Monday, February 09, 2015

India and Nepal - Pokhara

NOTE: Normally my blog posts go in chronological order... but starting with this one they're going to be more like the screenplay for Pulp Fiction. The 'newest' post may not be the most recent chronologically.

For Christmas this year Amy and I traveled to India and Nepal. We were in Pokhara, Nepal to ring in the New Year. Pokhara sits at the base of the Annapurna mountain range in the shadow of three of the tallest mountains in the world. The second largest city in Nepal, Pokhara is a beacon for adventurers and trekkers around the world.

Pokhara is about a 4 hour drive west from Kathmandu. Even though the highway between the two cities is one of the most traveled roads in the country, the road itself at times resembles more of a lane than an interstate. Nepal has some of the most dangerous roads in the world, and one might argue some of the most dangerous drivers. Undeterred we hired a driver and zipped through the deep gorges and high passes to lead us from Kathmandu to the lake city.

Our first morning in Pokhara we woke early and drove to the top of a nearby mountain to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna range. This is a popular activity so there were a bunch of tourists and guides scaling the steep one lane road with us to reach the small village nestled on top of the mountain ridge. We scored some tea and coffee and watched nature at its best.

And of course, as she always does, Amy found a new friend!

Later that day we visited the Tashi Ling Tibetan Refugee Settlement. The refugees came to Pokhara in 1965 as they fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet. They've lived in this area with permission from the Nepalese government since that time. They provide for themselves and their community by making hand goods, crafts and rugs.

A couple of steps away from the refugee camp is the entrance to a cavern that leads to an underground river. The Himalayas have such fast moving streams that the water cuts tight gorges into the surrounding hills. In some cases the streams cut channels underground so the land is striped with vanishing rivers. Within the entrance of this cavern is a Hindu shrine, and also an odd statue of a cow that you can put a quarter into and the cow will give you milk.

After traversing the cave we found ourselves at the base of Davi's Falls. The falls are named after a Swiss tourist who was swept into the river and ultimately to her death. Her body was never found, but is assumed to be somewhere in the underground cavern. The falls are beautiful, but apparently we missed the best time to see them, which is during the monsoon.

On December 31st we decided to say good by to 2014 in style by going paragliding. Pokhara is the perfect place to paraglide because of the steep mountains, good wind, and the breathtaking scenery.

We finished our time in Pokhara watching fireworks over the lake while welcoming 2015 and a whole new year of adventure!

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