Pokhara, a significant tourism destination in Nepal lies between the Great Himalayas and Mahabharata Range in the central region of the country. It is the only place in the world from where one can enjoy the magnificent view of mountains having elevation above 8000 meters while sitting below 1000 meter above sea level. Out of the 14 highest mountains of the world, which are known as eight thousanders having elevation above 8000 meters, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu can be seen from Pokhara. It is an enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley, which is also gateway to the world famous Annapurna circuit trekking trail.
Places To Visit in Pokhara
Pokhara is blessed with stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. The mesmerizing Machhapuchhre also called Mt. Fishtail dominates the scenery because of its proximity to the valley and can be seen from anywhere in Pokhara. Stretching from east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna 1 to IV and Annapurna South. Further away are seen the giants, Dhaulagiri (8,167m) and Manaslu (8,163m).
Pokhara owes its popularity to the enchanting Phewa Lake, and along its eastern shore has grown the Lakeside or Baidam, a thriving resort town of hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops that allow travelers to relax and enjoy. Phewa Lake is the largest and most beautiful of the three lakes, attracting a large number of visitors who enjoy boating on its placid waters. Boats can be hired, and many visit the island temple of Barahi in the middle of the lake.
Located in the middle of Phewa Lake, Barahi Temple is one the most important monuments in Pokhara. The two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima who represents the female force, Shakti. Sacrifices take place here, and the largest crowds of devotees are seen on Saturdays.
An amazing aspect of Pokhara is the vanishing river, Seti, which goes underground and disappears in many places along its route through the city. At various points Seti is barely 2 m wide but its depth reaches an astonishing 20 m! A good spot for watching the river is Mahendra Pul at Bhimsen Chowk, a bridge near the old Mission Hospital. Here the river can be seen in all its ferocity gushing down the deep gorge that it has carved over millennia.
Locally known as the Patale Chhango (Nether Fall), Devi’s Fall is a fascinating waterfall located about 2 km south-west of Pokhara Airport on the Siddhartha Highway.
This is a large limestone cave at a two-hour walk to the north of Pokhara. Locally known as the House of Bats, it is famous for its stalactites and stalagmites.
World Peace Pagoda:
The World Peace Pagoda can be seen on top of a hill on the southern fringe of Phewa Lake. It has four images of the Buddha facing the four directions. The dome-shaped pagoda is an impressive sight, and its hilltop location commands a great view. It is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna.
The Old Bazaar:
A stark contrast to Lakeside Pokhara, the old Pokhara Bazaar, 4 km away from Phewa Lake, is a traditional bazaar and a colorful gathering place for an ethnically diverse group of traders. The temples and monuments bear a close resemblance to the Newari architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. The old bazaar is also home to one of Pokhara’s most important shrines, the Bindhyabasini Mandir, a white dome-like structure atop a hill.
Pokhara Valley has in recent years grown as a destination for adventure sports such as paragliding and ultra-light aircraft flights. And with boating, bird watching, trekking and mountain biking as other attractions, Pokhara has it all.
Nothing quite compares to the thrill of exploring the valley on a motorbike. With natural beauty abounding around Pokhara, the ride is adventure packed with thrills and excitement. The friendly locals make the trip delightful and one can venture anywhere in the unrestricted valley. All you need for a great time is a good bike and a reliable map.
Pokhara’s Phewa Lake naturally draws visitors towards it. Easily the best means of recreation, boating is a favorite pastime which one can enjoy any time of day. The other two lakes, Begnas and Rupa, are located 15 km out of Pokhara. Less visited but no less beautiful, both these lakes are excellent for boating and fishing.
Go up in an ultra-light aircraft and get a sweeping bird’s eye view of the entire Pokhara Valley. It is an exhilarating ride that allows unhindered views of the mountains and the scenic lakes far below. Ultra-light flights are operated from Pokhara Airport beginning September through June.
Paragliding is perhaps the most rewarding of short duration adventure sports given the fact that there is nothing between you and the scenery unfolding before you. In the distance lie the majestic Himalayas and down below are the villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and jungles, a truly bird’s eye view and a fascinating one at that.
Pokhara has the space and climate suitable for golf, and the sport was introduced here many years ago. There are two world-class golf courses in Pokhara.
It is a delightful way of getting around Pokhara. Rides are organized by operators for valley and the surrounding hills.