If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, then Pokhara is its center of adventure. An enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley, it is the starting point for many of Nepals most popular trekking and rafting destinations.
Pokhara (population 95,000) is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and magic.
Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
PLACES TO SEE
Mountain views. Clearly the most stunning of Pokharas sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Stretching from the east to west, the Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I to IV and Annapurna South. Although the highest among them is Annapurna I (8,091 m), it is Machhapuchhre which dominates all others in this neighborhood. The fish-tailed pinnacle is the archetypal snow-capped, needle-pointed mountain.
Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in the Kingdom roughly measuring 1.5 by 4 km, is the center of all attractions in Pokhara. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of the resort town. The eastern shore, popularly known as Lakeside or Baidam, is the favorite home base for travellers and is where most of the hotels, restaurants and handicraft shops are located.
Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake are located about 15 km from Pokhara at the end of a road that turns north from the highway to Kathmandu. Divided by a forested hillock called Panchabhaiya Danda, the lakes offer the perfect nature retreat because of their relative seclusion. Splendid boating and fishing opportunities can be had here.
Barahi temple. Built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, this two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protectress 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.
World Peace Pagoda, a massive Buddhist stupa, is situated on top of 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 and Pokhara city. You can get there by crossing the lake by boat and then hiking up the hill.
Seti Gandaki. 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 rivers dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by its powerful flow.
Seti Gorge and the Green Canyon. The View Point of The Fulbari Resort offers an unrivaled panorama of the Annapurna range with the peaks of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Machhapuchhre, Annapurna III, Annapurna I and Annapurna South extending form right to left. A splendid vista of the Seti Gorge, a deep and narrow gorge cut by the Seti river, and the Green Canyon spreads out below.
Devis Fall. Locally known as Patale Chhango (Hells Fall), Devis Fall (also known as Devins or Davids) is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara airport on the highway to Tansen. Legend has it that a trekker (Devin, David...) was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.
Gupteswar Gupha is a sacred cave located near Devis Fall. The cave is almost 3 km long. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages. This cave holds special value for Hindus since a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva is preserved here in the condition it was discovered. An entrance fee of Rs. 5 is charged, and taking pictures inside the cave is prohibited.
Mahendra Gupha. Another of natures wonders in Pokhara is the Mahendra Gupha. This large limestone cave is locally known as the House of Bats, an apt name for it. A two-hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the local winged residents.
Roberts Aviary. Colonel Jimmy Roberts, the father of trekking in Nepal, collected Danphe pheasants during his trekking and mountaineering forays into the Annapurna mountains. He maintained an aviary for these colorful and sanguine birds which he later donated to The Fulbari Resort. The Danphe is the national bird of Nepal.
The Old Bazaar. Pokharas 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 markets original charm is alive and well.
Bindhyabasini Temple is the center of religious activity in the old bazaar. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park-like grounds offer a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, take on a festive local flavor.
Pokhara Museum, located between the airport and Mahendra Pul, 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. Open daily, except Tuesdays and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee is Rs. 5, and there is an extra Rs. 10 for cameras. (Tel: 061-20413).
Annapurna Museum, also known as the Natural History Museum, is located at Prithvi Narayan Campus east of the old bazaar. Managed by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), 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. Open daily, except Saturdays and holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance is free. (Tel: 061-21102).
Boating. Pokharas diverse natural wonders make it an excellent setting for adventure sports. Sailing or paddle boating on Phewa Lakes emerald expanse is something no visitor to Pokhara would like to miss. Boats and boatmen can be hired on an hourly or daily basis or you can row yourself.
Paragliding is your dream come true. Fly freely amongst the magnificent Himalaya with eagles and griffons to join you as you soar over lakes and villages. Novices get introductory courses before you go for the actual fun and experienced pilots get to fly deep in the Himalaya, between some of the remotest villages in the world.
Pony treks. With a landscape varying from the even lakeside to small hills with the most famous view in the country, Pokhara provides a magnificent opportunity for sight-seeing on horseback. Some hotels keep a stable of ponies while others help you hire them. Various outlets near the lakeside also rent out ponies and provide guides.
Pokhara is the starting and/or finishing point for some of the most popular treks including the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom Trek. It also offers a number of short treks for those who cannot opt for long, challenging ones. The most popular destination among them is Sarangkot (1,592 m), a former Kaski fort lying atop a hill five km west of the old bazaar. Kahundanda (1,520 m), to the north-east of Pokhara, has a ruined fort on the summit as well as a view tower with spectacular scenery.
Another must for nature lovers is Ghalchowk, a five-hour walk to the north of Pokhara. This typical Gurung village is the site of one of the regions oldest settlements. The ancient fort of Nuwakot, 15 km south of Devis Fall, is also ideal for savoring the splendors of nature. Naudanda is a five-hour walk and a favorite with those wishing to get away from it all.
Pokhara is a valley lying at an elevation of 900 m to the west of Kathmandu.
Access: There are daily flights (30 minutes) and bus services (200 km, 5-6 hours) between Kathmandu and Pokhara. You can also hire a car or travel by helicopter.
Local transport: Taxis and local buses
Season: Temperatures average a high of 30 degrees Celsius in summer and a low of 8 degrees in winter. The rainy season lasts June-September.Hotels in Pokhara
THE FULBARI RESORT
Tel: 61-23451; Fax: 977-61-28482; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Kathmandu Office: Pulchowk; Tel: 527588, 520085; Fax: 977-1-523149; E-mail: dosm@ fulbari.com.np; firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.fulbari.com
Nepal's first and only "Five-Star Deluxe Resort Hotel" and the only Five-Star property outside the Kathmandu valley. Fulbaris 165 superbly appointed and tastefully decorated rooms and suites offer a panoramic vista of the Annapurna range to the north and commanding views of the Seti and Fushre rivers and their canyons to the south. Besides sight-seeing trips, we also arrange spectacular trekking, microlite valley flight, mountain flights by helicopter, canyon and guided nature walks, pony treks and white water rafting. On-site facilities include complete fitness center, two floodlit tennis courts, video entertainment center, discotheque, exclusive casino, an outdoor heated swimming pool, nine-hole golf course, shopping galleries and beauty salon. We have six restaurants and bars and 24-hour room service. We also have a multi-functional banquet hall and an independent office with the latest communication facilities.
General Manager: Mr. Daman Pradhan
Gharipatan, Pokhara; Tel: 61-22122, 23676; Fax: 977-61-21995; E-mail: hosangp@village. mos.com.np
The Shangri-La Village sprawls in the quiet heart of Pokhara, beneath a towering of mountains that are visible from every room. A cluster of contemporary buildings derived from the huts of Nepalese villages, gardens, pools reflecting the Himalaya, and a swimming pool that is also a waterfall are some of the elegant surprises that await guests at the Shangri-La Village. Its Caravanserai coffee shop, the Spice Route restaurant and the poolside Sanctuary bar offer culinary delights of the Orient.
THE BLUEBIRD HOTEL
Managing Director: Mr. Anand Tuladhar
Pardi, Pokhara; Tel: 977-61-25480, 25481; Fax: 977-61-26260
Kathmandu Office: Tripureswor; Tel: 228833; Fax: 977-1-226820; E-mail: hotel@bluebird. mos.com.np
The Bluebird Hotel offers 125 luxury rooms of various configurations in three blocks. This is the only convention-oriented hotel in Pokhara with five halls of various capacities. Facilities and amenities range from gourmet restaurants, health club, shopping arcade to travel desk and business center.
FISH TAIL LODGE
General Manager: Mr. M. B. Rajbhandari
Lakeside, Pokhara; Tel: 061-20071, 20984, 22428; Fax: 977-61-20072; E-mail: fishtail@ lodge.mos.com.np
Kathmandu Office: Durbar Marg; Tel: 221711; Fax: 977-1-225236
Framed against a picturesque background of a lush green forest, Fish Tail Lodge offers luxury accommodation close to Phewa Lake. Guests reach the hotel on a barge. A cluster of ethnic-style bungalows contain the lodges tastefully decorated rooms. Great views of Mt. Machhapuchhre, the fish tail peak.
NEW HOTEL CRYSTAL
Managing Director: Mr. Ajay Sthapit
Pokhara; Tel: 061-20035, 20036
Kathmandu Office: Jyatha; Tel: 228011, 228561; E-mail: email@example.com
New Hotel Crystal is located close to the airport. Its well-appointed rooms and pleasant garden offer gorgeous views of the Annapurna range. The hotels restaurant serves Nepali, Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes and is open from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm. Fewa Bar is open for drinks and snacks from 10 am to 10 pm. A cultural program depicting the region is held every evening from 7 to 8 pm.
Damside, Pokhara; Tel:20391, 22630; Fax: 977-61-20391; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Located a stone's throw away from the Lakeside, Hotel Dragon provides modern comforts blended with the tradition and charms of the Thak Khola Valley. Equipped with modern amenities like AC and TV, the hotel's rooms offer a spectacular view of the Himalaya. It also has the largest conference hall in Pokhara. Its Solo Restaurant serves a variety of European, Indian and Nepalese cuisines.
HOTEL MOUNT ANNAPURNA
Airport, Pokhara; Tel: 20027, 20037, 23852; Fax: 977-61-20027
Hotel Mount Annapurna, a two-star hotel located in the heart of Pokhara Valley, has 30 well-furnished rooms, each equipped with AC, phone and wall-to-wall Tibetan carpets. Its Flying Dragon Restaurant serves Tibetan, Chinese, Nepalese, and Continental foods, and the Tashi Khel Bar is well stocked with a variety of cocktails.
Barahi Tol, Lakeside; Tel: 061-22895, 32035, 22649; E-mail: email@example.com
Kathmandu Office: Jyatha, Thamel; Tel: 268331; Fax: 977-1-267718; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www. intweb.com/tulsi
Situated by Phewa Lake, Hotel Tulsi offers modern comfort amidst natural splendors. Its 35 luxurious rooms offer gorgeous views of both the lake as well as the mountains. The rooms have attached bathroom with running hot and cold water, telephone with direct dialing system, AC and TV. The restaurant serves Continental, Nepalese and Indian food. Guests are picked up at the airport. Hotel Tulsi now offers an 8-night/9-day special package that includes tours to Kathmandu, Chitwan, Lumbini and Pokhara.
Lakeside, Pokhara-6; Tel: 061-23017, 23526; Fax: 977-61-23072; E-mail: barahi@cnet. wlink.com.np
Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel: 429820
Centrally located at the heart of Lakeside, Hotel Barahi offers 12 deluxe rooms with AC and 9 standard rooms from where guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalaya. The hotels restaurant serves Continental, Indian, Chinese and Nepali cuisines and the bar is well stocked with imported and local drinks. Other attractions include a spacious lawn garden with a fish pond and a tennis court.
BASE CAMP RESORT
Lakeside, Pokhara; Tel: 21226; Fax: 977-61-20903; E-mail: email@example.com
Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel/Fax: 977-1-259367; Website: www.leisureplanet.com
The Base Camp Resort offers comfortable accommodation with a close-to-nature experience.
THE BEGNAS LAKE RESORT & VILLAS
Sundari Danda, Begnas Lake; Tel: 061-60070, 60030; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathmandu Office: Pratap Bhawan, Kantipath; Tel: 249619; Fax: 977-1-249324, 478462; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www. intertours-nepal.com/begnas
Age-old warm Nepalese hospitality awaits you at Begnas Lake Resort, 12 km east of Pokhara. Sprawling over a hillside of unspoilt forest land, the resorts 32 guest rooms are built on rice terraces close to the waters edge. Built of materials found in abundance nearby, the resort clearly spells "back to nature". Apart from boating and fishing on the lake, the surrounding countryside offers interesting walks of surprising variety. It also has a swimming pool.
Lakeside; Tel: 061-21252; Fax: 977-61-24289; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www. go2nepal.com.fairmont
Located near the Phewa Lake, Fairmount Hotel offers well furnished comfortable rooms with views of the lake, mountains and forested hills. Namaste Restaurant & Bar serves delectable multi-national cuisine and exotic cocktails. The hotel also has a roof top terrace and neatly manicured garden to relax in.
HOTEL FEWA PRINCE
Kundhar, Pokhara; Tel: 24701, 27946/52/56; Fax: 977-61-24881
Kathmandu Office: Tel/Fax: 254123; E-mail: email@example.com
A Nepalese-Japanese joint venture, Fewa Prince has spacious rooms with verandah offering magnificent Himalaya views and car parking space for more than 100 vehicles. Our Annapurna Restaurant serves a variety of dishes including Chinese and Japanese food, and our Tansen Bar serves a variety of drinks including international cocktails. We organize all kinds of parties and seminars and offer catering and many other services.
Lakeside, Pokhara; Tel: 061-21722, 28988; Fax: 977-61-22164; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. com.np
The Glacier Hotel offers a choice of 12 well appointed deluxe and standard rooms fully equipped with EPABX telephone system with STD/ISD facilities, running hot and cold water, attached shower baths, color TV and quick laundry and valet services. The Romeo Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, situated close to the Phewa Lake, serves a variety of mouthwatering Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Indian and Nepali dishes with pure drinking water and steaks prepared by our special chef. Open 7 am to 10 pm.
Lakeside; Tel: 61-21031, 23091; Fax: 977-61-24923; E-mail: email@example.com
Hotel Meera is ideally located in the heart of lakeside. It offers panoramic views of Phewa Lake and the Himalaya. The rooms are both spacious and tastefully furnished with modern amenities. Bathrooms are large and en-suite to ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay. The hotel is an excellent base for tourists wishing to visit the many places of interest in and around Pokhara. The Mirage Restaurant and Gurkhas Kitchen offer delicacies from around the world.
Pardi, Lakeside; Tel: 061-20863, 23680; Fax: 977-61-20863
Located 2 km from the airport and close to Phewa Lake, Hotel Monalisa offers 18 well-appointed guest rooms, all equipped with attached bathroom and other modern facilities. Pleasingly decorated restaurant and Japanese-style hori khutasu during the winter season add to the family atmosphere of the hotel.
Lakeside, Pokhara; Tel: 061-21704, 31608; Fax: 977-61-25305
Kathmandu Office: Tel: 421450, 528650; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Located opposite Lake Phewa, the resort offers 29 well furnished deluxe rooms that provide magnificent views of the mountains and the lake. Facilities include direct dial telephone service, air-conditioning, attached bathroom with 24-hour hot and cold shower, multi-channel color TV and conference hall. The restaurant serves Indian, Chinese, Continental, Mexican, Italian and Nepalese cuisine while the bar stocks world famous liquors. Master Card and VISA accepted.
HOTEL MOUNTAIN TOP
Lakeside, Pokhara; Tel: 20779, 24458; Fax: 977-61-20779
Conveniently located in the heart of Lakeside, Hotel Mountain Top offers you an experience of the legendary hospitality of the Gurungs who are known for their gentleness, friendliness and warm hospitality. Each room offers a panoramic view of the mighty Himalaya and the serene Phewa Lake. Nirulas fast food restaurant offers a wide range of fast foods and ice-creams.
MUM'S GARDEN RESORT
Lakeside; Tel: 31468; Fax: 977-61-28574
Kathmandu Office: Durbar Marg; Tel/Fax: 977-1-241345; E-mail: email@example.com. np; Website: www.geocities.com/soho/exhibit/ 3246/mums.html
Mums Garden Resort is a peaceful and natural hotel, built with Nepali hand-cut stones. It consists of three buildings built around a pretty garden cafe. One houses the reception and restaurant while the remaining two are guest blocks. The rooms are cozy with attached bathroom with bath tub. Each room has a terrace which offers wonderful views of Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna range.
NEW HOTEL TRAGOPAN
Ratnapuri, Pardi, Pokhara; Tel: 21708; Fax: 977-61-23027; Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel: 230626; Fax: 977-1-225898
New Hotel Tragopan has 35 rooms with TV and air-conditioning. Facilities include swimming pool and shopping arcade.
NEW POKHARA LODGE
Lakeside, Baidam, Pokhara; Tel: 061-21493, 24990; Fax: 977-61-24990; Website: www. virtual-nepal.com/nplodge; www.catmando. com/nplodge
An ideal place for peace loving travellers, New Pokhara Lodge is tucked away in the back, off the main street. We have a beautiful garden for outdoor relaxation and 21-channel cable television to pass time in the room.
POKHARA MOUNT RESORT
Lakeside, Pokhara-6; Tel/Fax: 977-61-22465
Kathmandu Office: P.O. Box 21005, Durbar Marg; Tel: 226353, 433482; Fax: 977-1-226353; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pokhara Mount Resort is located close to Phewa Lake and five minutes drive from the airport. It has luxuriously furnished rooms with wall to wall carpet, private bath and shower, TV and telephone. The hotels well-appointed rooms offer splendid views of the Himalaya. A big garden and spacious parking area add to the pleasures of staying here.
THE SACRED VALLEY INN
Lakeside; Tel: 061-23384
Enjoy the peaceful energy of Pokhara at the Sacred Valley Inn. Our marriage of Nepalese and American tastes and management ensures a hospitable and respectful stay with us. Our location right across the Royal Summer Palace offers a panoramic view of Phewa Lake and the whole Annapurna range. Comfort, cleanliness and quality is what our family offers you at an affordable rate.
Lakeside-6, Pokhara; Tel: 21966; Fax: 977-61 31694; E-mail: email@example.com
A unique hotel, Shikhar offers 22 spacious rooms that provide excellent views of Lake Phewa and the mountains. Situated just 15 minutes drive from the airport, the hotel is equipped with modern amenities and its rooms have attached bathrooms with 24-hour running hot and cold water. The Family Restaurant serves Indian and Continental cuisine in a homely atmosphere. The hotels other facilities include trekking and sight-seeing arrangements, free luggage storage, safe deposit, laundry service, car parking and doctor on call. It is an ideal home away from home for the discerning traveller.
Lakeside, Pardi, Pokhara; Tel: 20853; Fax: 977-61-25206; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. com.np; Website: www.trav-nepal.com/hotel/ tibetresort
Tibet Resort is an excellent place to stay near Phewa Lake. Its Norbu Lingka Cafe serves varieties of Continental, Chinese, Tibetan, and Nepalese culinaries.
MD Publishing Co.
Tripureswor, P. O. Box 3525, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tel: 260327, 256003 . Telex: 2611 EMC NP. Fax: 977-1-261159.
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