Himalayan Coffee and Nepali Thali

Before I really finished descending Anadu Hill, I stopped at a shop. A grocery store which sell some snacks, mineral waters, as well as soft alcoholic drinks. A small shop which spread smell of coffee aroma from the roasting stove at right.

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Somersby with 5% alkohol….Popular in Pokhara.

Himalayan coffee bean”, said the seller when I watched how he roasted coffees. For some people, passion is everything. Like this man, he was willing to released  his Japan citizenship and chose to be Nepalese for his love of Himalayan coffee.

I take it“, I pointed to 250 gram coffee package and bought it.

—- **** —-

Mr. Tirtha, your country is unique. Some Nepalese faces are like Indians, sometimes I find them similar to Chinese”, I said when Mr. Tirtha who began to step on gas pedal away from the hill.

Yess…. Nepal is flanked by India in south and China in north. So some Nepalese have mixed marriages”, he said with a friendly smile answering my question.

We moved northeast around Phewa Lake to bak to hotel which was 6 km away. Upon arrival at New Pokhara Lodge, I thanked to Mr. Tirtha who had been accompanying me since 4 am in my Pokhara exploration. I handed over 5.000 Rupee as service fee, that means I only needed to spend a transportation budget of 1.600 Rupee because I used this taxi with other three backpacker who staying in the same hotel.

Having not lost the feel of New Years celebration on Lakeside Road, I returned to explore the outskirts of Phewa Lake after bathing and stretching my legs. This time, I was starving and had to dinner. There was still promise in myself after whole day conversation with Mr. Tirtha. Yes… .I would taste Nepali Thali.

Street foods seem not to be able to dampen my hunger, I rushed into a restaurant. I sat on its inside to get warm air, then greeted by a sweet female servant. It didn’t take long to choose. “Nepali Vegetarian Thali and Orange Juice“, I told to her after seeing the menu which I was reading. Nepalese food for 300 Rupee and juice for 150 Rupee to close my day that night.

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@Bellas Garden Restaurant.


The evening turned to morning, I sipped hot tea and finished the breakfast menu in hotel courtyard. Then returned to the room and shouldered my blue backpack to get ready to say goodbye to Mr. Raj. I shook his wrinkled hand and repeatedly patted his upper arm.

Me: “Thank you Mr. Raj for your kindness and hope to see you again next time ”.

Mr. Raj: “Be careful, Donny. Thank you for stopping by in New Pokhara Lodge ”.

I know Mr. Raj was still forcing himself to work because his last son is still studying at Kathmandu University. Because of his work, he still looked fit.

This time, Mr. Tirtha came for the last time to give me a taxi service. We both headed for Tourist Bus Park, the bus would take me to Kathmandu.

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Can you look more elegant…. Hufft, Donny!

Ponytail at Shanti Stupa

 “Preparing your leg to climb Anadu Hill!“, Said Mr. Tirtha while clenching his right fist forward.

Yes I knew. At the end of that time, I had to conquer hundreds of steps to enjoying the beauty of 47 years old pagoda, one of eighty pagodas of peace which scattered all over earth.

Riding northwest, the tiny taxi engine grunted nearly 20 minutes to complete 3.5km journey. Arriving at parking area, Mr. Tirtha showed me where to started climbing.

It took a long time to conquer all stairs. Gasping….I leaned against a railing for a moment on the way. Slowly drinking my remaining mineral water, I took a break while enjoying the beautiful faces of Nepalese girls who kept passing by. Nepalese girls were slender who love to have long black hair, brown skin and a face which is typical of South Asia. It would be lucky if you find the slanted eyes….beautifully authentic….Ouch.

Like lightning, I stuttered when a Nipon girl passed me and smiled while saying a short “Hi“. Automatically my lips smile at her while watching her closely. I was still stunned as she climbed further and further away. “Who and Why?“, I kept asking myself.

Oh, my gosh…..That ponytail beauty with the surname Kawaguchi who sat on my left on Thai Airways flight TG 319“, my memory snapped my reverie. She had disappeared around the corner. I was determined to look upstairs later.

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The statue made on November 5, 2001.

Starting to enter a large courtyard and were greeted by a statue of Mr. Meen Bahadur Gurung, Deputy Minister of Defense of Nepal who was instrumental in developing the stupa.Path to stupa.

The path to stupa.

World Peace Pagoda is known by another name as Shanti Stupa. Shanti is Sanskrit which means peace. So basically this is a peace monument which builts in the form of a stupa. This stupa was built by a Buddhist order from Japan who named as Nipponzan-Myohoji.

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Standing at an altitude of 1110 m above sea level.
The room behind the stupa.

The front court was silent, there was only one kind of hum sounded by a monk in a room. Silent and sacred. Meanwhile, on the far side was the southern edge of Phewa Lake and Himalayan indentation, which was extraordinarily attractive.

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Pokhara from the top of hill.
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Phewa Lake and the Himalayas…. Pokhara assets.

My heart stopped when a red helicopter suddenly took a sharp dive into the lake. This was the first time I saw a helicopter fall and sharply hit it.

My breath suddenly stopped, but finally able to quickly suck the air back when helicopter was able to align its muzzle with lake surface. Damn…. It was just a paid adrenaline game, of course visitors around me were ignoring it….Oh, Donny.

The liar helicopter.

My eyes searched all directions looking for Kawaguchi’s whereabouts. Pounding hope to find her. 15 minutes already….. I haven’t even seen her.. Maybe she had rushed back, I was lost the opportunity to apologize because I didn’t remember it well….

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A fake smile behind my disappointment.

It was late afternoon, time to go back to hotel.

L See the situation of Shanti Stupa here: https://youtu.be/wSOfTsqJjX8

Sadness at International Mountain Museum

<—-Previous Story

Mr. Raj nicely prepared a special dish for me. Two bull’s-eye eggs served together with a banana, two layers of toast covered with mango jam and a cup of hot Nepalese tea. While Mr. Tirtha seemed to say goodbye and went home to enjoy his breakfast which made by his wife in his own home and then he would come back to pick me up and go around Pokhara until afternoon.

Precisely on 11 o’clock, he came. Then we were joking for a moment in lobby while waiting for another trio backpackers to appear. One thing that I kept from our conversation last morning that I had to try a Nepalese typical culinary called Nepali Thali.

Yups, time to explored….

This 3 km trip to southeast was only interrupted once when Mr. Tirtha stopped and waiting for me to exchange dollars at a small money changer at Phewa Lake edge.

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15 minutes later, I arrived.

I started to enter a courtyard with a sandy ground base. Dust spread in all directions when cars passed by. Then at a ticket counter in the form of a small stone-patterned building, I got an entrance ticket for 450 Rupee.

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Taking the queue….

It was necessary to pass a special pedestrian path to reach museum’s main building. The path was lined by a row of towering trees but not so shady.

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Let’s walked.

Arriving at front courtyard, a small monument welcomed me. A monument dedicated to Himalayan climbers who never descended again because they had their souls resided in a blanket of Himalayan snow.

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They were called mountaineers.
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The Museum.

Stepping stairs to reached museum front gate, then I was greeted by a simple x-ray gate. In early hallways, museum displayed photographs of world’s iceberg peaks. Also displayed the typical clothes of countries concerned.

Slovenia with several icebergs, namely Triglav (2,864 m asl), Stol (2,236 m asl), Prisojnik (2,547 m asl) and Porezen (1,630 m asl) along with Gorenjska clothes.

Entering next corridor, the museum introduced ethnic diversity throughout Nepal. The tribe name and its distinctive clothes were nicely displayed. It should be noted that this country, which covering no more than 8% of the land area of ​​the Republic of Indonesia, had 126 ethnicities in it.

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Etnis Thakali darEthnic Thakali from Mustang District, Zona Dhaulagiri.

Entering central hall, museum displayed names of Himalayas peaks. The Himalayas alone provide 18 main peaks which challenge hikers from all over the world to climb them.

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Makalu peaks (8,464 m asl) and Lhotse (8,516 m asl).

Finally, at the end, the museum presented heroic stories of the Himalayas conquest by first-class climbers. In this section also described a number of tragedies which they have experienced with their various climbing missions. Very touching and heart wrenching.

Visitation in this museum was ended by walking along second floor towards museum exit gate. Here was a destinations in Pokhara which were eye-opening about Nepal and the Himalayas.

Please stop by if you visit Pokhara.

Next Story—->

7 Tourist Attractions in Pokhara

<—-Previous Story

Visiting Nepal is synonymous with visiting the Himalayas. And all travelers know that the Himalayan gate is in Pokhara. It has been a long time since this city, nicknamed as “Gem of Himalaya”, has opened itself to show its beauty around the world.

This had put Pokhara on the top list in my visitation to South Asia region. Not Kathmandu, but Nepal’s second largest city which is located in northwest valley of Pokhara, this was what made me hurry for a moment to leave the capital city of Nepal even though it had only been arrive a day before.

Out of context as a solo-male traveler, I firmly believe that Pokhara is one of the best solo travel destinations for female travelers also.

Here were seven tourist attractions which I visited in Pokhara:

1 Sarangkot.

Being the closest vantage point to enjoy the Himalayas had placed Sarangkot as a special place to visit for travelers who didn’t have much time to hike that famous mountains.

Early arriving in the morning and sat at the viewpoint ahead of dawn. Enjoying colors gradation which hit ice layer at Machhapuchhare peak. Undoubtedly the golden color would fascinate you.

2. Bindhyabasini Temple

Descending from Sarangkot with its background of iconic Phewa Lake, I immediately headed to a Hindu temple where the Goddess Bhagwati worshiped, which was 7 km east of Sarangkot. Exactly at 08:14 hours. the temple was already so busy with visitors and also congregants who had come to pray.

Temple location which was on a hill made me freely gaze in observing dense residential housing with Himalayas background which turn blue with white ice at its peak.

3. Old Bazaar/Purano Bazaar

Now I was moving about 2 km southward down the road to a commercial place which dated back to the 18th century. The market was dominated by Newar architecture with red brick motifs with a lane which was only enough for two vehicles passing each other.

9:15 am….It was too early for Pokhara people to trade. As far as the eye could see, my memory was spoiled with market streets view which were flanked by classic buildings on either side of road, then at the end of road, there were dammed with Himalayas face whose timeless beauty.

Because the market was so quiet, no one bothered me in enjoying Jalebi in the middle of street.

4. International Mountain Museum

After returning to hotel for breakfast. Then, I continued visiting a museum which was dedicated to Himalayan climbers who never again safely descended.

By paying 450 Rupee, I was treated to a gallery which displayed a photos series of snowy peaks around the world which was followed by the peculiarities of various ethnic Nepalese inhabitants, then closed with several heroic stories of Himalayan climbers.

5. Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp.

For those who haven’t had a chance to visiting Tibet, then feel its nuance by visiting Tibetan people in Tashiling. This village was inhabited by Tibetan refugees who migrated because of political intrigue.

They made a living by trading in their new home. Many travelers shopped for souvenirs at this place. I myself took time to lunch with a bowl of noodles for 150 Rupee at one of their food stall.

6. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Located near from Tashiling, the cave which was located right on a side of Siddhartha Rajmarg road, its ticket fare about 100 Rupee. Circling down the stairs in red main building, I came to the mouth of this cave. Continuing along the curves of narrow humid alleys which lead to the main cave room with a view of swift waterfall which was peeking out from longitudinal slit on a side….Very beautiful.

7. World Peace Pagoda

Late in the afternoon, I arrived at my final destination. By another name, Shanti Stupa, this pure white pagoda was a painstaking climb on Anadu Hill. A Japanese heritage site of worship symbolized peace which uphold silence. Not allowing a slightest noise was a norm which must be obeyed during a visitation.

A natural decoration in the form of Himalayas with the ground of Phewa Lake in a view side became even more perfect with appearance of Pokhara City which was seen from above.

So, if you visit Pokhara, make sure to visit these cool places.

Next Story—->

Changing the Year in Phewa Lake Edge

<—-Previous Story

Ending a transaction and grabbing a Pokhara-Kathmandu bus ticket, I intended to hurry to hotel. Clockwork seemed to move fast and dark slowly but must have enveloped the city, until then I agreed to a taxi driver to take me to New Pokhara Lodge.

A little white taxi was agile cutting through small alleyway. Once he looked confused and forced him down and asked to young man who was drinking a cup of coffee and sucked a cigarette. Then his pointing hand made the driver understandably nod.

—- **** —-

I sat and watched banknotes from various nationalities neatly arranged in a lobby gallery. One of them is a banknote with Tuanku Imam Bonjol’s image.

New Pokhara Lodge Lobby.

After a while, a middle-aged man appeared, he already had slow movements but was trying to keep smiling. Furthermore, I knew him as Mr. Raj, a hotel’s person in charge who was very good at providing services to his guests at New Pokhara Lodge.

I was placed at second floor of this U-shaped hotel, three-story orange hotel. A room which I redeemed for 900 Rupess had now become my base camp while traveling in Pokhara.

—- **** —-

Mr. Raj briefly advised me, “Don’t worry about your security in New Year Celebration !. Don’t drink too much and back soon!…. Enjoy your night and Happy New Year ”.

Lakeside Road atmosphere.

Walking 650 meters to Phewa Lake edge, I followed a small path which only two-wheeled vehicles could pass. Only two minutes to arrived at the bustle of Lakeside Road. A stage was set up at lake edge.

Street food scent in the midst of groups of Nepalese youths was a perfect blend in the cold air of Pokhara. Temperature of 8o C slowly intimidated stomach. And it felt like I couldn’t afford to eat and sit for long time in sidewalk, cold night temperature had made my unprotected hands and face stiffen. In the end, footsteps led me into AM/PM Organic Cafe. A cup of Masala Tea with vegetarian fried rice would warm the body towards midnight which was being awaited by all people in the world.

Waiting for orders to came.

Food which was finished with had no leftover, tea cup which had dried up and waitress who kept paying attention, made me feel bad. My hunch tell me to get out of the cafe because of course the owner hoped that the table which I was currently occupying could be sold to other visitors.

Now I was trying to sneak into crowd to avoid cold wind which was blowing from the lake. The Nepali-like stature and facial features made me looked like a local all around the stage.

Local artists took turns in giving their best performances, elementary school age children didn’t want to be outdone by their dances, all of them were guided by MC with ideal features, smooth hair without mustaches and worthy looked as Bollywood actor.

Such a small stage amidst a large audience.

That night, Pokhara people seemed to be the happiest people in the world.

I wasn’t sure that it would celebrate fireworks. That belief made me slowly withdraw from crowd. Slowly walking and echoing Mr. Raj’s advice who warned me that whatever might happen because there were indeed many young men who drank too much on streets.

Having yet to turn into an alley, the crowd began to loudly countdown then fireworks shot into the air and exploded right in the center of Phewa Lake. The moment which I had been waiting for was almost interrupted by cold. I turned around and enjoyed the atmosphere. The lake, which was originally dark and appeared to be black, now reflected fireworks light spectrum which were exploding above it.

An admiration which I didn’t even get at the same moment a year ago in Osaka. A beauty which made me forget to capture the moment itself. But never mind, my brain was still recording it well until now.

Check out a situation ahead to the new year at Phewa Lake edge:


The perfect night.

Next Story—->

Himalayan Coffee dan Nepali Thali

Sebelum benar-benar tuntas menuruni Bukit Anadu, aku terhenti pada sebuah kedai.  Kedai kelontong yang menjual beberapa snack, air mineral, juga minuman beralkohol ringan. Kedai mungil beraroma harum kopi  yang dihasilkan dari tungku roasting di sebelah kanannya.

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Somersby berkadar 5%….Terkenal di Pokhara. Aku mah air putih aja….murahhhhh.

Himalayan coffee bean”, tutur si penjual ketika aku memperhatikan caranya me-roasting kopi. Buat beberapa orang, passion memang segalanya. Seperti pria ini, dia rela melepas kewarganegaraan Jepang dan memilih berganti menjadi Nepalese demi cintanya pada kopi Himalaya.

I take it”, aku menunjuk kemasan 250 gram untuk kuseduh di Jakarta.


Mr. Tirtha, your country is unique. Some Nepalese faces are like Indians, sometimes I find them similar to Chinese”, ucapku ketika Mr. Tirtha mulai menginjak pedal gas taksinya menjauhi bukit.

Yess….Nepal is flanked by India in south and China in north. So some Nepalese have mixed marriages”, tutur beserta senyum ramahnya menjawab pertanyaan.

Kami bergerak ke timur laut dengan memutari Phewa Lake untuk kembali ke hotel yang berjarak 6 km. Setiba di New Pokhara Lodge, aku mengucapkan terimakasih kepada Mr. Tirtha yang sejak jam 4 pagi menemaniku dalam eksplorasi Pokhara. Kuserahkan Rp. 600.000 sebagai biaya jasanya, itu artinya aku hanya perlu mengeluarkan budget transportasi sebesar Rp. 150.000 karena aku memborongnya bersama trio backpacker sehotel.

Belum hilang juga nuansa perayaan tahun baru di Lakeside Road, aku kembali menjelajah pinggiran Phewa Lake setelah berbasuh dan meluruskan kaki. Kali ini, aku kelaparan dan harus makan besar. Masih ada janji pada diri pasca percakapan sepanjang hari dengan Mr. Tirtha. Ya….Aku akan mencicipi Nepali Thali.

Jajanan kaki lima sepertinya tak akan mampu meredam kelaparanku, aku bergegas memasuki sebuah resto. Terduduklah diriku di bagian dalam untuk mendapatkan udara hangat, lalu disambut oleh pelayan perempun berparas manis. Tak perlu lama memilih. “Nepali Vegetarian Thali and orange juice”, pintaku setelah melihat menu yang kubaca. Makanan khas Nepal seharga Rp. 40.000 dan juice seharga Rp. 23.000 menjadi penutup hariku malam itu.

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@Bellas Garden Restaurant.


Malam berganti pagi, aku menyeruput teh panas dan menghabiskan menu sarapan di pelataran hotel. Kemudian kembali ke kamar dan memanggul backpack biruku untuk bersiap pamit pada Mr. Raj. Kujabat tangan keriputnya dan kutepuk berulang kali lengan atasnya.

Aku:  “Thank you Mr. Raj for your kindness and hope to see you again next time”.

Mr. Raj: “Be careful, Donny. Thank you for stopping by in New Pokhara Lodge”.

Aku tahu Mr. Raj masih memaksakan dirinya bekerja karena anak terakhirnya masih berkuliah di Kathmandu University. Karena perkerjaannya pula, dia masih terlihat bugar.

Kali ini Mr. Tirtha datang untuk terakhir kalinya memberikan jasa taksi kepadaku. Kami berdua menuju Tourist Bus Park, mengantarkanku menuju Kathmandu.

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Bisa ga sih bertampang parlente dikit….Hadeuh, Donny!

Kuncir Kuda di Shanti Stupa

 “Prepare your leg to climb Anadu Hill !”, tutur Mr. Tirtha sambil mengepalkan tangan kanannya ke depan.

Ya, aku tahu. Di bagian akhir kali ini, aku harus menaklukkan ratusan anak tangga untuk menikmati keindahan pagoda berusia 47 tahun, satu dari delapan puluh pagoda perdamaian yang tersebar di seluruh penjuru bumi.

Menanjak ke barat laut, mesin taksi mungil itu menggerung hampir 20 menit untuk menuntaskan perjalanan sejauh 3,5 km. Tiba di area parkir, Mr. Tirtha menunjukkan darimana aku harus mulai menanjak.

Perlu waktu lama untuk menaklukkan seluruh anak tangga. Terengah….Aku sejenak menyandari pagar tangga di tengah perjalanan. Pelan menenggak air mineral tersisa, aku beristirahat sejenak sembari menikmati wajah-wajah ayu gadis Nepal yang terus melintas. Para gadis Nepal berperawakan langsing yang gemar memiliki rambut hitam panjang teurai, berkulit cokelat dan berwajah khas Asia Selatan. Akan beruntung jika kamu menemukan yang bermata sipit….cantik otentik….Aduhai.

Seperti kilat, aku tergagap ketika seorang gadis Nipon melewatiku dan melempar senyum sembari berucap singkat “Hi”. Otomatis bibirku menyungging senyum kepadanya sambil mengawasinya lekat. Aku masih terbengong ketika dia menanjak semakin jauh. “Siapa dan Kenapa?”, batinku terus bertanya.

Oh, astaga…..Itu si cantik berkuncir kuda bermarga Kawaguchi yang duduk di sisi kiriku dalam penerbangan Thai Airways TG 319”, ingatanku menyadarkan lamunan. Dia sudah menghilang di tikungan. Aku bertekad mencarinya di atas nanti.

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Patung buatan 5 November 2001.

Mulai memasuki  pelataran nan luas dan disambut oleh patung Mr. Meen Bahadur Gurung, Deputi Menteri Pertahanan Nepal yang telah berjasa dalam pengembangan stupa.

Jalan setapak menuju stupa.

World Peace Pagoda dikenal dengan nama lain Shanti Stupa. Shanti adalah bahasa Sansekerta yang berarti perdamaian. Jadi pada dasarnya ini adalah monumen perdamaian yang didirikan berwujud stupa. Stupa ini dibagun oleh sebuah ordo Buddhist dari Jepang bernama Nipponzan-Myohoji.

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Berdiri di ketinggian 1.110 m dpl.
Ruangan di belakang stupa.

Pelataran depan begitu hening, hanya terdengar satu jenis dengung yang dibunyikan oleh seorang biksu dalam sebuah ruangan. Hening dan sakral. Sementara di sisi jauh tertampil tepian selatan dari Phewa Lake dan lekukan Himalaya yang luar biasa memikat.

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Pokhara dari atas bukit.
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Phewa Lake dan Himalaya….Aset Pokhara.

Jantung terasa berhenti ketika helikopter berwarana merah mendadak menukik tajam jatuh ke danau. Baru kali ini melihat helikopter jatuh menghujam dengan tajamnya.

Nafasku yang mendadak berhenti, akhirnya mampu menarik udara kembali dengan cepat ketika helikopter itu mampu mensejajarkan moncongnya dengan permukaan danau. Astaga….Itu hanya permainan adrenalin berbayar, pastas saja pengunjung di sekitarku mengacuhkannya….Ndeso kamu, Donny.

Helikopter pembohong.

Mataku menyusuri segenap arah mencari keberadaan Kawaguchi. Berdebar berharap menemukannya. 15 menit sudah…..Tak kunjung pula aku melihat batang hidungnya. Mungkin dia sudah keburu pulang, hilang sudah kesempatan untuk meminta maaf karena aku tak mengingatnya dengan baik….Sudahlah.

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Senyum palsu dibalik kekecewaan.

Sudah sore, saatnya pulang ke hotel.

Lihat suasana Shanti Stupa di sini: https://youtu.be/wSOfTsqJjX8

Sayatan Hati di International Mountain Museum.

Mr. Raj dengan baiknya menyuguhkan hidangan spesial untukku. Telur dengan dua mata sapi disajikan bebarengan dengan satu buah pisang, dua lapis toast berselai manga dan secangkir teh panas khas Nepal. Sementara Mr. Tirtha tampak pamit dan beranjak pulang demi menikmati sarapan buatan istri di kediamannya sendiri untuk kemudian dia akan kembali lagi menjemputku dan berkeliling Pokhara hingga sore.

Jam 11 tepat, dia datang. Kemudian dengan segarnya kami bercanda sejenak di lobby sembari menunggu trio backpacker lain muncul. Satu hal yang kusimpan dari percakapan kami berdua bahwa aku harus menjajal makanan khas Nepal berjuluk Nepali Thali.

Yups, waktunya berangkat….

Perjalanan 3 km menuju tenggara kali ini hanya terinterupsi satu kali ketika Mr. Tirtha berhenti menungguiku untuk menukar dolar di sebuah money changer kecil di tepian Phewa Lake.

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15 menit kemudian tiba.

Aku mulai memasuki pelataran dengan alas tanah berpasir. Debu menyeruak ke segala arah ketika kendaraan melaluinya. Kemudian di sebuah ticket counter yang berwujud bangunan kecil bermotif batu kali, aku mendapatkan tiket masuk seharga Rp 55.000.

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Ambil antrian….

Perlu melewati jalur khusus pejalan kaki untuk mencapai bangunan utama musium. Jalur yang dibatasi oleh deretan pepohonan yang menjulang tinggi tapi tak begitu rindang.

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Yuk jalan kaki.

Tiba di pelataran depan, sebuah monumen kecil menyambut. Monumen yang didedikasikan untuk para pendaki Himalaya yang tak pernah turun lagi karena telah merelakan jiwanya bersemayam dalam selimut salju Himalaya.

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Mereka disebut mountaineers.
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Minggir….ngehalangin jalan lo….

Menaiki tangga untuk mencapai gerbang depan museum, kemudian aku disambut dengan x-ray gate sederhana. Di selasar awal, museum menampilkan foto-foto puncak pegunungan berlapis es di dunia. Ditampilkan pula pakaian khas negara-negara yang bersangkutan.

Slovenia dengan beberapa gunung ber-esnya yaitu Triglav (2.864 m dpl), Stol (2.236 m dpl), Prisojnik (2.547 m dpl) dan Porezen (1.630 m dpl) beserta pakaian Gorenjska.

Memasuki koridor berikutnya, museum memperkenalkan keanekaragaman etnis di seantero Nepal. Nama suku beserta pakaian khasnya ditampilkan dengan apik.  Perlu diketahui bahwa negara yang luasnya tak lebih dari 8% luas daratan NKRI ini memiliki 126 etnis didalamnya.

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Etnis Thakali dari Distrik Mustang, Zona Dhaulagiri.

Masuk ke selasar tengah, museum menampilkan nama-nama puncak pegunungan Himalaya. Pegunungan Himalaya sendiri menyediakan 18 puncak utama yang menantang para pendaki dari seluruh dunia untuk menanjakinya.

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Puncak Makalu (8.464 m dpl) dan Lhotse (8.516 m dpl).

Akhirnya di bagian akhir, museum mempersembahkan kisah-kisah heroik penaklukan Himalaya oleh para pendaki kelas wahid. Di bagian ini juga, dipaparkan sejumlah tragedi yang dialami mereka dengan berbagai misi pendakiannya masing-masing. Sangat mengharukan dan menyayat hati.

Kunjugan di museum kuakhiri dengan menyusuri lantai dua menuju exit gate museum. Inilah destinasi di Pokhara yang membuka mata tentang Nepal dan Himalaya.

Silahkan mampir ya kalau berkunjung ke Pokhara.

7 Destinasi Wisata di Pokhara

Mengunjungi Nepal identik dengan mengunjungi Himalaya. Dan seluruh pelancong tahu bahwa gerbang Himalaya itu ada di Pokhara. Sudah lama kota berjuluk “Permata Himalaya” ini membuka diri untuk mempertontonkan keelokannya ke penjuru dunia.

Hal inilah yang menempatkan Pokhara menjadi top list dalam kunjunganku di kawasan Asia Selatan. Bukan Kathmandu, tapi kota terbesar kedua Nepal yang terletak di barat laut lembah Pokhara inilah yang membuatku bergegas sejenak meninggalkan ibukota Nepal walaupun baru sehari tiba.

Berikut tujuh destinasi wisata yang kukunjungi di Pokhara:

1 Sarangkot.

Menjadi titik pandang terdekat untuk menikmati pegunungan Himalaya menempatkan Sarangkot sebagai gtempat istimewa untuk dikunjungi para pelancong yang tak memiliki banyak waktu untuk mendaki pegunungan tersohor itu.

Datanglah di awal pagi  dan duduklah di viewpoint mendahului fajar. Nikmati gradasi warna yang menyiram lapisan es di puncak Machhapuchhare. Niscaya warna keemasannya akan membuatmu terpesona.

2. Bindhyabasini Temple

Menuruni Sarangkot berlatar Phewa Lake yang ikonik, aku segera menuju ke sebuah kuil Hindu tempat pemujaan Dewi Bhagwati yang terletak 7 km di sebelah timur Sarangkot. Tepat jam 08:14 kuil sudah begitu ramai dengan lalu lalang pelawat dan juga jemaat yang datang untuk bersembahyang.

Letak kuil yang berada di sebuah bukit membuatku dengan leluasa memandangi rapatnya perumahan penduduk yang berlatar pegunungan Himalaya yang membiru dengan warna putih di puncaknya.

3. Old Bazaar/Purano Bazaar

Kini aku bergerak 2 km ke arah selatan menuruni jalanan menuju sebuah tempat perniagaan yang sudah ada sejak abad ke-18. Pasar dengan dominasi arsitekur Newar bermotif bata merah dengan belahan jalur yang hanya cukup bagi dua kendaraan yang saling berpapasan.

Pukul 09:15…Masih terlalu pagi buat masyarakat Pokhara untuk berdagang. Sejauh mata memandang, memoriku dimanjakan dengan pemandangan jalanan pasar yang dihapit oleh bangunan klasik di kiri- kanan kemudia di ujung jalan sana dibendung dengan wajah Himalaya yang keelokannya abadi.

Saking lengangnya pasar, menikmati Jalebi di tengah jalanan pasar pun tak ada yang mengganggu.

4. International Mountain Museum

Sekembali dari hotel untuk menyantap sarapan. Kemudian, aku melanjutkan bertamu ke sebuah museum yang didedikasikan bagi para pendaki Himalaya yang tak pernah lagi turun dengan selamat.

Dengan membayar Rp. 55.000, aku disuguhi galeri yang menampilkan sederet foto puncak bersalju di seantero dunia disusul dengan kekhasan berbagai etnis penghuni Nepal, kemudian ditutup dengan beberapa kisah heroik para pendaki Himalaya.

5. Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp.

Bagi yang belum sempat mengunjugi Tibet, maka rasakan nuansanya dengan mengunjungi para Tibetan di Tashiling. Perkampungan ini ditinggali oleh pengungsi Tibet yang bermigrasi karena intrik politik.

Mereka menyambung hidup dengan cara berdagang di tempat tinggalnya yang baru. Banyak para pelancong yang berbelanja souvenir di tempat ini. Aku sendiri menyempatkan menyantap makan siang dengan menu semangkuk mie seharga Rp. 20.000 di salah satu kedai makan milik mereka.

6. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Berjarak selemparan batu dari Tashi Ling, goa yang terletak persis di tepian jalan Siddhartha Rajmarg ini berbiaya masuk Rp. 14.000. Melingkar menuruni tangga dengan bangunan utama berwarna merah, aku sampai pada mulut goa. Berlanjut menyusuri liukan lorong-lorong sempit nan lembab yang berujung pada ruangan utama gua dengan pemandangan derasnya air terjun yang terintip dari guratan celah memanjang di salah satu sisi….Indah sekali.

7. World Peace Pagoda

Menjelang sore, aku tiba di destinasi terakhirku. Dengan nama lain Shanti Stupa, pagoda putih bersih ini harus ditanjaki dengan susah payah di Bukit Anadu. Sebuag situs peribadatan peninggalan jepang perlambang perdamaian yang menjunjung kesunyian. Tak diperkenankan berisik sedikitpun adalah norma yang harus ditaati selama berkunjung.

Hiasan alam berupa Pegunungan Himalaya beralas Phewa Lake dalam satu sisi pandang menjadi semakin sempurna dengan penampakan kota Pokhara bak maket terlihat dari atas.

Jadi, jika kamu berkunjung ke Pokhara pastikan mengunjungi tempat-tempat keren ini ya.

Berganti Tahun di Tepian Phewa Lake

Mengakhiri transaksi dan menggenggam tiket bus Pokhara-Kathmandu, aku berniat cepat menuju penginapan. Jarum jam serasa bergerak cepat dan gelap perlahan pasti menyelimuti kota, hingga kemudian aku menyatakan setuju pada sopir taksi untuk mengantarkanku ke New Pokhara Lodge.

Taksi putih mungil lincah membelah patahan-patahan gang kecil. Sekali dia tampak kebingungan hingga memaksanya turun dan bertanya kepada sosok muda yang sedang terlena pada secangkir kopi dan sebungkus sigaret. Kemudian tunjukan tangan sang pemuda membuat si sopir mengangguk faham.


Aku terduduk dan mengamati pecahan uang kertas berbagai bangsa yang tersusun rapi  menjadi galeri lobby. Salah satunya adalah pecahan bergambar Tuanku Imam Bonjol.

Lobby New Pokhara Lodge

Selang beberapa waktu, muncul pria setengah baya yang tampak telah melambat gerakannya tetapi berusaha untuk tetap tersenyum. Selanjutnya aku mengenalnya sebagai Mr. Raj, penanggung jawab hotel yang sangat baik dalam memberikan pelayanan untuk para tamunya di New Pokhara Lodge.

Aku ditempatkan di lantai dua di hotel berbentuk letter-U, berlantai tiga dan berwarna oranye itu. Ruang inap yang kutebus dengan harga sebesar Rp.108.000 kini menjadi basecampku selama berkelana di Pokhara.


Mr. Raj menasehatiku singkat,  “Don’t worry about your security in New Year Celebration!. Don’t drink too much and back soon!….Enjoy your night and Happy New Year”.

Suasana Lakeside Road.

Berjalan kaki sejauh 650 meter menuju tepian Phewa Lake , aku menelusuri jalur kecil yang hanya bisa dilalui kendaraan roda dua. Hanya dua menit hingga tiba di keramaian Lakeside Road. Tampak panggung yang tak lebih baik dari panggung Kelurahan Ciracas telah disiapkan di tepian danau.

Aroma kuliner kaki lima ditengah riuhnya rombongan muda mudi Nepal menjadi paduan sempurna di dinginnya Pokhara. Suhu 8o C perlahan mengintimidasi  lambung. Dan rasanya tak sanggup jika harus makan dan duduk berlama-lama di trotoar, suhu dingin malam telah membuat tangan dan mukaku yang tak berpelindung menjadi kaku. Pada akhirnya, langkah kaki mengantarkanku memasuki AM/PM Organic Cafe. Secangkir Masala tea beserta vegetarian fried race menjadi penghangat tubuh menjelang tengah malam yang sedang ditunggu manusia sejagat.

Menunggu pesanan datang.

Makanan yang sudah habis tak bersisa, cangkir teh yang telah mengering dan pelayan yang terus memperhatikan, membuatku tak enak hati. Firasatku mengatakan untuk segera keluar dari cafe karena tentu si empunya berharap meja yang kini kutempati bisa segera dijualnya ke pengunjung lain.

Kini aku berusaha menyelinap ke kerumunan untuk menghindari hembusan angin dingin dari arah danau. Perawakan dan gurat muka yang mirip Nepali membuatku terlihat seperti penduduk lokal yang semuanya berdiri mengelilingi panggung.

Artis lokal silih berganti memberikan performance terbaiknya, anak-anak usia sekolah dasar tak mau kalah dengan tariannya, kesemuanya dipandu oleh MC berperawakan ideal, berambut klimis tanpa kumis dan berparas layak aktor Bollywood.

Panggung sekecil itu ditengah banyaknya penonton.

Malam itu, warga Pokhara serasa menjadi manusia paling bahagia di dunia sedangkan aku merasa kembali ke era 1986 dimana aku masih menjadi siswa kelas satu SD di Semarang kala itu.

Aku tak yakin akan ada riuh gempita pesta kembang api. Keyakinan itu membuatku perlahan mengundurkan diri dari kerumunan. Berjalan pelan dan terngiang petuah Mr. Raj yang memperingatkanku akan kemungkinan yang bisa terjadi karena memang banyak pemuda yang terlalu banyak minum di jalanan.

Belum juga menikung menuju sebuah gang, kerumunan mulai keras berhitung mundur bersambung luncuran kembang api ke udara dan meledak tepat di pusat Phewa Lake. Momen yang kutunggu hingga hampir diputus-asakan oleh dingin. Aku berbalik badan dan menikmati suasana itu. Danau yang semula gelap dan tampak hitam saja, kini airnya memantulkan spektrum cahaya kembang api yang bergantian meledak di atasnya.

Kekaguman yang bahkan tak kudapatkan pada momen yang sama setahun lalu di Osaka. Keindahan yang membuatku lupa mengabadikan momen itu sendiri. Tapi tak apa lah, otakku masih merekamnya dengan baik hingga kini.

Lihat situasi menjelang tahun baru di tepi Phewa Lake:


Malam yang sempurna.