Getting There from Kathmandu
I took the Baba Adventure bus bound to Pokhara from Kantipath in Kathmandu. I don’t know whether to describe Kantipath as a bus station as the buses are just lined up by the side of the road. I later learned that the area is clear of parked buses after the buses leave in the morning. Fare is Rs 800, tourist aircon bus, comes with a free 1 Liter of water, a breakfast stop, a lunch stop and a toilet stop. The trip took a little more than 7 hours. Though I’ve read reports that bus drivers in Nepal will keep you at the edge of your seats, I felt safe during the entire trip.
Arriving in Pokhara, I rode a taxi to Pushpa Guesthouse (Rs 200), which is a short walking distance from the Lakeside.
My spacious room at the Pushpa Guesthouse
Here are the places I visited in Pokhara:
I strolled around the Phewa Lake by the Lakeside and went down southwest. The Lakeside area is where the guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, travel service offices and souvenir shops are concentrated. I liked the southwestern shore better as it's less crowded with tourists, and pleasantly imbibes a lusher environment.
A peaceful sunset by the Lakeside
I had the opportunity to see Phewa Lake in the early morning and the sunset. But unluckily, the views of the Annapurna mountain peaks from the lakeside had been elusive at the time I was there. This is also the reason why I didn’t take the boat ride.
Fruit stand by the Lakeside
Crows on the main stretch along the Lakeside is a common sight
A number of white cranes perched on the tree
Small bird (Google didn’t help me identify this one. haha!). I enjoyed birdwatching along Phewa Lake, even without binoculars
The southwest part of Phewa Lake
Green it is!
Three Sisters Trekking Agency had received several awards for their efforts to promote and live up to ecotourism. I didn’t have first-hand experience with them but I found these garbage segregation bins with their company name on it.
World Peace Pagoda
During my first full day in Pokhara, Indira, who’s a friend of a friend, and her husband Rahendra (who after having spent a day with them had become my new friends, too), were kind enough to show me around Pokhara.
The founder of Nipponzan Myohoji, Nichidastsu Fuji
Our first stop was the World Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist Shrine built by a Japanese organization, Nipponzan Myohoji, to convey the message of peace throughout the world. We drove in their car up to a certain point when we had to hike to the top.
Statues of the Buddhas installed in this pagoda were received from Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.
Will I pass for a Newar just like Indira? 🙂
Aside from the stupa itself, people climb up the shrine for spectacular views of the ice-capped Annapurna range, the lake and the forest-covered mountains.
Well, I’ve got some greens, a hazy view of the Pokhara valley and the lake, and an imaginary view of the Annapurna mountain range. And to “cheer me up” even more, Rahendra told me that the skies were clear a day before I arrived Pokhara. At that time, I only have a day left to see Pokhara and a thinning hope of seeing the elusive Annapurna. This just goes to say that I have to come back to Pokhara someday.
Devi’s Falls and Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
Entering from the side of the highway, with shops and commercial establishments around, how can anyone think that a waterfalls and a cave lies beyond the gate that shows the sign “Welcome to Devi’s Fall”.
Story has it that the name Devi’s Falls came about when a woman named Devi, was accidentally swept downstream into the underground hole while swimming. It’s funny and also confusing how different versions of this story are available on the internet, like that a couple was involved in this tragedy, with the man surviving and Devi, the wife (girlfriend in other sources) never seen again (later found in the Seti river in some). I’ll go for Rahendra’s story…that Devi was accidentally swept beneath. Period.
I cannot call it stunning but the falls is rather unique in that the water falls into a deep hole, creating a cave beside it, known as the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.
Indira and Rahendra told me that during the rainy season, large volumes of water would splash through, with levels reaching the blue railings (railings seen on the upper right of the above photo).
A gazebo within the park
My wonderful guides for the day
The entrance to the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave is just across the street to the falls’ entrance.
Spiral staircase leading to the cave
Inside the cave is an idol of Lord Shiva, worshipped by Hindu devotees. Picture taking at this site is not allowed. Descending into the man-made staircase leads to a large cool space. Visitors can only enter as far as the end of a path with railings, from where we came across a pond coming from the waters of Devi’s Falls. From this vantage point, a slit from the rocks allowed me to peek at the falls falling from the top.
Women’s Skills Development Organization
After a hearty lunch and some stories, Indira and Rahendra took me to Women’s Skills Development Organization (WSDO) in Simal Chaur Road to see traditional handwoven and sewn products, which I thought would be best take home items for friends and relatives.
Look for this trademark when buying because there are allegedly counterfeit versions of their products.
WSDO is a non-profit organization that provides support to the economically disadvantaged, disabled, abused, widowed, divorced and out caste Nepalese women by providing them livelihood. According to the one in charge of the facility (I regret not listing her name), who was kind enough to show me around the production area, they are using local raw materials and eco-friendly (azo-free and natural) dyes.
I really appreciate Indira and Rahendra for introducing me to this organization. I’m happy to have bought a few souvenir bags, with the thought that my money would in some way help empower women. WSDO also has their showroom at the first floor of the Salt and Pepper Restaurant, next to Hotel Mount Kailash at the Lakeside.
Traveled: April 2014