On top of the world in Mustang!

For the last 3 weeks I have been lucky enough to have escaped the British stormy season and been basking in Nepali sunshine in the city of Pokhara.

This time of year is generally quite quiet for me as a childrens portrait photographer, so it is my time for travel! And trust me I make the most of it!

Nepal is easily one of my favourite places to travel to in the world, I have been a few times and every time I am overwhelmed with the warmth and generosity of spirit! I f you ever get a chance trust me you will never forget!

It takes effort to get to some of the locations the I like to take images, Nepal generally is 2 flights and long lay overs and a ridiculously over complicated visa system.

That said it is completely worth the tired and weary few days to arrive at a very beautiful and welcoming country.

I have been lucky enough to visit a few times (4 so far) mostly for NGO’s and worthwhile charities, I even had a very long stay of 3 months in 2016 so now every time I arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport I feel like I am at home.

For this particular trip I was training with Photojourney a photography training adventure business as one of their primary leaders for the cultural option, where we visited some of the wonderful local villages and cultural sites around Pokhara.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing group of photographers and together we visited some of the wonderful local villages and cultural sites in and around Pokhara.

We got to experience atmospheric temples, villages, beautiful lakes visit schools all from our base, the luxurious Temple Tree Hotel in Pokhara.

We will be heading back out there again this year for another similar trip if you would like to join us in October.

The trip to Nepal is a long one, so it made sense for me to expand my trip to explore another area that I had never been before, a few of the other ladies on Photojourney also had the same idea and we booked a guide and a couple of porters to carry our gear and headed off up to our first stop Jomsom, Mustang

We had expected a 7-8 hour journey however the reality was gruelling 14 hour bumpy and frankly quite terrifying journey.

I mean look at the timings! Our journey time almost doubled firstly our car overheated 4 times due to it never making out of second gear (this was swiftly repaired with and iPhone charger cable!) The exhaust fell off whilst crossing a bridge and most of this occurred in the dark on a road with a sheer drop to one side! (maybe it was better we did it in the dark?)

We arrived in the dark at around 11:30 and hadn’t even thought of the possibility that there would be nowhere open for us to stay?? Eventually however after some loud door banging we were welcomed by a very friendly family run hostel next to Jomsom airport.

Some hot noodle soup and a cold Everest beer and we all had almost forgotten about the journey.

The flight would have only taken 30 minutes! I think that this might be a good option for next time! And trust me I will be returning! When we awoke after a cold night the views were just breathtaking!

Jomsom, also known as Dzong-Sampa or New Fort, is the centre of Gharpajhong Gaunpalika and former independent village development committee at an altitude of about 2,700 metres in Mustang District, Nepal. It extends over both the banks of the Kali Gandaki River.

From Jomson our trek took us upto 3750 meters to one of the highest Vishnu temples in the world Muktinath. When we arrived at our tea house the temperature had dropped considerably and the snow was falling heavily, making the view even more magical.

The colourful prayer flags and blessing bells where coated in a dusting of white which was wonderful to capture. The temple itself is considered one of the holiest and a symbolic pilgrimage for both Hindus and Budhists, and stands majestically looking over the Muktinath Valley.

Famous for the 108 water spring taps that bless its visitors the temple is thought to be the only one where all 5 elements are represented, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky.

From here we trekked down through small villages and teahouses towards the beautiful town of Kagbeni, where we spent an enjoyable evening learning Nepali filk songs and dances with our hosts. (thankfully there is no evidence of this as after a few Nepali Beers I am sure we weren’t particularly good!).

From Kagbeni we headed then to Marpha which was our last stop! With our very tired feet we rested before the 8 hour long drive back down into to Pokhara!

After such big adventure it was a real culture shock to come back to the UK especially now we are unable to leave the country I feel very luck to have been on such an adventure at the beginning of the year with such fantastic people!

I will hopefully be returning to Nepal at the end of the year if we are able!

If you would like to come along to any of my new Travel Photography Workshops do please let me know if you are interested! :)And I will let you know as soon as I am able to give you more details!

At the moment we have Tanzania, Nepal (Mustang), and Cambodia in the planning with dates to be confirmed! Ready to Launch in 2021!

Saraya x

Fujifilm, Nepal, photography training, Travel Photography

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