Thanks to delay in Tibet permits, I got couple of extra days in Kathmandu. Having travelled so far, it was not fair on my part to sit idle and relax. This flight was always my dream and this was an opportunity to fulfill it.
|Mount Everest and Lhotse as seen from the flight|
What is mountain flight?
It is an hour long flight journey over the majestic peaks of Eastern Himalayan area of Nepal. Airlines like Buddha Air, Yeti air and Sita air provide this service. It is the easiest way to see Mount Everest!! What else you need? Travel agents charge between INR 5,500-6,000 which includes to and fro journey from hotel to airport. The best season is April-May and October-November when weather is clear. It is not very uncommon for the flights to be cancelled due to bad weather.
|Flight that I travelled|
While the experience viewing the snow clad mountains is simply great, the same cannot be said about photographing the beauty. First, a good zoom lens is needed. And you can only take photos from windows. The moisture on the outer side of the windows is a challenge for photographer. Luckily, tourists are allowed inside cockpits (only one person at a time) where it is easier to take snaps.
|Shisha Pangma at the far end|
Within minutes after takeoff from Kathmandu, the flight entered into clouds. The journey was turbulent and visibility was nil. But a new world opened once the flight came out of the clouds!! Snow clad mountains started appearing.
The left most mountain seen was Langtang Lirung (7234M/23734ft) which is in the sub range of the Nepalese Himalayas.
And the right most one was Kanchenjunga (8586M/28169ft) at Nepal-Sikkim border.
Out of 14 eight thousanders (The mountain peaks that are more than 8,000 meters), 6 peaks could be seen from the flight itself.
The peaks are:
Everest (8848 M/29,029 ft)
Cho Oyu (8201M/26,906ft)
Out of other eight thousanders, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu and Annapurna I are in western side of Nepal. The rest (K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Broad peak, Gasherbrum II) are in Karakoram Range that borders Pakistan controlled Kashmir and Aksai Chin, India part of Kashmir under Chinese control.
The most beautiful sight was none other than Mount Everest.
|Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu (on the right side) in the same frame|