We flew to Pokhara in order to see dawn over the Himalayas. And we did!

It was a really memorable morning when we got up at 05:15 and drove (and walked) up to a hilltop at Sarangot to watch the dawn sun slowly illuminate the peaks of the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas. There were between 50 and 100 people up there, but everyone was quiet. This wasn't just seeing something, this was participating in something. As the Lonely Planet Guide says, it's more like a mass than a tourist thing.

First, the sun shown through in the east (as usual...).  Only a few minutes later did it set aglow the first peaks of the Annapurna Range. 

Dawn Dawn
Dawn sun First light on the Annapurna Range
First lightDawn
Closer-upNow it's striking Annapurna III (right)
and just the tip of Machhapuchhre

Gradually, it descended on that one, then gained peak after peak, spreading downwards and outwards like flowing fire until all the tops of the range were shining with light and warmth. Gorgeous!

Annapurna Range
The Annapurna Range, seen from Sarangot. The highest mountain is Annapurna I at 8091m.

Machhapuchre (or Fishtail Mountain) just looks higher than the Annapurnas because it is closer. In fact, it was one of the last peaks to be struck by the early sunlight.

MachhapuchhreTourists and the Annapurna Range
MachhapuchhreTourists and the Annapurna Range
Daylight over the Annapurna Range

What an experienc: Better than an opera! After that, we went back to our hotel for breakfast.

While in Pokhara, we drove out to look at a nearby lake, called Begnas Tal. It was pretty, but the countryside was even more interesting.

CounrtysideBegnas Tal
Countryside near Begnas TalBegnas Tal

Among other activities in Pokhara, we visited the Bindhya Basini Temple. It was the last day of the Dashain Festival, in celebration of Rama's killing of Ravana, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil (We wish  we could see more good triumphing over evil in our western lands...), and the temple was crowded, aromatic (lots of incense) and colorful.

Bindhya Basini TempleBindhya Basini Temple
Bindhya Basini Temple
Bindhya Basini TempleTashi Ling Tibetan Village
Nandi, Shiva's bullBuddhist temple at the
Tashi Ling Tibetan Village

We also visited the Tashi Ling Tibetan Refugee Village and the Buddhist temple there. A nice old monk showed us around, pointing out sacred relics as well as photographs of His Holiness the Dali Lama.

We also took a boat ride on the big lake,
Phewa Tall, and visited the island temple, the Varahi Mandir, which was pleasant. (Are we starting to sound jaded? No, just tired and saturated.)

Phewa TalVarahi Mandir
Phewa TalVarahi Mandir, on an island in Phewa Tal
Annapurna Range viewed across town and field

On our way out of town the next morning, we  were thrilled one last time to see the Annapurnas across the streets and the fields, a constant presence. Not to sound like a 1940s travelogue, but we were sad to see them recede into the distance behind us.

Continue with Chitwan National Park.

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