Pokhara is the second largest tourist destination city in Nepal after Kathmandu. The best 17 places to visit in Pokhara includes Lake, Hill Station, Cave, Temples, Museum and local market.
While Kathmandu is bustling with cultural and religious exuberance, Pokhara likes to meditate in tranquility. Maybe for this reason, it mostly attracts people who are the same way–those who want to reconnect with nature, get back to the roots, and rediscover themselves.
We will be honest here: besides the cultural and architectural riches, Kathmandu is not at its best shape. Urbanization, and hence the encroachment and pollution that followed, have taken a toll in this part of Nepal.
However, Pokhara still maintains its beautiful composure. With just the right amount of facilities and modernization, its natural riches are sustained till today.
Agreed that Pokhara doesn’t have as grand a history as Kathmandu. But if there is one thing this valley was made for–it is to entice travelers from all around the world.
What’s more, Pokhara is a gateway to numerous trekking trails in the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Tourism is one of the major income sources of Pokhara and Fewa Lake is one of its major sources of Tourism.
Since Pokhara is the gateway to and exit from the numerous trekking trails in the Annapurna Conservation Area, trekkers like to descend to this beautiful valley after long and tiring days of trekking. Especially, boating on Fewa Lake under a warm, cozy sun is a relaxing experience after days of trekking in the cold.
There is a small island on the lake which is sleekly sufficient to house the Tal Barahi temple. You wil have to pay a cheap fee to be transported there via a boat-taxi. A sacred site for the Hindus, this temple and the surrounding scenery also have much to offer to a nature-lover.
Devi’s fall is a work of nature. It is a waterfall that forms a tunnel and then flows underground.
After the main entrance, there is also an artificial replica of the elaborate mountain range as seen from Pokhara.
The water in this fall comes from Fewa Lake itself and then flows to Gupteshwor Cave from below the ground before finally joining Fusre Khola (river). Its Nepali name, Patale Chango, roughly translates to “underworld waterfall” in English.
Visitors can also browse through numerous shops to buy handicrafts and souvenirs.
This stunning natural phenomena is on the opposite side of the road from Devi’s Fall.
Because this cave is wide but long and dark, artificial stairs and light sources are added to prevent injury. There are several shrines distributed throuhgout the cave, the largest of which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Thus, the cave is held sacred by the Hindu devotees in Nepal. For this reason, there are a number of rules for you to travel responsibly which will be stated on your visit.
The insides of Gupteshwor cave is a different world altogether. One cannot but ponder the natural processes and the time in which this cave might have been made after entering .
To gaze up and see a natural ceiling instead of the sky is a bizarre and even a scary experience for some.
The gorging Seti river divides the valley of Pokhara into two halves. The river has made its narrow way through Pokhara.
In some places, the gorge is so thin that you can leap and reach the other side if you tried (not that you should). Needless to say, such gorges run several meters deep to accommodate the huge water volume.
A small number of local livestock and even humans trip and meet their demise in the gorge. As frightening such stories are, equally astounding are the rescue stories. A notable one is the rescue of a two-year-old girl child by a 12-year-old boy.
The poor little girl accidently fell 65 feet deep into the deep gorge. 5 rescue members could not reach her because of the steeness of the gorge–the space was too narrow for a fully-grown human. Nevertheless, the small but stout (and obviously brave) 12-year-old climbed down in the dark with the given gear and rescued the child in 30 stressful minutes.
Stories aside, the gorge is a great site to look from close and wonder the mystery of nature and its creator.
Yes, one more cave. And another near this one!
It is claimed by some that the Seti river has spread its underground channel in all of Pokhara. Thus, it has left surprising formations and footprints throughout the valley.
After the sheperds of Pokhara discovered the cave in the late 1950s, it was properly surveyed by a British team of spelaeologists in 1976. This is apparently a special cave in a sense that it is one of the rare caves of Nepal with stalagmites and stalactites (pointy, hanging rocks).
It was named Mahendra Cave after former king Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of the Kingdom of Nepal. Nepal is now a democratic republic.
There is another popular cave called Chamera Gufa (Bat Cave) in the close proximity of Mahendra Cave. The naming is inspired by the habitation of numerous species of bats.
The locals of Pokhara allege tourists of irrationally allocating travel days when they visit this city. And they are right–most tourists visit and awful lot days in the Lake Side, the rather expensive tourist area around Fewa Lake.
Although the natural beauty around this place certainly dominates, there certainly are worth-visiting destinations on the other side of Pokhara.
It is said that traders from Kathmandu first came and settled here at Old Bazaar in the past. Thus, the houses and architecture closely resemble those of the Newar-dominant Kathmandu. This area is still primarily inhabitated by the Newari people.
Devoted to the Newari God of trade and commerce, this worth-visiting temple within the periphery of old bazaar is carved with erotic figurines.
This Hindu temples is located near Bagar. Bindhybasini is the goddess sister of Goddess Durga, and the devotees worship her with as much respect.
The grand Aarti (worship) held in the evenings with religious fireworks is a spectacular sight to witness.
According to bikemap.net, this hill will be a “nice morning ride, mix of dirt road and single tracks.” If you have plans to cycle around the city, surely include this spot on your checklist.
This beautiful city oversees an elaborate mountain range in the north. Sarangkot is a hill located at the northwest side of this valley, just at the start of the popular Fewa Lake.
If the clouds are clear, sunrise illuminates the snow-capped peaks with a golden brilliance every morning. Since the entire city can be viewed with a bird-eye’s view from the top of Sarangkot, it is always fascinating to witness the city come to life at the break of dawn.
If you choose to see the sunrise from Sarangkot, you will have to prepare early and reach the top via a vehicle and a short hike in the end.
This is an enormous hill visible in the north side from the main city, just below the snow-capped mountain peaks.
If you have ever seen Pokhara from the photos, there is a high chance that you saw this hill on it.
There is a tall tower at the peak of this hill, which is known as the “Dharahara of Pokhara.”
Established in the year 1960, this wide and tranquil monastery has a strikingly beautiful atmosphere and equally majestic statues (as high as 11 feet).
The monks are really hospitable and are pleased to welcome visitors. You are allowed to take as much pictures as you like on the outer periphery.
You can either drive directly to the top from an alternative road or take a steep climb via the stairs. Please count the number of stairs for us this time.
A peace pagoda is a Buddhist monument established to promote peace and unity among various races and creeds. Thus, although inspired from Buddhist ideologies, the World Peace Pagoda of Pokhara, one of the many established in the world, symbolizes peace and harmony among all people of the world.
It is said that a Buddhist monk from Japan began to construct these stupas all over the world, having been inspired to preach non-violence after meeting Mahatma Gandhi. He inaugurated the first pagoda in Kumamoto.
There are four statues of Gautam Buddha in the main shrine symbolizing four different stages of life.
Today, the Shanti Stupa, as it is called in nepali, serves as a sacred and touristic place for Buddhists and visitors alike, providing panoramic views of the Pokhara city, Fewa Lake, and the elaborate Annapurna Range. Like Sarangkot, this place is popular among tourists as a place to see the sunrise and sunset.
We recommend you visit this tranquil site in the morning since there will be fewer visitors, and hence you will observe the place in its raw.
Apart from all other displays and collections a typical museum has, there is one thing special about this museum.
There are numerous statues and work of art that depict the lifestyle of a human being. The entrance features a baby, and the entire museum tells a story at each segment. In the middle portion, the baby grows up to be a man and have a family.
His family is a typical Nepali family in the villages. As we proceed through the museum, he slowly ages, and at the exit, there is a statue depicting a dead body. While most visitors probably won’t notice this, the entire thing is actually a single story, and that story is a non-fiction representation of life and death that follows.
Most people don’t know about Nepal, but they do know about the highest peak on Earth: Mt. Everest, says the official website of this museum.
Perhaps this is why this museum was established–to represent the glory of the Himalayas, inform people about them, and commemorate the success and failures of countless mountaineers in history.
The website claims that they proudly showcase all the values and mysteries of the Himalayan Range of Nepal, and are the only one to do so.
Indeed, the museum has systematic records of the successful eight thou sanders, the vegetation and wildlife, and human culture and traditions in the area.
Established by an American Peace Corps Volunteer, late Dorothy Mierow, this museum has a preserved collection of various species of butterflies found in Nepal.
Since Nepal is a diverse country ranging from 60m above sea level to the peak, 8,848 m, we are talking about quite a volume of species here.
Pokhara is dominated by the Gurung community. These are the Gurkhas, arguably the bravest and most loyal people on the planet.
This museum celebrates the accomplishments of the Gurkhas and highlights their role in the two world wars. The Gurkha history is detailed from that time to the current peace-keeping missions.
According to Google, the road distance between Kathmandu and Pokhara is 201 km (125 miles) from the Prithvi Highway.
Since the nation’s only international airport is located in Kathmandu, you can get to Pokhara via bus or plane after your flight lands.
The drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu takes around 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic. You can get tickets of luxury tourist buses in around NRs. 1,000.
Similarly, it takes from 25 to 30 minutes to reach Pokhara from Kathmandu by plane. The Himalayan Trekking company arranges Kathmandu to Pokhara flight at an affordable price.
Pokhara has arguably the most pleasant weather in all of Nepal. It is neither too cold in the winter nor too hot during summer. Nevertheless, bring appropriate clothes according to the season, and always be prepared to tackle the rain in the summer since Pokhara receives the highest amount of rainfall of all the cities.
Interestingly both Pokhara and Kathmandu have the same reported altitude of 1,400 metres.
Like many places in Nepal, everything is cheaper than expected. However, it is always better if you execute your haggling skills, because like every tourist place, some will charge more for their service to take a quick buck from you. Nevertheless, maintain a respectful and undisturbed composure during the entirety.
Most of the locals in Pokhara are friendly, simply because they have seen more people who are exactly like you (you think only you feel like all Asians look the same?) Kids will even greet you with an occasional ‘Namaste’. Always return the greeting, just because it is nice. A few bad people are everywhere, even in heaven, trust us.
Construction is almost complete for an extra international airport in the country that can conduct international flights to and from Pokhara.
Nepal currently has only one international airport in Kathmandu: the Tribhuwan International Airport. If the new airport comes to operation, Kathmamdu might witness a significant drop in the visitor volume but Pokhara is likely to welcome more of them.