Very few things in life leave me awestruck any more. The only negative side effect that I have ever found with traveling a lot. I hope I am the only one who has ever felt this way but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone. After traveling all across Asia, temples start to blur together and I had a similar feeling with cathedrals while traveling in Europe. That’s not to say each is not special and unique in its own way but after seeing quite a few, it becomes harder and harder to feel in ‘awe’ standing there. If only every time could be like the first time where you wanted to sit for hours, inspecting and memorizing every detail of it. I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt that ‘wow’ factor in quite some time. And I’m not talking about seeing something amazing, I’ve had plenty of that. I’m talking about seeing something so spectacular that it leaves you utterly speechless. The last time I felt that way was when we swam with giant whale sharks in the Philippines. And little did I know that the next time I would feel it would be during my first trip up close to the Himalayas. We arrived into Pokhara, a tiny lakeside town boasting impeccable views of the Himalayas, with excitement. We cheated a bit and opted for a motorbike instead of our hiking shoes to get to the top of Sarangkot and the peace stupa to take in the view of Fishtail Mountain also known as Machupuchare.
We rented the motorbike early in the morning for a mere 800 Nepalese Rupees or about $8 USD to take us to two different lookout points. The first being the Peace Stupa lookout. Offering optimum views of both the lake and the towering mountains in the background. Not to mention a massive pearl white Buddhist Stupa conveniently and dramatically set on top of a mountain above the clouds. There was even an option to camp overnight at the top and watch the sunrise over the mountains. Mental notes for next time. We wanted to head over to the other look out at Sarangkot right away as we were told the views from there were even more mesmerizing. We had to wait however for the afternoon and wait until the clouds settled. However, I must say, with all of the clouds it looked as if the mountains started out of nowhere.
During dry season from October to May there are significantly more clouds around the mountains. In the early morning and late afternoon however, the clouds settle down into the valleys providing substantially better views. Around 2:30 in the afternoon we headed back out on the motorbike to once again climb above the clouds in search of the perfect view we had been looking for. And we were not disappointed. I felt as if we had been climbing for ages, along with what seemed like endless caravans of hopeful paragliders in pursuit of adrenaline rushing excitement of jumping off a mountain and swirling among the clouds. We spent the next few hours lazily watching people come and go, paragliders effortlessly swooping down towards the lake and an elderly couple working on their hillside farm. I couldn’t help but wonder if in the eyes of the farmer, the Himalayas were now like the many temples to me. Something that once brought about awe inspiring feelings but now are blended into his everyday life. Or if he wakes up every morning in awe of his irreplaceable view of the Himalayas out of his window every morning.