11 March, 2021 | Reccy Guide
Amidst the natural and rustic surroundings of the region lies the town of Pokhara, the capital of Gandaki Pradesh. Pokhara is situated at a distance of 200 km from Kathmandu, which is the present-day capital of Nepal. Pokhara is the gateway to multiple trekking routes, the two most popular ones being the Annapurna Circuit trek and the Annapurna Base camp trek. Nestled at the foothills of the Annapurna massif, on a clear day, the town offers the visitors with spellbinding views of multiple eight-thousander peaks including Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Annapurna, and Mt. Dhaulagiri.
The town is tucked in the fascinating Pokhara valley. The Seti Gandaki river, which flows through Pokhara, has carved several impressive gorges in the vicinity of the town. Pokhara is flanked by Phewa Tal, a lake covering an area of 4.4 square km. Pokhara is also known as a city of lakes in Nepal because of the many lakes that are situated in and around the town. The city is famous as a gateway to thrilling treks, while backpacking tourists also have a lot to do here. Pokhara offers unlimited options for outdoor activities and entertainment, whether you are traveling solo, with family or as a group of friends.
Deemed as the tourism capital of Nepal, Pokhara boasts a variety of cultural festivals and traditional rituals amidst its natural surroundings. Also, it is home to the legendary Gurkha soldiers.
Phewa Tal lake in Pokhara
Pokhara conducts several religious and world music festivals, generally on the scenic lakeside, throughout the year, thus it witnesses an influx of backpackers and adventure lovers from across the world. The notable ones include Street festivals, Bloom festival, Holi Music Festival, Annapurna, and Phewa festival. They are usually commemorated by local and international folk music and dance, food, parades, processions, rides, handicraft stalls, and many more attractions.
Apart from having a unique cultural side, Pokhara is the base camp for multiple adventure activities, including Skydiving, Ziplining, Rock climbing, Paragliding, Bungee jumping, and Boating in serene waters of the lake. There are quite a few operators and guide agencies in the town to take you around and give you one of the most adrenaline-pumping experiences of your life. Make sure you negotiate and get a good deal or book online.
Pokhara is also very popular for Ultralight flights, a form of aerial sport, which delivers an exciting ride in a plane over the town with great views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Temple in Pokhara
In good weather, the charming town and its lush, serene surroundings offer ample opportunities to relax in between activities and bask under the Himalayan sun while drinking local Nepali tea. However, considering the hilly terrain, the weather in Pokhara is unpredictable and can leave you drenched without much warning; hence it is advisable to carry protective clothing for rain and cold weather.
Phewa Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Nepal, is situated in the southern part of Pokhara and is buzzing with activities. You can go for an early morning run or stroll while enjoying the views of the mighty massif, or take a short hike to Sarangkot, or visit Mahendra Gufa.
While it is still relatively raw and rustic, gradually Pokhara makes an endearing place in the hearts of tourists and adventure lovers.
How to reach?
Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport is directly connected to major cities in India, China, rest of South Asia, South East Asia and West Asia and to the rest of the world by transiting through New Delhi, Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Shree Airlines, Nepal airlines, among others are a few flight services, operating between Pokhara and Kathmandu and a few other destinations in Nepal and India.
By bus you can reach Kathmandu from New Delhi and other major cities in North India. The main inter-city bus station is at Gongabu. From Kathmandu, it is a 7 to 9 hours’ drive, covering 200 km of distance to Pokhara.
There are motorcycles, bicycles, and SUVs available for rent to move within the city.
Where to stay?
Lakeside (north and south) is the best location in Pokhara to select a cozy accommodation. There are several hotels, homestays and hostels, ranging from luxury to budgeted rooms. Not only the location presents amazing mountain views but also buzzes with daily routine, cultural programs, and numerous international backpackers.
What to shop?
Pokhara is also known for shopping zones around Lakeside and Mahendrapool Bazaar. Interesting local items include handicrafts, thangka, pashmina, metal trinkets, and wood carvings. Amongst other commodities, Gurkha knife, Nepali tea, singing bowls, masks, carpets, and jewelry are very artistic. There is a rule in Nepal: anything more than a century old is not allowed to be taken out of the country, which needs to be followed.
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