"You can be missing a year, but when you get back home and slam the door behind you, you'll feel like you never left. And you can come back in a few hours, but something in your life before has changed and you will feel like a stranger".
Sunrise over the Himalayas
Our acquaintance with Nepal began with multifaceted and ambiguous the ancient capital of the state, the city of Kathmandu. But as you know, the capital does not always give a true picture of the country, and often on the contrary, is very different from all the rest. Based on this assumption, we took a look at the neighborhood conglomerate.
Exactly in this moment we should remember that Nepal — is not only the ancient, UNESCO-protected architectural monuments Durbar Square, the epicenter of the world Buddhism — the majestic StoupaBuddanat, or the most important in the world temple of lord of all living beings, Shiva, sacred to Hindus place ritual burning, purification and reincarnation — Pashupatinath.First of all, Nepal — it is the most mountainous country in the world. To experience this we must look at the mountains.
One of the most easily accessible, but it is infinitely romantic places for a first acquaintance with the "eight-thousanders" is a small town of Nagarkot. It is a long history since the days of the bustling trade route to Tibet. This "city of fortress" is located about 25 km from Kathmandu. You can get here by a bus or a taxi.
The quality of roads is poor, so the time to overcome the distance necessary to lay more than can be expected. Nagarkot is at an altitude of 2200 m on a mountain ridge surrounding the Kathmandu valley.It enveloped in pure mountain air and protected from the summer heat unruly coniferous crones. This place is unique not only because of the beautiful view on the stretching steps down the terraces and in the motley patchwork of cultivated fields. The pearl is an unforgettable panorama of "eight-thousanders".
The recipe for the perfect trip to Nagarkot is simple: choose to travel two days, book your hotel (it is better to do it remotely and in advance, but you can try to decide on the spot), be reserved by warm blanket, Get a warming glass and spend the evening sun on the viewing terrace.Then ask at the hotel exact time of sunrise and a few hours later, meet the dawn over the world's highest peak.
You can diversify your travel with one of the most popular kinds of outdoor activities in Nepal — trekking or hiking on slightly hilly terrain. In Nagarkot, you can try your hand while walking on a mountain road to the temple of Changu Narayan.On the average the way to the destination, which runs inthe picturesque places and through the settlements of Tibetans descendants will take two or three hours.
Chang-temple complex Narayan, is the oldest in the Kathmandu Valley, deserves special attention. It is considered that it was first built back in the year 323, but during the fire in 1702 was destroyed the old buildings and built once again.From the original church are extant only unique works of masters-stonecutters. Among them, a statue, wich symbolizing enlightenment rideable bird Garuda, according to various sources related to the V-VII centuries.
Through the thorns
Nagarkot has become truly a breath of fresh air, views of distant snow-capped peaks did not go out of my mind, and further way lay in one of the largest cities in the country — Pokhara.
Pokharais a city in central Nepal. There are different waysto get here from Kathmandu: by taxi, bus or plane. The latter, of course, is the easiest and fastest way.But it is not without drawbacks: the price of the ticket a lot, and to explore the country, looking out of the window, always more difficult than overcoming the same way on the ground.
After thinking about what would be the most interesting, we decided to get on the bus. Finding information about the trips we started in our own hotel, the owners and staff, which consisted solely of Tibetans — people, as we are convinced, polite, generous and always willing to help.The manager booked for us two seats in the bus for the next morning and explained where exactly should look for our transport at 6 am. The driver, also a Tibetan, was polite and punctual.By the beginning of the trip the bus was completely filled with passengers. Everyone sat in their chairs, that, as it turned out, it happens not always — many oncoming buses offered to go not only "in" and "on" the bus — on the roof, under the hot sun, and gusts of dusty garbage wind, and besides with your baggage.
Only 200 kmdivide Pokharawith a capital. This distance seems insignificant when available wide track with good asphalt. But as it turned out, this is not our case. It took half a dayat a distance of 200 km.The road between the cities was the two-lane, sometimes potholed and pits, often follows the serpentine without sufficient safeguards, barriers and road signs.
At some moment, our bus stopped. It turned out that we got stuck in traffic. Its cause was an accident: some driver lost control and the car fell into the abyss.All the witnesses of the incident just stopped in the middle of the road, left their cars and lined up on the edge of the precipice, looking down.Following them was doing the same thing everybody again drove up to place of incident. The situation has touched both oncoming flows and the road came to a standstill.Movement was restored only after an hour: cars, buses, trucks and motor blocks began to slowly and cautiously come out the onlookers cars that still looked a cliff. Our driver explained that such incidents on the route, unfortunately, not uncommon.
So, with unplanned delay and one stop for a snack, a mid-day we reached Pokhara. City turned the direct opposite of big, but crowded, dusty and old Kathmandu.Before my eyes appeared a beautiful, blooming and charming corner of nature: a huge sparkling Lake Phewa, thoughtful and majestic misty Blue Mountains, gentle sun, long-necked white storks and fast predatory hawks. A light breeze rippled the water surface and the bright green foliage of trees.
Its modern meaning and popularity of Pokhara received not long ago. The town was "discovered" only in the 60-ies of XX century, when looking for peace and love hippies explored this quiet, remote from civilization corner of the planet. Since then Pokhara is gaining increasing acceptance among tourists. Now in the city there is a huge tourist area Lakeside.It stretches along the coast of Lake Phewa. There are hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops for every taste. Besides Pokhara — place of start several popular trekking routes, because the city lies at the foot of the Great Himalayan Range. Here are at once three of the fourteen eight-thousanders of the Earth, "white mountain" Dhaulagiri "Spirits Mountain" Manaslu and "goddess of fertility" Annapurna.The last is the first conquered of the eight-thousandersthe world, and at the same time one of the two most dangerous among them: high death rate of climbers largely caused by the sharp changeable weather and sudden unpredictable avalanches.Those who want to learn more about the mountains and Conquerorspeaks, to feel the evolution of the industry climbing get acquainted with the peculiarities of the sport and get a clear understanding of the peoples inhabiting the Himalayas, be sure to visit the International Mountain Museum.
In addition to mountaineering and trekking in Pokharait is possible paragliding. The top of Sarangkot provides ideal conditions for flying both novice and experienced pilots.
Pokharais really quieter than capital. This also applies to the traffic. We immediately noticed the large number of tourists traveling on the roads on motorcycles and scooters — rental properties are in stock.Among the variety of brands and models, our choice fell on a brand new double Honda Hero 150. The cost of a one-day rental, including gasoline, amounted to approximately US $ 20.Price has not been the best of the proposals, but in other agencies required to leave a cash bail or original passport. As for the fuel octane rating which ranges from 80 to 92, the price of 1 liter of gasoline is hovering around $ 1. The price of diesel fuel does not differ from the price of gasoline.
Representatives of the local traffic police, we met on the road a few times. The police don’t pay attention to the tourists-drivers and stop for checking only the local residents.
Exactly in Pokhara we first met a few cars with a remote hint of tuning. Highlighting the bottom, spoilers, interesting wheels, stickers on motorsport theme. The owner of one such machine we were able to find and question.During the conversation it became clear that there is no car racing in the city and in the country as a whole, no official or illegal. The only known racing events is motocross for speed, long-distance race from Kathmandu to Delhi (neighboring India), which is held on motorcycles Royal Enfield.
Apart from the standard set of cars for Nepal in Pokhara, we met a few German cars. Most of all we remember one VW Beetle. The owner was so sweet, that allowed get behind the wheel, and to consider a «Bug" in the entire carefully preserved original beauty.
Back in Kathmandu with baggage new knowledge and experiences, we made a final attempt to find a way to rent a car. For that, we walked around the city in search of a large car dealership, which eventually found not far from Thamel. Its representatives, distributors of Subaru cars and Chevrolet, will help to orient in pricing, and confirmed that, in Nepal, the car — a really expensive purchase.
Here we have learned that it is often the representatives of the dealers have the opportunity to provide rental used car. Because, if you really want to experience the extreme feelings from driving and thrills in the flow of the Nepalese automovement, do not waste time looking for rent in the tourist offices, and feel free to contact directly to the local car dealerships. Nepal surprises from beginning to end.