High in the hills above Pokhara the inhabitants of small villages live much as they have always done. Theirs is a life of hard work, farming a land of steep fields and terraces. But while the work is hard, the backdrop is stunning. I wonder how often they pause to appreciate their surroundings, raising a weary head to gaze in wonder at these mountains as I did? Have they become almost blind to their beauty, taking them for granted? Or do they take pleasure from living in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring locations?
On one morning of our stay in the town our guide Dan drove us up into these hills. Our route took us up on a winding and largely unpaved road that in places was little more than a strip of rubble. It was very bumpy, but so worth it! The views of the mountains when we reached the highest point were spectacular, especially as this morning they were completely clear of clouds.
This is the famous Annapurna range, a massif 55 kilometres long with thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres and sixteen more over 6,000 metres. The highest of all is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres. It includes the distinctive Machapuchare or Fishtail Mountain. This mountain is considered sacred, home to the god Shiva, and climbing it is forbidden.
Dan was very patient as we encouraged him to search out the best views for us. In places the ubiquitous telephone cables cut across our shots but with a bit of effort it was possible to avoid them. For foreground interest (a concept we had to explain to Dan) we had terraced fields, a few houses and in one spot Himalayan cherry blossom. We were surprised to learn that the cherries here flower in November and produce fruits later in the winter.
Here are some of my favourite shots from that morning, in contrast to the sunrise ones I shared a few days ago.
The Annapurna range with Machapuchare near the centre
Farm workers with Himalayan backdrop
Annapurna range and mountain road
Fields beside the road
Village and mountain views
Farming village near Pokhara
Mountain view near Pokhara
Machapuchare, the Fishtail Mountain
I visited Pokhara in November 2022