Mystical Sarangkot above Pokhara ©Solange Hando
Rising to 1700 metres above Pokhara, the hill of Sarangkot is an inspiring place offering spectacular views of the Annapurna range and beyond in the high Himalaya.
Centre stage is the iconic pyramid of Machapuchre, also known as Fishtail, a sacred mountain where no one has ever set foot on the summit. Yet, at nearly 7000 metres, it seems almost within arm's reach.
Sarangkot Hill, Pokhara ©Solange Hando
From Pokhara, you can take a taxi (25 minutes, agree the price before you start) or walk up along the road, a long winding way with superb views of the valley and the hamlets clinging to the slopes where you can meet a farmer or two, watch the weavers at work or enjoy a cool drink in a rustic inn.
Alternatively, take a short cut through the forest along a rough path strewn with steps. It's a hot challenging climb, eerie and often deserted. Take care, especially if you're on your own.
Sunset on the Annapurna Range from Sarangkot ©Solange Hando
For me, the highlight in Sarangkot is to watch the sun set on the Annapurna when the peaks turn all shades of pink and gold and far below in Pokhara, myriad lights start to twinkle around the lake.
It is more spectacular than the sunrise when drifting mist often dampens the colours and paragliders and day trippers arrive in their droves.
There are some wonderfully scenic lodges just below the ridge where you can expect a traditional welcome and peaceful night. Book beforehand to be sure of a bed and secure the best price.
Sarangkot near Pokhara ©Solange Hando
For those who come to Pokhara to relax rather than trek, Sarangkot is the nearest you can get to the Annapurna, so don't miss it. The best time to visit is autumn, when skies are likely to be clear.