Pokhara valley occupies the central location in Nepal and is dominated
by the peaks of Annapurna range. Its unique setting may be judged
from the fact that the town of Pokhara (91 3 metres), is only fifty
kilometres from Annapurna 1 (8,091 metres), clearly seen from the
valley. There is a decline of six thousand metres in altitude within
a short distance of only twenty-nine kilometres; thus the region
provides a dramatic contrast in landscape. The northern horizon
is defined by a seventy kilometres long wall of snow and ice with
numerous peaks. The prominent peaks from east to west are Annapurna
South (7,21 9 metres), Fang (7,647 metres), Annapurna 1 (8,091 metres),
Rock Noir (7,454 metres), Glacier Dome (7,193 metres), Gangapurna
(7,455 metres), Annapurna Ill (7,555 metres), Machhapuchhre (6,997
metres), Annapurna IV (7,525 metres), Annapurna 11 (7,937 metres)
and Lamjung Himal (6,983 metres). In addition to these, Dhaulagiri
1 to the north-west and Manaslu-Himalchuli peaks to the north-east
are also visible.
Lakes: Pokhara valley abounds in
lakes. Phewa, Rupa and Begnas are the most famous ones while Khaste,
Dipang and Mardi are some other smaller lakes situated further away.
Sporting activities like canoeing and swimming are conducted on
Phewa Lake, together with angling of carp fish. On a small island
is a temple dedicated to Varahi, and in contrast to the gaiety of
holiday makers, devotees go about their worship undisturbed by the
goings-on in the water as well as occasional barbeques on the banks
of the lake. Apart from the lakes, the floor of the valley is made
up of a layer of gravel, cut into intricate terraces and deep canyons
by various tributaries of the Seti river.
People: Similar to the contrast
between the level plain and the rugged hills, there are sizeable
variations in the cultural pattern of the area. The tropical plain
and low hills are the home of mainly Newars, Brahmans, Chhetris
and other Hindu castes, while the temperate highlands are mainly
inhabited by tribal Gurungs and Magars. Above the highest villages
at 1,900 metres, there are extensive temperate forests with alpine
pastures further beyond.
There are also two Tibetan settlements near Pokhara where one can
see women weaving exquisite carpets using traditional designs and
methods handed down to them for generations. Both these settlements
are famous for traditional Tibetan handicrafts and souvenirs.
Places to see: Pokhara is full of
interesting places to visit such as the Seti River Gorge which flows
some ninety-one metres below ground level, Davis's Fall called Flatie
Chhango in Nepaii where the cascading water vanishes underground,
and Mahendra Cave where one can see stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Mini Treks: Although a base for all
treks to the Annapurna region, several mini treks can also be organised
from Pokhara, notably to Sarangkot. The four-hour trek to the top
of this hill offers a spectacular birds-eye-view of Phewa Lake,
the entire Annapurna range, the river Seti and the village of Hyangza.
A one night trek to Naudanda and Ghachowk can also be made. On the
way to Naudanda, one passes the village of Hyangza while from Naudanda,
the twin peaks of Machhapuchhre, the Fish Tail Mountain can be seen.
Climate: The prevailing climate
of Pokhara valley is humid sub- tropical with heavy rains during
the summer. Spring, autumn and winter are ideal seasons for visiting
and trekking around Pokhara valley.
is connected by daily flights with Kathmandu and also by highway
from Kathrnandu and Siddharthanagar (Bhairawa). The town has good
hotel facilities, and for trekkers, provisions and porters can be