Pokhara is one of the top destinations in terms of tourist attractions, activities, and facilities. There are many sites that tourists can visit within a small valley. This region is truly gifted by nature with its mountains, lakes, hills, caves, rivers, and waterfalls. In terms of culture as well, Pokhara is a colorful garden. You can find lots of temples, monasteries, mosques, and churches as well. Pokhara is also the initial point for many trekking routes. Routes such as Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Panchase, Mardi, and Ghorepani all begin from Pokhara. Pokhara is also the gateway to the Dhaulagiri trek, the Guerilla trek, Dhorpatan, and Lo-Manthang . Most trekkers like to relax and rejuvenate after a long trek in one of the many luxurious hotels and resorts situated in Pokhara. Foreigners enjoy themselves in the peaceful surroundings of the lake. To those who enjoy music and crowds, there are live music, discotheque, dohori nights, and gajal restaurants as well.
Pokhara is a resort city. It is not only a destination for European or western countries but many tourists are visiting from neighboring India, who wish to escape the summer heat, visit religious sites, or come on their honeymoon. For domestic tourists, it is the top destination for a vacation. The capital of the Gandaki Province, Pokhara metropolitan city spans 464.24 sq. km. It falls at the altitude of 827 meters to 1740 meters. Pokhara can be reached easily by road or by flight. This destination is always in season and all of its destinations can be visited within weeks of staying here. Pokhara has the most tourist-related products for sale compared to any other city in Nepal.
Pokhara is also known as a “natural paradise”. Formerly known as a destination that is compared to heaven on earth, its label is slowly changing to that of a destination for adventure sports. There are various activities available such as paragliding, ultralight, bungy jumping, swinging, boating, cycling, trekking, ziplining, rafting, canyoning, and many more activities which can be done. Efforts are being made to beautify Pokhara,” says Jhalak Thapa who has been actively working in the tourism industry for the past 50 years. “Thanks to adventure sports, Pokhara is becoming more and more youthful.” With all the efforts going into creating the perfect tourism destination, now is the perfect time to brand it as “Adventurous Pokhara”.
Kathmandu to Pokhara is a distance of 200 km which can be reached by a 6-hour long bus ride or a 25-minute flight. Buddha Air has initiated flights to Pokhara from all 7 provinces. Similarly, Pokhara to Bharatpur takes 15 minutes, Pokhara-Janakpur is 50 minutes, Pokhara to Dhangadi is 55 minutes, Pokhara to Simra is 35 minutes, Pokhara to Nepalgunj is 40
minutes and Pokhara-Bhairahawa is a 20-minute flight.
From Pokhara, you can view dozens of Himalayan peaks such as Kumari Himal Fishtail, Puttha peak, Dhaulagiri, Moditse, Annapurna, Ghandruk, Hiunchuli, Nilgiri, Mardi, Lamjung, and Manaslu. You can view the majestic peaks from the windows of the houses themselves. To get the best views of the Himalayas, you can visit Sarangkot, Kahunkot, and Pumdikot.
These days, roads are also being constructed to reach these destinations.
There are a total of 9 lakes situated within Pokhara. They are Fewa, Begnas, Kamal, Rupa, Khaste, Dipang, Gunde, Maidi, and Nurenital. The largest lake is the Fewa lake. It is possible to go fishing and boating on Fewa Lake and Begnas Lake. Hotels and restaurants are available around both of these lakes.
Of the numerous caves found in Pokhara, the well-known caves are the Mahendra cave and the Bat cave located in Batulechaur, as well as the Gupteswor cave located in Chhorepatan. A Shiva temple is also situated inside the Gupteswor cave and you get to see the
Davis Fall from within the cave as well.
The Seti River flows underground in most parts of Pokhara, however, parts of the river that lies over the ground can be seen flowing wide from KI Singh bridge to Kalikhola Dobhan, and then from Narayanan to Tulsighat and from Ramghat to Dhungesanghu.
Davis Falls is situated in Chhorepatan. The water flowing from the Fewa lake dam flows through here in the form of a waterfall. It was previously known as ‘Pataley Chhango ’ but on 15th Shrawan, 2018 B.S., a Swiss citizen named Davis was pulled by a flash flood on the river and drowned. Ever since then, it has been known as the Davis Fall.
There are 5 museums in Pokhara. The Gorkha Memorial Museum is located next to the KI Singh bridge. The International Mountain Museum displays artifacts depicting the mountain life. ‘Kwoibo ’, the Gurung Museum is located at Shaktighat. Within the Prithvi Narayan Campus, there is the Natural History Museum. And finally, the provincial museum of Gandaki reflects the lifestyle and culture of the region.
Pokhara has temples, monasteries, churches, and mosques. Some of the popular temples are Taalbahari, Bindabasini, Bhadrakali, and Kedareswor. Buddhist Monasteries can be found in Matepani and Hemja. There is an old church at Ramghat while a mosque is situated in Miyapatan. Similarly, a new Shiva temple attraction is being constructed at Pumdikot.
Pumdikot is an ancient Shakti peeth. Recently, a 51 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva has been installed here. The statue has been commissioned by a social service worker, Chandrakant Baral to promote religious tourism in the area. Currently, works are happening to create replica statues of Sumeru Parbat, Damaru, and also a monorail. Other constructions such as a meditation center, a replica of the Ganga Pond, and 108 Shiva Lingas have already been completed. The Pumdikot Development Center has
been making efforts in conserving the area. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful scenic mountains and the view of Pokhara Valley, an eye-pleaser for everyone, from Pumdikot. Hotels are also available here.
Every evening an Aarti, a ritual where light is offered to the gods, is performed at the banks of the Fewa Lake. The ritual is practiced every night in devotion to the Taal Barahi deity located in the middle of the lake. You can witness the serene prayer chants and the aarti free of cost and donations can be done by those who are willing. Listening to the Psalms will bring a peaceful end to your day.
Pokhara lies in the third position among the world’s top 5 paragliding destinations. Paragliding can be done from Toripani and Sarangkot, with the landing base located at Fewataal. Some international paragliders spend months at Pokhara to go paragliding. 62 companies provide paragliding services to tourists in Pokhara. The sessions last from 30 minutes to an hour. According to Krishna Bhandari, president of Nepal Air Sports Association, there are four hundred paragliding pilots
You can fly Ultralight which flies with the help of an engine. A pilot and a passenger can sit in an ultralight. Ultralight as an activity was introduced in Nepal by the Avia Club which was established by a Russian computer
engineer Natasha Shrestha who got married to a Nepali citizen, Dr. Premlal Shrestha. An ultralight can be flown continuously for 6 hours. Currently, 3 companies offer ultralight flights.
Boating can be done at Fewa Lake and Begnas Lake. There are different types of boats including ones that are paddled by hands, and legs, or ones that sail by the wind. Boating can be done from an hour up to the entire day. Boat drivers are also available for those who require them.
Canyoning can be done at Lwang and Ghalel village which lies 19 kilometers away from Pokhara. It is done on the Kudi waterfalls which are situated in Ghalel, these waterfalls are 12, 9, 75, and 45 meters tall. Similarly, at Ghattekhola of Lwang village, some waterfalls are 39 and 70 meters long. You can also find hotels and homestays in the Lwang and Ghalel villages.
Taking Pokhara as the starting point, you can go rafting and kayaking on
the upper Seti river. According to your preference, you can experience the activity for an entire day or half a day. Longer rafting routes are available from Kaligandaki, Marsyandgi, and Lower Seti. From Pokhara, rafting tours can also be done on other rivers besides Seti. According to Birendra Lama, President of the Nepal Association Of Rafting Agencies (NARA) Gandaki Province, the rafting guides of Pokhara are renowned worldwide for their skills.
There are many hiking destinations around Pokhara. Surrounded by hills,
there are also options for hiking such as the World Peace Stupa which starts from Raniban, Sarangkot, Toripani and Naudanda hike, Kalabang-Dandakharka-Pame hike and Bhumdikot-Chapakot View Point-Pame hike.
Another one of Pokhara’s attractions is mountain biking. It is quite easy for those visiting Pokhara with their bicycles, but for those who don’t have one, rentals are available, especially at the Lakeside.
There are 886 species of birds found in Nepal. In Pokhara alone, you can find 470 species. Pokhara Bird Society has been promoting bird watching for tourists. An experienced guide can help enthusiastic bird watchers. Bird conservation activities are currently being done by Masanta Ghimire, Hirakumari Malla, Sunita Gurung, Sheshkanta Sharma, Ganga Bahadur Ghale, Hemant Dhakal, and Rambabu Bastakoti.
Most tourists visit meditation centers in Pokhara to relieve stress and reduce obesity. Yoga centers are mostly situated in an open and peaceful environment. You can join yoga and meditation classes that span from days, and weeks to months. According to the Yoga Guru, Amar Puri the organizer of Sadhana Yoga Retreat, tourists can also go for yoga treks.
Recently, there has been a new addition to Pokhara’s infrastructure-a cable car. This cable car connects Fewa Lake up to Sarangkot. The cable car is 2.4 kilometers long and takes 8 to 9 minutes to reach Sarangkot. Sarangkot is a popular destination to view the sunrise, sunsets, and the Himalayas. According to Dinesh Poudel, the General Manager, the cable car will bring new dimensions to Pokhara.
HIGH GROUND ADVENTURES
High Ground Adventures has been providing bungee, ziplining, and swinging activities in Pokhara. Tower bungee jumping and tandem are available at Yamdi river with a height of 72 meters. High Ground also offers zip-lining which is 1850 meters long spanning from Sarangkot to Yamdi. There are two types of ziplining available. One is the normal zipline which takes about 90 seconds to reach the bottom while another one is the “Superman” which only takes 60 seconds. This zipline is considered to be one of the steepest ziplines in the world. In Yamdi, there is a facility for swinging where three people can swing at a time. They are also preparing to introduce ATV biking in Pokhara. “We will soon be bringing 8 ATV bikes,” says Dinesh Maharjan, Director of High Ground Adventures. “We are making a track field which is 3 kilometers long. We’ll also operate on longer routes. Visitors can get a video, and photographs for a fee.
The surrounding villages around Pokhara are creating a fine example of village tourism in Nepal. These villages are connected via a network of roads that are accessible by bus, jeep, or motorbikes.