Winter holidays report, or “Namaste” from Nepal!

Hi, lads! Ilya here. 

Some of you may know that during the last winter holidays, I set aside my violin. Instead of hard practice and preparations for upcoming events and recordings, I packed my things and went to Nepal for almost two weeks. I aimed to visit three places: Kathmandu (the capital), Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace) and Pokhara, from where I went to the Himalayas for my first four days of trekking. I don’t have a degree in storytelling, so I prefer to share with you the photos I took on the way there and back. Because I stayed only three nights in Kathmandu, which means two full days, I visited just a few places. 

First day – Thamel area, including the local school of arts, Durbar Square and Swayambhunath. Durbar is the historical center of Kathmandu, and Swayambhunath (also known as Monkey Temple) is a Buddhist Stupa.

Here is a short video of monkeys:

Second day – The Garden of Dreams, Pashupatinath Temple and the Boudhanath Stupa – one of the largest Stupas in the world. 

I didn’t hire any taxis and instead walked all the way, so here are pictures from the non-tourist parts of the city. 

On the third day, I traveled to Lumbini. The trip takes nearly 10 hours by bus, going over cliffs. It’s a good challenge for someone like me, who has a fear of heights. Check the video below (18+ language)

Lumbini is the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha. I had only one full day there to see the sacred places. Mainly, they are Maya Devi (Siddhartha’s mother) Temple and Asoka’s Pillar. Also, there are a number of temples. I stayed in a place called “Siddhartha Guest House,” where we had long, interesting evening conversations with Krishna, the guy who works there. The manager of the hotel was nice enough to give me and another guest a ride to the bus station early in the morning.

The next day, I traveled to Pokhara. It was the craziest roller coaster ride through the mountains, though it had amazing views. Just check out those pictures and videos:

Pokhara is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. My hotel was located in the area called Lake-Side (because of Fewa Lake, which is nearby). I had my breakfasts on the roof of Hotel Harmony, which has the nicest views ever.

Check this amazing view from my balcony:

I couldn’t miss a chance to rent a boat and travel over the lake to visit a World Peace Stupa.

I took the same way back. After that, I kept busy obtaining my trekking permits and buying the required goods, as the four-day “Ghorepani – Pun Hill” trek was a major reason why I had traveled to Nepal. 

Trekking:

Day 1. Started from Nayapul village. Stopped for the night in Ulleri. That could have been an easy day if not for the 2.5 hours going up to the village at the end. Some people called those stairs “Stairway to hell”. It’s very hard, guys, trust me, especially for a person like me whose daily job is to sit back and talk to kids. I saw one lady crying along the way.

Day 2. Ulleri – Ghorepani. Quite hard walking. I was almost dead when I reached the village. However, I decided to go on top of Poon Hill (the target point, 3,200 meters in height) to see the sunset. This is the highest point of the entire trekking route, and it offers the best views of Annapurna’s peaks, as well as of Machapuchre and a few others. I recorded a Happy New Year video at the top of Poon Hill:

Day 3: Ghorepani – Tadapani. The most beautiful views were seen on that day. 

Day 4. All the way down from Tadapani back to Pokhara. In the last village, I got a car lift that took me right to the hotel. I sent “Happy New Year” messages along with a video I’d recorded at the top of Poon Hill to my family, friends and subscribers. Then I went to “Godfather’s Pizzeria” where I celebrated the New Year with a decent pizza and beer.  I took some more to the hotel.

A day later, I was returning to Kathmandu, where I stayed a night before I took my flight back to the UAE. Luckily, I had chosen the right seat near the window. Here are some photos from the plane:

Bye, Nepal; I will definitely be back.

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