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पोखरा – Pokhara is a metropolitan city in Nepal which is situated in Gandaki Pradesh province of Nepal. The country’s second largest city, in terms of population, and, largest city, in terms of area, it is the capital of Gandaki Pradesh. The city also serves as the headquarters of Kaski District. Pokhara is located 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu. The altitude varies from 827 metres (2,713 feet) in the southern part to 1,740 metres (5,710 feet) in the north. The Annapurna Range, with three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — is within 15–35 mi (24–56 km) of the valley.

Pokhara is considered the tourism capital of Nepal, being a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the Annapurna Conservation Area region of the Annapurna ranges in the Himalayas. The city is also home to a large number of the elite Gurkha soldiers.

Geography

Pokhara is in the northwestern corner of the Pokhara Valley, which is a widening of the Seti Gandaki valley that lies in the region (Pahad) of the Himalayas. In this region the mountains rise very quickly, and within 30 kilometres (19 miles), the elevation rises from 1,000 to 7,500 metres (3,300 to 24,600 feet). As a result of this sharp rise in altitude the area of Pokhara has one of the highest precipitation rates in the country (3,350 mm/year or 131 inches/year in the valley to 5600 mm/year or 222 inches/year in Lumle). Even within the city there is a noticeable difference in rainfall between the south and the north: The northern part at the foothills of the mountains experiences a proportionally higher amount of precipitation.

The Seti Gandaki is the main river flowing through the city. The Seti Gandaki (White Gandaki) and its tributaries have created several gorges and canyons in and around Pokhara that give intriguingly long sections of terrace features to the city and surrounding areas. These long sections of terraces are interrupted by gorges that are hundreds of metres deep. The Seti gorge runs through Pokhara from north to south and then west to east; at places these gorges are only a few metres wide. In the north and south, the canyons are wider.

In the south, the city borders Phewa Tal (4.4 km2) at an elevation of about 827 metres (2,713 feet) above sea level, while Lumle at 1,740 metres (5,710 feet) in the north touches the base of the Annapurna mountain range. Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu. Three 8,000-metre (26,000-foot) peaks (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu) can be seen from the city. The Machhapuchchhre (Fishtail) with an elevation of 6,993 metres (22,943 feet) is the closest to the city.

The porous underground of the Pokhara valley favours the formation of caves and several caves can be found within city limits. In the south of the city, a tributary of the Seti flowing out of the Phewa Lake disappears at Patale Chhango (पाताले छाँगो, Nepali for Hell’s Falls, also called Davis Falls, after someone who supposedly fell in) into an underground gorge, to reappear 500 metres (1,600 feet) further south.
Climate
The city has a humid subtropical climate; however, the elevation keeps temperatures moderate. Temperatures in summer average between 25 and 35 °C; in winter around -2 to 15 °C. Pokhara and nearby areas receive a high amount of precipitation. Lumle, 25 miles from Pokhara city center, receives the highest amount of rainfall (> 5600 mm/year or 222 inches/year) in the country. Snowfall is not observed in the valley, but surrounding hills experience occasional snowfall in the winter. Summers are humid and mild; most precipitation occurs during the monsoon season (July–September). Winter and spring skies are generally clear and sunny. The highest temperature ever recorded in Pokhara was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on 4 May 2013, while the lowest temperature ever recorded was 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) on 13 January 2012

History

Pokhara lies on an important old trading route between China and India. In the 17th century, it was part of the Kingdom of Kaski which was one of the Chaubisi Rajya (24 Kingdoms of Nepal, चौबिसे राज्य) ruled by a branch of the Shah Dynasty. Many of the hills around Pokhara still have medieval ruins from this time. In 1786 Prithvi Narayan Shah added Pokhara into his kingdom. It had by then become an important trading place on the routes from Kathmandu to Jumla and from India to Tibet.

Until the end of the 1960s the town was only accessible by foot and it was considered even more a mystical place than Kathmandu. The first road was completed in 1968 (Siddhartha Highway) after which tourism set in and the city grew rapidly. The area along the Phewa lake, called Lake Side, has developed into one of the major tourism hubs of Nepal

There are numerous temples and gumbas in and around pokhara valley. Many temples serve as combined places of worship for Hindus and Buddhists. Some of the popular temples and Gumbas are:

  • Tal Barahi Temple
  • Bindhyabasini Temple
  • Radha Krishna Shanti Ashram Lame Aahl
  • Sitaldevi Temple
  • Gupteshwar Mahadev Gupha (Cave)/Temple
  • Mudula Karki Kulayan Mandir
  • Sunpadeli Temple (Kaseri)
  • Bhadrakali Temple
  • Kumari Temple
  • Akala Temple
  • Kedareshwar Mahadev Mani Temple
  • Matepani Gumba
  • World peace pagoda
  • Akaladevi Temple
  • Monastery (Hemja)

There are some Church and Masjid in Pokhara.

The popular Lakes and River in Pokhara.

  • Phewa Lake
  • Begnas Lake
  • Rupa Lake
  • Seti River
  • Gandaki River
  • Gude Lake
  • Neurani Lake
  • Deepang Lake
  • Maidy Lake
  • Khastey Lake
  • Bijayapur River

Location
The municipality of Pokhara spans 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from north to south and 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from east to west but, unlike the capital Kathmandu, it is quite loosely built up and still has much green space.[39] The valley is approximately divided into four to Six parts by the rivers Seti, Bijayapur, Bagadi, Phusre and Hemja. The Seti Gandaki flowing through the city from north to south divides the city roughly in two halves with the business area of Chipledunga in the middle, the old town centre of Bagar in the north and the tourist district of Lakeside (Baidam) to the south all lying on the western side of the river.] The gorge through which the river flows is crossed at five places: K.I. Singh Pul, Mahendra Pul and Prithvi Highway Pul from north to south of the city. The floor of the valley is plain, resembles Terai due to its gravel-like surface, and has slanted orientation from northwest to southeast. The city is surrounded by the hills overlooking the entire valley.

Phewa Lake was slightly enlarged by damming which poses a risk of silting up due of the inflow during the monsoon. The outflowing water is partially used for hydropower generation.] The dam collapsed in 1974 which resulted in draining of its water and exposing the land leading to illegal land encroachment; since then the dam has been rebuilt. The power plant is about 100 metres (330 feet) below at the bottom of the Phusre Khola gorge. Water from Phewa is diverted for irrigation into the southern Pokhara valley. The eastern Pokhara Valley receives irrigation water through a canal running from a reservoir by the Seti in the north of the city. Some parts of Phewa lake are used as commercial cage fisheries. The lake is currently being encroached upon by invasive water hyacinth (जलकुम्भी झार).

In 2017, Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan City became Nepal’s largest metropolitan city by area, occupying 464.24 km2 (179.24 sq mi) — which means the city is nine times larger than Kathmandu, 18 times larger than Lalitpur and 2.5 times larger than Bharatpur.

Pokhara is known to be a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. Every year, many people visit the location in order to travel to the Annapurna range and famous religious place muktinath. The tourist district is along the north shore of the Phewa lake (Baidam, Lakeside and Damside). It is mainly made up of small shops, non-star tourist hotels, restaurants and bars. Most upscale and starred hotels are on the southern shore of the Phewa Lake and southeastern fringes of the city where there are more open lands and unhindered view of the surrounding mountains. Most of the tourists visiting Pokhara trek to the Annapurna Base Camp and Mustang. To the east of the Pokhara valley, in Lekhnath municipality, there are seven smaller lakes such as Begnas Lake, Rupa Lake, Khaste lake, Maidi lake, Neureni lake, Dipang lake. Begnas Lake is known for its fishery projects

Public Transport

Pokhara has extensive privately operated public transportation system running throughout the city, adjoining townships and nearby villages. Pokhara Mahanagar Bus Bebasaya Samiti(green, brown and blue buses), Mama Bhanja Transport(blue buses), Bindabashini Samiti(blue buses), Phewa Bus Bebasaya Samiti(mini micros) and Lekhnath Bus Bebasaya Samiti(green and white buses) are the private companies that provide public bus transportation facility in and around Pokhara Valley. The public transport mainly consists of local and city buses, micros, micro-buses and metered-taxis. Following are the bus routes of Pokhara valley:

  • Chhorepatan- Nayabazar- Bagar
  • Chhorepatan- Chipledhunga- Mahendrapul- Bagar- Lamachaur- (Jogimadi)
  • Chhorepatan- Chipledhunga- Mahendrapul- Bagar- Mahendra Cave-(Jaimure)
  • Chhorepatan- Chipledhunga- Parsyang- Harichok
  • Chhorepatan- Old Buspark- Amarsingh Chok- Ranipauwa- Phulbari(Manipal Teaching Hospital)
  • Sedi(Lakeside)- Hallanchok(Lakeside)- Chipledhunga- Kahunkhola- Kaseri
  • Sedi(Lakeside)- Hallanchok(Lakeside)- Amarsingh- Miyapatan- Kahunkhola- Kaseri
  • Kaseri- Kahunkhola- Mahendrapul- Nayabazar- Zero Kilometer- Hallanchok(Lakeside)
  • Khalte Masina- Rambazar- New Road- Bhairav Tole- Bagar(Deep Housing)
  • Hari Chok- Old Buspark- Chothe- Majheripatan
  • Tundikhel- Chipledhunga- Amarsingh- Kundahar- Miyapatan
  • Tundikhel- Chipledhuga- Amarsingh- Kundahar- Raatdanda
  • Phewa Lake(Tal Barahi Temple)- Nepal Rastra Bank- Birauta- Pokhara Airport- New Road- Mahendrapul- Bagar
  • Phewa Lake(Tal Barahi Temple)- Nepal Rastra Bank- Birauta- Pokhara Airport- New Road- Mahendrapul- Bagar- Mahendra Cave
  • Phewa Lake(Tal Barahi Temple)- Nepal Rastra Bank- Mustang Chok- Chothe- Tal Chok- Begnas Lake
  • Harichok- Zero Kilometer- Old Buspark- Budhha Chok- Hospital Chok(Western Regional Hospital)
  • Phulbari(Manipal Teaching Hospital)- Ranipauwa- Amarsingh Chok- Rambazar- Southern Phulbari(Phulbari Resort)
  • Baglung Buspark- Chothe- Sisuwa- Begnas Lake
  • Baglung Buspark- Chothe- Pokhara University
  • Baglung Buspark- Chothe- Raj Chautara
  • Baglung Buspark- Chothe- Begnas Lake- Rupa Lake
  • Baglung Buspark- Chothe- Arghau Chok- Baghmara
  • Chipledhunga- Old Buspark- Birauta- Baghmara
  • Chipledhunga- Sabhagriha Chok- Buddha Chok- Indian Embassy- Rambazar- Naya Gaun- Institute of Forestry- Tuttunga
  • Chipledhunga- New Road- Sabhagriha Chok- Srijana Chok- Shantinagar Chok- Jarebar- Dihikopatan- Hallanchok(Lakeside)
  • Prithivi Chok- Pokhara Airport- Mustang Chok- Birauta- Chhorepatan – Shanti Stupa, Pokhara
  • Prithivi Chok- Pokhara Airport- Mustang Chok- Birauta- Chhorepatan- Tara Bhir
  • Prithivi Chok- Pokhara Airport- Mustang Chok- Birauta- Chhorepatan- Mattikhan
  • Mahendrapul- Ranipauwa(Nepal Telecom)- Phulbari(Manipal Teaching Hospital)- Bhalam
  • Mahendrapul- Ranipauwa(Nepal Telecom)- Phulbari- Kahun Danda

Intercity connections
Pokhara is well connected to rest of the country through permanent road and air links. The main mode of transportation are public buses and the Purano Bus Park is the main hub for buses plying country wide. The all-season Pokhara Airport with regular flights to Kathmandu, Mustang are operated by various domestic and a few international airlines. A new international airport is being constructed in the southeast of the city. Flight duration from Kathmandu to Pokhara is approximately 30 minutes.