In Buddha’s ‘hood
We hope you enjoyed our tales of trekking adventures, thanks for the likes and comments! We love hearing from you. We’ve had a sedate couple of days since our last post with some much needed R&R in Pokhara. Our guesthouse had a roof terrace with a pair of hammocks and a lake view which was perfect for recharging our batteries.
It was also great to get back into town and eat some great food again. The food in the trekking lodges was fine (and very welcome after a day of walking!) but was all quite similar. There’s only so many bowls of vegetable noodle soup you can eat before boredom sets in. So on Tuesday night we headed out to try a new restaurant which we had heard did some of the best Thakali Thali in town.
This was hands down one of the best meals we’ve had so far! It was dal,veg curry, mushroom curry, spicy cauliflower, fresh greens, various pickles and spicy sauces, served with Dhindo (Nepalese mountain ‘mash’ made with Buckwheat), ghee and yoghurt. What you can’t see in the picture is the gigantic pile of rice that we had, plus huge second helpings. There also isn’t any photo evidence of the happy food coma this huge pile of delicious food caused afterwards!
We only had one thing left on our to-do list for Pokhara, and that was the short hike up to the World Peace Pagoda overlooking the lake. After a couple of days of enjoying our hammocks, our post-trek legs were as ready as they would ever be, so we got up early in order to reach the top before the clouds descended on the mountaintops. It was a beautiful walk up through the forest, with cheeky monkeys peeking out from between the trees. About two hours later we reached the top on slightly shaky legs and the view literally made us gasp. It was a panoramic view of the Annapurna mountains and not a single pesky cloud in sight!
We really enjoyed Pokhara and it’s laid-back traveller vibe, as well as it’s friendly people, amazing food and beautiful scenery. But it was time to move on. Next stop – Lumbini, otherwise known as the Birthplace of the Buddha. We’ve learnt that you have to take a lot of what you are told about journeys here with a great big pinch of salt – meaning that after a “six hour” journey on a “luxury air conditioned” bus we arrived in Lumbini after dark – sweaty, achy and desperate to find a room quickly. Luckily it was pretty straightforward and we were able to get a good night’s sleep ready for a day of exploring today.
World Heritage-listed Lumbini is a popular spot for pilgrims from all around the world. In around 563 BC, Queen Maya Devi was bathing in a cool pond nearby when she went into labour, and Siddhartha Gautama (or Buddha to his friends!) was born. There is now a Temple on the spot, as well as a huge area of parkland and sacred gardens which are still under construction. Amongst so many pilgrims, domestic tourists and local school trips, we stuck out like sore thumbs and were asked for selfies numerous times which was pretty surreal. At one point we filled past a huge class of school kids who all giggled, shouted hello, and put their hands out for high fives as they passed, much to the dismay of the teachers trying to keep them quiet! We spent a lovely morning wandering round the parkland, and went into the Maya Devi Temple to see the marker stone of the exact spot where the Buddha was born. A long walk to the other end of the parkland, passing canals, statues and leafy avenues of trees, took us to see our second World Peace Pagoda of the trip!
Colourful prayer flags outside the Maya Devi Temple
We’ve got a long day ahead of us tomorrow and a very early start, in order to get to the border crossing and hopefully make our way to Varanasi in India. So we’re off to get our last helping of dal bhat and friendly Nepalese hospitality before an early night.
C & D xx