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pokhara

overview

pokhara (Nepali : पोखरा) is a sub-metropolitan and the second biggest city of Nepal as well as the headquarters of Kaski District, Gandaki Zone and the Western Development Region. It is located 200 km west of the capital Kathmandu. Although  being a approximately smaller valley than Kathmandu, its geography varies  hysterically within just few kilometres from north to south. The altitude varies from 827 m in the southern part to 1740 m in the north. Additionally, the Annapurna Range with three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — are within approximately 15 – 35 miles as-the-crow-flies distance from the valley. Due to its proximity to the Annapurna mountain range, the city is also a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the ACAP region of the Annapurna ranges in theHimalayas.

 

Pokhara has become a major tourist destination: It is contemplated the tourism capital of Nepal in South Asia mainly for adventure tourism and the base for the popular Annapurna Circuit trek. Thus, a main contribution to the local economy comes from the tourism and  consideration  industry. Many tourists visit Pokhara. Tourism is a main source of benefits for local people and the city.There are two 5-star hotels and approximately 305 other hotels that includes five 3-star, fifteen 2-star and non-star hotels in the city.

Many medieval era temples (Barahi temple, Bindhyabasini, Bhadrakali, Talbarahi, Guheshwori, Sitaldevi, Gita mandir temple, Bhimsen temple) and old Newari houses are part of the city (Bagar, Bindhyabasini, Bhadrakali, Bhairab Tol, etc.).The current commercial city centres are at Chipledhunga, New Road, Prithvi Chowk and Mahendrapul (recently renamed as Bhimsen Chowk).

The city develop two major hilltops as viewpoints to see the city and neighboring panorama, World Peace Pagoda built in 1996 across the southern shore of Phewa lake and Sarangkot which is northwest of the city. In February 2004, International Mountain Museum (IMM) was opened for public in Ratopahiro to boost the city's tourism   attractiveness Other museums are Pokhara Regional Museum; an ethnographic museum; Annapurna Natural History Museum which houses conserved specimens of flora and fauna, and contains  outstandingly extensive collection of the butterflies, found in the Western and ACAP region of Nepal; and Gurkha Museum promoting history of the Gurkha soldiers.

The city has recently been  embellished with a bungee jumping site (the second in Nepal): Water Touch Bunjee Jumping. A cable car service has begun construction joining Fewa Lake with World Peace  Stupa led by the government of Nepal which is expected to boost the tourism exponentially.

Since the 1990s Pokhara has experienced rapid urbanization. As a result, service-sector industries have increasingly devoted to the local economy overtaking the traditional agriculture. An effect of urbanization is seen in high real estate prices, among the highest in the country. The major contributors to the economy of Pokhara are manufacturing and service sector including tourism; agriculture and the foreign and domestic remittances. Tourism, service sector and manufacturing  supply approximately 58% to the economy, remittances about 20% and agriculture nearly 16%

 

 

Geography

Pokhara is in the northwestern corner of the Pokhara Valley, which is a increasing of the Seti Gandaki valley that lies in the central region (Pahad) of the Himalayas. In this region the mountains rise very quickly, and within 30 km, the altitude rises from 1,000 m to over 7,500 m. As a result of this sharp rise in elevation the area of Pokhara has one of the highest condensation rates in the country (3,350 mm/year or 131 inches/year in the valley to 5600 mm/year or 222 inches/year in Lumle). Even within the city there is a noticeable difference in rainfall between the south and the north: The northern part at the foothills of the mountains experiences a proportionally higher amount of  condensation.

The Seti Gandaki is the major river flowing athrough  the city. The Seti Gandaki (White River) and its tributaries have authorize  several gorges and canyons in and around Pokhara that gives intriguingly long department of terrace features to the city and surround areas. These long sections of terraces are checked by gorges that are hundreds of meters deep. The Seti gorge runs through Pokhara from north to south and then west to east; at places these gorges are only a few metres wide. In the north and south, the canyons are wider.

In the south, the city borders Phewa Tal (4.4 km2) at an elevation of about 827 m above sea level and Lumle at 1,740 m in the north of the touches the base of the Annapurna mountain range. Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu. Three 8,000-meter peaks (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu) can be seen from the city. The Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) with an elevation of 6,993 m is the closest to the city.

The porous underground of the Pokhara valley popular  the formation of caves and several caves can be found in the city limits. In the south of the city, a tributary of the Seti flowing out of the Phewa Lake disappears at Patale Chhango (पाताले छाँगो, Nepali for Hell's Falls, also called Davis Falls, after someone who supposedly fell in) into an underground gorge, to reappear 500 metres further south. To the southeast of Pokhara is the municipality of Lekhnath, a recently established town in the Pokhara valley, home to Begnas Lake.

 

History                                                                       

 

Pokhara lies on an important ancient trading route between China and India. In the 17th  century it was part of the Kingdom of Kaski which was one of the Chaubise Rajya (24 Kingdoms of Nepal) ruled by a branch of the Shah Dynasty. Many of the hills around Pokhara still have medieval ruins from this time. In 1786 Prithvi Narayan Shah added Pokhara into his kingdom. It had by then become an important trading place on the routes from Kathmandu to Jumla and from India to Tibet.

Pokhara was envisioned as a monetary central by the King of Kaski in the mid 18th century A.D. when Newars of Bhaktapur  emigrate to Pokhara, upon being proposed by the king, and  determined near main business locations such as Bindhyabasini temple, Nalakomukh and Bhairab Tole. Most of the Pokhara, at the time, was largely inhabited by Khas (Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakuri and Dalits), the major communities were located in Parsyang, Malepatan, Pardi and Harichowk areas of modern Pokhara and the Majhi community near the Phewa Lake. The establishment of a British recruitment camp brought larger Magar and Gurung communities to Pokhara. At present the Khas, Gurung (Tamu) and Magar form the dominant community of Pokhara. There is also a  colossal Newari population in the city. A small Muslim community is located on eastern fringes of Pokhara generally called Miya Patan. Batulechaur in the far north of Pokhara is home to the Gandharvas or Gaaineys (the tribe of the musicians).

The nearby hill villages around Pokhara are a mixed community of Khas and Gurung. Small Magar communities are also present mostly in the southern outlying hills. Newar community is almost non-existent in the villages of outlying hills  farther the Pokhara city limits.

From 1959 to 1962 approximately 300,000 exiles entered Nepal from neighbouring Tibet following its annexation by China. Most of the Tibetan exiles then sought asylum in Dharamshala and other Tibetan exile communities in India. According to UNHCR, since 1989, approximately 2500 Tibetans cross the border into Nepal each year, many of whom arrive in Pokhara typically as a transit to Tibetan exile communities in India. About 50,000 - 60,000 Tibetan exiles reside in Nepal, and approximately 20,000 of the exiled Tibetans live in one of the 12 consolidated camps, 8 in Kathmandu and 4 in and around Pokhara. The four Tibetan  agreement in Pokhara are Jampaling, Paljorling, Tashi Ling, and Tashi Palkhel. These camps have evolved into well-built settlements. each with a gompa (Buddhist monastery), chorten and its appropriate architecture, and Tibetans have become a visible minority in the city.

Until the end of the 1960s the town was only accessible by foot and it was considered even more a mystical place than Kathmandu. The first road was completed in 1968 (Siddhartha Highway) after which tourism set in and the city grew rapidly. The area along the Phewa lake, called Lake Side, has developed into one of the major tourism hubs of Nepal

 

 

Climate

The climate of the city is sub-tropical; however, the altitude keeps temperatures tolerant  Summer temperatures average between 25 and 33 °C, in winter around - 2 to 15 °C. Pokhara and nearby areas earn a high amount of precipitation. Lumle, 25 miles from the Pokhara city central, receives the highest amount of rainfall (> 5600 mm/year or 222 inches/year) in the country.Snowfall is not attended in the valley, but surrounding hills experience particular snowfall in the winter. Summers are humid and mild; most precipitation occurs during the monsoon season (July - September). Winter and spring skies are normally clear and sunny.The highest temperature ever registered in Pokhara was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on the 4th May 2013, while the lowest temperature ever listed was 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) on the 13th January 2012

Climate data for Pokhara (1981-2010)

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Average high °C (°F)

19.7
(67.5)

22.2
(72)

26.7
(80.1)

29.8
(85.6)

30.1
(86.2)

30.6
(87.1)

30.0
(86)

30.2
(86.4)

29.3
(84.7)

27.5
(81.5)

24.1
(75.4)

20.7
(69.3)

26.7
(80.1)

Daily mean °C (°F)

13.4
(56.1)

15.7
(60.3)

19.8
(67.6)

22.8
(73)

24.3
(75.7)

25.8
(78.4)

26.0
(78.8)

26.1
(79)

25.1
(77.2)

22.1
(71.8)

18.0
(64.4)

14.4
(57.9)

21.1
(70)

Average low °C (°F)

7.1
(44.8)

9.2
(48.6)

12.8
(55)

15.7
(60.3)

18.4
(65.1)

20.9
(69.6)

22.0
(71.6)

22.0
(71.6)

20.8
(69.4)

16.7
(62.1)

11.9
(53.4)

8
(46)

15.5
(59.9)

Average precipitation mm (inches)

23
(0.91)

35
(1.38)

60
(2.36)

128
(5.04)

359
(14.13)

669
(26.34)

940
(37.01)

866
(34.09)

641
(25.24)

140
(5.51)

18
(0.71)

22
(0.87)

3,901
(153.58)

 

 

 

Trekking Agencies in Pokhara

Pokhara is the major tourism Hub in Nepal. Tourism operas vital role in Pokhara since thousands of tourists visit Pokhara every year and majority of people are convoluted in the tourism sector. There are many trekking agencies in Pokhara that  contribute several trekking programs and itineraries for the tourists. Some of the major trekking regions are Annapurna region, Everest region, Langtang region, Manaslu region, Rara/Jumla region and Kanchanjanga/ Makalu region.

 

Rivers and lakes in and around Pokhara

 Pokhara valley is rich in water sources. The major bodies of water in and around Pokhara are

Lakes

  • Phewa lake
  • Begnas lake
  • Rupa lake

Rivers

  •   Seti Gandaki   (Seti Khola)

Music                                                          

The universal  apparatus used in Nepalese music include the madal(small leather drum), bansuri (bamboo flute), and saarangi. These apparatus are prominent features of the traditional folk music (lok gít or lok geet) in Pokhara, which is  absolutely the western (Gandaki, Dhaulagiri and Lumbini) branch of Nepali lok geet. Some examples of the music of this region are Resham Firiri (रेशम फिरिरी) and Khyalee Tune the lok geet  commenced airing in Radio Nepal during the 1950s and artists such as Jhalakman Gandharva, Dharma Raj Thapa are considered pioneers in bringing the lok git into mass media. During early and late 1990s, bands from Pokhara like Nepathya started their very successful fusion of western rock and pop with traditional folk music. Since then several other musical groups in Nepal have adopted the lok-pop/rock style producing dozens of albums every year. Another important part of cultural music of western Nepal, and hence Pokhara, is the Panché Baaja a  classical musical band abserved   generally during marriage observance by the damaai musicians The musical culture in Pokhara is quite vigorous and in recent years, Western rock and roll, pop, rap and hip-hop are becoming increasingly popular with frequently held musical concerts; however, the traditional lok and modern (semiclassical) Nepali music are predominantly advantaged by the general populace. More musical  recital are held in Pokhara than in any other city in the country

What to do in Pokhara  ? Where to visit ?

Bindabasini Temple: Located northwards from Lakesideand westwards right next to the Old Bazaar, Bindabasini Temple that was founded in 1789AD is the oldest Hindu Temple dedicated to the goddess Durga. The main temple is white coloured and pagoda styled and is surrounded by few other temples including Lord Shiva’s. Many Hindu pilgrims and general visitors visit the temple to pay their homage to the goddess. Additionally, newly wedded Hindu couples seeking a happy married life visit the temple to get blessing of the goddess.The decorative temple also has a small park on the front-left from the main entrance to the complex. Occasionally, school students and local people enjoy picnic in the park as the large section of Pokhara city and some incredible snow-capped mountains can be seen from the vantage point here.

                                  

Seti Gorge:It is the gorge from where the mighty river Seti enters into it and passes through. The gorge is approx. 4km long and widens up at two places only. There are several bridges that go over the gorge from where Seti River can be viewed. ‘Seti’ in English is ‘White’ and the word is used for female gender. The river is white in colour as it gets mixed with limestone at its source in Annapurna Region. The best spot to view the river is KI Sing Bridge, which is built approx. 50m high above the river and it is the main entrance into the gorge for the same. Located in the north-east of Pokharafrom Lakeside, the bridge itself is an irrigation channel, and the water that flows through it is from the same river that is seen approx. 50m down below the bridge.                        

Davis Fall: Positioned in the southern Pokhara city and right next to the Siddhartha Highway, the Fall (fed by the water from the Fewa Lake) approx. 6km from Lakeside is a beautiful natural cascade whose length is approx. 28m, and once it hits its base, the water disappears as it flows underneath for approx. 500m in the cave-like landscape and comes out from the other side only. The legend has it – back in 1961, a Swiss tourist girl called Davis was bathing with her husband in the surrounding area of the Fall and was swept away when the water level suddenly rose. Her body was discovered after few days of hard attempt to find her. So subsequently, the name of the Fall was named after Davis.The entrance of the Fall has souvenir shops and few local restaurants, and once inside, it offers a wonderful view of the park, the cascade itself and the snow-capped mountain range including Annapurna, Mt. Fishtail and Lamjungat the backdrop.

GupteshworMahadev Cave:Discovered in 1990s only, this cave is at the other side of the Davis Fall right across the Siddhartha Highway. The entrance of the cave is small but inside it is wide. There are two sections of the cave – the first section has concrete steps that descends to the Lord Shiva’s shrine (it is worshipped in the morning and evening and where photography is not allowed) and the second section without concrete steps is a narrow tunnel that continues from right behind the shrine itself. There is a metal door installed that separates the second section from the first one. The end of the cave is when it comes to the water fall of the Davis Fall

 

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