Shanti in Majhikuna
An hour and a half away from Pokhara and I found myself in Begnas Lake (the word ‘tal’ stands for lake). Eran, an Israeli traveller I met had told me about a place called Majhikuna and there I stayed in a cozy guesthouse called Ambrosia. It’s the perfect place to lounge around and get away from the city for a while.Situated right by the lake with no access to roads with traffic, it’s simply peaceful and serene. It was the end of the high season and the beginning of low season during the time I visited, which would explain the silence in this little secluded acre of land.
The panoramic view from where I stand.
Chill guesthouse vibes and chickens on the loose !
Daily sunsets by the lake
When Eran told me about Majhikuna, he described it as this — “a place where Israelis gather to do nothing, chill, and eat really good Israeli food”. When I arrived, it was exactly that. I couldn’t believe there was actually such a place in Nepal, except it wasn’t only meant for Israelis. This is a place that isn’t possible to google about, a place that only exists based on the word of mouth. And the fact that so many Israelis go there because the community is tight and they share and pass on what’s good to fellow travelers. I’m sure it started that way when a community of Israelis started going there, and locals living there begin to explore dishes that appealed to the influx of Israelis and eventually having menus and signages in Hebrew. The locals running restaurants and guest houses could even speak Hebrew!
Eran & i getting creative before breakfast
Funny how the French Breakfast has less to offer than the Simple Breakfast, but costs 25 rupees more. Are they trying to say the French are richer and sillier? Lol
Classic Shakshuka for breakfast !
Majhikuna is so small that there are only approximately 6 guest houses in the area, doubling up as cafes and restaurants, all serving signature dishes such as shakshuka and malai kofta. My favorite spot to eat was with Sarita at Blue Heaven’s, which was just next door to where I lived in Ambrosia. Sarita is extremely friendly, likes to talk to everybody and whips up scrumptious meals ! And Prakash Guesthouse served up the best Hello To The Queen I’ve ever had, though the people aren’t smiling too much, the guesthouse offers a majestic view that overlooks the pristine lake.
It was THE place to be at the point of time. I was looking for a place to get away from bustling traffic noises; somewhere to draw inspiration from, a space for me to gather my thoughts on my own and do absolutely nothing. In the mornings I would wake up as early as the sun rose, get breakfast with a view overlooking the misty lake, watching the beams of sunlight slowly make it’s way through the fog. And I spent the entire day sitting on the hammock, sketching, painting, coloring, listening to music
Majhikuna is a place with no agenda needed. For those who can’t sit still in one spot and channel their inner zen for the whole day, there’s not plenty to do, but enough to keep one occupied.
Renting a boat and rowing across the lake on such still waters is a nice way to relax and unwind. the reflection is practically unreal and taking a dip in the lake (if it’s not too cold) can be extremely refreshing. There’s also an ashram perfect for a Vipassana retreat just above the hills, overlooking the lake. But it’s necessary to contact them beforehand to apply for the course and go for an interview for them to consider your acceptance.
Find out more about the ashram here : http://www.pokhara.dhamma.org/
HOW TO GET THERE
Taking 3 different buses, it was sure as hell confusing and draining to constantly ask for directions. So I’ll be kind and share how. I can’t share the bus numbers because I practically just flagged down every bus coming by and asked if it headed to the next destination. It helps to know where the transfer points are.
From lakeside, take a local bus to the main Pokhara bus station (Privithichoke)
Once at Privithichoke, ask for directions for the bus stop going to Begnas Tal. It should be in front of a huge market with buses stopping along the road sides.Â The bus will end in Begnas bazaar (see map) in a bus terminal. In that bus terminal, ask for the bus that goes to Majhikuna. The bus will drop you off along the main road, going onward up into the hills. Follow the dirt path and keep walking for 10 minutes, following the wooden picket signs with hand painted names of resorts.
By bus & boat:
From Begnas Bazaar, there are boat services that take passengers across the river to Begnas Tal. note that this is a more expensive but picturesque option.
TIP: make sure to have enough Nepali rupees as there is no ATM or money changers in the area. The genius in me didn’t know what to expect and went there with only 500 nepali rupees. I eventually got that sorted out when an Israeli girl exchanged some US currency with me so that I could get by the next couple of days!
In light of the recent earthquake, big thoughts are with Nepal and the people who are suffering from the unfortunate event. Please help by donating what little you can give up, whether it’s monetary contributions or items that may be useful to the needy.
Here’s a list of organizations where you can contribute monetarily, or if you’re in Singapore, there’s a donation drive collecting useful items to aid those affected by the earthquake.
A little goes a long way! Namaste all.