If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, then Pokhara is its center of adventure. An enchanting city nested in a tranquil valley, it is the starting point of many of Nepal’s most popular trekking and rafting destinations.Pokhara (population 95,000) is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambience of peace and magic.Pokhara is a part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
Clearly the most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Stretching from east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I to IV and Annapurna South. Although highest among them is Annapurna I (8,091 m), it is Machapuchhre which domimates all others in this neighbourhood. The fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain.
Phewa lake, the second largest lake in the Kingdom roughly measuring 1.5 by 4 km, is the center of all attractions in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of the resort town. The eastern shore, popularly known as Lakeside or Baidam, is the favourite home base for travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.
Begnas Lake & Rupa Lake are located about 15km from Pokhara at the end of a road that turns north from the highway to Kathmandu. Divided by forested hillock called Panchabhaiya Danda, the lakes offer the perfect nature retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing opportunities can be had here.
Built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, this two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protectress diety representing the female force Shakti. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the diety.
World Peace Pagoda
A massive Buddhist stupa, is situated on top oa a hill on the southern shore of Phewa Lake. Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range and Pokhara city. You can get there by crossing the lake by boat and then hiking up the hill.
Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs completely underground at places. Amazingly, at certain points the river appears hardly two meters wide. But its depth is quite beyond imagination – over 20 meters! Mahendra Pul, a small bridge near the old Mission Hospital, provides a perfect view of the river’s dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.
Seti Gorge and the Green Canyon
The View Point of The Fulabri Resort offers an unrivaled panorama of the Annapurna range with the peaks of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna III, Annapurna I and Annapurna South extending from right to left. A splendid vista of the Seti Gorge, a deep and narrow gorge cut by the Seti river, and the Green Canyon spreads out below.
Locally known as Patale Chhango, Devi’s Fall (also known ad Devil’s, Devin’s or David’s) is an awesome waterfall lying about 2km south-west of Pokhara airport on the highway to Tansen. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin, David …) was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.
is a sacred cave located near Devi’s Fall. The cave is almost 3km long. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages. This cave holds special value for hindus since a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva is preserved here in the condition it was discovered. An entrance fee of Rs. 5 is charged, and taking pictures inside the cave is prohibited.
Another of Nature’s wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the House of Bats, an apt name for it. A two-hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.
Colonel Jimmy Roberts, the father of trekking in Nepal, collected Danphe pheasants during his trekking and mountaineering forays into the Annapurna mountains. He maintained an aviary for these colorful and sanguine birds which he later left in the care of The Fulbari Resort. The Danphe is the national bird of Nepal.
The Old Bazaar
Pokhara’s traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu valley. Located about 4km from the Lakeside, the market’s original charm is alive and well.
Bindhyabasini temple is the center of religious activity in the old bazaar. It is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, take on a festive local flavor.
located between the airport and Mahendra Pul, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as the Gurung, Thakali and the Tharu are attractively displayed. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 AM to 5 OM. Entrance fee is Rs. 5, and there is an extra of Rs. 10 for cameras.
also known as the Natural History Museum, is located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar. Managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds and models of wildlife as well as samples of various precious and semi-precious stones and volcanic rocks. Open daily, except Saturdays and holidays, from 9 am to 5pm. Entrance is free.
Pokhara’s diverse natural wonders make it an excellent setting for adventure sports. Sailing or paddle boating on Phewa lake’s emerald expanse is something no visitor to Pokhara would like to miss. Boats and boatmen can be hired on an hourly or daily basis or you can row yourself.
is your dream come true. Fly freely amongst the magnificient himalaya with eagles and griffons to join you as you soar over lakes and villages. Bring your own equipment. Sarangkot is the jumping off point for paragliders.
With a landscape varying from the even lakeside to small hills with the most famous view in the country, Pokhara provides a magnificient opportunity for sight-seeing on horseback. Some hotels keep a stable of ponies while others help you hire them. Various outlets neat the lakeside also rent out ponies and provide guides.
Pokhara is the starting and/or finishing point for some of the most popular treks including the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom Trek. It also offers a number of short treks for those who cannot opt for long, challenging ones. The most popular destination among them is Sarangkot (1,592 m), a former Kaski fort lying atop hill five km west of the old bazaar. Kahundanda (1,520 m), to the north-east of Pokhara, has a ruined fort on the summit as well as a view tower with spectacular scenery.Another must for nature lovers is Gahchowk, a five-hour walk to the north of Pokhara. This typical Gurung village is the site of one of the region’s oldest settlements. The ancient fort of nuwakot, 15 kn south of Devil’s Fall, is also ideal for savoring the splendors of nature. Naudanda is a five-hour walk and a favorite with those wishing to get away from it all.
Pokhara is a valley lying at an elevation of 900m to the west of Kathmandu.AccessThere are daily flights (30 minutes) and bus services (200 km, 5-6 hours) between Kathmandu and Pokhara. You can also hire a car or travel by helicopter.Local TransportTaxis and Local TransportSeasonTemperatures average a high of 30 degrees Celcius in summer and a low of 8 degrees in winter. The rainy season lasts June-September.