Nepal, the small Himalayan country with a population of about 26 million has for years acted like a magnet in drawing visitors to its fold. Some came to view the numerous UNESCO world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, some came to pay homage at Lumbini, the birth place of The Buddha. Many came to Nepal in their quest for adventure as this country has been the gateway to the Himalayas and home to eight of the World’s tallest mountains including Mt. Everest.
So it is no small wonder that Tourism has been one of the main sources of income for this small country.
Alas! In April,2015, the earth under this tiny country shook and rumbled like never before, leaving in its wake destruction of the kind that was never seen before. More than 8, 000 human lives lost, countless rendered homeless, Kathmandu Valley, once buzzing with tourists admiring its many palaces, temples and other buildings was rendered an expanse of ruins and rubble.
It is over an year since that apocalyptic day, Nepal has recovered and is recovering, albeit slowly. What Nepal needs today is a stream of visitors who would help in its economic recovery. Though the earthquake did devastate and destroy many of the sites in Kathmandu, but there are still many places which were not ravaged by the earthquake and which are a delight to behold.
About 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu lies Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal. It is a picturesque place and is very close to the Annapurna Range of mountains which consist of 3 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, namely Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. The picturesque town of Pokhara is embellished by the emerald waters of the Phewa lake. Interestingly, even though compared to Kathmandu; Pokhara was closer to the epicenter of the earthquake, it escaped relatively unscathed in the year 2015.
Pokhara is the gateway to some amazing treks that would take you through the Himalayan mountain ranges and across amazing rhododendron forests with panoramic views of the snow clad Himalayan peaks.
Head to Sarankot, a mountain with an altitude of 1600 meters to catch a sublime view of the sun rising against the backdrop of the three snow clad peaks of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. You can also get an awesome view of Pokhara city from this vantage point. If weather permits, you can also indulge your Adrenalin glands with some paragliding.
You can stroll along this stunning lake with its emerald waters glistening in the sunlight and crowned by the snow clad Annapurna mountains in the horizon. The experience is ethereal and you can spend hours here basking in the beauty of nature. You can also have some fun by paddle boarding in the waters of the Phewa Lake.
This is a Pagoda atop a hill that is reached by climbing a thousand steps. But the reward that awaits you at the end of the climb will make all your tiredness vanish into thin air. True to its name, the place is indeed synonymous with peace and tranquility. One is overcome by an indescribable feeling of being at peace with oneself and in complete harmony with nature as you view the magnificent panorama that stretches out before you.
Apart from the above there are numerous hikes and treks to choose from ranging from the easy to the very difficult ones that could spread over weeks.
But if you want to just chill and enjoy the natural beauty of nature, you are in the right place. Pokhara is a place where you go to do nothing, but breathe in the fresh mountain air, take long walks and admire panoramic views of the mountain peaks.
How to Get to Pokhara
- You can fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, there are about 10 flights operating daily, the flight takes about 25 minutes. flights are operated by Buddha Air and Yeti Air
- You can take a morning Tourist bus from Kathmandu, ordinary bus fares would be in the range of $8 to $12 while luxury buses with air-conditioning would cost around $18 to $25. The travel time is around 6-7 hours by road
- You can take a private taxi to Pokhara, which would set you back by about $100 to $150, but you would end up reaching your destination under 5 hours
Where to stay in Pokhara
- Pokhara Choice Inn is a nice place to stay with family, the hotel is clean, with good ambience and wonderful views, approximate cost $40 for a double room with breakfast
- Hotel Tara located very near to the lake is also a good option and would cost approximately $20/per day
When to head out to Pokhara
The best months to visit Pokhara is between April and June as the days are warm and the skies are clear and one can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains and catch some amazing sunrises.
If you love wildlife and want to see wild elephants, rhinos, hyenas, and crocodiles up close then you can head to Chitwan National Park which is around 150 kilometers from Pokhara. You can also reach Chitwan from Kathmandu.
Nepal needs you, help this beautiful Himalayan nation by visiting it and helping in rebuilding its economy.
Are you planning to visit this gateway to the Himalayas? Do let us know your thoughts through the comments section.
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