Date: May 31, 2009 Sunday
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 5 km
Hike Coordinator: Siris Bajracharya
Participants: Sanjeet Baidya, Saroj Dahal, Dijup Tuladhar, Kapil Pandey, Niraj Shah, Siris Bajracharya, Dipesh Nepal, Subodh Gurung (guest hiker), Swechha (guest hiker), Kumar Pradhanang (guest hiker)
Photos: Siris Bajracharya and Saroj Dahal
Caption: Niraj Shah and Siris Bajracharya
Report By: Saroj Dahal
Geolocation: Sarangkot (Coordinates: 28°13’44″N 83°58’18″E)
It was already 6:30AM but I couldn’t find anybody around, we were already half an hour late and had to go 200km away from Kathmandu. So I decided to have a cup of tea which I couldn’t because SirisB called me up at around 6:45AM it turned out that he, NirajS and SanjeetV were already there and it was me who was missing.They were already doing the pre-hiking chores collecting water, cameras etc. SirisB was grim faced seeing the number of absentees 30+ mails , 16 selected and only 10 present of them were present. Of course DijjupT and KapilP were to be picked up en-route and DipeshN was already in the Pokhara. Looking at the empty seats and with heavy hearts that didn’t get the opportunity we started the ride at around 7:00 AM.
Twisting and turning through the curves of Naagdhunga we reached Naubise at around 9:00AM and decided to have some breakfast at a Banepali hotel, which happened to be the regular stop of D2 hikers. After a quick breakfast comprising of boiled eggs, fried Chick peas and some mutton curry, for which the place was well known, we moved along the Tribhuvan Highway considering the famous stop of lunch, Mugling as the next one for us as well but the intention was to get a couple of new audio CDs for the stereo not the lunch. CDs were yet to come as was Mugling but who was going to stop the singers KapilP and NirajS. They started with old Nepali film songs and soon the van was booming with old songs as everybody started to follow the leaders. We reached Mugling at around 10:15 and KapilP was ready brandishing for a photo shoot along with a CD.
We resumed our drive to Pokhara and the next stop was the ultimate for the day, Pokhara. Finally we reached Pokhara at around 12:00 PM and picked up DiepshN from Hotel Blue Heaven. He was there a day before. I have never been to Pokhara, had only heard the never ending description of the heavenly valley from others but now I could actually experience it and that was very much enthralling to me. I was looking through the van’s window, trying to capture as much as I could of the valley. Unlike Kathmandu there were wide roads, low traffic, clean air, serene hills and of course not to forget the mountains atop those green hills but bad timing- the monsoon cloud kept them hidden from us. The lakes such as Phewa, Rupa and Begnas the climate of the valley was very humid and hotter than that of Kathmandu, so everybody was craving to take a dip into a swimming pool, but we hadn’t had our lunch yet. So after checking into the hotel we went to one of Thakali restaurants for lunch. Finally after lunch, we went for swimming to beat the heat. The swimming session lasted for 2hrs and then at around 4 we left the room for boating on the Phewa. We had just started paddling and it started to drizzle and it took no time for that drizzle to downpour given the fact that Pokhara is one of the places in Nepal where it rains the most. So we abandoned boating until the next day and decided to go for a meal.
The rain subsided when we stopped at Maya for meal, we were in the middle of the meal when we spotted two familiar faces walking down the road, SubodhG and SwechhaG, who happened to be there with their kins for the weekend. They were taken aback to see us there and we were glad to have somebody close to us in that distant place. The day then ended with the evening stroll on the lakeside and around Phewa. And guess what ??? we found another D2ian while strolling, it was KumarP who was also in Pokhara for the weekend.
Sometime we might feel to say “Black Magic Women”.
Next morning I heard a knock on the door it was SirisB waking us up to get ready for the hike. The morning was ideal for hike- soft drizzle and mild breeze and no scorching sun, perfect!!!! We checked out of the hotel and set off for Sarangkot. The hike began at around 9:00 AM and after half an hour of walk we realized that we could not go further with empty stomachs, so we decided to stop for breakfast. The drizzle combined with the wind was chilling to some extent and poor DipeshN and NirajS who were there without a jacket were then blessed with new hand woven shawls (Not for free though) by the restaurant owner who weaved shawls in her free time. DipeshN liked the shawl so much that he decided to buy one. After breakfast we continued our hike to the tower atop Sarangkot hill. The uphill hike and the complete view of Pokhara valley on the left and raging and winding Seti on the foothills of green hills to the right were mesmerizing. If only the sky hadbeen clear we would have seen mountain ranges on the right. But poor us the mountain range was still hiding behind the curtain of the monsoon cloud. After almost 2 hours of uphill climb we reached the tower. The down hill journey was a nondescript one nothing eventful except that SanjeetV bought a shawl from the place where we stopped.
We were back to the lakeside at 2:00 PM and decided to paddle a boat for about an hour. Paddling in the lake was full of fun- with us taking the paddle and direction-handle, we started navigating wherever we wanted, at whatever speed we desired and again stopping for some time to let the wind guide the boat and feel the ambience of the silence. The deep blue water of the lake, the surrounding green hills and the dead silence of the lake except for the splashing sound made by the paddle was keeping everybody at ease. All of the hikers seemed to be mentally relaxed after the toiling uphill hike. Lunch at Marpha Thakali restaurant followed the boating. After the quick shopping to reminisce the eventful journey to Pokhara and hike to Sarangkot we set out for Kathmandu at around 4:00PM.