The Annapurnas over Phewa Tal from the World Peace Stupa
Pokhara is located in the central part of Nepal at the foot of the Himalayas. It is the staging point for treks into the Annapurna Conservation Region. The town itself is flat with rice paddies and fields beyond the center. But hills rise around it. Beyond the hills, the Annapurnas and Machhapuchre rise though often they are concealed by haze.
Rice paddies beneath the hills
Last night the mountains surprised us by remaining cloud free and beautifully catching the light of the sunset. So, this morning we dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:45 AM and walked to the Peace Stupa. It's about an hour and ½ walk (at a fast clip) from the hotel but the sunrise was around 6:45--at least the brief period of time when the sun light hits the mountains making the snow turn pink and giving the mountains the right amount of light to make them clear but not enough light to show the haze. Fortunately, we had made it over to the Lakeside side of the hill so were able to see the pink mountains shining between tree branches. The forest became filled with bird calls. As we left it, the mountains spread before us unobstructed across the lake.
Machhapuchre at dawn
Sunrise from the forest below the World Peace Stupa
Below us was an area of green shrubs and low trees. Looking down I saw a tropical rainbow of birds-- bright red, yellow, green and a blue birds that looked like a magpie in evening dress with a long elegant tail and bright orange beak. When we'd walked up to the stupa before we hadn't seen any of these colorful birds. When we headed back down from the stupa, all except the blue ones had disappeared and been replaced by their less flamboyant relatives.
Blue bird in the morning
At the stupa we admired the mountain view and the sun glowing off one of the gold Buddhas of the stupa. The mountains remain clear for a short time after sunrise before a haze or clouds settle in.
World Peace Stupa at dawn
On a previous hike to the stupa, we heard a lot of rustling and found a monkey colony busy in the area around the path. Some were foraging on the ground, others grooming in the trees. The path we take to the stupa crosses over a section of the river where the locals do their laundry-- leaving it to dry on rocks or hanging from the suspension bridge.
A light in the forest
Monkeys grooming in forest below Peace Stupa
Doing laundry by the river