Nepal – Pokhara Region (Part 2)

To continue on our tour of the Pokhara region, our next stop was:

Devi’s FallsIMG_5467

It wasn’t very impressive this time of year but in the next couple of months, this fall will be gushing down.  I doubt if people will even be able to stand in the viewing area to the right.  Ram shared pictures of what it will soon look like and it was very impressive. The Nepali name for the waterfall is Patale Chango which means “underworld waterfall.”  In 1961, a Swiss couple were swimming here and the woman drowned by being swept in an  overflow.  Her father asked that the falls could be named after her memory.

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These pretty flowers are called the “Crown of Thorns” because it is believed that this was the plant that they used to make the Crown of Thorns from when they crucified  Jesus.  The stem has large thorns on it.

You will never believe who we met at Devi’s Falls…..if you guessed Kati from Germany, you are right!  She was not having a very good tour with her guide as he spoke very little English and didn’t know very much about the history of the area.  Ram generously offered for her to join us.

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Ram, Katie and me

Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

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This was the stairs that led us down into the cave.

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These serpents are Naga who protect.

It is believed to be the largest cave in South Asia at 3 kilometers long.  Upon entering, there is a stalagmite that is honored as a Shiva Lingam, the phallic symbol for God Shiva. It is considered very sacred and photos were not allowed.

There were many steps and narrow passageways that took us down and this was our reward.

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I have discovered, it is very difficult to take photos in a cave.

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This is looking through to Devi’s Falls.  During the monsoon season, this part of the cave is closed because it is flooded by the waterfall.

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Stacking stones is universal.  From the rocky coast of Cape Elizabeth, ME, to the Scottish Highlands, where they are stacked to show respect to a loved one who has passed; to here in Nepal.  I read that it here it can be a form of meditation for a person to concentrate on balancing their thoughts and body while balancing the stones.

Pokhara Tashiling Tibetan Settlement Center

I am so grateful that we were able to visit this Tibetan Refugee Center.  I only wish that we had more time and that it wasn’t near the end of our tour.  By this time of the day, my mind was overloaded with facts from the previous sites we had visited.

For more than 2,000 years, Tibet had been an independent country with its own laws, money, government, army and police force.  At no time, had China ruled Tibet.  In the 20th century, Britain and Russia both had interest in controlling the country.  After the British invaded Tibet in 1904, the peace convention recognized Tibet as fully independent country.

The government, Ganden Phodrang, of Tibet was established in 1642.   This government was based of the code of law established during the rule of King Songster Gampo (620-650 AD).  The Dalai Lama is the head of Tibet and governs in both the spiritual and secular laws.  Other noblemen and monks held positions of authority.

The 13th Dalai Lama, who was exiled twice due to the invasion of England and China, became aware of the importance of foreign relations.  He tried to modernize the country by establishing telegraph service throughout the country, setting up electricity in the capital of Lhasa, abolishing the death penalty and extending secular education.  Before he died in 1933, he predicted that Tibet would suffer greatly from the spread of communism.   His predictions came true in the 1950s when the 14th Dalai Lama was only 15 years old.

It was after the Battle of Chamdo, with the Chinese, that the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government were pressured into accepting the “Seventeen Point Agreement for Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.”  This “agreement” formally incorporated Tibet into the People’s Republic of China.

In 1959, there was a guerrilla uprising in Tibet which lasted until 1962.  During this time, the Dalai Lama fled to India where he led a government in exile trying to keep the Tibetan heritage alive.  It is estimated that about 80,000 Tibetans fled through the Himalayas during 1959-1960.  Many didn’t make it due to the harsh conditions or they were arrested by the Chinese.  During this turbulent time, 1.2 million Tibetans died under Chinese rule due to torture, executions, labor camps and hunger.

Today, 130,000 Tibetan refugees live throughout the world.  In the small museum at the refugee center, I read that China has destroyed over 6,000 monasteries and religious institutions.  The natural beauty of Tibet is slowly being destroyed by massive deforestation, mining, damming of rivers and excessive hunting.  The Chinese are using Tibet as a place to dump their nuclear waste.  It is just all so sad!

The Pokhara Tasseling Tibetan Settlement Center was officially established by the Nepali government in 1964.  Initially, the population of this center was 1,000 people.  Today, it has 523 people since many have immigrated to other parts of the world.  It is a village…there is a monastery, schools and shops.

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Three Gaden Dhargayling Monastery

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Inside the temple.

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The 14th and most current Dalai Lama

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Drums used during worship.

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A chorten is a Tibetan shrine to Buddha.

These ladies spend their days weaving items to be sold to help support the refugees who live in the center.  IMG_5497IMG_5498

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This beautiful mandala was on display in the museum and is made from colored sand.

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A beautiful Bodi Tree at the refugee settlement.

It was a moving experience visiting this settlement and has inspired David and me to try to learn more about Tibet and hopefully, visit one day.

Barahi Mandir Temple on Phewa Lake Island

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This was the last stop on our tour and what a great way to end it than with a relaxing boat ride to the island on Phewa Lake?

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Speaking of relaxing, I think this person had the right idea!

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This island was our destination to visit the Barahi Mandir Temple.

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It is a popular place for locals and tourist to visit.

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This Hindu Temple honors the Goddess Barahi – protector of the gods.

Some of the beautiful and interesting people who were at the temple….and the adorable children!IMG_5520IMG_5529IMG_5521IMG_5530

Helicopter Tour to Annapurna Base Camp

This was a huge splurge but we really hadn’t seen a great view of the Himalayas and it might possibly be our only time that we visit Nepal.  We decided to go on a helicopter tour to the Annapurna Base Camp.  To justify it, we said it was our anniversary gift to each other since we will be apart this year.

The first day that we were scheduled to go, the weather was so bad, the flight was canceled.  The last day…actually, the day that we were leaving Pokhara was to be our final chance.  They picked us up and took us to the airport at 7:30 and we had to wait for about an hour and a half before it was clear enough to go…..it was well worth the wait!

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The pilot…I think it is a prerequisite that all pilots have to be handsome before they will be allowed to learn to fly.  I have yet to see an ugly one!

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And….away we go!!  I was so lucky, I got to ride up front!

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The instrument panel….

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I think I should submit this for a Merrell Boot advertisement!  The “white ribbon” below is the Seti River.

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A better picture of the Seti River

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The only time I was a little nervous was heading into these clouds.  I knew that the mountains were all around.  The pilot was using his instruments to navigate.  He did great!

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Viola!  The other side!

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The Annapurna Base Camp at 4,100 meters (13,450 ft).

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It took these people 5 to 6 days of hiking to reach the base camp.  In the helicopter, it took 15 minutes!

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This is a shrine for two climbers who were killed in an avalanche on Christmas day in 1997.  Anatoli Boukreev was considered an elite mountain climber and was one of the best mountain climbers of the 20th century.    Just the year before, he had helped rescue stranded climbers on the top of Everest in the tragic blizzard that killed 8 people.  Dmitry Sobolev, a cinematographer who was accompanying Boukreev on this climb, also died.

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We had about a half-hour to enjoy the view and then, all too soon, we had to head back.  The clouds were socked in on the Pokhara side!

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No wonder we never got to see the white peaks!!!

It was such an amazing experience.  I am so grateful that the weather cleared enough for us to make the trip…….Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!  I cannot imagine how we will ever top this celebration!

I wish you, my reader, blessings……….

2 thoughts on “Nepal – Pokhara Region (Part 2)

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