10 days in Nepal: (6) Nagarkot

When: December 2014                      Temp 5-15C

Leica M Monochrom, 50mm APO summicron, M240 35 summilux, Sony A55 70-400mm

 

Our final day in Nepal, saw us take the longer route around the side of the mountain range separating Kathmandu from the south….it was still pretty mountainous though and very scenic.

River Trisuli on our left as we wended our way up and down the mountain

River Trisuli on our left as we wended our way up and down the mountain

 

We were contemplating staying the night on kathmandu or going on to Nagarkot, one of the scenic spots in Nepal.  We were told (erroneously!) that it was ‘just an hour’ from Kathmandu….that hour turned into 2 hours and this was after a 5.5 hour drive to get to kathmandu.  We had hoped to get there to shoot sunset over the Himalaya but clearly we weren’t going to make it in time… neveretheleess we pressed on; it was a bit scary driving up the narrow mountain road with sheer drops…in the dark.   At least we couldn’t see how far we would have dropped…..

Pulling into the Fort resort at 730pm was a huge relief after the long day.  The Fort was one of the very first resorts built in nagarkot with stunning views of the Himalaya.  We were given cottages with lovely views.  After dinner, I wanted to shoot the mountains by starlight….

 

cottage at the Fort

cottage at the Fort

 

the Himalayan range from Nagarkot shot at 10pm by starlight

the Himalayan range from Nagarkot shot at 10pm by starlight on the Leica M240, 35 summilux

 

I much prefer this image taken on the Monochrom with 50 APO

I much prefer this image taken on the Monochrom with 50 APO

 

and again with greater contrast

and again with greater contrast…it was absolutely freezing being out in the cold with the tripod but the combination of stars and snow capped peaks is nice

 

getting up to catch the dawn at 630am was well worth doing...you can climb right up to the top of the main building at the Fort to access a small rooftop terrace to watch the sunrise..it can hold barely 10 people at a pinch

getting up to catch the dawn at 630am was well worth doing…you can climb right up to the top of the main building at the Fort to access a small rooftop terrace to watch the sunrise..it can hold barely 10 people at a pinch

catching the sunrise from Nagarkot

catching the sunrise from Nagarkot

morning glow

morning glow

 

the sun gradually emerged

the sun gradually emerged

 

and lit the clouds up..

and lit the clouds up..

the clouds glowed in the morning sun

the sun began catching the snow capped peaks of the mountains…here the Ganesh range

 

other lodges nearby illuminated by the rising sun

other lodges nearby illuminated by the rising sun

 

and soon the Kathmandu valley was lit

and soon the Kathmandu valley was lit

 

After an hour or so of shooting the sunrise, a quick breakfast and it was time for some birding.  As I only had an hour or so before heading down the mountain to catch my flight, the birding had to be done around the hotel itself.  There is actually a decent amount of greenery on the slopes leading down from the hotel terrace down…..so that’s where we headed.

 

 

walking down past the lowest cottages, you arrive at this llittle terrace..

walking down past the lowest cottages, you arrive at this llittle terrace..and there were some nice birds here…

 

A Himalayan bulbul...the first bird of the morning

A Himalayan bulbul…the first bird of the morning

A Himalayan bulbul..the first bird I saw

Here with its comb erect

 

a Great Barbet again, as in phulchowki

a Great Barbet again, as in phulchowki

 

and then as we descended the slope, we came to a flat topped roof of a derelict but..it was a brilliant platform to view...

and then as we descended the slope, we came to a flat topped roof of a derelict but..it was a brilliant platform to view…

 

a Steppe Eagle was soaring, with the beautiful Himalayan range in the background

a Steppe Eagle soaring, with the beautiful Himalayan range in the background

 

it was just beautiful watching the eagles soarover the Himalaya

it was just beautiful watching the eagles soarover the Himalaya

 

SONY DSC

and then one of them flew in close to us

and then one of them flew in close to us

 

affording us a fly by view

affording us a fly by view

 

before he flew away with the sun light on his wings

before he flew away with the sun light on his wings

 

And just before departing this wonderful place, this blue capped rock thrush appeared to bid us farewell

And just before departing this wonderful place, this blue capped rock thrush appeared to bid us farewell

 

Was the effort to make it to Nagarkot worth it?  An unequivocal yes! My only regret was that we only had 12 hours there.  The Fort Hotel is a perfect venue for viewing and shooting the mountains; the birding was an unexpected bonus….in some ways better than the lowland viewing because of the magnificent backdrop of the Himalaya.  it doesn’t get much better than this!

This is my last post of 6 on my ten day trip to Nepal, a destination with a difference.

Acknowledgement: Nishant Shah for helping me identify the birds

 

 

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