This small little country in the lap of the Central Himalayas is amazing. We entered Nepal through Birgunj, a dusty little town riding a Tonga or bullock cart which led us to one of the numerous travel cum car rental agencies for a hired vehicle. Thankfully we got a mint condition Tata Sumo and a cheerful young guy to drive for us a fter some hard bargaining and drove to Sauraha, the gateway to the Chitwan National Park. Got a decent resort at affordable rate for a night.
The evening was spectacular observing an unforgettable sunset on the banks of the Rapti River. Later, we went to a local theater to enjoy the Tharu Dance, a cultural program held every evening by the local Tharu tribes for the entertainment of tourists.
Early next morning we did the morning Jungle Safari, though wildlife sighting was not satisfactory except a few cheetals, a jackal and a crocodile but enjoyed the ambience of the forest nevertheless. We departed Sauraha, lunched at Mugling and reached Pokhara in the evening. Had a tough time getting a decent accommodation at affordable rate but luckily got one with good views of the lake and the mountains. We walked towards the market lazily watching numerous souvenir shops and travel agencies displaying on their television screens how they conduct parasailing activities. An evening well spent.
Early next morning we visited Sarangkot, the sunrise point of Pokhara. Upon reaching the top, we were mesmerized by the view of the Himalayas. As the sun rose, the entire Annapurna Range with the Dhaulagiri at the extreme left kept changing hues from crimson to orange to golden yellow. A sight to behold literally.
Started the next morning with sightseeing to the famous Bindhabasini Temple, Devi’s Fall, Seti River Gorge and the Gupteshwar Caves. Enjoyed a lovely Thakali lunch in one of the many roadside restaurants. Rode a dingy boat on the Fewa Lake in the evening which took us to the famous Talbarahi Temple, situated on an island within the lake. The reflection of the Himalayas on the lake waters draw thousands of tourists to Pokhara but we were not so lucky as clouds played spoilsport. The lake side has a beautiful pathway where we took an evening walk leisurely and enjoy the cool breeze and the scenery around.
Later in the day, we went to the World Peace Pagoda which offers a bird’s eye view of entire Pokhara city. I could see the city, the Fewa Lake & the wide Himalayan range in a single frame. Another major attraction of the town is paragliding. Being situated on a valley with a huge lake, Pokhara becomes the automatic choice for being one of the best paragliding spots in the world. We spent the evening at a zone on the other side of the lake where the paragliders land safely. Three days well spent at Pokhara.
From Pokhara we came to Kathmandu via Kurintar, famous for the Manakamana Temple Cable Car ride which took us over the Trishuli river and some steep gorges. We reached the temple premises after crossing three simultaneous mountains. An important place of worship in Nepal where thousands fulfill their wishes in lieu of animal sacrifice. Kathmandu seemed to be a bustling metropolis with endless number of cars, traffic jam and pollution. Got a good hotel at decent price near Thamel area.
Next morning, post breakfast, we were off to the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Had a good Darshan of Lord Pashupatinath and also explored the crematorium zone on the banks of the polluted Bagmati River. Boudhanath, Swayambhunath, Budha Nilkantha, Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, The Narayanhiti Palace, Casino Anna and Kathmandu Zoo, all were covered in the next two days. Thamel, the hotspot in Kathmandu with many Dance Bars, cafes, live music from the Thamel Party House at night was equally enjoyable where we stayed for three nights.
Next morning we moved on to Nagarkot, some 30 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu, visiting the Bhaktapur Durbar Square en-route, where we stayed for a night. It gave us an unforgettable experience of a full moon night and also a commanding view of the sunset & sunrise over the Langtang Himalayan Range. We stayed the last night at Birgunj to catch our next day’s morning train from Raxaul. Literally cherished my trip to Nepal with wishes of visiting many more times and exploring newer destinations.