This is not the easiest resort to reach. You can take a taxi from Pokhara, and then the fit can walk up through the jungle for about three hours, while the less fit bounce up a track in a jeep. Everyone has to walk the final fifty metres – which includes steps. All of which makes it look impossible for anyone with a disability. But, having stayed there, I am sure that – if you let them know you need help – someone will be there to carry you over this particular threshold.
For it is well worth the effort. You won’t find luxury – hot water comes in a bucket. The rooms are spotlessly clean and comfortable. You don’t need a television with views of the mountains to wake up to.
And what views – the sun rises over Annapurna South, slowly stains the snows of Machhapuchhare pink before twinkling on the peaks of Annapurna two and three. Turn a little to the right, and slowly the fields and forests of the Pokhara valley emerge from the dark. Eagles fly high on the thermals. The air is fresh and sweet. You might never want to move again.
The Annapurna Eco-Village straddles the line between Homestay and Resort. It has grown from a family home. Now there are a number of rooms in small cottages, all built around a lovely garden and surrounded with trees and shrubs, and a main building with a dining room and place for relaxing. Yet it continues to be a family business.
It is the brain-child of Bishwo Adhikai. His family have lived in the village for centuries, yet he is not a man to rely on his history. Concerned about the potential impact of climate change he set out to introduce a different experience for both travellers and local people. The centre is entirely solar powered – so there are no power cuts (almost unheard of in Nepal). He cooks on biogas. He filters rainwater through sand until it is safe to drink. He grows so many fruit and vegetables (organically, of course), his plants and trees clinging to the steep hillside, that he has enough to feed all his visitors and occasionally to sell in the local market. He has chickens for eggs, and two cows provide milk. Although, in theory, there are set meal-times, in practice you can ask for anything you want, and when you want it.
What will you do, stuck up there in the mountains? I was more than happy just staring at the view for hours. But for those looking for activities, there is yoga and meditation on site and many walks through these lovely hillsides (if you’re not used to tramping across hills it’s worth bringing stout shoes and maybe walking poles). Plus the company of an extraordinary family who, within a couple of hours, will make you feel that this truly is a home from home.
“You’ll find more details here, on the eco-village website”:http://ecovillagenepal.com/