Pokhara – City of Lakes
Pokhara city lies in the western part of Nepal. Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal in terms of population and flow of tourists after Kathmandu (the capital city of Nepal). And it is the second largest valley in Nepal. The valley of Pokhara includes the cities of Pokhara as well as that of Lekhnath. The Annapurna mountain range, which includes three of the 10 highest mountains in the world (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manaslu) is within 24-56KM of range from the valley.
Pokhara is renowned among the travelers for its scenic attraction, beautiful mountains such as Mt. Machhapuchhhre (Fishtail), Annapurna Mountain range, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and 20 others, spectacular lakes including Begnas, Rupa and Fewa. Hill stations; Sarangkot, Kahundanda serve as a viewpoint to witness sunrise and also the beauties of Pokhara city and Annapurna range. Davis fall, Mahendra cave, Chamero Gufa, etc. are some of the other attractions of the city.
Pokhara is now a metropolitan city from Falgun, 2073 BS i.e. May, 2017after the division of Nepal into provincial states (previously it was a sub-metropolitan city). Pokhara has an area of 464.24 square Kilometers and the total population is 402,995. It is the provincial capital of Gandaki Pradesh and also the headquarter of Kaski District.
Altitude of Pokhara
The altitude of Pokhara varies from 827m (2,713 ft.) in the southern part until 1,740 m (5,710 ft.) in the north.
Zip Code of Pokhara
The Zip code of Pokhara is 33700. Here are the zip codes of places inside the Pokhara Valley.
History of Pokhara
During the Baise-Chaubise Rajya times, Pokhara was an important trading route between China and India. It was a part of Chaubise Rajya ruled by Shah Dynasty. Some of the hills around the valley still have medieval ruins from that time. In the 18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah included Pokhara into his Kingdom.
In the past, mostly Khas inhabited the Pokhara (Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri, and Dalits). However, upon the invitation of King, Newari people from Bhaktapur migrated there and started businesses. Likewise, the establishment of British recruitment camp brought a larger mass of Magar and Gurung community people at Pokhara. Also, the Gandharvas/ Gaineys (the tribe of musicians) form a small community in Pokhara.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, hundreds of thousands of Tibetan exiles entered Nepal following its annexation by China. Most of the Tibetans sought asylum in Dharmasala and some in India. According to UNHCR, since 1989, approximately 2500 Tibetans cross the Nepal border each year; many of who arrive in Pokhara.
Before the end of 1960’s the city of Pokhara was only accessible on foot. The Siddhartha highway was completed in 1968 and then the tourism grew considerably. Since then the areas around Fewa Lake, also known as Lakeside, has been recognized as one of the spectacular tourism hubs in Nepal.
Weather In Pokhara
The city of Pokhara has a humid subtropical climate. During the summer, the average temperature ranges from 25 to 35°C and during the winter, it’s somewhere from 1 to 15°C. Summer is generally humid and mild, witnesses precipitation during the monsoon season (July to September). Similarly, during the times of winter and spring, Pokhara has clear skies and sunny weather. Lumle (25 miles from Pokhara city center) receives the highest amount of rainfall in Nepal. Snowfall doesn’t occur in Pokhara valley. But the surrounding hills around the valley observe occasional snowfall in the winter.
Pokhara’s weather in October
During the month of October, Pokhara has an autumn season, which means clear skies and sunny days.
Best time to visit Pokhara
The preference of people traveling at different times of the year differs. So it depends on if a person wants to travel during the monsoon or winter or autumn. However, because of the sunny days and clear skies during the autumn, the months of October and November are considered to be the best time to visit Pokhara.
Kathmandu to Pokhara
In order to travel to Pokhara from Kathmandu, one has two options; roadways and by flight. The distance between Pokhara and Kathmandu is 200 Kilometers (120 miles). Pokhara lies to the west of Kathmandu. There are local buses as well as the tourist buses going to Pokhara from Kathmandu every single day. However, the road from Kathmandu to Pokhara is not in very good condition.
Kathmandu to Pokhara flight
On a daily basis, there are flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara via various airlines. There are around 10 or sometimes even more flights to Pokhara from Kathmandu. The duration of the flight to Pokhara is 25 minutes.
Pokhara to Jomsom distance
When in Pokhara, a lot of tourists opt to travel to Jomsom in Mustang district, which is at the Northern side of Pokhara. The distance from Pokhara to Jomsom is 157.6 KM and it takes around 8-9 hours to reach there via Baglung Highway.
Pokhara to Jomsom flight
One can opt to fly to Jomsom from Pokhara as well. The smooth and easy flight to Jomsom takes for around 20 minutes. Jomsom is the entry point to a holy place of Lord Vishnu i.e. Muktinath.
Pokhara to Muktinath roadmap
Earthquake in Pokhara
Because of the devastating earthquake in April 2015, Pokhara was hit hard. The earthquake and the threat hugely affected the tourism sector. Now it’s already getting back to normality.
However, like Kathmandu valley, Pokhara is considered to be vulnerable to earthquake due to its loose clay soil and potential of liquefaction.
Besides travels and beautiful things, Pokhara is also renowned for its education and Pokhara University is an inseparable part of it. Pokhara University was established in 1997 as Nepal’s fifth university. The university lies 13 KM to the east of Pokhara. Pokhara University has 4 constituent schools for Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. programs. 57 academic institutions are under its affiliation.
Pokhara load shedding schedule
Considering the inflow of tourists and also the industrial prospects in Pokhara, the city was declared load-shedding free by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) starting from 2017. Great news! But at times, there are power cuts.
Hotels in Pokhara
Once you’re in Pokhara, you have a wide range of options of accommodation to stay. From hotels to homestays to resorts, you’ll have hundreds of choices to choose from. It also depends on your budget. The cost of hotels in Pokhara starts from as low as 5-8$ a day to as much as 200$ a day. Some of the most popular hotels in Pokhara are Rupakot Resort, The Pavilions Himalayas, Hotel Pokhara Grande, Hotel Barahi, Temple Tree, Fishtail Lodge, Waterfront Resort, Atithi Resort and Spa, Shangri La Village, Himalayan front, etc.
Pokhara Trip cost
The cost of Pokhara trip depends on your stay, food preferences and the way you travel. If you’re starting to travel from Kathmandu, you can either choose to fly or take a bus. The tourist bus charges around $10 (NRs. 1000) to $15 and the flight charge is around $50. Similarly, the average cost of food per day is around $10 to $15 in normal restaurants. The cost of a beer is around $4. As mentioned above, the cost of accommodation differs on what kind of stay you want. It starts from $8 to $200 per day. And if you want to do adventure sports such as paragliding, trekking, mountain biking, rafting, zip flying, boating, canoeing, hiking, bungee jumping, etc. the cost is going to increase. It’s better to do these things in-group so as to minimize the overall cost.
Things to do in Pokhara
- Phewa Lake (Fewa Taal)
Phewa Lake (FewaTaal in Nepal) is the second largest lake of Nepal. Fewa Lake is one of the most attractive hubs in all Pokhara. One can sail or row a hired boat around the lake.
People are seen fishing in Phewa Lake. The best time for fishing is during the post-monsoon season i.e. October and November. Phewa Lake is a mixture of man-made and natural freshwater.
The entrance to Fewa Lake is free of cost. However, there’s a view tower in the lake. You have to pay if you wish to get there.
- Barahi Temple
The Barahi temple is situated on an island in Phewa Lake. A beautifully nestled temple is worshipped by thousands of people around the globe.
In order to reach to the temple, you can either hire a boat and row on your own or simply pay for the ticket to reach. The serenity of this temple is sure to calm the visitors.
You don’t need to pay to get there.
Lakeside is another iconic spot for the travelers in Pokhara. The eastern shore of Phewa Lake is known as Lakeside. Lakeside is widely known for its walk. It takes around 20-30 minutes in order to reach from one end to another. It is also a great idea to rent a bike and bicycle around the lakeside areas. There are a lot of hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops around Lakeside areas.
- Davis Falls
Davis Falls lies about 2 KM to the southwest of Pokhara airport in Sidhhartha Highway. It is called “Patale Chhango” locally. The name of this falls was named after the death of Swiss couple that was drowned in its water and washed away by the river beneath it.
The entrance fee to get to Davis Falls is $0.3 per person.
- Gupteshwor Mahadev Gufa
Gupteshwor Mahadev Gufa lies right in front of Davis Falls. This Gufa is believed to be a sacred cave that inhabits Lord Shiva in it and is considered holy by Hindus. One of the major highlights of this site is Shiva Linga; the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva.
Even though the cave is dark, the walk is a beautiful experience offering amazing views of the nearby waterfall. It is a perfect destination to spend some quality peaceful time.
Ticket price for Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave is $1 for foreigners and $0.5 for Nepalese.
Sarangkot is situated at an altitude of 1,592 m above the sea level. It serves as a viewpoint to observe Pokhara valley, Annapurna mountain ranges, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), sunrises and sunsets.
Sarangkot is also popular for paragliding. Hundreds of people do paragliding every day from this place.
- World Peace Pagoda
The world peace pagoda is a stupa located atop Ananda hill, which offers amazing views of Pokhara city.
In order to get there, one can either trek the long way which is around 2-3 hours walk from the forest or take a boat to the bottom of the Peace Pagoda and walk up the stairs. It takes almost an hour to get there.
After getting to the top of this stupa, one can observe Fewa lake and also the mountain ranges. You don’t need to pay for this site.
- International Mountain Museum
If you’re a mountain lover; like to explore the history and other mountaineering related activities, a trip to International Mountain Museum is the best option while you’re in Pokhara.
This museum has kept the records of several mountaineers and also you can find the hidden mysteries pertaining to Mt. Everest. The cost for this museum trip is $5 for foreigners, $2.5 for SAARC nationalities, $1 for Nepalese.
- Begnas Lake
Begnas Lake is situated at a distance of about 15 KM from Pokhara, which is about 45 mins drive. One beautiful thing about Begnas Lake is it changes colors depending on the season. It is the second largest lake in Pokhara. Begnas Lake is less crowded and is much cleaner and quieter than Fewa Lake.
The highlights of this trip are boating, swimming, and fishing. This lake is a must go place while traveling to Pokhara.
- Bat cave (Chamero Gufa)
Bat cave is commonly called Chamero Gufa, which is its Nepali translation. Bat cave attracts a huge number of local as well as international tourists. Experience in bat cave is so untouched, raw and real. The bats thrive in damp weather, which is an ideal location for their reproduction. When you’re inside the cave, just look up and you’ll see the chunks of bats clustered together. It shelters to more than 10 thousand bats of different species.
While you’re getting inside the cave, make sure you don’t disturb the bats, don’t smoke, don’t throw any rubbish, don’t make noise and most importantly don’t focus lights directly onto the bats.
The entry fees to enter this cave are as follows; $0.2 for foreigners, $0.1 for Nepalese and $0.05 for Nepalese students.
- Bindhabasini Temple
Bindhabasini temple is the center of religious activity in the old bazaar, which is dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati (manifestation of Shakti). A lot of worshippers come here to worship the Goddess and offer sacrifices. If you’re lucky, you can witness different poojas and sometimes even Nepalese wedding ceremonies as well. This temple is regarded as one of the most powerful Shaktipiths (Energy center) of Western Nepal.
The entry to this temple is free.
If you’re in Pokhara city and not paragliding, you’re missing a great deal. It is considered as one of the top 5 commercial tandem paragliding locations in the world. Incredible panoramic views of the snowcapped mountain range, pristine lakes, and cities; what more do you expect?
You have two options of paragliding; Tandem paragliding meaning you’re seated in a separate harness in front of the pilot and the next one is flying on your own which means you can fly on your own if you’re experienced enough.