Approximately 1.5 by 4 kilometers, Phewa Lake is the second largest lake in Nepal and is the focal attraction in Pokhara. The Idyllic lake surroundings gives you good reason to lazily relax on a boat that can be rented at moderate prices. As you do so, you can gaze at the stunning panorama of the Annapurna ranges. The eastern shoreline of the lake which is also known as Baidam or Lakeside is dotted with shops, restaurants and bars and souvenir shops. This area commands magnificent views.
Begnas Lake & Rupa Lake
These lakes are located 15 km from Pokhara from the end of a road that turns north from the highway heading to Kathmandu. It is divided by a forested hillock or 'Pannchabhaiya Danda'. The seclusion of this isolated area is an ideal nature retreat and can do wonders for your senses. One can even opt for boating and fishing.
The Barahi Temple is the most significant religious site in Pokhara and is located almost in the middle of Phewa Lake. The temple is a two storeyed Pagoda and is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima ( proctectress deity ) which represents female force, shakti. On Saturdays, one can observe devotees carrying male animals and fowls across the lake in order to make sacrifices and offer them to the deities.
World Peace Pagoda
This massive Buddhist structure is situated on the top of a hill on the southern shore of Phewa Lake and apart from being a spectacular site itself, it also offers a breathtaking vantage point to view the city of Pokhara and the panoramic Annapurna range. It is accessible once you cross the lake and hike uphill.
This gushing river flows through the city and at many places flows totally underground. It is aquite astonishing that the river is a mere 2 metres wide at some places. The depth of the river is upto 20 metres. In order to get a good understanding of the power of the river and the depth of the gorges, Mahendra Pull ( Bridge ) is a good spot to view this phenomena; the gorges are amazingly deep and narrow. Mahendra Pull is near the Mission Hospital.
Locally referred to as Patak Chhango ( Hell's Fall ) and also known as Devin's or David's Fall, this awesome waterfall is located 2 km southwest of Pokhara Airport on the highway to Tansen. According to modern day legend, a man by the name of David was skinny dipping in the river when the floodgates of the dam were opened; he was swept into the underground passage beneath the fall and never found.
Gupteswar Gupha ( Gupha – Cave )
This is a sacred cave and located 2 km from Pokhara Airport on the Siddhartha Highway leading southwest from the city of Pokhara. The entrance is right across from the Devi's Fall. The cave is 3 km long and has large open spaces and at certain places, passages that are so low and narrow that you would have to go down on all fours to navigate your way through. A well-preserved phallic symbol of Lord Shiva can be seen here. It is still in the same condition as it was when it was first discovered. One has to pay a nominal fee for entrance. Photography is prohibited here.
Known locally as Chamero Gupha ( Bat Cave ), it is a unique limestone cave and is presumed to have been discovered by local shepherd boys. The cave is accessible to the north of Pokhara after a two hour walk . It is advisable to carry your personal torchlight to look at the stalagtites and stalacmites that are found in the cave.
The Old Bazaar
This vibrant, colourful and interesting bazaar is a melting pot of ethnically diverse traders who sell and purchase anything from livestock, tools to farm products. One can visibly notice the Newari cultural influence in the various temples and monuments. The bazaar is 4 km from lakeside and still retains its old and rustic charm.
This temple is the centre of religious and spiritual activity in Old Bazaar. The temple is built in dedication to Goddess Bhagwat who is considered to be another manifestation of shakti. The place has a festive and fair-like atmosphere when animal sacrifices are made.
The museum is located between the airport and Mahendra Pull and showcases the ethnic diversity of Western Nepal along with the lifestyle, culture, history of the Gurung, Thakali and Tharu people who form the bulk of the population in this region. The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm on all days except Tuesday. There is a nominal entry fee and an extra fee for cameras.
Also known as the Natural History Museum, it is located at Prithvi campus east of the Old Bazaar. The museum itself is managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project ( ACAP ) and houses interesting collections of butterflies, insects, birds and wildlife models. Besides such treasures, it also displays precious and semi-precious stones and volcanic rocks. It is open everyday, except Saturdays and public holidays from 9 am to 4 pm. Entry is free.
One can get magnificent views of the Annapurna ranges on the northern skyline of Pokhara. The main peaks on the Annapurna Massif are Annapurna I – Annapurna IV and the distinctive Machhapucchare ( twin peaks ). Besides these peaks, other prominent ones are Himchuli, Varahashikar, Gangapurna and various other peaks. These peaks can either be hidden or partially visible during the months April- September. It is a rejuvenating experience to sit on the shores of Phewa Lake with the mountains as a backdrop, especially in the evenings.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Over the decades the city of Pokhara has transformed itself from a sleepy little town to a bustling and vibrant tourist hub, mainly because of trekkers who use the city as their starting and ending point for their Annapurna treks. Though the town shuts down from 10 : 30 pm onwards, one can still find his way to pubs and bars that either put on cultural shows or live bands that belt out covers of popular artists. The food in the restaurants also serve various cuisines ranging from pizzas and burgers to Chinese and continental.