Driving 25 kilometre off the road from the major highway that connects Pokhara to Kathmandu, you will find yourself in the ancient and historical town of Gorkha. Approximately 300 years or so ago, Nepal was segregated into 50 small states, and Gorkha happened to be one of them. King Prithvi Narayan Shah who established the Shah Dynasty, which governed Nepal till recently, was responsible for unifying Nepal. It is here that you will find the renowned Gorkha Palace atop a hill which stands majestically at an altitude of 1000 metres. This vantage point was a strategic place for the king to watch over his subjects from the tallest palace at the heart of Nepal. Gorkha is also home to the legendary 'khukuri-wielding' famed Gurkha soldiers who have instilled fear in the minds of their enemies in countless wars in Nepal and around the world.
What to See & Visit
The first and most obvious place to visit would be the Gorkha Palace from where you can commence your tour of the region. Starting from the bottom of the hill, the climb up the 1700 steps leading to the palace may seem like an arduous task, but the reward at the top is fulfilling ( about 2 hours ). The consolation that you can draw is the fact that the way down is easier !! The palace is not the only feature you will be rewarded by your efforts; you can treat yourself to the stunning views of the panoramic Himalayan vistas which include views of Manaslu and Himalchuli peaks, and of course the sprawling valleys below that take your breath away.
The Gorkha District of Nepal has initiated a community tourist program and has been in couple of years of operation. This region is well appreciated not only by foreign visitors, but also Nepalis from other regions for its unrivalled natural beauty, spectacular views, virgin forests, mid-hill trekking routes, cave explorations, cascading waterfalls and the flora that has medicinal, aromatic and edible characteristics.
The Gorkha Village Tours, which is fairly new venture, has been successful in its endeavours to promote community-based tourism, and this is evident from the success and popularity that has stemmed from Sirubari, Syangja ( a half day excursion from Pokhara ). It is a three-hour walk from the roadhead which is 30 kilometres from Pokhara. A Management Committee oversees the welcome, accommodation, sightseeing and guiding of visitors. The village has 60 or so households that offer homestay accommodations with simple but clean and comfortable bedding along with toilet facilities. You will be treated to fresh local produce during meals which you share with the ethnic Gurung family with whom you stay with. In the evenings, you will be entertained with traditional Gurung dance, music and song.