The Himalayan Mountains are the highest in the world. Of the thirty one summits over 7,600 m (25,000 ft), 22 rise in Nepal, including Everest and seven other great giants that are over 8,000 m (26,000 ft). If you have limited time here but still wish to see some of the highest peaks and do a little trekking, one option is to take the mountain flight from Pokhara to Jomson, where you can take a short trek into the Annapumas.Muktinath.
Pokhara is the second largest tourist centre after Kathmandu, beautifully situated beside Lake Phewa, and several flights leave here every morning for Jomson. Within 30 km (19 mi) of the town, the elevation changes drastically from 900 m (3,000 ft) to 8,000 m (26,000 ft), and as the small plane takes off it rises sharply, giving you a view of the white, hilltop World Peace Stupa at the edge of town.
The flight is short but spectacular, passing through a narrow corridor between Dhaulagiri, 8,167 m (27,000 ft), and Annapurna, 8,019 m (26,500 ft). You also have wonderful views of Manasulu, Nilgiri and of Machapuchere, with its instantly recognizable fishtail peak. These mountains are seen at eye level, and on a clear day you can see folds and ravines in the rock face as well as a perfect view of the snowline. Sometimes it can be cloudy, but even then you’ll suddenly see a towering snow-capped, glacier-draped pinnacle looming majestically beside you.
On sunny days the plane’s shadow races along the bare, brown rock face beneath you. Scattered mountain villages, paths and rivers snaking through deep valleys are clearly visible. Suddenly the plane dives steeply into a valley, making alarmingly tight turns as it aligns itself to the runway. Don’t worry – moments later you’ll be breathing the pure, crisp air of the high Himalayas.
WHEN TO GO:
March to May and late September to end November
TIME IT TAKES:
About 30 minutes
BEST HIGHLIGHTS OF HIMALAYA MOUNTAINS:
The superb views of some of the Himalayas’ most majestic mountains.
The fortress town of Kagbeni.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Nepalese word ‘himal’ means ‘snow covered mountain’. The Himalayan glaciers, the source of Asia’s largest rivers, are at risk. A UN climate report states that global warming could melt them all by 2035, causing flooding followed by drought In Nepal, India, China, Pakistan and Burma