Sunday, January 20: We start our trip to the World Peace Pagoda by making a stop at Devi’s Fall. This is the spot where the Pardi Khola, the stream that drains Phewa Tal, flows into a channel and sinks underground. The sinkhole’s name is based on the name of a Swiss woman named Devin who drowned in 1961 while skinny-dipping with her boyfriend. The name Devi usually means “goddess,” so the name of the falls may be due to the Nepali’s tendency to deify everything. According to Rough Guide to Nepal, this may have been a story fabricated to warn Nepalis to “shun promiscuous Western ways.” Anyway, I’m under-impressed.
Next stop: the Tibetan settlement of Tashiling which has about 750 residents. I see a demonstration of some women making yarn and weaving carpets, then I’m shown around a showroom where someone is hoping I’ll buy a carpet. I don’t, much to their disappointment.
On our drive up to the World Peace Pagoda, I ask our driver to stop numerous times so I can take pictures of the valley and the agricultural terraces. I’m sure the terraces are much prettier in spring, when everything is abloom, but I think mustard is about the only thing growing now.
The World Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa built to inspire peace. It’s designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. A Japanese Buddhist organization, Nipponzan Myohoji, funded the monument and has a monastery nearby.
Here are some photos of what is in the four niches of the Peace Pagoda. Click on any image to see a full-sized slide show.
The view from the 1113 meter ridge where this stupa sits is a wonderful wide-angle panorama of the Himalayas with Phewa Tal and Pokhara in the foreground. At the far left is Dhaulagiri, in the middle is the Annapurna Himal and the pyramid of Machhapuchhre, and to the right are Manaslu, Himalchuli and Baudha.
After we walk all around the World Peace Pagoda, we take a long walk down the mountain through chestnut forests to the lake below. We come across a little pond with what I think might be water hyacinths. Four adults are sitting on the ground nearby playing a game that looks like Parcheesi, but I don’t have the nerve to ask them for a photo.
We take a rowboat back to the Pokhara lakeside. After this, my guide and I part ways, and I go back to the hotel to check again on the electricity. Now I’m really yearning for a shower. However, the electricity is still off.
I decide I will go get a massage at Seeing Hands, a massage place that employs blind therapists. I get a lovely massage for an hour. By the time I finish my massage, it is dark and as there is no electricity and no hot water, I take a cold shower in the dark. Kind of negates the whole warm fuzzy relaxing feeling I got from the massage!
I return to the hotel, where the generator is now running. I take a hot bath and dry my hair and manage to feel human again. Then I take off for lunch at the Love Kush Restaurant, where all the patrons are huddled around a fireplace in the center of the room. I speak some though dinner to a Greek man, but he really doesn’t have much to say. Then I speak to a nurse from Hawaii, about my age, who just left Thailand, and her 29-year-old Thai lover, behind. She said he was feeling depressed and sorry for himself and all he wanted to do was sit around moping, so she broke up with him. She was a lively lady and I enjoyed our chat, even if briefly. She was getting ready to go trekking tomorrow in the Annapurna range.
I go back to the hotel, where once again, I hunker down under the covers and read my Kindle story, What I Loved, by the light of the book light. Luckily I sleep better tonight since tomorrow morning, I will get up at 5 a.m. to go see the sunrise at Sarangkot, which supposedly has an astounding view of the Himalayas.