A Travellerspoint blog

Pokhara and Sarangot

Sunrise, waterfalls, temples and lakes

View Himalayas on PetersF's travel map.

September 26th Nepal: Pokhara (our anniversary)

We woke very early and took the car at once to drive through Pokhara and up to Sarangkot in the dark. We drove up the winding hill to the makeshift car park, then walked up the steps to the lookout point (also a cafe) to await dawn. Sadly, although really atmospheric, with the mist rising through the forest and up over the hills, the snowy Himalayan peaks struggled to make an appearance. However as the sun rose and burned off the clouds it became a beautiful sunrise, all pinks and reds and oranges and yellows... A perfect time to give each other our anniversary cards! As we began to drive down KK suddenly stopped and told us to get out so we could see the Himalayas which had now appeared.

The mountains of Sarangot
From the far west it was Nilgri North, Tilicho, Annapurna range: Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Himchuli, Gangapurna, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail 6997m), Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Annapurna II (7937m), Lamjung Himal (6983m), Manaslu, Dhaulagiri Range (8167m)
The Nilgiri Himal is a range of three peaks in the Annapurna massif in Nepal. It is composed of Nilgiri North (7061 m), Nilgiri Central (6940 m) and Nilgiri South (6839 m). Tilicho Peak is a mountain in the Nepalese Himalaya, near Annapurna. The peak was discovered in 1950 while attempting to find Annapurna I. Lake Tilicho is located on the northern side of the peak.
Annapurna Annapurna (अन्न्नपूरूर्ण्णा) is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 m, 13 peaks over 7,000 m, and 16 over 6,000 m. The massif is 55 km long, and bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. Annapurna I Main is the 10th highest mountain in the world at 8091 m above sea level, and the first of the Eight-thousanders to be climbed (1950). Its summit was the highest summit attained for 3 years, until the first successful ascent of Mount Everest (although higher non-summit points of at least 8,500 metres- had already been attained on Everest in the 1920s). Annapurna is a Sanskrit name that means "(She who is) Replete with food", but is normally translated as Goddess of Harvests. Her association with the giving of food (wealth) led her in time to be transformed into Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
The Annapurna massif contains six prominent peaks over 7,200 m: Annapurna I (Main) 8091m Ranked 10th; Annapurna II 7937m Ranked 16th; Annapurna III 7555m Ranked 42nd; Annapurna IV 7525m; Gangapurna 7455m Ranked 59th; Annapurna South 7219m Ranked 101st
Less prominent peaks in the Annapurna Himal inc: Annapurna I Central 8051m; Annapurna I East 8010m; Annapurna Fang 7647m; Khangsar Kang 7485m; Tarke Kang 7202m; Lachenal Peak 7140m; Tilicho Peak 7135m; Nilgiri Himal North 7061m; Central 6940m; South 6839m; Machhapuchchhre 6993m; Hiunchuli 6441m; Gandharba Chuli 6248 m
Gangapurna was first climbed in 1965 by a German expedition led by Günther Hauser, via the East Ridge. Annapurna South (also known as Annapurna Dakshin, or Moditse) was first climbed in 1964 by a Japanese expedition, via the North Ridge. Hiunchuli (6,441 m/21,126 ft) is a satellite peak extending east from Annapurna South, Hiunchuli was first climbed in 1971 by an expedition by Americans.
Annapurna South (left) and Hiunchuli (right) from the south
Hiunchuli (6,441 m) is a satellite peak extending east from Annapurna South. It was first climbed in 1971. Between this peak and Machapuchare is a narrow section of the Modi Khola valley that provides the only access to the Annapurna Sanctuary.
Mount Machhapuchchhre (6,993m), named after its resemblance to a fish-tail, is an important peak, though it just misses the 7,000 metre mark. Mount Machhapuchchhre and Hiunchuli are prominently visible from the valley of Pokhara. These peaks are the "gates" to the Annapurna Sanctuary leading to the south face of Annapurna I. Mount Machhapuchchhre was climbed in 1957 (except the final 50 metres for its local religious
sanctity). Since then it has been off limits. Machapuchare, Machhapuchchhre or Machhapuchhre (from Nepali माछापुच्रे or “fishtail”) is a mountain in the Annapurna Himalayas of north-central Nepal. It is revered by the local population as particularly sacred to the god Shiva, and hence is off limits to climbing. Machapuchare is at the end of a long spur ridge, coming south out of the main backbone of the Annapurna Himalayas, which forms the eastern boundary of the Annapurna Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is a favorite trekking destination, and the site of the base camps for the South Face of Annapurna and for numerous smaller objectives. The peak is about 25 km north of Pokhara. Due to its southern position in the range, and the particularly low terrain south of the Annapurna Himalayas, Machapuchare commands tremendous vertical relief in a short horizontal distance. This, combined with its steep, pointed profile, make it a particularly striking peak, despite a lower elevation than some of its neighbors. Its double summit resembles the tail of a fish, hence the name meaning "fish's tail" in Nepalese. It is also nicknamed the "Matterhorn of Nepal”.
Lamjung Himal and Manaslu
Lamjung Himal (6983m) is the first eastern high peak on the ridge of Annapurnas. Because it lacks only a few meters to seven thousand and looks from almost all sides more like just a massive wall rather than a distinctive peak, it is not a well known mountain.
Manaslu (Nepali:मानसलु also known as Kutang) is the eighth highest mountainin the world at 8163 metres above sea level. It is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name, which means "mountain of the spirit", comes from the Sanskrit manasa, "intellect" or "soul". Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu, members of a Japanese expedition. It is said that "just as the British consider Everest their mountain, Manaslu has always been a Japanese mountain". Manaslu is the highest peak in the Gorkha District and located 64 km east of Annapurna. The mountain's long ridges and valley glaciers offer feasible approaches from all directions, and culminate in a peak that towers steeply above its surrounding landscape, and is a dominant feature when viewed from afar. There are two ethnicities in in this region, Nubri and Tsum. The branching of the river at Chhikur divides the two ethnic domains. While Nubri has been frequently visited after Nepal opened itself for the tourism, Tsum retains its traditional culture, art, and tradition. In the central hills of the region, Gurungs are the main ethnic group who have joined the Brigade of Gurkhas in large numbers. Closer to Tibet, the Bhutias (Bhotias), akin to the Sherpa group, of Tibetan ethnicity dominate the scene as can be discerned from their flat roofed houses, and they are distinctly Buddhists. The region is dotted with austere monasteries, mani walls, chortens and other Buddhist religious landmarks.
The Dhaulagiri massif extends 120 km from Kaligandaki River west to Bheri River and on the southeast by Myagdi Khola. Dhaulagiri I is the 7th highest mountain in the world at 8167m above sea level, and the highest mountain within the borders of a single country (Nepal). The mountain's name is धौलागिरी (dhaul!gir") in Nepali, from Sanskrit धवल (dhawala, dazzling/ white) and गिरि (giri, mountain). Dhaulagiri I is also the highest point of the Gandaki river basin. Annapurna I (8091m) is 34 km east of Dhaulagiri I. Kali Gandaki River flows between the two in Kaligandaki Gorge, the world's deepest.

A note on Pokahra
Pokhara has spectacular scenery, adventure and food choices galore. Lakeside Pokhara is the perfect place to recharge on the shores of the tranquil lake. Seti Gandaki (White River) in the main river flowing through the city and its tributaries have created gorges and canyons around Pokhara that give long sections of terrace features interrupted by gorges 100s of metres deep. Seti gorge runs through Pokhara north to south. Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal. Three 8,000m peaks (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu) can be seen from city. Machhapuchchhre (Fishtail) 6,993 m is closest.
Pokhara lies on the major old trading route from China to India. In the 17th century it was part of the Kingdom of Kaski, one of Chaubisi Rajya (24 Kingdoms of Nepal) ruled by a branch of the Shah Dynasty, and many of the hills around still have medieval ruins. Pokhara was seen as a commercial centre by the King of Kaski in the mid 18th century when Newars of Bhaktapur migrated to Pokhara and settled near business locations by Bindhyabasini temple, Nalakomukh and Bhairab Tole. Pokhara at the time inhabited by Khas (Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri, Dalits). In 1786 Prithvi Narayan Shah added Pokhara to his kingdom. Establishment of British recruitment camp brought Magar and Gurung communities to Pokhara. At present the Khas, Gurung (Tamu) and Magar form the dominant communities of Pokhara, with a sizeable Newari population. A small Muslim community lives on the eastern fringes of Pokhara in a place called Miya Patan. Batulechaur in far north of Pokhara is home to Gandharvas/ Gaaineys (tribe of musicians). Nearby hill villages see a mix of Khas and Gurung. Newars are non-existent outside Pokhara city itself.
f07abc40-bb08-11eb-b398-9114edaee0db.pngf0719480-bb08-11eb-a609-9531effd1019.pngFishtail (Machhapuchhre) Mt and Annapurna III; right Annapurna III
We headed back to Pokhara and parked outside Bindabashini (Bindabasini/ Bindhbasini) Temple in the north of the city. A short pedestrianised walk (with loads of stalls) and a walk up some steps took us to a terrace containing the temple complex. Located near the busy Old Bazaar of Pokhara, the temple stands proudly 1000m above the sea level along the Annapurna and Machhapuhhare Himalayan Range.
Bindhyabasini temple is linked to the famous Bindhyabasini temple in Bindhyachal, Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that King Siddhi Narayan Shah (pre-regnal name Khadag Bam Malla) of Kaski brought the deity (idol) to Pokhara in 1788 (1845 BS) shortly before Nepal’s unification. Bindabasini (a form of the Hindu goddess Durga) is the guardian deity of Pokhara and of great religious value to the Hindus living there. This form of Durga residing in the Bindabasini temple is Bhagawati, a blood-thirsty aspect of the goddess. Large numbers of devotees throng to the temple during the festival of Bada Dashain. The beautiful white pagoda style temple of Bindabasini in the terrace centre is surrounded by a park-like setting. There were a number of temples and shrines to see, including a rather nice one to Rama (with Sita) and Krishna (7th and 8th avatars of Vishnu, respectively). Many people come to visit the temple, picnic with family and indulge in the breathtaking view of Pokhara bazaar from the hill. There was a sacred tree at the corner with a majestic view of snow clad mountains behind (though difficult to see now). The fresh scent of the incense sticks in the temple gave a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. There were fewer prayer wheels here, but plenty of bells to sound. This is one of the most important holy places for the Hindus in Nepal. Steve rang the bells and I joined the (mainly women) line to view (be blessed by) Bindabashini’s idol.

Important Nepali deities
Ganesha is a very popular god in Hinduism, and is one of the most worshipped, especially in Nepal. Hindu tradition states that Ganesha is a god of wisdom, success and good luck. He is also giver of different types of favours. The Hindu tradition calls Ganesha the lord of obstacles. Thus, Hindu tradition states that by worshiping Ganesha, one can remove obstacles and difficulties. There are many temples (mandirs) of Ganesha, however in many Hindu temples there are statues and carvings. But, in most of the temples of Hindus, people worship Ganesha. Generally, Hindus worship Ganesha before starting any new thing. Thus, for example, before occupying a new house, they may worship Ganesha. Likewise, before starting any new business, many Hindus may worship Ganesha for good luck. There are two stories about how he was born.
● One day, the Goddess Parvati was taking a bath at home and did not want anyone to disturb her. She created a boy with her powers, and told him to guard her and not let anyone in. When Lord Shiva came home, he wanted to come inside but the boy would not let him. Lord Shiva asked his army to make him go away, but his army failed. Finally, Shiva just cut the boy’s head off. When Parvati had heard what had happened, she was angry. She pleaded with Shiva to save him. Lord Shiva sent his army to go find a head for Ganesha. His army came back with an elephant head.
● Parvati was very proud of her son Ganesha. She asked Shani (god of the planet Saturn) to look at her son. Shani looked at the face of Ganesha, but that look burnt Ganesha’s face as he had the evil eye and Ganesha became headless. Brahma (the creator god) advised Parvati to give Ganesha the head of the first thing she could find. Parvati found a head of an elephant and fixed on the body of Ganesha. Thus, Ganesha got an elephant’s head. Any image of Ganesha generally has the following characteristics or features:
● He has the head of an elephant.
● He is shown with a big body, showing that the entire universe is inside him.
● His colour is red, orange, or yellow.
● Generally, he has four arms, and sometimes three eyes.
● He carries a mala (garland) and certain other items like a lotus flower.
● He sits generally with a bowl of sweets (laddus or modaks) before him.
● A mouse or rat will be near Ganesha. He uses a mouse (rat) as his mount (vahans).
Durga, meaning "inaccessible/ invincible", is the most popular incarnation of Devi (the quintessential female deity) and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti (Shakti "Power" is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the forces that move through the entire universe). Durga is the original manifested form of Mother Parvati. She is considered the supreme goddess and primary deity in Shaktism, occupying a place similar to Lord Krishna in Vaishnavism. According to Skanda Purana, the goddess Parvati took the name "Mother" after she killed the demon Mahishasura. According to legend, Durga was created by the coming together of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lesser gods to slay the buffalo demon Mahisasura, as they were powerless to overcome him individually. Embodying their collective energy (shakti), she is both derivative from the male divinities and the true source of their inner power. She is thus greater than any of them. Born fully grown and beautiful, Durga presents a fierce menacing form to her enemies. She is usually depicted riding a lion and with 8 or 10 arms, each holding the special weapon of one of the gods, who gave them to her for her battle against the buffalo demon. Durga is worshipped in many forms across the Hindu world, such as Bhagwati and Saraswati (Nepal), Tara and Kali (Tibet/Bhutan).
Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and by some as the supreme God in his own right. He is the god of compassion, tenderness, and love in Hinduism, and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus in late August or early September. The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita, and is portrayed in various perspectives: god-child, prankster, model lover, divine hero, and universal supreme being. His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young man with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna. The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BC literature. In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, and this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism. He is a pan-Hindu god, but is particularly revered in some locations. Based on his name (which means dark blue), Krishna is often depicted as black- or blue-skinned. Krishna is also known by various other names that reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common are Mohan "enchanter"; Govinda "chief herdsman", and Gopala "Protector of the Soul". All of his 8 wives and his lover Radha are considered in Hindu tradition to be the avatars of the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu.
Shrines and sacred trees within the complex

We were hungry now, so we returned to the hotel for a lovely verandah breakfast (and much needed coffee). After breakfast we drove up the hills to park at the car park for the Peace Pagoda. It was quite a climb (about 20+ minutes) up the steps to access the pagoda grounds (1100m), but worth it for the view alone. Pokhara Shanti (Peace) Stupa is a Buddhist pagoda stupa built on Anadu Hill, by Nipponzan-My$h$ji monk Morioka Sonin under Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of Nipponzan-My$h$ji. Shanti is Sanskrit for peace. The panoramic view was of the Annapurna range, Pokhara, and Fewa Lake. The pagoda is on two levels, so after taking off our shoes, we did the usual 3x round (clockwise of course) each level. The plus side is great 360o views of the countryside and of the beautiful Buddhist wall decorations. Shanti Stupa is the first World Peace Pagoda in Nepal and 71st pagoda built by Nipponzan-My$h$ji. The pagoda is 115 ft tall and 344 ft diameter. The white pagoda has two tiers for visitors to circumambulate. The second tier displays four statues of Buddha given by different countries: ‘Dharmacakra Mudra’ from Japan, ‘Bodh Gaya’ from Sri Lanka, ‘Kushinagar’ from Thailand and 'Lumbini' from Nepal. Each statue represents important events related to Buddha and were named according to where they took place. Dharmachakra is placed below the gajur (pinnacle) which signifies the wheel of life, dharma and the teachings of Buddha. The top of the golden gajur holds the crystal stone from Sri Lanka which symbolises intellect and grace. Dhamma hall, with Buddha statue, is located near the peace pagoda for Buddhist rituals. After enjoying the quiet gardens (and a quick meditation in the nearby seating area) we went back down, past the cafes, to the car.

Some Buddhism concepts
In Buddhism, Bodhisattva is Sanskrit for anyone who generates bodhicitta, a spontaneous wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are a popular subject in Buddhist art. In early Buddhism, the term bodhisattva referred specifically to Gautama Buddha (a contemporary of Mahavira who founded Jainism) in his former life. The Jataka tales, which are stories of the Buddha's past lives, depict various attempts of the bodhisattva to embrace qualities like self-sacrifice and morality. The bodhisattva is also called a pusa; one who achieves Buddhahood but chooses to remain attached to the world. In Sanskrit this is called a Avalokitesvara. Bodhisatta is used in the Pāli Canon to refer to Gautama Buddha in his previous lives and as a young man in his current life during which he was working towards his own enlightenment. During his discourses, he used the phrase "When I was an unenlightened bodhisatta..." ie a being who is "bound towards enlightenment". In the Pāli canon, the bodhisatta is someone who is still subject to birth, illness, death, sorrow, defilement, and delusion. In later Theravada literature, the term
"bodhisatta" is used in the sense of someone on the path to liberation. Later tradition recognises two additional types of bodhisattas: the paccekabodhisatta who will attain buddhahood, and the savakabodhisatta, who will attain enlightenment as a disciple of a Buddha. In Mahāyāna Buddhism the Bodhisattva path is described as an arduous, difficult monastic path suited only for the few which is nevertheless the most glorious path one can take.
Dharmacakra Mudra
Three kinds of Bodhisattvas are mentioned in the early Mahayana texts: forest, city, and monastery Bodhisattvas, with aesthetic forest dwelling being promoted a superior, even necessary path. Mahāyāna Buddhism encourages everyone to become bodhisattvas and to take the bodhisattva vows to work for the complete enlightenment of all sentient beings by practicing the six perfections. A bodhisattva is one who has a determination to free sentient beings from samsara (cycle of death, rebirth and suffering). This type of mind is known as the mind of awakening (bodhicitta). The place of a bodhisattva's earthly deeds, such as the achievement of enlightenment or the acts of Dharma, is known as a bodhimaṇḍa, and may be a site of pilgrimage. Many temples and monasteries are famous as bodhimaṇḍas. Perhaps the most famous bodhimaṇḍa of all is the Bodhi Tree under which Śākyamuṇi achieved buddhahood.
Avalokiteśvara or Padmapani is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is variably depicted, described and portrayed in different cultures as either male or female. In Tibet, he is known as Chenrezig, and in Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has evolved into the somewhat different female figure Guanyin. In Japan this figure is known as Kanzeon or Kannon. In its original form Avalokitesvara was probably a form of Vishu, or possibly Shiva, subsumed into Buddhism. One prominent Buddhist story tells of Avalokiteśvara vowing never to rest until he had freed all sentient beings from saṃsāra. Despite strenuous effort, he realises that many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head splits into 11 pieces. Amitābha, seeing his plight, gives him 11 heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokiteśvara tries to reach out to all those who needed aid, but
found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitābha comes to his aid and invests him with a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes. Avalokiteśvara is an important deity in Tibetan Buddhism. He is regarded in the Vajrayana teachings as a Buddha.
Lumbini; Bodh Gaya’
In Tibetan Buddhism, Tãrã came into existence from a single tear shed by Avalokiteśvara. When the tear fell to the ground it created a lake, and a lotus opening in the lake revealed Tara. In another version of this story, Tara emerges from the heart of Avalokiteśvara. In either version, it is Avalokiteśvara’s outpouring of compassion which manifests Tãrã as a being.

A short drive on took us to Davi’s Falls. It was surprising how quiet they were until we had got out and walked through the gardens. Davi's Falls (पाताले छाँगो), Nepali name Patale Chango (underworld waterfall) is a waterfall forming an underground tunnel after reaching the bottom. This tunnel is approximately 150 m long and runs 30 m below ground level. In 1961 a Swiss couple called Davi went swimming in the pool created in front of the gorge, but the woman drowned in a pit due to the overflow. Her body was recovered 3 days later in river Phusre and her father requested it to be named "Davi's falls" after her. After exiting the tunnel, the water passes through a cave called Gupteshwor Mahadev (Cave beneath Ground). Phewa Lake dam is the water source. Visitors can try their luck on the luck pond constructed there by throwing and placing the coin on the statue of God.

We drove back to the edge of Pokhara, and turned right into the Tibetan Refugee camp of Tashi Ling, which is NOT an accurate description at all. This was a proper village, with lovely houses, temple, school, etc. Following the Chinese takeover of Tibet there was an influx of over 300,000 exiles/refugees into Nepal on their way to Dharamala in India. It's estimated that 60,000 settled in Nepal. Since then 2,500 refugees cross the border every year either to make their way to India or settle in Nepal. Up until 1989 Tibetan exiles were allowed ID cards and economic assistance. Since then, due to a Chinese/ Nepali trade agreement Nepal has agreed not to recognise Tibetan Refugees. They are now not allowed to own land, drive a car, work or claim state benefit. Any refugee detained by the Nepali authorities should contact the UNHCR who will oversee their placement in a refugee settlement prior to being sent to India (this is the theory anyway, but apparently in Pokhara this is not really honoured and many still
settle there). On asking it transpired that most Tibetans there wanted to ensure their culture remained and they tended to keep within the community for worship, marriage etc. We went into the attached Tibetan museum. An absolute eye opener for us was the vast size of Tibet, shown on a huge map with the routes of refugees (and the distance they travelled) shown. They rest of the museum was mostly photos from pre-Chinese invasion Tibet, including many of the 13th Dalai Lama and the younger 14th (current) Dalai Lama.
Although not officially on our itinerary we asked if we could go towards Fewa lake and maybe be dropped off for a walk. “No problem”, (as always) said our guide; “lets go boating (if you’d like”). Of course we’d like! So we found a spot that rented boats and went for a canoe trip across the lake. This was very tranquil as we started in a lesser known spot, with only the sound of the pole in the water. A water snake shot across our bows; had no idea they moved so fast through the water! The checkered keelback (Xenochrophis piscator), also known commonly as the Asiatic water snake, is a common species of non venomous snake in the subfamily Natricinae of the family Colubridae and is endemic to Asia. It feeds predominantly on frogs and toads. It has a second set of rear facing fangs designed to puncture a toad or frog when it puffs itself up as a defence mechanism.
A lovely cruise with trees on all sides, inlets filled only with wildlife, a troupe of Hanuman (or Northern Grey) Langur monkeys playing ‘jump from tree to water’, fish occasionally jumping out of the crystal water and bird sounds everywhere. The Silver Carp, sometimes called Flying Carp were especially pretty, because they leapt up to 3m in the air in silvery flashes from the water when startled. Although the lake water looks quite green, when we filled a cup with it, it was in fact very clear and fresh looking. It was warm and inviting.
After 20 minutes or so we saw Tal Barahi/ Lake Temple in front of us. We circumnavigated the entire island (clockwise, obviously) before pulling into the landing strip and disembarking. This tiny island held, among smaller shrines, a 2-storey pagoda Hindu temple to the Goddess Durga (Barahi). The story goes that the temple was above the lake before King Kulmandhan Shah (first Shah king of Kaski), but he had a dream from the Goddess Durga to construct the temple in the middle island of Lake Phewa. Durga is one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti, and the manifested form of Parvati who acquired the name Durga after killing the demon Durgamaasura. There’s a legend that goddess Barahi-Bhagwati visited the area dressed as a beggar but was rebuffed by all but one of the locals. In thanks she warned this woman of an impending flood so the woman took her family away. Sure enough a flood came down from the mountains and destroyed the village. The woman and her family returned to build the island Barahi temple.
After being given a cone of food to feed the fish (and boy were there some HUGE fish) and a general stroll we took our life jackets back, boarded the boat and landed back at Pokhara landing dock. Fewa Lake, as you’d expect, is filled with fish. In addition to the pretty leading Silver Carp, we saw Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, Common Carp (ironically not common but fairly rare), Catla/Bhakura (Indian Carp), Magur (catfish), Rewa and Bhitta. Some of the carp in particular were very large; Bighead, Bhakhura and Grass Carp can all grow to 6 foot or so. The Clauris or Magur are an interesting group of catfish called the air-breathing catfish and are noted for the long time they can spend out of water, as well as an ability to traverse short distances by “walking” on their dorsal fins across mud. They can grow very large and as they are predatory are sometimes considered pests. The much smaller rewa and bhitta (10cm) stayed in large shoals away from the carp. Then it was a brief, but pleasant, walk along the lake edge to the restaurant, Bamboo, for lunch. We sat at an outside table in the shade and enjoyed a fish lunch before walking back to the hotel for a rest.

Phewa/ Fewa Lake of Tal is freshwater lake formerly called Baidam Tal. The lake is stream-fed but a dam regulates the water, so the lake is classified as a semi-natural freshwater lake. It is the second largest lake in Nepal after Rara lake. It is the only lake in Nepal to have a temple, Tal Barahi Temple at the central part of lake. Phewa lake is at an altitude of 742m and covers an area of 4.43km2 with an average depth of 8.6m and max depth of 24m. The Annapurna range on the north is only 28 km away from the lake. The lake is known for the reflection of Mt Machhapuchhre and other peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
After a nice rest we went for an afternoon/ early evening stroll alone. We ended on the dock, from where we had a spectacular view of sunset mountains, with Machhapuchhre making a great appearance, surrounded by the Annapurnas. In the distance we could even see mighty Manaslu. As it got darker we fancied a cocktail, so we headed to Monsoon Bar (having purchased some food for our return to Kathmandu tomorrow). A nice tequila cocktail(s) and we decided to stroll about for a nice anniversary restaurant. After being quite picky (!) we found the amazing Harbour Restaurant, a great choice. https://glacierboutique.com/the-harbor-restaurant/. We sat outside and had a brilliant meal of olives with ciabatta, Himalayan butter-fish, and frangipani dessert with some recommended Nepali white wine (apparently exclusive to the restaurant), Dadaghare.
Nepali wine. Nepal has been home to tiny plantings of wine-bearing vines since the late 20th Century. The high-altitude Himalayan climate is not particularly suited to vines, so local wines are made from a variety of different fruits and herbs. The Himalayas dominate the landscape in Nepal, and
the production of fruit wine usually takes place on the southern edge of this mighty mountain range. Even the flatter land south of the Himalayas is still 800-1000m. The small Himalayan town of Jomsom claims to have the highest grape-growing vineyards in the world, 2750m. While there are some small plots of land dedicated to grape vines, the majority of Nepalese wine is made from a combination of fruits and herbs. The most common fruits found in Nepalese wines are small yellow raspberries (aiselu), and Himalayan barberries (chutro). Nettles, oranges and tea also feature in Nepalese winemaking. Nepalese wines tend to fall at the sweeter end of the spectrum taste-wise, and the best examples have a spiced, almost port- like quality to them. Production is on a miniscule scale and most Nepalese wines are consumed within the country's borders. Dadaghare wine, manufactured in Pokhara, is considered the finest Nepali wine. The wine is available in four different flavours- Aangan, Rs 360; Pidi, Rs.360; Majheri Rs.495 and Aati, Rs.500, manufactured using various fruits, herbal fruits and honey and is chemical free.

A note on Pokahra
Pokhara has spectacular scenery, adventure, and food choices galore. Lakeside Pokhara is the perfect place to recharge along the shore of a tranquil lake. Seti Gandaki (White River) is the main river flowing through the city and its tributaries have created gorges and canyons around Pokhara that give long sections of terrace features interrupted by gorges 100s of metres deep. Seti gorge itself runs through Pokhara north to south, and west to east. Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal. Three 8,000m peaks (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu) can be seen from city. Machhapuchchhre (Fishtail) 6,993 m is closest. Pokhara lies on the major old trading route from China to India. In the 17th century it was part of the Kingdom of Kaski, one of Chaubisi Rajya (24 Kingdoms of Nepal) ruled by a branch of the Shah Dynasty, and many of the hills around still have medieval ruins. Pokhara was seen as a commercial centre by the King of Kaski in the mid 18th century when Newars of Bhaktapur migrated to Pokhara and settled near business locations by Bindhyabasini temple, Nalakomukh and Bhairab Tole. Pokhara at the time inhabited by Khas (Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri, Dalits). In 1786 Prithvi Narayan Shah added Pokhara to his kingdom. Establishment of British recruitment camp brought Magar and Gurung communities to Pokhara. At present the Khas, Gurung (Tamu) and Magar form the dominant communities of Pokhara, with a sizeable Newari population. A small Muslim community lives on the eastern fringes of Pokhara in a place called Miya Patan. Batulechaur in far north of Pokhara is home to Gandharvas/ Gaaineys (tribe of musicians). Nearby hill villages see a mix of Khas and Gurung. The Newars are non-existent outside Pokhara city itself.

Posted by PetersF 07:33 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal pokhara fewa sarangot phewa

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