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Pokhara

The biggest tourist destination in Nepal after Kathmandu, Pokhara is a subtropical valley surrounded by lofty Himalayan peaks. The name Pokhara has been derived from pokhri, a word in Nepali signifying pond. In earlier times the place was a big lake. Today in addition to the town, there are three major lakes namely, Phewa, Rupa, and Begnas here. Due to its nearness to the Himalayan peaks, Pokhara is home to some of the most beautiful vistas in the world. The abrupt changes in the altitude makes the place even more exciting.

Pokhara does not have a long history. It was founded in the 16th century by Gurungs. The construction of two national highways in 1970’s marked the phase of modern development here and in no time it became a well-known hippie hideout. Today, Pokhara is the centre of river rafting industry and starting point of some of the most exciting treks besides being an important administrative and commercial centre in Nepal. The town landscape has changed a lot in the last few decades and a concrete jungle has came up to satisfy needs of ever increasing number of visitors. But Pokhara has still maintained its small town image that is best experienced during the off season.

Sightseeing:

Phewa Lake:

The second-largest lake in Nepal, the Phewa Lake is also the most important landmark of Pokhara. The Lakeside here is the centre of the activity. It covers almost half of the eastern shores of Phewa Lake. Most of the hotels, restaurants, shopping and souvenir stores and recreational centres are located here. Take a stroll along the shores of the lake to get yourself acquainted with the main tourist district of Pokhara. You can also enjoy boating, fishing and swimming in this beautiful lake.

View Point (Pokhara):

Pokhara is an excellent place to view the beauty of majestic Himalayan peaks. Annapurna (7129 m), the 10th highest peak in the world is situated just 24 km away from here. You can spend hours just appreciating its splendour. However Annapurna is not the only range to appreciate from Pokhara. The northern skyline is full of major peaks like Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Machhapuchhare (6997 m), and Lamjung (6983 m). These peaks coupled with Annapurna make Pokhara a unique place in that from here you can enjoy such magnificent views in the comforts of sub-tropical surroundings.

Begnas Tal And Rupa Tal:

Phewa is not the only lake in Pokhara but one of the seven lakes in the valley though not all are as large as Phewa. Rupa and Begnas Lakes are among the larger lakes situated approximately 15-km east of Pokhara. Both of the lakes are twin bodies of water separated by a low ridge and worthy of half-day visit.

Temple Of Tal Varahi:

In the middle of the Phewa Lake, on an island, is located Tal Varahi Temple. You can take any of the colourful boats available from Varahi Ghat to reach the temple.

Bindyabasini Temple:

The temple is oldest structure in Pokhara built by Newari traders in the 16th century. You will have to negotiate a long flight of steps to reach the temple, whose main shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga. There is a new Shiva Temple and a small Buddhist monastery at the base of the temple.

Mahendra Cave:

A limestone cave with stalagmites and stalactites, Mahendra Cave is an important religious as well as natural attraction. You can see images of many Hindu gods and goddesses on the walls. The images are said to have been formed naturally.

Deep Gorges:

Seti river flowing across Pokhara has created many gorges, most important being the Seti gorge. The fascinating vistas of these deep and narrow gorges can be best viewed from Mahendra Pool.

Devi’s Fall:

Known locally as Patale Chhango or Hell’s Fall, this fall has many other names including David or David’s Fall. The fall derives its source from the Phewa lake’s water that flows out at the south end into the Pardi Khola, a stream which shoots down suddenly into a hole. Situated one kilometre from Pokhara, the fall has some good pre-monsoon swimming places to its left and behind.

World Peace Pagoda:

The pagoda is situated across the Phewa lake on top of the hill. To reach the Pagoda you will have to row to Hotel Fewa and then take the trail behind it to the top.

Tibetan Refugee Camp:

Situated across the road from Devi’s Fall, the Tashling Tibetan Village has been set up by the Tibetan refugees, whose primary occupation is selling jewellery and souvenirs. There is a shed where wool is dyed and spun for carpets and a Tibetan Children’s Village for orphaned Tibetan children in Nepal.

Excursions From Pokhara:

Sarangkot:
Sarangkot is one of the highest viewpoints in Pokhara, presenting magnificent sights of the valley and Himalayan peaks. The 1592-metre summit is crowned by ruins of a kot or stone fortress of Kaski Kingdom. From here you can get the stunning sights of Phewa Tal, Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna range, and Machhapuchhare. For a clear view, get up pretty early or stay overnight in any of the lodges just below the summit.

Seti River:
Seti in the local language means white and this river couldn’t have a better name. The milky waters of Seti River flowing across Pokhara make it a sight of attraction here. The reason behind the river being white is the limestone rich soil which after mixing with the water changes its colour.

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