View of Annapurna range at dawn from Sarangkot
We'd been debating when to go to Sarangkot. The whole point of going there is to see the sunrise and sunset over the mountains. It is probably the closest unobstructed mountain view in Pokhara. Sarangkot's scenic location is on the top of a hill which on one side overlooks Phewa Tal and on the other side faces the Annapurans and Machhapuchre across the startlingly flat Seti River Valley.
Yesterday Rowshan got up early to catch a beautiful sunrise from the Damside area. The mountains seemed to be remaining clear so we decided to venture up in the afternoon. So we decided to leave Pokhara and walk up to Sarangkot.
Fisher on Phewa Tal beneath the mountains
Morning fog on the lake
Dawn on the lake
There are several paths but the one we took starts at the top of the lake and climbs steeply up stone steps through forests. Below the lake was under haze as well as the valley. Above, paragliders and hawks surfed the thermals, gliding in circles. In the forest, butterflies flitted across the trails and monkeys leapt from tree to tree. The younger less coordinated ones sometimes plummeted towards the ground, saving themselves by grabbing at a branch on the way.
Paragliders above Sarangkot
A monkey watches us
Dirtboarding on a piece of
Sarangkot is mostly hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. We climbed to the viewing tower which is connected to an army base. Clouds were drifting by the mountains threating to cover them by evening.
Mountain view from Sarangkot
We went back down to the village and got a room in one of perhaps only 2 or so hotels that have an actual view of some of the mountains. The village occupies the western part of the hill. The North eastern part of the hill with the best views of the mountains is undeveloped-- perhaps because of the army base. For lunch we had Dal Bhat at a little restaurant with a garden overlooking Pokhara. Paragliders soared in front of us sometimes casting a shadow over the village.
Dal Bhat with a view
After lunch we went back up to the tower and watched the mountains. Slowly the clouds covered them. Then drifted revealing them. The haze in the distance dissipated enough that we could see the snow on Daulagiri and some other peak farther to the East. By sunset the clouds had covered all the mountains except for Machhapuchre's tip and some spots of Annapurna South. These were lit up pink for a few moments before disappearing into the descending night.
Annapurna South and Hiunchuli being covered with clouds at sunset
The night wasn't dark though. A bright nearly full moon lit up the sky. It was a peaceful night. Electricity wasn't due until 8 PM so the only light was the moon and occasional fires.
Our hotel room overlooked the lake and valley and the light of the moon made everything soft.
This morning we headed up to the view point. Unlike the night before, it was packed with bus-loads of people who came up from Pokhara for the occasion.
The clouds had disappeared except for a few cotton balls drifting in the sky and behind some of the further peaks. It was a noisy sunrise. Everyone snapped photos and watched the mountains. There was a bit of chaos as the sun rose and crowds turned, shouted, and shifted to get a view. We watched the shifting light on the mountains and how the first touch of rose hit the clouds and the tallest peaks. Then washed down turning golden as it flowed over the mountains.