The valley of Pokhara is a paradise situated on the lap of the panoramic Annapurna Himal.200kilometers west from Nepal’s fabled Capital city of Kathmandu.This enchanting valley is one of nature’s rare places where dramatic views of the world’s highest mountain can be enjoyed from the subtropical setting. Having a total of 7 lakes, Pokhara is known as the valley dotted with lakes. The city has a population of around 95,000.It has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks. The serenity of lakes and the magnificence of the Himalayas rising behind them create an ambience of peace and magic.
The city has not only become the starting point for most popular trekking and rafting destinations but also a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.Pokhara is a rare combination of the long arrays of snow clad peaks, crystal clear lakes ,turbulent rivers with deep gorges and picturesque villages inhabited by simple and friendly ethnic people.
Pokhara is most popular for its lakes Phewa, Begnas and Rupa. Best time to visit is between October and April. One can go for boating on these famous lakes. Exploring the deep-seated mysteries of intriguing caves like Mahendra Gupha will further heighten your adventure spirit. The Devi’s fall, the gorge of the Seti River, Buddhist monastery, Barahi temple, Gupteswar Gupha, Museums, Sarangkot, Bindabasini Temple, The Old Bazaar, World Peace Pagoda and Tibetan refugee camp are the other dotted places for sightseeing.
Phewa Tal (Lake):
Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the kingdom, roughly measuring 1.5 km by 4 km, is the center of attraction in Pokhara. Phewa Tal is surrounded by a combination of monkey-filled forests and the high white peaks. Brightly painted wooden boats and sailboats can be hired for boating. One of the fascinating parts of lakeside is the splendid view of the mountains, especially when the still water reflects the peaks, creating a double image.
Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake:
Out of town and away from the hustle, these lakes are located about 15km from Pokhara. Divided by the forested hillock called Panchabhaiya Danda, the lakes offer the perfect nature retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing can be done here.
Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs completely underground at places. Amazingly, at certain points the river appears hardly two meters wide. But its depth is quite beyond imagination – over 20 meters! Mahendra Pul, a small bridge near the old Mission Hospital, provides a perfect view of the river’s dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.
Locally known as Patale Chhango (Hell’s Fall), Devi’s fall (also known as Devin’s or David’s) is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara airport Spectacular and unusual, Devi falls plunge into a cave and disappear into the earth.
The Old Bazaar:
Pokhara traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Located about 4 km from Lakeside, the market’s original charm is alive and well.
This is the most important religious monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, the two storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the deity representing the female force Shakti. Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.
Bindabasini temple is the center of religious activity in the old bazaar. It is dedicated to goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. Worshippers flock here to perform sacrifices, and especially on Saturdays the park like grounds take on a festive fair.
World Peace Pagoda:
The pagoda is a massive Buddhist stupa, recently built atop a hill on the southern shore of Phewa lake. Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range, beautiful sunset and Pokhara city. One can get there by crossing the lake by boat and then hiking up the hill.
Matepani Gumba (Buddhist monastery):
There is a splendid Buddhist Monastery on the top of the small forested hill above Matepani east of Mahendra pool. It overlooks a large section of the Pokhara city, and once there one finds oneself lost in time amid the chanting Ramas.there colossal guardian images of the Buddha accompanying two other gurus and a prayer house has an exquisitely carved columns and friezes.
Mahendra Gupha is the nature’s wonders. This Gupha is the large limestone cave locally called the Chamero Odhaar (“House of Bats”). A two hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring a torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, although most of them have been carted out by souvenir hunters.
Gupteswar Gupha, a sacred cave, lies 2 km from Pokhara airport on the Siddhartha Highway leading southwest from the city. The entrance is right across from Devi’s Fall and the cave is almost 3 km long. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages where you have to crawl on all fours. This cave holds special value for Hindus since a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva is preserved here in the condition it was discovered.
Pokhara Museum, located between the airport and Mahendra Pool, reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal. The lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as the Gurung, Thakali and the Tharu are attractively displayed.
Annapurna Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar. The museum has an exceptional collection of butterflies, insects, birds, and models of wildlife as well as samples of various precious and semi-precious stones and volcanic rocks.
This small village is perked on top of a hill just 5 kilometers from Pokhara Lakeside. At an elevation of just under 1,600m, it is perched on a high ridge to the northwest of The absence of motor vehicles contributes to Sarangkot’s peaceful atmosphere Pokhara and has panoramic mountain views of whole sweep from Dhaulagiri and across the Annapurnas to Manaslu, needless to say of the lake and the Pokhara valley itself.
Located in the remote western region of Nepal, Rara lies in Mugu district, touched by Jhobu lake (Dolpa) in the east, Humla(Karnali river) and Bajura in the west, Dhucchi lake (Jumla) in the south and Humla Karnali, Humla district and Tibet in the north. With long ridges surrounded by temperate forests and alpine pastures enclosing high valleys, this region lies in a remote and a wild corner of Nepal. The region is famous for its lake ‘Rara ’, the largest lake in Nepal. Rara region definitely gives you a taste of natural wilderness and serenity.
Climate, Flora and Fauna
Rara is noted for its scenic grandeur and pleasant climate. Usually the climate remains fine between May to October. During these months Rara looks most stunning and beautiful with clear mountain views at the backdrop and with many beautiful flowers and lush vegetation. Many hills, villages and some parts of the districts can be apparently seen.Summer is pleasant. It is sometimes wet and warm – a suitable time for botanists for observation as different varieties of plants thrive during this time. However, winter is quite chilly, as the temperatures drops to below freezing point, and heavy snowfalls occur up to one meter.
About 245 species of rare plants having medicinal value are found in the catchments areas. Up to 3200m the area is dominated by blue pine , black juniper, west Himalayan spruce , rhododendron , oak and Himalayan cypress . Other deciduous tree species found in the area are walnut , Himalayan poplar and Indian horse-chestnut . Rara also provides a rich habitat for ghorals, musk deer, red pandas, Himalayan black bears, snow leopards and both rhesus and langurs. About 250 species of birds are said to be found in this area, of which 49 belong to the wetlands and most of them are believe to be migratory. The Rara Lake and its surrounding presents a wonderful habitat for otters, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck etc.
Located on the southern side of the Rara lake which is 4039m high, this peak is the highest point of Rara. Standing along with neighboring peaks like Murma, Malika, Ruma, it gives an excellent backdrop to lake. From the point one can catch a panoramic view of neighboring peaks, Kanjiroba peak of Dolpo, Tibetan mountains and many other parts of a district.
Malika Kand and Ruma Kand
The snowcapped summit of Malika Kand (3444m) and Ruma Kand(3731m) lies on the northern side of the Rara lake. They both provide an excellent view of the lake to the south and the beautiful Mugu-Karnali River to the north.
Kanjiroba Massif Situated in the remote Dolpo region, west of Nepal, Kanjiroba massif is the major attraction of the region. The Kanjiroba Himal provides you a panoramic backdrop to complete your experience. It truly provides a lifetime experience to those who are longing for a challenging and adventurous trek in the remote Himalaya. One can view this massif clearly through chuchemara peak of Rara.
People and Places
Thakuris were residing in the area for many years. It had been a thriving community with a couple of villages around the shore. But the residents were relocated a decade before to create the national park and were resettled in Banke and Chisapani. But there are still many villages around the park namely, Jyari, Pina, Topla, Tuma, Ruma and Murma. The local economy is based on agriculture, primarily potatoes, buckwheat, beans, barley and wheat. Hindus dominate the community composition.
Rara Lake :Rara is the largest lake of Nepal and one of the most fascinating spot of Rara National Park.
Situated at an elevation of 2990m, the lake covers an area of 10.80 sq.km which is 5 km long and 2 km wide. Surrounded by the verdant alpine meadows and steep densely forested ridges, the lake is neighbored by tall trees and high mountain peaks. It provides a wonderful habitat for otters, winter water birds like Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, solitary snipe and an important resting place for migrating water fowl. The lake is very beautiful and tranquil, the charm and beauty of the lake will easily make you fall in love with it.
Rara National Park: Adjoining the Rara Lake is the Rara National Park, which was established in 1976 to conserve the unique beauty of lake, and to protect the representative flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region. The park contains more than 500 different kinds of flowers and herbs. It is an ideal habitat for Himalayan black bear, musk deer, leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr and wild boar etc. It is believed that 250 species of birds are found in the area which includes coots, snow cock, different species of pheasants, grebes, mallard, Nepal kalij etc. The Major treks JUMLA – RARA LAKE TREK This trek through the remote wilderness of western Nepal offers an experience of nature and a visit to Rara lake, Nepal’s Largest lake at 3062 meter. The trek begins from mountain airstrip of Jumla after flying from
Kathmandu via Nepalgunj the trail passes through countryside which provides glimpses of culture and scenery quite different from that found elsewhere in Nepal, eventually leads to Rara Lake National Park. This beautiful high altitude lake is surrounded by alpine meadows and forests of pine, juniper and spruce, whilst in the background are the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. The entire route is ‘off the beaten track’ which involves crossing of Gurchi Mara pass at 3710 meter on the way to Rara Lake and few ridges at around 3000 meter on the way back.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is from October to December or March to May.
The meeting and handling was good. Our trek guide was very good, helpful and knowledgeable. We had a very nice trek. People around were very helpful and realistic about the trip. Happy indeed!
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