Monday, January 21: Last night, the hotel clerk told me that someone would knock on my door at 5 a.m. this morning. This unknown person was to wake me up so I could head with a driver up to Sarangkot, the ridge north of Phewa Tal, to see the sunrise. At 1590 meters, it’s the most popular of the mountain viewpoints around Pokhara. The mountains appear closer than from the World Peace Pagoda, at 1113 meters, but not as many of them are visible.
Luckily I set my alarm. Had I depended on the hotel staff to wake me up, I would have missed the sunrise. I wake up, toss on some clothes, and go downstairs, where the reception area is dark and a person is snoozing in a sleeping bag on the floor. It turns out that I wake him up!! He hops up, rushes around and makes phone calls to the driver, who has seemingly forgotten his commitment.
When he arrives, we drive quite a long way up the mountain in the dark and then walk up to a terrace with tables and chairs for viewing, along with lots of other tourists. I order a cup of coffee and try to get in a good position. I figure out shortly that there is no one perfect position. One spot looks north, out over Pokhara Valley and the Himalayas. The other looks east, toward where the sun will rise. To the south is Phewa Tal and the town of Pokhara. To get a good view, I have to keep moving around, to wherever the best views are in the different light.
We stay for quite a long time, enjoying each moment of the sunrise. Before sunrise, we can see the white peaks of the Annapurna Himal and Machhapuchhre, glowing and hovering above the pinpricks of light from the town in the valley below. As the sun rises, the snow-covered peaks gleam like a smile. Once the sun peeks over the horizon, a rose-colored hue settles like a blush over the peaks. Breathtaking.
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? ~ E.M. Forster