An enchanting Himalayan valley
If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, then Pokhara is its center
Pokhara (population 95,000) is a resort city of remarkable beauty.
The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificent summit of Machhapuchhre rising behind it creat
an ambiance of peace and magic. Pokhara is part of a once vibrant caravan route extending between
India and Tibet. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs wwho have earned worldwide fame as
Gurkha soldiers. Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakalis are other major communities here.
PLACES TO SEE
Mountain views. Clearly the most stunning of
Pokhara’s sights is the spectaclar panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop.
The Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I to IV and Annapurna South. Althogh the highest among
them is Annapurna I (8,091 m), it is Machhapchhre (6,977 m) which dominates all others in this
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 favorite home base for
travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.
Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake are located
about 15 km from Pokhara at the end of a road that turns north from the highway to Kathmandu.
Divided by a forested hillock called Panchabhaiya Danda, the lakes offer the perfect nature
retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing opportunities can be
Barahi Temple. Built on island in Phewa Lake,
this two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protectress deity
representing the female force. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying animals
across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.
World Peace Stupa, a massive Buddhist stupa,
is situated on top of 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 superbviews of the Annapurna
Himal range and Pokhara city.
Seti Gandaki. 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
Fulbari Resort offers an unrivaled panorama of the Annapurna range with 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.
Devi’s Fall. Locally known as Patale Chhango,
Devi’s Fall (also known as Devil’s, Devin’s or David’s) is an awesome water fall lying
about 2 km 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 disappeared down into
an underground passage beneath the fall.
Gupteswar Gupha is a sacred cave locaed near Devi’s Fall. The
cave is almost 3 km 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.
Mahendra Gupha. 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.
Robert’s Aviary. Colonel Jimmy Roberts, the
father of trekking in Nepal, collected pheasants during his trekking and mountaineering
forays into the Annapurna mountains. He maintained an aviary for these colorful and
sanguine birds which was acquired by The Fulbari Resort & Spa.
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 4 km from 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 Goddess Bhagawati, yet another
manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offir a fine picnic area, and on
Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, take on a festive