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Kathmandu to Pokhara

along the Trisuli


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September 25th Kathmandu to Pokhara

We were up fairly early as requested and soon set off for Pokhara. Initially we made good time, and then.... we were in a massive traffic jam to go up and over the pass. Finally, we were out of Kathmandu Valley and on our way. The scenery was exceptionally pretty as we wound along the river valley with its green clad hills lining it. Small hamlets were strung along the opposite side, accessed only by rope bridges. We stopped for lunch at a pretty (though sadly not good food) restaurant, Hamlet restaurant. We decided against the dodgy buffet (sensibly as it turned out as the 2 who did were ill), but our order was forgotten instead. Hmm, not impressed.
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Then we continued along the river banks. A note here on Nepal driving. The maxim here is “who dares, wins”, by which I mean anyone can try to overtake any time, be it half way down a traffic jam on the wrong side of the road, round a blind corner, up a hill at 0.1% faster than the car you are overtaking, with or without brakes (yes, really, we watched a car being chokked as it went uphill).... Hmm, you get the picture.
The crystal river we followed by was the Trishuli (lit 3-tri, shuli-stream). It had numerous sandbanks where we saw people washing, or setting off in canoes and rafts, exciting rapids (hence the rafts) and plenty of wildlife. Trishuli River (त्रिशूली नदी) is one of the major tributaries of the Narayani River basin in central Nepal. It originates in Tibet as a stream and enters Nepal at Gyirong Town. The Trishuli is named after the trishula or trident of Shiva. There is a legend that says high in the Himalayas at Gosaikunda, Shiva drove his trident into the ground to create three springs; the source of the river and hence its name Trisuli. Trishuli River is made up of snow melt from Mt. Ganesh and Langtang Himal. En route KK pointed out the cable car to Manakamana Temple (after which their company was named). Manakamana Temple (मनकामना मन्दिर) in the Gorkha district is the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati. The name Manakamana originates from two words,“mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that Manakamana grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her. The legend of Manakamana dates back to the reign of the Gorkha king Ram Shah in the 17th century. It is said that his queen possessed divine powers, which only the devotee Lakhan Thapa knew about. One day, the king witnessed her Goddess incarnation, and Lakhan Thapa in the form of a lion. Upon mentioning the revelation to his queen, a mysterious death befell the king. In the custom of the time, the queen committed Sati (ritual immolation) on her husband’s funeral pyre, but assured Lakhan Thapa that she would reappear in the near future. Six months later, a farmer ploughing his fields cleaved a stone and saw blood and milk flow from it. Lakhan heard of this event, and immediately started performing Hindu tantric rituals were the stone had been discovered. The site became the foundation of the present shrine. According to tradition, the priest at the temple must be a descendent of Lakhan Thapa. Once the only way to reach Manakamana Temple was a strenuous 3 hour trek, but now there is a cable car from Kurintar, 5 km east of Mugling to Manakamana. The cable car, bought in 1998, covers 2.8 km in 10 minutes. It was imported from Austria and guarantees a 100% safety with automatically operated generators in case of power failure and hydraulic emergency drive.
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Soon after this we left the Trishuli river behind as we continued along the Prithvi Highway. We followed a smaller river, Marsyangdi, for a while before turning away from it, with a lot of small villages and open grasslands, as well as some larger villages/ small towns. Farming is still practised by over 50% of the population, whether as large scale or small holdings (and many people in Kathmandu retain farms elsewhere). The agriculture was mainly rice, with wheat, barley and millet in suitable areas. We also saw sugar cane, bamboo, potatoes and a lot of banana plantations. As it was harvest season for rice we saw loads of rice straw stacks, which look a bit like small huts. Passing through the Himalayan foothills we enjoyed the forest clad slopes, some with terraced rice paddies, but many left pristine. Eventually we reached Pokhara and checked in to the Kailash Resort Hotel, http://www.mountkailashresort.com which had a very inviting pool. Steve decided on a rest, but I fancied a walk after being stuck in the car and KK offered an afternoon/evening stroll. We set off along Lakeside Road (obviously along Phewa/ Fewa Lake) to Phewa Taal viewpoint to watch the sun go down. A pretty place to watch from as we could see the Himalayas in the distance,across the lake to the hills and Tal Barahi island monastery. As the darkness rose the fireflies came out to complete the picturesqueness. We carried on along the main road (which leaves the lake slightly behind) as the shop lights all came on. We finished at Monsoon restaurant, which KK recommended for the next day.

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As we walked back I clocked a show in a restaurant close to the hotel and collected Steve to go for a meal there. This was Lake View Restaurant, http://www.lakeviewpokhara.com who gave us a front view table for the excellent show. The food was great too, mainly local fish; delicious, with lovely cocktails for a chilled evening. The Traditional Cultural Show was a 2 1⁄2 hour programme showcasing Nepali folk dances, traditional Instruments and ethnic songs. Some of the dances are associated with special occasions and ceremonies. It was very interesting to see the various cultural influences in Nepal, which as a landlocked country has people for different groups. We saw dances with obvious Indian influence (the Charya), others with distinctly Chinese themes, and others again with a Gurkha background (Khukuri Nach).
Then we had a stroll through the town before heading to bed.
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Some early history of Nepal
In an Licchavi-era inscription found in Tistung, the local people are the 'Nepals', considered the progenitors of modern-day Newars. 'Nepal' and 'Newar' are variants. Suggestions are:-

  • Nep are cow herders (gopal) from the Ganges Plain
  • Sanskrit nepalaya means "at the foot of the mountains”
  • Tibetan niyampal means "holy land”
  • Tibetan, ne means "wool" and pal "house". Thus, Nepalis "house of wool"
  • Lepcha words ne ("holy") and pal ("cave")
  • Buddhist legend, the deity Manjusri drained the water from Nagadaha (mythical lake said to have filled Kathmandu Valley). The valley was ruled then by Bhumigupta, a cow- herder, who took advice from a sage named "Ne". Pāla means “protector"

Prehistory
Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic sites have been discovered in the Siwalik hills of Dang District. The earliest inhabitants of Nepal were Dravidian people from the Indus Valley Civilisation whose history predates the Bronze Age in South Asia (c 3300 BC), followed by ethnic groups of Tibeto Burmans and Indo-Aryans. Tharu, mixed Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic are the forest-dwelling natives of Cental Terai (Chitwan) region of Nepal. The Newars (=Nepal) are among the earliest inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley. The Kirat people arrived in north Nepal from Tibet some 2000 years ago. Other ethnic groups of Indo-Aryan origin later migrated to southern Nepal from India. The Nepalese are descendants of 3 major migrations from India, Tibet, and Central Asia. The ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups came from India, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to Central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurungs and Magars in the west, Rais and Limbus in the east, the Sherpas and Bhotias in the north. Legends and documented references reach to the 30th century BC. The presence of historical sites, e.g. Valmikiashram, indicates the presence of the ancient Sanatana Hindu culture in parts of Nepal in this period. According to legends, the rulers of Nepal were the gopãlavamśi/Gopal bansa (Cowherd family), who are said to have ruled for 491 years, followed by the mahaiśapālavamśa/ Avir(Ahir) (Buffalo-herder Dynasty), established by a Rajput, Bhul Singh. It may be the two were the same dynasty, split by dynastic in-fighting.
Gopal Bansa/Gwalvansh was a dynasty in ancient Nepal, probably in the Kathmandu Valley. Gopals are credited with the discovery of the Pashupatinath volcanic mound in ancient Nepal, which became the location of the Pashupatinath temple. They inhabited Kathmandu valley c1400-700 BC. Dates are according to a rough estimate of a time after the Kurukshetra War to a time of the earliest documented Kirat King Humati (7th C). According to legend, the Gopals were settled here by Lord Krishna during Dwapara Yuga (the third of the four Yuggas, or ages of the universe). During this time it is said that the city was destroyed in battle. This dynasty was characterised by small-scale subsistence farming and cow husbandry.
Mahispalor Avir Dynasty. According to the Gopal Dynasty genealogy, 3 kings:- Barsingh, Jaya Singh, Bhuwan Singh ruled for 49 years, 71 years and 41 years respectively making 161 years of Mahispal Dynasty in Nepal.
Kirat Dynasty ruled in Nepal before the Licchavi Dynasty and after Mahispal/ Avir Dynasty. The Kirats were from the north-eastern Himalayas, arriving 200/ 25000 years ago. According to Baburam Acharya, they came to Nepal c 700 BC and ruled over it. They had short robust bodies, broad checks, flat noses, thin whiskers, and dark eyes. They were well trained in warfare, and were skilful archers. They were the ancestors of the present day Kiratas: Kulung, Thulung and Yelling. Yalamber/ Yalung, the first Kirati king of Nepal belonged to the Yellung clan. He defeated Bhuvan Singh, the last king of Ahir dynasty and established Kirat rule in Nepal. Altogether, there were 29 kings of this dynasty who ruled Nepal for about 1225 years. According to the chronicle Bamsavali, Kiratas ruled Nepal c900 BC- 300 AD. On the basis of the Puranas and other ancient religious texts, it is presumed the Kiratas ruled Nepal after Gopal and Mahipal (Avir). Mentioning the area between Sun Kosi and Tama Kosi (Ganges delta) as their native and, the list of Kirati kings is also given in the Gopal genealogy. By defeating the last king of Avir Dynasty Bhuwansingh in a battle, Kirati King Yalung/Yalamber took the valley under his control. In Hindu mythology, this event is believed to have taken place in the final phase of Dwaparyug or initial phase of Kaliyug c 6th century BC. Yalamber (Yalambar, Yalamwar, Yalamver (यलम्बर) shifted his capital from Yalung to Thankot (suburb Kathmandu) after conquering Central Nepal and his kingdom extended from river Trisuli (west) to river Teesta (east). The epic Mahabharata mentions the Kiratas tribe among the inhabitants of Nepal. Yalambar was slain in the battle of the Mahabharata, in which gods and mortals fought alongside each other. Legend credits him with meeting Indra, lord of heaven, who ventured into the Valley in human guise. Lord Krishna, knowing the intention of Yalamber and the strength of the Kiratas, thought the war would be prolonged if Yalamber sided with the Kauravas, so he cut off Yalamber's head. In his honour Indrajatra began and his head worshipped as god Akash Bhairav. According to Mahabharata, kirat kings (Shree) were (by name/ reign):-
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Soma Dynasty Gasti was the last Kirati king, defeated c 300AD by Soma king, Nimisha c205, and Kirati rule came to an end. The Soma had established a principality in the west while Kirati kings ruled the Nepal valley. He was succeeded by Mitakshya, Kakaverma, and Pashuprekshva Dev c270AD. The Soma kings attacked several times during the reign of Patuka/Khurangja, but they could not defeat him. The last Kirati king, Gasti, was comparatively weak, so he was defeated by Nimisha, who became the first Soma king c AD 205. Bhaskerverma 280-305, was the 5th and last Soma king to rule Nepal. It was he who led a military expedition which reached Rameswaram, the southernmost part of India. He amassed a vast wealth in treasure from this campaign, and used it to make a gold- plated roof for the temple of Pashupatinath and develop the economics of his kingdom. He filled Devapatan with his wealth and named it ‘Swarnapuri’. He was childless, so he made Bhumi Verma his heir. A member of the Lichchhavi dynasty, this meant that the Soma dynasty had come to an end.

Licchavi (Lichchhava) Dynasty The kings of Lichhavi dynasty originated from Vaishali (Bihar, India) and ruled Nepal after the Kirat monarchs. The Suryavansi Kshetriyas had established new regime by defeating the Kirats, as found in some genealogies and Puranas. It is written in Gopal genealogy that 'defeating the Kirat King the Lichhavi dynasty was established in Nepal'. However, different genealogies state different names of the last Kirati King as Khigu, Galiz and Gasti. During the time of Gautama Buddha, the kings of Lichchhavi dynasty were ruling over Baisali (Muzaffarpur, Bihar). Baisali had a partly democratic form of government. The language of Licchavi inscriptions is Sanskrit, and the particular script used is closely related to official Gupta scripts, suggesting that major kingdoms to the south in the Classical Period were a significant cultural influence. According to the later (730) inscription by King Jaya Dev II, Supushpa was the founder of the dynasty, but he was defeated by Ajatsatru, the powerful Magadha king, in the 5th century BC. Later, as the kings of the Kushan dynasty became powerful in India c100AD, the Lichchhavis migrated to Nepal. The 24th descendant of King Supushpa, Jaya Dev II, established the rule of the Lichchhavis in Nepal. This branch of the Lichhavi clan, having lost their political fortune in Bihar, came to Kathmandu, attacking and defeating the last Kirat King, Gasti. Brisha Dev was a powerful member of the dynasty who greatly extended his territory. Chandra Gupta I, the Gupta Indian emperor, was alarmed by the rise of Brisha Dev, but preserved his sovereignty by politics rather than warfare. He visited Nepal and married Kumara Devi, the daughter of Brisha Dev. Kumara Devi gave birth to Chandra Gupta’s successor, Samundra Gupta. Some historians think Bhasker Verma, not Brisha Dev, was the father of Kumara Devi. Mana Deva is the first king of Nepal with historical authenticity. An inscription of M#nadeva, dated 464, mentions 3 preceding rulers, suggesting the Licchavi dynasty in Nepal began in the late 4th century. The Licchavi were ruled by a Maharaja (great king), aided by a prime minister, in charge of the military and other ministers. Nobles, known as samanta influenced the court whilst managing their own landholdings and militia. At one point, between 650 and 641, a prime minister called Amshuverma actually assumed the throne.
" In Bihar: 185 Jayavarmā (Jayadeva I)
" In Nepal c.305 Vasurāja (Vasudatta Varmā/ Bhumiverma)
" c. 400 Vṛṣadeva (Vishvadeva)
" c. 425 Shaṅkaradeva I
" c. 450 Dharmadeva
" 464-505 Mānadeva I (son of Dharmadeva) was a child. Taking advantage, Thakuri governors (east provinces) rebelled, but Mana Deva defeated them. With his uncle’s help he extended his rule up to the Himalayas.
" 505-506 Mahīdeva (few sources)
" 506-532 Vasantadeva (Basantadeva)
" Manadeva II (probable chronology)
" 538 Vāmanadeva (Vardhamānadeva)
" 545 Rāmadeva
" Amaradeva
" Guṇakāmadeva
" 560-565 Gaṇadeva
" 567-c. 590 Bhaumagupta (Bh"migupta, probably not a king)
" 567-573 Gaṅgādeva
" 575/576 Mānadeva II (few sources)
" 590-604 Shivadeva I (supplanted by PM Amshuvarma)
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Thakura Period 605-621 Shivadeva’s PM Amshuvarmā married his daughter and became the power behind the throne. When his father-in-law Shivadeva died he became sole sovereign and began a new dynasty of Thakura (Amshuverma was of the Thakuri clan). The older son of Shivadeva, Udayadeva I fled to Tibet in 621, to become king in exile. His rule is regarded as a golden age for Nepal.
Avir Period After the death of Amshuverma, Usay Dev I (621-24), son of Shivadeva, took the throne. He was dethroned by his brother, Dhurba Dev and fled to Tibet, taking shelter with SrongTsang Gampo. Jisnu Gupta, chief of the Avir dynasty, put Shivadeva’s younger son, Dhruvadeva/ DhrubDev, on the throne as puppet king 631-635 before taking the royal title himself 635-40. Dhurba Dev ruled from Mangriha and Jisnu Gupta from Kailashkut Bhavan. Administrative authority was in the hands of Jisnu with Kailashkut Bhavan the administrative centre of the country (dual government). Eventually, Jisnu Gupta became de-facto ruler, minting coins in his name as Amshuverma had done, and declared himself king of Nepal. His rule was a golden period with the opening of trade routes (his daughter married an Indian king), economic reforms and industrialisation. His son Vis"n"ugupta (Bishnugupta) 640/1 continued as the power behind throne (now held by Bhīmārjunadeva, a descendant of Amshuverma)
Licchavi Dynasty restored The re-establishment of the Lichchhavi line was through the offices of Tibet. "c 630 Udayadeva II (Uday Dev II, king in exile in Tibet, his daughter married Tibetan emperor)
"643-679/83 Narendradeva, son Uday Dev, regains throne with Tibetan King Srong-Tsang-Gompo’s help, took revenge for his father and restored his ancestral throne by defeating Bishnu Gupta. He ended the double rule and became 7th king of the Lichchhavi dynasty. He brought the deity Machchhendranath from Kamrup in India.
"694/84-705 Shivadeva II (son Narendradeva, married Betsadevi daughter of King Bhogaverma of Magadha)
"713-733/29 Jayadeva II (son Shivadeva II)
"c729 Aramundi/ Baradeva (son Jayadeva II) Aramudi made Lalitpatan (Patan) his capital.
"748-749 Sha(karadeva II
"756 Mānadeva III
"826 Balirāja
"847 Baladeva
"877 Mānadeva IV
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Thakuri Dynasty was a Rajput Dynasty. After Amshuvarma, the Thakuri clan lost power and regained it only in 869. King Raghava Deva (879-?) founded a ruling dynasty in 879, when Lichhavi rule came to an end. To commemorate this event, Raghu Deva started the 'Nepal Era'. After his death, Thakuri kings ruled Southern Nepal up to the mid 12th c. Gunakama Deva (949-994) was one of the more famous. During his rule, a big wooden house was built out of a single tree which was called 'Kasthamandapa', from which 'Kathmandu', is derived. Gunakama Deva founded Kantipur (Kathmandu) town and started the Indra Jatra festival. He repaired the temple to the north of Pashupatinath. Bhola Deva (994-1024) succeeded Gunakama Deva and after him Laxmikama Deva (1024-40), who introduced the custom of worshipping a virgin girl as 'Kumari'. Vijayakama Deva (1040-), the son of Laksmikama, was the last ruler of the dynasty. After his death, the Thakuri clan of Nuwakot took the throne of Nepal.
Nuwakot Thakuri Kings Bhaskara Deva (c1050) a Thakuri from Nuwakot, succeeded Vijayakama Deva and established Nuwakot-Thakuri rule. After Bhaskara Deva, four kings of this line ruled over the country; Bala Deva, Padma Deva, Nagarjuna Deva, Shankara Deva. Shankara Deva (1067–80) was the most illustrious. During his time, the Buddhists wreaked vengeance on Hindu Brahmins (especially followers of Shaivism). Shankara Deva tried to pacify the Brahmins.
Suryavansi (Solar Thakuri Dynasty) Bama Deva, a descendant of Amshuvarma, defeated Shankar Deva in 1080, suppressed the Nuwakot- Thankuris with the help of nobles and restored the Solar Thakuri Dynasty. Harsha Deva, Bama Deva’s successor was a weak ruler and the nobles soon reasserted themselves. Taking the opportunity Nanya Deva, a Karnat dynasty king, attacked Nepal but was defeated. After Harsha Deva, Shivadeva III (1099 -1126), a powerful king, founded Kirtipur town, roofed Pashupatinath temple with gold, constructed wells, canals, and tanks (hiti). He was succeeded by Mahendra Deva, Mana Deva, Narendra Deva II, Ananda Deva, Rudra Deva, Amrita Deva, Ratna Deva II, Somesvara Deva, Gunakama Deva II, Lakmikama Deva III and Vijayakama Deva II (-1200) in quick succession. After the fall of the Thakuri dynasty, a new dynasty was founded by Arideva or Ari Malla, known as the Malla Dynasty.
Simroun, Karnat, Dev Dynasty originated with an establishment of a kingdom in 1097 at present day Simroun- garh in Bara District. The kingdom controlled the areas we today know as Mithila, Nepal and Bihar, India.
" Nanya Dev 1097-1147
" Ganga Dev 1147-87
" Narsingh Dev 1187-1227
" Ramsingh Dev 1227-85
" Shaktisingh Dev 1285-95
" Harisingh Dev 1295-1324
In 1324 CE, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq attacked Simroungarh. The king fled northwards into Nepal. The son of Harisingh Dev, Jagatsingh Dev married the widow princess of Bhaktapur Nayak Devi.
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Posted by PetersF 07:32 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal kathmandu pokhara

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