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 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.