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The second largest city of Nepal, Pokhara lies in the district of Kaski. It is approximately 200 km away from the national capital, Kathmandu. This popular tourist city serves as the base for trekkers heading to the Annapurna Mountain Range of the Himalayas and the Mustang Valley. It is also famous for being home to several revered shrines, such as Bindhyabasini Temple, Tal Barahi Temple, World Peace Pagoda, Bhadrakali Temple, Sitladevi Temple, Kedareshwar Mahadev Mani Temple and Matepani Gumba. In addition to visiting these, one can spend some peaceful time by heading to lakes like Phewa Lake, Rupa Lake, Begnas Lake and Dipang Lake that lie close to Pokhara.


Some other interesting places to visit in and around the city are Mahendra Cave, Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave, Gurkha Memorial Museum and International Mountain Museum. Those interested in adventure activities can indulge in a number of thrilling sports here, such as rafting, boating, trekking, mountain biking, paragliding and flying in an ultralight.


Shopping in the city is also fun, and one can take a number of things as souvenirs, such as woodcarvings, Buddhist thangka paintings and scroll paintings. One can also shop for woven shawls, traditional jewellery and much more from the local markets. To satisfy their taste buds, one can head to Lake Side to eat at any of the several restaurants, cafes and bakeries located here. At these places, one can relish scrumptious delicacies from international as well as local cuisine.


Another interesting thing to do in this city is to go for Yoga classes. This city is considered among the top Yoga destinations in the country. Besides Yoga, one can go for massage, reiki and meditation sessions as well. One may also choose those treks that combine trekking with meditation, breathing and Yoga classes.      


The ideal time to take a trip to Pokhara is from September to November, and then in early May. From May till August, rainfall is common, and hence coming here in this period should be avoided. Also, the winter months, December and January, should be avoided as it gets quite chilly at this time of the year. Those planning to come here in the month of October/November will enjoy the grand celebrations of Diwali.


Pokhara was part of the kingdom of Kaski, which was among the 24 kingdoms that were ruled by a division of the Shah dynasty, in the 17th century. Many hills in and around the city still have ruins from this period in history. The area of Pokhara was added to the kingdom of Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1786. By then, it had grown into an important trading post on the routes, from India to Tibet and Kathmandu to Jumla.


In the 18th century, on invitation from the king, the Newars from Bhaktapur came here and settled at different business locations, such as Nalakomukh, Bindhyabasini Temple and Bhairab Tole. During that period, Pokhara was mainly inhabited by the Khas people. Later, the major communities of Nepal started settling in the Harichowk, Parsyang, Pardi and Malepatan areas of the city, with the Majhi community settling near Lake Phewa. The establishment of a British recruit camp some years’ later, paved way for the people of Gurung and Magar communities to settle here.


As per estimated data, between 1959 and 1962, more than 300000 exiles from Tibet entered Nepal. Today, more than 50 to 60 thousand of these Tibetans live in various consolidated camps across the nation; Pokhara being one of them. The different Tibetan settlements in the city are Tashi Palkhel, Jampaling, Tashi Ling and Paljorling. All of these settlements have a Buddhist monastery each.


Till the end of the 1960s, Pokhara was accessible only by foot, and it was considered more scenic than Kathmandu. The first road, connecting it to the other major parts of the country, was built it 1968 and named Siddhartha Highway. The construction of this road led to tourism in the area, and as a result, its economy saw a positive surge. By 1980s, Pokhara had transformed into a popular mountain resort, with restaurants, shops, bars and hotels mushrooming everywhere. Over the years, the area alongside Phewa Lake has been developed into a tourism hub, and it is today called as Lake Side.


The city of Pokhara lies in the north-western part of the valley of Pokhara, which is an expansion of the Seti Gandaki Valley in the Himalayas. Pokhara, also known as the City of Lakes, is the second largest city in the country. The city offers some breathtaking views of the 8000 m peaks of Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Phewa Tal, located at an altitude of approximately 827 m above sea level, forms the southern border of the city while in the north lies Lumle, at an elevation of 1740 m above sea level. Towards the southeast of the city is located the Lekhnath town, which is home to Begnas Lake.


The main river that flows through this city is Seti Gandaki. This river and its tributaries have formed several canyons and gorges in and around the city, creating long sections of terrace features, some of which are 100 m deep. The Seti gorge runs through from the west to east and north to south of Pokhara.


There is a sharp rise in the elevation of mountains in this region, specifically from 1000 m to 7500 m above sea level within a 30 km radius. The effect of which can be seen in the way the city receives rainfall. Apparently, its northern part experiences higher rainfall than its southern part.


Pokhara city has a sub-tropical climate; however, owing to its elevation, temperatures in the city remain moderate. According to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification, this city has a Cwa climate. The annual average temperature of Pokhara is 20.6 degree Celsius. During the summer months, which are humid and mild, the temperature in the city ranges between 25 and 33 degree Celsius on an average. On the other hand, in winters, the temperature ranges between 02 and 15 degree Celsius.


The city and its nearby areas receive high amount of rainfall in the monsoon months (July to September); 3474 mm on an average. July receives the highest precipitation with 876 mm being the average. November is the month when it gets the least amount of rainfall. The precipitation variation between the wettest month and driest month is 870 mm. About 40 km away from the city centre of Pokhara is located a place called Lumle, which receives the highest rainfall in the region.


The coldest month in Pokhara is January, when the temperature averages about 13.1 degree Celsius. Snowfall is not common in the city; however, its surrounding hills experience occasional snowfall during winter months. During winters and spring, the sky generally remain sunny and clear. The average temperature variation across the year in the city is 12.2 degree Celsius.

How to reach

The city of Pokhara is connected well to rest parts of the country through roadways and airways. Public buses are the main mode of transportation to/from Pokhara, with Purano Bus Park being the main hub for bus service.


The nearest international airport to Pokhara is the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. This airport receives flights from across the globe on a daily basis. From Kathmandu, one can either travel by flight or bus or car to reach the city of Pokhara. A bus trip from the capital city Kathmandu takes about 6 to 8 hours, depending on the road condition, traffic and weather.


On the other hand, the flight duration from Kathmandu to Pokhara is approximately 30 minutes. A number of daily flights are available from Kathmandu till Pokhara, and this service is offered by Simrik Airlines, Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air and Nepal Airlines. One of the best parts about opting for a flight service on this route is the opportunity to witness panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains and the countryside.


One can hire cars from the Thamel Area in Kathmandu to drive to Pokhara.

Getting Around

The most convenient way to traverse within the city of Pokhara is on foot. There are some places in the city, where vehicles cannot reach and walking remains the only option. Several minivans operate on the popular routes within the city. Travelling by them can be cheap but can be a tad uncomfortable, especially because of overcrowding. To travel comfortably, one can opt for local taxi service, which is always readily available. Those who wish to explore this small city at a leisurely pace can choose to travel by bicycles, which can be taken on rent from the various shops lined at Lakeside, for a day. From here, one can also get motorbikes and scooters on rent for a day.

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