Pokhara: A hot summer destination
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Pokhara: A hot summer destination

Despite the troubled political scene in Nepal, the beautiful valley welcomes tourists, writes Anupam Thapa.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 14:11 IST

Pokhara is arguably the most beautiful valley in Nepal, but like the Kashmir valley it is gripped by terrorism. The only difference is, in Pokhara the tourists are not the target of Maoists. In fact, the day we reached Pokhara, we were greeted by the news of twin bomb blasts in the heart of the city that injured 18. It would have sent a chill down the spine of any tourist.

But, the scene in this lake city was different. Markets were bustling with tourists and travellers were feasting their eyes on the majestic Annapurna.

The local crowd is quite hip. There are good-looking girls all around you but the image of a mountain girl wearing the traditional cholo, that’s so symbolical of Nepal, is missing in Pokhara.

 A food stall at Pokhara

Most of the adolescents have spent their lives in Brunei, Hong Kong, London and it reflects in the way they dress. They know how to party and Pokhara boasts of one of the best nightclubs in Nepal — Amsterdam and Paradiso — where party never ends.

Range with a view: For regular tourists, the day begins at 4.30 a.m. as they head towards Sarangkot. A small hamlet situated atop a hillock, Sarangkot offers a beautiful view of the Annapurna range, especially the Fish Tail Mountain, being kissed by the rising sun. One can even trek down to the city from here, a walk of just about an hour.

While in Pokhara, you must take a flight in the ultra-light aircraft. It offers a spectacular view of the lakes, mountains and villages.

Another landmark in Pokhara is the International Mountain Museum. The museum exhibits include information about the mountains, people and their culture, world mountain system, their geographic formation, flora and fauna. It also chronicles the development of mountaineering activities in the Nepal Himalayas.

 A view of Lake Phewa

Sailing in Lake Phewa: One can also visit the Peace Pagoda, Devi’s Fall, and several temples in Pokhara. But without a boat ride in Lake Phewa, your journey is incomplete. One can sail endlessly around the lake.

But for most of the tourists the temple located on an island in the middle of the lake is the centre of attraction.

Evenings are full of activities. One can hire a bike and pedal around the Pokhara town or visit nightclubs or restaurants located on the lakeside for a drink or two.

Most of the hotels and restaurants organise cultural evenings. The song Resham Firiri, which is every tourist’s delight, has been there ever since Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary conquered the Everest. A foreign trekker’s journey is considered incomplete in Nepal if he doesn’t learn this song by heart.

First Published: Mar 24, 2006 12:56 IST