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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.

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.
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.

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.
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"

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):-
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)
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
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.

Posted by PetersF 07:32 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal kathmandu pokhara Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

Pokhara to Kathmandu

and a little bit of history

View Himalayas on PetersF's travel map.

September 27th Pokhara to Kathmandu, Nepal

As we left, we were just leaving Pokhara, when KK said “Stop the car” and we realised the cloud had lifted, giving glorious views of the Annapurnas. They were not easy to photo, but look at our efforts below! After this basically we spent much of the day in the car, as we were stuck in a monumental traffic jam into Kathmandu itself. So, a little a about Nepal’s history.
Further History of Nepal
Malla Dynasty c1201-1769
Very little is known about the early history of the Mallas, although they have claimed Kshatriya (warrior caste) status for themselves.The first of the Malla kings came to power in Kathmandu Valley c1200. The Malla period was a golden one of 600 years, though peppered with fighting over the valuable trade routes to Tibet. The Mallas patronised the Maithili language, afforded equal status to Sanskrit in court. The long Malla period witnessed the continued importance of the Kathmandu Valley as a political, cultural, economic centre of Nepal. The time of early Malla kings was a period of upheaval in and around Nepal. In 12th century, Muslim Turks (Mughals) set up a kingdom at Delhi, and in 13th c, Turko Afghan khaljis expanded their control of northern India. The name malla is said to have come about because the first of their rulers to govern Nepal, Arideva, was very fond of wrestling. He added the word ‘Malla’ (which means wrestling in Sanskrit), after the name of his son when the news reached him of the birth while he was himself wrestling. His successors continued to use the word after their names, so it became the name of their dynasty.
1. 1200-16 Ari(dev) Malla
2. 1216-55 Abhay Malla. He died In 1255, along with 1/3 of the population of Kathmandu in an earthquake and the Kingdom was divided between his 2 sons into Bhadgaon and Patan-Kathmandu kingdoms
In the 13th/14th C, regional kingdoms increasingly militarised, eg. in west Nepal, around Dullu (Jumla Valley), an alternative seat of political and military power grew up around a separate dynasty of Mallas (unrelated to the Mallas of Kathmandu), who reigned until the 14th c. These Khas kings expanded into west Tibet and raided into Kathmandu Valley 1275-1335. In 1312 the Khas king, Ripumalla, visited Lumbini and had his own inscription carved on Ashoka's pillar. He then entered the Kathmandu Valley to worship publicly at Matsyendranath, Pashupatinath, and Swayambhunath; acts to publicly announce his overlordship in Nepal and signified the temporary breakdown of royal power within the valley.
Jaysthithi Malla 1382-95, was the strong, decisive ruler that Nepal needed. He enacted a series of reforms to reunite/ strengthen the country under a single Malla monarch. He codified its laws, including the caste system. This Malla period saw the steady growth of the small towns that became Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon (Bhaktapur). Royals in Patan and Bhadgaon struggled with rivals, relying on the towns as their power bases. After the death of Jayasthitimalla, his sons divided the kingdom and ruled collegially, until Jayajyotirmalla, the last surviving son, ruled alone 1408-28.
1395-? Dharma Malla, 1395-? Kirti Malla, 1395-1428 Jyoti Malla, (3 sons of Jaysthiti, share power)
Yakshya Malla (son Jyoti) 1428-82 was a great conqueror, extending the boundaries of Nepal to Bengal, Kerung- Kuti, Gorkha and North Bihar. Banepa town (small kingdom) is also pulled into his kingdom. Yakshamalla represented the high point of the Mallas as rulers of a united Nepal. He built Mul Chok 1455, the oldest palace section in Bhadgaon. Struggles among the landed aristocracy and leading town families (pradhan), especially acute in Patan, were controlled during his reign. The royal family made Manesvari (Taleju), a manifestation of Shiva's consort, their personal deity. He made the mistake of dividing his kingdom between 6 sons and a daughter: Raya Malla (Bhaktapur/ Bhadgaon kingdom); Ratna Malla (Kathmandu/Kantipur kingdom); Rana Malla (Banepa kingdom); Ari Malla, Purna Malla, Ram Malla and daughter Dharmavati (Patan/Lalitpur kingdom). At first, the 6 sons of Yakshamalla attempted to reign collegially, in their grandfathers' pattern.
Morning mist in the Annapurnas
Ratnamalla 1482-1520 was the first to rebel, seizing Kathmandu 1484 and ruling there until his death. Rayamalla ruled Bhadgaon with the other brothers until his death, when the crown there passed into the hands of his descendants. Ramamalla took Banepa until its reincorporation into the Bhadgaon kingdom in 1649. Patan remained dominated by local nobility, until Sivasimhamalla, a descendant of Ratnamalla, conquered it 1597 and united it with Kathmandu. However, on his death Kathmandu and Patan were given to different grandsons and separated again. Nepal thus remained split into 3 competing kingdoms, based on Bhadgaon, Kathmandu, Patan. The rest of what we call Nepal consisted of a fragmented patchwork of almost 50 independent states, stretching from Palpa and Jumla in the west to the semi-independent states of Banepa and Pharping, most of them minting their own coins and maintaining standing armies. These tiny kingdoms were unable to maintain their independence leading to struggles and amongst the rulers until in 1768, they all fell into the hands of Prithivi Narayan, Shah of Gorkha, who united them into a nation. Most notable Malla kings of this later era were: Pratap Malla (Kantipur), Siddhi Narasimha Malla (Lalitpur), Bhupatindra Malla (Bhaktapur 1696-1722), Bhaskar Malla (Kathmandu 1700-14). The period of the three kingdoms, the later Mallas, lasted to mid-18th c. An artistic flowering of Kathmandu Valley occurred, and the palace complexes in the 3 main towns achieved their present-day forms. Kings based their legitimate rule on their role as protectors of dharma, and were devout donors to religious shrines. They built many of the older temples, gems of late medieval art and architecture. Buddhism remained a vital force, especially in its old seat of Patan. Newari was in regular use as a language by 14th c in Kathmandu Valley. Maithili became a popular court language 17th c. In the west, Khas bhasha, language of the Khasa, evolved into present-day Nepali. The final centuries of Malla rule were a time of political change outside Kathmandu Valley. In India the powerful Mughal Dynasty (1526–1858) had a major indirect impact. In Tibet domestic struggles in the 1720s led to decisive intervention by the powerful Qing rulers of China (1644–1911) who installed the 6th Dalai Lama (highest ranking Tibetan religious leader) in Lhasa as the temporal power 1728. By 17th c, the mountain areas and Kiranti region maintained traditional tribal communal systems, influenced by Hindu ideas. In the west and south of the three kingdoms, many petty states (Baise states) were ruled by dynasties of warrior (Kshatriya) status, claiming an origin from princely (Rajput) dynasties. The kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon periodically allied with princes among these confederations.
Petty Kingdoms
Nepal was scattered, with fragmented kingdoms in the past. Different dynasties like Mallas, Lichcahhvis, Shah, Khas and Sen ruled over such kingdoms.
! There were 22 kingdoms like Jajarkot, Jumla, Rukum, Salyan, Achham, in the Karnali region. These kingdoms were called Baise Raja.
! There were 24 kingdoms in the Gandaki region. These kingdoms were called Chaubise Rajya, of which Kaski, Lamjung, Tanahun, Palpa and Gorkha were the more important.
! Kathmandu Valley was divided into three kingdoms – Kantipur, Patan and Bhadgaun.
! Eastern Nepal was divided into three kingdoms- Makwanpur, Chaudandi and Bijayapur.
The relations among these states was not good. The kings often engaged in war with each other. The number of states ruled by a king increased and decreased from time to time. At the same time, the British East India Company was conquering India and planning to occupy Nepal for the extension of their trade with Tibet. So, the existence of Nepal was in danger and Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king of Gorkha started the unification campaign of Nepal.
Gorkha, Lambjung and Kaski Kingdoms were kingdoms in the confederation of 24 states, known as Chaubisi rajya. It extended from Marshyangdi River in the west to Trishuli River in the east, which separated it from the kingdoms of Lamjung and Nepal respectively. According to legends, one of the earliest Shah rulers was Rishi-raj Rana-ji, of the Lunar dynasty (the warrior caste of Hindu mythology) with the title Bhattarak. The dynasty remained in power for 13 generations until the Muslim Yavanas took power, forcing the Bhattarak to abdicate, although he retained his caste family name, Rana-ji. The rajas were titled Rana-ji-ji Rava for a further seventeen generations. Akbar, the Mughal emperor, (1542-1605) wished to marry the daughter of Fatte Sinha Rana-ji Rava, but was refused because he was Muslim rather than Hindu. This decision led to war. Many rajput, including Fatte Sinha Rana-ji Rava, were killed. The survivors of the war were led by Jagdeva to the northern hills in 1417 AD. From his younger son Micha, a dynasty of rajas commenced in Nuwakot. Kulamandan, the eldest son of Jagdeva, became ruler (shah) of Kaski. Kalu, his second son was sent to Dura Danda in Lamjung at the people's request to become their king. Kalu was killed by the Sekhant tribe and in the 1500s, another son, Yasobramha, became ruler of Lamjung. Yasho Brahma Shah or Yasobam Shah was the youngest son of Kulamandan Khan (later Shah title given by Hindustan emperor), Raja of Kaski. The second son of Yasobramha, Dravya Shah (1559-70) conquered the Ghale people of Gorkha and in1559 Prince Dravya Shah replaced the Khandka chiefs to become first King of Gorkha Kingdom. His son Purna Shah (1570-1605) and grandsons Chatra Shah (1605-9) and Ram Shah (1609-33) introduced social, judicial and economic reforms. Ram abdicated in favour of Dambar Shah (1633-45), of whose son Krishna Shah (1645-61), grandson Rudra Shah (1661-73) and great grandson Prithvipati Shah (1673-1716) we know very little. The ancient name of Gor-kha is White Zhou or Shakya. When Prithvipati’s son Nara Bhupal Shah (1716-43) succeeded he began to consolidate the area. From 1736, the Gorkhalis engaged in a campaign of expansion begun by Nara Bhupal Shah, and continued by his son, King Prithvi Narayan Shah and grandson Prince Bahadur Shah. Over the years, they conquered huge tracts of land to the east and west of Gorkha.

Barahi Shrine with KK
Gorkha Period
1. Narabhupal Shah 1716-42 (in name only from 1737) The Kingdom of Gorkha (Ghurkha), under Narabhupal Shah, begins a war of unification against the other Nepalese states, forging a more unified state. A shock defeat in 1737 leaves its king a broken man.
2. Prithivi Narayan Shah 1742-68 (son Narabhupal) In 1744 he conquers Nuwakot and Belkot; 1768 conquers Kathmandu and creates a reunified kingdom. He become Prithiv I of the unified country (Shah period)
Shah Dynasty, unification of Nepal
With Prithvi Narayan Shah I (1744–68), we move into the modern history. He was 9th generation descendant of Dravya Shah (1559–1570), founder of the ruling house of Kingdom of Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of Gorkha in 1743. King Prithvi Narayan Shah was quite aware of the political situation of the Valley kingdoms as well as of the Baise and Chaubise principalities. He saw the need to unify the small principalities, with the conquest of Nuwakot, between Kathmandu and Gorkha, in 1744. Siddhi Narayan Shah was the last king of Kaski state during Chaubise Rajya. Though a skillful king, he could not secure Kaski against Prithvinarayan. Prithvi Narayan Shah, king of Gorkha, planned to unify Nepal so he sent his troops to conquer Nuwakot, but was defeated by Jayanta Rana, chief of Nuwakot, aided by the king Jaya Prakas Malla of Kantipur. Nuwakot was the main trade route between Kantipur and Tibet. Prithvi Narayan Shah visited Banaras to met king Hari Shah of Jajarkot and then king Mukunda Sen of Palpa in Butwal. He established friendly relations with king Ripumardan Shah of Lamjung. Lamjung would remain neutral while Gorkha moved east and Gorkha would assist Lamjung in attacking the Chaubise states. Prithvi Narayan Shah established friendly relations with Kaski, Tanahun and Papa. He signed a treaty with Bhaktapur where Bhaktapur would remain neutral when Gorkha attacked Kantipur, and Gorkha would give Sangu and Changu to Bhaktapur in return. Prithvi Narayan Shah signed a treaty with the king Jaya Prakash Malla of Kantipur that Gorkha and Kantipur would use each other`s currency, gold acquired from trade with Tibet would be divided between them, and Kantipur would carry out trade with Tibet via Nuwakot. Thus, Prithvi Narayan Shah made relationship with all the states and secured Gorkha from all sides to start his unification campaign. He turned his attention to the Newar Confederacy of Nepal Mandala, basd in Kathmandu Valley. Parts of Baise-Rajya fell 1760, Tulsipur-Dang Rajya 1763-75, Chauhan Raja Nawal Singh (House of Tulsipur) 1775. After the victory of Kirtipur in 1756 King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu sought help from the British East India Company who sent Captain Kinloch. The British force was defeated by Prithvi Narayan Shah who took Kathmandu 1768. Jaya Prakash Malla took asylum in Patan. When Patan too was captured a few weeks later, Jaya Prakash Malla and king Tej Narsingh Malla of Patan took refuge in Bhaktapur, until it was captured in 1769.

Later Shah Dynasty
1775-78 Pratap. The Shah dynasty expanded into South Asia until checked by the Chinese.
1778-1807 Ranabahadur. In 1788, the Gorkhalis turned their attention north and invaded Tibet, seizing the border towns of Kyirong and Kuti, and forced the Tibetans to pay an annual tribute. When the Tibetans stopped paying, the Gorkhalis invaded Tibet again in 1791 and plundered Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. This time the Chinese army came to Tibet's defence and advanced close to Kathmandu but couldn't achieve success. After 1800, the heirs of Prithvi Narayan Shah proved unable to maintain firm political control over Nepal.
A period of internal turmoil followed.
1807-17 Girban Rivalry between Nepal and the British East India Company over the princely states bordering Nepal/ British-India eventually led to the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16), in which Nepal suffered a heavy defeat. The Treaty of Sugauli was signed in 1816, ceding large parts of the Nepalese controlled territories to the British.
1817-82 Rajendra (1846 Nepal falls under the sway of hereditary chief ministers known as Ranas, who dominate the monarchy and cut off the country from the outside world). The Nepalese–Tibetan War of 1855/6 in Tibet between the forces of the Tibetan government (Ganden Phodrang, under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty) and the invading Nepalese army, resulted in victory for Nepal.
Rana rule Political instability following the war resulted in the ascendancy of the Rana dynasty of Khas Chhetri Rajput origin, which made the office of Prime Minister of Nepal hereditary in their family 1843-1951. Beginning with Jung Bahadur, the first Rana PM, the Rana dynasty reduced the Shah monarch to a figurehead. Rana rule was marked by tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation, religious persecution. (1882 King Surendra, 1882-1912 King Prithiv II)
This made us laugh- look carefully at the signage!
Shah Restoration In 1950, India played an important role in supporting King Tribhuhvan (1912-55), whom the Rana leader Mohan Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana had attempted to depose and replace with Tribhuhvan’s infant grandson King Gyanendra. With Indian support for a new government consisting largely of the Nepali Congress, Tribhuvan ended the rule of the Rana dynasty in 1951.
Mahendra 1955-72 Nepal remains the only country with hinduism as its state religion. Unsuccessful reforms and constitution during the 1960s/70s and 80s economic crisis led to a popular movement which brought about parliamentary elections and the adoption of a constitutional monarchy 1990. Nepalese Civil War (1996–2006) between government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Birendra (brother of Gyanendra) 1972-2001. In 2001 Crown Prince Dipendra dressed up in combat uniform and armed himself with five weapons. He calmly gunned down his parents, King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya, his sister Princess Shruti, younger brother Prince Nirajan, and cousin Princess Sharada. Several other relatives were wounded. Dipendra was finally shot by persons unknown (either his own hand or slow-reacting Palace Guard) and lay comatose until the 4th June. Despite his actions, Nepal swore him in as successor to the throne.
Gyanendra 2001-08 returned to the throne. His imposition of direct rule in 2005 provoked a protest movement unifying the Maoist insurgency and pro-democracy activists. He was eventually forced to restore Nepal's House of Representatives and in 2008 the Nepalese Constituent Assembly formally abolished the kingdom when he abdicated, declaring the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in its place.

People of Nepal
Chhetri (Kshetri, Kshettri, Kshetry, Chhettri, क्षेत्री) historically Kshettriya/ Kshetriya, are Nepali speakers of the Khas group. Chhetri was a caste of administrators, governors and military elites in the medieval Khas Kingdom and Gorkha Kingdom. The nobility of Gorkha Kingdom were mainly from Chhetri families and they had a strong presence in civil administration. Most Prime Ministers before democracy belonged to this caste. Gorkha-based aristocratic Chhetri families were Pande dynasty, Basnyat dynasty, Thapa dynasty and Kunwars (Rana dynasty & other Kunwars). Khas Chhetris (referred as Khas Rajputs) were traditionally considered a division of the Khas people with Khas Brahmin (commonly called Khas Bahun). They make up 17% of Nepal, the most populous caste/ ethnic community. Chhetris speak an Indo-Aryan Nepali language (Khas-Kura) as mother tongue. Bahun (बाहुन) or Khas Brahmin is a caste among Khas ethnic Pahari people. Bahun is a local colloquial term for the Nepali-speaking hill Brahmins. They are the second most populous group after Chhetri in Nepal. The Magars are one of the ethnolinguistic groups of Nepal representing 7% of the population. Their ancestral homeland extends from the Western and the Southern edges of the Dhaulagiri range of the Himalayas to the Mahabharat foothills. The Magars established their own kingdoms in ancient Nepal called Bara Magaranth (12 Magar Kingdoms) east of Gandaki River and Athara Magaranth (18 Magar Kingdoms) west of the Gandaki River at a similar time with the khas baise and chaubise kingdoms. They are a Tibeto-Burman people and their language is within that group. They were historically organised in clans and had no caste system. For the Tharu (6%) see under Chitwan.
Boudhnath from the airplane.
The Tamang तामाङ are the largest Tibeto-Burman ethnic group within Nepal and traditionally Buddhist. Constituting 5.6% of the population, their languages are the fifth most spoken in Nepal (Tamang languages are not mutually intelligible). They were originally from Tibet. Peculiar to Tamang people are complex marriage restrictions within the community. Tamangs are highly respected as Buddhist Monks (rinpoche, khempo). In many Tamang villages there is still a tradition of sending the second son to study Buddhism and preferably to remain in the Monastery as a Buddhist Monk throughout his life. They follow the Nyingma tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism, the earliest form of Buddhism to come to Nepal/Tibet with Padmasambhava. Tamang have gompas (monasteries) in every sizeable village. The Tamangs retain jhankris (shamans) in addition to their Lama clan (Tamang) (priests), the latter whose surnames are also Lama. Tamang was derived from Ta (horse) and Mag (soldier). They live in the mountains north of Kathmandu and often act as mountain guides. Newar (नेवार or Nepami) are the historical inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley and the creators of its historic heritage and civilisation. Newars form a linguistic and cultural community of primarily Indo- Aryan and Tibeto-Burman ethnicities following Hinduism and Buddhism with Newari as their common language. Newars have developed a division of labour and a sophisticated urban civilisation not seen elsewhere in the Himalayan foothills. Newars have continued their age-old traditions and practices and pride themselves as the true custodians of the religion, culture and civilisation of Nepal. Kathmandu Valley and surrounding territories constituted the former Newar kingdom of the Nepal Mandala. Unlike other common-origin ethnic or caste groups of Nepal, the Newars are regarded as an example of a nation community with a relict identity, derived from an ethnically-diverse, previously-existing polity. Newar communities consist of various ethnic, racial, caste and religious heterogeneity, as they are the descendants of the diverse group of people that have lived in Nepal Mandala since prehistoric times. Indo-Aryan tribes like the Licchavis and Mallas from respective Indian Mahajanapada (i.e. Licchavis of Vajji and Malla) that arrived at different periods eventually merged with the local population, adopting their language and customs. These tribes however retained their Vedic culture and brought with them Sanskritic languages, social structure and the Hindu religion, which was assimilated with local cultures and gave rise to the current Newar civilization. Newar rule in Nepal Mandala ended with its conquest by the Gorkha Kingdom in 1768. Sherpa is the major ethnic group native to the mountainous regions of Nepal, Bhutan, and the Himalayas. The term sherpa/sherwa derives from the Sherpa language Shar (east) and Wa (people), referring to their origins in Tibet. Most Sherpa live in the east of Nepal; however, some live farther west in Rolwaling Valley, north of Kathmandu. Tengboche is the oldest Sherpa village in Nepal. The Sherpa language belongs to the south branch of the Tibeto-Burman languages, and is a mix of Eastern Tibet (Khamba) and central Tibetan dialects, although it is separate from Lhasa Tibetan and unintelligible to Lhasa speakers. The 2001 Nepal census recorded 154,622 Sherpas within its borders. Some members of the Sherpa population are known for their skills in mountaineering.
We finally got back to Kathmandu in time to have a shopping stroll (think several T-shirts) and search for an evening meal. We plumped for a nice
looking restaurant down an alley, the New Orleans Cafe, and it turned out s to be an excellent choice. https://www.neworleanscafektm.com. Steve’s
favourite beer and some great food choices, a sort of hot Gumbo for Steve and a much milder momos (always nice). They had run out of the brownie pudding Steve had set his heart on, so we wandered to the famous Hot Breads Bakery and got some delicious (and probably much better quality) bakery items. Then bed, ready for Tibet tomorrow.

Posted by PetersF 07:35 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal kathmandu pokhara Comments (0)

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