» A visit to Nepal & the Majestic Himalayas (November 2012)

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A visit to Nepal & the Majestic Himalayas (November 2012)

A visit to Nepal & the Majestic Himalayas (November 2012)

Last year in November, my wife and I decided to take our first holiday together for the first time after close to 2 years of marriage 🙂
Both of us love nature and the beauty associated with nature.
And as we decided to make it special, the destination was chosen as Nepal.

Superseding all other locations in India, which can be very breath taking as well.
Nepal is a very small country to the North of India, very well known for Buddha, Buddhism & the Himalayas.

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A King? Or a Warrior? Or a Village Head? Or is it a Banker?
It is basically ‘sandwiched’ so as to say by two extremely powerful & emerging nations – China & India.
To travel to Nepal from India, you can just drive down as there is some understanding between the 2 countries.

Formalities are at a minimum to travel for Indians, though not so simple for travelers from other countries.
From Bangalore, Nepal is around 2000KM. Kathmandu is the capital city which is around 2300kms.
We traveled from Bangalore International Airport to Kathmandu International Airport via New Delhi as there is no direct flight.
The total flight including the stopover was around 14 hours if I remember right.

We did not take any of the holiday packages as we did not want to be limited in our options.
However we had booked rooms in the Hotels we were planning to stay in as this was the Holiday season & rooms will be difficult to find. (This maybe important to bear in mind as there are not too many great hotels and finding rooms maybe a problem)
The hotel had arranged for our pickup from the airport (though they did not turn up).

We arranged for a local taxi. For people planning to visit, very advisable to do all the research possible, understand the rates for taxis and hotels and anything else that comes to mind.
If not you better be ready to be fleeced as these people are like sharks. They sense uncertainty like blood.

We reached Hotel Shanker in Kathmandu in an hour’s time and everything went smoothly from there on.
The drive was fabulous as it was the very first time I set my eyes on the great Himalayan Mountain range.
It was such a humbling feeling and unbelievable at the same time. Very unreal!

The locals understand Hindi and English for most part.. Their local language Pali & Hindi are very closely linked as they share the same script.

We were quite exhausted the day we reached, so the rest of the evening was spent at the hotel relaxing.

The following day we decided to do some shopping & a great place for this is the Nepal-China border.
There is a market very close to the border where you can get the best of shoes, clothing, memorabilia etc. at almost throw away costs.
We hired a cab to take us there (a distance of around 150kms) and the scenery on the way is out of this world.
There were so many beautiful spots & my obsession for photography made a journey of 4 hours notch up close to 7 hours one way!

BLOG-DSC_4120_1_2_tonemapped-2-2_WLPAnother view of the beautiful River

En route, one location you cannot miss out on is the ‘Last Resort’
This is where you can actually jump off the mountains 🙂
A jump of close to 170 meters! There is a hanging bridge between two mountains and a river flowing in between. Picturesque to say the least

This resort has lodging as well along with adventure sports – Bungee Jumping, Swinging, Rafting etc.
My wife took the plunge while I was content standing with my feet firmly grounded.
They even video you taking the leap (charge you extra of course), have T-shirts & caps for sale.
By the time we reached the border, it had closed! So were the markets.

BLOG-DSC_4428_29_30_fused-Edit-2_WLPA little up ahead.. Driving by the river heading to China Border

We headed back, quite tired yet pleased – me for the awesome snaps I could take & my wife for the jump, though she wasn’t too amused that the whole point of the long drive was kinda lost

The next day we decided to take the aerial view of the Himalayas.
There are small flights run by local airlines.. Mostly ATRs and smaller aircrafts.
We had booked our tickets through Yeti airlines.
We were quite late to the airport as we had to check out & we were heading to Pokhara after the aerial view.

The aerial view is something that you definitely do not want to miss.
The flight is for 2 hours & they fly around the entire range once.
I do not think most of us will get an opportunity to see the mountains any closer than this.

Once you are mid-way through the flight, they allow passengers into the cock pit to get a 180 degree view of the mountains and even point out the King of the Kings, the tallest peak in the world- Mt. Everest.

BLOG-DSC_4528_WLPKing of the Kings – Mt. Everest

I was so caught up in clicking pics, I wasn’t even paying attention to anything they were saying

At the end, once everyone had finished a view from the pilot’s cabin, they invited us inside again 🙂
The airlines also sell some books & CDs with videos and photographs of the Himalayas.
My only complaint here would be that I wished I had a clearer view, as all the pictures had to be taken from inside the plane, behind the windows which were quite scratched & dirty.
After we got back I was told there is a more expensive option to this as well, flying in a helicopter.

Once this was finished (I really did not want it to), we got off the flight to board another flight which was departing in ten minutes to Pokhara.

Pokhara is a definite contrast to Kathmandu. No hustling & bustling, the place is much cleaner & you actually feel like you are on a holiday.
We stayed at a Hotel called Barahi, mainly because it boasted of one of the best views of the Annapurna range.
The day we checked in, we spent a couple of hours just admiring the view.
Though it was quite cloudy & I could see only one of the mountains in the range, it was quite a treat.
There are more adventure sports here like paragliding, para-sailing, parachuting etc.

BLOG-DSC_4664-2_WLPA fly by the Mountains…. Awesome

Pokhara is very beautiful by itself & some of the streets and shops reminded me of Goa.

There is a beautiful lake where you can go boating, lots of restaurants with varying cuisines etc. & a pretty healthy tourist population as well, mostly foreigners from the West

The stay here for us was quite a short one again. Stayed there till early morning the next day & left to ‘Nagarkot’ – a hill station which boasts of some of the best Sunrises & Sunsets in the world.
You can actually see most of the Himalayas, on a clear day.

BLOG-DSC_5178_79_80HDR_WLPBeautiful !!

When we arrived, it was again quite cloudy. We did happen to see the most amazing sunset, though it wasn’t over the mountains.
The rooms here as well have spectacular views overlooking the valleys below & the mountains far away. Temperatures can go below zero during winter.

The last night was spent in the hotel where we rested & got ready to leave Nepal.

So that brought to an end one of the most brilliant 5 days of my life.

It was quite sad that the trip was over… Though this is quite clichéd, Nepal is a place which requires at least a month’s stay to let the beauty sink in & for you to realize where we stand in the balance of life.

We figured that we had not even covered 10% of what Nepal has to offer.
One recommendation for anyone who wants to visit – these are possibly some of the more commercially famous places, but there are tons of other not-so-famous places that you can visit. Amongst others, do not miss out on a trip to Everest base camp.
This is where all the mountaineers who hike up the Himalayas set up base.

Even if you are unable to climb the mountain, this is a must visit for any traveler, for which we sadly did not have time for.

I had never seen mountains of this magnitude before, never seen snow, and never been out of the country 🙂

The Himalayas reminded me of how insignificant we are.. For a while it seemed like someone had just taken a gigantic block from some other world and placed it in front of my eyes.

Words do not do justice. Pictures do very little.
Your eyes deserve the scenic beauty of nature & what this planet really is made of.


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