Pokhara: The Beginning and End of Annapurna Circuit Treks

Pokhara: The Beginning and End of Annapurna Circuit Treks

Annapurna Circuit treks typically begin and end in Pokhara, a peaceful and pleasant city near Phewa Lake. It is Nepal’s second city and a popular tourist destination, albeit primarily among those about to embark on the Annapurna Circuit. Treks hasten people into the mountains, while on returning many people move quickly on to their next destination or back to Kathmandu – but Pokhara is well worth lingering in.

Lakes

Pokhara is situated near several fantastic lakes, which make for a pleasant scenic contrast to the higher altitude mountain scenery of Annapurna Circuit treks. Phewa Lake is spectacular, its waters like a mirror early in the mornings reflecting the majestic Annapurnas and the monkey-filled jungle that surround the lake. Begnas Lake is away from the city, offering a peaceful glimpse into the daily life of Nepal’s country-people. Dipang Lake is also very beautiful, with wild lotuses and swans.

Sarangkot and the World Peace Pagoda

Sarangkot is a great warm-up before embarking on Annapurna Circuit treks. It’s steep and hard work, but well worth the effort. Head up Sarangkot in the late afternoon, book into a guesthouse before evening; then climb up to the top to watch the sunset and do the same in the morning for the sunrise. The views are spectacular.

Another great pre-Annapurnas trek is the World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa) on a hill overlooking Phewa Tal. Hire a boat to cross the lake, then follow a track up the hill through the forest.

Caves

Pokhara also has several caves on offer. Mehendra Cave is located in Batulechaur, at the northern end of Pokhara, with Chamare Gufa (often known as Bat Cave) nearby. The latter is, unsurprisingly, well known for its bats, which can be seen hanging from the cave’s walls. Gupteswar Mahadev Cave, located in Chorepatan, at the south end of Pokhara, is of religious importance to Hindus.

Museums

People on Annapurna Circuit treks may encounter Gurkhas, the legendary Nepalese soldiers who fight for the British Army, and will probably want to take a look at Pokhara’s Gurkha Memorial Museum. Displays include historic uniforms, flags and, of course, the famous knives. There is also the International Mountain Museum, which contains information about the people living in the Himalayas and descriptions of the 14 highest peaks and their most well-known expeditions.

Food

Like most places in Nepal, Pokhara has a great range of diverse cuisine on offer, from local specialities to international dishes.

Author: Jude Limburn Turner – is the Marketing Manager for Mountain Kingdoms, an adventure tour company who have run classic Annapurna Circuit treks for over 20 years. They now offer treks and tours worldwide, including destinations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Central and South East Asia.


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