POKHARA, September 5: Around 1600 meters above the sea level, Sarangkot of Pokhara remains jam packed almost all the seasons, more so in monsoon. While its own beauty is breathtaking due to passing of fog even in the day time, view of many popular mountains from here is equally thrilling. From Sarangkot, Machhapuchhre and Annapurna ranges are clearly visible. Likewise, Fewa Lake looks equally breathtaking. People land in Sarangkot also to watch sunset and sunrise.
“Fog can be felt and seen here. But it disappears just after a moment. Again it appears. It feels like it is playing hide and seek with us,” said Ramchandra Shrama, former president of Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN), who is also a local of Sarangkot. “The weather is taken as an attraction of this place, apart from many other things,” he added.
The view of Dhawalagiri and Annapurna mountain range offers captivating visuals to visitors. Sharma says there is no other place from where the mountain ranges could be viewed with such clarity. “There is rain in a while; there is sun in a while. People also love this. In monsoon we receive more tourists here,” he said.
Sometimes, fog in Sarangkot lasts for days. When this happens, tourists often extend their stay in Pokhara. According to Sharma, they leave only if they there is urgent. “Or else, people hardly move out unless they have a look at the mountains and also enjoy the sunset and sunrise,” he explained. He added that Sarangkot goes warm and cold in a while. “The weather pattern here is simply not reliable. Tourists feel amazed at it,” he said.
Paragliding in Sarangkot
Paragliding is one of the main goals of tourists thronging Sarangkot. Paragliders who take off from Sarangkot land near Fewa Lake. “It takes huge courage to paraglide. Not all get the courage to do it,” Sharma said. He added that the sport is however very popular among tourists.
“It is taken as a daring sport. And Sarangkot is quite famous for it,” Sharma further said. According to him, paragliding in Sarangkot is actually internationally famous. Many tourists actually come to Nepal just due to the attraction of Sarangkot, he claimed.
According to paragliding pilot Balu Basel, tourists love paragliding so much that some come for it more than once. They love to take a tour around Pokhara gliding above the city. “The weather and location of Sarangkot is very much suitable for paragliding. If the sky is very cloudy in the morning, the day could be brightest the next moment,” Basel, who was spotted in Sarangkot last Friday stated. “When there is good weather for paragliding, we see queue of tourists for it. Actually, we have to be very careful about while planning for paragliding,” he added.
Basel loves his job. He feels thrilled every time he takes riders in the sky. It is a literal experience of getting lost for a while in the sky, he said. “And sometimes you transcend the fog. Just like playing with something,” he stated.
Basel reported that the experience tourists may have in Sarangkot is unmatched. They can view all the beautiful mountains while still flying in the sky, and all the range in a single panorama view. “This hill is amazing. And anyone who comes over here can feel it. Tourists love to come again and again to see the mountains, lakes, sunrise and sunset all at once,” he said.
Transport entrepreneurs estimate that around 70 percent of international tourists and 90 percent of domestic tourists climb Sarangkot. There are around three dozens of hotels in the area. Few others are under construction. The view tower of Sarnagkot is hardly ever free of crowd.
“During the monsoon, the view is even clearer. People die to visit Sarangkot these days,” noted a local youth Sobhit Baniya. “We even forget to eat and drink when we get to be in Sarangkot and enjoy the many things it offers,” he added.
According to Baniya, Sarangkot is considered important for historical reasons as well. Late king Kulmandal Shah used to use this area for organizing warfare games. “Even now we organize a special swords game called as Dhaal dance here,” he said.