View from the Ridge near the Peace Pagoda, Pokhara ©Solange Hando
Most visitors to Pokhara have heard about the fabulous views from Sarangkot ( the top of the hill you see on this picture, below the high peaks) but on the southern side of the lake, the panorama is even better, mountains and lake framed in golden marigolds or flaming poinsettia.
It's also quieter than Sarangkot and if you walk a little further along the ridge, you'll have the view almost all to yourself, nothing to disturb the peace but crickets and bird song.
Pokhara Peace Pagoda ©Solange Hando
Above Phewa lake, at 1100 metres, the pagoda is a modern shrine erected to promote world peace, gleaming white above the wooded slopes. You are sure to spot it from the town or lakeside and it isn't as inaccessible as it seems.
Hire a boat to take you across the lake to the start of the path then walk up the steep trail through a cool but often deserted forest. However, if you're on your own, it's best to find a reliable companion or take a taxi from town. Ask the driver to wait, a couple of hours or more, but be sure to agree the price before you start and pay on the return journey.
Looking East from the Raniban Retreat, Pokhara ©Solange Hando
The view from the pagoda is pretty good, with a panoramic café nearby serving cool drinks and snacks but the further you walk along the trail, the better it gets.
Clinging to its own hilltop, along a meandering path then up 500 steps, the Raniban Retreat (above) claims, quite rightly, the most stunning panorama in the Pokhara district. Relax, enjoy a coke or a pancake, and there's even basic accommodation if you wish to spend the night. You couldn't dream of a better place to set eyes on so many Himalayan peaks, several of them reaching over 8000 metres..
Looking West along the Ridge above Pokhara ©Solange Hando
By clear weather, the five peaks of the Annapurna glisten in front of you, with the sacred pyramid of Fishtail in the centre, while to the west you look out to Daulaghiri and the Hidden Valley beyond, and to the east Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and other snow-clad giants.
Sunset on Fishtail, Annapurna Range ©Solange Hando
But even you go no further than the pagoda, it's worth waiting to see the sun set on the Annapurna, a magical moment reflected in the lake as the town settles down for the night.
The pagoda gate is usually locked at dusk but there is a way out along the trail to the rough road where your taxi should be waiting to take you back to Pokhara.