Sunday, May 18, 2014


Checking out the Peace Pagoda to get the much publicised view over Phewa Lake with the Annapurna range in the background, paragliding over Sarangkot, going down the caves and the waterfall are the must do’s when in Pokhara the second largest city in Nepal says RUPALI DEAN

A Quick flight got us to Pokhara in barely half an hour and in ten minutes we were at our Hotel, which was a great start as one has to be transported to the Fish Tail lodge on its shuttle floats or boats.
The resort itself offered a blend of untouched natural beauty charm and contemporary ambience and made for the perfect base-luxurious, comfortable, with an idyllic location overlooking the Fewa Lake.  The reason I booked this place was also that all profits generated by this resort are donated to the Jayanti Memorial Trust to further its goals. The Trust is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote prevention of Cardiac ailments and provide accessible cardiac care to the less fortunate citizens of Nepal. 
After settling in we hired a boat out and paddled around on the lake for an hour, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the stunning lake, the mountain views and the heat of the sun on our backs. We could see lots of par gliders hovering over the mountain and the Annapurna mountain range poking through the clouds, needless to add we booked one for the next morning straight away.

A bumpy, dusty road up to Sarangkot takes one to the drop off point before one is ready to go. The basic instructions are absolutely simple but can get you a bit nervous, ‘When I tell you to run, run as fast as you can down the slope’, and ‘Sit as soon as we take off’ and one is set.  To be honest there is nothing to get scared about; one is strapped in to a giant baby seat and to the pilot. My daughter Akanksha and I had Polish Pilots.  

When he said run, I got about 5 steps before the tension in the parachute prevented any further forward momentum and straining against the drag, we were immediately in the air and nowhere near where the slope became cliff. Quickly soaring 800 metres over Pokhara and rising.  The alto meter on my shoulder read that we were rising 4 metres per second and soon above the clouds at getting a bird’s eye view of Pokhara. My pilot was in complete control and I absolutely enjoyed circling around looking down the valley before I was steadily dropped down through the clouds.
There is lots you can do out here and it gets better with stunning views of snow-capped mountain peaks and timeless beauty. A good idea is to book a sightseeing tour of all the major sights, such as the Old Bazaar, Devi’s fall, Barahi Temple, and the Regional Mountain Museum. With superb views of the Himalayas, sail on Phewa Lake, and go to Seti Gandaki Gorge.
I loved exploring the deep-seated mysteries of the intriguing caves of Mahendra Gupha, a small hike to Davis waterfalls and my visit the Tibetan refugee camp.

Just a short walk from the Fish tail lodge was a large shopping alley with countless shops selling the famous local Pashmina, Yak, Jacquard and Cashmere shawls. It is more of a backpacker area wall to wall with cafes, restaurants, pubs, travel agents, foreign money exchange booths and budget hotels with tons of camping and mountaineering gear shops including pirated North Face products. A good idea is to end your day with a local meal at one of the restaurants offering Thakali cuisine post which you can hang out at one of the chill out places for a drink. Most of our evenings were spent at Boomerang and Club Amsterdam post dinner.

BEST WAY TO REACH: Pokhara is a neat 25 minutes by yeti Airlines from Kathmandu and only 4 and a half hour drive away from the capital of Nepal.
BEST PLACE TO STAY: Fish Tail Lodge, P.O. Box 10 Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal 
Tel: +977 61 465071/460248/460258  E-mail: 
ACTIVITIES ON OFFER AROUND: Hiking, Fishing, Pony riding, Bird watching, Boating, Fishing, Paragliding, Ultra-light aircraft and Golfing.

 published in Statesman