Pokhara is undeniably a traveller’s wonderland with picturesque views, lakes, mountains, bustling nightlife, adrenaline activities and a lot more. Here are a list of 8 activities in Pokhara that you might have overlooked.
Pokhara is a popular destination for boat trips. You can either choose to be a sailor or hire a boatman to take you around the beautiful Phewa or Begnas Lake. Boating at Begnas would be comparatively quieter and calmer than at Phewa. Boating allows you to fully enjoy the picturesque landscape of Pokhara Valley. You might event rent a kayak.
Walking around the parks near Lakeside can sometimes surprise you with unexpected bird sightings, a glance into the daily lives of locals : artists sit painting the lakes and hills, fishermen weave nets, Tibetan women sit behind their display of trinkets, kids play football and men repair old boats, etc. A day hike around the Damn side area(eastern part of Phewa) and Pame village(western part of Phewa) will let you explore the unspoiled part of the lake, a relatively reticent area.
If you are someone who loves hiking, you can complete the Phewa Tal circuit, which begins at the trail to the World Peace Pagoda, then continues to Lukunswara. Then the trail will head towards Pumdi and then to a small village named Margi. The circuit will eventually come to an end in Pame Bazaar, where you can cross the lake on a bridge. Take the public transportation to return back to lakeside.
The lake city even boasts numerous caves which conjure up a vision of a city hidden under the ground. Pokhara is renowned for 10 caves, of which only 9 are in good state.
- The famous Mahendra Cave
This cave was first explored in the yar 1976 by the British Expedition team and then by Daniel Gebauer. Mahendra Cave is 275 m long, has 16m wide entrance and only 3.5 m wide in the middle. Though string of light bulbs are fixed on the walls of the cave, you can’t always rely on the electricity inside the cave. Carrying your own torchlight is always a convenient option. You can observe some bizarre images on the cave walls that appear to be human carved images of the Hindu deities. The cave is about 4 kms from Mahendrapool Bazar and 6kms from Lakeside. It is located at Batulechaur, Pokhara.
- Bat Cave(Chamero Gufa)
Located in the vicinity of the Mahendra Cave, Bat Cave is predominantly a limestone cave and is full of bats. The cave doesn’t have any light bulbs inside it. Chamero Gufa is 135 m long and also contains a small rivulet running through the cave deep in the rock. The most interesting part about the cave is the exit which is a narrow slope through which you need to crawl to get outside.
- Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
Gupteshwor Cave is 599 years old and is situated on the Pokhara-Tansen road, southeast at Chhorepatan, Pokhara. A string of electric light bulbs are found inside the cave. Unless you pass through the 50 meters long tunnel, you need to bend down and walk. Upon passing the tunnel, you will find a huge open cavern with enormous rocks, crystal clear pond and a lot more.
- The Crazy Cave
The Crazy Cave can drive you crazy as soon as you go into its depths. Only few have dared to enter this cave till date. The crazy cave is located on a hillside and an experienced guide is a must to enter this cave. This cave is more than 300 meters long and has 3 outlets.
Other Famous Caves are :
- Balkailaseswor Cave
- The Siddheswor Cave
- Western Power Station Cave
Tibetan Refugee Camps
There are a total of 4 tibetan refugee camps in Pokhara namely : (Tashi Ling, Tashi Palkhiel, Jampaling and Paljorling. Apart from them, there are several other refugee camps in the surrounding hillsides of Pokhara. Tashi Palkhel is the largest settlement situated about 5km northwest of Pokhara at Hyangja, on the road to Banglung. Lonely Planet writes ,”With prayer flags flapping in the breeze in the rocky valley, it genuinely feels like you’re in Tibet. The colourful Jangchub Choeling Gompa in the middle of the village is home to around 200 monks. Try to time your visit in the afternoon to experience the rumbling of monks chanting and horns blowing during the prayer session (held 3.30pm to 5pm).Masked dances are held here in January/February as part of the annual Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations.”
While walking around Lakeside Area in Pokhara, you must have been approached by people selling trinkets. They are most likely tibetan refugees. They are not legally allowed to work in Nepal. Things that can be bought at the tibetan refugee camps are : Bracelets , Necklaces, Rings Woodcarvings , Carpets & rugs Clothing.
World Peace Pagoda
World Peace Pagoda sitz on top of small hill overlooking the Annapurna Mountain Range which reflects off the Phewa Lake below. This beautiful Stupa is painted brillaint white and was built by buddhist monks from Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji organization. It is also one of over 80 other peace pagodas in the world today. The peace pagodas are built to inspire peace for all races and creeds. You can either choose to take a local bus or rent a boat, row towards the starting point across Phewa side area and climb to the top which will take you less than an hour.
Experience the Urban Side of Pokhara at MahendraPul
Mahendrapul is the main market and shopping area of Pokhara where you will get to experience the pure Nepali Urban Life. Hang around with locals, make new friends and experience the true Nepal. Pokhara has some well-maintained shopping malls at Mahendrapool, Chipledhunga,New Road and Lakeside.
Visit Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake
Begnas Lake is situated in South-east of Pokhara Valley in Lekhnath Municipality. It is the second largest lake after Phewa Lake. Rupa Tal or Lake is also situated in the South- East of Pokhara Valley and is the third largest lake in Pokhara Valley. Despite of their close proximity to Pokhara, these lakes receive less number of tourists each year. The lakes and surrounding areas are mostly unexplored and can actually surprise you with its serene beauty.
If you want an escape from the hustle and bustle of pokhara, Begnas is where you are supposed to be. Take a cool swim in the water and eat local fish and fall in love with Nepal 🙂