Date: May 03/04, 2008
Participants: Ashish Parajuli, Pawan Pandey, Dhilung Hang Kirat, Balkrishna Lachhimasyu, Bishwa Shrestha, Gaurav Raj Joshi and Prabhakar Giri
Route: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Kathmandu
Duration: 2 days
Photos: BalkrisnaL /DhilungK/AshishP/GauravJ/BishwaS
Caption: Gaurav Raj Joshi
Report: Dhilung Hang Kirat
It was already dark. The three of us were in the middle of the lake in a row boat. Lost and confused, with a blurred sense of direction, we could only see few lights in distance. The shore was still far from us. Suddenly, a tall black creature started to move in the water towards us. Before my mind could realize what it could be, my heart responded real quick, pumping and jumping inside. Gaurav was screaming and started to row as fast as he could. When we had moved a “safe” distance away from the thing, we calmed down from our fears, only to find that the black creature was nothing but a mere tree trunk used as a fishing net stand. We somehow managed to reach the shore even if there was no light house on Phewa Lake, being directed entirely by the glow of the mobile phone from our friends’ boat. We had a big laughter afterwards, but the ripple of the thrill inside lasted for days.
To start off, let’s get back to Kathmandu. The whole journey was a series of intermingled rushing and relaxing phases. The early rush started right from the beginning. I forgot to bring my tripod and had to rush home at the eleventh hour. We all were planning to make the trip a photography trip as well and if you consider two 2MP mobile phones as cameras, yes, we all had cameras in our hand to capture Pokhara. We reached Kalanki and now comes the time of relaxation. Everyone knows clock ticks slowly around Kalanki. Traffic lights had gone and only one traffic police was struggling with the chaotic traffic jam, purely a management crisis. How many precious hours of Kathmanduies could have been saved at Kalanki with better traffic control? I figure, it must be in thousands of hours per day. But you never get bored even in hours long traffic jam when you are lucky enough to have few joke crackers in your team. Gaurav will kill me if I put his name at the top in the joke crackers chart.
Chilly morning of Pokhara gave us all a warm welcome. Gaurav and I were the first timers. Prithvi chowk seemed to me like Biratnagar and as we headed to LakeSide, it was like Dharan.
“So where is Pokhara? I better stop comparing.” I thought.
On the terrace of our hotel, we were taking sips of coffee enjoying the view of widely extended calm Phewa Lake during sunrise. Pettruci’s ‘Wishful Thinking’ flowing in the background and I could not find anything to compare with the wonderful feeling I had that morning. One guy from our squad aptly caught the second and started scribbling something in his scratchpad. A poem? This is how Bishwa flooded in that moment.
The way i see it
Can you capture it?
Green leaves and
The blue sky
Sight of the birds
Take a picture
Give it a try
Make me smile and
Frame my heart
Enjoy the moment<
Take a part
This freedom to laugh
It won’t last
Going for an early morning walk along the shore of Phewa lake was another wonderful experience especially for late to bed and late to raise kinda person like me. Every view finder was busy searching for the best composition around.
Tour De Pokhara
We were all excited about the paragliding flight, the main theme of our trip. But for different reasons we had to postpone our flight for the next day.
“Let’s go cycling way up to Begnash Taal!” Bishwa threw an option.
What an escape for the worried minds! Within the next hour everyone geared up for the Tour de Pokhara.
Next stop, Devi’s falls. After a little bit of waiting for Bal and Prabhakar we entered the Devi’s falls premise. At first I felt like I was entering into a shopping mall only to find chain of curio shops along the sideways. It was not July and water was low in resource. Whether the Phewa Dam – or – our high expectations played the villain, but for sure the undersized waterfall was not attractive enough to make us feel ‘wow’.
The turn down of Devi’s falls was immediately compensated by the heaven underground at Gupteshwor Mahadev cave. The hoarding board claimed it is the ‘Most wonderful and the Largest cave of the south Asia”. Well, we have to verify that claim but for us, definitely it was the most wonderful cave we have ever seen.
In search of something meaningful among the curio shops we met Mr. Pemba, a curator of his shop. In his early seventies he had lot to tell us about life and society and we kept on listening, almost forgetting our refreshment drinks. Always listen to old wise man as time is the best tutor. He was going to pass away soon but his dream to handover a peaceful world to us had not ceased yet.
We started cycling up towards the Begnash Taal with Bishwa leading almost all the time. As we all managed to climb up to Prithwi chowk, everyone grew skeptical about the destination. Begnash was still far away and the day was dying soon!
Changing mind is an easy job and we all chose to do so. Forgetting about Begnash, we started slipping down towards Lake Side again. ‘Duna Tapari’ restaurant just beside the south part of the lake was an awesome place to rest. Few bottles of beer and we all were talking like veteran politicians.
During the golden hour of sunset, we were returning back. We ended our cycling tour and boating adventure began. It was real hard to sit in the boat after a day long cycling but somehow we managed to do even a boat-racing competition. Boating in the dusk across the Phewa Lake was another wonderful experience. Who knew returning would create a different story.
Next day, Bal, Prabhakar, Gaurav and Pawan teamed up for the first shift of flight while three of us were left out to choose the second flight. Me, Ashish and Bishwa took a large pedal boat and headed towards Taal Barahi Temple located in the middle of the lake. Many people around the temple started taking photographs and video taping us – three topless guys in a boat.
Large pedal boat on hire – 400 Rs,
pair of sunglasses – 800 Rs,
being a celebrity for a moment – Priceless!
Now it was our turn for the flight. We reached Blue Sky Paragliding office, rushing in the heat. One French pilot, Pascal, was a interesting man. We were talking about all the adventure stuffs. Bishwa revealed his dream of being at the Grand Canyon someday.
“Have you been there?” Bishwa asked him.
“First tell me, havu been to Humla?” Pascal replied.
“Never” an expected answer for most of the Nepalese.
Pascal was pre-loaded with his next dialog – “First you visit Humla before traveling to Grand Canyon.”
Ironic enough, many of us dream of climbing the Eiffel tower but forget to visit our own Dharahara once. Pascal recollected many of his exhilarating experiences in Nepal. We were helplessly learning about our own country for an outsider. Actually, ‘outsider’ is not justifiable for Pascal. He has been here for almost a decade.
Way up to Sarangkot, everyone was busy observing the scenic beauty of the valley. Three girls and one guy from Holland were traveling with us along with six pilots. The hollander guy told me how patiently he had been waiting for paragliding since four months but the conversation ceased quickly. One of the pilots at back seat started singing and whistling in some foreign language (We later gave him the name ‘The Kramer’. He looked exactly the same as the character ‘Kramer’ from Seinfeld). I too started to whistle Marty Freidman’s ‘Thunder March’. The Kramer guy stopped whistling and started listening to me. I felt good. And when I stopped, to my surprise, Ashish gave continuation to the melody. You see, some good conversations do not evolve a single spoken word.
The flight begins. We flew over the forest covered by spring cloud of fresh green leaves. Lovely Phewa’s whole body could be seen sleeping down the valley smiling at us. Vertical topographic view of Pokhara was simply awesome. While I was busy taking pictures, Pascal, my pilot, literally snatched away my camera.
For my bewilderment he gave the answer “I want you to experience the presence,… Now!”.
Even in low thermal condition he was playing with his tricks and adventures simulating kind of September 11 thrill inside me. There was no-way other than trusting his skills. He used to be an ex-paraglide designer and test pilot for newly designed paraglides. This fact was a big relief for me. Extreme 3D acrobatics during the end of the flight was breath taking. I could sense the rush of adrenaline in the beginning. When Pascal took his acrobatics to its full swing I was nearly blinded by the thrust and rapid change of ‘g’ force. When we landed after about 45 minutes long flight I felt it was just 5 minutes. Time is relative!
Everyone landed with their animated face except David. Thinking he must have landed in other site, we entered our van. Sundari, a Brazilian pilot with Latin look, explained us about the Paragliding School that we may join. She was true to her Nepali name. Later I came to know Sundari met her sundar David during one of their paragliding excursions. Both passionate about paragliding, they fell in love and got married recently. Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking outward in the same direction.
Bishwa flows again …
A definitive cry, from the depth
As my mind wants to fly
I lift my hands
And leap into the sky
And as i look down
From above ground
I start to realize –
The strings that used to tie me
Are lifting me high!
Sonam, The mystery.
When in Kathmandu, I was told to consult Sonam for stuffs regarding booking and discount for paragliding. Shamesh had already told Sonam about our visit so I thought things would be pretty simple. Saturday morning, I dialled the mobile number. As I had expected a husky man’s voice did not replied. Sonam turned out to be a lady! The mellifluous sweet voice took me into imagination … only her second “Helloooow” nudged me to think why I was calling her. It was too early to call her and I realized late that I woke her up with my call. Next call after few hours, as expected a sweet female voice did not replied, but a man with a strong Indian accent, insisting me to talk in English.
“What rubbish!” I though “Must be her assistant.”.
“Madam is busy, call later” he replied.
Somebody told us she had already quitted her job, others told we could meet her at the head office. We reached the office but she was not there either. Good, she called back later and things went well. I didn’t forget to leave a thank you note for her but Sonam remained a mystery, no where to be seen.
00 Team Tour de Pokhara
01 A welcoming smile from pokhara
02 Team Einstein
03 Water taxies
04 Rang de basanti ishtyle
05 Pokhara – uncut, uncensored
06 How many cameras are these people looking at
07 Paparazzi cam
08 Dil chahata hai + 1
09 This is what we’re here for
10 Half a league, half a league….half a league onward
11 The perspective
13 Tour de Pokhara
14 Enter the fall
16 Enlightened cave
17 All we are, is dust in the wind
18 And they lie, silently waiting for our arrival….
20 Woh ladki hey kaha part 1
22 Woh ladki hey kaha part 2
23 Woh ladki hey kaha part 3
23 Aba cycle bigriney belaa bhayo hai
24 la khattam…tiniharu aaipugna ajhai kati time laagla
25 deTour de Pokhara.jpg
27 Hey….why am I the one rowing
28 Dhilung – come on man….we have to win k…what are you doing
29 i’ll kill you!!!
30 The lone ranger
31 Who the hell is supposed to be steering the damn thing
32 Ye majhi dai….malai nadii taarideu
33 The crimson sunset
35 unfinished business….oh well, there’s always a next time
36 macro shot of curio items
37 didn’t get to see the real thing….oh well…portrait le chitta bujhaunu paryo
38 you don’t get to see something like this everyday
39 we hereby disown all our worldly possessions in the name of rock and roll
40 my heart might go on…but no friggin way i’m jumping
42 Italian, Korean, Nepali
43 a view from Sarangkot
44 lucky sonofagun
45 Humans call it an eagle….Dhilung calls it thermal
46 Lock N Load
47 this is what tour de pokhara was all about
48 Pulled by gravity…driven by the wind
49 A view from the top (age of empire style)
50 this ain’t from Google Earth…..It’s from paraglider cam
54 ye yeta yeta yeta …
55 Damodar the para-chaalak
56 The landing
57 just made it inside the circle
58 Pascal the pilot
59 Team in the 70s