Pokhara is a very particular place, in quite an unexpected way as far as I am concerned. There’s three things people mostly do: chilling, paragliding, and planning their next adventures.
The city is expansive and sprawls out over a vast area, but most travellers stick to the lakeside and north lakeside street – where they wander more or less aimlessly, going back and forth between these two short stretches, between a coffee, a Mo Mo, and a veggie burger. The area is packed with restaurants and cosy cafés, often housing meditation and yoga centres, mandala workshops, and similar activities to spend a couple of productive hours. Yet, the general vibe is really on the chilled, relaxed, and take it easy side. Pokhara is the kind of place where the day goes by without you realising it, and so many travellers end up staying for more time than they originally planned.
On a special day, the traveller might gather up motivation and decide to go on a short day trip to the Peace Pagoda, which overlooks the lake. The best way to really enjoy the stunning panorama is to go paragliding though. This is the main activity for all kind of tourists. Every morning, dozens of adventurers begin the paragliding pilgrimage up the hillside, and in tandem with professionals they soar above Pokhara lake.
I have done it myself, organised by Step by Step Treks and Adventures, a friendly agency on north lakeside owned by Krishna Bolon (Lama). He will be able to organise everything for you, from the daily activities in Pokhara to the long treks in the Himalayas, whether travelling solo, with friends or in a family. He doesn’t advertise it much, but with part of the revenues from the travel agency Lama also supports the work of the solidarity association Chengdoma, which helps orphan children from the Himalayas.
I went for the paragliding and the experience did not disappoint. The strong wind, a singular voice in an otherwise silent sky, taking me high above the hills that marked the starting point. Eagles and vultures flying a little further from me, showcasing their impressive wingspan. A spectacular view came into clarity: the blue lake below, the bright green marsh to the right, the whole city to the front, and the hills with rice terraces on my left side. Perhaps the only missing element was the high mountains, not really visible in this season (May), but it certainly would in the dry one (November). A great experience!
Finally, Pokhara is also a crossroad, where travellers coming from the East or from the West, preparing or coming back from a great Himalayan trek, discuss and share their experiences, and exchange information. This is valuable for all travellers, it’s part of the soul of this place, and what allows for such a relaxed atmosphere. It’s all interconnected – one thing wouldn’t be possible without another. Pokhara wouldn’t be the same without the Himalayas to talk about, or its beautiful Lake Fewa that seems to exclaim: just stay, one more day! However, nothing last forever: with a touch of sadness in their heart, everyone goes and does what they came to do: travel.
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