Think of Pokhara and you think lakes. The lake-district has fascinated every visitor who has ventured out of Kathmandu valley. The Pokhara valley stretches beyond Fewa Taal (taal means lake) which is the central attraction in Pokhara. Begnas Taal is equally beautiful but its location has been its undoing. Few people venture that far and the resorts there have not fared well. The greenery surrounding the lakes and the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas make Pokhara an ideal holiday destination.
But the trip I made recently was entirely different, as we left the highway before reaching Pokhara town. Turning left at Kalikachowk, we headed up the hill, and were pleasantly surprised to find the road blacktopped. We drove up for about ten minutes after which we walked another ten and reached our destination. We had arrived at the Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, perched on a hilltop ridge that rises a thousand feet above the Pokhara valley. A path with flowers growing freely on either side, led to the lodge and we found that each hand-cut stone bungalow is some distance from the next. The resort speaks of space; there is so much space everywhere. Spacious rooms come with spacious bathrooms, and a huge common dining hall with a fireplace for the winter months. The bungalows are spread far and wide within the 22 ropanis of land.
It rained that evening and we were promised a wake-up call at 5:30 am the next morning, “If the mountains are visible,” they had said. Anxious to see the peaks, we were up at 5:00; but no sign of the mountains. So we went back to sleep and at 5:45, there was a gentle knock on the door. When we went outside, sure enough, the snow-covered peaks were towering above us, clearly visible in the dim morning light. We hurriedly picked up our cameras and walked up to the swimming pool, which offers a glorious view. The Machhapuchhare (Fishtail mountain) looked massive and on both sides were the Annapurnas gleaming magnificently in the early morning sun. It was a photographer’s delight. Towards the west of the resort, we could see Pokhara town stretching across the vast plain.
Our plan for the day was breakfast at 7:00 and a four-hour hike before lunch. Breakfast can be taken outside, with your eyes feasting on the spectacular mountains. At 8:30 we were off and headed further up the hill towards Kalikot. Following the route usually taken on the Royal Trek (a trek named after Prince Charles during his visit to Pokhara), we enjoyed some great views of the valley below. When we reached Kalikot at the top of the hill, we were overjoyed. The view is unbelievable; Begnas Taal, the mountains, and the lush green valley everywhere we looked. There are many other walks around the lodge: a visit to a traditional Gurung village, a hike all the way down to Begnas Taal or just a bird watching trip in the surrounding forests.
Managing Director of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, Marcus Cotton has been living at the lodge and has an excellent service going. “Business took a dive after 9/11, but has been picking up in 2006,” informs Marcus, whose enthusiasm rubs off on everyone. The experience was way beyond our dreams. The peaceful atmosphere and the close proximity with nature is unforgettable.
For details: 4361500