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Things To Do In Pokhara
Pokhara was renamed Pokhara Metropolitan City after its merger with Leknath in 2017, effectively making it the second largest city in Nepal. The peaceful serene landscapes set against the backdrop of the Annapurna Range make it one of most admired tourist spots in the country.
Words will often fall short when one is trying to encompass the true significance of this multi-faceted city; the original home of the Gurkha soldiers, the venue of adventure sports and activities that are gaining worldwide recognition, and home to some of the most spectacular fresh water lakes you will ever see, the city of Pokhara is all that and so much more. Take a look at some of the best things to do while spending your days in Pokhara.
With all its charming scenery and hills that cover most of the city, there is no dearth of culturally significant architecture here either. For the exploration of some of these structures, you can even combine a hiking trip with the sightseeing.
The Bhimsen Temple located on Bhimsen Marg is one of the oldest temples in Pokhara and is dedicated to the Newari God of trade. The Barahi Temple is located right in the middle of Phewa Tal, and the only way to reach it is by boating through to the centre of the lake. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga and its location makes it the most famous temple in the city. The Bindhyabasini Temple located on a small hilltop is also dedicated to Goddess Durga.
The Shanti Stupa, also known as Peace Pagoda, is a Buddhist monastery located on top of the Ananda Hill overlooking the Phewa Lake; you can either choose to get a boat to reach the base of the stupa and walk up the stairs, or take the forest trekking route instead. The Shree Gaden Dhargay Ling Monastery is of Tibetan origin and was set up to convey Buddhist teachings with Tibetan influence in the country. Other historically significant temples located here are Sitaladevi Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, and the Jangchub Choeling Monastery.
While walking around Pokhara city has its own perks, keep in mind that it is by no means a small town; what better way to explore more attractions in a convenient and economical manner than to ride a bicycle around the city and wind your way across the little hidden recesses? Cycles are available for rent in almost every region for cheap rates and can remain in your possession for upto 8 hours everyday.
Spirituality seekers travel to Nepal from all over the world looking to find the true meaning of life. While the reliability of finding an answer to the profound and insightful questions in life is debatable, what can be promised is a relaxed environment in the form of yoga retreats and meditation sessions, wherein you can let your worries wash away and allow your body to de-stress from the usual chaos of life.
Pokhara has numerous such peaceful havens spread around in tranquil locations that offer yoga classes like Mardi Himal Yoga Trek, Journeys of Recovery, and Yoga in the Mountains etc. Don’t forget to check out Umbrella Café for some soul-searching yoga sessions combined with delicious vegan food.
There is such a huge variety of adventure options in Pokhara that for a sporting connoisseur. This dynamic city is like heaven on earth. Not only is Pokhara the most well known adventure activity centre in the whole of Nepal, its paragliding locales are famous on a global scale.
- Choose paragliding or ultralight flight to begin your day early in the morning. As you sail past the picturesque views of the mountain range on one side and the lakes on the other, you will leave the worries of your urban life behind.
- River rafting or kayaking in the warm waters of Seti River is a thrilling ride as you pass by the scenic valleys in the surroundings.
- The only bungee jumping spot in Nepal is located about half an hour away from the lakeside. Feel your adrenaline pump through your veins as you fall free into a gorge from a height of 70 m.
- Zip lining activities are one of the best in Pokhara with a length of almost 2 km and a drop of around 600 m; an added feature is pick up options from your hotel to the tour locality.
- Sky diving spot is located at Pame Lauruk, and involves a drop from over 10,000 feet.
Try your hand at canyoning from Ghalel Village, about an hours's ride away from Pokhara city.
Exploration of Caves
There aren’t a lot of places in Nepal where you will find as many mystical caverns all packed in one city. So make good use of this one.
One of the most well known caves located here is the Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave, known for the huge stalagmite that is worshipped as the Shiva Lingam. The Mahendra Gupha is named after Mahadev Bir Bikram Shah Dev and features a number of limestone stalagmites and stalactites, along with a statue of Lord Shiva. A ten minute walk away lies the Bat Cave, and while it is also a part of Mahendra Cave, people often mistake the two for being the same. As the name suggests, the Bat Cave is where you will find thousands of bats all crammed together in one place as you look up to marvel at their formation.
Boating and Fishing
Pokhara is home to a number of lakes, and once you have drained all your energy with countless adventure sports in the city, lounging around the lakeside might just be the thing you need. The lakes are so lucid and still that you can glimpse the reflections of adjoining hills mirrored in the waters. The most notable among them is the Phewa Tal, Begnas Tal and Rupa Tal, which are all fresh water lakes. The water level of the Begnas Tal can rise during the monsoon, which is regulated with the help of a dam that was constructed here in the 1980s, with its water being used for irrigation purposes.
Some people prefer to go boating on these lakes, while others enjoy fishing. You are free to pick out either, or simply pay a visit to the cafes located on the street along the lakeside.
Pokhara might be most well known for its adventure activity options, but it also houses some of the best trekking trails for all hiking enthusiasts. The routes range from tricky and arduous to short and easy ones that can be customized based on the kind of time length and activity range you’re looking for. The most famous one is undoubtedly the Annapurna Circuit, considered the archetypal route choice for trekking aficionados and also the highest navigable pass in the world.
The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is believed to be more accessible for people who are looking for something a little more laid-back than the Annapurna Circuit. It has the added benefit of featuring comfortable lodging options with friendly communities and beautiful villages of Ghorepani and Gandruk along the way that will turn your trip into a more memorable one.
Dining options in Pokhara are widespread and varied, with easy access to cuisines from all over the world. The lakeside area is especially popular among tourists for hosting a variety of charming little cafes that combine a scrumptious eating experience with picturesque views of the peaceful lakes at your disposal.
- Famous franchises from Kathmandu like OR2K, Pho 99, Newari Kitchen and Roadhouse Café are also present in Pokhara, which is good news for people who enjoyed these places on their trip to the capital and would love to visit them again. Old Mike’s Kitchen will provide you with a hearty breakfast with a serene lakeside view. Krishna’s Kitchen serves the best Thai food.
- Pokhara also houses a number of Ayurvedic restaurants; probably something you would have never heard of before. Bajeko Machha Mahal is known for combining fresh fishes with ayurvedic recipes for a refreshing delight. It is also recognized for its fresh vegetables and ‘little-to-no-oil’ recipes.
If all of this sounds interesting to you, also head down to Ayurvedic Café, a relatively new addition to the ever-growing industry of health fanatics.