6 Viewpoints In Pokhara To Get A Dazzling View of Annapurna Ranges
The second largest city in Nepal, Pokhara has a lot to offer in terms of scenic landscapes. The Annapurna range in the backdrop is the jewel of the city. Also known as the 'gateway to the Annapurna circuit', Pokhara is the city people rest at before embarking on their tedious trail of the Himalayas. The city is home to some picturesque lakes, and is, therefore, also known as the 'City of Eight Lakes'. Another fascinating feature of the city is its sloped terrain and the terrace made out of it. The misty Himalayas which can be seen from all over the town provides breathtaking sights.
That said, there is an ample number of viewpoints to get a full view of the dazzling beauty of the city. Situated in different parts, each viewpoint seems to narrate a different chronicle of Pokhara's phenomenal sights. The Annapurna Range can be spotted from most of them and the quiet, laid back city covered with mist is a feast for the eyes.
1. Phewa Lake
This phenomenal Phewa lake is a major tourist attraction not only in Pokhara but the whole of Nepal. A freshwater lake located almost in the centre of the city, Phewa is the second largest lake in Nepal, offering pristine views of the snow clad Himalayas in the background. Boating in this scenic location is a sport worth remembering your entire life. Nature has generously showered its blessings here, for the views from this lake are heavenly. Here at Phewa Lake, you will be amazed to see the beautiful reflections of Mount Machhapuchhre, and peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range on its calm waters.
Location: This stream-fed lake is situated in the south of Pokhara Valley, almost in the centre of Pokhara city.
Highlights: The Tal Barahi Temple is located in the centre of the lake, and attracts a large number of Hindu devotees every year. The eastern banks of Phewa lake are known as the Lakeside which has numerous restaurants, cafés, shops and hotels.
Cost: A boat ride across the lake with an informative tour guide costs around NPR 500. However, if you simply want to stroll along its banks, you can do it for free.
Best Time to visit- September to November is a good time to visit when the skies are clear, enabling you to see the Fish Mountain Tail. Also, boating closes at around 6:00 PM so make sure you have enough time to adore the lake's beauty.
2. Kahun Danda
This is another beautiful viewpoint in the north of Pokhara city. You will be bewitched by the luminescence of the Annapurna range and the Pokhara valley which can be clearly sighted from here. The small villages nestled here provide an exceptional glimpse into the life of those living in these remote areas. In the recent decades, Pokhara has also developed as a trekking base. The Kahun Danda is a great place to start your trail of the Annapurna range. As you climb up, you will be enraptured by the misty peaks of the Himalayas which can be seen at a distance.
Location: This enchanting hill is located at the height of approximately 4750 feet in the north east of Pokhara, about two and a half hours from Mahendrapool downtown.
Highlights: The main attraction here is the hiking activity which has recently begun. Hikers enjoy the panoramic beauty of the hills along with the cultural vibrancy of the nearby villages. Another attraction here is a tower on the northern slope of the hill from which you can spot the bright Rhododendron Forest. (Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal). The celestial rays of the rising sunbathing the Annapurna range is a sight to behold. The Tiger Top is another place from where you can adore the beauty of this hill.
Cost: A private trek in Kahun Danda costs around NPR 6750 per person. This includes the services of a tour guide, lunch at a nearby eatery and local public transportation. Similar types of packages are offered by various local travel and trekking agencies.
Best Time to visit: A good time to visit the Kahun Danda for a hiking trip is between October and April.
3. World Peace Stupa
Also known as the 'Shanti Stupa', this world-famous Buddhist shrine is a pagoda-style monument. The Stupa derives its name from the Sanskrit word 'Shanti' and serves as an emblem of peace, cooperation and brotherhood among different races and ethnic groups all over the world. The white stupa is about 115 feet tall, and you can traverse it on the two tires built for tourists and devotees. It is two hundred stairs' climb to the Stupa, but the mind-stirring view from the top is worth the pain taken. Standing on top, the sights of the misty Himalayas, the mirror-like Phewa lake and the beautiful city of Pokhara are Elysian. The snow-covered hills are tinted with delicate hues of golden and orange during sunrise and sunset.
Location: This beautiful stupa is located at the top of Amanda hill in Pokhara.
Highlights: Shanti Stupa is the first World Peace Pagoda in Nepal and seventy-first pagoda built by Nipponzan-My'h-Ji in the world. Its second tier has statues of Buddha, depicting the incidents in his life. These include the 'Dharmachakra Mudra' from Japan, Bodh Gaya from Sri Lanka, Kushinagar from Thailand and Lumbini from Nepal. It is about 7 kilometres from Mahendrapool, the business hub of Pokhara.
Cost: A boat ride from the lakeside costs around NPR 500, along with NPR 20 for life jacket. You will then have to follow the trail upwards leading to the Pagoda. Alternatively, you can also hire a taxi which usually charges NPR 500-800. The taxi will drop you within 10 minutes of the Stupa. If you are travelling on a budget, then you can take a minibus from Lakeside to Chhorepatan (past Pardi Bazar) for a fare of NPR 5. Follow the trail uphill, and you will reach the Pagoda.
Best Time to visit: The Shanti Stupa is open to the public on all days between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM.
4. Sarangkot Viewpoint
If you want to experience the raw beauty of the Himalayas, the Sarangkot Viewpoint is the correct place. The majestic Himalayas can be looked at closely from this viewpoint. You will be in awe of the dazzling sights of the Annapurna range, the cluster of houses in Pokhara city and the Phewa lake. The Sarangkot Viewpoint offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the sun rise and set in the Himalayan ranges. The view is almostindescribable.
Location: The viewpoint is located in the northeast region of the city and is about 5 kilometres from the Lakeside.
Highlights: The entrancing sunrise and sunset is the centre of attraction at Sarangkot Viewpoint, and sees the largest crowd of tourists at dawn and dusk. The interplay of iridescent hues of lilac, delicious orange and celestial golden creates a spectacular scenery during sunrise and sunset. Sarangkot is also the best site for paragliding in Nepal.
Cost: Everyone visiting the viewpoint needs to pay an entry fee of NPR 50. To view the surroundings from a higher platform, you need to pay an additional NPR 100. The taxi from the Lakeside usually costs around NPR 2000 (a round trip including waiting at the top).
Best Time to visit: The viewpoint is open from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The best time recommended is early in the morning, particularly at dawn, to witness the scenic sunrise. You should try to reach the viewpoint by 5:00 AM when golden strips of sunlight begin to crack through the peaks.
5. Devi's Falls
This scenic waterfall is a major tourist attraction in Pokhara with the white sheet of water flowing through an underground tunnel at the bottom. The fall then gushes through the mystic Gupteshwar Cave after its exit from the tunnel. The sparkling white water running through the rustic mud-brown rocks is a sight to behold. The epic rumble of the waterfall is soothing to the ears. In the local language, Devi's Falls is known as 'Patale Chhango' meaning the hell underneath. There is an interesting story behind its name- in 1961, a Swiss couple had gone swimming here, however, the wife was unable to stand the strong gush of the fall and drowned to death. Some records show that her father wished the falls be named after her, and hence the name Devi's Falls.
Location: This charming waterfall is located about 2 kilometres south-west of the Pokhara Airport on the Siddhartha Highway.
Highlights: Do try your luck at the wishing well here by throwing a coin. The area also has sculptures of Nepali people dressed in traditional attires which serves as a good photo point. The main attraction, however, is the Gupteshwar Cave.
Cost: The entry fee for the falls is NPR 30. A public bus from the Lakeside costs around NPR 25 to NPR 30. Taxis usually charge NPR 250 to NPR 500.
Best Time to visit: The fall is open to tourists on all days from 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM. However, the best time to visit is between June and September, when the water is at its full force.
6. Matepani Gumba
This is a Buddhist monastery which was established in the year 1960 by Nyeshang people who had migrated to Pokhara from Manang. Situated atop a hill, the ambience here is quite peaceful. What is even more interesting is that one can easily look at the pretty criss-cross of roads and humble buildings from this monastery. Mount Machhapuchhre, also known as Mount Fishtail, can be spotted standing stately amongst the misty clouds. The view is completely aesthetic and is soothing to the eyes. A perfect surrounding to meditate and introspect, with your hair being fluttered by the cool breeze.
Location: The monastery is located on a small hill in the east of the city about 5 kilometres from downtown Pokhara.
Highlights: The monastery is an ideal vantage point to adore the beauty of the Pokhara valley. The mural paintings on the walls is a major point of attraction. The colossal statue of meditating Buddha painted with different colours is really a charmer. Other beautiful statues include those of Guru Rinpoche and Karmapa. The idols here are as tall as about 11 feet.
Cost: Entry into this monastery is free of cost. The monks welcome every person, irrespective of his nationality or race with open arms. A local bus usually charges NPR 25 to NPR 30.
Best Time to visit: A good time to visit is at around 2:30 PM or 3:00 PM to hear the Ramas or monks chanting.
Pokhara is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Nepal. Nestled between the ranges of Annapurna and Himalayas, the views here are fantastic. If you are looking to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Pokhara's viewpoints are a good place to celebrate tranquillity.