Discovering Pokhara: Nepal’s Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal’s Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Welcome to the enchanting world of Discovering Pokhara: Nepal’s Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts. Nestled in the heart of Nepal, Pokhara is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and adventure. In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the diverse landscapes, unique wildlife, and exciting activities that make Pokhara a haven for nature enthusiasts. Many Indian tourists who visit Nepal feel satisfied that they have ‘discovered’ Nepal by spending two or three days in Kathmandu and seeing the scenic spots near the city. On the other hand, there is also a segment of tourists who find Kathmandu the gateway to Nepal and spend most of their time in other, less crowded places in Nepal. Pokhara is one of them.

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts
LAC PHEWA TAL, REGION DE POKHARA, NEPAL.

 

The Diverse Legends Behind Nepal’s Name

There is more than one folklore story about how Nepal came to be named. According toDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts Pashupatipurana, this land belonged to a sage named ‘Ne’, where he used to sit and perform penance. He was the patron of the entire region. Hence, the region protected by Sage ‘Ne’ came to be known as ‘Nepal’. According to Buddhist scriptures, there was a huge lake called Manjushri many years ago on the land of present-day Nepal. The sage known as the “Bodhisattva” used his heavenly ability to empty this lake. According to Manjushri, an Adi-Buddha named ‘Ne’ was the protector of the same region, hence the name Nepal. According to other historical references, the name Nepal appears to have been derived from the cowherd Nepa, while Tibetan folklore referred to the region as the home of wool (Ne).

A Journey Through Nepal’s Rich Historical TapestryDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

The timeline of the history of the Nepal region is about 3000–3500 years. In ancient times, cowherds and Mahipalaks ruled the Nepal region, which was limited to the Kathmandu Valley region only. From the 7th or 8th century, Kirata kings ruled Kathmandu for millennia. Later, the Lichchavi rulers of North India and then the rulers of the Simon and Kuri dynasties established separate kingdoms in Nepal and ruled over here. Around 1200 AD, during the Malla dynasty, the royals built famous temples and palaces in Nepal. During their 500-year reign, Nepal saw an unprecedented development of literature, music, painting, drama, etc. In the 18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah, an influential and visionary king of the Gorkha dynasty, conquered all the kingdoms of Nepal and made Nepal an organized nation.

Pokhara: The Ancient Trade Hub turned Tourist ParadiseDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Located 200 kilometers north-west of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, Pokhara has been an important post on the India-China trade route since ancient times. By the mid-twentieth century, the rest of Nepal was almost isolated from Pokhara due to the lack of paved roads. After the construction of the Siddhartha Highway in 1968, the valley of Pokhara was connected to Kathmandu and gradually became the leading tourist center of Nepal with the growing tourism.

Pokhara: A Himalayan Gem by the Seti Gandaki RiverDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

The city of Pokhara, the largest in terms of geographical area and second only to Kathmandu in terms of population, is situated on the banks of the river Seti Gandaki. The city is encircled by the majestic peaks of the Himalayas and sits 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) above sea level. The main three of these, which are among the world’s top-ten peaks, are Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Manaslu (8,163 m), and Annapurna-I (8,091 m). The view of all three can be enjoyed from Pokhara Valley. Here is a list of handpicked beauty spots from the many places to enjoy in Pokhara.

(1) Phewa Lake and Tal Barahi Temple

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Phewa Lake is the most attractive sight in Pokhara, known as the Lake City of Nepal. About five kilometers long and one kilometer wide, Phewa is the second-largest lake in all of Nepal. The colorful donga-type shikara boats on the shores add to the beauty of this lake. Early in the morning or late in the evening, sit on the shore and enjoy the cool breeze from the lake and the Himalayan peaks along with it. The viewing experience is memorably ethereal. Especially the Himalayan Macchapoochhare (Matsyapoochha or Mount Fishtail) peak, which looks very attractive and captivating as it looks most distinctly.Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

One can take a boat ride in the Phewa lake to the small island in the middle, where there is a temple in the Barahi (Varahi) form of goddess Durga. The two-storied temple is shaped like a Buddhist pagoda. A beautiful combination of woodwork and rock art is seen in it. Kulmandhan Shah, King of Nepal and an ardent devotee of Goddess Varahi, built this temple around 1864 AD. Both Hindus and Buddhists visit the Barahi temple. Apart from boating, many other adventure sports activities can be enjoyed in Phewa Lake, while the dense forest of Rani Forest adjacent to the lake is an ideal place for trekking enthusiasts.

(2) Patale Chhango Falls

Generally, each waterfall cascades down a high hill or mountain ledge before flowing into an openDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts valley. In this regard, Patale Chango Falls in Pokhara is a wonder. Here, the water of the Phewa lake rushes into a deep gorge as a spring called Pardi Khola and then disappears into a natural underground tunnel about 100 feet long. Hence, it is called Patale Chango (waterfall of the abyss) in the local language.

On July 31, 1961, a Swiss couple went to take a bath in Patale Chango Falls, and a woman named Devi drowned in the waterfall. Patale Chango is also known as Devi’s Falls after this incident.

During the monsoon, the water supply at the falls increases drastically. The roar of the water flowing along the ravines is so loud that it fills the ears with awe. The temple of Gupteshwar Mahadev is located at the place where the water of the waterfall re-emerges after traveling underground for about a hundred feet. Apart from the temple, the caves here are also worth visiting, for which a guide should be taken.

(3) Sarangkot: Gallery of HimalayadarshanDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Situated on the 1,60,5,250-foot-high mountain, just 5 km from Pokhara, Sarangkot village is an ideal spot to view peaks like Annapurna, Manalu and Dhaulagiri. Tourists also flock here to enjoy sunrise and sunset views. Years ago, there was a fort called Sarangkot, only dilapidated remains of which can be seen today. Trekking enthusiasts can reach the top of Sarangkot by trekking one and a half kilometers from the foot of the mountain. Trekking is a great option if you want to see Pokhara’s birdlife and natural beauty up close. Apart from this, one can also experience ziplining and paragliding in Sarangkot.

(4) Vishwashanti Buddhist StupaDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

A white-colored Buddhist Stupa built in 1973 on a hill called Anadu, about 7 kilometers from Phewa Lake, has a height of about 115 feet and a girth of 344 feet. There are different Buddha statues in the four directions of the form, each of which has been gifted from Japan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The fourth statue, commissioned by Nepal, depicts Gautama Buddha as a child. Additional information: Lumbini in Nepal is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

Shanti Stupa can also be reached by trekking one and a half kilometers from Phewa Lake on the way to Rani Forest. From the high ground here, one can see a nice view of the Himalayan mountain range and Phewa Lake.

(5) Museum providing information about mountaineering

This museum, established by Nepal Mountaineering Association, provides information about theDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts history of the Himalayan mountain range, the major peaks and the expeditions undertaken to reach them, the interesting and exciting adventures of the mountaineers, the folk life and culture of the hill people of Nepal, the forest and wildlife, etc. A collection of different mountaineering equipment is a must-see. The entire museum is spread over three large rooms, so it takes a few hours to explore it.

Rarely is there such a large collection of historic photographs of expeditions to scale the towering peaks of the Himalayas in another place. Apart from this, a rich library is also located here for reading enthusiasts. A 9.5-meter-long (31-foot-high) replica of Manaslu peak has been erected in the museum premises for those who want to have a very basic mountaineering experience. In addition, a 21 meter/ 68 feet high artificial cliff has also been built, on which one can experience rock climbing.

Museum Timings: 8 am to 6 pm (365 days)

Entry Fee: Nepalese Rupees 250/-

Website: www.internationalmountainmuseum.org

(6) Mahendra and Chamere CavesDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

A visit to the Mahendra caves and Chamere (bat) caves, located at a distance of about 10 km from Pokhara, remains an exciting experience for tourists. Named after King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal, Mahendra Cave is made of limestone. This unique cave with Stalagmite (a vertical pillar of limestone) Stalactites (falling pillars) is found in very few places in Nepal. Mahendra Cave is open to tourists except Tuesdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Even at midday sunlight cannot penetrate inside the cave which is about 200 meters long. So the cave is home to bats and other nocturnal animals and birds. The area around Mahendra Cave is covered with enchanting greenery. A bat cave (local name: Chamare Cave) is located near by, which also has a permanent habitat of thousands of bats. If you want to know the dark nature of the cave and how the life is like there, you have to visit both the caves.

(7) Pokhara is the mecca of trekking

For trekking enthusiasts, pokhra is like a heaven as like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Pokhra is the starting point of many trekking routes like Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Dhorepani Pun Hills, Mardi Himal, khopra Danda, Dhampus. The most famous of all is the Annapurna Base Camp trek, which is about ten days. Many trekkers come here to enjoy the privilege of seeing the towering Annapurna peak from up close. The known track is forty kilometers long and can be completed in 3-4 days.Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

During this tour, one can see the Himalayan mountain range, besides paddy fields, slopes covered with pink flowers of Rhododendron, river gorges, many waterfalls etc. There are several villages in between, where trekkers can also observe the local culture up close. At an altitude of 3,210 meters beyond Dhorepani, Poon Hill is also known for its majestic views of the glaciers.

Begnas Lake is the second largest lake in Pokhara Valley after Kewa Lake. Here one can enjoy the magnificent scenery of Himalayan peaks along with enjoying activities like boating, catharking, paddle boating. There are also many resorts for tourists who want to spend more time on the shores of Begnas lake. Apart from this there is no shortage of places to see and visit in Pokhara.Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

A visit to Gorkha Memorial Museum, Vindhyavasini Temple, Cahun Danda View Point, Tibetan Refugee Camp, Pokhara Field Museum, Annapurna Butterfly Museum, Srigaden Buddhist Math, Bhimsen temple, Gupteshwari temple etc. can be added to Pokhara tour. Pokhara is a major attraction for adventure sports enthusiasts, as sports like kayaking, bungee jumping, zipline, paragliding, paramotoring, river rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, microlight flying, hang gliding and sky diving can be enjoyed there. This is why Pokhara is called the adventure capital of Nepal. If you want to enjoy all these adventure sports, enjoy the immense beauty of nature and experience peace at the same time, instead of taking a one-day flight visit to Pokhara, you should spend a few days there.

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal’s Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Unveiling the Serenity

Pokhara, often referred to as “Nepal’s Paradise,” is a city that leaves every visitor spellbound. The serene Phewa Lake, surrounded by the majestic Annapurna and Machapuchare mountain ranges, is a sight to behold. The tranquility of the lake and the reflection of the mountains on its clear waters create a picturesque canvas that nature enthusiasts can’t resist.

Embracing the Adventure

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts Are you an adventure seeker? Pokhara has you covered! The city is renowned for paragliding, offering a bird’s-eye view of the magnificent landscapes below. With numerous trekking trails nearby, including the famous Annapurna Circuit, Pokhara is a gateway to epic adventures.

An Abode for Birdwatchers

For birdwatchers, Pokhara is a paradise of a different kind. The serene surroundings of Phewa Lake and the lush forests house a plethora of avian species. Keep your binoculars ready to spot vibrant kingfishers, graceful herons, and elusive eagles.

The World of Flora and Fauna

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts
A white-throated kingfisher bird stands on a tree trunk in Pokhara

Pokhara is not only about breathtaking vistas but also a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The Annapurna Conservation Area, adjacent to Pokhara, is home to numerous endangered species, including the elusive snow leopard and the red panda. You might even encounter some of these remarkable creatures during your visit.

The Cultural Melting Pot

While nature takes center stage in Pokhara, the city is also a cultural melting pot. The Gurkha Museum, International Mountain Museum, and various monasteries provide insights into the region’s history and traditions.

Adventure Beyond Land

Venture into the depths of Pokhara’s water bodies with thrilling activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. The pristine waters offer an entirely new perspective on the city’s natural beauty.

Where to StayDiscovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

As you plan your adventure in Pokhara, make sure to book accommodations near Phewa Lake. Numerous lakeside resorts and cozy guesthouses offer picturesque views and a serene ambiance.

Savory Delights

Nepalese cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, and Pokhara is no exception. Savor traditional momos, dal bhat, and aromatic curries at local eateries. Dining by the lakeside with the Himalayas as your backdrop is an experience in itself.

Festivals and Events

If you’re fortunate to visit during a local festival, such as Dashain or Tihar, you’ll witness the vibrant celebrations and traditional rituals that are an integral part of Pokhara’s culture.

Weather Tips

The best time to visit Pokhara is during the autumn and spring seasons, when the weather is pleasant, and the views are at their most breathtaking.

 

FAQs

  1. What is the suitable time to visit Pokhra?
    September to November and March to May are the best times. March to May is the best time to enjoy adventure sports.
  2.  Is Pokhara suitable for all age groups?

Absolutely! Pokhara offers a wide range of activities suitable for all age groups, from peaceful lakeside strolls to adventurous treks.

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts
Views of the town of Pokhara from Sarangkot, Nepal

     3. What is the mean of transportation?
From Ahmedabad/Mumbai via Delhi Kathmandu there are daily flights to Pokhar from local airlines like Yeti, Buddha and Seamric. If there is an option of time and if you want to save travel expenses, you can reach Pokhara by taking a 7-hour journey by taxi bus from Kathmandu. Indians do not need visa to visit Nepal, it is advisable to carry passport and other identification documents.

   4. What are the options for accommodation?
There are many options for staying in Pokhara, from home-stays to five-star hotels. Apart from five star hotels like Phulbari Resort and Pokhara Grand, one can choose from many options such as Hotel Queen’s Park Hotel Island, Hotel Portland, Hotel City Inn, etc.

 Nepal Tourism Department website : www.welcomenepal.com

 5. What are the must-visit places in Pokhara?
Don’t miss Phewa Lake, Sarangkot, the World Peace Pagoda, and the International Mountain Museum.

6. Is it safe to paraglide in Pokhara?
Paragliding in Pokhara is generally safe, with experienced pilots and well-maintained equipment. However, always choose a reputable operator for your safety.

7. Are there any wildlife tours in Pokhara?
Yes, you can join guided wildlife tours to spot unique animals and birds in the Annapurna Conservation Area.

8. What’s the best way to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu?
You can either take a short flight or enjoy a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

9. Can I find vegetarian food in Pokhara?
Certainly! Many restaurants in Pokhara offer a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Plus know this:Discovering Pokhara: Nepal's Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

The currency in this country is Nepalese rupee. Indian rupees are also accepted in most places.

Taxis are readily available for sightseeing around Pokhara. Apart from this, motorbikes and bicycles can also be rented from Lakeside.

The most popular dish of Nepal is momos, which are available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Apart from this, the food here mainly has a fusion of Indian and Tibetan flavors. Pokhara has a number of restaurants like Moondance, Lotus Corner, Rosemary Kitchen, Byanjan etc.

Conclusion

Discovering Pokhara: Nepal’s Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts is an experience like no other. From its stunning natural beauty to thrilling adventures and rich cultural heritage, Pokhara has something to offer every traveler. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to this hidden gem in the heart of Nepal. Along with visiting Pokhara, one can go to places like Lumbini, Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Janakpur, Mustang, Bhaktapur, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Apart from this, Chittawan National Park for the wildlife lovers and Upper Mustang, Jomsom-Muktinath, Manaslu Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp etc. are plenty of options for the trekking enthusiasts.


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