It is considered as the tourism capital of Nepal. The proximity of Annapurna range makes this city the starting point of any trekking into the mountains. The valley is gifted with many lakes and rivers along with beautiful paddy fields which makes it a relaxing destination for the faint hearted.
The entire Annapurna range can be seen in the background of this city, with Machhapuchchhre, at an altitude of 7000 meters the nearest and three of the highest peaks in the world after Everest, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu within a distance of 50 kms from the city. Trekking to the mountains are available for all kind of trekkers from beginners to experts and from duration of one day to several weeks. People who are interested in this can try out.
Phewa lake is the major tourist attraction of this city and a lot of accommodations are available here. The ones facing the lake and nearby tends to be expensive and one far away can be cheaper. Motor bikes and bicycles are available for exploring the city on rental. Buses and share taxis are also in plenty.
Places to Visit in Pokhara
1. Fewa Lake
It is the most visited and one of the largest fresh water lakes in Nepal. Pokhara city is on the bank of this beautiful lake. An evening or morning walk by the lake, eating some local made chocolate pastries and enjoying the view of the Annapurna range is something worth trying.
There is also a temple in the middle of this lake and you can visit it during day time in small hired boats. You can spend some time in the temple and the small island and return back. The boats also takes leisure rides in the lake mostly for filming and for couples who would like some privacy.
2. Devi’s fall
This is literally an underground water fall. A small stream goes underground and then disappears only to rise up downstream. It is close to Pokhara and one can catch a bus to this place from the city. Hardly takes 30 minutes. You can actually go underground through stairs and watch the waterfall which then disappears underneath.
It is a hill top view point from where you can witness one of the best sunrise and sunsets. The place is only an hour distance from Pokhara by bus. The bus will take you halfway up the hill and then you have to hike uphill about another 30 minutes. It is an easy hike and once you reach on top of the hill you will get a whole 360 degree view. You can see the Annapurna range and Pokhara valley.
4. Ghorepani Phoon Hill Trek
This is an easy trek for the trekking enthusiasts and beginners who want to try it when in Nepal, in the land of Everest. Ghorepani Phoon hill is part of the Annapurna range. The usual trek duration is 4 to 6 days depending on the caliber of the trekker. You need to obtain permits for doing this trek which is available both in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The starting point of this trek is Nayapul, which is around 2 hours from Pokhara. As this is a route taken by many, there are rest points and cafes on the way. You can have food, get refreshments, charge your phone, use WiFi and even stay there. So technically this trekking is not like going through the loneliness of the mountains rather feels like walking through a busy village strip.
I will try to write a dedicated post for this trekking, as explaining every aspect is not possible here, to keep it short.
A marked spot inside the centuries old Mayadevi temple is referred as the birth place of Gouthama Buddha, who was born in Lumbini as a prince to the king Suddhodana and Mayadevi of Kapilvasthu Kingdom. This is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrim centre in the world.
Apart from the Mayadevi temple, there are several other new temples built by foreign countries like, Srilanka, China, Japan, France, Myanmar, Germany, Korea etc. There are around 25 new such temples which displays the architecture and worship practices of the respective country. You can interact with the numerous Monks who are present here to guide people into finding inner peace.
The atmosphere here is filled with Buddhist chants and mantras. Always peaceful with a lot of monks and devotees circling the temples and stupas, rotating the prayer wheels. The world around you tend to pause for a moment if you can sit somewhere and immerse yourself into the prayers. Numerous yoga and meditation points can be found here.
Visiting all the temples in one day can be difficult. So it’s better if you can stay here for a night and visit all of it in two days. The temples here provide cheap accommodations, only if it’s not filled with pilgrims. You can ask around for it. If you are in a hurry, visit the few large temples and can leave Lumbini afternoon if you start early in the morning.
From Lumbini you can get a bus to Bhairahawa near the border and then either walk to the border or get a rickshaw. After the security check at the border you can walk back to India. Don’t forget to exchange the remaining Nepali currency to Indian rupees before you enter India. Although you can keep some small notes as souvenirs or to gift someone.
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