morning but to their disappointment they were not able to.
While returning we had tea and biscuits at one stall. The stall owner was in his late 50s or early 60s and was a chatterbox. When he found out that we were from India, he started the political discussions which we tried to avoid. Return journey to Pokhara was quite a bit exciting since we were able to see the valleys and the ghat section of the road which was pitch black when we were ascending. We had some time shooting amazing landscapes of the valley and came back to hotel.
After reaching Pokhara and freshening up our next stop was Phewa Lake, Devi’s Falls, Gupteshwar Mahadev Mandir and Pagoda. Actually, Phewa Lake was planned a day before but due to heavy rains we had to back out. So we had a morning boating experience at Phewa Lake. Since, due to rains and clouds the usual scenic beauty of the mountains was lost, but the lake itself is so beautiful that we forgot that on other side there are mountains. Almost 2 hours boating in the lake and capturing surrounding areas of Phewa Lake, we made some good photographs. Each and every shot out of the camera was better than previous one. Clean air and rains cleaning up dust from the environment, the colours were vibrant. The greenish blue colour of water was the highlights and the contrast colours of the boats made it a sight to see.
After having boating at Phewa Lake, our next stop was lunch. The hotel owner was a Marwadi and our Gujju guys were so happy to know that they had a ‘motabhai’ in Nepal serving people. We had a wholesome lunch at the hotel and after we went to see the Devi’s Falls. The is a waterfall near the busy road but is well maintained with the staircases, railings and the gardens around. At the entrance, there is a small temple of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. There are very few temples of Goddess Saraswati.
The next stop was Gupteshwar Mahadev Mandir. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is in the caves. We need to ascend down at least 100-200 meters to reach the temple. The road is slippery and one need to exercise utmost caution on the steps. The outside of the temple is decorated with the events in Ramanyana and Mahabharata. Also, the rasleela’s of Lord Krishna are depicted along the staircase going to Gupteshwar Mahadev Temple.
Overall, Pokhara is a worth visiting town. Beautiful landscapes, Phewa Lake and Annapurna range makes it worth visiting. The locals say, the road from Kathmandu to Pokhara is more beautiful, but it’s not good. It takes almost a day to reach from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The flight time is 25 mins and most of the times the flight gets delayed at both the ends due to bad weather.