There are a lot of beautiful places in Nepal, but the most peaceful and idyllic is Pokhara. This quaint little town’s claim to glory is it’s proximity to the Himalayan Mountain Range – it seems almost in touching distance! As you drive to Pokhara, you can seen the Himalayas looming to the right. We drove from Chitwan for a little less than four hours to get to Pokhara. There is an airport if you would like to fly from Kathmandu. We stopped at the Blue Heaven Restaurant for a break and some food, remember, I did tell you earlier that its the best place for miles around. As you reach Pokhara, if the weather is good, the mountains seem to surround the town. Neither the roads going into Pokhara nor the ones inside the town are great. They are dusty and bumpy. But the scenery more than makes up for it. You can see green fields, with the mountains and valleys all around you.
Once you have checked-in, take a break from sightseeing and head to the lake just before sunset. The Phewa (Fewa) Lake is beautiful and if your hotel is within walking distance, is a treat to stroll to. A pleasant breeze greets you as you reach the lake. There is a walkway around one-side of the lake. There are cement benches placed strategically around. Sit down, enjoy the beauty. As the evening cools off, restaurants and street food vendors get down to business. Snacks, grilled meats and soft drink vendors sit at intervals and even serve you at your nook. There are restaurants with live music overlooking the lake for that romantic date-night. You can see well-dressed couples on a date, strolling around and sitting down at the restaurants. People-watching is as much fun as Nature-watching here! You can spend hours here, its pretty safe with police patrolling around frequently. Of course, do follow safe practices like not carrying too much cash or wearing too much jewelry!
Fresh the next morning, we had an early start before the sun became too hot, and our first visit was to Sri Bindhyabasini temple. This beautiful temple is unique in that there are Buddhist and Hindu Idols in the same property. Peaceful co-existence! Enjoy the beautiful sculptures and head over to the viewpoint for a look at the Annapurna peak. I felt so joyous looking at it as the clouds cleared up! Exhilarating! The trek to the Annapurna base camp is just about 7-12 days from the last bus station in Kimchi near Pokhara. if that’s too much, well, a helicopter can take you in about 15 mins for a few thousand bucks. There are four places to stay there and they say the view is awesome! The rest of us will enjoy the view from Pokhara…
The Gupteshwar Cave is a nice little adventure to take next. A series of steps takes you into the Earth and as you go down, it gets damp and a bit cooler. In summer that isn’t an issue at all. A beautiful Stalagmite Lingam is worshiped here. The Devi Falls from across the street goes through the cave and you can see and hear the roar of the water if you travel down further. If you are claustrophobic or have knee trouble, do stay at the top while the rest of your group goes in.
Who goes in, must climb out after all!
You can have lunch at one of the smaller joints. Simple Chow Mein and Momos are a good bet if you are on a budget. if not, there are a lot of places to choose from.
The tour of Pokhara takes up about half a day and then you are back to enjoying the lake! Take a short boat ride to the Sakthi Temple in the middle of the lake. By evening, at the entrance to the lake area, people gather to watch a lovely Aarti to Maata Talabahari, whose temple is situated in the middle of the lake. The Aarti lasts about half an hour in the light of the setting sun. Its a beautiful sight! You can see a few devotees dancing in ecstasy.
Leave with your heart full – what a pleasant ending to a great evening by the lake. Head back to your hotel or choose to have dinner at one of the restaurants on the way back to your hotel. You could treat yourself at one of the lake-side diners with a Live band even!
Head back to Kathmandu by car or by flight. By car you get to absorb more of the beauty of Nepal. By air, well, you get there faster for sure!