When one stands at a certain corner near the Mahendra Pul at Naya Bazar in a clear morning, and looks north, it appears like Pokhara is wearing a snow-made Palpali Dahka topi.
The Fish Tail or Machapuchrre hovers so near that you can stretch your hands, and hug him.
If you wish to discover the place being your own guide, walk northward keeping the Tail in your focus. One hours walk from Chipledhunga, no matter which route you take, leads to the Seti at the upper Pokhara.
When one listens to the roaring Seti, & the echoes returned by the nearby boulders, one gets an eerie sensation of being alone in the midst of a large number of people from the past and present whispering together. The eeriness heightens near the Christian cemetery where you’d see the crosses like those in the horror movies.
That Hesse’s river was not fictional, & if one stayed there listening to Seti for a long time, there was the real danger of becoming Siddhartha. Hence, one longs for the city cacophony where one feels at home, & flees the laughing Seti which merges all voices into a single hum.
The Seti water is literally whitish as her name suggests, you wonder what gives the rivers their color – some are green, some blue, some brown, & some even grayish-white like Seti; as if she was the holy water mixed with ashes, & descending from Lord Shiva’s matted hairs. The clean water that looks medicinal due to her strange color tempts one to embrace her, but a minute’s kiss reverses the mammalian temperature – sending shivers that defy the scorching summer sun.
The contrast inside & outside the water makes one to contemplate at the strangeness of geographical variation – a perspiring tropical climate on the lap of one of the Earth’s chilliest Himalayan ranges. You raise your head to see the Tail again, and lo, it’s gone behind the surrounding clouds!
Pokhara mimics Kathmandu in everyway. Even the place names like Bagbazar, New Road, Budhanilkantha, New & Old Bus Parks, & the narrow street lanes of olden times near the only pet God of Pokhara – the Bindhabasini. Even the Sukhawati Buddhist Gumba resonates with Sastrartha noises ignoring the Buddha’s Samyak Bacha.
The stinking garbage strewn on the Seti banks at some places, & the people standing at their door with three or four large sacks from each house, waiting for the Municipality truck, caution the Pokhrelis not to be swayed by the Western notion of city that mutated once beautiful Kathmandu into a Garbage Valley.
So long Fewa, so long Fish Tail, & what did you say Seti – Bon Voyage? Thanks, so long, until next time!