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Tour De Pokhara

Date: May 03/04, 2008
Participants: Ashish Parajuli, Pawan Pandey, Dhilung Hang Kirat, Balkrishna Lachhimasyu, Bishwa Shrestha, Gaurav Raj Joshi and Prabhakar Giri
Route: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Kathmandu
Duration: 2 days
Photos: BalkrisnaL /DhilungK/AshishP/GauravJ/BishwaS
Caption: Gaurav Raj Joshi
Report: Dhilung Hang Kirat

It was already dark. The three of us were in the middle of the lake in a row boat. Lost and confused, with a blurred sense of direction, we could only see few lights in distance. The shore was still far from us. Suddenly, a tall black creature started to move in the water towards us. Before my mind could realize what it could be, my heart responded real quick, pumping and jumping inside. Gaurav was screaming and started to row as fast as he could. When we had moved a “safe” distance away from the thing, we calmed down from our fears, only to find that the black creature was nothing but a mere tree trunk used as a fishing net stand. We somehow managed to reach the shore even if there was no light house on Phewa Lake, being directed entirely by the glow of the mobile phone from our friends’ boat. We had a big laughter afterwards, but the ripple of the thrill inside lasted for days.

To start off, let’s get back to Kathmandu. The whole journey was a series of intermingled rushing and relaxing phases. The early rush started right from the beginning. I forgot to bring my tripod and had to rush home at the eleventh hour. We all were planning to make the trip a photography trip as well and if you consider two 2MP mobile phones as cameras, yes, we all had cameras in our hand to capture Pokhara. We reached Kalanki and now comes the time of relaxation. Everyone knows clock ticks slowly around Kalanki. Traffic lights had gone and only one traffic police was struggling with the chaotic traffic jam, purely a management crisis. How many precious hours of Kathmanduies could have been saved at Kalanki with better traffic control? I figure, it must be in thousands of hours per day. But you never get bored even in hours long traffic jam when you are lucky enough to have few joke crackers in your team. Gaurav will kill me if I put his name at the top in the joke crackers chart.

Chilly morning of Pokhara gave us all a warm welcome. Gaurav and I were the first timers. Prithvi chowk seemed to me like Biratnagar and as we headed to LakeSide, it was like Dharan.
“So where is Pokhara? I better stop comparing.” I thought.

On the terrace of our hotel, we were taking sips of coffee enjoying the view of widely extended calm Phewa Lake during sunrise. Pettruci’s ‘Wishful Thinking’ flowing in the background and I could not find anything to compare with the wonderful feeling I had that morning. One guy from our squad aptly caught the second and started scribbling something in his scratchpad. A poem? This is how Bishwa flooded in that moment.

The way i see it 
Can you capture it?
Green leaves and
The blue sky
Sight of the birds
Flying high
Take a picture
Give it a try
Make me smile and
Frame my heart
Enjoy the moment<
Take a part
You see,
This freedom to laugh
It won’t last

Going for an early morning walk along the shore of Phewa lake was another wonderful experience especially for late to bed and late to raise kinda person like me. Every view finder was busy searching for the best composition around.

Tour De Pokhara

We were all excited about the paragliding flight, the main theme of our trip. But for different reasons we had to postpone our flight for the next day.

“Let’s go cycling way up to Begnash Taal!” Bishwa threw an option.

What an escape for the worried minds! Within the next hour everyone geared up for the Tour de Pokhara.
Next stop, Devi’s falls. After a little bit of waiting for Bal and Prabhakar we entered the Devi’s falls premise. At first I felt like I was entering into a shopping mall only to find chain of curio shops along the sideways. It was not July and water was low in resource. Whether the Phewa Dam – or – our high expectations played the villain, but for sure the undersized waterfall was not attractive enough to make us feel ‘wow’.

The turn down of Devi’s falls was immediately compensated by the heaven underground at Gupteshwor Mahadev cave. The hoarding board claimed it is the ‘Most wonderful and the Largest cave of the south Asia”. Well, we have to verify that claim but for us, definitely it was the most wonderful cave we have ever seen.

In search of something meaningful among the curio shops we met Mr. Pemba, a curator of his shop. In his early seventies he had lot to tell us about life and society and we kept on listening, almost forgetting our refreshment drinks. Always listen to old wise man as time is the best tutor. He was going to pass away soon but his dream to handover a peaceful world to us had not ceased yet.

We started cycling up towards the Begnash Taal with Bishwa leading almost all the time. As we all managed to climb up to Prithwi chowk, everyone grew skeptical about the destination. Begnash was still far away and the day was dying soon!

What next?

Changing mind is an easy job and we all chose to do so. Forgetting about Begnash, we started slipping down towards Lake Side again. ‘Duna Tapari’ restaurant just beside the south part of the lake was an awesome place to rest. Few bottles of beer and we all were talking like veteran politicians.

During the golden hour of sunset, we were returning back. We ended our cycling tour and boating adventure began. It was real hard to sit in the boat after a day long cycling but somehow we managed to do even a boat-racing competition. Boating in the dusk across the Phewa Lake was another wonderful experience. Who knew returning would create a different story.

The flight!

Next day, Bal, Prabhakar, Gaurav and Pawan teamed up for the first shift of flight while three of us were left out to choose the second flight. Me, Ashish and Bishwa took a large pedal boat and headed towards Taal Barahi Temple located in the middle of the lake. Many people around the temple started taking photographs and video taping us – three topless guys in a boat.
Large pedal boat on hire – 400 Rs,
pair of sunglasses – 800 Rs,
being a celebrity for a moment – Priceless!

Now it was our turn for the flight. We reached Blue Sky Paragliding office, rushing in the heat. One French pilot, Pascal, was a interesting man. We were talking about all the adventure stuffs. Bishwa revealed his dream of being at the Grand Canyon someday.
“Have you been there?” Bishwa asked him.

“First tell me, havu been to Humla?” Pascal replied.

“Never” an expected answer for most of the Nepalese.

Pascal was pre-loaded with his next dialog – “First you visit Humla before traveling to Grand Canyon.”

Ironic enough, many of us dream of climbing the Eiffel tower but forget to visit our own Dharahara once. Pascal recollected many of his exhilarating experiences in Nepal. We were helplessly learning about our own country for an outsider. Actually, ‘outsider’ is not justifiable for Pascal. He has been here for almost a decade.

Way up to Sarangkot, everyone was busy observing the scenic beauty of the valley. Three girls and one guy from Holland were traveling with us along with six pilots. The hollander guy told me how patiently he had been waiting for paragliding since four months but the conversation ceased quickly. One of the pilots at back seat started singing and whistling in some foreign language (We later gave him the name ‘The Kramer’. He looked exactly the same as the character ‘Kramer’ from Seinfeld). I too started to whistle Marty Freidman’s ‘Thunder March’. The Kramer guy stopped whistling and started listening to me. I felt good. And when I stopped, to my surprise, Ashish gave continuation to the melody. You see, some good conversations do not evolve a single spoken word.

The flight begins. We flew over the forest covered by spring cloud of fresh green leaves. Lovely Phewa’s whole body could be seen sleeping down the valley smiling at us. Vertical topographic view of Pokhara was simply awesome. While I was busy taking pictures, Pascal, my pilot, literally snatched away my camera.

For my bewilderment he gave the answer “I want you to experience the presence,… Now!”.

Even in low thermal condition he was playing with his tricks and adventures simulating kind of September 11 thrill inside me. There was no-way other than trusting his skills. He used to be an ex-paraglide designer and test pilot for newly designed paraglides. This fact was a big relief for me. Extreme 3D acrobatics during the end of the flight was breath taking. I could sense the rush of adrenaline in the beginning. When Pascal took his acrobatics to its full swing I was nearly blinded by the thrust and rapid change of ‘g’ force. When we landed after about 45 minutes long flight I felt it was just 5 minutes. Time is relative!

Everyone landed with their animated face except David. Thinking he must have landed in other site, we entered our van. Sundari, a Brazilian pilot with Latin look, explained us about the Paragliding School that we may join. She was true to her Nepali name. Later I came to know Sundari met her sundar David during one of their paragliding excursions. Both passionate about paragliding, they fell in love and got married recently. Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking outward in the same direction.

Bishwa flows again …

A definitive cry, from the depth
As my mind wants to fly
I lift my hands
And leap into the sky

And as i look down
From above ground
I start to realize –
The strings that used to tie me
Are lifting me high!

Sonam, The mystery.

When in Kathmandu, I was told to consult Sonam for stuffs regarding booking and discount for paragliding. Shamesh had already told Sonam about our visit so I thought things would be pretty simple. Saturday morning, I dialled the mobile number. As I had expected a husky man’s voice did not replied. Sonam turned out to be a lady! The mellifluous sweet voice took me into imagination … only her second “Helloooow” nudged me to think why I was calling her. It was too early to call her and I realized late that I woke her up with my call. Next call after few hours, as expected a sweet female voice did not replied, but a man with a strong Indian accent, insisting me to talk in English.

“What rubbish!” I though “Must be her assistant.”.
“Madam is busy, call later” he replied.

Somebody told us she had already quitted her job, others told we could meet her at the head office. We reached the office but she was not there either. Good, she called back later and things went well. I didn’t forget to leave a thank you note for her but Sonam remained a mystery, no where to be seen.

00 Team Tour de Pokhara

01 A welcoming smile from pokhara

02 Team Einstein

03 Water taxies

04 Rang de basanti ishtyle

05 Pokhara – uncut, uncensored

06 How many cameras are these people looking at

07 Paparazzi cam

08 Dil chahata hai + 1

09 This is what we’re here for

10 Half a league, half a league….half a league onward

11 The perspective

13 Tour de Pokhara

14 Enter the fall

15 Cave-men

16 Enlightened cave

17 All we are, is dust in the wind

18 And they lie, silently waiting for our arrival….

19 Cheers

20 Woh ladki hey kaha part 1

22 Woh ladki hey kaha part 2

23 Woh ladki hey kaha part 3

23 Aba cycle bigriney belaa bhayo hai

24 la khattam…tiniharu aaipugna ajhai kati time laagla

25 deTour de Pokhara.jpg

26 Posey

27 Hey….why am I the one rowing

28 Dhilung – come on man….we have to win k…what are you doing

29 i’ll kill you!!!

30 The lone ranger

31 Who the hell is supposed to be steering the damn thing

32 Ye majhi dai….malai nadii taarideu

33 The crimson sunset

34 silhouette

35 unfinished business….oh well, there’s always a next time

36 macro shot of curio items

37 didn’t get to see the real thing….oh well…portrait le chitta bujhaunu paryo

38 you don’t get to see something like this everyday

39 we hereby disown all our worldly possessions in the name of rock and roll

40 my heart might go on…but no friggin way i’m jumping

41 para-waiting

42 Italian, Korean, Nepali

43 a view from Sarangkot

44 lucky sonofagun

45 Humans call it an eagle….Dhilung calls it thermal

46 Lock N Load

47 this is what tour de pokhara was all about

48 Pulled by gravity…driven by the wind

49 A view from the top (age of empire style)

50 this ain’t from Google Earth…..It’s from paraglider cam

51 yahoooooo

52 heeeeeeha

53 ooooooooooo

54 ye yeta yeta yeta …

55 Damodar the para-chaalak

56 The landing

57 just made it inside the circle

58 Pascal the pilot

59 Team in the 70s

Wikimapia Link (user your mouse to navigate)

149 thoughts on “Tour De Pokhara

  1. Relived the whole experience again………….
    Khas chai ma tyo Dhilung le shadai bajaune guitar dhun khodai thiye, guitarist Marty Friedman thiyo, didn’t know the title but, so remembered that Dhilung has mentioned it here.
    Found it and enjoyed the music after a long time!!!!!

  2. i know pascal, he is great pilot and i truly enjoyed having paragliding with him. he is in france .

  3. kassam daami!!! story telling, both pictures and script was awsome…..enjoyed a lot… now i wan’t to go paragliding…. pic 03, 09, 32 and 50 was good…i thought pic 03 ma background alik dherai exposed bhayeko bhaye jhan daami hunthyo…

  4. Gaurav – The Aāākh-med! (A Living terrorist),
    U not scared by Pawan’s deadly stare?

  5. And pawan, I missed your suggestion.
    Flying with David – the craziest Acroparaglider.

    n how can I forget David’s dialog to you – “YOU DONT GET TO FLY EVERYDAY!! 👿 “

  6. to answer biswa’s question,… it’s usually the girls who hook off my chain…

    … and ya, lazyness has nothing to do with it 😈

  7. well said biswa.

    … and ya, no matter how lazy pawan is, he usually manages to hook off his chain in front of girls 😆

  8. bishwa dude….sssshhhhh about the drinking Real thing man… that’s supposed to be a secret 😀

    and yeah….experience of a lifetime…u put it the right way

  9. Thanks bro, i wrote what i felt and what my mind could capture. Ani the write up is very good. i mean when we read this after years, just like u’d said, we’d still feel nostalgic.

    Ani thanks to Prabhakar dai for making the trip possible… finally ;)… bal dai took some wonderful pics with his new cam, tara tyo Gupteshwor Mahadev cave ko chai ramro aayena :(… Aashish – put on some clothes man! eheh… ani Pawan ta tei ho, gettin lazier day by day, but he still manages to hook off his cycle’s chain in front of girls 😀 … n Gaurav – go to him if u need a good laugh, just don’t let him drink real at parties 😉 he can never remain sober…and me? gimme some beer :D… just kidding!

    Well that’s the stuff some guys here at EU din know about the trip…
    it’s a lifetime experience…and… we just need to keep travelling.


  10. Surely one of the best experiences … flying like a bird! … swimming across the whistling wind!

    n Bishwa,

    “The strings that used to tie me
    Are lifting me high!”

    wata sense of newborn freeeeedom you have evinced in those lines!

  11. d poems great..d words r so mesmerising… it just takes u back to d time when u felt that air n wished u just stayed there n d moment would never passed u by…
    n ya dhilung …d concept is great n ur writing is also good just keep on going on adventures n keep on posting..u guys made me repraise d golden old days n now i wanna go back to pokhara once more..thanks man..

  12. @teamMember:

    There is a BIIIIG difference when a beautiful girl clicks your picture, as opposed to when a scary looking dude clicks a couple’s picture..The first case is quite flattering, the second case, well, scary, to say the least

  13. Nice shots! the ones taken from paraglide and sunset hues are breath taking. You guys have captured the precious panorama of Pokhara and mesmerizing moments in a very creative and artistic way. Must have been an awesome trip. 🙂

  14. Nice pics and all….

    About pic #7, did you ask them for permission? some people do not like clicking their picturs without asking.

  15. Ohh wow!! you folks really had lots of fun and all these beautiful pictures bear witness to this fact.

    The mastercard line sums it all up!!

  16. well, i forgot to mention .. nice write up as well.
    enjoyed reading.
    inclusion of conversations and monologue – a nice try. though smooth flow of context is missing in some part.

  17. nice photography. liked pic 32. pic 08 nice concept though people at distance is bit distracting.
    Machapuchre missing in pokhara … well, thats bad?

  18. pic 29 ma gaurav le pawan lai kina maarna lageko???… ladki ka chhakar!!!?

  19. yeuta pic ta ulto cha ni!… khichne manche jhyap ho ki post garne manche ❓

  20. bishwa le pose ta titanic ko jastai dina khojeko raicha… kate winslet chai kata ho?

  21. Kasile tyo photoharuma “Dainy Denjompa” lai dekhayo.

    Bro le ta naya geet pani gayo ho fewa taal ma..

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