Pokhara – Gateway to the Annapurna Circuit

Pokhara – Gateway to the Annapurna Circuit

For many people hoping to undertake the Annapurna Circuit trek, the city of Pokhara is a convenient base to prepare before the trek itself, or rest and relax in once the circuit has been completed. However, the city of Pokhara is a fascinating place to explore in itself, and many trekkers find that the cultural insights they experience on the Annapurna circuit may also be useful once they’re back in the society of Pokhara. The city itself is home to as much fascinating history as the mountains along the Annapurna Circuit. Here are a few interesting facts about Pokhara.

History

Pokhara sits on what was once an important trading route between China and India. In the 17th century, it was part of the highly-influential Kingdom of Kaski, ruled by a branch of the Shah dynasty. Many of the mountains around Pokhara still have ruins that have been dated to this time. By 1786, Pokhara had become an important way-stop on the trading routes from Kathmandu to Jumla, and from India to Tibet. However, Pokhara was only able to be reached by foot – and this lasted until the first road was completed in 1968, making it accessible to those travelling from further distances, interested in trekking the Annapurna Circuit.

Modern-Day

Pokhara has become a major tourist hub of Nepal, which more than makes up for its lost importance on the ancient trade routes. Though it is mostly known as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, it has become a modern hub, with an old centre in the north of the city where old shops and warehouse from the ‘Newari’ style can still be found. There are also old temples in the city that are worth a visit. One, the Barahi Temple, is located on the middle of an island in the Phewa Lake, and is accessible only by boats.

Attractions

One magical attraction of Pokhara is the incredible view offered of the mountains trekked on the Annapurna Circuit, which is especially beautiful at dawn.a. (This section seems a bit strange to me – there must be other ‘attractions’ in and around the city – for example you could hire bikes, or explore the back streets on foot. There are also I think some waterfalls nearby – Devi Falls. There are great little street cafes, fresh fruit juice stalls etc – perhaps some more research here! The Seti Gandaki River and its tributaries have created spectacular gorges in and around the whole city. The Seti gorge runs through the entire city from north to south, and though it is only a few metres wide in some places, the river runs so far below that in places it isn’t visible or audible?

Phewa Tal

Phewa Lake sits at the edge of Pokhara, and is a centre for many of the attractions to be found in the city. Many people returning from the Annapurna Circuit trek enjoy spending a day or two relaxing and take a boat trip in one of the the brightly-painted wooden boats. The eastern shoreline of the lake, the ‘Lakeside’ district or ‘Baidam’, is home to many bookshops, restaurants, and souvenir shops. One of the greatest features of the lake is the amazing view of the mountains when the lake is still and the weather is good, as the reflection in the water creates a double image.

Jude Limburn Turner is the Marketing Manager for Mountain Kingdoms, an adventure tour company that specializes in the Annapurna Circuit and trekking holidays in various destinations including North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Central and South East Asia.

Author: Jude Limburn Turner


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