The Pokhara Valley, a land of spectacular beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas, conjures visions of calm but vibrant green hills. Loaded with luxuriant vegetation and dotted with shimmering lakes, the valley offers awesome vistas. Magnificent image of Mount Machhapuchhare reflected in the clear waters of the Lake Phewa leaves everyone spellbound. One of the Nepal’s adventure hubs, it has reputation of being the second home for the tourists worldwide.
Pokhara is situated at an altitude of 730 meters to 1030 meters. Its rich topographical conditions are responsible for the profusion of flora and fauna. The geographical location has made Pokhara one of the biggest valleys in Nepal. The valley is encircled by lush green hills ranging in height from 1077 meters in the South East of 2738 meters in the North East. Snow clad mountains add a special radiance to the valley. They also form snow-fed rivers that run through the heart of the valley.
The geographical studies reveal that centuries ago a glacier was formed in the valley. As the time passed, the temperatures steadily increased and the solid ice melted and formed a river that began flowing, cutting into the soil of Pokhara. The regular flow of glacial waters created several underground tunnels. Currently, most of these tunnels are dry and are found in the form of caves.
However, Dr. Harka Gurung (Nepal Geographical Society, The Himalayan Review Vol. 11-111, 1969) a renowned geologist of Nepal, holds a different opinion altogether. He believes the uplifting of the southern hills formed the plains of Pokhara, and subsequently diverted the Seti River from south to north-west forming the Seti Gorge. Over the years, a dense jungle covered the valley and several lakes and ponds were formed. The people from various places began to migrate to the valley in search of a fertile land and lively environment. Those early settlers found the valley an ideal place to live in as it was rich in water, good soil, and vegetation.
Among other advantages, the valley is popular for many different ethnic groups known for their rich art and cultural heritage. The combination of stunning natural beauty and spectacular art and culture has attracted visitors to the Pokhara Valley.
According to a popular legend, during the Mahabharata era, Bhim, one of the five Pandava brothers, visited a place called Hamada, 15km. from Pokhara. Bhim went looking for a Lotus called Rukh Kamal ( a species of lotus that blooms on the tree) to please his wife, Dropadi. Those days Pokhara was a vast lake circled by high mountains. Since the deep water blocked Bhim’s search, he made a gash with his sword. As a result, the water drained out and he was able to pluck Rukh Kamals for his beloved wife. The place was later named Bhimad after this Herculean eic helo from The Mahabharata.
Several popular legends prevail in the valley. According to a legend, the valley is a perfect place where people of diverse origins live in perfect heaven. They freely participate in the religious and cultural activities of one another without a cast or creed bias.
Pokhara is also recognized as one of the major destinations for adventure tourism. Micro-light flying, paragliding, rafting, sightseeing, boating, pony trekking and caving are extremely popular form of adventure tourism. The visitors will certainly find such new places worth visiting. Such new places will further whet up the tourists’ interest in more exotic places around Pokhara.
Pokhara is the district headquarters of the Western Region Development. The valley lies between 83 degrees 58’ 30” E longitude and 28 degrees 16’ N latitude. Situated at elevation ranges from 627m to 980m above sea level, it covers an area of 123 sq. kms surrounded by high mountains. The total area of Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City is 55.66 sq. kms as compared to Lekhnath municipality which is 77.75 sq.ms. The present population growth rate is about 7.41%.
Pokhara has a mild climate ranging from a maximum of 35 degrees centigrade in summer down to 10 degrees centigrade in the coldest month of January. The green hills and snow-capped mountains play an important role in keeping the temperature relatively cool, even in the scorching heat of the summer. In general, the humidity is higher in the morning than in the evening.
On average, the Monsoon season begins in Pokhara around April. The beginning of April brings torrential downpours with sudden strong winds and storms. The rainfall becomes more intense during the months of July, August and September. Pokhara receives heavy rainfall when the warm and humid winds from the Bay o Bengal and the Arabian Sea form heavy clouds over the valley. For this reason, the valley is also known as Cherapunji of Nepal, Cherapunji being the Indian town that receives the highest rainfall in the world. The heavy rainfalls gradually die down and the weather is clear from October to February. The lighter winter rains in the valley are from January to March.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Pokhara are Ocotber and November, in autumn; and February, March and April in spring. During these months, the overall climate of Pokhara is conducive for sightseeing, trekking, white water rafting and paragliding. The trekkers will have excellent clear days for trekking in the Annapurna region during December and January. Kathmandu is shrouded in mists that envelop the city until mid-day.; Pokhara has very clear weather with the sun shining and the sky bright blue. The tourists can feast on the lofty snow-covered Annapurnas sprawling along the valley. Sarangkot is the heavenly point to have exhilarating views of the valley. The tourists visiting during the Monsoon season may not be as fortunate as the torrential rains cause landslides and avalanches throughout Nepal.
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