Sarangkot is a popular destination northwest of Pokhara, and lies just below the top of the mountain, at an altitude of 1600 meters. From Sarangkot, visitors can enjoy views of the Himalayan peaks, as well as Pokhara Valley and Phewa Lake. To reach the top of Sarangkot mountain, you can hike for two to three hours from Pokhara Lakeside, along a steep trail. Or, take a taxi from Pokhara, but you still have to walk for one hour to reach the main viewpoint. Alternatively, you can rent a bike or a motorbike and brave the steep and rocky roads. Sarangkot is also a popular paragliding launching point. Or you can do as I did: ride a horse up Sarangkot.
I met my horse groom and pony in Baidam, near the Royal Palace in Pokhara. Both the groom and I rode our ponies along Lakeside Road. After we passed Hallan Chowk, we kept going along the Baidam Road that led us out of Pokhara. When we reached the Bulandi Khola (valley), we turned right on a dirt road that went up to the villages of Gupha and Mathlang, which sit among rice terraces.
The road narrowed after we passed some yoga and meditation centers. We entered a subtropical rainforest, where some monkeys swinging in the trees greeted us. We followed small paths through the forest. I couldn’t restrain my pony from walking wherever it felt like walking. The groom took my pony’s harness and led it all the way up to the first Himalayan viewpoint. The well-known shape of the Machhapucchare (Fishtail Mountain) finally appeared in the background, as well as other snowy mountains.
The road went further, past Mathlang village. After a short break at the Rock Garden Resort, we continued the ride among yellow mustard fields and whitewashed stone households. Locals were participating in their daily agricultural activities.
When we reached Gothadi village, we left behind the dirt road and climbed up a narrow and steep path, which eventually led us to the top of the mountain ridge. There, we had panoramic views of the great Himalayan peaks, from Dhaulagiri to Machhapuchhare and Annapurna II. The views were breathtaking, and I feel like I was almost touching the famous peaks.
After we came down from the viewpoint, we followed the dirt road that stretched below the top of Sarangkot mountain. Above our heads, dozens of paragliders soared in the air. In Sarangkot village, men plowed the land while women seeded it. All along the route, bunches of bananas with big purple flowers hung from trees.
At a crossroads paved with stones from Phewa Lake we chose the smoother road, and passed through little settlements like Dhandako Gairo and Horedanda. We reached Phewa Lake at the paragliding landing place at Happy Village. Further along, we joined the bikers that were cycling along the lake.
Horse riding to Sarangkot is a great way to see the stunning rural surroundings of the Pokhara Valley and the great Himalayan ranges. It is also an opportunity to challenge yourself, sitting on a horse that walks along the steep paths. It is a demanding activity, but very worthwhile, and will create lasting memories of your time in Pokhara.