Nepal, a comforting tour.

View from Sarangkot

Nepal is a small bordering country of India where Indians don’t need passport or visa, even Aadhar Card works to go through land and Voter ID Card is enough to reach there by flight. Its a beautiful country with several spectacular travel and trekking destinations specially on Himalayas.

Mt Machapuchhare from Sarangkot

I went to Nepal last year in the month of May, but that tour did not give satisfaction to me. It was an incomplete feeling not to witness the magnificent peaks of Mt Annapurna, Mt Machapuchhare or Mt Everest going to Nepal.

Mt Annapurna from Sarangkot

I thought it would be better to keep Mt Everest for the next time while covering the tourist destinations centering Kathmandu but this time I planned to visit places centering Pokhara and view Mt Annapurna and Mt Machapuchhare. In my previous trip I could not visit local tourist spots of Pokhara as my companion was not interested just because she visited them before. I planned an itinerary for 13 days trip. It included Ghandruk, Dhampus and Begnas lake.

Phewa Lake from Shiva Temple

According to my plan I boarded Mithila Express from Howrah Station for Raxaul on 30th March. Elite Guest House owner Purna, in Pokhara, suggested me to come during the month of March but I could not manage earlier.

Gupteshwar Cave

I reached Pokhara taking a bus from Birgunj. I exchanged 5000 Indian currency at border. Hundred Indian rupees is equal to hundred and sixty Nepali Rupees. They take 2% commission which is an affordable rate. Indian currency works in Nepal but not in the interior villages and small shops.

Phewa Lake

There were quite a few buses and this time my tongawala tried to mislead me to take another bus that would leave at 11-30 or later but I went to the previous bus counter and the bus left at 10-40. I reached Pokhara in the evening at 8 oclock and I took a taxi from Prithwi Chawk at 400NC (Nepali Currency) to reach Hallan Chawk, Lake side.

Mahendra Cave

Purna welcomed me and this time he gave me a lake side room with balcony. I took dinner from Annapurna Bhanchha( Kitchen in Nepali). Annapurna Bhanchha at Hallan Chwak serves lunch and dinner at a quite reasonable rate. The food is good and fresh as well.

Phewa Lakeside

Next early morning I was very happy watching first sun rays on Himalayan Range from my hotel balcony. I went for local sight seeing package after breakfast by bus arranged by Purna at the cost of 750NC. I visited Gupteswar temple, Bindhabasini Temple, Shanti Stupa, Seti river gorge, Mahendra Gufa etc. I liked Gupteswar temple as it was situated in a unique natural cave. There was a natural water falls at the end of the cave which was Davis falls.

Davis falls within Gupteshwar Cave

Next day early morning I went to Sarangkot to witness Sunrise. I missed the bus for Annapurna cable car so I took a taxi and later realized that it was a better option for me to visit the view point otherwise I would have to walk longer way and might miss the sunrise. Wide range of Mt Dhaulagiri, Mt Annapurna ( there are few peaks of Mt Annapurna range), Mt Machapuchhare, Mt Manaslu etc. was spectacular with sun-rays.

Evening Aarati at Phewa Lake

After breakfast I went to Nepal Tourist office to make my permit. Though I did not trek but Ghandruk and Dhampus were restricted area and it was safer to make permit in case I faced any natural calamity. It is the responsibility of Nepal Government to rescue a person if the person is a registered traveler.

Vindhyavasini Temple

In the evening I roamed around Phewa Lake and watched evening Aarti at the west bank of the lake. It started drizzling. I came back and had dinner.

Shiva Temple

Next morning I went to the bus stand for Ghandruk bus at 7-30 in the morning. Bus started at 8AM. It reached Ghandruk bus stand at around 11 o’clock. The village was 2/3 kilometer distant from the bus stand. I started walking with my luggage. First one kilometer was a wide soiled road with gradient slope. It was 12 noon and sun was scorching. I walked in slow pace. I realized that I had to stay at the bus stand for a while and should have taken light lunch and go to toilet instead of start walking immediately getting down from the bus. On the way I met few shepherds who were taking their donkeys and sheep. I requested one of them to carry my luggage. He agreed instead of 500NC.

A view from hotel balcony, Pokhara

After that stone staircases started. When I reached the gate of the village I felt quite uneasy due to several reasons. I sat on a stone beside the path. Someone offered me water and I washed my face with it, drank too. I was sweating profusely and feeling dizzy. The porter boy waited patiently and informed that there was a home stay very near run by one of his acquaintances. I carried my body there and decided to stay there.

The owner woman and her daughter in law both were sympathetic and congenial but the homestay had very basic amenities. After reaching there I fell asleep immediately for a while. When I woke up I felt better. I had khichri as lunch. In the afternoon I went for a walk to find how distant was the main village.

On the way to Ghandruk

Next early morning I went to see sunrise walking a kilometer within the village. I requested a girl in a hotel named Royal View Inn to allow me to go to their roof top to take few photos. It was a good hotel at a very strategic point to witness Mt Annapurna range from a very close distance and Mt Machapuchhare too. Sunrise was extraordinarily spectacular.

Sunrise at Ghandruk

I came back buying 4 bananas at 120NC from a small departmental store for my next two breakfasts. In the interior parts of Nepal food is quite costly. I had to pay 2000NC for four very simple khichri meals( lentil, rice, potato, green chilly, salt and little butter) at the homestay. If I would stay in the main village, food would be costlier. From my previous experience I carried some sugar and roasted gram flour for breakfast.

Next day early morning Sangeeta, the daughter in law of the homestay owner carried my luggage to the bus stand at 1000NC. She was a hardworking girl.


I came across many foreigners’ group at the bus stand who came back from Annapurna base camp trek. I felt envious and sad watching them. I shall never be able to go for such trek. I am too crippled for such missions now. I had a cup of tea at the bus stand. The bus started at 8AM. I had my early lunch on the way back to Pokhara.

On the way to Australian camp, Dhampus

The bus dropped me at Hari- Chwak in Pokhara from where I could get bus for Dhampus. I got a shared jeep there and reached Dhampus at around 2 PM. I found a hotel nearby “Hotel Panorama”. I got a room there at 1000NC. The hotel was clean and decent with a nice view from the window. Mt Machapuchhare seemed very close from here. Dhampus seemed a little desolate to me. Later I came to know that mostly tourists stay at Australian camp now a days. The hotel owner was a nice person, gardening was his hobby. We talked about plants and flowers.

Rhododrendron at Dhampus

Next early morning after breakfast with roti sabji I went to Australian camp. It was about 3 kilometer walk from my hotel. It was two kilometer from where the motorable road ended. The path had stone staircases. There were chirping of different birds, rhododendron trees and innumerable butterflies all through.

Begnas Lake

I found quite a number of foreigners and met one Korean man who was going for Mardi Himal trek. We exchanged a few words. He gave me a Japanese milk toffee which was uniquely tasty. When I reached Australian camp, haze started spreading over the mountain due to heat. I could not get very clear photos. I came down to the village. I came across a French boy who was interested in visiting Muktinath. I shared my knowledge and experience of Muktinath trip.

Lady knitting Shawl, Dhampus

When I reached hotel, it was time for lunch. I enjoyed roaming around in the afternoon. There was a tasty tit-bit mixture shop, I felt tempted but could not take risk of tasting it for my weak stomach. Next day after breakfast I came back to Pokhara.

Birds of Dhampus, they are patient.

In Pokhara, I had a plan to visit Begnas Lake. I heard and read a lot about Begnas Lake and its fish. So after breakfast taking bus from lakeside bus stand I reached there. Unfortunately I did not like the smell of fish all over the area. A couple was having their pre-wedding photo shoot. I took few pictures, had a cup of tea and came back to Prithiwi Chawk where I bought a lungi at 800NC. Nepalese village women wear nice printed cotton lungi.

Mt Machchhapuchhare from Dhampus

I took a bus next day and came back to Birganj to catch train which I found later was a wrong decision taken by me. Birganj is just a transit town and has very dull atmosphere. I wish instead of visiting Begnas Lake and coming to Birganj one day earlier I would have visited Baglung or spent a day in Chitwan. But I consoled myself thinking I have kept a reason to comeback to Nepal again.

Ghadiyarwa Temple (Sun temple) Birgunj

My First Abroad Tour.


USA Diary

My son went to USA for his higher studies in 2017. This year he invited me to visit his place as he is now capable of accommodating me for sometimes. Visa appointment is a difficult issue after Covid – 19. I got appointment in June 2022 for B1 type visa. As my son and my would be daughter in law sent official invitation to attend their marriage and they sponsored my trip, so I did not face much difficulty to get the visa. Then he bought tickets for me. As it was the beginning of August, there was a huge rush of students and their parents who were going to join in different universities. It was the time for the beginning of new session. So price of the ticket was quite high. I planned to come back after Durga puja because then the price of the ticket was comparatively low. If I would come before Durga Puja the price would be too high again as the emigrants visit India in this festive season.

Shenandoah National Park

I went by Emirates’ flight as my son thought it would be comfortable for me as its timing is convenient, though there are several other air services like Qatar Airlines or Air India etc. My flight was from Kolkata to Dubai and from Dubai to Washington. The duration of the journey was divided in 2 segments, 4.5 hours and 16 hours. There was a 2 hours break at Dubai Airport. From Washington airport my son took me to Charlottesville where he stays.

I shall divide this trip into four segments: Charlottesville, North Carolina Outer banks, New York and Shenandoah National park.

Charlottesville is a small university town and a very peaceful and scenic place, surrounded by Blue Ridge mountain, which is the extended part of Appalachian Mountain. After reaching there, for a few days I found myself very drowsy and lazy. Initially my son thought it was jet lag but as it persisted for 4/5 days he became a little worried and found that my blood pressure noticeably low. So I stopped my daily sedative and few other medicines for high blood pressure. Gradually when I got accustomed with their system of life, I started going out in the evening for a walk after early dinner. Evenings are very colorful and picturesque there. The area is sparsely populated with nice houses and lots of greenery. I tasted few new and tasty food like bagels ( kind of steamed bread with different stuffings), Mezza Mediterranean bowl ( combination of salad, rice, pita bread, sauce, meat etc), Japanese food in a restaurant, Sakura.

Moon rise behind Blue Ridge mountain at Charlottesville

One day we went to Ivy creek. There were several such creeks. It is nice to walk in a sunny autumn afternoon. One afternoon we went to down town and had Dönar Kebab from a Turkish restaurant, which is a kind of flat bread with various stuffings. That day we also visited the University of Virginia and saw the famous Rotunda Building which is a UNESCO world heritage site. I learnt to go to local market gradually to buy small household requirement and I felt a little pride while doing so.

North Carolina Outer Banks

Pelicans at Outer Banks

After their marriage, my son and daughter in law took leave on a week end and arranged a trip to North Carolina Outer Banks. We went there by car. We started after breakfast. We had our lunch on the way in an Italian Restaurant. My Daughter in law booked an accommodation for us through Airbnb. It was an apartment with one master bedroom with Jakuzzi bathtub in the attached bath and another bedroom with two single bed and an attached bath, a decent living room with modular kitchen and two balconies at Kill Devil Hills. It was very near to the beach. We bathed in the sea. Sunrise was spectacular in the Atlantic. There were lots of birds including sea gulls and pelicans.


We visited Wright brother’s memorial from where Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright flew their first aeroplane, Bodie Island light house, Jennette’s Pier etc. The unique thing I experienced there, was to watch baby turtles coming out from their eggs under the supervision of volunteers. Volunteers were there to protect the baby turtles. They would come at the time of sunset and would stay there till late night for the safety of baby turtles. I watched till it got absolutely dark. Any kind of light or electronic device was forbidden there, because that might distract the baby turtles and they could lose their track.

Wright Borthers’ Memorial

New York

Initially when my son planned for New York trip in a weekend before my return to India I was a little skeptic whether I could be able to enjoy the place as I am a nature lover and don’t like buildings, crowd, hustle bustle of the city. But after reaching New York my opinion changed. It is a huge city, perhaps I should say it is an ultimate city, after visiting it no city may seem more magnificent. Unfortunately during this time one of the deadliest hurricane Ian struck Florida. Due to it’s side effect it rained the whole week end in the Eastern coast of USA.

Time Square

We went New York by train from Charlottesville. We boarded the train in the evening at 6 o’clock as the train was late and reached New York at 11 PM. My daughter-in law Annie informed that New York city does not sleep. We got down at Pennsylvania Station. From there we took a cab, the name of the Uber driver was Gurpreet who talked to us in American English and did not seem to know Hindi or Punjabi. We stayed in a small Japanese run hotel named Hotel Madison. It had a very small room with two tokonoma double bed. Normally American double beds are too huge with lots pillows and thick mattress. But in New York city everything is costly so we had to compromise with the situation.

Polish day celebration

Next day we went out in the morning with a plan for breakfast and then to roam around Time Square. It started raining heavily as we came out. I was disappointed. After waiting for an hour, when rain subsided a little we went to the nearby metro station( they call it Subway) to reach Time Square. After reaching there, my daughter in law stood in the long queue to buy tickets for Broadway Theater and by that time my son and I roamed around the nearby areas. During lunch time we went to a restaurant at the Rockefeller building. We had New York’s famous and tasty pizza. In the afternoon, we went to the Central Park. Its a huge park with lots of amusement items. Though it was not raining heavily but it was cloudy and some times drizzling.

Statue of liberty from ferry

We had early dinner at a Korean Restaurant. Then we walked towards the Broadway theater. The name of the hall was New Amsterdam Theatre where Aladdin was being played . I went there willy-nilly only because my daughter in law insisted, but I must admit that I felt flabbergasted when the show started. It was an extraordinarily amazing experience to watch such a show which was a mixture of live song, dance, magic, acting and what not, a complete entertainment, I could dare to blink my eyes so that anything I might miss. I shall advise not to miss it if one can afford to visit New York.

Central Park

Next day I had branch with delicious blue berry cream cheese bagel. As my son was busy with his work, he stayed at hotel and my daughter in law escorted me to visit Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty. On our way to visit them we come to know that there was a road show on the occasion of Polish Day. We watched it for sometime at 5th Avenue. I came across an Indian boy Deepak in the sub way who was also going to take the ferry to watch Statue of Liberty. I came to know that he had come to visit New York alone as his visa was going to expire.

At Rockefeller building

My son was interested to eat Pecking duck so we went to an authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner. Probably it was not according to my Indian taste buds so, I did not like it. There were other few items too like shrimp fried rice,, shrimp curry, salad, meat etc. I filled my stomach with them because I was very hungry after the day’s long walk. Their tea was really good.

At Amsterdam Theatre Hall

As I was too tired I decided to take rest while my son and daughter in law went for a evening walk. Next morning after breakfast we went to the famous Brooklyn Bridge. As it was near our hotel, so we went by walking. It is a suspension bridge on East river and surroundings are beautiful. This long and high bridge was made in the beginning of 19th century. It connects New York and Brooklyn cities.

Brooklyn Bridge

After coming back we got ready to depart packing our bags. We reached Moynihan Hall Amtrack Lounge to catch the train for Charlottesville. My son got some food for lunch. Train was on time, we reached Charlottesville at 8 o’clock at night. An Uber Cab was called. It’s driver was Mr Muhammad Rafi, who was an Afghanistani and lives in our neighborhood at Charlottesville. He informed he could understand Hindi and speak to some extent, he learnt it watching Hindi movies.

Grand Central Station

Shenandoah National Park

Before my return home to Kolkata there was a full moon day, so I planned to go to Shenandoah National Park to take photographs of sunset, moon rise, fall colors etc. As per our plan my son and I went to the park in the afternoon. On the way we came across few deer that were standing beside the road fearlessly. People stopped their cars to take their photos, so did I. Then we went into the center of the forest.

Trees were looking beautiful with the yellow hue of afternoon sun rays. There was a restaurant where I wanted to have a blueberry ice cream but due to the long queue I abandoned the idea and went to the sunset point. The sun gradually went down behind the Blue Ridge Mountain keeping the sky crimson colored. Then we rushed to the moon rise point but moon rose by that time above the horizon. I hurriedly clicked few photographs of the full moon. Then we come back home through the moonlit forest.

After two days I left USA and come back home. This trip not only enriched my experience but also increased my confidence. Probably I should start planning another trip to abroad by my own, may be a solo one.

Baby Turtles coming out breaking their shells

My first Nepal trip.

Pokhara, from Sarangkot, early morning.

A bittersweet experience.

Phewa Lake

I had been planning to go to Nepal for a long time. My wish was to witness Mt. Everest and Mt. Machchhapuchhare (Mt. Fishtail ). After a long study and getting information from several sources, I made an itinerary. I wanted to start in the month of March. However, this year, due to Corona, the board exams started in late April and I had to delay my trip.

On the way to Muktinath

I planned it to start on 7th of May. It was a 16 days trip. I booked tickets from Howrah to Raxaul in Mithila express. I decided to return by flight from Kathmandu because I thought it would be a hassle to come back again by bus from Kathmandu to Raxaul. I also had a secret hope that the flight would go over the Himalayas, which it did not. May is the end season for Nepal tourism. After that monsoon starts. But unfortunately I found out at the last moment that there were predictions for rain and thunderstorms all over my trip. I felt a little disheartened.

Kagbeni, Apple orchards.

I included Muktinath in my itinerary, and according to the suggestion of my friend I also kept Manang in the plan. I had a plan to go to Nagarkot and Chandragiri from Kathmandu as Mt. Everest could be seen from those places. I hoped I could see a glimpse of Mt. Machapuchhare from Sarangkot. But man proposes God disposes.

The journey started on the schedule date. From Birganj bus stand few buses ply at regular intervals in the morning for Pokhara. Our bus was at 10:30AM. I eventually met a gold merchant in the bus who was full of negativity. He informed us that there was a traffic jam and we might have to spend the whole night on the road. Thankfully it was not such a serious situation and we reached Pokhara only 5 hours late, at 10 o’clock at night. I had previously booked the hotel.

Muktinath Temple.

Taking a taxi from Prithwi Chawk I reached the New Elite Guest House at Hallan Chawk,. It was beside Phewa Lake. The owner Purna was a very congenial person. Due to the upcoming election there were few restrictions in Pokhara. Restaurants, shops and pubs were to be closed by 10 o’clock at night. So Purna asked me to go to any restaurant to have dinner, as their establishment was already closed.

Kaligandaki river Jomsom

Next morning taking a taxi we went to Sarangkot view point, to witness the sunrise. The peaks could not be seen properly as it was partly cloudy. I took snaps of Pokhara. As I had a plan to go to Muktinath and Manang for which we had to get a permit from the Nepal Tourist Board. The first half of the day was spent in doing that. I wanted to go Manokamna temple, but it ended up into a fiasco. I was traveling with an acquaintance who was not interested in visiting Devis Falls, and other scenic places because she had already visited them. So we did not go anywhere except the lake at Pokhara. I consoled myself traveling Sarangkot by cable car arranged by our hotel owner.

Sunrise at Mt Nilgiri , Jomsom

Normally I travel alone. This time on request of an acquaintance, I took her with me. I had met her previously at Pathornachuni on my Rupkund trip. She also did a short Uttarakhand trip with another of my acquaintances in the month of February. She said that she traveled and trekked quite a few places in the Himalayas, and she was an ex-employee of Indian Railway, and she had got the job through sports quota. I thought she could be a good companion. I felt completely duped when I started traveling with her. She was neither a passionate traveler nor was she physically and mentally fit for taking the strain of traveling through a self organized tour. Realizing my mistake, I decided to keep patience and enjoy as much as possible in that situation.

Dumba Lake, Jomsom.

After spending two days at Pokhara we caught a bus at 7 in the morning for Jomsom. On the bus I was delighted to meet a French lady who had been staying in Nepal for 14 years and adopted Buddhism. She spoke Nepali fluently and knew every nook and corner of Nepal’s trekking destinations. I felt envious of her. We reached Jomsom in the afternoon. We met a German trekker who also wished to go to Muktinath that day. So he took initiative to arrange a jeep, which we shared. We reached Muktinath when the sun was setting behind Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Tukuche.

Gangapurna Peak, glacier and lake. Manang.

Muktinath was quite cold. The name of the hotel at Muktinath where we lodged was Norling. Food was tasty and good. It was near the bus stand. We slept early. Next day after 7 o’clock in the morning we started for Muktinath. My travel companion bathed in the twin kunds and 64 dharas and offered puja. It was actually her prime objective to come to Nepal with me. I offered puja and witnessed the holy deity. I felt blessed to visit there.


Next day was election day. No vehicles would be available. So after coming down from the temple I went to the bus stand to know the bus time to reach Jomsom. I wanted to spend one day at Jomsom and visit Dumba Lake there. But when I went there I came to know that no bus was plying on that day for Jomsom. I had to hire a taxi in a hurry, otherwise we could get stuck at Muktinath for the next day also. Going to Pokhara from Muktinath would take two/three hours longer than Jomsom. And also I was interested in spending one day at Jomsom.


We stayed in a hotel near Jomsom bus stand called the Muktinath Hotel. Jomsom is a scenic place with the view of Mt Nilgiri and Mt Dhaulagiri, Kaligandaki river and apple orchards. Next day being the election day most shops remained closed. Nepal armed forces were patrolling on the roads. We visited the serene Dumba lake after lunch. It was hardly 3/4 kilometer from the center of the small town. The lake is considered sacred by the Buddhists. I lost my camera lens cap while coming back from Dumba lake.

Pashpatinath temple. Kathmandu.

Next day we caught a bus in the morning and reached Pokhara in the afternoon. It started raining after we arrived. Our hotel owner Purna had booked our bus ticket for Besishahar. Spending one night in Pokhara we started for Besishahar at 7 o’clock in the morning and reached at 11 am. There we had our lunch and started for Manang.

Bagmati river, Pashupati nath Temple, Kathmandu.

Many treks start from Manang. It is a district of Nepal. There are small villages like Dharapani, Chame, Pisang, Braga, Tanki Manang, Khangsar, etc. Every village has its own beauty with snow peaks, Marsyangdi river, and innumerable water falls. Thorang La pass trek, Tilicho lake trek, Khangsar kang peak expedition etc. start from here. Mt. Gangapuna, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Tilicho, Mt. Khangsar Kang, Mt. Manaslu peaks can be seen from here.

Swayambhunath Temple Kathmandu.

We reached Manang at 10 o’clock at night. Here I want to mention that going to Manang needs a lot of physical and mental strength, and traveling to Manang is quite expensive. It is not a cup of tea for an amateur traveler who travels for comfort and leisure. My Manang traveling experience is another story. *****

Patan, Darbar Square, Lalitpur.

Spending two nights at Manang we came down to Besishahar. Here I realized that most Indian ATM cards do not work in Nepal and Bhutan. It was a disaster for me. Next day with the help of our driver and hotel owner we got two seats in the micro-bus for Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu we boarded in a hotel at Gangabu, where the bus dropped us. Gangabu is a convenient place and there are many budget hotels for locals, though not for tourists. Tourist area is Thamel.

Darbar Square, Bhaktapur.

Knowing my problem of lack of funds, the hotel owner helped me. My son sent him money through IME and he delivered me the cash. I shall remain ever grateful to him. I abandoned my plan for Chandragiri and Nagarkot due to my travel companion’s disinterest. We visited Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath temple, Patan (Darbar square), Bhaironath and Bhaktapur Darbar square in three days. We caught our flight for Kolkata from Kathmandu. My hopes to witness Mt. Everest and Mt. Machapuchhare remained unfulfilled this time. Maybe I shall visit Nepal again. But that will surely be a solo trip.