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Himalayan Lakeside Living

Lake, Mountains, Shopping and Politics

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Our journey to Pokhara (Pok-huh-ruh) began at 8am and we arrived around 3pm, it was one of the more enjoyable bus trips we've had. We were up at the front, the scenery was once again distracting and there was a smiley, entertaining bus boy along for the ride.

We both had our reservations about Pokhara based on it being the second destination in Nepal for tourists but it's on the way back to India and for the chance of some mountains views, it was worth a stop.

First impressions of Pokhara are that it is very touristy, in fact the Lakeside area is a designated Tourist Zone and there is to be no speeding and no honking of horns, amongst other things. It is a town at the bottom of a valley, nestled beside the Fewa lake with a range of mountains including Annapurna and the Fishtail a stones throw away. People come here for a bit more of the outdoorsy side of Nepal, you can go kayaking, paragliding, rafting and of course trekking.

As previously mentioned Adam and I are not really looking to indulge in any extreme activities, but would rather soak up the true nature and culture of a place. This is something which has proved increasingly difficult in Nepal, and unfortunately Pokhara is no exception. Therefore we have spent our time here just trying to take it for what it is.

The first day we enjoyed a nice breakfast by the lake and then walked to Damside which as its name would suggest, is beside a dam.
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You are meant to get a great view of the mountain range from this end of the lake but as you would expect with our luck when it comes to seeing big piles of snowy rocks, we were once again out smarted by some cloud. After Adam had had a bit of a chat with a couple of local guys we decided to go in search of Devi's Falls, a waterfall which goes underground, apparently it is more impressive in the Autumn and Winter but we decided it was still worthy of a look.

We took the wrong turn along the way and ended up stumbling across a hydro-electricity plant which offered up some good views and we felt a little bit like we'd escaped the well trodden traveller route.
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We corrected our previous navigation error and found ourselves at a cave where a priest discovered an idol of Shankhar, who incorporates both Shiva and his consort Parbati as male and female halves of one figure. It attracts a large number of devotees but I myself couldn't really decipher much of anything, but it was interesting nonetheless to see how important it is considered to be, housed in a cage and guarded. Heading a little further underground you are able to view Devi's Fall from below and sit on a rock beside the pool it creates.
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It was a little precarious on the way down and one lady slipped over, clearly none of the entrance fee is put towards health and safety. Then again I haven't seen many adverts for India's equivalents to 'Claims Direct' etc so there clearly isn't much of a call for it... yet.

After attempting to see the limited culture that Pokhara has to offer we gave in and went shopping. Although the shops are selling much of the same items you would find in Kathmandu it is all a little less overwhelming as it is mainly confined to one bustling street. I found a necklace I liked which was made of turquoise and garnet beads but the woman wanted too much for it, so we went a little further down the road and found a man who would make it for me in fifteen minutes for half the price!
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Adam decided to buy little flags for all the countries he's visited so far and I bought a little handmade drum as a memento.

Once again our plans were altered by strikes/political events in Nepal and due to their being some local elections the border was closed for the day, so our return to India was delayed. It did however mean that we got our first and last glimpses at the peaks of a few mountains, so maybe it was worthwhile.
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It would have been fairly disappointing to come to the country with the highest mountains in the world and not really see any.

There was a local fun fair in town while we were there with a ferris wheel and a couple of baby rollercoasters. We never really discovered what it was in aid of but it involved a speaker system which alternated between playing Nepali music, then some long and what seemed like fairly laborious speeches and our favourite, the same guy testing the mike, sometimes for about 30minutes at a time!

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The next day we boarded our bus for the Indian border and expected it to take about 4 hours, we were slightly surprised when it took 9 but there we go. Leaving Nepal was just as easy as entering and soon enough we were back on Indian soil, the guy who stamped our passports was the same official who'd stamped them at the airport when we first arrived which was a bit of a strange coincidence!
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Unfortunately, straight away we had to get on another bus for 2 and a half hours back to Gorakhpur, and were very pleased to find a bed for the night even if the hotel was pretty grotty.

The next day we decided that we would try and book a train to Mumbai, although we weren't sure whether we would need to get to Varanasi to catch it. As it turned out there was a direct train from Gorakhpur to Mumbai leaving at 7pm and arriving 33 hours later! We managed to get another room to wait around in, there isn't a whole lot to see in Gorakhpur, and we just relaxed for the day.

The train left on time and slowly made its way across India from East to West. We got good seats/beds so we were happy and comfortable, we were given free Chi (tea) for being foreign I suppose and I had a nice chat with some of the railway employees.
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All in all it was a good journey, and the length was never really a problem. We are now in a very humid Mumbai and our next stop is Goa which we are looking forward to. I will write more soon.

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 08:32 Archived in Nepal Tagged round_the_world

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