Sunday, 3 June 2007

Hike from Sarangkot to Pokhara

After the lovely sunrise (previous post) we walked up Sarangkot and from there had a nice little day hike down to Pokhara.

Here you see Susanna again with a view to the Annapurna range from the hill fort on Sarangkot. You may remember that I also photographed this fort from the air whilst paragliding. That picture is here (the picture above was taken from the small red-roofed observational deck).

View to the other side. A few village house stand on a ride with a view further down to a really cool river delta leading into Lake Pokhara.

Mount Fishtail seen through the local vegetation.

Descending down towards Pokhara. Although we certainly didn't feel as if we had made it beyond the reach of civilization with Pokhara still being constantly within sight, it was still a very nice walk taking us through plenty of villages. Here are some of the locals we met:

Brother and Sister looking curiously into the camera.

What a beautiful smile.

Local kids outside their house being silly in honour of the camera.

More local kids playing some sort of skipping rope game - apparently a game Susanna recognises from her own school days back in Darjeeling. We had a good talk with this family, and they told us that their very charming house is more than 100 years old. Although most houses here are of the original, old style more and more concrete buildings re shooting up. The mother of the family told us that the old houses using only natural, local building materials are both cheaper and more comfortable (warm in winter, cool in summer) than concrete. Yet there is status in being able to afford concrete, so it is getting more widespread. Sad. Whenever we go to places like this, we make sure to very openly express our admiration for the old buildings styles, thus hoping to do our little big to infuse some prestige into that.

At another charming old house we went for a tea break at a local house. Our guide first presented the old lady who owned it as a family member, but after asking we realised that he meant she was a member of the same caste as him. People in the Indian subcontinent tend to use family terms very broadly, not just for those with blood relation.

Our guide and the old lady. Notice her many golden earrings. Click on photo to enlarge.

Yet another charming house in the traditional style. There are many of them in the area around Pokhara, especially up in the hills.

However, another cool thing about hiking here was to get a shot of nature. Lots of interesting local plants and animals. Here are a few shots to show that side of the atmosphere:

Butterfly sucking the nectar from yellow flower.

A tree looking like it's made of gold when being hit by the sun's rays.

A punk bird. Actually it's a Himalayan Bulbul.

An amazing butterfly with thousands of little neon-green dots giving it a psychedelic look.

Finally we reached flat ground. These fields I also photographed from above the previous day. They are the swampy coastlands that you can see in this picture.

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