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Footprints in the Himalayas: A Soulful Trek Through Poon Hill and Beyond

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Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

In late 2023, the universe presented a series of travels for me. After a fulfilling yoga retreat at Nagi Gumba, I eagerly seized the opportunity for the renowned 8-day Poon Hill trek. Accompanied by wonderful companions, each step turned into a treasured memory. Despite the usual 3-4 day duration of the Poon Hill trek, our choice to prolong it provided a more laid-back and leisurely exploration without the pressure of time. In my upcoming blog, I’ll vividly narrate these incredible moments and complement the tale with captivating images.

Porters and trekkers on the scenic trail during the Poon Hill trek.
Porters and trekkers making their way through the picturesque Poon Hill trail.

Day 1: Pokhara – Nayapul – Hille

Our adventure began with a scenic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, offering a breathtaking preview. After a scenic drive, we arrived at Nayapul, where our trek began. Stepping out from Nayapul marked the beginning of an amazing walking experience amidst lush greenery and the welcoming hospitality of locals. Our night in a charming homestay in Hille, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and a delightful breakfast set a positive tone for the upcoming days.

Trekking through lush greenery, surrounded by nature's beauty.
Embarking on the trek surrounded by vibrant greenery.
Signboard map guiding trekkers on the Poon Hill trek.
Poon Hill Trek Map: Navigating through the scenic trails of the Annapurna region.
Traditional Tibetan bread served for breakfast, a delicious start to the day.
A delightful breakfast spread featuring Tibetan bread, omelette, and potatoes.

Day 2: Hille– Ghorepani

After breakfast, we said goodbye to Hille. The second day of the Poon Hill trek proves to be the toughest. The journey begins with a tough 2-kilometre climb up the stairs to Ulleri, with more than 3000 steps. From March to April, you can see beautiful blooming rhododendrons, while our October trek offers breathtaking views of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. Refreshing waterfalls accompanied the challenging 2-hour climb. After lunch at Banthanti, we trekked through majestic forests at 2250m, reaching Lower Ghorepani. Following permit checks, we settled in Upper Ghorepani, just a 10-minute walk away, for an overnight stay in the gateway village to Poonhill.

Walking through October forests, surrounded by towering trees.
Trekking through October forests feels like stepping into a fairytale.
Ghorepani Arrival: Ready for a cozy night's stay in the Himalayan haven.
Mountain Retreat: Finally reached Ghorepani, a charming stop for the night.

Day 3: Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Tadapani

On the third day, we eagerly trekked to Poon Hill at 3210m, anticipating a stunning sunrise. Beginning our journey early with headlamps and a Rs 100 fee, we relished the magical experience, sipping tea and recognizing the slightly expensive but worthwhile indulgence. After enjoying the panoramic views, we went down for breakfast in Ghorepani and continued to Tadapani for another night of exploration. As we trekked, the endless hills and jungles emphasized the vastness of nature, making me feel small yet grateful for the experience.

Majestic Mountain Vista at Poon Hill: A breathtaking panorama unfolds.
Mountain Peek-a-Boo captured at Poon Hill.
Poon Hill Panorama: Majestic peaks on one side, lush greenery on the other.
Duality of Beauty: Poon Hill’s summit offered a breathtaking view, with majestic peaks on one side and lush greenery on the other.
Poon Hill Pals: Three of us, bubbling with excitement, witnessing the pre-sunrise magic from the summit.
Three of us, bubbling with excitement, witnessing the pre-sunrise magic from the summit.
In the Shadows of Nature: The overwhelming beauty of lush hills makes me feel wonderfully tiny.
How incredibly small we are in the vast canvas of nature!!

Day 4: Tadapani – Ghandruk

On the fourth day of our journey, the shortest stretch from Tadapani to Ghandruk unfolded with a refreshing descent. Immersed in local culture, we joined fellow travellers in traditional Gurung dance, all dressed in Gurung attire. Amid traditional houses adorned with dried maize, nostalgic memories of my village surfaced.  The simplicity of the surroundings and the people deeply touched me, fostering a newfound appreciation for life’s uncomplicated beauty. As we continued our journey, this realization became a guiding theme.

Cultural Celebration: Engaging in Gurung dance amid traditional houses
Cultural Charm: Embracing Gurung attire amid the timeless beauty of traditional houses.
Cultivating Traditions: Traditional houses adorned with maize for future use.
Traditional houses adorned with maize for future use.
Architectural Heritage: Traditional houses of Ghandruk, Nepal, standing as cultural landmarks.
The allure of traditional houses in the picturesque Ghandruk.
Life in Ghandruk: Capturing the simplicity and charm.
Capturing the simplicity and charm.

Day 5: Ghandruk – Chhomrong

After a satisfying stay in Ghandruk, we proceeded to Chhomrong. The shift in altitude took a toll on me, causing unease during the trek. Upon reaching our guesthouse, the wind worsened my discomfort, leading to a slight fever. Yet, the warm soup, nourishing food, and the overall atmosphere of Chhomrong worked wonders, compensating for any discomfort. It highlighted the importance of adapting to trekking challenges while appreciating the remarkable surroundings.

Everyday Commute: Donkeys serving as daily transportation in Chhomrong.
Expressing gratitude to the dependable donkeys that navigate Chhomrong’s daily transportation needs.
Kids striking a cool pose in the rural landscape.
A snapshot of kids posing with effortless coolness.

Day 6: Chhomrong – Tolka

The next day reflected our journey’s distance, signalling its approaching end. Our plan included visiting Jhinu Danda’s natural hot springs near our homestay. After the rejuvenating experience, we trekked for a few more hours, reaching Tolka to settle in for the night.

Savoring the greatness of the hills ahead with pure enjoyment.
A moment of pure bliss amid the vastness of the rolling hills.
Restful Pause: Taking a cool break, stopping to rejuvenate during the journey.
Pausing for rest, embracing the tranquillity of the surroundings.
Countless waterfalls on the way, cleansing and rejuvenating tired bodies.
Countless waterfalls along the way, cleansing and rejuvenating tired bodies.
Wholesome Nepali Delight: Pausing at a charming spot for a delicious and hearty Nepali lunch during the trek.
Captured the warmth of a charming spot for a satisfying lunch break on the trek.

Day 7: Tolka – Pokhara

On the final day of the Poonhill trek, we retraced our path with the same enthusiasm and appreciation as the first day. During our return journey, we encountered local children singing and dancing. Unable to resist the joy, we joined in, creating another delightful memory. Upon reaching Phedi, we concluded the trek by taking a car to Pokhara, marking the end of our adventure. Reflecting on the landscapes, cultural encounters, and personal growth, we were not ready to say goodbye to one of Nepal’s top tourist spots without fully exploring its beauty. Consequently, we decided to venture to Sarangkot for a breathtaking sunrise the next morning.

Harmony of Joy: Joining local kids in a lively dance and song, embracing the spirit of togetherness.
Sharing moments of joy by joining local kids in their spirited dance and singing.
Embracing happiness and gratitude as the journey nears its conclusion, filled with beautiful memories.
Happy and grateful hearts as the journey nears its conclusion, filled with beautiful memories.
Nature's Masterpiece: Marveling at the untouched beauty that graces the landscapes of Nepal.
A snapshot of the breathtaking natural beauty that graces the landscapes of Nepal.

Day 8: Pokhara Exploration Continues

Our morning began blissfully, with Phewa Lake, the morning sun, and mountains creating a picturesque scene. Sipping tea, we immersed ourselves in nature, relishing every detail and living in the present moment. After this serene start, we visited Bindabasini Temple for divine connection and blessings. Our exploration led us to the Pumdikot Shiva Statue, which offers panoramic views of Pokhara and the surrounding mountains.

Transitioning to Buddhist stupas, we visited the World Peace Stupa, where serenity and Buddhist teachings offered moments of reflection. Continuing to David’s Fall, an extraordinary 500-foot waterfall with an underground tunnel left us in awe. Finally, the International Mountain Museum showcased global cultural diversity and mountaineering history.

In this way, our slow yet profoundly fulfilling trek was more than a physical adventure; it was a holistic experience touching nature, spirituality, and personal growth.

 A picturesque sunrise view from Sarangkot, Pokhara, framed by majestic hills.
A picturesque sunrise view from Sarangkot, Pokhara, framed by majestic hills.
Travel Trio: Three adventurous souls captured in a single frame, united by the journey.
Selfie moment with my smiling travel buddies.
A mesmerizing view of David's Fall in Pokhara, capturing the essence of its beauty with a vibrant rainbow reflection.
A mesmerizing view of David’s Fall in Pokhara, capturing the essence of its beauty with a vibrant rainbow reflection.
World Peace Stupa: A tranquil moment captured, embracing the beauty and peace it signifies.
The peaceful ambience of World Peace Stupa in the heart of Pokhara.
Gratitude in a Smile: Smiling, acknowledging the privilege of being born in the lap of these majestic mountains.
Smiling with gratitude, knowing I am born as the daughter of these majestic mountains.

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