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More mountain views and an impressive statue

Nepal day eleven


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Mountain landscape near Pokhara

Dan picked us up again after breakfast, along with a driver in a car that proved barely adequate for the roads we were to drive. Our route took us up into the hills on a winding and largely unpaved road that in places was little more than a strip of rubble. It was very bumpy!

This is the famous Annapurna range, a massif 55 kilometres long with thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres and sixteen more over 6,000 metres. The highest of all is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres. It includes the distinctive Machapuchare or Fishtail Mountain. This mountain is considered sacred, home to the god Shiva, and climbing it is forbidden.

Dan was very patient as we encouraged him to search out the best views for us. In places the ubiquitous telephone cables cut across our shots but with a bit of effort it was possible to avoid them.

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Dan's first choice of viewpoint had too many cables!

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We showed him how changing our position improved the view no end!

For foreground interest (a concept we had to explain to Dan) we had terraced fields, a few houses and in one spot Himalayan cherry blossom. We were surprised to learn that the cherries here flower in November and produce fruits later in the winter.

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Farming in the hills near Pokhara

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Himalayan cherry blossom

We spent some time taking photos in various spots, often having to point out the best places to Dan! But he was a quick learner and in one spot found some grasses that again made great foreground interest.

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Dan's grasses, and a pretty flower

Lord Shiva, Pumdikot

After driving back to the main road we turned uphill again on an arguably even bumpier road, to the small mountain village of Pumdikot. Near the top was a parking area that was a hive of activity, in contrast to the tranquil rural scenes we'd observed at our previous stops. From here a steep and busy path, lined with locals selling souvenirs and also fresh produce, led up to Pokhara’s newest ‘attraction’, a huge statue of Shiva completed just last year.

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Drinks seller

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Produce sellers

The statue itself stands 51 feet tall, while the white stupa it sits on adds a further 57 feet, making the entire structure 108 feet (32 metres) high. It is the second tallest statue of Shiva in Nepal, the largest being Kailashnath Mahadev statue near Kathmandu which we had seen on our day out with Pritik.

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The Shiva statue

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Climbing up to the statue

There are plans to develop the surroundings as a memorial park with further attractions, and to improve access; from our experience the latter is badly needed! But despite the as yet unfinished development around it this statue is already clearly a big draw, the place was thronged.

Shiva is one of the three main gods of Hinduism, alongside Brahma and Vishnu. He is known as the Destroyer. He is always portrayed with a serpent around his neck, an adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, a trident as his weapon, and a drum. You can see all those emblems here.

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The Shiva statue

Here is as usual, in addition to the huge figure of Shiva himself, there is a golden bull in front of it (Shiva’s vehicle is a bull). Small lingas form a circle all the way around the edge of the main platform. He sits on a tiger skin and there is a small statue of Lord Ganesha by the tiger’s head.

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The bull

Some visitors were removing shoes to climb to the highest level, but we contented ourselves with walking, clockwise of course, around the base. On the far side was another spectacular view of the Annapurnas, with Fewa Lake in the foreground. However, Pokhara itself is hidden immediately below this viewpoint.

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The view of Fewa Lake

The descent to the car was crowded and the sun by now was very intense. The drive back down was a bit chaotic, the road clearly unsuitable for the amount of traffic generated by the statue. But we got back to the hotel eventually, in time for a late lunch.

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Views from my lounger!

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Pool detail

We then had another relaxing afternoon with a swim in the still bracing pool. In the evening we opted to again eat in the hotel; it was hard to resist the lure of the prettily lit garden even on this slightly chilly evening.

Posted by ToonSarah 11:54 Archived in Nepal Tagged landscapes mountains statue views hotel buddhism nepal

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Comments

Beautiful photos of the mountains and the people. The Shiva statue has a very modern sort of face. I feel I wouldn't be surprised to see him walking down the street!! Your pool looks very inviting, especially since you seemed to get it all to yourselves.

by irenevt

Not quite to ourselves Irene, but it was never busy. Perhaps because of the chill no one stayed in very long!

by ToonSarah

Amazing photos!

And I love those frogs around the pool! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes, the frogs were a fun touch Henna :)

by ToonSarah

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