Pokhara is a city in central Nepal located approximately 200 km west of Kathmandu. It is the capital of Kaski District, Gandaki Zone and the Western Development Region About half of all tourists visiting Pokhara are there for the start or end of a trek to the Annapurna Base Camp and Mustang. For Nepalis, Pokhara has become the most favourite place to live in the country.
Temples worth visiting in the older part of town are Bindhyabasini Mandir or Bhimsen Mandir, the latter with erotic carvings; another temple, Varahi Mandir, is located on a tiny island on Phewa Tal. Not accessible and only visible from the lake is the royal summer residence (called palace) at the lake in Lakeside.
The best viewpoint of all is Sarangkot Mountain (1600 m) to the west of the city. Paths and a road lead to the top from where one can enjoy a spectacular view of the Annapurna range as well as Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and, of course, the city. There are a few little hotels and an overnight stay is recommended.
The shortage of touristic sites in the city Pokhara is made up by its fantastic scenic views in and around town. Most of them are not mentioned in any guide or map. The Seti Gandaki (White Gandaki) and its tributaries created spectacular gorges in and around the whole city. The Seti gorge runs through the whole city from north to south. At places it is only a few metres wide, but 100 m deep with a water depth of 20 m.
Another place worth visiting is the Patale Chhango (Hell’s Falls), more commonly called Devi’s or David’s Falls for the tourist with some melodramatic story behind it. The water from this falls comes from the lake flowing to the Seti. The water plunges into a hole and disappears! In monsoon this sight is most spectacular. Nearby, across the street is a little cave (Gupteshwor Cave). A more exciting cave is at the opposite end of the city in Betulechaur (Mahendra Cave). Betulechaur is known for the musicians caste of the Gains.
Pokhara is situated in the northwestern corner of the Pokhara Valley, which is a widening of the Seti Gandaki valley The Seti River and its tributaries have dug impressive canyons into the valley floor, which are only visible from higher viewpoints or from the air. To the east of Pokhara is the municipality of Lekhnath, another town in the valley. The climate is sub-tropical but due to the elevation the temperatures are moderate: the summers usually have a bearable 30 – 35C; the winters average around 15C and have no frost.
In no other place the mountains rise so quickly, within 30 km, from 1000 m to over 8000 m. The Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu ranges, each with peaks over 8000 m, can be seen from Pokhara and there is a lake named Phewa Lake, two caves (Mahendra and Guptswar) and an impressive falls(Patale Chango or Devi /David’s Falls) where the water from the Phewa Lake thunders into a hole and disappears. Due to this sharp rise in altitude the area of Pokhara has one of the highest precipitation rates of the country (over 4000 mm/year).
Pokhara Airport is situated in the middle of town which serves only regional destinations.