This is the fourth post in this batch of Guest-post series on this site. The contributions are from people like you and me but not necessarily from the blogging world. We see, observe and experience many mundane things in our daily life. The flavours are different but the interest is common in these posts … and that is Travel.
Over to Manu Sharma.
– – – – –
Recently I got chance to visit NEPAL. I always wanted to visit Nepal for travel especially after viewing pictures of Nepal’s mighty Himalayas. This time I was lucky enough to visit tourist city of Pokhara which is popular destination in Nepal for trekking in Annapurna Conservation area. Apart from traveling and photography, I love writing postcards and sending to my friends when I visit some new travel destination. Collecting postcards and stamps is also one of my fav hobby.
Picture postcards in a stall
For postcards lovers, Nepal is Heavenly place. Upon arriving in Pokhara the very first thing that excited my eyes apart from glimpse of Himalayas were the beautiful tiny postcard shops mushroomed along the famous Phewa tal (phew lake) of Pokhara. Yes you can see chains of hotels, restaurants, shops, offices also.
Pokhara being tourist hub of Nepal, there’s no doubt why postcard shops are in such large number. But for me it was something truly unique and exciting as I haven’t seen such good shops even around India’s most popular tourist destination- Taj Mahal. I kept wondering as to why we can’t have such shops in India.
I visited few of these shops on the first day of my arrival in Pokhara. These shops sell everything which a first timer in Nepal would love to buy… postcards, books, calendars, souvenirs, magnets, stamps, coins, maps, t shirts etc etc.
I finally did my postcard shopping on my last day after completing my trek. I purchased around 50 postcards in total. Most postcards in Pokhara shops were portraying mighty Annapurna range mountains and street scenes of old Pokhara and some postcards were from Everest region and from Kathmandu area.
I found majority of these postcards relating to trekking as Pokhara itself is a trekking hub of Nepal. The shop from where I purchased postcard had a beautiful cozy Café. The shop owner was a nice lady who asked me to sit in cafe and write down my postcards with ease. I wasn’t sure about where to get postal stamps and about how much a stamp will cost for sending postcard to India, Europe and USA. To my surprise the shop owner told me that I can easily get stamps in her shop as all postcard selling shops also sell postal stamps as city’s only post office was located in old Pokhara region which far from central lake side area.
Some more Picture postcards
I sat inside the cozy cafe and they had free wi fi service too. Luckily I had my personal diary with me in which I had written down addresses of people to whom I wanted to send postcards. After writing messages I purchased postal stamps and glued it on postcards.
Postage to India cost Nepali Rs.10/-(which is equal to Indian Rs.6), postage to Europe cost Nepali Rs. 25/-( Indian Rs.15/-) and postage for USA cost Nepali Rs.30/-(India Rs.18/-).
The cost for an average size postcard was Nepali Rs.10/- and for large size rectangular postcard it was Nepali Rs.20/-. I loved the large sized rectangular panoramic postcards of Nepal’s mountains very much. The quality of postcard material was excellent. There were so many stunning panoramic views of Nepal’s mountains reflecting in these postcards. I couldn’t resist in buying some dozens of these panoramic postcards for my personal collection.
After finishing writing and fixing stamps on the postcards I was asked by my shop owner to put these postcards inside a small letter box in her shop. She told me that there in Pokhara almost all shops have such small letter boxes for tourists to drop in their letters, postcards which later are delivered to city’s main post office. I really appreciated this initiative.
Beautiful way to promote tourism !
I really felt that this is such an excellent way to promote tourism in Nepal by promoting postcard culture in such way. Writing up a postcard is popular thing with western tourists visiting countries around the world and I found Pokhara’s postcard shops perfect for such purpose, not only one can send a postcard but one can send a book, calendars, magnets, flags, notebooks, pens, pencils, key chains and so many other small memorable souvenirs to family and friends back home.
Manu Sharma is a university student doing his MA in International Relations. Living in Hoshiarpur city in Punjab. He loves photography and traveling, apart from collecting postcards & stamps. 🙂
If you want to travel with me on my journeys, I suggest you to join me on my Facebook travel page and check out my Twitter account.
Beautiful travelogue. There was a time in my life when I too used to collect picture post cards from different countries.
What an insight to the postcard story. I haven’t seen these kind of shops in any of the South East Asian countries also.
I wish we had shops like this in India too.
Nice article. Keep writing.
Thats a good story. I do remember having seen such shops in Nepal. I have seen souvenir shops selling posts cards etc in abundance in other parts of the world too. But the “Post Service” is a novel idea.
Nearest I saw was in Pushkar where you could post your letters in some of the numerous shops for a “fee”.
I love Nepal- and Pokhara especially. Yes, you are right – sending a postcard while on our travels is the best way to promote the places we visit. What wonderful selections they had there for you!! I’m sure you sent one to Nisha- right?
@Nisha: I’m glad you enjoyed my article. What really made these shops unique was the fact you can easily sit down inside Cafe of shop, get all the necessary stationary to write a postcard, purchasing stamps, fixing the stamps and finally post these postcards in an letter box situated in the shop itself. I love the quality of postcards too. I really wish Tourism Department of our country should open up such shops especially around most popular tourist destinations in India.
@Connie: I was in awe to look around so many postcards around me. I wrote my postcards in hush hush manner on my last day in Pokhara and i really hope all the postcards arrive to their destinations soon:)
@Arvi: i second that, that’s what i liked about these shops-they provide post service too. Shop owner had sheets of stamps of different denomination and she easily guided me as to how much stamp will be required to send a postcard to India, Europe & USA. Main post office is located very far away from downtown Pokhara, so most of postcard selling shops sell stamps and have “letter boxes” inside their shops when one can drop in letters and postcards which they deliver to main post office later on.
@PN Subramanian: You should continue with that and Nepal is truly heaven for postcard collectors:D
Great write up Manu!
Wonderful post, Manu Sharma!!! and Nisha, great idea!!
@Indrani & Anu- Thank you 🙂
It’s really interesting, I had completely another view of Nepal in my head.
And I even found my card from you in the photos. 😉
Nice post!! I recently blogged about Nepal too 🙂
Can you share what you had in mind?
Can we have the link please?
wow!! thats awesome.. makes me want to go to Nepal… and reading a blog from another India.. thats cool.. =) i wonder how many postcards you have..??? i just started collecting a few months.. and damn it is an expensive hobby.. 🙂
Different book stores in Pokhara gave me different postage rates to India. One said Rs15 and one said Rs25. But I like the large postcard selection in Pokhara.
Expensive but very interesting hobby. 🙂
Nobody will give lesser rate so the one charging more is pocketing some money in the name of stamps.
How long does it take for postcards to get delivered! I sent a set out from Kathmandu on February 5, 2015. It’s been 20 days…but not one has been delivered yet. I had sent some to India, some to the UK and some to the US…