Saturday, February 09, 2008


It took about four hours of walking, taxi, bus and jeep to travel the 50 or so kilometers from Pokhara to Bandipur. We had a lazy morning of heavy breakfasts/coffee/sudoku, then packed up our big bags and stored them in Santosh's mother's room (Santosh is our innkeeper at Vienna Lake Lodge) so that we could travel light. We figured we'd be away for 2-4 days and didn't want to be lugging all of our stuff around. Things have become rather stuffed and heavy since we've equipped to handle sub-zero weather.

Bandipur is a small town perched on a ridge overlooking Dumre and the main Kathmandu-Pokhara highway. Its charms are undeniable: a traditional Newari village (nearly all of the buildings are brick or stone and wood constructions) with stunning views of the entire Annapurna range and zero traffic. Back in the day, it was a stopping point on the trade route between Tibet and India. You can still tread the path between Dumre and Bandipur, which we did on our return trip.

The weather couldn't have been better- it was warm and sunny, and for the first few days we had a crystal-clear view of the mountains. We also got lucky with our guest house, and there was even a pleasant cafe to eat our meals. We awoke around six every morning and headed out to watch the sunrise from atop Thanimai or from a field with 360 degree views, which we "discovered" randomly. One day we hiked down the cool, shaded North side of the ridge to the massive Siddha Cave (we were actually able to do a bit of exploring thanks to a kid with a big light- our flashlights were simply insufficient); another day, Alex's birthday, was spent trekking out to the Magar village of Ramkot, a walk recommended by the information center in Bandipur. That turned out to be a bit strange, as the village is completely unequipped to handle curious foreigners. There wasn't a single shop, much less a tea house, and we only managed to ward of dehydration by refilling our water bottle at the village tap. (Fortunately, the natural spring water was delicious and safe.) The trail to Ramkot was on the exposed South side, and the sun beat directly down on us for the several hours.

As usual, I took quite a lot of photos. And again I've posted some of them on Facebook, so please don't be shy and click here.


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