With the onset of tourism, Pokhara has evolved tremendously. Some changes were definitely beneficial but the real charm of Pokhara is sort of lost and what one can see upfront is the traffic, the crowds and the chaos. In one region, known as Old Pokhara, locals have somehow managed to maintain the old town appeal of Pokhara. In Old Pokhara, one can get a glimpse into what it was like before it was struck by modernization.
It is best if one explores this part of the city on foot as they can take their time observing the structural designs and the cityscape and absorb the ancient charisma of Pokhara. While exploring this part of the city, visitors can take a tour of the old marketplace selling local products, various temple and a chance to explore old alleyways.
The preferable point to start exploring Old Pokhara is the Nepal Telecom Building. From here, head to the north-west, crossing some religious shops till they reach an intersection called Nala Mukh. This area is famous for the Newari Houses that are adorned with brickwork and bear beautifully carved wooden windows and doors. On proceeding further, you would reach Bhairab Tole which is one of Pokhara's significant commercial centres. There is a 200-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Bhimsen here who is considered an important deity of the Newars. He is said to be the one who brings success in trade and commerce and is, therefore, worshipped with great devotion by the traders. A pit stop at this temple to admire its ancient architectural beauty is much advisable.
The region around the Bhimsen temple has some shops selling ceramics and baskets where tourists can spend some time shopping or just observing the authentic products on sale. A little ahead is a small hillock which is famous for another ancient temple, Bindhya Basini Temple. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga who is represented by a Shaligram instead of the usual imposing idol. Exploring this section of Pokhara is the best thing to do for those who wish to feel like they have gone decades into the past when simplicity was also beautiful. The traditional two or three-storey buildings with brick and woodwork bearing intricate carvings that still stand tall in this part of the city sort of make the point that the charm of Old Pokhara is still alive and breathing.
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