Weekend in Pokhara

Our hotel room on the right at topo of stairs!

If you’ve been wondering where I have been for the last three days …. The answer is that on Thursday night the server was down so no-one could get on line, and I very stupidly left my laptop at the school on Friday, so have been without it all weekend. Nothing very new to report from Friday except that at our weekly meeting with Social ours on Friday evening we did establish that the three of us are going to use our (having taken with me percussion etc for SAGA contributions to pay for a proper floor in the staff room – instead of the broken bricks that are currently there – and also to purchase a bank of lockable lockers for the staff. In addition I will use the money given to me by the schools and others to buy musical instruments for the senior students, and will take the two English staff with me to Pilgrim’s bookshop on Wednesday to purchase English text and teaching books for classes 7,8 and 9. Early on Saturday morning

Devi's Fall in Pokhara

we left for Pokhara by plane. As happened the previous Saturday there was a two hour delay at the airport which was very annoying because we only had Saturday and half of Sunday anyway. We eventually arrived just before lunch and were taken straight to our hotel – the Kantipur – which was lovely in many ways and situated not far from the lake and with a wonderful view of the mountains – when they were visible. We were shown the spiral wrought iron staircase up to the highest point of the hotel from which we should see the sunrise on Sunday morning at 6.00am!! We climbed all the way up – a very scary experience as it didn’t feel all that safe and you can see through every stair to the ground – and sure enough the views from the top were very good indeed, so we decided that it would be worth the effort if we could get ourselves up. Saturday afternoon was spent going to the same the famous Devi’s Fall – an incredible waterfall come series of seething whirlpools of water where the sheer force has created deep scooped out bowls in the rocks where the water is hurled around before pounding into the next one. It reminded me of the ’Strid’ at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, but on a far larger scale. It would seem that some Austrian called Devi fell to his death here over a century ago and took his girlfriend with him. From there we visited the underground caves that are fed by the river and climbed down hundreds of rather wet and slippery steps untio we were at the level of the base of the falls. There was a Hindu temple there and various rather strange symbolic figures. Finally we spent a couple of hours at the Himalayan Mountain Museum which was fascinating. There were accounts of various expeditions to the Anapurna ranges, the

Anapura 1 - photo in the museum

 Everest expeditions etc, together with all the bgear that climbers have to wear, scenes from the lives of the Sherpas and Lamas and the various Tibetan groups who inhabit the foothills of the Himalayas and many of whom provide shelter and assistance to both Trekkers and climbing expeditions. There was quite a lot of information about Tensing Sherpa – as he should be known, Sherpa being his family name – and the other Sherpas who supported Edmund Hilary in 1953.

'Fishtail' mountain in the Anapurna 1 range at sunrise

We enjoyed having some time to shop by the lakeside on Saturday evening before a wonderful meal at a local restaurant – the best and hottest meal since we arrived in Nepol! Four of us made it up onto the roof at 6.00am this morning and it was well worth the effort. Watching the sun come up over the Anapurnas and the mountain tips turning from misty blue through pink to gold over the space of an hour was an almost spiritual experience. Wafting through the stillness came the sounds of the Buddhist call to prayer and slightly later Reveille being played at the local army barracks! Plus cocks crowing, goat bells tinkling and parrakeets squawking in the trees beneath us. This was something we shall never forget. After breakfast we set off for the Peace Pagoda half way up a mountainside overlooking Pokhara. For those who have heard of/experienced the Ralph family holiday in Andalusia about ten years ago I can tell you that the hair raising drive we had up the mountain tracks to our little cottage was a picnic compared with the drive we had in an old minibus up to the start of the walk/climb to the pagoda. The views were stunning – the track impassable at certain times of the year and only possible with a very experienced and confident driver.

The Peace Pagoda

 We wouldn’t have missed it for anything and again the views at the top over the mountains and lake were fantastic – but we were very glad to be safely down again on terra firma! An interesting stroll through a local indoor market and a drive through old Pokhara was followed by lunch beside the lake which was a lovely end to a great weekend. Our flight back was mid afternoon as the little planes won’t fly once it is getting dark, which is after four ish. So ….. Back to the Malla and our comfortable rooms there and just the final week to go. Where has the time gone?


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