Nepal has a population of about 26 million and has, for years, acted like a magnet in drawing visitors to its fold. Some come to view the numerous UNESCO world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, some come to pay homage at Lumbini, the birth place of The Buddha. Many come to Nepal in their quest for adventure, as this country is known as the gateway to the Himalayas and home to eight of the world’s tallest mountains including Mt. Everest.
In April 2015, the earth under this tiny country shook and rumbled like never before, leaving in its wake destruction of the kind that had never been seen before. More than 8,000 human lives were lost, countless rendered homeless and Kathmandu Valley, once buzzing with tourists admiring its many palaces, temples and other buildings, was rendered an expanse of ruins and rubble.
It is over a year since that apocalyptic day, Nepal is recovering, albeit slowly. What Nepal needs today is for the stream of visitors to return, helping in its economic recovery. Though the earthquake did devastate and destroy many of the sites in Kathmandu, there are still many places which were not ravaged by the earthquake and which are a delight to behold.
About 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu lies Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal. It is a picturesque place and is very close to the Annapurna Range of mountains which consist of 3 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, namely Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. The picturesque town of Pokhara is embellished by the emerald waters of the Phewa Lake. Interestingly, even though Pokhara was closer to the epicenter of the earthquake compared to Kathmandu, it escaped relatively unscathed in the year 2015.
Pokhara is the gateway to some amazing treks that would take you through the Himalayan mountain ranges and across amazing rhododendron forests with panoramic views of the snow clad Himalayan peaks.
You can stroll along the shores of this stunning lake with its emerald waters glistening in the sunlight, crowned by the snow clad Annapurna mountains on the horizon. The experience is ethereal and you can spend hours here basking in the beauty of nature. You can also have some fun by paddle boarding in the waters of the Phewa Lake.
This is a Pagoda atop a hill that is reached by climbing a thousand steps. But the reward that awaits you at the end of the climb will make all your tiredness vanish into thin air. True to its name, the place is indeed synonymous with peace and tranquility. One is overcome by an indescribable feeling of being at peace with oneself and in complete harmony with nature as you view the magnificent panorama that stretches out before you.
Head to Sarankot, a mountain with an altitude of 1600 meters to catch a sublime view of the sun rising against the backdrop of the three snow clad peaks of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. You can also get an awesome view of Pokhara city from this vantage point. If weather permits, you can also indulge your Adrenalin glands with some paragliding.
Apart from the above there are numerous hikes and treks to choose from, ranging from the easy to the very difficult ones that could spread over weeks.
But if you want to just chill and enjoy the natural beauty of nature, you are in the right place. Pokhara is a place where you go to do nothing but breathe in the fresh mountain air, take long walks and admire panoramic views of the mountain peaks.
This article was originally published on Voyager.