This is the fourth year of operation of Begnas Lake Resort, located around Begnas Lake Resort which is 15 km away from Pokhara city, after reopening for business in 2007.
Recently they have opened the Himalayan Nature Spa within the resort premises to do justice to the pristine, restful and curative environment of the Begnas lake area. This spa facility is manned by professional therapists from Kerala who use special and rare herbs from the Himalayas as also from the Indian subcontinent for those who seek the soothing hands of Nature to rejuvenate their Body, Mind and Soul. Our Ayurveda facilities are being expanded with new treatments rooms, herbal/flower baths and steam chambers.
They have also given focus on organic food and for several years they have been growing their own fruits, vegetable, herbs and spices within the resort premises.
FULL DAY WALKS (5 – 6 HOURS)
Leave your resort after breakfast carrying picnic lunch. It’s a nice day’s walk as you hike along the Sundari Danda ridge walking east over Bhanjyang with the trail slowly leading higher through forests of Hazelnut and Saal trees. Take a short break at Pauraake Danda exploring this small Bahun village perched high on the ridge. The view of the surrounding hill sides and of the twin lakes of Rupa and Begnas is simply breathtaking.
Walk steadily north gaining a slight altitude through Begnas village, a spread out spectacle of clean mud houses and terraced fields. Higher up is Begnas Maidan, an open meadow perched on a hilltop from where one can have the most spectacular mountain views sweeping from east to west in a vast snowy expanse; Manaslu (8156m) the entire Annapurna massif with such prominent peaks as Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III & IV as well as Mt. Macchapuchare (6993m) and weather permitting, the distant Dhaulagiri (8167m) in the far west. Just the spot for an enjoyable picnic.
After lunch visit Deurali temple where villagers come to have their wishes fulfilled. Higher up along this trail is Begnaskote, an old military lookout dating back a couple of centuries when local Rajahs needed to defend their small kingdoms. Walk down the hill along stone steps and cross the lake in boats to your resort.
KALIKASTHAN / THULOKOTE
Take a short drive towards Pokhara till Bijaypur Khola, a small river. Walk along an uphill trail passing through small colorful ethnic villages of Gurung and Ghale hill tribes. The trail continuously leads upwards winding round terraced fields and village homes till you reach Kalikasthan, a vantage point for viewing the mountains at close range. Walk further uphill to the highest viewpoint on the ridge; Thulokote. The vast sweeping snowy expanse you see covers three distinct mountain clusters of the central Himalayan chain – the Manaslu, the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri, each with it’s own dominant peak over 8,000 meters high.
From here you will also see the Maadikhola gorge in the distance with the river slowly meandering down between the foothills from the Lamjung glacier. After your picnic lunch walk eastwards following the ridge which is dotted with small, pretty mountain villages inhabited by various ethnic hill tribes.
A steep descending southward trail passes some more hutments and a large village school before making a steep descent to Shyangkhudi, a small fishing village on the western corner of Begnas. Cross the lake in boats to reach your resort.
HALF DAY WALKS (3 – 4 HOURS)
Walk along the Sundari Danda ridge visiting this small scattered hamlet inhabited by a mixture of the Gurungs, a well known hill tribe and the high caste Bahuns and Chettris. Sundari Danda, literally meaning `beautiful hill’ in Nepali offers spectacular views of the Manaslu (8156m), Lamjung (6931m), Mt. Macchapuchare (6993m) and the entire Annapurna massif including most of its prominent peaks. Walk through the little village bazaar straddling a spur between the twin lakes of Begnas and Rupa.
Descend along an old winding village trail to Taal Besi, a small village that lives off fishing and trading with the adjoining district of Lamjung where goods are transported by porters and mule-trains. Walk along fertile paddy-fields and small colorful villages. You may either return by the same route or take another trail which is mostly along a dirt road that runs round the hill contours to Sundari Danda where your resort is located.
RUPA & PACHHBHAIYYA
From your resort take a narrow trail through bushes and Hazelnut trees ascending slowly to Chyaan Danda before reaching a small village bazaar. From here a trail branches south along the western bank of the Rupa lake. In parts it is a pleasant walk through quiet forested areas. Follow the trail through a thick forest of hardwood trees which gently gives way to terraced paddy-fields leading to Simaldanda village situated on a hill ridge. This is a small village inhabited mainly by the Gurung clans.
Walk on to Pachhbhaiya, one of the largest of the surrounding villages inhabited mostly by the Bahun-Chettri (priests and warriors) clans as well as by the low caste Kamis (iron-smiths), Damais (tailors) and Sarkis(cobblers). It is interesting to see these diverse Hindu upper and lower castes co-exist happily for generations. This village prides itself for its large UN funded school in the area and the fact that unlike in other parts of the country almost all families are reasonably well off and fairly well educated. Walk back along a wide mud-track to your resort.
SHORT WALKS (1 – 2 HOURS)
A ten minutes walk along a gently ascending forest trail is Sundari Danda, literally meaning `beautiful hill’ in Nepali. This long ridge is a different world altogether and as such, awaits you to explore it’s row teashops and village pubs.
From here you will not only have magnificent views of the Manaslu Himal and the entire Annapurna massif with their many prominent peaks, but also sights of the twin spring-fed lakes of Begnas and Rupa as this colourful bazaar located on a hill ridge separates them.
Just walking along the Sundari Danda ridge you could have close contact with Nepal’s hill people as also with the pristine beauty of the surrounding hill sides. People of diverse ethnic groups live side by side in clusters of hutments co-existing for generations as good neighbours, mainly engaged in farming, fishing or running their little shops.
Sundari Danda, though just 15 kms away from Pokhara town is simply another world. It is well known in the Pokhara valley for its hard working pretty maidens, easy-going men and for a potent millet brew called ‘Kodo’ well-liked for its smoky flavour and mellow taste.
From your resort walk up to Sundari Danda heading eastward along the ridge to Sundari bazaar, a cluster of small shops and inns. Walk along a quiet forested dirt road to Bhanjyang, a small settlement at the ridge end. From here walk along an uphill trail that leads to a large expanse of hardwood Saal and hazel-nut forest to Trisuli Danda, a small hill overlooking the Rupa and Begnas lakes in the distance with the Annapurna massif looming to the north-west.
Walk past an old health-post which has fallen into disuse and has been non-operative for years due to administrative neglect. Nearby, visit a village primary school which is supported by your resort with the involvement of guest donors and foreign sponsors. Mingle with the children and test their knowledge of Maths, English and a smattering of foreign languages they have picked up from passing tourists.
Continue along the uphill trail to Pauraake, a small, clean Bahun village perched right near the ridge top. Visit some village homes to see the life-style of the local farming folks. We return the same way but if you feel adventurous you may take a steep narrow trail which is a short-cut down to your resort.
From your resort take a narrow trail winding through bushes and Hazelnut trees ascending slowly to Chyaan Danda before reaching a small village bazaar. From here follow a dirt road west till you reach a narrow path breaking off towards the densely forested Rupakot area. Walk along the hill ridge to reach a secluded settlement perched on a spur overlooking the Rupa lake and the dense forests surrounding it.
This little village consists of rows of clean mud and stone houses inhabited by people belonging to the ethnic Gurung hill tribe. Most of the village men are either soldiers drafted to serve in the British army or the Indian army where the average salaries are handsome. Some others are either farmers or live off fishing in the nearby lakes.
The locals also excel at brewing a sweetish soft beer called ‘Tomba’ drunk through bamboo straws and a potent millet distillate, ‘Kodo’ well liked for it’s smoky flavour and mellow taste. No evening is complete without tales of valour in the battlefield around the fireplace accompanied by a glass of warm ‘Kodo Rakshi’.