Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Pokhara: Devi's Falls and the Bat Cave

After a pleasant bus ride we arrived in Pokhara, a really nice town with both a lake and mountains. After checking out the very touristy lakefront (which I didn't bother photographing) next point on the itinerary were some interesting falls and caves.

First up was Devi's Falls, which you see in the two pictures above. It is not so powerful outside the monsoon, but by looking at the mini canyon that the river has carved you get a sense of the power in play when the river comes roaring down in the monsoon.

The falls seen from the other side, with Susanna standing on top looking down. "So where is the water?" you may ask. Well that's the cool thing about these falls. The water simply disappears into a big hole in the ground. By the way Devi's Falls is allegedly a corruption of the name Davis falls, referring to a Swiss visitor who killed himself by falling into the hole, and pulled his girlfriend with him.

What is even more cool abotu Devi's falls is that you can visit the cave underneath it. The light streaming in from the left side of the picture is from the same hole you just saw from above. It may be hard to get a sense of size here, but the cave you see here, must be at least 25-30 metres high.

A couple if interesting walls of the cave. Notice how sparkly the rock is behind Susanna.

After Devi's Falls we went to my favourite place of the day a bit outside Pokhara: The famous bat cave, where thousands of horseshoe bats hang from the perhaps 20 metre high ceiling of this huge, dark cave. There is no lighting in this cave apart from what you bring with you, making photography a bit of a challenge. Obviously a flash would do no good in such a huge cave, so this pictures was taken by mounting the camera on my tripod and leaving the shutter open for 40 seconds, while I tried to light up the bats with my flashlight as evenly as possible. I'm pretty happy with the result.

Even more challenging was it to take a picture of Susanna and the bats in the same picture. Obviously the flash was once again quite useless, so again I had to leave the shutter open for a while. But in order to not overexpose Susanna and under expose the bats I had to keep the flash light one her for a second only while she sat very still, then run away and light up the bats without any more light falling on Susanna. It was challenging but fun. Even though the light on Susanna looks a little strange, I still think the result came out quite well given the material we had to work with. It could have been better, though, if we hadn't been constantly disturbed by Indian and Nepali tourists walking in front of the camera and flashing their lights everywhere in an attempt to provoke a reaction from the bats.

From the bat cave you can go out the way you came in, or you can walk up a narrow path and wiggle yourself out a tiny little hole, which we opted for - as you can see on the picture. As it turns out we had to walk in the complete dark up a path next to an unmarked, unfenced edge leading 5-6 metres down. Afterwards our driver claims that a few people fall down and die every season! I don't know if he was pulling a fast one on us, but he seemed absolutely serious about it.


Visit Nepal said...

It is a nice article about Davi's Fall, if you put picture of Davis fall during monsoon your articles give more impression to the visitor. If you do not have picture i have found a site about pokhara i.e. http://www.pokharaphotogallery.com . It says photos are free to use in blogs and websites.

Esben said...

Thanks for your comment and your suggestion. However, as a general rule I only use pictures taken by myself or by people in my presence, so whatever a place looked like when I visited it, is what I'll show on the weblog. I have no doubt that the whole scene would be more impressive in monsoon season, though, which I also mentioned in the blog post.