Dhauligiri, Machupuchure and a host of Annapurnas can all be seen from right here in the Nepali town of Pokhara. For me it was a blessed relief from the intense ‘hassle’ of travelling in India, and even a pleasant change from Kathmandu. The Nepali capital is great but the Kathmandu Valley is so polluted nowadays you can no longer see any mountains.
Pokhara is a popular base from which to launch trekking expeditions in the Annapurna region and it has a great deal of charm in its own right. In fact the erstwhile royal family of Nepal even had a lakeside residence here in Pokhara. Travellers find guesthouses with friendly staff, restaurants and bars for celebrating climbing and hiking success.
If you’re not setting off on the Circuit or the Annapurna Base Camp trek, there are pleasant day trips to lookouts in the surrounding countryside such as Sarangkot. And a row on the lake to join the domestic tourists visiting the Barahi Temple on the island is a must.
On the poinsettia-fringed promenade, boys are playing table tennis, old men playing chess and old women bring vegetables in huge baskets to sell. A stroll further down the road reveals women pounding their laundry on the lakeside steps.
Don’t miss the International Mountain Museum, a little way out of Pokhara. It’s quite a stunning facility filled with fascinating information and artefacts both about mountain climbing in this part of the Himalaya and about the indigenous inhabitants of the region. It also has impressive views…
By Natasha von Geldern
Have you chilled out in Pokhara?